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Tag: sustainable agriculture

Initial dryland rice research in Maryland, proving to be promising & profitable

Initial dryland rice research in Maryland, proving to be promising & profitable

It is not uncommon for Maryland farmer Heinz Thomet to go against the grain and grow different and exciting produce for market. However, ever since he literally started growing organic grains for sale a few years ago, I have been curious. I became even more curious when he started growing and selling rice. In Maryland? And without paddies? What started as research has turned out to be an auspicious, marketable crop. Farmers in the region are still in the infant stages of understanding…

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Interview: Chesapeake’s Bounty Part 2, Mix’n’Match and Food Forests

Interview: Chesapeake’s Bounty Part 2, Mix’n’Match and Food Forests

As part of the weekly blog post series, Maryland FarmLINK occasionally features an interview with a local farmer or local food advocate.  If we want to create a different food system, where regionally-based agricultural systems can thrive, my hope is that we value more models like Chesapeake’s Bounty. This interview is with Will Kreamer, owner and operator of Chesapeake’s Bounty in St. Leonard and North Beach. Highlighting the health, environmental, and economic benefits of local food, the Bounty sells a wide range…

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Do farms have to be profitable?

Do farms have to be profitable?

To many, farming is a rejection of urban lifestyles, of being chained to a desk. Farming is a lifestyle of independence and a connection to nature. But do farms have to be profitable? Recently, I was in a conversation with Ginger Myers, Extension Marketing Specialist, and a beginning farmer. We were discussing to what extent she wished to be profitable. She replied that she wants to sell her free-range, naturally raised eggs at a low price so that families of all income…

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Romanticists and realists should see value in farm diversity!

Romanticists and realists should see value in farm diversity!

I cry at (good) movies and I think wistfully about the good ole days when quaint, picturesque, farms of all sizes dotted Maryland’s countryside. Each winter, I read stories of successful homesteaders and pledge to produce most of my own food. However, I know that some farmers went out of business in the “good ole days” and I know that I will be buying most of my food this year– locally sourced, if possible. Both the romanticist and the realist…

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Townies, it is time to get back in the dirt!

Townies, it is time to get back in the dirt!

‘Agri’ came before ‘culture’ Before agriculture, humans were nomads by necessity. They could not store food for long periods, so they were in constant search for food. Through the use of crude tools to turn the soil and the accidental or intentional interbreeding of grasses, they began to produce enough grain to store. As their farming processes improved, fewer family members had to be devoted to food production and more people could come together for mutual protection and communication. From…

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Stewardship is a top priority at Next Step Produce

Stewardship is a top priority at Next Step Produce

Nineteen of us traveled to Newburg, Md to participate in the START Farmer’s Network tour of Next Step Produce.  Heinz Thomet  and Gabrielle Lajoie purchased the farm in 1999 after carefully looking for the best place to grow organic produce for direct sale to consumers.  I covered some of the reasons why they purchased the Charles County farm in a blog post last year. A number of the farm guests participated in this START Farmer’s Network tour for the first time, intrigued by the reputation of…

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The mighty AMPs and the local food movement

The mighty AMPs and the local food movement

Last week, I got to meet a group of Agricultural Marketing Professionals (AMPs) and to follow them on part of their Southern Maryland tour of successful agricultural marketing ventures. I believe that AMPs are essential to the local food movement because of the history and timing of the development of zoning and health regulations in the U.S. Planning and zoning departments and local health departments did not exist as recently as one hundred years ago. The need for zoning and…

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Does a passion for growing food mean a life of poverty? Response to a NYTimes op-ed

Does a passion for growing food mean a life of poverty? Response to a NYTimes op-ed

The new and beginning farmers of today do not pursue the career to get rich. Most are drawn by the chance to work outside, to be their own bosses and to grow food to sell. A recent New York Times Letter to the Editor by Bren Smith entitled “Don’t Let Your Children Grow Up to be Farmers” (Sunday Review, Aug. 9) states that the “much-celebrated small-scale farmer isn’t making a living.” The letter disturbed me so much that I put it…

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START Farmers’ Network visits Sassafras Creek Farm!

START Farmers’ Network visits Sassafras Creek Farm!

Soon after we gathered, Jennifer and David Paulk explained their unlikely transition into farming. Since David was career U.S. Navy, they have lived all over the country. However, gardening has always been a hobby that both enjoyed. His last assignment brought the couple to Southern Maryland and they purchased a house with a 1-acre field to enjoy their hobby. Approaching retirement, David said that his work inside the beltway was particularly stressful and he realized that when he would get…

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Twilight Crops Tour Part 2: from heritage corn to college cafeterias!

Twilight Crops Tour Part 2: from heritage corn to college cafeterias!

Last week, I covered half of the stops on the Twilight Crops Tour held August 7th. Today I will cover the rest, in no particular order. So what else is new and happening at the Experiment Station? In his research project entitled Open Pollinated Corn trials, Herb Reid has been searching for characteristics in heritage varieties that farmers may find valuable. Coincidentially, I’ve been reading Dan Barber’s The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food, and he begins his…

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