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…]

Back To The Future Farm – a rosy picture of the future of farming

CE-MR-3-BTTF1by Judy Van Put

Scores of family, friends, neighbors and well-wishers gathered at the O’Dell Dairy/Back To The Future Farm just off County Route 6 near Middletown, NY on Sunday, July 13, to celebrate the ribbon-cutting and grand opening of the “Ole Mother Hubbert Creamline Milk” on-site creamery.

The gathering began at 11:30 a.m., with the ceremony beginning at noon, followed by a chicken barbecue. Various Cooperative Extension agents and representatives as well as legislators and assemblypersons were on hand with letters of commendation, plaques and awards and hearty congratulations to Mike O’Dell — and Rose and Lee Hubbert, for seeing their dream come to fruition. [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…]

A woman jouster in Sherwood Forest

CN-MR-2-Jousterby Laura Rodley

In Sherwood Forest, Robin Hood stole from the rich to give to the poor. In Montague’s forest, he invited others to do his work and allowed them to feel rich by giving donations of food — part of their entrance fee at the fourth annual Mutton and Mead Medieval Festival — to be collected by the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts to feed the poor and hungry. Proceeds will also benefit Montague Common Hall repairs, Leverett-based Wingmasters Raptor Center, 4-H’ers manning the archery booth and local Girl Scouts. [Read more…]