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Hello, [name]. Let the classifieds begin: Two weeks ago we invited readers to send us "wanted" and "for sale" listings to include in the low-budget, low-tech classifieds we'd decided to launch. The response was great. We have over 30 listings to start with, ranging from tools wanted to hay for sale. We also have a number of farm manager opportunities on farms ranging from North Carolina to Iowa to Washington state. Check them out, use them, and submit your own. Tell friends and neighbors to check them out. Let's grow this into a vibrant community resource for all organic and sustainable farmers.

Organic no-till rolls on. Back in June we applied for a grant from the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service to build and test 10 additional no-till cover crop rollers in different geographic regions, with different crops and cover crops. We just learned that our proposal has been funded. Over the next three years, the roller/planter system we've developed will be tested, modified and improved by participating farmers in seven different regions of the country. To learn more about the grant, click here. Farmers interested in participating should contact Jeff Moyer, our farm manager, at jeff.moyer@rodaleinst.org.

New and improved Grassroots OPX. We've completed the redesign of our Grassroots OPX, which lists prices for a variety of products from farmers' markets around the country. The new system not only makes it easier for our volunteer price reporters to enter prices and market information. It makes it much easier for you to browse and compare prices. With a click of a button, for example, you can look at the price of carrots for all markets, or you can compare all product prices from two selected markets. Check it out. It may even inspire you to join our dedicated team of price reporters. Coming soon: a similar upgrade for our Organic Price Index, including the addition of new regional markets, and new sources for organic grain prices.

Farm Locator update. We've added over 100 new farms to our Farm Locator listing this month, and are continuing to add farms with help from farmer organizations around the country. We hope you'll add your own farm, if you haven't yet ... and if you work for an organization that serves farmers, we'd like to partner with you to get the farmers you represent on the Farm Locator. To check out the Farm Locator, click here. If you're interested in working with us to get farmers on the Locator, email me at info@newfarm.org.

Enjoy!
Chris Hill, Executive Editor

POSTSCRIPT: I attended an IFOAM meeting in LaConner, Washington earlier this month (IFOAM stands for International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements). Organic leaders, including farmers, from all over the country and the world were in attendance, and the dominating issue was SCALE. (Seems like it crops up everywhere I go.)

The question raised is: At what point does the size of a farming operation become incompatible with the principles and objectives of organic agriculture, both social and ecological? Mark Retzloff of Aurora Organics, who was in attendance at the IFOAM meeting, argued that scale is not the issue--that the real issue is how to manage scale responsibly .... that, in fact, large scale organic operations lift and legitimize all organic boats, no matter how small. Retzloff has expressed an interest in making his argument in the pages of New Farm, so you may be hearing more from him soon. Nothing like a good rousing argument over the vision and future of organic.

Speaking of which, I'm working with a committee of folks who are trying to develop a national organic action plan that will articulate the vision and goals of U.S. organics in the next 5 to 10 years. When completed, the plan will be widely distributed for review and amendment by all stakeholders. But if you have ideas now about what would be critical to include in such a plan, please send them to me now and I'll be sure to make them part of the discussion.


Don't forget to check out our latest Organic Price Index. All new today, September 29: Prices for the Grassroots OPX from 20 markets in 14 states.
 

Insuring a profitable harvest: The art and science of harvesting, handling and storing organic grain.
More details below.

Frey vineyards: Portrait of a pioneering organic wine family. See below for more details.

Aztec brew pub: The dramatic maguey cactus is milked for a traditional brew--and it's nutritious, too. See below for more.

 

Why have soybean yields been flat since the mid 90s? See below for some startling possibilities.

     

Fresh today from The New Farm®

My name is Joel Huesby, and I’m a
recovering farmer …

The fourth generation head of Thundering Hooves Farm talks about his family’s long journey from sustainable farming and ranching, through four decades of chemical nightmare and depleted soils, and back to economic and ecological sustainability, beginning in the mid-1990s.

The laws of farming
Joel Huesby reveals his rule book for sustainable farming

 

Thundering Hooves

   

NEWS FROM MARIQUITA: A CSA Journal

Giving a voice to small farmers …
in 90 seconds or less

Even public radio’s signature show, All Things Considered, doesn’t consider the farmer very often. So when Andy got a chance to spout off about farming on the local NPR station, he jumped. At right: Andy with the latest member of his farm fold.

A sample from one of Andy's radio spots: "President Bush might be interested to know he can find thousands of Black Republicans here on the Central Coast on my neighbor’s ranch near Gilroy. The only catch is these Black Republicans are cherries."

