Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Sponsored by the Virginia Cooperative Extension
will be given at the Fincastle Library, 5 p.m. -- 9 p.m.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Monday, February 2, 2009
Monday, February 9, 2009
Monday, March 2, 2009
Monday, March 9, 2009
Contact your Cooperative Extension to sign up.
Monday, December 29, 2008
"Half Pint and Essex: A Tale of Two Farms", Jan. 9, 2009
The Local Food Project at Airlie will hold its third annual conference—"Half Pint and Essex: A Tale of Two Farms"—on January 9, 2009 at the Airlie Center in Warrenton, Va. The full day "Winter Forum" will provide an up-close look at whole farm systems design by featuring in-depth discussions of the innovative systems that have brought success to two sustainable agriculture operations—Half Pint Farm (Burlington, VT) and Essex Farm (Essex, NY).
Presenting for the first time in Virginia, Half Pint and Essex will share a complete picture of how their farms operate—from creating a plan and producing quality products, to building and expanding a customer base. In addition to providing a detailed look at two thriving farm systems, "A Tale of Two Farms" will offer the opportunity to network with speakers and other participants.
Mara and Spencer Welton, of Half Pint Farm, grow baby greens and gourmet specialty crops for direct sale to farmer’s markets and restaurants, and wholesale to local grocery stores. Located at Burlington’s Intervale (a reclaimed urban waste site), Half Pint operates on one and a third acres, and has found its niche by selling high-quality vegetables and establishing lasting relationships with customers.
Kristin and Mark Kimball, of Essex Farm, run a unique CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) enterprise that provides community members with a full grocery bag of food each week—vegetables, orchard fruits, grains, baked goods, dairy, and grass-fed meats. Powered by a team of Belgian draft horses, Essex Farm feeds 75 families year-round.
"We are excited to offer Virginia food growers and policy experts the chance to hear from Half Pint and Essex," said Pablo Elliott, director of the Local Food Project at Airlie. "Many of our programs feature innovative projects from our own region. By bringing in farmers from another area, we hope to inspire fresh ideas in our community as we work to meet the increasing demand for locally grown food."
Backyard gardeners, small farmers, food policy experts, and other fans of local food will be interested in attending "A Tale of Two Farms" to learn about the key factors that make these two unique farms so successful. To register, send an email to email@example.com. A special "Early Bird" rate is available to participants who sign up before December 31. For more information, visit www.airlie.org and click on "Local Food Project" or visit our blog at http://sixteenfootladder.blogspot.com/.
About the Local Food Project at Airlie
Established in 1998, the Local Food Project at Airlie operates an organic garden and hoophouse which supply fresh vegetables, herbs, fruits, and flowers to the Airlie Center, an environmentally certified conference center located an hour outside Washington, DC in Warrenton, Va. The Local Food Project at Airlie hosts seminars and conferences to promote sustainable food production and offers tours and educational materials to the Center’s guests to promote the advantages of local food systems for the well-being of communities. Learn more at www.airlie.org.
—Local Food Project at Airlie—
February 9th and 10th: VA Agriculture Summit. Energy: Impact and Opportunities, Omni Richmond Hotel. www.agsummit.com
Through funds from the DCR Water Quality Improvement Act, DOF has developed a Regional Grant program which is designed to restore and/or improve riparian health through the use of tree plantings or other vegetative techniques and may include non - CREP riparian buffer tree planting, stream restoration and stabilization, rain gardens and bio swales. The grants should be written by the person or organization that will receive the funds, with technical assistance and support from the local DOF. Grant applications should come from the organization to the VDOF Area Forester or Water Quality Engineer and after review be forwarded to HQ for funding allocation and final approval. The Virginia Department of Forestry will accept project proposals from private citizens, local units of government, approved non-profit organizations, civic groups, educational institutions, or community volunteer groups which meet the specific program objectives. Eligible project categories are described in detail in the attached flyer along with the proposal format. For spring 2008 projects applications should be received no later than February 22, 2008, sooner is better.Grants will be awarded as they are received, evaluated for compliance with the program and approved. Funds will be allocated on a first come first serve basis. If you have any questions about the grant contact Barbara White at 434.220. or E-mail Barbara.firstname.lastname@example.org These funds are provided by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and are administered by the Virginia Department of Forestry.
Tom Peterson will be giving a workshop for the Virginia Association of Biological Farmers (VABF) conference on February 27 - 28 in Richmond, VA. This is always a great conference with a strong emphasis on sustainable agriculture. His workshop will focus specifically on growing and selling fresh produce at farmers markets (inc. farm planning, succession planting, pricing, display and post-harvest handling, among other topics) -- feel free to advertise this conference through your vendor lists. You can find more information at http://www.vabf.org/.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
As world leaders meet in Poznan, Poland this week to work out a foundation for a new international climate change treaty, they would do well to seek the council of some unconventional advisors: peasant farmers. Agricultural policy has been virtually ignored in "official" discussions of climate change. One place it hasn't been ignored is by farmers themselves. In October hundreds of small farmers from all over the world met in Maputo, Mozambique for the fifth international conference of La Via Campesina, a global movement of peasant farmers. A sense of urgency around climate change featured prominently in their final declaration.
It's little wonder. The Via Campesina Declaration casts small farmers in the developing world as both global warming's victims and a potential solution. They are right! While industrial agriculture is one of the world's biggest climate culprits, small-scale farmers actually cool the planet.
Agriculture is responsible for 13.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions - largely from synthetic fertilizers and large animal operations. GHG emissions-soil carbon loss, methane, and nitrous oxide-are largely results of large-scale agricultural operations in which soil carbon is depleted, methane from large animal feedlot operations is released unchecked, and synthetic fertilizers release nitrous oxide-a gas with 300 times the warming power of CO2.
The agricultural sector, including land use change for agriculture, has been estimated to make up anywhere from 28-33% of global emissions. Combined with the emissions created transporting food in our increasingly globalized food economy where the average bite to eat travels 1200 miles from field to fork, the industrial food system may be the largest single contributor to global warming.
In small-scale organic farming systems however, carbon is actually stored in the soil at a rate of about four tons per hectare. The Rodale Institute estimates that if the U.S. converted to organic agriculture on all its farmland, 25% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions could be saved.
Small-scale sustainable agriculture is also vastly more resilient to climate change. After Hurricane Mitch devastated much of the Central American countryside, a study of over 1800 conventional and sustainable farms showed that farmers using sustainable practices suffered less "damage" than their conventional neighbors. Diversified plots had 20% to 40% more topsoil, greater soil moisture, less erosion, and experienced fewer economic losses than their conventional farm neighbors. Not only can small-scale sustainable agriculture help cool the planet, it can provide a buffer against the worst effects of global warming.
The small farmers of La Via Campesina know this. They are calling for an international shift towards food sovereignty - the right of all people over the resources to produce and consume abundant, culturally appropriate food. Their vision is one of agroecologically balanced, sustainable, family farms supported by local markets. Not only will this vision confront the injustices of a world food system where one billion people will go hungry this year while another billion are obese-it could help stave off climate disasters.
