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Tag: Access to farmland

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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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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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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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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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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Saving family farms in Maryland – the right regulatory environment

Saving family farms in Maryland – the right regulatory environment

This blog is one of a series on saving family farms in Maryland. In my last post, I covered some of the typical infrastructure needs of beginning farmers. In this post, I discuss possible regulatory challenges for new agricultural entrepreneurs. As I mentioned in a previous post, when Maryland’s health and zoning regulations were first adopted, direct sales of farm products, value-added farm products and agri-tourism uses (such as farm weddings, corn mazes, and wine tastings) were not a significant part of…

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Saving family farms in Maryland – Infrastructure solutions

Saving family farms in Maryland – Infrastructure solutions

This blog is one of a series on saving family farms in Maryland. In my last post, I noted that young and beginning farmers often have difficulty finding land that also has the infrastructure amenities they need. In this post I cover some of the common infrastructure needs. Access to water Most commodity crops are not irrigated. However, just about every other crop is irrigated and livestock operations require water too. A good production well for irrigation can easily cost up…

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