“We worked in California, Arizona and Vermont for a while so you know there was a thriving local food movement there. So when we came to North Dakota we saw that there wasn’t really. There really wasn’t any professional level CSA and there’s a 100,000 people in this community so we thought ‘well geez there’s got to be room for us to create a business like this.’” –Brian McGinness, Riverbound Farm
Bounded by the historic Missouri River, the North Dakota based Riverbound Farm is home to Brian and Angie McGinness and their children. A farm located in the river bottom comprised of 10-acres of grow space, cottonwood forest, pasture land and wetlands, is a less than typical location for growing certified organic vegetables and creating a community supported agriculture system (CSA). Turns out it’s also a lesson for farmers across the nation. If you grow it, they will come.
It’s quiet right now at the Greenhorn Ranch, but come Friday, after the first batch of chicks is delivered, Terry Gentry and Joan Hurst will be busy for the next eight months nurturing and processing chickens. As owners of G & H Pastured Poultry LLC, their mission is to raise healthy poultry.
When the women purchased 20 acres outside of McCleary, Wash., in 1997, their vision of the property didn’t include a poultry business. They thought of themselves as “gentleman ranchers,” Joan says, and the vision for the property evolved over time.
It’s 10:30 AM at the Saturday Santa Monica farmer’s market and the 600 plus baskets of Pudwill Farms blackberries and raspberries are already sold out. A few flats of plump, crisp looking blueberries are left but they’re going fast, too. One customer asks when those “incredible alpine strawberries” will be back. “Soon,” promises Roy Soto, the vender, with a knowing wink. It’s the middle of winter and this is why the public and the finest California restaurants revere Pudwill – for producing a varied selection of flavor-boisterous berries year round.
“We’ve got at least 12 varieties of blueberries, 10 or more of red raspberries, six of blackberries, three of golden berries, three of black raspberries, five or six different varieties of currents, and black and white mulberries” says Randy Pudwill, who runs the farm now, his voice brimming with pride.
Two Childhood Friends Launch Hydroponic Farm to Meet Year-round Demand for Local Food in New EnglandDecember 17, 2012 | Missy Smith
In 1996, longtime friends from junior high school, Phil Todaro and Jeff Barton, took a road trip that altered the course of their careers. After Todaro read a Wall Street Journal article about a man who left a corporate job to start a hydroponic tomato farm in Vermont, the two friends went to visit him and became inspired. They believed there was a place in their local community for a farm that would provide pesticide-free produce year-round, so they set out to launch their own hydroponic farm. So, after studying under modern hydroponics pioneer Merle Jensen at the University of Arizona in 1996, the two friends and their families established Water Fresh Farm in 1997.
Today, Water Fresh Farm runs a hydroponic farm operation and marketplace in Hopkinton, Maine. Over the years, the two friends left the corporate world in pursuit of their farming dreams, with Jeff coming on full-time when the Water Fresh Farm Marketplace opened in 2011.
“Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food” – Hippocrates
To that nugget of wisdom, Paul Greive of Primal Pastures likes to add: “If food is your medicine, then farmers are your doctors.” Greive and his extended family own and operate a small farm in Temecula, California that raises organically-fed chickens that are so “free-range,” the young farmers haul their chickens to greener pastures regularly, allowing their jumbo-sized broilers to roam, peck and scratch over generous plots of constantly renewed grassland on their five-acre farm.
It’s part of their goal to provide the healthiest meat poultry available in Southern California – food that they feel good about providing their children and (eventual) grandchildren.
Larry Thorne is a third-generation Southern California farmer. His father first cultivated sweet corn, tomatoes and melons in fields that ranged from Topanga Canyon to the county line, back when a new tractor cost you maybe $1500. Thorne himself has farmed his small acreage for his own family’s consumption for the past 30 years.
But after a pressure-cooker real estate career, Thorne decided to chuck the corporate life and plunge full-time back to his roots. A couple of years ago, he started commercially farming 15 or so acres in plots around Malibu after he realized, he said, that he wasn’t really happy.
How Do We Grow New Farmers? Burlington’s Intervale Center Hosts National Farm Incubator Field SchoolOctober 2, 2012 | Intervale Center
News Release - BURLINGTON, VT - On Friday, October 5, farm managers, garden managers, extension agents and agricultural program directors from across North America will arrive at the Intervale Center to learn how to grow new farmers in their communities. The Intervale Center is hosting a day-long farm incubation workshop, part of a new National Incubator Farm Training Initiative (NIFTI) in partnership with Boston-based nonprofit, New Entry Sustainable Farming Project.
“It’s hard to believe, but the average age of an American farmer is 57. We need new farmers. But how are they going to get training, access to equipment, and business development support?
There is only ONE DAY LEFT to lock in your ticket at the Rooster Special Ticket Price for the Seedstock Sustainable Agriculture Innovation Conference (details below) at UCLA. The conference has recently added a number of new sponsors including Whole Foods Market, Palumbo Family Vineyards and Wine, the UCLA Anderson School of Management’s Entrepreneur Association and Net Impact Branch.
As an investor, there are few things more wretched than seeing a good business plan sullied by the phrase “pending regulatory approval”. Though a handful of investors view regulatory reliant deals as a specialty, most see it as the cause of expensive delays and compromises. For instance, regulation was long cited as a reason for the slow scale up of urban agriculture businesses, at least until entrepreneurs began to make progress in untangling the web of zoning codes in cities such as Philadelphia and Chicago over the past few years. As a consequence, business plans that require novel regulatory approval are typically passed over by investors.
One sustainable aquaculture firm, Long Beach, CA based KZO Sea Farms, has turned this issue to its advantage, viewing its recent regulatory approval to farm shellfish in federal waters as a substantial barrier to entry against potential competitors.
When Bill Suhr started Champlain Orchards in 1998, he knew nothing about growing fruit. At 25-years-old, with a few years experience as an environmental consultant, he decided he wanted to farm the land. Unsure of what kind of farm he was looking for, he rented a room from a woman named in the Lake Champlain area and started touring properties. His landlord suggested that he might enjoy running an orchard, a prediction Suhr says turned out to be “spot on.”
For Tom Murtha and Tricia Borneman, of Perkasie, Pa.’s Blooming Glen Farm, farming came to them as a natural fit. Although they did not come from farming backgrounds and they both grew up in the suburbs, (Murtha is from New Jersey and Borneman is from Bucks County, Pa) they embraced organic farming as something that perfectly reflected their interests and philosophy on life. “We were trying to find something that we could do together and that spoke to our values, and farming fit the bill,” Murtha says.
Since 2000, the couple has worked on organic farms in Connecticut, Oregon, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. When the pair lived in Oregon, and traveled back to the East Coast to visit family, they realized that there was a great deal of untapped farming potential in Bucks County. So, they moved back to the East Coast, started Blooming Glen Farm in 2006, and in their first year, organized a CSA.
Located less then an hour from the spotlight of Hollywood, Underwood Family Farms (UFF) have been providing sustainable produce to Ventura and Los Angeles counties for more than four decades. And while the farm’s verdant fields have been utilized as bucolic filming locations, Underwood Family Farms has never relied on camera tricks to educate the public on the importance of sustainability and healthy eating.
For Paul and Ember Crivellaro, of Hamburg, Pa.’s Country Time Farm, raising heritage pigs came as somewhat of a necessity, but has developed into a deep respect for people’s health and the animals themselves. In the early 1980s, the couple began raising pigs to sell to farmers. Their business held steady for a while until the hog market fell out in 1996. “We were giving pigs away at 15 cents a pound,” reflects Paul Crivellaro.