Any "vision" that may emerge from negotiations in Poznan, Poland this week must include creating a food system that is more resilient, less polluting, and ultimately more just. Peasant farmers, who comprise more than half of all farmers worldwide, have much to offer a warming world. The fact that greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture was on the agenda of farmers themselves before it is talked about on the world policy stage should send a strong message to Poznan: It is time we opened the climate debate to the ills of industrial agriculture, and the home-grown solutions that could save us.
Annie Shattuck writes for Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy. The purpose of the Institute for Food and Development Policy - Food First - is to eliminate the injustices that cause hunger.
Published on Tuesday, December 2, 2008 by CommonDreams.org
Monday, December 15, 2008
This daylong seminar will raise awareness and educate communities about their health, their food supply and sustainable farming practices for environmental preservation. There will be other experts who will speak, as well as Sally Fallon, on the important links between health and communities. A delicious lunch featuring locally sourced traditional foods will be provided by Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market.
The seminar will take place at the Montpelier Center for Arts and Education, 17205 Mountain Road at the western edge of Hanover on Route 33 in Hanover County (just west of Richmond) from 9:00am-6:00pm. The seminar will include the following lectures/lecturers:
“The Power of Food: a Virginia Dietitian's Perspective" (Lynda Fanning, MA, MPH, RD - Clinical Nutrition Manager, University of Virginia Health System)
“The Basics of Healthy Diets” (Sally Fallon)
“The Politics and Economics of Food” (Sally Fallon)
“Planning for a Healthy Environment” (Stewart Schwartz, Executive Director – Partnership for Smarter Growth)
”How Sustainable Farming can Promote Public Health” (Sally K. Norton, MPH - Scientific / Program Administrator, Department of Social and Behavioral Health, School of Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University)
“How to Change Your Diet for the Better” (Sally Fallon)
Cost for the January 10th seminar is $65 in advance or $75 at the door. Pre-register on the Center for Rural Culture’s website (www.centerforruralculture.org). Center for Rural Culture and Weston A. Price members’ cost is only $50 (and also students), but those folks must register by mail. Call 804-314-9141 for a brochure.
The Center for Rural Culture will host two other book-signing and lecture events with Sally Fallon on the same weekend. Participants can meet and talk with Sally Fallon and bring or purchase their own copy of Sally’s Nourishing Traditions book to be signed.
Friday, January 9th 5:30-9:00pm Book signing and Meet & Greet starts at 5:30pm. Lecture - “The Oiling of America/The Cholesterol Myths” begins at 7:00pm. Delicious food and alcohol/non-alcohol beverages will be available for purchase before, during and after event! Cost: $10 suggested donation at the door or pre-register on the Center for Rural Culture’s website (www.centerforruralculture.org). Location: The Camel Restaurant & Bar, 1621 W Broad St. Richmond, VA 23220 (804) 353-4901.
Sunday, January 11th 11:00am-1:00pm Book signing and Meet & Greet starts at 11:00am. Lecture -“Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner: Having trouble getting started with a traditional diet?” starts at 11:30am. Sally will offer suggestions for no-fuss, economical meals based on traditional foods. Cost: Free, although seating is limited, so pre-registration is suggested. Go to the Center’s website to pre-register. Location: Ellwood’s Community Coffee, 10 S. Thompson St. Richmond, VA 23221 (804) 359-7525.
The mission of the Center for Rural Culture is to educate, promote and inspire members of our community to sustain a culture that supports agriculture and the local economy, protects natural and historic resources, and maintains our rural character and traditions. The Center founded and manages the Goochland Farmers Market and offers many educational programs and opportunities to learn about sustainable agriculture, conservation practices, local foods and local foods systems, smart growth, traditional rural arts, music and rural history.
The movement for a more sustainable local food system is in full swing in Central Virginia, and the opportunity to learn more about traditional foods and their relationship to the health of communities is an important and timely topic. Who should come? – Everyone…students, doctors, mothers, farmers, healthcare providers, teachers, or anyone who is interested in radically strengthening the very foundations of their health and their community.
For additional information, contact Lisa Dearden @ 804-314-9141 or admin@CenterForRuralCulture.org.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
To learn more, attend a meeting on: Wednesday, December 10th 7:00 pm Roanoke Higher Education Center (Jefferson Street, across from Hotel Roanoke)
You will learn about: • Markets at Virginia Tech, Washington & Lee University and other colleges • Supermarket opportunities through Appalachian Harvest• Other local and regional markets; and • Education and training available for small organic and sustainable farms.
For more information call (276) 623-1121 or email email@example.com
Appalachian Harvest is an enterprise of Appalachian Sustainable Development. www.asdevelop.org
Friday, November 21, 2008
Butter- and Cheese-making
This is a demonstration workshop which will provide participants with thebasics of making butter using a blender, beating out the milk, and molding it.
We will also demonstrate methods of making chevre and seasoning it with various ingredients; making mozzarella with two different methods of stretching; and making ricotta from the mozzarella whey.
Participants will have opportunities to ask questions. Recipes and methodology will be provided as hand-outs.
When and where
Saturday, December 6th at 1 - 4 p.m. at Brambleberry Farm, Fincastle
To reserve a place, call 992-5529
Sponsored by Botetourt Family Farms
Saturday, November 15, 2008
VALUE-ADDED PRODUCER GRANT & RENEWABLE ENERGY SYSTEMS AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY IMPROVEMENTS PROGRAM WORKSHOPS
The Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program can be accessed by eligible agriculture producers or producer groups for either planning or working capital in a value-added agriculture endeavor. The grant will pay for up to 50% of eligible project costs.
The Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program (REEP) can pay up to 25% of the costs for an agriculture producer or small business to implement a renewable energy project or make energy efficiency improvements to their building or processes
An overview of each program as well as tips for applying for grant funds will be presented. Meetings will be held on the following dates at the below-listed locations. All meetings will begin and 11:00 A.M. and end at 2:30 P.M. Lunch will be served.
December 8, 2008- The Riverstone Technology Building, 1100 Confroy Drive, South Boston, VA 24592
December 9, 2008- The Heritage Preservation Center (Upper Floor), 115 W. Spiller Street, Wytheville, VA 24382
December 10, 2008- Virginia Cooperative Extension District Office, 2322 Blue Stone Hills Drive, Suite 140, Harrisonburg, VA 22801
December 11, 2008- Hampton Inn & Suites, 117 Fort Evans Road NE, Leesburg, VA 20176
December 12, 2008- Virginia Farm Bureau, 12580 West Creek Parkway, Richmond, VA 23238
For further information about the meetings, please contact Laurette Tucker of USDA Rural Development at 804.287.1594 or Chris Cook of the Virginia Farm Bureau at 804.290.1111 or visit www.vafairs.com.
The meetings are free. However, registration is required to attend.
To register, please call 804.290.1155, or email firstname.lastname@example.org stating your name and which meeting you would like to attend.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
This is a demonstration workshop which will provide participants with the basics of making butter using a blender, beating out the milk, and molding it.
