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Hello. Outsmarting weeds ... Researchers and farm operations staff here at The Rodale Institute will be joining with Penn State and the USDA's Agricultural Research Service's Beltsville Center in Maryland to coordinate a multi-pronged attack on weeds in organic systems. The New Farm team will be along for the ride, reporting on insights and developments as the research, field trials and on-farm experiments unfold. Perhaps one of the most exciting aspects of this project, from our perspective, will be the work The Institute does in helping farmers in Maryland and Pennsylvania set up on-farm experiments to test strategies and practices in real life settings. Click here for more information on this new weed initiative. If you're a farmer in Pennsylvania who would be interested in participating in our on-farm trials, click here.

Women in agriculture: My favorite new article this update is a profile of Kathleen Delate, America's first organic agriculture extension specialist. Delate works at Iowa State University, an institution heavily invested in biotech. She could easily have been marginalized and ignored, but through continuous relationship-building with Iowa farmers, and an emphasis on grass-roots input, she has built an organic extension program that has overseen a sixfold increase in organic acres in Iowa since 1996. Through responsiveness and hard work, she has helped make organic legitimate in Iowa. As one extension person told us, "Ten years ago, when I went to a meeting and mentioned organic, people rolled their eyes. Now ... they raise their hands. Organic has arrived." Check out our profile of Delate now.

90 and counting: Four weeks ago we invited readers to send us "wanted" and "for sale" listings to include in a yet-to-be-created low-budget, low-tech classifieds section. Today marks our second installment of the classified feature, and the response has been great. We now have 90 great offers. Whether you're looking for a sweet potato digger, stud service ... or the perfect farming partnership opportunity, this week's New Farm Classifieds are sure to have something to pique your interest. 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.

Farm Locator reminder. Please add your own farm to our Farm Locator, 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

Coming up soon:

  1. No-till mania. Farm manager Jeff Moyer has been inundated with requests from farmers all over the U.S., Canada--and, in fact, the world--to be part of our no-till cover crop roller testing program. 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. We hadn't planned to include the West in our trials, but farmers and researchers in that region of the country have urged us to expand the program to include them. In two weeks, Jeff will catch you up on the huge response we've gotten to the program, and where we're headed next. If you haven't yet read about our no-till roller program, you can learn more about it by clicking here. Farmers interested in participating should contact Jeff directly at
  2. Major expansion and upgrade of the OPX. Also in two weeks, we'll be launching an entirely redesigned Organic Price Index that will give you more control over how you view the data. For example, you'll be able to compare prices for one product across all of our markets, or compare all vegetable prices in two separate markets. Not only that, but we'll be adding, for the first time, real, current purchase prices for grains in several distinct markets, and we'll also be adding prices for vegetables, fruits, meat and dairy in two new markets.

Chris Hill, Executive Editor

Don't forget to check out our latest Organic Price Index. All new today, October 15: Prices for the Grassroots OPX from 7 markets in 6 states.

Introducing America's first organic ag extension specialist: By helping keep the grassroots farmer input flowing, Iowa State's Kathleen Delate has had a huge impact on the growth and acceptability of organic in Iowa.
More details at left.

Happy campers: Dave and Florence Minar have succeeded in making their organic, grass-based dairy business viable enough to pass on to the next generation--without qualms. See Cedar Summit Farm below for more.

Local with a vengeance: Grant Gibbs won't sell his organic produce and meats beyond a 20-mile radius of his farm in the Northern Cascades of Washington. He'd rather feed it to his hogs than take it out on the interstate--and he's doing just fine. See below for more.

Weed beaters: The Institute joins other institutions in a multi-pronged attack on weeds in organic systems. See above left for more.


Fresh today from The New Farm®

Farmers' markets & beyond:
Expanding the market for local foods

Part 1: A prominent local-food activist with decades of experience selling at farmers' markets says it's time to take this growing movement to the next level and go toe-to-toe with the big boys by better serving customers.
At right: Colin Boswell, owner of The Garlic Farm on the Isle of Wight, displays at a farmers' market in the UK. Author Nina Planck draws on her experiences in both the UK and the US in developing her ideas for a more expansive local food system.


Farmers' markets


Opening a window on organic inspection
Pennsylvania field day demystifies the inspection process by giving farmers a first-hand look.

The Inspector’s Notebook #4
The exit interview made easy
Jim shares his tips for getting the inspector off your property as quickly as possible.

At right: Pennsylvania organic inspector Al Johnson, who's been in the business for 15 years, gives Delaware Valley College farm manager Neil Myerov the low down ... in front of dozens of attentive farmers.

  Organic inspection



A little bit of Mexico on Monterey Bay
An “end-of-the-season” party brings some regional Mexican rivalry to Mariquita Farm. Workers from Michoacan and Oaxaca have a friendly argument over the best way to barbecue a goat.

At right: Let's get out of here, boys. It's barbecue time again at the Mariquita Ranch.


CSA Journal


VALUE ADDED: Cedar Summit Farm
From conventional dairy to certified organic,
grass-based creamery

Thanks to a bit of imagination, entrepreneurship, and lots of hard work, this Minnesota dairy is being passed to the next generation as a thriving, integrated on-farm business

Cedar Summit Farm



Local with a vengeance
In the forests of the North Cascades, Grant Gibbs has turned a subsistence farm into a self-supporting organic system, selling sustainably harvested timber, grass-fed meat, and organic fruit and vegetables to customers within a 20-mile radius.

  Grant Gibbs
Green energy
Biofuel offers a cash crop for farmers and a way for communities to take control of their energy needs while helping the environment and decreasing dependence on foreign oil. Author John Orr includes tips on the best oil-producing plants, and tips for making your own biofuel.



Susanna’s Costa Rican Sojourn
Saying goodbye to the land of plenty
Back in Pittsburgh, Susanna concedes that while not everything she has learned is applicable, some lessons travel well


Costa Rica



Insights and experiences from organic farms

Reflections on service
Bruised bodies and apples, a thorny predicament, motorcycle mayhem, and back-to-back highs and lows prove that there’s still much to learn and experience, even as the season winds down.


Intern Journal


Keynote Address: 2004 Iowa Food Policy Conference
America is hungry!
Breaking bread, buying local and fixing food policy--New Farm columnist George Devault corners the Iowa Food Policy Conference attendees after lunch and gives them an earful on nutrition, farm economics, food security and more.
  America is hungry!
AND . . .




Dear New Farm: My professor at the University of Florida is gung ho on synthetic nitrogen fertilizers. Got any information I can use to rebut him?

Dear New Farm: I am looking at the feasibility of organic farms on urban University campuses. Do you have specific background, contacts, etc., that might be useful?


Dear Jeff: What's the best way to get rid of fescue and goldenrod before planting to clover?

Dear Jeff: Is it too late to plant hay in Massachusetts?


Bookstore Updates and Reviews

Check out featured books on global agrodiversity, the pleasures of raising meat goats, the latest in perennial legume research and development, the culture of sustainable farming, and a photo-biography of an organic farm in Vermont. Plus, new book reviews:

  • Getting real: In Agrarian Dreams, a geographer examines why organic farming is falling short of its ideals.
  • A Nu look: All Over Creation lampoons players in GMO debate

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. Enjoy.
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