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Hello. Talking with Tim LaSalle, the new CEO for The Rodale Institute, got me thinking again about change, and why some of us like it enough to risk some bumps while others of us would rather endure pain to avoid it.

Choosing to work in an organization dedicated to changing the way America farms gives staff at The Rodale Institute reason to wonder: How can we make a difference to the people who are one step away from taking sustainability seriously for the first time in their lives?

LaSalle says 80 percent of our choices are unconscious, so going very deep takes some serious intervention. Maybe this is why so many farmers I’ve talked with say it was something fairly traumatic that got them to rethink what it meant to farm, often a health scare for themselves or someone they loved. Same goes for people who may become newly interested in caring about the nutritional quality and ecological footprint of their food.

Twenty percent of us will try a new idea easily, but the next 60 percent wait until we can see how the 20 percent fare. We perceive we risk too much loss of our personal security—identity and standing with others—if we make a choice that sets us too much apart.

LaSalle says incentives—things that reduce or mitigate perceived risk—are the best way to overcome our aversion to change. Stories that provide a new way to see your world, examples that show success where you never imagined it, and opportunities to combine the world you want with steps you can understand are all incentives wants to offer our global community of readers. This is what you provide for us, and it’s what we want to share with the world.

Read on to learn this month about a farm family that changed focus from “big swine to fruit wine” when injury came their way, and about a visionary researcher whose work on weed competition under advancing global warming conditions shows there are changes coming that will demand new choices.

Greg Bowman
Managing Editor

P.S. Our first 2007 reader survey respondent—an alert reader from Bodega, California—already has her classic set of three New Farm booklets on managing soils, marketing and manure. About 300 people have responded, but we want about 200 more of you to be eligible for a free set of these publications packed with practical wisdom. We’ll choose nine respondents at random before our August update. So respond now.


Fresh today from The New Farm®

Continuing a lifetime of innovation, Alberta couple pioneers organic fruit wine enterprise
Fermentation of indigenous crops, hardy apples and even alfalfa add sparkling value to crops.

Weeds of the globally warmed future, Part II
Researcher sets his sites on perennial weeds after discovering annual weeds could give crops a serious run for their money if CO2 levels increase.
case study: transitioning to organic
The Real deal in organic pastured poultry
A sixth-generation farmer finds trial and error, observation and pig-headed persistence lead him to pasturing organic chickens in a moveable yurt system.
Cover crops offer benefits from fertility to weed management
Penn State’s “cover crop summit” lays out species options and soil-health tests for hands-on farmer learning.
book review
If you are new to goats, here’s a good overview of how meat-goats are different from the rest
Ethnic markets are the challenge with great potential, but this book doesn’t help a producer catch the wave.

Reader Mail
This month features questions and answers about ear infections in roosters, certifying a tree farm and more. Readers ask jeff about restoring and thickening hay fields, buying equipment and more.


News & Views
Island nations to exploit GMO-free status...Booklets creatively dissect Farm Bill issues...Natural fungus key to whitefly control product...Air-freighting organic food questioned in U.K....Mixing varieties increases wheat yield...Ag-chemical air pollution faces new limits...Canadian organic food tops $1 billion in sales.

new farm update
Contaminated hay mulch knocks out
crops at Waterpenny Farm


at the rodale institute®
The Rodale Institute welcomes first CEO
New leader combines dairy farming background, academic teaching and vision for advancing ecological change.
intern journal
Reckoning with the natural, sustainable self
Through years of change and many miles on more highways than I can number, I’ve finally found my way back home to a farm in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania.
one farm to another
Welcoming interns to the farm brings potential benefits, responsibility to teach
Young people ready to work and learn bring energy, new questions and a mix of expectations.
tri events
July 20, 2007: 2007 Annual Field Day
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