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Hello [name]. Since our first edition in October 2002, NewFarm.org at The Rodale Institute has celebrated the people, businesses and organizations moving agriculture toward regeneration—Bob Rodale’s vision for what farming well is all about.

People on the land know the risk and skill it takes to transition from chemical-based, input-focused approaches to those which rely more on natural biological systems particular to place. Successfully transitioning markets to find buyers who value these changes is another challenge.

Yet the fuller vision for the New Agriculture was, and is, both deeper and broader. More deeply, it requires a stance of lifelong learning to the intricacies of nature and how our interventions make a difference. More broadly, it extends in a human sense to creating reasonable food access for everyone, linking producers with eaters in ways that our current food economy doesn’t allow.

In this month’s update, featured farmer Jim VanderPol captures the willingness to go deeper into finding a farm’s sustainable sweet spots when he says: “There exists a potential or an inclination toward harmony in all things.” Community food champion Katie Olender and friends worked hard to create success for fresh food to spread more broadly into a community where produce had been virtually unavailable.

The commercialization of organics since the U.S. national organic system started five years ago will face a new chapter in 2008 as crop, food and energy prices are expected to increase sharply, testing current assumptions about the food marketplace. Canada’s organic sector is poised to adopt its first federal codified system a year from now—launching into a very different farm economy than did organics in the United States.

I echo the sentiments of this month’s Intern Journal. I urge you to set aside time in the next weeks to reflect, re-orient and re-dedicate yourself to the values you are able and want to embrace in 2008 to farm more profitably, more deeply and more broadly.

Make it a good Christmas.
Greg Bowman
Managing Editor

     

Fresh today from The New Farm®
   
Striking a balance
Family learns that good farming is like an evolving dance.
 
   
Delivering on a quality promise
Mainstream convenience store brings fresh, local food to East Lansing, MI neighborhood.
 
   
Canada’s efforts to make organics official have come a long way, but there’s still work to be done before December 14, 2008
A network of players and government agencies is trying to reconcile all the puzzle pieces to give farmers unencumbered access to provincial, national and international organic markets.
 
   

Reader Mail
This month features questions and answers about finding farmers who cater to Muslim festivals, integrated weed management, the Organic Price Report and more.

book reviews
Good reads
Holiday gift suggestions from The Rodale Institute staff.

   
   

News & Views
• Floods decimate farms in Southwest Washington
• Hog MRSA infection spreading to farmers
• Organic undersupply stunts market growth
• Oil expert says in 100 years all farming will be organic
• Safety fears prompt Europe to consider ban on GM
• If it’s fresh and local, is it always greener?

op/ed
On the Plains, there’s room outside the box
Prairie chickens, paying guests and preserving water shift from what has worked in the past to what can work in the future.

   
   

at the rodale institute®
   
   
one farm to another
He's making his list and checking....
the price of grain?

Jeff takes a look at the state of the market and explains why now is a great time to go organic.
   
   
intern journal
Those cabin fever blues
Dealing with coming indoors to a smaller space.
   
   
dr. paul's research perspectives
Fabricated food has become a
profitable, debilitating problem

Insects know how to tap into a sustainable eco-niche—why can’t humans eat, and farm, that way, too?
   
   
 
   
   
     
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