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
here. Farmers interested in participating should contact
Jeff Moyer, our farm manager, at firstname.lastname@example.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
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 email@example.com.
Chris Hill, Executive Editor
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
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.
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
Why have soybean yields been flat
since the mid 90s? See below for some