California dreamin': Senior editor Dan Sullivan
and I were compelled to attend the Eco-farm conference in Monterey,
CA earlier this month. Arriving back in Pennsylvania was a frozen
nightmare: endless wind, and sub-freezing days, and drifting snow.
Take me back to California, where you can farm year-round and net
as much an acre as some farmers back East make on a hundred acres.
(I know, it's not all roses and profits, but it sure is nice.)
While out there, we reconnected with Julia Wiley and Andy Griffin
of Mariquita CSA. (You'll find their reflections
on the 2003 season in this edition of The New Farm.)
We chatted with Andy and Julia while out there, and they've agreed
to do short journal entries twice a month, starting two weeks from
now. We got the first journal entry yesterday, and it's both hilarious
and helpful. We think you'll enjoy this new format, which will include
stunning pictures from their farm and insights into managing a CSA.
We collected dozens of ideas for new features on the web site while
at Eco-Farm. Among them: a series of stories that take a personal
look at the next generation of farmers and how they're dealing with
their parents as they begin to take over the farm; a story on apprenticeship
opportunities for both farmers looking for apprentices, and apprentices
looking for farmers; a farm-link service that will begin to help
put farmers in touch with landowners, and vice-versa; and a California
page, developed in partnership with organizations in California,
that will feature resources, stories, events and other region-specific
In fact, we're looking for regional partners around the country
who can work with us to develop resource pages for a given region.
If you think your organization would be interested in such a partnership,
please contact me.
We're also looking for expert columnists who can provide engaging,
practical articles on a giving topic. For example, we'd like an
organic veterinary medicine column, and a commercial scale compost
column. Don't hesitate to contact us with ideas and resources.
It's tool time! In
December, Don Lotter's coverage of a hand tool workshop at the Washington
Tilth conference was our biggest hit. There was a virtual traffic
jam to get to it and check out the tools farmers loved and modified.
In fact, it seems like every farm tour or field day I've gone to,
tools and tractors are lined up for inspection, and often hold pride
of place, whether it's a five acre CSA or a 1500 acre grain farm.
So that got us thinking: Why not invite our readers to send us pictures
of their favorite tools and equipment, and tell us what they use
them for, how they modified them, and whether they built them themselves.
If you've got a tool to share, send pictures and descriptions to
me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Only have snapshots? Send them with a letter to my attention at
The Rodale Institute, 611 Siegfriedale Road, Kutztown, PA 19530.
Speaking of tools, famed California peach grower and book author
Mas Masumoto spoke at the Eco-Farm conference in Monterey, CA earlier
this month, and he brought with him a cherished shovel that has
done hard time shallow-spading weeds in his orchard. The point of
the spade is entirely gone, and looks more like two camel humps
with a deep dip in middle, abraded away by grit and effort and time.
Bookstore update: Check
out a number of books related to stories posted this week on topics
ranging from organic cotton production to managing CSAs. And,
again, we encourage you to take advantage of our reader review feature
at the bottom of each book entry and share your thoughts about a
book with other readers. Go
to the bookstore now.
--Chris Hill, Executive Editor
Don't forget to check
out our latest Organic