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Category: Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

Interview: Farmer, Susie Hance-Wells, Part 2

Interview: Farmer, Susie Hance-Wells, Part 2

The first interview is with Susie Hance-Wells of Taney Place farm in Calvert County. The farm recently started a new retail venture called Battle Creek Beef. In Part 1, Susie discussed the farm operation, and tips for new and beginning farmers. In Part 2 below, she discusses her perspective on creating a better food system and the role of agriculture in local communities. Maryland FarmLINK: How does your farm contribute to creating a better food system? Susie: Those of us who were born and raised…

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Beginning farmer scales up sustainably, buying and leasing equipment

Beginning farmer scales up sustainably, buying and leasing equipment

By Priscilla Wentworth and Greg Bowen The new generation of farmers are resourceful. Our latest case in point is Michael Protas of One Acre Farm in Montgomery County. We learned of his operation because of a farm tour arranged by Future Harvest CASA about Scaling Up Sustainably. Like most beginning farmers today, Michael started with a desire to farm, but no farm background and no land. Mike started by volunteering on a farm near College Station, Pennsylvania, where he developed a passion…

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Pollinating the local economy to grow jobs and prosperity

Pollinating the local economy to grow jobs and prosperity

Consumer demand is changing the U.S. food industry and local economies can take advantage of consumer demand for less processed fresh and local foods. A National Good Food Network webinar last week highlighted some ways to grow the local economy. Rather than simply attracting another region’s businesses and retaining the ones you have, Michael Shuman, author of The Local Economy Solution, suggests that local governments and nonprofits should: (1) Maximize local ownership. (2) Maximize local self-reliance. (3) Spread models of…

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Walking-the-walk for Buy Local Challenge Week!

Walking-the-walk for Buy Local Challenge Week!

When Buy Local Challenge Week began 7 years ago, it was a challenge to find enough locally sourced food to feed yourself. No more. Aside from a few condiments, consumers can find a well-rounded diet. A locavore in Maryland can find a wide selection of meats and dairy year around. We can find a broad selection of seasonally grown fruits and vegetables, though it is next to impossible find locally sourced strawberries in the winter months! To extend variety and supply…

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Young Farmers ponder creating a chapter of the NYFC in our region

Young Farmers ponder creating a chapter of the NYFC in our region

The National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) has only been around for a few years, but it has already become an effective national voice for young farmers. It played a role in developing young farmer programs that were included in the 14 Farm Bill and it has written publications on helping young farmers get access to land. NYFC’s vision:  “a country where young people who are willing to work, get trained and take a little risk can support themselves and their families in…

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CSAs — new data and two workshops

CSAs — new data and two workshops

In its report to congress this month, the USDA noted that farms that are selling food directly for human consumption have a greater survival rate than farms who market through wholesale channels. They have a lower debt-to-asset ratio which gives them better ability to repay loans. Perhaps more significantly, they capture practically the whole food dollar, rather that the typical 10% that the average U.S. farmer gets. There may be another factor as well – the farmer-consumer connection. As an example, Community Supported…

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With disdain for the 10,000-mile diet

With disdain for the 10,000-mile diet

In a recent Farm Forum post on Maryland FarmLINK, I mentioned  a new book “The Locavore’s Dilemma: In Praise of the 10,000-Mile Diet” which dismissed the local food movement as an upper middle class food movement. Of course, the book’s title is intended to counter Michael Pollan’s “Omnivore’s Dilemma” which advances the notion that folks should try to find local food sources because they are fresher, you get to know the farmer and how he/she is raising the food, and…

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