Successful urban farmers use intensive agriculture

CN-MR-1-Urban farmersby Sanne Kure-Jensen

There are many benefits to farming in urban areas. Most urban farmers enjoy being close to their markets and customers. They also spend less time and money transporting goods to customers than rural growers. Urban sites generally offer easy access to potable water. Most urban farmers have fewer wildlife problems than their rural counterparts. Urban environments also tend to be 6 – 8 degrees warmer than rural areas. This is partly due to the heat island effect of pavement and sidewalks. [Read more…]

Sparrow Soap and how it grew

CN-MR-3-GOATSOAP4by George Looby, DVM

Billy goats are the butt of many farm-related jokes, but without their services, many enterprises using goats and their by-products would quietly disappear from the scene. Bucks are usually relegated to the farthest corner of the farm, but here at Kingdom Kids Family Farm, they are housed in a barn (aptly named Man Cave), located directly behind the main barn. For those unfamiliar with goats, bucks emit a unique odor during the breeding season which most people rank somewhere between unacceptable to intolerable. This characteristic stands in stark contrast to the product produced by farm owner Michelle Lyon and her partner Sue Barry. Since 2011, they have been manufacturing cosmetic soap using goat milk as a critical ingredient. [Read more…]

Our Family Farms

CN-MR-3-FamilyFarm2by Laura Rodley

Our Family Farms is a co-owned cooperative, comprising four farms stretching from Leyden, at the northern edge of Massachusetts, to Shelburne, across 10 miles of fertile land. This land supports 400 cows, collectively of prize-winning stock, that produce high-quality hormone rBST-free milk. Its office is based in Greenfield, MA.

Warren Facey is the owner of Bree-Z-Knoll in Leyden, executive director of Massachusetts Association of Dairy Farmers and a 40-year Farm Bureau member. He is also on the Franklin County Board of Directors and a lifelong observer of farms. “In 1985 there was a big exodus. It’s been going on ever since,” he said. [Read more…]

A new renaissance

CEW-MR-1-Soil renaissanceby Tamara Scully

Neil Conklin, President of Farm Foundation, NFP, introduced a new movement in today’s agriculture, one which is inclusive of all types of production systems, philosophies, farm sizes, and crops. It’s a movement with one key component — soil.

This movement is called the Soil Renaissance, and it is coming soon to a farm near you. According to Conklin, the movement began to take root after Klaas Martens, a New York state organic farmer, and Bill Buckner, formerly CEO of Bayer CropScience LP and now the President and CEO of the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, had a discussion about their passion for soil health. No matter that they had disparate backgrounds. They agreed that soil health is key to a sustainable agriculture, one which can feed the world as the population rapidly grows, climate changes cause havoc, the agricultural landbase decreases, and decimated soils can no longer support food production. [Read more…]

Can a haunted barn save the farm?

CW-MR-1-Haunted barn5by Sally Colby

In the early 20th century, most families who lived in urban areas had relatives who farmed, and those urbanites often spent at least part of the summer on the farm. If that counts as recreation, then agritainment isn’t new. At the time, it was no stretch to find city families visiting their farm relatives for weeks at a time, or perhaps leaving the children on the farm to visit grandparents or cousins. Urban family members developed an appreciation for the hard work that goes into food production, and probably returned to the city relieved that they didn’t have to live that life. [Read more…]