Jahi Ellis is in survival mode. His island is the 91 acres of farmland he owns in Vidalia, Georgia, nearly 200 miles outside of Atlanta. His current shelter is a shed on his family’s land. His four-year land redemption agreement ends next fall and if he doesn’t come up with the near $60,000 he owes, he could lose it all. Organic farming—and the price premiums it brings—is one of his last strategies for saving his family’s 144-year-old vegetable farm. Read more
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When the days turn cold and dark, farmers celebrate. After months of unrelenting labor, they’re finally able to sit down and relax, spend time with family, and connect and commiserate with their colleagues in this rapidly evolving industry.
Farming conferences dot the landscape throughout the winter months. One of the most popular, high-profile gatherings is the Young Farmers Conference, hosted by Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture as a key part of their Growing Farmers Initiative. The conference has sold out for many years running, the 250 attendees are selected through a lottery system, and it routinely attracts big names from the food world, such as Wendell Berry and Mark Bittman. Read more
For over 40 years, Adam DeGroot’s family has grown potatoes and peppers at their farm just south of Chicago.
But it has only been for the last three years that the farm’s veggies have graced the lunch trays at Chicago Public Schools, filled the burritos at Chipotle, and fulfilled the grocery lists of Whole Foods Market shoppers. Read more
First, the bad news: Native American children face approximately twice the levels of food insecurity, obesity, and Type 2 diabetes relative to all children in the United States.
The good news is that many communities are working to shift these statistics using traditional food, agriculture, and education. As Alena Paisano, a member of the Laguna Pueblo community who works with Farm to Table New Mexico, puts it: “These lessons go back hundreds of thousands of years. This is in harmony with our creation stories.” Read more
Sarah Bernardi almost never goes to the grocery store. Instead, her community supported agriculture (CSA) subscription provides 90 percent of what she eats. “I buy crackers, pasta, oils, and nut butters. All those things I could live without if I really wanted to. I have not bought a vegetable since joining the CSA,” she says. Read more
The Eastern Seaboard is about to take a trip back in time with Maine Sail Freight’s quest to deliver goods from Maine to Boston. The adventure started in Portland on August 27th, with the loading of foods made by small local tradespeople and farmers to be sailed down to Boston by the evening of the 29th, along with many activities planned in celebration. The project is not just to relive the good ‘ol days but explore how we make, move, and consume—and how to reevaluate the hyper-complexity of the world trade network. The project is put together by the Greenhorns, a group named after the young farmers they aim to support. Read more
When it comes to raising farm animals, Rebecca Thistlethwaite and Jim Dunlop have been swimming against the tide for years. The husband-and-wife team ran a pasture-based pork and chicken operation called TC Ranch on 20 rented acres in California for six years. Now, they’re raising animals and farming crops on five acres in the Columbia River Gorge, an hour and a half east of Portland, Oregon. They’ve seen the challenges of raising animals responsibly first hand, and they’ve also travelled the country interviewing small producers for Thistlethwaite’s first book, Farms with a Future. Read more
It’s high summer and we’re lucky to be reaping the bounty of the hard work that farmers did earlier this year. Having worked on several farms across the U.S., I know that this is serious crunch time. Farmers are not only harvesting the fruits of their labors, but they’re also planting fall crops.
A group gathers around an outdoor table set with kale salad, speckled bayo beans and rice, and pesto vinaigrette. It’s lunchtime on day four of the first-ever quarter of the Grange Farm School, a new working farm in rural Mendocino County, California, where up to 10 students from around the world live, work, and study on-site for three months at a time. Students engage in 25 hours of “experiential learning” per week, which includes classroom lessons, field trips, building projects, livestock management, and row-crop farming. Accredited through nearby Mendocino College, students pay $3,000 for tuition, room, and board, and receive a certificate as well as four college credits after successful completion of one three-month quarter. Read more
On a sunny winter day, the Ancona ducks at Boondockers Farm in Oregon wandered around their pasture and frolicked in several blue plastic kiddie pools, under the watchful eye of two Great Pyrenees livestock guardian dogs. The 500 or so ducks spend day and night outside, protected from predators by the dogs, not walls. Cows, turkeys, and Delaware chickens wander in pastures and barns. Vegetables destined for the farmers’ market grow in a nearby garden plot. Read more