We will also demonstrate methods of making chevre and seasoning it with various ingredients; making mozzarella with two different methods ofstretching; and making ricotta from the mozzarella whey.
Participants will have opportunities to ask questions. Recipes and methodology will be provided as hand-outs.
Sunday, November 9th at 3 p.m.
To reserve a place and get directions, call 992-5529 or contact me.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Earl and I will be at the market on Saturday. We will have a delicious "ripe, sweet, pear" different than what we have had in the past. We will have a new batch of convenience foods, and our "triple berry jam" will make a final appearance of the season. We will have an array of baked goods, and wonderful homemade fudges. We will also have a box of walnuts for anyone interested.Hope to see yaall' there. Linda
Full Circle Farm will not be at the market this week due to the need for afamily weekend! We will be back with our line of freshly milled wheat and spelt products next week. Please feel free to email your order in advance. Thanks! See you then!
Friday, October 17, 2008
Full Circle Farm will be at the market with freshly ground whole wheat and spelt breads, our specialty mixes, and grass-fed beef. See you there!
We are planning on attending tomorrow and selling jams and apple pies.
thanks, Lara , Peaceful Haven Farm
Brambleberry Farm is bringing eggs, pumpkin brownies, apple bread, dried figs, herb teas, bath teas/sachets, Indian corn, chard, shagbark hickory nuts, cherry tomatoes, and mixed peppers and tomatoes.
Virginia Mountain Vineyard: I will be at the Farmer's Mkt Sat. I plan on bringing wine, jelly, grape juice, biscotti, wooden wine boxes, ornaments (maybe). Marie
There will be plenty of other vendors there with farm produce. Ikenberry's is hosting a Fall Festival, so there'll be lots of surprises, a live band, miniature horse rides, and more!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Engage in hands-on construction of a barrel to take home. Bring work gloves and wear comfortable clothes that can get dirty.
When: 9:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Where: Montgomery County Government Center, 755 Roanoke St., Christiansburg
Cost: $45.00 per barrel, includes supplies
Monday, October 13, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
9 a.m -- 5 p.m.
(registration starts at 8 a.m.)
The Alphin Stuart Livestock Arena
Virginia Tech, Blacksburg
Basic Goat Production
Hands on Worker Demonstration
Susan Schoenian, M.S., P.A.S.
Sheep and Goat Specialist
Western Maryland Research & Education Center
Kevin D. Pelzer, DVM, MPVM
Production Management Medicine
Diplomate American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine
VA-MD Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Tech
Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences, Virginia Tech
Cost: $20.00 per adult, $10.00 per youth (ages 9-19)
(includes breaks, lunch, & printed materials)
Please register/RSVP by Monday, November 10, 2008
Make check payable to:
VCE - Botetourt Office
Mail payment and registration to:
Botetourt Extension Office
P.O. Box 217
Fincastle VA 24090
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Friday, October 3, 2008
Hillery Family from Full Circle Farm will be there with freshly milled whole wheat Milk and Honey Bread and grass-fed beef. See you there.
Brambleberry Farm will bring eggs, fresh figs, heirloom tomatoes, chard, Indian corn, bizcochitos, and apple oatmeal cookies.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
Journey's End Farm will be bringing fresh pastured farm eggs, baked goods, grape jelly and possibly some fresh late tomatoes.
Full Circle Farm will be there with freshly ground whole wheat milk and honey bread, pizza crusts, assorted mixes, flaxseed baquette, baguette, cinnamon raisin bread, and grass-fed beef. See you there!
Friday, September 19, 2008
Brambleberry Farm is bringing eggs, fresh figs, various types of heirloom tomatoes, green and dry hops, dried herbs, fresh basils, pumpkin brownies, beans...
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Interested in Sustainable and Profitable Forest Management?
Catawba Landcare invites you to attend a free informational meeting on September 30th from 7-9 pm at the Catawba Community Center on the Blue Ridge Forest Cooperative.
The Blue Ridge Forest Cooperative is a community-owned and operated forest landcare business serving landowners in the New, Upper James, and Roanoke River watersheds. BRFC offers a full suite of forest landcare services to help landowners care for their forests. BRFC strive to improve the value of your forest and put money in your pocket by removing low quality timber that is processed into value added products.
The BRFC works with the landowner, the forester, coordinates processing, and finds a market for your forest products. All of our forests are FSC certified, recognized internationally as the highest standard for sustainable forestry practices.
For more information visit www.blueridgeforestcoop.com
Catawba Landcare and the BRFC invite you and a friend to attend one of our many informational meetings we are hosting across your region. The meetings are free to attend, all are welcome and refreshments will be provided!
Title: Sustainable and Profitable Forestry Opportunities for Landowners
Host: Catawba Landcare and Blue Ridge Forest Cooperative Location: Catawba Community Center, Roanoke County
Date: September 30, 2008
Time: 7-9 pm
Please pass along this invitation to others that might be interested.For more information please contact Christy Gabbard by responding to this email or by calling 540-357-3744
Conservation Management Institute
College of Natural Resources, Virginia Tech
1900 Kraft Drive, Suite 250
Blacksburg, VA 24061
phone: 540 357 3744
fax: 509 355 8953
Monday, September 15, 2008
NO Pre-Registration Required!
What: Free public lecture open to the community, followed by reception and book-signing.
Who: Author MARK WINNE, national expert on developing local food systems and food policy
When: Monday, September 29th, 5:00 pm
Where: Campbell Hall (Room 153), School of Architecture, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Parking: Culbreth Road Garage
Books Available at Venue
2. Food Policy Council Workshop
Pre-Registration IS Required For This!Contact Meghan Bucknum at: email@example.com or 434.924.0263
What: Free workshop open to all Virginians who are working on or interested in establishing a food policy council – local, regional or state.
Format: Opening presentation by MARK WINNE, national expert on food policy councils, followed by participant workshop.
When: Monday, September 29th, 10:00–3:00 (lunch provided)
Where: Virginia Dept of Forestry, 900 Natural Resources Drive, Charlottesville, 22903.
WITH GREAT THANKS TO THE SPONSORS!
* UVa’s Center for Global Health
* Dept of Urban and Environmental Planning
* Virginia Farm Bureau Federation
* The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank Network
* Virginia Cooperative Extension
* Darden Business School
* Piedmont Environmental Council
* Virginia Association for Biological Farming
* The Baldwin Center for Preservation Development
* Pfizer Initiative in International Health
* VA Foundation for Agriculture Innovation and Rural Sustainability
Tanya Denckla CobbAssociate DirectorInstitute for Environmental Negotiation
University of Virginia
104 Emmet Street North
Charlottesville VA 22903434.924.1855
Friday, September 12, 2008
Peaceful Haven Retreat: Jeanne is going to be at the market with the Tacoma full of melons. We should also have some potatoes and carrots and probably some cherry type tomatoes. I put plenty of the melons in the fridge to be cold for samples. If anyone got one that wasn't up to par just let Jeanne know and we will try to be sure you get a good one this week. Thanks
Full Circle Farm will be there Saturday with grass-fed beef, free-range eggs, and freshly ground whole wheat products! See you then.
