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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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On Edge of Phoenix, Small-scale Farmer Seeks to Grow Local Food Movement

June 25, 2013 |

Maya FarmWhen Maya Dailey started farming nine years ago, she had little more than big dreams and credit cards on which she purchased seeds. Today, Dailey runs a thriving five-acre farm on the edge of Phoenix, Ariz., and is a well-known figure in the local foodie scene.

She started by growing herbs and selling them to establishments in Santa Fe, N.M., where Dailey worked in the restaurant industry. After moving to Arizona, Dailey added flowers and eggs to the mix.

In 2006, Dailey started a full-time farm at her present location, leasing land tucked in the back corner of The Farm at South Mountain, a peaceful desert oasis featuring trees, grass, picnic tables, three restaurants, a home décor shop and a massage studio. Read More

Central Pennsylvania Farmers Find Success – Living Proof of Sustainable Ag Dream Come True

June 11, 2013 |
Spiral Path Farm greenhouse. Photo Credit: Missy Smith.

Spiral Path Farm greenhouse. Photo Credit: Missy Smith.

When Terra and Mike Brownback purchased their countryside farm along with an old, rundown farmhouse in 1978, they had no idea that their little dream would become one of the most prominent and successful organic farms in Central Pennsylvania. With big dreams and a little savings, the suburban kids embarked on a mission to make their own small imprint on the future of sustainable agriculture. Included with their 56 acres in Loysville, Perry County, was an 1880 farmhouse in desperate need of a makeover to even make it livable. “Our house was in such bad shape. The windows were even broken out,” says Terra Brownback.

Thirty-seven years of blood, sweat and tears put into fixing up their home, learning how to farm and purchasing additional adjacent acreage have truly paid off. The Brownback’s now run Spiral Path Farm, a 255-acre farm that is home to a 20-year-old, 2,300-member CSA. It is a USDA Organic-certified producer for local farmers markets and a collection of regional organic wholesale warehouses. Read More

In the Urban Oasis of Tampa, Florida, Organic Hydroponic Farm Thrives

June 4, 2013 |
Photo Credit: Urban Oasis Hydroponic Farm.

Photo Credit: Urban Oasis Hydroponic Farm.

Dave and Cathy Hume are the green thumbs behind Tampa’s Urban Oasis Hydroponic Farm.

Like the name suggests, the goods produced on this farm are grown hydroponically and, as an added bonus, organically.

This locally sustainable farm is free from toxic pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, hormones, or antibiotics. Owners David and Cathy Hume recognize the importance of growing fresh, local produce and champion the idea of sustainability on their hydroponic farm. Read More

A Truly Urban Farm in Austin, TX Seeks to Satisfy Demand for Organic Produce

May 29, 2013 |
boggy creek farm

Photo Credit: Boggy Creek Farm.

In 1992, 69-year old Carol Ann Sayle and her husband of 47 years, 65-year old Larry Butler, were fortunate enough, through owner financing, to buy five acres and a declining historic house in East Austin, TX, which, with a farm that they own in Gause farm, became Boggy Creek Farm, named after the creek/ditch across the street. Vegetables and fruit are grown on about 2.5 acres, with the remaining 2.5 acres being used for the shed/pole barn and parking space.

“Surrounded by housing subdivisions, schools, and commercial enterprises, which have been built on land once part of the farm, our Austin farm has become one of the few truly urban farms in the nation,” Carol Ann remarks. Read More

Part I: Farming Change Agent Larry Jacobs Shares Vision on Sustainable and Organic Ag

May 1, 2013 |
Larry Jacobs, founder of the Del Cabo Cooperative.

Larry Jacobs, founder of the Del Cabo Cooperative.

Larry Jacobs, a visionary from California, pioneered a new form of agriculture three decades ago that demonstrated to skeptics food could be cultivated profitably without the use of farming chemicals and pesticides. He went on to found the Del Cabo Cooperative in Mexico, which continues to assist indigenous farmers in growing and selling their produce at a price that creates a sustainable livelihood for their families.

In part one of a two-part interview with, Larry Jacobs, NRDC’s 2013 Growing Green Award winner, explains why he chose in 1980 to make the switch to organic farming. This occurred at a time when U.S. farmers who experimented with organic farming methods were not even on the radar screen, and were often considered residents of “Kookville,” Jacobs says. Read More