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Hello. Boy, I gotta get me some of those .... George Devault, former editor of New Farm magazine, attended a field day recently in south central Pennsylvania so he could get a peek at field-scale tunnels that can (somewhat affordably) cover acres and acres of crops while providing easy access for field equipment. These English-built Haygrove tunnels can protect against disease and weather. On the farm George visited, premium grade tomato yields were 100 percent higher inside the tunnels up through August 16, and the season will be extended by a full three weeks compared with outdoor tomatoes. All of the farmers George spoke to felt they were versatile, easy-to-use, and well worth the initial expense. Check it out.

Help us improve New Farm! About once a year we ask you to give us 5 minutes of your time to take a simple survey. We need to know what you like and dislike about the web site so we can channel our energies into improvements that matter to you. We'd also like your feedback on new features we're thinking about adding in the next half year. To take the survey, click here.

Speaking of feedback ... We got several dozen thoughtful comments from readers on the significance of Aurora Dairy's recently certified 4,000-cow organic operation in Colorado. An organic dairy inspector in the Midwest and farmers from all over the country offer their perspectives. Check them out.

A new series on farming in the Holy Land. A New Yorker, Yigal Deutscher, took us up on our request for global correspondents, offering to do a series of six stories on sustainable farming in Israel/Palestine. Managing editor Greg Bowman has been editing these stories. He writes: "The stories as a whole capture an untamed, powerful yearning from North to South, Arab and Jew, young and old, for a future beyond conflict where families will be unafraid, where the land will be tended carefully from season to season, and everyone will be able to share a meal beneath their vine and fig tree." Amen. To read Greg's introduction, click here. To read Yigal's first installment, click here.

Speaking of powerful yearnings ... One of the oldest CSAs in the country, Brookfield Farm, is perhaps best known for its most important crop--the young farmers who emerge from its excellent apprenticeship program. One relatively recent graduate, Sue Wasseluk, captured the yearning of young farmers for the soil when she told staff writer Dan Sullivan of her deep call to farming: "It's not for everybody. In our modern condition, there are so many choices. You don't have to do this, and why would you want to, unless you felt like you really needed this on some level." For a look at Dan's profile of the apprenticeship program at Brookfield, click here.

Chris Hill, Executive Editor

Don't forget to check out our latest Organic Price Index. Coming later today, September 1: All new prices for the Grassroots OPX. Eighteen markets in 14 states.


Haygrove Helper.
George Devault gets a peek at Haygrove's field-scale tunnels, and likes what he sees. More details at left.

No, it's not a rice paddy, Virginia. It's soybeans.
An extremely wet summer in Upstate New York prompts reflections from Mary-Howell Martens on the decisions we make each year in the heat of farming
... and their consequences. See below for more details.

Radical ranching: Jim Crosswhite went environmental, and it paid off economically.
See below for more.


Fresh today from The New Farm®

Minnesota "livestock" plan is
focused on CAFO needs

It provides no support for organic, says Jim Riddle, despite official promises earlier to promote alternative agricultural opportunities in the state. In a sidebar, managing editor Greg Bowman notes that industry-supported, state-wide laws are becoming increasingly common as an end-run around local control.


CAFO Snafu



From TABLE to FARM ...
Manhattan restaurateurs and local food supporters turn to sustainable wine-grape growing on Long Island's North Fork.

At right: Barbara Shinn and David Page started Shinn Estate Vineyards as an offshoot of their New York City restaurant, Home, which emphasizes locally-grown foods.


Long Island winery



Dangling crystals, bad poetry
and aggressive political theater...

The social challenges of running a
farmers' market stall
The protesters and cranks at an urban farmers' market thrust Andy Griffin into delicate merchandizing dilemmas and make him eager to return to the sweet country life. At right: Cherokee Purples, a good political weapon ... if Andy will sell them to you.

CSA Journal


letter from ny

Farming is definitely shades of
gray ... and muddy brown

It all looks so clear-cut when you submit your organic crop plans in January. But by August you’ve had to make a dozen major decisions … some bad, some good, some impossible. Here are a few thoughts on making the best of those tough choices.
  letter from ny

On the trail of sustainable farming in Latin America

Oaxaca, Mexico
Transgenic contamination of Mexican corn adds insult to NAFTA injury

In his second of two stories on Mexican corn, Don Lotter traces the history of carelessness —and cover-up—that threatens the heart of the world’s corn biodiversity. At right: Aldo Gonzales, leader of a group in Oaxaca dedicated to helping indigenous farmers.


Transgenic corn


For the beginning grower

Secrets of selling to florists
Local flower shops can boost your bottom line if you cultivate relationships, deliver quality ... and pay attention to what they need.


Cut flowers


Rethinking range management in the arid West

Conservation measures improve profits
On the EC Bar Ranch in northeastern Arizona, Jim Crosswhite got radical—and started cooperating with government scientists to implement environmental restoration strategies on his land. Eight years later, he counts a wealth of economic as well as ecological benefits.

  New Ranch

Insights and experiences from organic farms

ENTRY 5: To everything, turn, turn, turn
Whether it’s compost or time, these interns find the summer just keeps chugging along.

At right: Institute intern Emily Gallagher learns to operate our compost turner.


Intern Journal


BOOK EXCERPT: The Case for Common Sense:
An ecological, economic, and social revolution

Making a case for common sense in farming

John Ikerd, a classically-trained agricultural economist and long-time proponent of sustainability, takes a fresh look at what it will take to make farming in the U.S. economically sustainable.


John Ikerd



The calendar says summer, but buyers are saying fall
Half of our apples are damaged, but prices are good. The pumpkins are prolific. And the corn is 10 feet tall. Life is good—not great, but pretty darned good.


Jeff Moyer


Susanna’s Costa Rican Sojourn

Punta Mona: Sustainable U.
At Punta Mona farm, surrounded by primary rainforest and fronted by the Caribbean Sea in the southeastern corner of Costa Rica, U.S. high school students, local Ticos, and others learn about living off the land, as one teacher’s dream for community and outdoor education becomes a reality.

  Costa Rica
AND . . .




DEAR NEW FARM: Would you have any idea why our little kiwis would drop off the vines after having grown to only about half an inch in diameter?

DEAR NEW FARM: I am the executive chef at the Continental Airlines Arena and would like information on how to purchase the local artisan cheeses featured in a story on your web site for use in our luxury suites and private club.

Thoughtful reflections on the significance of Aurora's mega organic dairy in Colorado
We got a couple of dozen reactions to Aurora's 4,000-cow organic dairy, including comments from several farmers ... and an organic dairy inspector in the Midwest.


About that compost turner of yours ...
The tale of our farm-scale compost turner and how it was built generated lots of interesting comment, including a story from a farmer in Canada who has come up with his own compost-management system.


Bookstore Updates and Reviews

Check out featured books on the economics of sustainability, biodiversity and pest management, the preservation of crop genetic resources, and delicious, down-to-earth home cooking. Plus, new book reviews:

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

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