 

CSA Journal

   

PAN-AMERICAN ADVENTURE: Tepotzotlán, Mexico

Pulque
: Mexico’s unique and vanishing drink

Once a commonplace with Mexico’s rural poor, this nutritious alcoholic brew, made from the dramatic maguey plant, is rapidly being replaced by nutritionless beer and cheap cane liquor.

Pulque

 

   

LETTER FROM NEW YORK

Smoothing the path to a profitable harvest home

Dozens of harvest tips to ensure that your good grain isn't transformed into the bad and ugly by poorly maintained equipment, improper storage or rough handling.

  Letter from NY
   
Portrait of a pioneering California organic wine family
62,000 bottles a year, 90 acres of vineyard, grape contracts with 18 neighboring organic farms, sales in 44 states, Asia and Europe—and the family still has time for politics and agricultural innovation.
 

Frey vineyards

   

The New Ranch: Rethinking
range management in the arid west

All in the family
Outside of Durango, Colorado, the James Ranch is using holistic management, direct marketing, and community involvement to build a sustainable livelihood for all the members of the clan.

At right: A fish pond on the James Ranch, with National Forest land in the distance.

 

James Ranch

   

NEWS: Is Monsanto’s patented Roundup Ready gene responsible for a flattening of U.S. soybean yields that has cost farmers an estimated $1.28 billion?
A virtually unreported presentation at the 2004 Midwest Soybean Conference in August explored the numbers ... and the potential causes behind them.

  Soybeans
   

The Leafless Season
Focused fall foraging at the farmers' market allows one New York couple to ‘eat locally’ through the winter. They share their shopping lists, recipes and culinary principles.

 

Leafless season

 

   

Organic in the News
Too many good ideas ... not enough cash
Columnist and NOSB board member Jim Riddle reviewed grant proposals for the USDA Integrated Organic Program this summer. Only a very small percentage of the proposals were funded, even though nearly all of them addressed issues critical to the growth of the organic sector. Jim's conclusion? There's an urgent need for additional federal support for organic farming research, extension and education.

  Organic funding crisis
   

The Inspector’s Notebook
Because there's a lot riding on your numbers
Keep your lot numbers simple and consistent to have one less worry come harvest time.

  Inspector's notebook
   

Vine and fig tree: Restoring agriculture in the Holy Land

Seeking life in the desert, on the desert’s terms

As the global climate becomes more harsh, Elaine Solowey is a botanical pioneer trying to develop ultra-low water crops in the Negev desert, before it’s too late.

At right: Neem trees native to India proudly pop out of the assembled landscape of Elaine Solowey’s experimental desert orchard.

 

Desert life

   

TALKING SHOP: First World Conference on
Organic Seed, Rome, Italy

The Community Seed Network builds an
international model for preserving biodiversity and protecting farmer knowledge

Organic seed breeders from across globe make connections at the First World Conference on Organic Seed in Rome this summer and discover that they share a similar vision…and similar challenges.

 

Seed conference

   

OP/ED

Is there a change in the air regarding farm subsidies?
Loni Kemp of the Minnesota Project offers a clear and succinct analysis of the flaws in current farm policy--and the new directions even the most conservative agricultural organizations are being forced to consider.

 

Farm subsidies

 

   

INTERN JOURNAL:
Insights and experiences from organic farms

JOURNAL ENTRY 7
Harvest parties, homespun handiwork and Hare Krisnas
Interns in Arkansas, Ecuador, Nevada and Pennsylvania describe in detail their work, their insights and their unexpected discoveries.

 

Intern Journal

 

   
AND . . .
   

 

   

ASK JEFF:

Dear Jeff: I have yet to plant 12 acres of hay for my horses due to wet spring/summer. Any suggestions on fall seeding in weed-infested fields?

Dear Jeff: Can you create a sustainable organic cropping system without animal manure?

   
   

Bookstore Updates and Reviews

Check out featured books on farming in the desert, landscape agroecology, agriculture and community, the benefits of grassfed livestock, and finding slow food in New York City. Plus, new book reviews:

Have a book recommendation for us? Let us know by emailing senior writer Laura Sayre at laura.sayre@rodaleinst.org

  Bookstore
   
ALSO LOOK FOR ...
Check The New Farm home page for the latest news and a new Final Word from ag curmudgeon Alan Guebert. Enjoy.
   
     
 
   
   
     
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