The 70-acre USDA-certified organic farm in San Diego, with more than 100 varieties of crops, has about 400 Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program members, or community members who sign up to receive boxes of its produce on a regular basis, said Lucila De Alejandro, who owns the farm with her husband. Suzie’s Farm also sells its produce at 14 weekly farmer’s markets all over San Diego County, and it sells its produce to more than 50 restaurants and at least 10 grocery stores.
Frog Hollow Farm Strives to Fulfill Promise of Brentwood, CA Terroir and Raise New Crop of Organic FarmersNovember 10, 2011 | Kelly Hatton
When Al Courchesne started farming on 13 acres in Brentwood, CA, he didn’t have a business plan; he had a shovel. So he dug holes and planted trees on the land he’d purchased with business partner Sarah Coddington.
“I was young and optimistic and strong,” said Courchesne. “I could work long hours. I was willing to do whatever I had to do to plant orchards.”
That was in 1976, and in the 35 years since, Frog Hollow Farm has grown from 13 acres to 133.
The farm produces enough fruit to feed both wholesale and retail markets in the San Francisco Bay Area, and has expanded its product line to include conserves and pastries.
If you looked into one of the rain barrels at Sunnyside Farm, you’d notice three goldfish swimming in the collected rainwater. The fish help prevent algae growth and control mosquito eggs in the stored water, which is captured from the hoop house roof and used to irrigate the farm’s acre of heirloom vegetables. The setup is just one small example of how husband and wife duo Homer Walden and Dru Peters are using creative innovations to farm sustainably on 13 acres in Dover, PA.
Walden and Peters are part of a wave of new farmers seeking viable models for sustainable food production in response to the high environmental and economic costs of conventional farming. The environmental costs of feedlot livestock operations and monoculture crops include emissions from livestock and farm machinery, soil erosion, and loss of overall soil fertility. Separating the cow from the grass necessitates costly inputs including feed, fertilizer and machinery that can leave farmers in a cycle of debt.
What began as a business plan drawn up for fun has spawned Aqua Vita Farms, central New York’s first aquaponic farm.
Aqua Vita Farms was founded by Mark Doherty and seeks to provide wholesale food distributors with safe, high value, aquaponically grown seafood and produce. Retrofitting and construction on the company’s indoor farming facility, a 13,000 square foot building in Sherrill, N.Y. that was formerly a polishing facility for Oneida Silverware, kicked off in May of this year. The company, which currently raises bluegill fish, and grows lettuce, leafy greens and herbs in its custom-made aquaponic systems, had it first harvest shortly thereafter in August.
While organic is becoming more and more of a household term, it hasn’t always been that way. Back in 1985, when Guinda, CA-based Full Belly Farm started, very few people were even talking about organic. But times have changed, and with a combination of passion and innovation, Full Belly Farm has not only kept up with them, but continued to lead the way in organic agriculture.