great research results from The Rodale Institute: Sorry
to toot our own horn again, but a toot by any other name would be
called "sharing valuabale research on the benefits of organic
production." Can we help it if our 23-year-old Farming Systems
Trial is starting to yield extraordinary new results? Anyway, in
September the American Journal of Alternative Agriculture published
a paper by three people on our research staff showing that organic
yields outstripped conventional yields by as much as 100 percent
in six drought years between 1988 and 1999. Check
out our summary of the data. I think you'll be amazed.
The Conservation Security Program (CSP) is
a 2002 Farm Bill initiative to provide financial assistance to farmers
who are solving key natural resource and environmental problems
by adopting sustainable practices and systems. As Kevin Brussell
of the Land Stewardship Project writes in an op-ed piece featured
on our web site (see below), "CSP would reward farmers for
diversifying into such enterprises as grass-based livestock, hay,
and cropping systems that include more small grains such as oats.
It would begin to correct the bias of current farm policy, which
penalizes farmers like us for growing anything but a few specified
row crops." Unfortunately, the Bush administration has dragged
out implementation for so long that this critical program is now
in danger of losing its funding. PLEASE
ACT NOW to send a letter to your congress person insisting
on full funding for the CSP.
Lisa is back: Lisa
Hamilton, responsible for our series on Japanese agriculture, is
back this week with a beautiful profile of Full Belly Farm, located
just west of Sacramento, California. Full Belly is an extraordinary
farm that redefines what it means to be a family farm. Despite its
35 full-time workers, 15 retail accounts, 15 wholesale accounts,
650 member CSA and three farmers’ markets almost year ‘round,
Full Belly still has the heart and soul of a family farm. Check
it out by clicking here.
Coming next week: Next
Friday we'll bring you ...
- Jeff Moyer's monthly column on what's happening here at The
Institute's 333-acre research farm. We'll also share some of his
answers to the many questions he's received by email over the
last few months.
- An extraordinary piece by Mark Schonbeck that offers a wealth
of practical details on no-till cover crop systems for organic
vegetable production. The advice he shares in such detail is based
on research by Virginia Tech horticulture prof Ron Morse, who
has been working for 24 years on soil-conserving systems for producing
vegetables in the hilly Appalachian region.
- The next installment in our series on Japanese farming--a profile
of Yasuo Tarumi, a farmer on Japan's southern island of Kyushu.
Mr. Tarumi's years of farming, incredibly, span pre-World War
2 to the present. He has passed through natural farming, through
chemical farming and back again.
Also coming up: the conference season!
We'll be sharing with you the valuable, practical
contents from dozens of workshops our writers attend in Washington
state, South Carolina, Vermont, Iowa, Delaware, Montana, New York,
Pennsylvania ... and much much more.
--Chris Hill, Executive Editor
Don't forget to check
out our latest Organic
Belly Farm: Eggplant seeds drying in preparation for