Brambleberry Farm will bring eggs, fresh figs, green beans, fresh and dry basil, chard, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, full size heirloom tomatoes, pumpkin brownies, and apple bread.
Mini Blessings Farm: Earl and I will have some tomatoes, green beans, an assortment of canned tomatoes, green beans, jams and jellies and fresh baked goodies and breads. See ya' there!
Journey's End Farm: Savannah will be manning the Journey's End Farm booth on her own this Saturday. She will have eggs, grape jelly and possibly some baked goods
Sunday, September 7, 2008
On September 27th and 28th 2008, our farm is celebrating National Alpaca Farm Days by opening up our barn doors and inviting in the public for a hands on tour and visit to our little farm.
We will be open from 10 until 4 on both Saturday and Sunday. It is a great way to spend an hour or two doing a family activity, and children are absolutely welcome. Come and learn about or amazing camelids, watch a fiber demonstration and perhaps see a new cria pronking out in our field!
Alpaca Farm Days is a FREE activity.
If there are any PUMPKIN farmers out there, I would love for you to contact me about offering pumpkins for sale during NAFD! I am going to advertise at the library and through my homeschool group. I am listed on the National Alpaca Farm Days website, through the Alpaca Owners and Breeders association. Last year we had about 15 families with lots of children come from the weblisting alone. I am going to advertise a bit more this year than last, and I am expecting more children.
Peace Be With You All
Perfect Peace Alpacas in Blue Ridge
On Friday, September 12, VCC welcomes its members and friends to an evening well worth the drive north to Exit 245!! The event is located at the beautiful Widow Pence Farm, protected by the Civil War Preservation Trust. In addition to a social, delicious dinner, brief annual meeting and entertainment, you'll witness Conservation Awards and our very own Kurt Kunze will be voted onto the VCC Board of Directors! Attend the whole event and still be home at a reasonable hour!
You must RSVP by September 8. Details are available at VCC's
Looking forward to see you!
Friday, September 5, 2008
Peaceful Haven Retreat is bringing heirloom, organic watermelons. You can read all about it and see a picture of Scott here. "I should have some orange varieties available (Orange Fleshed Tendersweet and Orange Glow). Some Moon and Stars (both red and yellow varieties). Some Crimson Sweet(which are red). Some yellow varieties which ended up coming from some of our orange melons last year that were near the crimson sweet, so they are our own variety by accident I suppose. There is a possibility that we will have some small icebox sized red watermelons from Japan that are some of the sweetest red ones I have ever had."
Full Circle Farm will be there with freshly milled whole wheat products,eggs, hot banana peppers, jalapeno peppers and some recipes for pepper jelly and pico de gallo, Texas style! See you tomorrow!
Mini Blessings Farm:
Earl and I will be bringing fresh green beans, some tomatoes, some bell peppers, and hot peppers. We will have many freshly canned tomatoes, green beans, jellies and preserves, homemade salsa (mild to medium) and some hot! Bread and butter pickle's, my goodness too many things to list! We will also be offering some home baked goodies! We'll be lookin' for ya!
Brambleberry Farm is bringing heirloom tomatoes, beans, chard, eggs, fresh figs, basils, hops, pumpkin brownies and apple bread.
Berry Ridge Farm will have fresh baked gluten free bread, and cakes. 'Will also have eggs. Thanks, Teresa
If it's storming, look for us up on the porch!
Friday, August 29, 2008
I'll be there with: Eggs, Fresh Figs, Heirloom Tomatoes, Pole Beans, Chard, Basils, Cherry Tomatoes, Cabbage, Potted Butterfly Bush
Blue Ridge Poultry Coop:
will be there with pasture raised, all natural frozen chickens, whole and quartered. We'll also have eggs from Arcadia Farm. Thanks!
L & D Eggs:
We will be there with cucumbers, pear honey, tomato pies, jams, fresh basil and eggs!
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
If you weren't there, you missed a nice time. Linda demonstrated water bath canning of tomatoes and everyone got their hands on experience.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Earl and I will be having "First of the Season" Apple Butter, Crab Apple Jelly, Crab Apple Grape Jelly, and Spiced Crab Apples. I have a new batch of Triple Berry Jam and Strawberry Rhubarb. We will have green tomatoes for frying and plenty of "Wonderful Red Ripe Tomatoes" for the table. I will be bringing some baked goods. I will also have Homemade Peanut Butter Fudge and Chocolate Fudge.
Chard, pole beans, assorted heritage tomatoes, eggs, the first of the fresh figs, assorted fresh basils, two types of zucchini bread...
Friday, August 15, 2008
Full Circle Farm
Philip and the kids will be there with limited freshly ground whole wheat products, as we are waiting for our shipment of wheat and spelt to arrive on Tuesday next week. First come, first serve, and then we'll see you with a full load of wheat and spelt items next Saturday! They will have plenty ofhot banana peppers, jalapenos and Patrick's free-range eggs. Thanks!!!! Ginger
I'm bringing eggs, cherry tomatoes, chard, assorted pole beans, blackberries, and lots of fresh peach cakes! What, no asparagus?? There isn't enough -- maybe next week!
Mini Blessings Farm
A busy week! We will have a fresh batch of Triple Berry Jam, Strawberry Rhubarb Jam, Freshly Canned Tomatoes, and Chow Chow, as well as Pickled Beet! We will also have many types of breads and some "Monster Blueberry Muffins". We will have the last of the cabbage, and some beautiful tomatoes. I am doing home canning of tomatoes right now for customers, just let me know how many and of what size jar, I will have them ready next week. Don't forget the aprons and totes, they make great gifts. Thanks, Earl and Linda
L & D Eggs
We will be there with tomato pies, spelt zucchini bread, sugar free blackberry jam, blackberry and blueberry jam, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggs, banana peppers, jalapeno peppers and cabbage.
See you all in the morning!
Monday, August 11, 2008
Willow Bend Demonstration Farm
August 21, 2008
2:00 - 2:30 Registration
2:30 Welcome and Purpose of the Field Day
The Overall Research Effort - Economic Pasture-Based Beef Systems for Appalachia - Dr. Bill Clapham, USDA ARS
What We Learned in the First Phase
2:40 Highlights from the Cow Work at Steeles Tavern (weaning methods, warm season perennials, stocking rate vs hay needs) - David Fiske, Shenandoah Valley AREC and Holly Boland, PhD Candidate, Virginia Tech
3:00 Winter Stocker Results from Morgantown (forage types and quality, response to supplements, Residual Feed Intake) Dr. Gene Felton, Dept of Animal & Veterinary Science, West Virginia University
3:30 Finishing Cattle Performance and Carcass Quality (Forage Type, ADG, Forage Available to Cattle, Etc) Dr. Jim Neel, Research Animal Scientist, USDA ARS
3:50 Meat Quality - Dr. Jim Neel
4:10 Fatty Acid Composition of the Product - Dr. Joe Fontenot, John W. Hancock Jr. Professor Emeritus of Animal and Poultry Sciences, Virginia Tech
4:30 Load up to Tour the Pastures and Cattle
4:40 Pasture Finishing at Willow Bend - Cattle and Pasture Management - Dr. Jim Neel
5:00 The Current Phase of Pasture-Based Research
Expanding the Harvest Window - Grazing Days and Cattle Age - Dr. Jim Neel
Frame Size of the Cattle - Dr. Gene Felton and Dr. Jim Neel
Teff and Triticale as Forage Crops - Dr. Ozzie Abaye, Dept. of Crop and Soil Environmental
Sciences, Virginia Tech, and Dr. Bill Clapham
5:45 How to Manage Rotationally-Grazed Pastures
Rest Period, Grazing Duration, Stocking Density, Residual Forage Height, Etc - Dr. Ed Rayburn, Extension Forage Agronomist, West Virginia University
Ideas for Fencing and Water
6:30 pm Back to the Headquarters for Dinner
A Message from our Sponsors
Local Producers of Pasture-Finished Livestock, Opportunities
We Look Forward to Having You Come to the 2009 Field Day at Steeles Tavern!
