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Hello. Maybe it’s the squirrels that seem more frantic this week about pursuing their food security, but more likely it’s reading this month’s stories that have me thinking about “layering on.” By that I mean the good things that can happen from intentionally, creatively and maybe even desperately adding value to what you already have, know and do on your farms.

When a family decides that health and promise lie in the direction of grass-based meat production, they face a world of learning curves. Our neighbors, the Stutzmans, have kept at it, pursuing grass-based genetics, experimenting with grazed crops for finishing and honing their marketing skills.

Farmers and their families who want to make an impact beyond the market are often frustrated by their lack of time to be the educators they want to be, even if they have the teaching gene. The Orners joined other family farmers who have taken the plunge into adding a non-profit education “enterprise.”

Stepping back from the same old fruits you grew up with lets you analyze your weather, bioregion, microclimate, market and sense of horticultural adventure. Learning about some uncommon fruits lets you find the openings unique to your operation.

“Stacking values” is how we choose to see the tremendous potential arising out of this year’s media frenzy around local and regional foods. Layering organic certification with place-based marketing, humane livestock treatment, heirloom varieties and excellent consumer service creates new ways to win for farmers farming well.

Greg Bowman
Online Editor


Fresh today from The New Farm®

Uncommon fruit: Delectable, pest-resistant, exotic and attractive
Pawpaws, hardy kiwifruits, shipovas and other varieties offer tremendous potential for even northern areas.

Educating the public without breaking
the bank

Incorporating community programs into your
farm business doesn't have to be an overwhelming burden. Quiet Creek Herb Farm turned non-profit to make their educational dreams a reality.
Free speech—for you to use—to promote fresh, local, organic food
Make these words fit where you are to speak up for the kind of food system you want.
A family affair
Dave and Joy Stutzman—and their children—fine-tune their growing business raising meats naturally.
Reader Mail
You ask, we answer. Questions from all of you answered by all our expert contacts; from Jeff Moyer (our farm manager) to worm gurus, to other farmers.

News & Views
Organic certification funds for organic farmers in 15 superiority of organic milk....SARe honors innovative farmers...Sierra Club offers study guide...Chinese organic dairy opens to meet domestic demand

ag policy perspectives
Farming the farm program
Movin’ on up from the sandlots to the big leagues.


at the rodale institute®
intern journal
The world is your organic oyster
These visiting interns from South Korea are ready to change the face of agriculture in their country and the world through the seeds of inspiration germinated at The Rodale Institute.
Don't just start at the root of the problem; go straight to the soil of the matter
Microscopic organisms in your soil could be key to increasing your yields and improving your farmland for years to come. So how do you manage something you can't even see?
Seeking regeneration where water and hope are scarce
Farmers interact during a workshop in southern Mauritania.
one farm to another
Oil price spike creates incentive for real change
Why tinker with fuel and fertilizer efficiencies when innovative organic synergies offer a way to change the whole system?

dr. paul's research perspectives
Unseen Treasure Part 2: "Lost research” shows organics benefit root growth
Rodale Institute and Cornell site results also validate damage done by fertilizer and herbcides.

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