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Hello. BIG NEWS FOR KNOWLEDGE SEEKERS ... We know. Searching our site for a story has been frustrating for some time now. The search engine was worse than useless. BUT NO MORE! The Google-driven search available now on every page of the web site will quickly get you the story or topic you need. Enjoy! And in about two months, look for a newly organized web site that will allow to browse easily by topic. Thanks for your patience.

The farmers market season is here ... and so is THE GRASSROOTS OPX--featuring prices and observations from local farmers markets around the country, provided by dedicated volunteers. This week we're featuring prices from 11 markets, and hope to grow that number to over 25. To check out this week's prices, or to sign up as a volunteer, click here.

Looking for farm interns with sharp pencils, and sharper wit: Are you an intern on an organic farm this summer ... or know someone who is? We're looking for a team of interns who can chronicle the ups and downs, joys and challenges, insights and observations that are the essence of a farm internship. Interested? Send a sample journal entry of 300 words or less to New Farm Senior Editor Dan Sullivan at

Getting to know him ... Earlier this year we hired Shep Ogden to develop two new tools for the New Farm web site: an online course on transitioning to organic, and a simulator tool designed to help farmers analyze the relative economic benefits of organic versus conventional systems over time. Shep is in the thick of developing these tools as I write, and we hope to have them ready for January, 2005.

Why did we choose Shep? He's been an articulate spokesman for organic and sustainable ag for decades. He founded the Cook's Garden in 1983--the first US company to offer an extensive list of professionally produced, certified organic commercial varieties of seed. He was active in the early years of the organic movement in Vermont--including at The Intervale, a 1200-acre agricultural district in the center of Burlington, Vermont's largest city. "The exciting thing about The Intervale," Shep told me, "is that it is one of the first places where we see enough of the pieces of a sustainable food system assembled in one place for their synergistic economic efficiencies to emerge."

He has also written a number of books on organic gardening, and has a very good sense of the business of farming. I think the moment I was convinced he was the right candidate for this position was when a large scale organic grower, a no-nonsense, very skilled and experienced farmer, gushed about his keynote address at a conference in upstate New York. You'll see a lot of Shep later this fall and in early 2005 as he gets out on the conference circuit to promote the tools he's building. Send any questions or thoughts you have about the course and simulator to him at

--Chris Hill, Executive Editor

Don't forget to check out our latest Organic Price Index.


A new future for organic apples in the east? See below for more details.

Sixty fruits and veggies on 10 acres in remote British Columbia. For more, see "Transcontinental Farm Tour," below.

Andy Griffin has a show-down with the black radish,
and it's a draw. Check out "CSA Journal" for details of the fight.



Fresh today from The New Farm®


Lessons from our on-farm experience
here at The Rodale Institute®

A future for organic apple growing in the Northeast

In the humid Eastern states, expanding marketing opportunities are matched by stubborn production challenges. But new disease and pest management tools practiced here at The Rodale Institute and elsewhere may be tipping the balance in favor of
locally-grown organic tree fruits.

Pennsylvania's organic apple research initiative
A grower- and processor-driven movement explores how to produce apples with fewer chemicals in the moist and buggy East, with the involvement of Penn State researcher Jim Travis.


Rodale Institute apples

Apple research initiative

Above: Penn State researcher getting ready to plant scab resistent variety.


Rotating cattle provide whole-farm fertility
for dry beans and veggies at 7-year-old
Ernie's Organics

Fred and Judy Brossy grow irrigated beans, potatoes and wheat on the arid plains of Idaho. Most of their crop is pre-sold, at a premium, ensuring a decent livelihood for them and their workers.

Also check out our Ernie's Organic slideshow, featuring more details on equipment and irrigation.


Ernie's Organic




On the trail of sustainable farming in Latin America

Final reflections on U.S. agriculture before
bowling into Baja

In a new, year-long series, ag researcher Don Lotter seeks out organic and sustainable successes in Latin America. But first, a final ramble down California’s Central Valley, a $25 billion a year ag powerhouse —totally dependent, ironically, on Mexican labor.

