By Suzannah Schneider, Communications Manager and Certification Coordinator
Earth Tools was one of our first Business Allies, and an enthusiastic one, at that!
The Kentucky company is currently the only full-time power equipment dealership in the USA dedicated solely to walk-behind tractors. Plus, Earth Tools is currently the largest walk-behind tractor dealership in North America!
In fact, founder Joel Dufour has been selling and servicing walk-behind tractors since 1977. We caught up with him to learn more about the mission and history of his company, as well as what Certified Naturally Grown means to him.
Certified Naturally Grown (CNG): How did Earth Tools get started?
Joel Dufour (JD): Growing up on an organic market-farm, I developed a keen appreciation for high-quality farming tools and equipment. A general lack of suppliers for such equipment led me to start Earth Tools in the 1990s.
JD: To provide high-quality goods and excellent service at reasonable prices to the market-farming community, and to support efforts to protect our natural environment - as sustainable farming does.
CNG: How did you make the decision to support CNG as a Business Ally?
JD: It was easy...my sister-in-law is a member! Her farm is Blackberry Heaven, in Frankfort, KY. I also support efforts for farmers to have some kind of an accountability system for growing naturally. Additionally, many of our customers are small growers and some have told me the organic certification standards are too onerous.
CNG: How does Certified Naturally Grown support Earth Tools' customers?
JD: Certified Naturally Grown enables our customers to give the assurance to their customers that their food is grown in accordance with a set of peer-reviewed standards, and it does not "break the bank" in terms of time or money invested to stay "certified."
CNG: What are some exciting developments at Earth Tools our CNG community can look forward to in 2019 and beyond?
JD: We continue developing new tools and implements to aid small-scale vegetable growers...this year we are introducing more weed control/cultivation tools, as well as super-precise vacuum-seeders.
CNG: If you had a magic agricultural wand, how would you use it to improve farm systems in America?
JD: Wow, that's a loaded question! First, I would end subsidies for mega-scale, chemical-based mono-crop, GMO agriculture, and instead give incentives to small-scale producers who are using farming techniques that aid the planet's healing (rather than aiding the planet's destruction).
I would also mandate that agricultural land around urban areas would be preserved as such and not "developed" (with its value [and subsequent taxes] not overinflated by nearby development)...so that the farms surrounding the cities could profitably feed the cities.
CNG: Is there anything else CNG growers should know?
JD: That CNG growers are part of a great movement toward healthier people and a healthier planet!