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Jesse Frost Wants To Help Produce Farmers Stop Tilling Their Soil

The farmer and author of ‘The Living Soil Handbook’ talks about reducing labor, repairing ecosystems, and boosting photosynthesis by leaving the soil intact.

Jesse Frost and his wife Hannah Crabtree have been farming together since 2011, when they met working as apprentices on a small organic farm in southern Kentucky. Eventually, they started their own small market garden operation nearby, Rough Draft Farm, where they started experimenting with cutting down on tillage a few years later. By 2017, they had gone completely no-till.

Today, the couple grows an impressive array of year-round vegetables on three-quarters of an acre using an intercropping system that utilizes four types of compost and several types of mulch while leaving the soil as intact as possible.

Now, Frost, who also hosts the No-Till Market Garden Podcast, has written a book about the science and practice of reducing tillage on small- and medium-scale produce operations. Crabtree provided illustrations. The Living Soil Handbook: The No-Till Growers Guide to Ecological Market Gardening, released this month, dives deep into the how, the why, and the philosophy behind their farm.