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Category: access to farmland

Finding Suitable Land Through Maryland FarmLINK

Finding Suitable Land Through Maryland FarmLINK

In late 2016, Benny and Courtney Pino started a quest to move their farm operation, Loblolly Farm, closer to the markets of the Washington D.C. region. They opened a map and narrowed their search to any suitable farm site within a few hours of Washington D.C. From their home in Southern Florida, they pulled up Google on their laptop, where FarmLINK websites from across the country popped-up. In the Washington D.C. region, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland all had FarmLINK websites which…

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Young Farmers Create Maryland Chapter of the NYFC

Young Farmers Create Maryland Chapter of the NYFC

Maryland FarmLINK posted a blog last year about an initial meet-up to identify interests from young farmers in the region. The meeting was to discuss forming a state-wide chapter of the  National Young Farmers Coalition, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting practices and policies that will sustain young farmers now and in the future. There was much interest and enthusiasm, so, following the event, the Maryland Young Farmers Coalition (MD-YFC) was born. The Maryland Chapter is a networking and support group made up of young…

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Saving Family Farms in Maryland

Saving Family Farms in Maryland

This week sure is the week of farm conferences and events!  We will report on some of them in the coming weeks, but this week we’ve revived a series of posts on “Saving family farms in Maryland”. The series addresses many of the challenges and opportunities we face in farming in Maryland, and will likely continue to face. Perhaps with a look back at them we can charge ourselves with a few new tasks as we make our way into the new year. Saving…

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Tomorrow’s Harvest: Beginning farmers share their stories

Tomorrow’s Harvest: Beginning farmers share their stories

SMADC has launched a new webpage called Tomorrow’s Harvest showcasing a series of stories about farmers in SMADC’s Mentor Match Program. Eight mentee farmers of the inaugural program agreed to share their stories in hopes that their experiences will be useful to others just beginning the journey. As the age of the average farmer continues to rise, programs like the Mentor Match are in place to keep farming alive in our region. High cost of land and necessary infrastructure to get started prevent many…

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Maryland FarmLINK continues to gain ground building connections for the region

Maryland FarmLINK continues to gain ground building connections for the region

As we move into fall, it marks a good time to look back and reflect, as Maryland FarmLINK just finished the year-end report. FarmLINK helps aspiring farmers locate farmland and find mentors and partners. FarmLINK provides a forum for all farmers to exchange and ask questions, and provides information such as where to find equipment for rent, workshops, land, and general farming news. The popularity of the website continues to grow with visits to the site increasing 134%, to 124,000…

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Finding a place to grow — on leased land in Maryland

Finding a place to grow — on leased land in Maryland

The Piedmont Environmental Council recently released a publication entitled Finding a Place to Grow: How the Next Generation is Gaining Access to Farmland. It consists of a series of stories written by Whitney Pipkin about beginning farmers in Virginia who are farming successfully on leased land. Maryland farmers are making their own inspiring stories about producing food for the region on leased land. For many reasons, the odds have been stacked against those who lease farmland, yet they seem to persevere. Hands…

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Millennials try their hand at farming with the help of a mentor and a farm owner

Millennials try their hand at farming with the help of a mentor and a farm owner

What a joy to visit with Ross Margulies, Leah Putkammer, and Rebecca Cecere Seward on a Mentor Match farm visit last week. Ross and Leah’s farm, Working over Thyme, is located on rolling hills near the Patuxent River in Prince George’s County. Rebecca’s  farm, Prickly Pear Produce, is a 40-minute drive away, in Charles County. Ross and Leah are college educated professionals working in Washington, D.C. who found that growing food is their passion. Previously, they had taken classes, grown their own gardens,…

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Lively discussion and stories at the Southern Maryland Leasing Workshop

Lively discussion and stories at the Southern Maryland Leasing Workshop

At the workshop on March 16th, roughly 2/3rds of the 36 attendees were leasing land or have land to lease. Some of those who leased land told humorous anecdotes about failed leasing agreements. The remaining third of attendees were actively seeking land to lease. I was joined by Jenny Rhodes, Extension agent from Queen Anne’s County, Mae Johnson, Director of the Maryland Agricultural Conflict Resolution Service, and Paul Goeringer, an attorney at University of Maryland’s College of Agriculture & Natural…

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A small farm revolution?

A small farm revolution?

For the title of this blog, I borrowed a chapter title from John Ikerd’s book Small Farms are Real Farms. In that book, he strongly defends the role that small farms play in their communities and the signs he sees of their renaissance. In the last few years, new voices have risen along with his, for the advancement of small farms. Lindsey Lusher Shute, President of the National Young Farmers Coalition, and previously featured in my blog, is one of…

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The Appalachia Region Gets it!

The Appalachia Region Gets it!

At the Appalachia Grows Conference last weekend, I sensed a resolve to make the local food system work. Garrett County already has a food hub – the Garrett Growers Cooperative, Inc. It has been primarily selling to restaurants,but Extension Agent Willie Lantz said that they have been working with Frostburg State University to sell food to the cafeteria there too. At the evening dinner held for beginning farmers, attendees were treated to a tasty dinner of locally sourced food provided by…

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