Why We Do What We Do

Why We Grow

Genetic, biological, and diet diversity is a key component of long term health for both people and the environment.  


Eating a variety of foods in season is the easiest and best way to have a diet rich in all of the nutrients you need, filled with different and new flavors, and that is a pleasure for all of your senses.  


Growing a majority of our food locally is more economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable than importing most of our food. 

Where We Grow

Flower Fly Farm is a small (~2 acres) urban farm located in Gilbert, Arizona.  Everything we sell is grown on site at Flower Fly Farm.

What We Grow

We specialize in perennial plants that include heirloom, rare, native, common, and locally adapted plants.  


The plants produce fruits, nuts/seeds, select vegetables, herbs, edible flowers, and sundry.  


We grow some annual plants (grows less than one year before dying), but our focus on perennial plants (living many years) helps support our no-till approach to farming.


We also raise heritage chickens, ducks, and turkeys for fertilizer, pest control, and eggs--and their entertainment value.

How We Grow Our Food

Naturally Grown

 Our guiding principles are diversity and sustainability based on ecological principles.  This means using techniques that support a high quality, healthy soil and ecosystem—such as no synthetic pesticides, no synthetic fertilizers, no-till cultivation, and the essential integration of plants and animals.  Our methods are based on science (background education in ecology and plant biology) as well as influences from ecology-based farming philosophies such as Natural Farming (promoted by the Japanese farmer Masanobu Fukuoka), organic farming, and permaculture.
 

Our farm is an agroforest farm.  Agroforestry is a farming method based on integrating trees/shrubs, pasture, and agriculture as one holistic system.  It fosters high levels of diversity, productivity, disease and pest resistance, soil health and fertility resistant to soil erosion, and pollinator and wildlife resources.  The focus is long term health and productivity over short-term gains. 

The Importance of Soil

Without good soil, plants cannot grow. Without good soil, nutrient-dense food and high-quality fiber and other plant products cannot be grown. Nutrient-dense food is necessary for good health.  Therefore, good soil is essential for good life.  Our goal is developing erosion and drought resistant, healthy soil for long-term productivity and highly nutritious produce.  We do this by

  • increasing soil organic matter and nutrients
  • fostering a diverse soil microorganism community 
  • developing and maintaining soil structure that supports      water infiltration, deep root growth, and water-holding capabilities 

Use of Machines

At Flower Fly Farm, we prefer to not depend on large machines (e.g., tractors) for harvest, maintenance, and cultivation whenever possible.  Instead, we use small machines and hand tools.  It is more labor intensive because that means we do things like pick by hand and cultivate with hand tools.  But it also means that we do not go into massive debt purchasing single-purpose machines or have to plan our farming methods around using those big machines.  We can adapt to changing conditions and grow a diversity of plants as a small farm instead of having to become a huge farm growing a single crop.


Hand harvesting not only allows better quality of fruit because of more careful handling and picking when fruit is ripe, it allows us to grow fruits not conducive to machine harvesting. 

Flower Flies

A.K.A. Hover Flies or Syrphid Flies

They are flies that feed off of nectar and pollen from flowers, pollinating them in the process.  The juvenile form (known as larvae) will eat decaying plant material or other insects such as aphids, depending on the species, providing nutrient cycling and pest control benefits.  There are many different species of flower flies here in the Sonora Desert.

Mimicry

Many flower flies use mimicry to help protect themselves against predators.  The black and yellow striping makes them look like bees or wasps. Some flower flies come in other patterns such as solid black.  Despite looking like bees and wasps, flower flies are not dangerous because they do not have stingers.  One way to tell flower flies apart from bees and wasps is by noticing they have only one pair of wings (like all flies) instead of two pairs of wings (like bees and wasps). 

Other Pollinators

Flower Fly Farm also supports other native pollinators, including carpenter bees, paper wasps, mud dauber wasps, ladybird beetles, and numerous other insects.