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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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Organic CSA in Rochester, WA Finds Success in Sticking with What People Know

March 7, 2013 |

Rising River Farm CSA Basket. Photo Credit: Rising River Farm.

During this time of year, Rising River Farm’s namesake, the Chehalis River, flows fast and steady, and even though the rainy weather makes it seem that spring is months away, Jennifer Belknap is itching to get outside. Even after 15 years of co-running Rochester, WA-based Rising River Farm with her husband, Jim McGinn, she is still anxious to begin planting the seeds that usher in another season.

Rising River Farm began in 1994 when Jim and two friends started a three-acre community supported agriculture (CSA) farm on land leased from Betsie DeWreede of Independence Valley Farm, located just outside of Rochester, Washington. Read More

USDA Releases Report on the Growing Importance of Food Hubs in Rural America

February 26, 2013 |

USDA National Program for Genetic Improvement of Feed Efficiency in Beef CattleNews Release – NEW ORLEANS, La., February 26, 2013 – Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan today announced the release of a report which provides a comprehensive look at the economic role, challenges and opportunities for food hubs in the nation’s growing local food movement. The announcement was made during a visit to Hollygrove Market and Farm, a produce market, local distributor and farm in downtown New Orleans. In operation since 2009, Hollygrove Farm and Market sources from twenty local growers across southern Louisiana and Mississippi. Hollygrove’s mission includes increasing access to fresh produce for underserved New Orleans neighborhoods. The organization first began operations as part of the city’s post-Hurricane Katrina rebuilding efforts. Read More

First Time Farmers in Hopewell, NJ Embrace Unique Business Model, Hope to Grow Sustainable Farm Movement

February 25, 2013 |

Robin and Jon McConaughy, owners of Double Brook Farm in Hopewell, NJ. Photo Credit: Double Brook Farm.

Like many people jumping aboard the local food revolution, Robin and Jon McConaughy’s sustainable farming journey all started with an article that took a peek behind the conventional farming curtain. Ten years ago, as Robin McConaughy was flipping through the New York Times’ Sunday newspaper, she came across Michael Pollan’s article “Power Steer”, which chronicled the life of a conventionally raised cow from birth to dinner table.

“It disgusted me. It was such an eye opener,” reflects McConaughy, who says that neither she nor her husband have farming backgrounds. “I actually thought people farmed on green fields. I never [considered] what the meat from the supermarket actually was.” Already having a desire to own some land where their now 10- and 12-year-old boys could grow up forming a first-hand understanding of nature, McConaughy and her husband Jon found Pollan’s belly-turning piece to be the final push in a healthy, sustainable direction.

In 2003, the McConaughys purchased their 60-acre farm in Hopewell Township, N.J., and got to work raising some animals for their family’s consumption. Read More

Competition from the North Pushes Resourceful Rhode Island Hydroponic Farmer to Downsize and Diversify

February 8, 2013 |

A show of the diverse products offered by Absalona Greenhouse, a hydroponic farm based in Chepachet, Rhode Island. Photo Credit: Mark Phillips.

A job done right looks easy. Likewise Swiss chard that has celebrated five birthdays and boasts a girth of six inches looks normal at Mark Phillips’ Absalona Greenhouse Farm in Chepachet, Rhode Island. Twenty years now in the business of hydroponic farming, Phillips has mastered the art of soil-free growing. Of his accumulated knowledge what he didn’t learn from his plants themselves he mostly learned from listening to his gut rather than to opinions of others.

“I fell into it. I didn’t think I was going to work for myself,” said Phillips who earned an environmental studies degree in college. Unbeknownst to him his career was set in motion the day he took a job at a greenhouse the summer after graduating. But he took to the work and in 1990 decided to go into business for himself. Read More

Urban Farm on City’s Edge Provides Opportunity for New Generation of Farmers to Prosper

January 29, 2013 |

Katie Miller and Ben Torpey of Scratch Farms, which is part of the Urban Edge Farm run by Southside Community Land Trust.

Few look at a weed-choked city lot fowled by disemboweled cars and see a future of health enhancing vegetables by the bushel full. But this is what the founders of the Southside Community Land Trust (SCLT) saw 30 years ago in a down and out neighborhood in Providence, Rhode Island. That ¾ acre lot, now called City Farm, represented the start of something now a whole lot of lots bigger. In following its mission to provide access to land, education and other resources to enable people in Greater Providence to grow food in environmentally sustainable ways, SCLT has grown the number of community gardens it oversees to 16. Read More