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Hello. Spring brings us back to the soil. The scent of productive loam was in the air last September when we posted three stories focused on the secret life of soil. Six months later, with spring on our heals, we're turning the fields and giving you another whiff of the good black dirt – a research update, magic mixes, and a call to stop throwing stuff on our fields and look a little deeper.




In the launch of our New Farm Research section last fall, we told you about breakthrough research on mycorrhizal fungi here at The Rodale Institute. Now the low-cost, on-farm system for producing mycorrhizal fungi inoculant takes another step forward, and we have the latest.
Go to Research Update



Philippine farmer and scientist Gil Carandang has a cure-all that brings new life to everything it touches, and you'll never believe what it's made from. An early-spring California workshop featured Gil's cheap and ultra-effective method for harnessing local microorganisms and coached farmers how to use these invisible workhorses on their farms.
Go to local microorganism feature



Mary-Howell Martens reflects on soil just as the rhubarb erupts from the ground and the buds swell with the warmer spring weather, in Letter from NY. She demands we begin "thinking upstream" – looking for root causes and real solutions to our agricultural challenges – and stop the conventional "treatment"; chemotherapy for the soil … killing everything and hoping it solves the problem.
Go to Letter from NY



Fresh today from The New Farm®



The Davis Farmers' Market, thirty years on

The Davis Farmers' Market attracts 6,000 to 8,000 people each week and features nearly 100 vendors from all over California. Annual gross sales top $1.5 million. This original producer-only market shows how it's done.


Davis Farmers' Market


The watermelon radish: Conspiracy from the left or the right … or just a darned good heirloom daikon?

Those were among the suspicions raised by this ancient veggie at a recent event in Santa Cruz designed to introduce consumers to local food producers.


News from Mariquita


Meaty reasons to go organic
With BSE an issue, why eat organic beef?
Regs keep risky feeds out of the system while strict tracking from field to store provide consumers with additional assurances.

  Organic in the news

Shooting star
David and Edie Griffiths, owners of Seven Stars Dairy, reflect on nearly two decades in the biodynamic yogurt business.

  Seven Stars Dairy
Stress down
Intelligent, humane livestock handling methods improve the management experience for people and animals. Hear it from the handlers mouth – how to "stress down" your cattle when it's round up time.
  Humane handling

Shumei Natural Agriculture:
Farming to create heaven on earth

Tsumagoi Town: Toki Kuroiwa
In a region where cabbage is king and chemicals infuse the landscape, this tiny, determined farmer quietly does things her way

The Tsumagoi region in Gunma prefecture is all about uniformity. Toki Kuroiwa takes a different path, however, carrying on the pioneering Natural Agriculture ways of her late son. Her urban customers have turned into workers and friends, while her neighbors are slowly being won over by a system that works – without chemicals.


Toki Kuroiwa


Biodynamic farming pioneers revolutionize banana production in the Dominican Republic
Three-quarters of all bananas exported from the Dominican Republic are now certified organic. Six years ago, none were.

  Biodynamic bananas
AND . . .

Greenhouse Special
The Gandhi of greenhouses
Eager students flock to rural Pennsylvania from near and far to learn from the master of low-input season extension


Spring has sprung
The oats are still in the bag, but the apple orchards are looking good and some tweaks to a modified planter are well on their way. As the wheat greens up, the bedding plants are just about ready to move from greenhouse to cold frame for hardening off. Yep. It's spring.


New Mexico Organic Farming & Gardening Expo
Paradigms and plain hard work
Keynoters urge southwestern farmers to change the world one animal, one farm, one customer at a time.

NOFA-NY Conference
Thomas Harttung’s humongous CSA: Growing by 10,000 households per year
How a forester’s inspiration, venture capital, a chef, savvy marketing, open bookkeeping, and a radical agenda combined to create—oddly enough— economic success.

Virginia Biological Farming Conference
Growing our own
Predominate theme of “healthy soil, healthy farms, healthy people” is intertwined with hot topics of on-farm self-sufficiency and community building.


We are certifying our dairy farm, and I would like to know if I can lease land that will immediately qualify and feed the hay that was baled last year.

I am trying to locate a market for organic grapes, seeds and grapeseed oil. Any ideas, tips or suggestions on the subject?

Man who shot the mad cow takes aim at USDA
After witnessing what he described as a blatant cover-up, this former slaughterhouse worker resigns in protest and undertakes a one-man crusade to expose the truth about BSE in the USA.

How late in the spring can I under-seed red clover into spring barley?

How can I plant a hay crop this spring in a field harvested last summer without spraying?

Check The New Farm home page for the latest news, a new Dr. Don research update and a new Final Word from ag curmudgeon Alan Guebert. Enjoy.
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