Concern over antibiotics in organic apples raises serious doubts for consumers, but is anyone telling the whole story? Our orchardist hasn’t had to use antibiotics on our apple trees here at Rodale Institute, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t consider it. Shocked? Good. Maybe a little shock and awe will help solve this serious issue for farmers and families alike.
Here are the facts: Two types of antibiotic treatments are currently used specifically to control fire blight on both conventional and organic apples and pears. Fire blight is extremely destructive, often requiring the removal of entire trees to prevent spreading the disease through an orchard. What the media isn’t telling families… (more…)
Every year, all the local organic farmers meet for the split up of the feather meal truck in Pittsboro, NC, go home and dump the stuff on our fields. One day about 12 years ago, I decided that the feather meal smelled so horrible (and smelled even worse when it rotted) that it and every other bad smelling thing would be forever banned from Turtle Run. It was tough getting the right nutrients until we made a chance discovery about five years ago. (more…)
Transitioning the farm from one generation to the next is high stress and can be both financially and emotionally complicated. This young farmer needs some advice!
Our farm is entering is 10th season. We are certified organic and grow 8 acres (in vegetable production) for a 200-member CSA, farmers’ market, farm store and a little wholesale. I am 33-years old and currently managing the farm full time. My mom and dad are in their mid 60′s and ready to move from the farm. We are laying out the groundwork for me to purchase the house and buildings (2.5 acres) and lease the land (total of 16 acres). The division makes more financial sense for me personally. I am super nervous about making this decision. Has anyone out there ever been in this situation or something similar and would like to share some insight? (more…)
John and Aimee Good of Quiet Creek Farm CSA wrote a great article about pre-season planning and the documents they use to keep track of everything from their crop lists to their greenhouse plans to the field (The Best Laid Plans). We had so many requests from readers for sample plans, we asked the Goods if they would be willing to share some more details from their actual documents. They were gracious enough to provide the following snips straight from their farm to yours. (more…)
By Susan A. Schneider, Director of LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law at Arkansas School of law and contributor to the Agricultural Law blog.
Earlier this year the USDA finalized the regulations for a new “microloan” program that will provide loans up to $35,000 to family farm operations. Secretary Vilsack stated in a press release that the new program “is aimed at bolstering the progress of producers through their start-up years.” The microloan program promises a less burdensome and more simplified application process than is usually associated with farm loans. (more…)
Not everyone has the time, the space or the inclination to keep their own bees, but buying honey can be confusing. Meme Thomas, instructor for the Honeybee Conservancy classes at Rodale Institute and founder of Baltimore Honey, shared with us the best questions to ask your beekeeper (and the answers you want to hear in return) to ensure he or she is focused on keeping the bees healthy. (more…)
Honey is a pretty natural thing. Honeybees collect nectar from flowering plants, add enzymes and store it until most of the water evaporates. The result is a tasty, naturally sweet, and arguably nutritious sweetener. But like all food, understanding where your honey comes from is important. We, at Attune Foods, really care about honey. We use it in three of our products – our Erewhon Organic Graham Crackers, Erewhon Organic Rice Twice Cereal, and Erewhon Organic Honey Crispy Brown Rice Mixed Berry Cereal. Attune Foods is also very concerned with the presence of GMOs in our food and we made the promise to make all our products Non-GMO Project verified. I assumed it would be a simple exercise to verify the honey we use. What’s genetically modified about honey? The truth is nothing – and everything. (more…)
Rodale Institute executive director Coach Mark Smallwood will be out at Expo West this week talking about honeybees and other pollinators. Catch him Friday March 8th from noon to 1pm (PST) at Attune Foods’ booth #2863 where he will be chatting with folks at the latest “buzz” in the world of honeybees: What’s the buzz about honeybees?. Or between 2:30 and 5pm (PST) at Whole Food’s Share the Buzz event also on Friday March 8th. (more…)
One of our Facebook friends asked us: “Any good book recommendations besides Organic Manifesto and Pay Dirt which I’ve read and which are excellent?” So we took an informal poll here at Rodale Institute and compiled a short list of top book recommendations based on the personal reading lists of our staff. What “organically minded” books have inspired you? (more…)
Editor’s Note: Guest blogger Anna MacDonald Dobbs is the first voice from the Carolinas you can expect to hear over the coming months as we welcome the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA). This first post is a little primer on CFSA, but upcoming entries from both their staff and farmer-members will give us a taste of food systems, policy and daily farm life in their neck of the woods. Enjoy!
By Anna K. MacDonald Dobbs, CFSA Membership Coordinator
Our name is a mouthful. Trust me, I know because I answer the phones. Try saying, “Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, this is Anna. Can I help you?” three times fast or 20 times in the day! All kidding aside, we’re proud of our name because it reflects our history and who we are as an organization. It all boils down to helping people in the Carolinas grow and eat local, organic food. (more…)