Directions to the Field Day
The Willow Bend Demonstration Farm is located 4.5 miles south of Union, West Virginia. Route 219 is the main road through Union.
Take the US 219 South exit at Lewisburg, West Virginia.
Travel south on US 219 approximately 25 miles to Union, West Virginia.
At the south end of Union there is a 4-way stop.
Continue straight thru the 4-way stop on the Willow Bend Road.
Willow Bend Farm is approximately 4.5 miles on the left.
From Southwest Virginia take Route 460 to Rich Creek. Take Route 219 north into West Virginia. Stay on Route 219 for approximately 27 miles to Union, WV. At the 4-way stop as you come into Union, turn right on to the Willow Bend Road. Willow Bend Farm is approximately 4.5 miles on the left.
Preregistration is required for the complimentary dinner. To preregister for the dinner call the Monroe Co. WVU-Extension Office at 304-772-3003.
The Pasture-Finished Beef Field Day is sponsored by USDA-ARS, the West Virginia University Extension Service, Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service, and Virginia Cooperative Extension along with a number of cooperating agencies and organizations.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
COMMISSIONER’S COLUMN OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS,
P.O. BOX 1163, RICHMOND, VA 23218, http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/
August 3 - 9 2008
A CHALLENGE TO EAT LOCAL FOR VIRGINIA FARMERS MARKET WEEK By Todd P. Haymore, Commissioner, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Buy local. Eat local.
As the Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), I am delighted that so many Virginians are taking these ideas to heart and putting them into practice. They make sense for a lot of very good reasons.
If you’re not already on board, Virginia Farmers Market Week is the perfect time to join the crowd. This is a time we set aside to emphasize the importance of farmers markets and all the reasons why buying directly from a farmer makes sense.
I’ll get to those usual reasons in a moment, but first, let me tell you what makes Farmers Market Week 2008 unique.
This year we have issued a challenge to all Virginians to Eat Local for a Day. Choose a day during Farmers Market Week, August 3 – 9, 2008, and on that day, consume only foods and beverages grown or produced in Virginia. Then show us how you did it.
Send us a video showing what you bought, where you bought it, how you cooked it and, of course, how much you enjoyed it.
The best video will win a full-to-bursting prize basket of Virginia foods, beverages, a Virginia Grown polo shirt, a logo cap or tote bag, and a host of other Virginia items.
In addition, we’ll post it on our Web site and on YouTube.
The deadline for submission is September 3, 2008, and your video must feature locally-grown and Virginia Grown or produced products.
Look for complete details at http://www.virginiagrown.com/.
We’ve already heard from a variety of people who want to know more about the contest: Moms, teenagers, heads of food service at educational institutions, and shoppers who already frequent their local farmers markets.
Now we want YOU.
Teenagers, if you’ve never thought about where your food comes from and where to find local products, ask your Mom or Dad, or ask us at EatLocalVa@vdacs.virginia.gov.
Parents, if you make it a point to scout out local farmers markets and roadside stands but aren’t too sure how to make a video, ask your kids.
And for those of you who don’t do either, well, there’s no better time to start than now.
First, let me give you some suggestions about finding and buying Virginia products. You’ll find a list of farmers markets in your area at http://www.virginiagrown.com/.
You’ll also find locations to purchase or pick-your-own Virginia Grown fruits and vegetables, an availability chart, great recipes and much more. In addition to farmers markets and pick-your-own farms, you’ll find Virginia Grown products at roadside stands, flea markets, food festivals – there’s a list at http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/news/festival.shtml - and in your local grocery store.
I was in a grocery store here in Richmond recently that had a farmers market inside the store, complete with photos of the farmers who grew each product.
Now let’s discuss why buying local make sense for Virginians, besides the chance to win a fabulous prize and see your video on YouTube.
Great taste is one of the main reasons people are flocking to buy field-fresh, ripe and ready Virginia Grown fruits, vegetables, eggs, honey, cheese and more. In addition to exceptional taste, you’ll find richer colors, firmer textures and better nutrition with local produce because it’s harvested while flavor, form and nutrition are at their peak.
Fruits and vegetables from distant locations are often harvested well in advance and diminish overall when shipped or stored for several days. When you select fruits and vegetables grown on nearby farms, you are choosing produce that was on the vine, in the field or on the tree just a short time before you get to enjoy it. The only way to get it any fresher is to pick it yourself. And a lot of people are doing that, too, and having a great time in the process at Virginia’s many pick-your-own farms and orchards.
Buying local is environmentally responsible because it reduces food miles, the distance food travels from the farm to your table. It also has food safety implications because purchasers get the chance to find out where their food comes from, who grew it and the production practices used to keep it safe to eat.
Don’t forget that when you buy Virginia Grown, you’re also enhancing your local economy, helping Virginia’s 46,000 farms continue to generate annual sales of approximately $36 billion and maintain about 388,000 jobs statewide and you are doing your part to maintain agriculture as Virginia’s number one industry.
You are also lending a hand to protect the state’s green and open spaces which provide habitats for wildlife, offer visual appeal and help keep the air clean.
Buying Virginia Grown and Virginia produced helps keep farmers farming and lessens the dependence on imported food.
Have I convinced you yet? If so, take the Eat-Local-For-A-Day Challenge and send us your video. But don’t stop there. Once you discover how easy it is to find Virginia products, you can establish a new lifelong habit, Buying and Eating Locally.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 14
FINCASTLE LIBRARY MEETING ROOM
Complimentary Continental Breakfast available at
8:45am, meeting begins at 9am
1) Botetourt Conservation Update
2) Upcoming workshops
3) Fall festivals
4) VCC's annual meeting
5) Membership event
Donna Henderson, Co-Chairs
Please let us know if you will attend, so that we can have enough breakfast and
coffee for your enjoyment. firstname.lastname@example.org or 966-4606
Friday, August 1, 2008
'Am back full steam ahead and will have pastured pork sausage, freshlyground whole wheat and spelt items, hot peppers, fresh herbs, potatoes, Maggie's bags and bouquets, Rose's freshmint tea.
