Dorienne Campbell, an organic farmer, has potentially devised a method for treating leaf rust, which is a problem many coffee farmers have been facing as of late. Campbell blends. She began blending 10 large garlic bulbs in 2 parts 750 milliliters of water mixed with coconut, making 40 gallons of the solution. She then applied this to the leaf rust liberally and started seeing the disease disappear and berries hold their position instead of prematurely falling off the tree.
“Now because it is organic and a natural thing, you tend to have to apply it more times than you would if it was a chemical you buy over the counter. We watched it and thought, ‘Okay, it’s improving’, and then it looked a little like it was coming back, but we’re seeing that it has worked and have been applying it very forcefully.”
Campbell operates a five acre completely organic farm that sits about 3-4 thousand feet above sea level. She grows Blue Mountain coffee, and because she is certified organic, she first consulted her certifier. She saw her neighbors and fellow farmers cutting down affected trees to try and save the still healthy ones, but she did not prefer this route and instead decided to research and experiment on her own. Campbell explains:
“I saw it in December and didn’t know what it was, but it was clear that it was something different and that I needed to deal with it quickly, and I did. I applied all the local things that I had read about, that I had seen. The important thing in organic production is that I just didn’t say, ‘All right, I’ll use this.’ I talked to my certifier and said, ‘Is this okay? I want to try so and so, will that compromise?’ and he said, ‘No, you’re doing the right thing there, and so we started and I made the solution and we applied it’.”
Campbell has been growing coffee for 21 years, and this is the first time she has seen the leaf rust within her crops.