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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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new farmers

Two Farmers Seek to Create Educational Farm in Philadelphia, PA by Cultivating an Urban Rooftop

July 6, 2012 |

The rooftop that Cloud 9 Rooftop Farms will farm. Photo: Cloud 9 Rooftop Farms

Cloud 9 Rooftop Farm founders Clare Hyre and Rania Campbell-Cobb are working to transform what is now an expanse of grey roof in Northwestern Philadelphia into a full-scale educational farm.

After years of working on farms around the country, Hyre and Campbell-Cobb landed in Philadelphia where they each work in the field of agriculture education. Hyre explained that both women found themselves dreaming of “a certain type of thing that didn’t exist in the city” – a way to farm within city limits and to share their love of growing food with other Philadelphians. Read More

Bike Trip Across Rural America Results in Techie’s Conversion to Sustainable Farmer

July 2, 2012 |

Farmer Nathan Winters of Relly Bub Farm. Photo: Nathan Winters.

How does a Los Angeles-based techie completely disconnected from food and agriculture end up a passionate sustainable farmer? It’s really quite simple. The techie-turned-farmer in question, one Nathan Winters, strikes out on a 4300-mile bike ride across America’s rural landscapes to find inspiration. He works on a number of farms along the way and ends up with a passion for organic “bootstrap” agriculture that leads him to start Relly Bub Farm in southern Vermont.

I recently spoke with Winters to learn more about his embrace of agriculture, how his cross country trip shaped his philosophy on farming, his words of wisdom for new farmers, the challenges he faces and more. Read More

Out of Economic Woe, Urban Farming Side Project Evolves Into Viable Business Enterprise

July 2, 2012 |

When the global economy deflated in 2008, business slowed for Austin-based landscaping business Texas Trees & Landscapes. Owners Glenn and Paula Foore ran Texas Trees & Landscapes off of five acres in the middle of the city, and had many long time employees counting on work. With landscape work being a very seasonal market, the Foores often took on side-projects to stay busy during slow periods. It was during one of these periods that they decided to start an urban farm on their property.

“We could feed ourselves and our crew, while staying busy and keeping morale up,” says Paula. 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

With Focus on Pasture-Raised Livestock, Two 1st Generation Farmers Forge Sustainable Path in the Ozarks (Part 2)

May 24, 2012 |

The following is Part 2 of the interview (Check out Part 1 here) with Cody Hopkins of Falling Sky Farm. This portion of the interview focuses on the farm’s business model, how Cody and Andrea found the funding to start the farm and advice to budding sustainable farmers just starting out. Read More