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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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organic farming

Organic Farm School Teaches Tomorrow’s Farmers Everything from Soil to Sales

December 18, 2013 |
Source: Greenbank Farm

Source: Greenbank Farm

In 2008, Greenbank Farm  established its Organic Farm School to teach sustainable agricultural methods to students from all walks of life. The farm, located on Greenbank, Washington’s Whidbey Island, teaches agriculture methods and emphasizes how to manage a farm as a viable business.

Farm manager and instructor Jessica Babcock says the Farm School’s emphasis on business management is what sets it apart from other organic agricultural training programs.

“Each student leaves the program with an extensive business plan they have written that they can use to start their own sustainable farm business,” says Babcock. Read More

Sustainable Ag Org. in Ohio Sees Increased Role in Supporting Influx of New Farmers

December 11, 2013 |
Source: Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association

Source: Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association

Ohio farmers new to sustainable agriculture can get a leg up on the learning curve with the help of the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA).

The non-profit organization, established in 1979, works to promote and support the sustainable agriculture community in Ohio from producers to consumers including those new to farming. OEFFA assists new farmers through a variety of networking events, an apprenticeship program, and an investment fund created to encourage the expansion of sustainable farming practices.

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Organic Aquaponic Farm Embraces Environmental and Economic Sustainability in Oregon’s Evans Valley

October 28, 2013 |
Jericho Romaine Lettuce growing in the aquaponic system at The Farming Fish in Oregon. Photo Credit: The Farming Fish.

Jericho Romaine Lettuce growing in the aquaponic system at The Farming Fish in Oregon. Photo Credit: The Farming Fish.

Embedded in the bucolic Evans Valley just outside of Rogue River, Oregon is The Farming Fish, a 40-acre certified organic farm. Thirty of the acres remain wild and wooded so owners Michael Hasey and Olivia Hittner can harvest native edibles like mushrooms, berries, and ferns, while the remaining 10 acres are made up of pastureland for livestock, vegetable row crops, an orchard, and an aquaponic farming operation.

Although Hittner realizes aquaponic farming is not a “silver bullet,” she and Hasey do see it as an integral part of our agricultural future. In a world of scarce resources, aquaponic farming conserves natural resources like water while still producing a greater food output, says Hittner. As a result, Hittner sees aquaponics as a way to close the hunger gap and preserve resources for future generations. Read More

Back to the Land: Mott Family Farm, Middlebourne, Ohio.

October 17, 2013 |
Swiss Chard from Mott Family. Photo Credit: Mott Family Farm.

Swiss Chard from Mott Family. Photo Credit: Mott Family Farm.

An Ohio native who moved to the bright sunny state of Southern California, Jeff Mott decided his life had a different purpose. That purpose meant leaving behind the SoCal lifestyle, buying an Amish homestead on the Virginia/Ohio border and initiating a lifestyle change that has not only proven to be profitable, but has also changed his entire perspective.

35 miles outside of Wheeling, West Virginia lies the Mott Family Farm, the Ohio-based haven of two former California residents, Jeff and Shelley Mott, who craved a back to basics approach to life, a slowing down of pace and an opportunity to share a love of growing that began in California. Land prices and moving closer to Jeff’s father were only part of the equation. Mott felt his California lifestyle was missing a sense of community. Read More

New Britain, Conn. Farm Seeks to Improve Neighborhood with Sustainable Urban Agriculture

October 10, 2013 |
Aragula and spinach growing in one of the greenhouses at Urban Oaks Organic Farm in New Britain, Conn. Photo Credit: Urban Oaks Organic Farm.

Aragula and spinach growing in one of the greenhouses at Urban Oaks Organic Farm in New Britain, Conn. Photo Credit: Urban Oaks Organic Farm.

Urban Oaks Organic Farm resides in North Oak, a low-income area in New Britain, Conn. Urban Oaks was started to help improve the food-insecure neighborhood. “In our neighborhood, which used to be infested with crime and drugs and violence, it’s much less,” Elizabeth Aaronsohn, an active volunteer at Urban Oaks Organic Farm and Farm board member, said.

Mike Kandefer and Tony Norris (deceased, 2007) were originally herb farmers in Bolton, Conn., but when the city of New Britain, Conn., asked Kandefer and Norris to takeover an old, abandoned 3-1/2-acre flower farm (now known as Urban Oaks), the duo jumped at the chance. “The city put in $100,000. Lots of volunteers helped clean up the space. That was 15 years ago,” said Aaronsohn. Read More