Posts By Kelly Hatton
With Soil Fertility as Bedrock, Business Savvy Farmer Blossoms into Largest Organic Grower on East CoastJuly 16, 2012 | Kelly Hatton
“When I was 16, I told my parents I wanted to be a farmer,” said Tom Beddard of Lady Moon Farms. It was an unlikely dream for a teenager in Pittsburgh and an urge that Beddard himself can’t quite explain.
“My dad always had a garden in the backyard and I was the one kid who always enjoyed helping him,” he said. He’s since grown from a backyard enthusiast to become the largest grower of certified organic vegetables on the East Coast. Lady Moon Farms supplies retail stores from Maine to Florida and as far west as Chicago with fresh produce throughout the year. The farm has properties in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Florida. But the roots of Lady Moon Farms, like Beddard’s dream of farming, started small.
Cloud 9 Rooftop Farm founders Clare Hyre and Rania Campbell-Cobb are working to transform what is now an expanse of grey roof in Northwestern Philadelphia into a full-scale educational farm.
After years of working on farms around the country, Hyre and Campbell-Cobb landed in Philadelphia where they each work in the field of agriculture education. Hyre explained that both women found themselves dreaming of “a certain type of thing that didn’t exist in the city” – a way to farm within city limits and to share their love of growing food with other Philadelphians.
The story of Philadelphia CowShare began when founder Jessica Moore bought her first steer. Moore, an urbanite with a professional background in product development, wanted to feed her family quality, locally produced food. She was looking for an economical and efficient option to purchase grass-fed beef and went straight to the source.
“I literally just walked up to a farmer at our farmers market and told him I wanted to buy a steer,” Moore said.
While slogans like “eat local” and “know your farmer” have flooded our bumpers and the consumer consciousness, eaters searching for local, sustainably produced foods know that these ideals are not always so easily achieved. Kim Werner’s struggle to navigate her local food web inspired her to start FarmPlate, an online resource that helps eaters all over the country more easily find regionally grown and sustainably produced food.
“When our first daughter was born, I wanted more than ever to have easy access to wholesome food fresh from the source,” said Werner. “I spent hours googling nearby farmers’ markets, farms where we could purchase a side of beef, and winter CSAs. What I found were just pieces of the larger puzzle I was trying to put together.”
PASA Sustainable Ag Conference Draws Record Attendance, Focus on Access to Land and Supporting New FarmersFebruary 13, 2012 | Kelly Hatton
The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) hosted its 21st annual Farming for the Future Conference February 1-4 in State College, PA. This year, 2,150 attendees representing 28 states and 5 countries crowded into the Penn State Conference Center to attend workshops, listen to keynote addresses and choose from a host of other activities, including live music, a silent auction, discussion sessions and a cheese tasting social.
PASA’s Executive Director, Brian Snyder, introduced the year’s theme, “Breaking Ground for New Agriculture: Cultivating Versatility and Resilience” at the event’s opening session:
“In this PASA family we all stand on the shoulders of giants who have come before us and with that special opportunity comes the equal responsibility to farm not just for today, but to cultivate the versatility and resilience that will make farming for the future, and even the future itself, a possibility for our children and grandchildren to enjoy.”