Paul Muller has been growing certified organic vegetables since 1985 on Full Belly Farm in the Capay Valley of northern California, north of Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay area. He co-owns the operation with three other partners. It comprises of almost 400 acres where they grow 80 different crops in rotation (fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts, grains, and flowers) along with products produced with the help of chickens, sheep, goats, and several cows. Full Belly successfully provides year-round employment for 80 people while selling the bulk of their produce within a 120-mile radius of the farm. They were already using cover crops and planting habitat areas for beneficial insects and wildlife. Now as a recipient of a Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) from the NRCS, Muller has turned part of his acreage into a no-till management site to see if they can improve the quality of the soil and sequester more carbon. This is in alignment with their goal to integrate farm production with sustainable long-term environmental stewardship.
The soil is the foundation for all they do at Full Belly Farm. Paul Muller explains on their website that the ability of plants to resist disease and non-beneficial insects as well as being as nutritious and tasty as can be depends tremendously on the fertility and over-all quality of the land it is grown on. Therefore, awareness and management of the soil ecology is their highest priority.