Aman Sedighi is a natural at farming, but not just in the traditional sense.
A self-taught farmer who immigrated to Prince Edward Island with his family from Iran in 2010, Aman applies his background as an agricultural researcher with hands-on, in-the-field experience. After working on a dairy farm for several years, he began farming on his own in 2014, opening A-OK Gardens, which stands for Aman Organic Kitchen Gardens.
Aman's commitment to farming as naturally as possible has been steadfast - no sprays or chemicals are used on his now 120 acre farm that is proudly home to 35 certified organic varieties of herbs, fruits and vegetables.
He implements soil-first farming techniques such as planting rye as a winter cover crop, using chicken manure to return organic matter back into the soil, reduced tillage, and diversifying crops to keep the soil healthy and thriving.
Even the location of his farm, which faces a major highway in Brookfield, PEI, provides a strategic advantage for his plants, as the leaves absorb carbon dioxide and absorb it back into the soil where it can restore nutrients.
“Healthy soil means natural soil,” explains Aman. “When humans step everywhere without any consideration for nature, it gets worse for the future.”
Carrots, leeks, and onions are just some of the primary crops grown at A-OK Gardens that are sold to local restaurants, including one of his very first clients - Papa Joe's Restaurant in Charlottetown - and a local wholesaler that distributes his products. He also grows a variety of fragrant herbs like parsley, cilantro, basil and mint; leafy greens such as kale and Swiss chard; and root vegetables including beets, radishes, and more.
He's even had tremendous success experimenting with growing his own watermelon crop, proving that healthy Island soil has the capacity to grow just about anything when you put in the work every day and get to “know the plants' language”.
"I want to [continue] to make better quality and diversity of crops," says Aman, when asked about his vision for the future of A-OK Gardens. And as Aman continues to invest in what he calls 'a farmer's most important asset' - the soil - and dedicates his time, energy, and passion into farming for the future, there is no limit to what he can produce, naturally.
"Farming, in my opinion, is the most important job in the world."