Monthly Archives: January 2012

New York Organic Farmers Protest Fracking and Support Ban on Hydro-Fracking Albany January 23.

Environmental groups, including New York farmers rallied in Albany on January 23, 2012 to call for a legislative ban on hydraulic fracturing of natural gas wells, saying that no amount of regulation can make the process safe.

According to today’s article in the Washington Examiner, there are several Bills pending in the New York State Legislature that are likely to pass as activists lobby for the passage of several bills.

http://washingtonexaminer.com/news/2012/01/environmental-groups-rally-ny-fracking-bills/2125121

On January 20, 2012 at the Annual NOFA-NY Members Meeting at the NOFA-NY Conference in Saratoga Springs  a policy resolution was  passed to ban hydraulic fracturing worldwide. The majority of members felt that there could be no compromise on the issue.

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Filed under CONFERENCE, Environment, Gas Drilling Hydro-Fracking

Growing Under Cover Neversink Farm Claryville New York–Beauty More Then Skin Deep!

 FLOATING ROW COVERS ADD ANOTHER ZONE INSIDE THE GREENHOUSE

Winter growing is a challenge for northeast farmers but a visit to NOFA-NY Certified Organic Farm in Claryville New York in mid-January demonstrates that it can be done and done well. Kate and Conor Crickmore are meticulous farmers and surprisingly Conor declared emphatically that aesthetics was a “very  important part of the operation.” Maybe it’s Conor’s background as a restaurant owner in New York City rather than his commitment to the USDA regulated  details of growing organic food that prompted this comment. But one would have to agree, that in spite of the long-term belief that organic food might not look as good as conventionally grown food, when it comes to marketing your product “aesthetics” does matter.

“It all ties in together anyhow” said Conor. Methods of harvesting, proper packaging, labeling, getting produce to market so that it is beautiful also reflects the care that goes into growing food “on a human scale”. Nothing at Neversink Farm is overreaching in scale or volume, yet Neversink offers diversity of products that the Crickmores are developing slowly and carefully paying strict attention to National Organic Practices (NOP).

Growing under-cover in hoop houses are an important part of Neversink’s year-round operation. In summer, it is cucumbers and tomatoes “They must have even heat” says Conor, “to develop a sweet juicy flavor.” And with his restaurant background, one can see that flavorful food is what it is all about, from his slower, growing meat chickens and  heritage breed layers  to the stunning Tansworth pigs that add to the farm’s diversity and manure source.

 Employing a “stacking of functions” the Neversink poultry flock prepares the ground in the high tunnel for early spring planting. In the warm weather the poultry are truly free ranging guarded against predators by two donkeys who are kept primarily for their contributions to soil fertility.

The winter crop consists of  mixed salad greens, including Mizuna and Tatzoi which are put into rotation with spinach and lettuce in the greenhouse beds.  The greens are delivered in “just picked” condition, washed, nicely  packaged (with a gold label) to specialty food stores  and restaurants in the area.

The greenhouse crop varies as the months progress into spring taking advantage of the natural course of the sun in fall and winter. Neversink CSA subscribers, retailers and farmers market customers were also treated in late fall to greenhouse grown carrots. Conor remarked that “no carrots or potatoes are left” so storage is not presently a problem. Everthing is kept to scale with appropriate yields for the season’s demands and marketing opportunities, remembering their motto “Human Scale Sustainable Agriculture.”

For more information and to appreciate the diversity of this outstanding organic farm please visit the Neversink Farm  website where you may find information on food events, farm tours and CSA subscription as well as more insight into the philosophy that inspires “beautiful” organic farming which goes much deeper than appearance.

http://www.neversinkfarm.com/

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Filed under Beginning Farmer, Environment, Sustainable Farming

For 2012 Save What You Seed…..Should Small Farmers Occupy Wallstreet? Seed Growers Alliance Conference

Photo Credit: High Mowing Seeds, Vermont

As we find ourselves in the new year 2012  we also find ourselves surrounded by  many seed catalogues  specializing in organic, rare or hierloom varieties of plants. Why?

On December 4 of 2011 groups of small US farmers went to Zucotti Park in New York City to demonstrate against the “corporate” dominance over our food supply. Why?

Answer:      Over 56% of the world’s food supply is dominated by 4 seed companies.

Seed farmer Jim Gerritson of Maine sums it up in this U-tube video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTpDqS8qb60&feature=player_embedded#!

THERE WILL BE A LIVE BROADCAST FROM THE ORGANIC SEED ALLIANCE WORKSHOP being held in Washington State on  JANUARY 19th-20th. Go to the Alliance website for more information.

http://www.seedalliance.org/Seed_Growers_Conference/

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Filed under Beginning Farmer, CONFERENCE, Environment, seed saving, seeds, Sustainable Farming, Transition Towns