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
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
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.