L & D Eggs:
I will be there with eggs, peppers, cucumbers, tomaotes, spelt zucchini bread, blackberry and blueberry jam, dill pickle relish, lime pickles and whatever else I find in the am! See you all there!
Monday, July 28, 2008
Napoleon wanted France to be bigger. He wanted more land. Nothing stopped him until Waterloo.
Have we, the human race, met our Waterloo? Have we finally hit the wall with our never-ending desire for “bigness”?
I decided years ago that I didn’t want my farming operation to get bigger. I liked milking 45 cows, raising their feed and doing a little direct marketing. I liked being small.
“Hopelessly behind the times,” I was told. Local cheese makers were giving up, local meat processing was a thing of the past. Small farming was dead. The developing world couldn’t feed itself and needed industrial farming systems.
Who could argue with the Green Revolution? Until the current food crisis. It’s not so much a shortage of food, but a shortage of cheap food. The poor can’t afford to eat and the middle class feels the pinch. Why wasn’t industrial agriculture, farming fence row to fence row, feeding the world?
There’s the rub — feeding the world was never the intention. Back in the ’70s well-meaning researchers and eager graduate students, myself included, were convinced we could eliminate hunger in our lifetime. We had good intentions, but the big picture was always about making a profit.
Farmers, using cheap fuel, fertilizer and plenty of chemicals, could plant more acres, produce enough volume and generally make a profit. This, of course, benefited the seed and chemical companies, which long ago figured out that small farmers saving their own seed and tending small acreages didn’t spend much money.
The big meat packers and dairy processors anticipated the end of local processing. Their market share increased and they grew larger. By breaking the labor unions, they could pay lower wages, bring in immigrant workers, increase profits and grow even larger.
It was a grand plan. Agribusiness corporations were increasing profit margins quarter after quarter. The bigger they grew, the better it worked. Prices paid for animals, milk and grain fell as farms grew larger and produced more. Small farmers couldn’t compete as per unit profit margins fell and only the larger producers could survive.
Oil prices went up and farmers were urged to grow more corn for ethanol. More land went into corn production, wheat acreage fell, speculation pushed prices up and food prices soared. The International Monetary Fund estimates that 50 percent of the increase in food price was due to ethanol production. Instead of feeding the world, industrial agriculture starves it.
While oil companies banked huge profits, people lost their homes, jobs and farms. We have become too dependent on globalization and the big corporations that control it.
Small is the future. We know indigenous farmers can produce more food using traditional farming methods. They have no need of genetically modified seed or chemicals. All they need is an end to wars and, as Frances Moore Lappe would say, “more democracy.” The World Bank and the G-8 need to let them make their own decisions and feed themselves.
Western countries need to take a step back. We cannot continue to feed grass-eating animals a diet of grain, nor can we continue to fill our fuel tanks with grain. We cannot continue to encourage and subsidize industrial agriculture at the expense of small local producers.
What we can do is return to local and regional food production. We can allow the rest of the world to feed themselves by reining in the influence of multinational grain and chemical companies. We can redevelop local communities and keep local dollars local, rather than filling the coffers of offshore corporate bank accounts.
Accepting the value of “smallness” and living more locally is the solution. Embracing small and local addresses the failure of systems — whether it is the failure of the globalized food system to embrace food sovereignty, the failure of capitalism and its penchant to move more wealth to those who already have more than enough, or the failure of an entire society that has based its existence on oil.
Waterloo is synonymous with defeat, but it was also a victory against empire. We need another victory against empire. We need to reclaim our sense of local and realize the necessity of being small and interdependent. We need to end thousands of years of thinking bigger is always better.
Jim Goodman is a dairy farmer in Wonewoc and a policy fellow for the Food and Society Fellows Program.
© 2008 Capital Newspapers
Friday, July 25, 2008
Saturday I should have:
Eggs, squash, tomaotes, cucumbers
squash pickles, cucumber relish, zucchini relish, spelt zucchini bread, plum raspberry jam.
Looking forward to seeing everyone!
Patricia will be there with frozen whole pastured chicken from the Blue Ridge Poultry Coop.
Brambleberry Farm will bring chard, beans, eggs, bunches of fresh basils, pumpkin bread, chocolate zucchini bread, cabbages, pears.
Keltic Myst will have handmade soaps and bath products.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Full Circle Farm will be offering freshly milled wheat and spelt products and eggs. See you guys there-Ginger
Patricia will be there with frozen whole pastured chicken from the Blue Ridge Poultry Coop.
Brambleberry Farm will bring the last of the beets and kale; chard, beans, blackberries, eggs, bunches of fresh lavender, thyme, and basils; and chocolate zucchini bread.
Peaceful Haven Farms will be there this weekend with mainly beans. Should have lemon cukes for next weekend. We have green, purple and yellow bush and pole beans for sale and more to come for a couple of weeks.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Journey's End Farm is sending blackberries, squash and eggs.
Full Circle Farm: We hope to have freshly ground wheat and spelt products, some produce and frozen USDA pastured pork.
Virginia Mountain Vineyards will be there with wine to taste and buy.
Brambleberry Farm is bringing asparagus, beets, chard, kale, pole beans, blackberries, eggs, cucumbers, summer squash, cinnamon basil, and cookies. Cookies du jour: Till Eulenspiegel's Merry (Black Forest) Cookies, and This Little Figgy Went to Market Cookies.
Keltic Myst will be there with organic soaps and bath products.
Mini Blessings Farm will have their usual assortment of beautiful produce and sewn products.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Monday, July 7, 2008
Today, I located the pictures graciously taken by a friend of the group at the Farmers' Market. Farmers: check your webpages at botetourtfamilyfarms.org to see added pics. Please submit "blurbs" to finish your page. We need contact information as well if you want to advertise your farm.
Friday, July 4, 2008
Keltic Myst will be there with soaps and bath products.
Brambleberry Farm will bring asparagus, beets, chard, kale, cucumbers, beans, eggs, dried herbs and teas, raspberries and blackberries.
Blue Ridge Poultry Coop will be there until noon with whole frozen pasture raised chicken and produce from Amy Halsted's farm.
The Funny Farm will be bringing eggs, doggie treats and possibly some human treats as well.
Friday, June 27, 2008
Full Circle Farm
Freshly ground whole wheat pizza crusts, milk and honey bread, seedy loaf, cherry almond tartlets, baby chocolate brioche, assorted mixes, turnips, onions, a little zucchini, maybe some peppers. Maggie's zinnias and sunflowers.
Blue Ridge Poultry Co-op
Frozen whole and quartered pastured-raised chickens
L & D Eggs
Yellow squash, zucchini, zucchini bread made with spelt flour, cauliflower
Asparagus, beets, multicolored pole beans, chard, kale, eggs, red and black raspberries, assorted herbs, cucumbers, pumpkin bread, and chocolate zucchini bread and even a bit of rhubarb.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Some of the offerings for tomorrow's Farmers' Market at Ikenberry's:
The Fensters are bringing
Eggs, yellow squash, sour cherry jam, spelt pasta, and greens.
