The Homestead, Pleasant Hills, Iowa

IA.Homestead.DP_with_Lettuce.jpgThe Homestead just outside Des Moines, Iowa grows a full range of veggies and fruits for its CSA and retail markets, but that’s not all that keeps them busy. In fact, the farm’s main goal is providing meaningful employment for the adults with autism who work on the farm. Below, Eric Armbrecht, Homestead's Vocational Director, shares about their farm model, the benefits and challenges that come with the territory, and his hopes for the farms future.

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Summer Smiles Honey Apiary, Darci Sanner, PA

PA.SummerSmiles.Darci_hives_suit-2.JPGEven before Darci Sanner started keeping bees, she spent three years reading everything she could get her hands on about honey bees.

Now, five years since she got her first hive, her enthusiasm for all things honey bee is undiminished.

If anything it has grown, and she is excited to share her knowledge with friends, neighbors, and her community in Pennsylvania. 

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Origins Farm, Alistar Harris, Virigina

VA.Origins.AlistarHarris_close-up.jpegAlistar Harris operates Origins Farm with his wife Rebecca Ponder in Hanover, north of Richmond, Virginia.  

He claims to have gotten into farming "accidentally." But listen to him talk about his veggies, and you'll find out pretty quick that this was no accident. 

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Sleeping Frog Farms; Debbie, Adam, CJ and Clay; Arizona

AZ_Sleeping_Frog_Debbie__CJ__Clay__Adam.jpgSleeping Frog Farms - owned and operated collectively by four good friends, growing food year round through desert winters - has an unusual business model. Debbie Weingarten, her husband, Adam Valdivia, and their friends CJ Marks and Clay Smith are the masterminds behind the farm. We caught up with Debbie to get the inside scoop. 

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2013 Farm Bill

2013_5-farm-bill-senate-floor-for-take-action-page.jpgNo need to feel flummoxed by all the Farm Bill fuss. Here’s a round-up of our favorite links that are helping us sort it all out.

There's something for everybody - GMO labeling, "Monsanto Protection Act", conservation programs, funding for local food and beginning farmers, nutrition assistance, and more. [Image courtesy of National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition]

There's a tremendous amount at stake for farmers and food eaters. 
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Parke Creek Farm, Eric and Bambi Miller, Washington

Bambi_at_market_-_FB.jpgThe high desert climate of central Washington State can make it a tough place to grow food. Bambi and Eric Miller - the farmers at Parke Creek Farm - face high winds, low precip, and extreme temperatures. And yet, amidst the challenges, Parke Creek Farm is thriving! 

Read more about what keeps them going. (Hint: at least part of it has to do with colcannon and 10 layers of clothing in the winter.)

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Broadfork Farm, Dan Gagnon & Janet Aardema, Virginia

family-ed.jpgDan Gagnon and Janet Aardema are the owner-operators behind Broadfork Farm in the Richmond Metro area, Central Piedmont of Virginia.

Farmers are a busy bunch, but this pair might take the prize - full time farming, plus 3 kids under five years old, and Janet is part time Executive Director of the Virginia Association for Biological Farming

Read on to hear more about their farming experience, their advice for new farmers, and what their guilty pleasure is. 

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Glynwood Farm, Dave Llewellyn, New York

NY-Glynwood-Dave_Llewellyn_on_tractor-cropped.jpgGlynwood Farm in Cold Spring, NY is part of a larger nonprofit with a big mission - saving farming in the Northeast. The farm itself "expresses Glynwood's mission by testing, innovating, and demonstrating sustainable agricultural practices, while growing food for our community," and training the next generation of farmers. The veggies for their 130-member CSA and market stand come from the 6.5 most tillable acres of the steep and rocky 225 acres that make up the farm. The rest is devoted to the pasture-based livestock program and woodlands. We caught up with Dave Llewellyn (CSA Manager and Director of Farmer Training) at a particularly busy time of year; his responses may be short in words, but not in substance. 

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The Carolina Bee Company, Todd & Monica, North Carolina

CarolinaBee_NC_todd_and_monica_-_festival_of_legends_2012_-_photoby_Monika_Shakinovsky-c.jpgTodd and Monica of The Carolina Bee Company have been keeping bees for nearly ten years now. They started with just 2 hives in 2004 and now they have up to 65-85 hives scattered throughout Franklin County, North Carolina. Todd and Monica tend the bees together, and Monica handcrafts beeswax candles, bath and body products and CNG honey. Yum!

[Photo by Woodland Willow Photography]

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Herb and Plow, Tennessee

Herb and Plow Farm in Tennessee is Certified Naturally GrownCNG member Chris Arnold penned an recent article in Grit Magazine about her experience with Certified Naturally Grown. Here we learn more about the farm she and her husband Ron own and operate on the Cumberland Plateau in east Tennessee - Herb and Plow Farm. 

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