I hope the harvest is going well wherever you are. An early frost
nipped some of the fall veg crops of Rodale Institute CSA farmers
John and Aimee Good, so they’re pulling up stakes and putting
their wide rows to bed. You’ll hear from them next month about
their first year with us.
Our staff has been working for months to put into words the core
of what it means to become an organic farmer. We’re building
a “transition to organic” online course to help many
more farmers explore making the switch. (Sometime next year we’ll
have it up and running.) I hope users pick up that “going
organic” really begins only when your first response to any
production challenge starts with the resources you can tap within
the farm and its natural systems, rather than resources, technology
or products brought in from somewhere else.
One test is when you respond to the phrase “predator-friendly
farming” with curiosity rather than derision. Learning to
live with more life—everywhere, from soil microbes to birds
to hedgerows to crop rotations—is a mark of a farm moving
toward biological balance through greater complexity and interaction.
It’s the paradox of greater system stability through greater
In this issue, we look at thoughtful
examples of “wild farming” in Montana,
New York and California…farming on a wooded farmstead in Minnesota
where sustainability is the bedrock
value….an “edge-of-your seat”
weed management video from Oregon…a strong pitch for organic
farmers to use organic seeds
…and a round-up of new books that reflect the
rise of food as a leading cultural and political topic.
Take some time this month to take stock, give thanks and identify
what you have to figure out before planting season rolls around.
We’re here to help, as are the active members of our New
Farm Forums. Ask away to get a head start on your questions
during this winter’s “information season.”