Brambleberry Farm is bringing
Chicken eggs, goose eggs, and guinea eggs; red and black raspberries, asparagus, chard, kale, beets, dried herbs, and This Little Figgy Went to Market Cookies (made from homegrown figs).
There will also be a variety of additional produce and baked goods, herbs, wholesome homemade doggie treats, beautiful aprons, and probably some great surprises.
'See you there!
Monday, June 16, 2008
by Lynn Perrin
A peaceful revolution is taking place across North America. While it is neither underground nor covert, it may soon be quashed by local and provincial policy-makers. They potentially could assert that the revolution is too risky and that laws must be enacted in the public interest.
The revolutionaries in this case are ordinary consumers and farmers wishing to trade directly in local food products via farmers’ markets. Despite the growing popularity of these markets, they have had to overcome and still face ongoing legal and regulatory barriers that inhibit their expansion. These barriers have been justified in the name of food safety and public order.
Local decision-makers maintain barriers by refusing to alter the Vancouver city bylaw that makes it illegal for anyone to sell fresh fruit and vegetables outdoors without an annual “special event” permit. Farmers’ markets are denied the same five-year space allocations granted to community gardens located on parklands, based on the argument of discouraging flea markets and illegal sales. This lack of longer-term security for farmers’ markets reduces the willingness of farmers to participate and ultimately reduces access to local foods for consumers.
Another example of official barriers to farmers’ markets is the 2007 provincial regulations that have closed down smaller meat processors, thus denying cost-effective access to slaughtering facilities for small-scale farmers raising animals. This change also makes it difficult for both producers and their customers at farmers’ markets to have ensured traceability of the products that are sent off to distant slaughterhouses. This traceability is an important element for consumers wishing to have assured food quality and concerned about issues such as hormone additives, pesticide use and genetically modified ingredients.
The rules governing provincial farmers’ markets require that there be a direct interaction between the grower or processor and the consumer, which ensures traceability. This attribute is lacking in the conventional food industry, which depends on food grown or processed an average of 1,300 miles away and handled by up to six people before it reaches the consumer’s mouth. For growers and processors, direct interaction with people who are going to eat the food they produced is one of the main reasons for selling at farmers’ markets.
My research involving interviews and surveys with both suppliers and managers at farmers’ markets confirms that barriers from laws and regulations are retarding growth of this sector of the food industry despite growing consumer demands. These barriers are compounded by other issues such as the loss of farmland through exemptions from the Agricultural Land Reserve, the rising price of farmland and the lack of adequate support for the sector from public officials.
Yet not everything is bleak, and governments in B.C. are slowly coming to see the virtues of the farm-to-fork revolution. This change has been spurred by initiatives such as the 100 Community Food Action Initiatives established by the regional health authorities in 2005 to encourage eating local produce for improved health and food security, the B.C.-originated 100-Mile Diet book and a growing number of food councils that advocate for increased access to locally grown and processed foods. Just this year the B.C. minister of agriculture and lands cited farmers’ markets in the province’s new agricultural plan, Growing a Healthy Future.
Nevertheless, my study found that important obstacles stand in the way of the success of the local food revolution, beyond the impermanence of sites for farmers’ markets and the new meat slaughtering regulations. Officials still perceive small-scale growers, value-added food processors and farmers’ markets as a boutique niche of B.C.’s overall food industry, and this attitude permeates a wide range of public policies and practices that create barriers to accessing local foods.
Several policy recommendations follow from my analysis of institutional, survey and interview materials. Changes must be made so that farmers’ markets are viewed as an integral part of the provincial food system. For example, the B.C. Association of Farmers’ Markets should be included in the B.C. ministry of agriculture’s online InfoBasket as a producer/processor association in every commodity category.
Farmers’ market representatives need to be included in the initiation and consultation processes for any proposed legislative and regulatory changes that could affect them. In addition, municipal practices need to be revised to provide longer-term security of venues for farmers’ markets.
It’s time not only to dismantle the barricades, but to welcome the farm-to-fork revolutionaries as an important and growing part of the provincial food industry.
Lynn Perrin is a graduate of the master’s degree program in public policy at Simon Fraser University.
© The Vancouver Sun 2008
The comments left at http://www.commondreams.org:80/archive/2008/06/16/9666/ are very interesting. They follow the article.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
1027 Shiloh Drive, Eagle Rock, Virginia 24085
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Tour of the Vineyard with Barbara Kolb, Owner
Welcome & Lunch
Managing Agritourism Liability
John Alderson & John Mark Alderson
John Alderson Agency in Botetourt
Food Service on the Farm
Terry Edwards, Bedford Health Department representing
Amherst County Health Department
Virginia Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services
Invited 5-2-08 Rod Garnett, Botetourt Health Department
Brags & Blunders
·1 Barbara Kolb, Blue Ridge Vineyard
·2 Gwen Ikenberry, Ikenberry Orchards
·3 Robecca Denhoff, Solitude Farm Retreat
Botetourt Tourism in Review
Kevin M. Costello, Tourism Coordinator
Generating New Agritourism Ideas
Martha A. Walker, Virginia Cooperative Extension
Cathy Belcher, Virginia Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services
Sandra Tanner, Virginia Tourism Corporation
Networking & Shopping Local
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
The library is hosting the event.
Goss will offer information and suggestions on ways to reduce your family's carbon footprint while enhancing your quality of life.
Topics will include sustainability issues such as protecting water resources, energy conservation, local foods, recycling and making choices and changes for a more responsible life.
In addition, the Roanoke Valley Cool Cities Coalition will be handing out free light bulbs at the Fincastle Library on May 15. The light bulbs are compact fluorescent bulbs that are more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs.
The Fincastle Library is located at 11 Academy Street in Fincastle next to the Botetourt County Health Department. For directions, call the library at 473-8339.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Friday, May 9, 2008
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
It’s true. While the rising cost of food pushes millions around the world into deeper hunger and scarcity, agricultural companies like Monsanto are posting record profits. The top seed maker in the world, Monsanto’s stock has gained 95 percent over the past year and 1,600 percent over the past five years. Monsanto’s profits topped $1.6 billion in the first quarter, up 37 percent from the same quarter last year.
Monsanto rose to prominence as one of the leading chemical giants of the twentieth century, but its focus today is agriculture. A company statement says, “At Monsanto, we apply innovation and technology to help farmers around the world be more successful, produce healthier foods, and better animal feeds, and create more fiber, all while reducing agriculture’s impact on the environment.”
But critics have accused Monsanto of undermining local farmers and public health through a wide means of corporate bullying. The latest issue of Vanity Fair has a lengthy article profiling some of Monsanto’s controversial corporate practices, from patenting seeds to fighting warning labels on milk cartons. It’s called “Monsanto’s Harvest of Fear.”
If you are interested in reading the rest of this interview, click HERE.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Robert Rodale was a visionary. The Rodale Press first published The New Farm magazine during the 1980s to “inform, encourage, equip, and inspire farmers… to take the important transition steps toward regenerative agriculture.” At the time, most of us didn’t really understand what he meant by “regenerative agriculture” or why he called his magazine The New Farm.