Exporting cheap corn and ruin
The flood of cheap U.S. corn to Mexico since NAFTA has cut corn prices there by half and washed away 1.3 million small farmers and that’s just the beginning of the tragedy, writes Michael Pollan.


Pan-Am Adventure

Cheap corn in Mexico


market wisdom

Some thoughts on selling at farmers markets

22 lessons in running a successful farmers market stand, from Nina Planck, who’s been in the business for 25 years … starting at age 8 in 1980.


Market wisdom


Crossing Canada with Don Lotter

Small-scale vertical integration at a roadside
fruit stand farm in British Columbia
Over 60 fruits and vegetables on 10 acres, a remote location, a short growing season and a pernicious pest: There are plenty of challenges for organic growers Doug and Michelle Nimchuk. But business is good. This is the last in a 5-part series on Canadian farms.


BC Fruit Farm




Ain't I SMART?
Carelessness, poor planning and neglect leads Mariquita's Andy Griffin to discover the true value of a strange old heirloom crop--black Spanish radish.


CSA Journal


On-farm wind power: Part 2 of a 3-part series

Farming the Wind
The nuts and bolts of blade design, site selection and tower technology.

The down side of commercial wind power
We should not let wind power’s “green” image trick us into accepting the argument that everything must be “useful,” that every place and every aspect of life should be commercialized, argues David Van Tassel of the Prairie Writers Circle.


Farming the wind



Farming & Faith
Sufi vision inspires southern Illinois farm

Dayempur Farm strives for economic, agricultural, social and energy sustainability

Inspired by a holistic agricultural project in Bangladesh that combines farming and care for the poor, this community and its farm want to show what’s possible when God is the center of everything.


Farming & faith


A closer look at the pesticide residue question

One man's poison is another man's opportunity:
Why food safety will continue driving growth in demand for organic food, adapted from an address by Charles Benbrook.





What’s that? Researchers and universities
have discovered organic?

Seems to be the case, says Rodale Institute farm manager Jeff Moyer. Grant dollars are being earmarked for organic projects … and they need the input and involvement of farmers. Is this a dream, or what? Jeff also talks about some new toys, including the Monosem planter pictured at right.


One farm to another

Beyond organics: Envisioning
a sustaining food system

Steve Moore, the “Gandhi of Greenhouses” airs his frustration with a piecemeal organic movement and lays the framework for a more holistic approach to sustainable food security.

For more on Steve's elegant system of low-input season extension, check out George Devault's two-part series.

  Steve Moore
kentucky beef

Reshaping Kentucky’s cattle industry
Can beef production secure a more sustainable future for Kentucky's family farmers?

Looking for the post-tobacco
king of Kentucky agriculture

County councils can re-localize Kentucky's food system by directing tobacco settlement funds to help family farms


Kentucky beef

Beyond tobacco

new york dairy

Understanding the dairy industry –
It’s way more than cows and plows!
Day-long round of talks gives farmers new appreciation for the complexity of milk market pricing and influence by the big players, but also the good news that other groups are pulling for family farms.
  New York dairy


Each week we answer several of your questions and post them on the home page of the web site. We'll also respond individually to each of your queries, even if they don’t make the pubic posting. Keep the comments and questions rolling in.

I'm interested in some of your research and the results—e.g., no-till farming
. I also read some-where that you have built a roller for knocking down tall cover crops to be used as mulch. Do you have archives or a place to go to find this information?

Where does it state in the NOP section that pasture land must be provided for all species of livestock? Must animals be individually ear tagged with accompanying records in order to qualify for organic production?




Been to our bookstore lately? Check out featured books on farmers markets, irrigation in the dry lands of the West, East Coast apple production, sustainable business models and Mexican farmers who grow agave for tequila.

Have a book recommendation for us? Let us know by emailing senior writer Laura Sayre at



Check the home page for the latest news, new research updates and a new Final Word from ag curmudgeon Alan Guebert. Enjoy.

  Go to the home page now!
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