DEAR NEW FARM:
I'm considering moving far south and buying a small organic fruit
farm. Are there any books or organizations that may be able to help
me understand all the ups and downs of organic farming? I currently
read a lot about raw vegan nutrition but need to be more knowledgeable
about soil and climates, etc.
“All the ups and downs of organic farming” would fill
volumes (in fact it does; just browse
our online bookstore). While the best teacher is experience,
thousands of books and dozens of organizations exist to help you
grow and market produce in your region successfully.
Out of print but available online from the Center for New Crops
and Plant Products at Purdue University, you’ll find the indispensable
of Warm Climates by Julia F. Morton (Florida Flair Books, 1987),
which gives comprehensive cultural information for 124 types of
fruits suitable for tropical regions. (Also available on CD-ROM
at ECHO: Networking Global Hunger Solutions, www.echonet.org;
ECHO offers other excellent resources for tropical farmers in warmer
climates.) For sheer inspiration, pick up Four
Seasons in Five Senses: Things Worth Savoring, by organic peach
farmer and philosopher David Mas Masumoto (W.W. Norton & Company,
2003). A host of other titles in our online bookstore address the
specific topics of fruit propagation, organic farming and soil building,
and growing your small-farm business.
You’ll also find a valuable support network at the Southern
Sustainable Agriculture Working Group www.ssawg.org,
where members have pledged to create “an agricultural system
that is ecologically sound, economically viable, socially just,
and humane.” The New Farm recently covered the group’s
annual Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms
Conference in Southern
SAWG conference offers practical tools and solutions for sustaining
family farms. Heifer International www.heifer.org
has also developed programs to assists Southern farmers, and you
will find links to other regional resources on the Heifer website.
And in addition to all the other ways you can benefit from our
website, we’ll soon be rolling out The New Farm Resource Page,
where you can link to other organizations, websites, and printed
materials geared toward helping new farmers like you. Finally, our
new Beginning Farmer series—focusing on practical issues from
buying land to purchasing equipment—will begin late this spring.