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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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community supported agriculture

Vermont ‘Farmer With a Conscience’ Transforms Orchard into Sustainable Farming Enterprise

August 20, 2012 |

Apples in bushel bins. Photo Credit: Champlain Orchards

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.” Read More

Despite Fuzz Around the Edges, Bucks County Sustainable Farm Reaches Cruising Altitude

August 14, 2012 |

Basil and tomatoes at Blooming Glen Farm. Photo: Blooming Glen Farm

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. Read More

Training Program Helps Refugee Farmers Establish Urban Farms in their New Homeland

August 14, 2012 |

New Entry graduate Adisson with his daughter Gemina at his one-acre farm, “Adsaint Farm,” in Andover, MA. Adisson is originally from Haiti and graduated from New Entry’s Farm Business Planning Class in 2008. He manages his farm in addition to his full-time job and family responsibilities.

In 1998, a group of Cambodian immigrants and former farmers living in the economically depressed city of Lowell, Massachussets reached out to Tufts University for help. Their objective: to learn the business side of farming. Out of this request emerged the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, a partnership between Community Teamwork, Inc. – a community action action agency based in Lowell, MA – and the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition.

Immigrants have flocked to Lowell since the days of the mills. Once hailed as the cradle of the American industrial revolution, the city fell into a deep depression with the collapse of the New England textile industry nearly a century ago and has been trying recover ever since. Read More

Growing Everything from A to Z, Two Young Organic Farmers Prosper and Inspire Others to Follow Suit

June 20, 2012 |

Justin Dansby and Paige Witherington of Serenbe Farms. Photo: Anthony-Masterson

In just six years, Justin Dansby and Paige Witherington have transformed Serenbe Farms in the sustainable Serenbe community 30 miles Southwest of Atlanta, Georgia into a thriving and economically viable certified organic farming enterprise. They have also launched a successful on farm apprenticeship program that has seen 85% of its graduates go on to become farmers.

I recently spoke with Justin Dansby to learn more about Serenbe Farms, why the farm values organic certification and sustainable practices so highly, the challenges that it faces and more. Read More

7 Young Farmers Get Down & Dirty, Establish Big Muddy Urban Farm to Supply Sustainable Produce to Omahans

June 14, 2012 |

In just under three months, seven young farmers have taken the germ of an idea to create a sustainable urban farm to supply a community in Omaha, Nebraska with fresh vegetables and herbs and made it into a reality in the guise of Big Muddy Urban Farm. Big Muddy Urban Farm consists of five decentralized plots situated in North Omaha. The urban farm’s founders, who collectively brought Big Muddy to life and work its urban fields, aspire to create a new source of sustainably grown produce and herbs for their city, to become a self-sustaining farm operation and inspire other area residents through educational and volunteer opportunities to grow their own food.

I recently spoke to Tyler Magnuson and Ali Clark, two of the founders of Big Muddy Urban Farm, to learn more about the story behind the farm, how it operates, the farming practices that it embraces, the challenges that it faces and more. Read More