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Hello. Between harvest plans, county fairs, starting school, attending football games and soccer matches, marketing crops and stockpiling forage, think about the human connections that are important in order for sustainable and organic farming to prosper, expand and benefit more people, watersheds and local economies.
Old school agriculture thinking: The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
New school food system thinking: All who eat can be our friends.

Never in North American history since the Industrial Revolution have so many non-farmers thought as seriously as they do now about farmers, where their food comes from or how it is grown. There are more allies, in higher places, thinking in more profound ways than ever before about how to liberate farming from the limitations of the failing industrial model. Consider:

Three planning groups (news) recently recommended that sustainable food systems be included in long-term planning at state, regional and municipal levels, structurally connecting farms to their communities in new and lasting ways.

New York’s governor and New York City’s council president both spoke knowingly at Farm Aid 2007 about on-going efforts and future practical policies to connect upstate farmers and downstate eaters by way of strengthening farms, fighting obesity and decreasing urban hunger.

In Heirloom tasting (slideshow), see how five organizations dedicated to connecting farmers to eaters recently rallied at a central Pennsylvania farmers’ market. They highlighted the role of online farmer directories in building direct access to high-quality local and organic food by tasting local pies and heirloom tomatoes in a celebration of color, flavor and story.

In our feature story Recipe for success, learn how local chapters of the international Slow Food movement in North America are finding that great food with flavor worth savoring depends on farmers who know how to fine-tune their farm’s natural resources to create the highest quality crops and livestock. Respectful attention to farmer needs by these cultural leaders has significant impact in raising popular expectations for a whole range of food issues that provide opportunity for enterprising farmers.

Video shows flood damage (news) illustrates how even in disaster situations, non-farmers are leading efforts to bring relief to the organic agricultural community that was hit hard by the floods in the upper Midwest this summer.

Yes, there are huge market-access and farm-policy hurdles remaining, and lots of folks who are contentedly clueless. For people looking for new allies in sustainable connections, however, autumn 2007 is a wonderfully promising time to take action.

Grow on.
Greg Bowman
Managing Editor

PS: Coming next month...your next chance to support’s role in growing more sustainable farmers during our “”Harvest Celebration” fund drive.


Fresh today from The New Farm®

case study: transitioning to organic
Organic transition goes smoothly for this conventional cow specialist
Careful management, grass-based dairying, a commitment to cow health and a stubborn independence serve him well.

Recipe for success
Despite growing pains, Slow Food is helping to change the way people consider their dinner plates—and the farmers who fill them.
Boston common
Nonprofit community farm strives to make good food a bridge between culture and class.
West African rice farmers explore alternatives to cheap, dangerous insecticides
Farmer-to-farmer training and on-farm research grow local adapted knowledge of biologically based integrated pest management that embraces biodiversity, careful observation and beneficial insects.
Cheap biofuel feedstocks take a toll on soil health
Biofuel experts are already looking beyond grains for cheaper feedstocks such as straw or corn stover. But there is a price to be paid when you remove biomass that normally goes back to the soil.

Reader Mail
This month features questions and answers about wild rice, the OPX, ethanol and more.


News & Views
• Livestock diversity critical for changing climates
• Aurora Organic Dairy agrees to alter practices
• Library offers extensive sustainable ag expertise
• Groups call for food-systems in public plans
• Video boosts flood fund for organic farmers
• Goal: 10 percent organic by 2010
• Low wheat stores threaten famine relief


at the rodale institute®
Heirloom tasting highlights U.S. local-food road trip stop in Pennsylvania
The Eat Well Guided Tour of America galvanized regional food interest across the country this summer. For details on their Pennsylvania stop and the Keystone State’s farmer and food supporting groups who turned up to welcome them, click here.
Institute seeks Communications Director
The director will oversee all communications activities of the Institute in all media and will serve on the senior management team. Applications are due Friday, September 21.
Improved compost mix great on the pad, but slow to deliver in the field
The good things about compost are hard to measure in a single crop year on variable soils, even with careful scientific observation.
one farm to another
Seize pre-harvest gaps to plan on-farm research
Identify options you can test yourself to guide better management.
intern journal
Staying connected
OPX intern finds her passion for physical fitness, economics and sustainability all lead to the same bright future.
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