Mid-Hudson Valley Growers Network, New York

CNGfarmerstwilightmeetingpics--blog.jpgThe Mid-Hudson Valley Growers Network started in 2002 with just a handful of members. Since then, it's grown to include farmers and apprentices from more than 20 farms in the area.

The MHVG network organizes potlucks, farm tours, and has an online forum that members use for everything from advice on onion thrips to arranging bulk orders of potting mix. 

Sound good? Learn about how the network got started, what it takes to keep the network going, and why it's good for farmers by reading this short profile of the Mid-Hudson Valley Growers Network.

Dunton Family Farm/Victory Seed Company, Oregon

Mike Dunton CNGMike Dunton has farming in his blood. He can trace his roots to New England in the early 1620s and every generation has farmed, either exclusively or in conjunction with a trade. The Dunton Family Farm still truly is a family operation currently spanning 3 generations. In addition to the farm, they operate the Victory Seed Company, devoted to protecting open pollinated and heirloom seed varieties. 

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A Dynamic and Evolving Network, southwestern Colorado

Rusty_Laurie-crop.jpgMichele-crop.jpgIMG_1070.JPGEarlier this week we featured Paul and Mary of Confluence Farm, but today we want to highlight the local farmers network that they are a part of. Local networks are not static - they change and grow over time. And this network in southwestern Colorado is not exception. 

It started out with informal discussion groups where farmers and gardeners shared information about seeds, marketing, you name it! Since then local farmers have ordered supplies together, pooled their products to supply restaurant accounts, and more.

Read more about this network of Southwestern Colorado Growers

Mary Vozar and Paul Bohmann, Confluence Farm, CO

CO.Confluence.Paul_Mary-smiles.jpgMary 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.

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Jonah Vitale-Wolff and Leah Penniman, Soul Fire Farm, NY

NY.SoulFireFarm.LeahPenniman_JonahVitale-Wolf_Close-up.jpgHealth, 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. 

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The Center for Honeybee Research, North Carolina


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

Randy & Libby Buchler, Shady Grove Farm U.P., Michigan

MI.ShadyGrove.Libby_Veggies-ed.jpgThere 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. 

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Athens Area Farmers Network

NativeSunFarm-CropMob-hightunnel-ed.jpgAt 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

Ad Hoc Network in Wisconsin

WI.BurningRiver.PeaTendrils-ed.jpgNot 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

Russ and Linda Hepler-Beaty, Maple Achers, Michigan

MI.MapleAchers.LindaAshleafMaple12.JPGUp 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. 

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