We serve a diverse audience of readers engaged in regenerative,
organic and sustainable agriculture at many levels for
many reasons. We want to hear from you about the issues
that are important to your life and work, and your vision
for agriculture that builds a strong future.
We run selected comments from readers in this space.
Please tell us who you are, with name, address and phone
number for verification. Sending correspondence to us
conveys a right to us to publish it as is, or in a form
edited for length and/or style. Opinions expressed in
this space do not necessarily represent the perspective
of The New Farm® or The Rodale Institute®.
If you have something important to say about agriculture
in a sustainable global food system, please -- speak
Dear New Farm,
We came to our farm looking for fresh air. In 1994, I was poisoned
by Dursban with xylene during a termite extermination in our home
by a professional exterminator. After looking for almost 10 years
for a place to live on the East Coast and not finding one, we decided
to give up and just try to get me well. The environmental doctor
I was going to said I should go to the mountains for the summer;
I was already spending winters at the oceanside. It sounds enviable,
but I was in constant pain, on oxygen and living in a foil room
when I was home.
Anyway, we landed in Central New York in 2000, bought a barn and
some land. Then we met the organic farmer who had been haying the
fields for the land broker. He tutored us and we began raising chickens
to get rid of cluster fly larva. Then we got dogs to help with the
bulls we were grazing for the farmer. Then we got a goat and now
I milk daily. I no longer am on oxygen, I don't need the air filter
much and I am able to move about with little pain (though I am still
not consistent or reliable because any kind of petroleum exposure,
including fragrances, can trigger weeks of immobility; then my husband
has to take on my chores as well as his).
The growing season on our little hill (1,700-foot elevation) is
short, but we grow whatever is willing in any given year...apples,
berries, potatoes, corn, sunflowers...none of it perfectly reliable.
This year a friend built me a cold frame and I have peas, parsley
and lettuce growing and it has snowed the past two days! I am living
large. We have two more years of renting the land to the farmer
for heifers and hay in return for his tutoring. Then we are on our
own. My husband is handy and has good woodworking skills. He has
been doing a few odds jobs for cash. We have a few customers for
our beef and pastured poultry and eggs. It is enough for now, but
we want to be able to call ourselves a real farm and not a hobby
We are blessed to be here and grateful for your site, which gives
good information to the pros and longtime farmers, as well as to
That's our story and I am sticking to it...for now.