Mike Heath, M & M Heath Farms
M & M Heath Farms in Buhl shows what a large grower is capable of. Owner Mike Heath uses organic methods across 500 acres. His farm produces more than a dozen potato varieties, vegetables and livestock.
Heath followed an unlikely path to get where he is today. As a young man, he worked in Malaysia and the South Pacific as a conventional farming consultant. He quickly found out those local farmers he thought needed his advice—dished it right back.
“I was working with farmers overseas and discovered that they were able to farm and produce food without all the chemicals and so I thought well, maybe I can do that too.”
Heath preserves soil quality by rotating his crops every few years. His work has been featured in "The Botany of Desire", written by America’s pre-eminent food journalist, Michael Pollan. View a transcript of Pollan discussing Mike Heath’s farming practices. PBS broadcast “The Botany of Desire” in 2009. View the show website on PBS. The film featured Mike Heath in the section about potato control.
Heath’s farms are so plentiful, he sends much of his harvest across state borders to serve the regional demand for organic food. He hopes that trend changes so that he can serve more Idaho consumers. He is concerned about the fact most of our food travels an average of 1,500 miles before reaching the supermarkets. If disaster was to strike and transportation curtailed for any reason, the state’s food supply would diminish within a few days.
“I look at it from a broad perspective too that local is important for food security. My experience overseas taught me that if you don’t have your local food you are vulnerable.”