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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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Posts By Suzanne Heyn

Arizona Farm Aims for Cultural Shift, One Polycultural Offering at a Time

June 19, 2013 |

Walking J 1The peacefully grazing cows and incrementally ripening vegetables on southern Arizona’s Walking J Farm only hint at the ardent work of their owners, Tina Bartsch and Jim McManus.

The 40-something husband and wife duo are pouring their most productive years into this land, so it will sustain them, along with dozens of other families. Bartsch also speaks of shifting cultural attitudes toward eating, changing expectations that food be cheap and processed.

“When you’re dealing with the food system, you’re trying to change a culture,” said Bartsch. Read More

Rooted in the Desert, First Time Farmer Demonstrates Profit Potential of Small Scale Farming

June 5, 2013 |
Kelly Saxer of Desert Roots Farm. Photo Credit: Suzanne Heyn.

Kelly Saxer of Desert Roots Farm. Photo Credit: Suzanne Heyn.

At 7:15 on a late May morning, the Arizona sun has yet to bake everything in its path — including the vegetables growing at Desert Roots Farm, on the southeastern outskirts of Phoenix.

Owner Kelly Saxer’s staff is bringing in the day’s harvest, bagging carrots with huge leafy tops and weighing zucchini into bags. The vegetables will eventually make their way to the farm’s roughly 300 Community Supported Agriculture members awaiting the weekly vegetable haul.

Desert Roots sprawls over 25 acres that Saxer farms without pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. Instead of chemicals, she uses compost or manure and weeds by hand. Crop rotation allows the soil to rest between production. Read More