Improving Soil and Human Health

Farmer spotlight: Anna Raines from Rains and Sun Hilltop Farm...

"We are committed to promoting the health of our community by delivering super fresh organic produce to the tables of families in Northern Kentucky,” Anna Raines shared. Anna, an organic vegetable farmer in Independence, KY, achieves this farm goal by disturbing the soil as little as possible in her 2-acre production of more than 30 vegetable crops on Rains and Sun Hilltop Farm.

She knows from years of research and experience that this minimal tillage approach works best to maintain the soil’s structure and protect its complex web of organic matter, microbiology. and water flow (called the soil food web). It is also key to building healthier soil that provides more nutrients for her crops, reduces erosion, and reduces the stimulation of dormant weed seeds.

Anna's farming practices when she and her husband Steve started Rains and Sun Hilltop Farm in 2013 were focused on building healthy soil that was free from chemical herbicides and pesticides and only utilizing only natural sources of fertility. To make this happen and manageable on a human-scale they used little mechanized equipment, which helps to keep soil intact and lowers their maintenance cost. They have continued to dial in these methods over the years and become a certified organic farm in 2021. All without using any machinery larger than a 2-wheel, walk-behind tractor.

Rains and Sun Hilltop Farm delivers weekly CSA shares to 100 local residents, offers fresh-picked seasonal vegetables to two local farmers markets, and feeds Anna’s young family of five and her crew throughout the year. Learn more about Anna and Steve's farm here. If you are a farmer interested in the tools used for minimal tillage on a diversified vegetable farm, register for a free virtual OAK field day Friday July 9th here.

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