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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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new farmers

Video – A Discussion on How to Grow More New Farmers at Seedstock’s Annual Conference

January 2, 2014 |

If you didn’t get a chance to attend the 2nd Annual Seedstock Sustainable Agriculture Innovation conference this past winter, don’t fret. We recorded the proceedings and will be rolling out video from this week over the next couple of weeks. The first video below is of the The ‘Growing New Sustainable Farmers’ panel that explores how to effectively create new farmers. The panel was moderated by Paul Greive of Primal Pastures and features panelists John Mesko of the Sustainable Farming Association, Thaddeus Barsotti of Farm Fresh To You, Colin and Karen Archipley of Archi’s Acres and David Rosenstein of EVO Farm.

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Sustainable Ag Org. in Ohio Sees Increased Role in Supporting Influx of New Farmers

December 11, 2013 |
Source: Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association

Source: Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association

Ohio farmers new to sustainable agriculture can get a leg up on the learning curve with the help of the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA).

The non-profit organization, established in 1979, works to promote and support the sustainable agriculture community in Ohio from producers to consumers including those new to farming. OEFFA assists new farmers through a variety of networking events, an apprenticeship program, and an investment fund created to encourage the expansion of sustainable farming practices.

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Former Electrical Engineer Strikes Out on His Own, Turns Profit with Sustainable Hydroponic Farming

November 27, 2013 |
Source: Eden Farms

Source: Eden Farms

After ten years as an electrical engineer in Indiana, Randy Butts knew he wanted to be his own boss. Traditional farming tempted him, but he knew that launching a corn or soybean operation from scratch would be a struggle.

Friends of his were growing tomatoes using hydroponic farming, a process that intrigued him. Plants grown hydroponically use a small fraction of the water, land, and nutrients that conventionally-grown agriculture requires, and they produce abundantly in a shorter amount of time than conventionally grown vegetables. They can also be grown year-round. Read More

Organic Farm Beats the Odds and the Weather off Coastal Maine

November 26, 2013 |
Source: SparkPlug Farm

Source: Sparkplug Farm

Running a farm off the coast of Maine presents unique challenges: the growing season is short, labor expensive, and pests are a big problem. But Sara Hodges and John Wright, managers of Sparkplug Farms on Vinalhaven Island, are already turning a small profit and looking to expand in their second year.

If they do expand, they will need to hire additional help, but seasonal labor in lobster country can get expensive. Raccoons and deer took about 50 chickens this year. Supplies have to come in by ferry, which increases the cost about 10 percent. And then there’s the fog, which can cause mildew damage to crops. Read More

Canadian Start-up Incubator Offers New Organic Farmers a Chance to Look Before they Leap

November 20, 2013 |

justfoodpostJust Food,  a Canadian organization dedicated to supporting a sustainable agriculture system in the Ottawa region, is offering a sandbox of sorts for those interested in organic farming. The program gives would-be farmers an opportunity to try out their business models without assuming all the risk of heavy start-up costs.

Through their work with farmers through CSAs and training programs over the years, Just Food staff noticed a shift in the types of people interested in breaking into organic farming. This new type of farmer, typically someone new to the area or someone wanting to turn farming from a hobby into a career, often has aspiration and some relevant skills, but little access to the large-scale infrastructure of farming such as land and equipment. Read More