Rodale understood that the modern industrial approach to farming was inherently unsustainable because it was not self-renewing or regenerative. Most of the rest of us in the sustainable agriculture movement were still trying to fix conventional farming by reducing its negative impacts on the natural environment and on rural communities. Rodale understood that sustainable farming would have to be radically different. He wanted the rest of us to understand that a sustainable farm would have to be a new farm.
Twenty years later, many of the rest of us were still catching up. Organic food production was growing at a rate of nearly 20% per year, doubling in size every three to four years. Local was becoming the new organic, as more people were trying to find foods grown as close to home as possible. Sustainable agriculture organizations had sprung up all around the country, with at least six North American conferences drawing more than 1,500 people, several more drawing 500-700, with too many smaller conferences to count. Some who attended these conferences were still trying to fix conventional farming but most were beginning to understand what Rodale’s new farm was about.
Unfortunately, we don’t have a good estimate of the number of new farmers in the United States. Statistics for organic farming and direct marketing give us a rough indication, at best. In 2006, the Organic Farming Research Foundation estimated the number of certified Organic farmers at 10,000. The North American Farmers Direct Marketing Association has estimated that 40,000 farmers sell directly to customers through farmers markets, community supported agriculture organizations (CSAs), roadside stands, and other direct marketing venues. This estimate may be bit conservative in that USDA reported more than 4,000 farmers markets in 2006. Estimates for CSAs range between 1,500 and 2,000, although no official statistics are available. In addition, thousands of other farmers, such as grass-based meat, milk, and cheese producers, farm by the basic principles of sustainability but do not produce organically or market directly to customers.
The total number of farm operators in the United States is around 2 million. About half of these are “primary occupation” farmers, in that they spend more than half of their working hours farming. Over half of these primary occupation farmers are on small farms, reporting less than $100,000 in gross sales per year. Many of these small farms have survived by becoming new farms.
My best guess is that around 10-15 percent of all serious farmers are consciously pursuing the ecological, social, and economic principles of sustainable farming, although many don’t identify themselves as such. These farms probably account for only about 5-6% of total food sales, since most are smaller than most conventional farms. I suspect another 10-15 percent of farmers follow sustainable principles, simply because they have never bought into the industrial farming paradigm. They don’t think of themselves as new farmers but they think like new farmers. If these estimates are accurate, roughly a quarter of U.S. farmers might be called new farmers. I doubt that more than a quarter of U.S. farmers actually believe in the industrial philosophy of farming for maximum profits and growth. If so, this would leave about half of all farmers as either too busy trying to survive to think about why else they are farming, or perhaps, desperate for change but not knowing what else to do. The potential for growth in new farms is virtually unlimited.
Over the past ten years, I have had the privilege of speaking at 25-35 different venues a year, mostly conferences attended by these new, sustainable farmers. Most of what I know about new farms, I have learned from these farmers. I have written about these farmers before in Small Farm Today and elsewhere. But my understanding of why and how these new farmers farm continues to grow over time. There is no simple description of the new farm, because sustainable farming operations must fit the ever-changing ecological, physical, and intellectual capacity of the individual farm and farm family. Each farm is different and continually changing. However, some general characteristics have become clearer with time, making possible a better understand of how sustainable farms must be organized and managed.
First, the purpose of a new farm is to sustain a desirable quality of life for people – for farmers, farm families, rural communities, and society in general. New farmers understand that quality of life is not just about making money, it’s also about the quality of relationships, including their relationship with nature. Some level of income is necessary for a good life, but beyond a fairly modest level – some studies indicate around $10,000 – our happiness is determined much more by our relationships with other people than our income or wealth. Another essential prerequisite for happiness is a sense of purpose and meaning in life. We need to know that our life matters. New farmers understand that they need to make money, but they also understand that they need to be good friends, good neighbors, and good citizens. They also understand that farmers are the caretakers of the earth and their stewardship of the earth matters for the future of humanity. New farmers understand the purpose of real farming is far more important than just production and profits.
Next, new farmers rely on principles, rather than specific goals or strategies, to guide them in their purpose. They know they must respect the basic principles of economics if they are to survive economically. But they also know they must respect the principles of nature, including human nature, if they are to survive ecologically and socially. Everything in nature is interconnected; we are all part of the same whole. Sustainable farms must be managed holistically. In holistic management, each component of the farming operation – each practice, method, or enterprise – is treated as an inseparable aspect of the farm as a whole. Each new arrangement or sequence of crops, livestock, methods, or practices – across space, over time, or among people – creates a new set of relationships among the various components and thus constitutes a new and different whole. When viewed holistically, relationships among parts are as important as the parts themselves. The new farm is more than the sum of its parts.
New farms also are managed for diversity. Nature is diverse, and the diversity of an ecologically sound farm must reflect the diversity of its place in nature. People are diverse, and the diversity of a socially responsible farming operation must reflect the diversity of the people who operate the farm and the customers it serves. Diversity also creates the opportunities for economic synergy, making the whole farm more profitable than the sum of its collective enterprises. Productivity and regenerative capacity results from mutually beneficial relationships among the diverse components of holistically managed farms. Contract farmers are dependent; they cooperate out of necessity. Traditional farmers are independent; they compete rather than cooperate. New farmers are interdependent; they cooperate as a matter of choice, not necessity.
New farmers also respect the principles of human nature. People have many different religious, social, and cultural values, but we all share a common sense of the most important principles of interpersonal relationships. For example, we know we must be honest, fair, and responsible in our relations with other if we expect to sustain our relationships. In other words, we must be trustworthy. New farmers understand that markets for organic foods and locally grown foods are growing because many Americans no longer trust today’s industrial food system. They don’t trust the corporate food processors and retailers, they don’t trust the government regulators, and they don’t trust large-scale industrial farm operators. They are looking for food they can trust.
Many people who buy from local farmers also are seeking a sense of connectedness, if not a personal friendship. Trust, although necessary, isn’t enough to sustain a friendship. Sometimes we all need to be treated with compassion rather than equity. We need empathy rather than brutal honesty and respect more than agreement. New farmers understand that sustainability requires relationships of kindness. They care about their customers as friends and neighbors – as caring people – not just buyers of their products. New farmers also understand that they are swimming against the mainstream of economic fundamentalism in today’s agricultural economy. By trusting and caring, they know they may be labeled as naïve and idealistic. But new farmers have the courage to act on their moral convictions; they have the courage to be trusting and kind.
New farmers also respect the basic principles of economics. They understand that economic value is determined by scarcity. They know they must produce things people want, that other farmers cannot produce or cannot produce as well. They understand they must make efficient use of their scarce land, labor, time, and abilities, if they are to survive economically. And they know that the sustainability of their farming operations is ultimately up to them; they must be willing to make and to accept responsibility for their own decisions. They must respect the economic principles of value, efficiency, and sovereignty. But the principles of new farm economics must be internally consistent with the principles of ecology and society. I plan to write more about new farm economics in the next issue of Small Farm Today.
 Prepared for publication in “Sustaining People through Agriculture” series, Small Farm
Today, November-December, 2007.