Mary Vozar and Paul Bohmann's Confluence Farm is a unique operation in more ways than one. They have a stunning location just down the road from Mesa Verde National Park in southwestern Colorado. They also have a unusual model - their main business is supplying two 'shoulder' CSAs one in early spring and then again in late fall into winter. And of interest for all you achey-back farmers out there, Mary and Paul have a new weeding contraption designed to save your spine.Read more
Health, justice, community, education, creativity, farming.
Leah Penniman and Jonah Vitale-Wolff integrate all of these in their work at Soul Fire Farm, located in eastern upstate New York. Below, Jonah and Leah share more about their philosophy, and what motivates and inspires them to do what they do.Read more
North Carolina has one of the highest concentrations of beekeepers in the country, so it’s no surprise that a grassroots network of beekeepers dedicated to natural practices would spring up there.
Currently, the Center for Honeybee Research (CHBR) is largely local, but it's leaders are carefully laying the groundwork for their vision of national research collaborative.
Click through to read about how they're doing it.
There is never a dull moment at Shady Grove Farm, located on the Upper Peninsula, Michigan. Their two kids plus veggies, honeybees, laying hens, and sheep keep Randy and Libby Buchler pretty well occupied; throw in a court case brought by the local municipality over zoning and the right to farm and you can see why describing them as 'busy' would be a bit of an understatement.Read more
At the Georgia Organics conference last week we had a great time re-connecting with old friends and meeting new ones.
With Georgia on our minds this week, we want to spotlight the Athens Area Farmers Network organized by Kate Munden-Dixon.
The farmers decided what they wanted from a network right off the bat: well-focused educational meetings. Nothing too complicated or touchy-feely, just a time to learn and share ways to make their farms more efficient, sustainable, and profitable. High tunnel construction, harnessing volunteer labor, pest management -- these are just some of the topics they've covered so far.
And for anyone interested in forming their own network, Kate shares some pearls of wisdom about how to make sure it starts off on the right foot.
Get the full scoop on the Athens Area Farmers Network.
Colvin Family Farm is comprised of just over one hundred acres of mountainous East TN farm land. The farm really is a family venture - it's operated by Stephen and Val Colvin, and the nine youngest their 13 children. One of their sons Adam found time to answer some of our questions about their farm.Read more
Not all networks have to have a formal structure, a primary organizer or even a name to have an big impact. Today we're featuring a loose network in northwestern Wisconsin that has none of these, but is boon to farmers who are a part of it.
These farmers collaborate on an ad hoc basis. One farmer will host a round-table discussion on hiring practices or crop varieties. Another will organize a joint order of potting soil to save on shipping. In the past, farmers have also organized screenings of farm-related documentaries to increase public awareness about local food and that strengthens the market for everyone.
Certainly the economic benefits are important. So is the sense of community these farmers have developed by working together.
Read more about this ad hoc farmers network.
Up north the daytime temperatures are starting to get above freezing while the nights are still below. You know what that means - maple season is upon us!
In honor of one of the sweetest times of the year, we're featuring the aptly named Maple Achers run by Russel and Linda Hepler-Beaty in Maple City, Michigan.
This week's featured network is the Chattanooga Sustainable Farmers in southeastern Tennessee and northwestern Georgia.
The key phrase here is:
product liability insurance
It may not sound all that exciting at first, but having it opens up new possibilities for small farms. It's the difference between being able to sell to larger buyers like grocery stores and hospitals, or missing out entirely. Chattanooga Sustainable Farmers figured out how to get its members covered.
And that's not all: CSF also organizes workshops (from crop planning to butchering to beekeeping) and bulk orders to boot. CSF has its sights set on bigger projects down the road, ranging from health insurance to developing local poultry processing capacity.
Read about Chattanooga Sustainable Farmers and our interview with Butch Tolley, the network's organizer.
Lynn Pugh is a leader in sustainable agriculture in Georgia. Dubbed a 'Grower of Growers' by Georgia Organics, Lynn Pugh has been farming at Cane Creek Farm for 10 years and teaching about farming for 5 of those. In that time period she's taught more than 85 new and beginning farmers. We're so proud to count her as a member!Read more