the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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young farmers on church land

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credit: Emily Michot at the Miami Herald (emichot@miamiherald.com)

You have have read about our upcoming Faith Lands conference in our newsletter during the week. The purpose of the gathering is to connect landowning faith groups with landless young farmers. We want to help create a network that will help nativiate some of the complex issues that can arise in these situations. We are not the first to have this thought however, and we are delighted to see that there are already relationships blossoming between these two diverse groups. Once such example can be seen in the collaboration between Moses Kashem and the St. Simon’s Episcopal church as reported by the Miami Herald this week.

St. Simon’s Episcopal church was going broke. It’s a tiny squat building on 4 acres of land in south Miami-Dade County, with a tiny congregation. That’s when a new member of the congregation, Moses Kashem, came up with an idea. A young farmer, he asked the church elders to give him half an acre to farm specifically for local restaurants and chefs, and he already has signed up several chefs to purchase his produce.

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this farm and home could be yours for $1000!!!

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The owners of this property, John and June Strothenke are selling in the most unusual way – an essay contest! It costs $1000 to enter but they are only accepting 420 applicants so that odds that you could win are relatively high!  Continue reading


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the family farm bulks up

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Lon Frahm may represent the future of farming. Inside a two-story office building overshadowed by 80-foot steel grain bins, he points to a map showing the patchwork of square and circular fields that make up his operation. It covers nearly 10% of the county’s cropland, and when he climbs into his Cessna Skylane to check crops from the air, he can fly 30 miles before reaching the end of his land. At 30,600 acres, his farm is among the country’s vastest, and it yields enough corn and wheat each year to fill 4,500 semitrailer trucks. Big operations like Mr. Frahm’s, which he has spent decades building, are prospering despite the deepest farm slump since the 1980s. Years of low prices for corn, wheat and other commodities brought on by a glut of grain world-wide are driving smaller American farmers out of business.

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watch: practicing for when peace breaks out on the latest our land

This latest episode of Our Land takes place at the intersection of farming, faith, and political activism. Take a walk with us through farms formed by the Catholic Workers Association. “A friend calls it practicing for when peace breaks out, because, really, if we were to live in a world filled with peace, we wouldn’t be able to live with the resource extraction that’s happening.”

See the (dare we say charming?) sisters at Sinsinawa Mound in Wisconsin who are sharing land parcels– “we hold the land in common”– with young farmers to grow food for their community.

And be ready to get your goosebumps on and go forth into the world inspired.


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sharpen your pencils: essay contest for a dream farm

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Did you have the experience of entering a coloring contest to win an over-sized Easter bunny, or perhaps a pie baking competition for gift basket filled with all manner of goodies? I clearly remember those moments from my childhood – moments that now seem quite unrealistic in terms of how things actually work in the world.

But wait!

Here’s the equivalent over-sized Easter bunny for the young agrarian: Award-winning architect-turned-farmer Norma Burns has decided to give her beautiful farm away in an essay contest.  Norma has been growing herbs, vegetables, and cut flowers on the certified organic, 13 acre farm for the last eighteen years. Continue reading


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pint-sized tea estates

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Photo Credit: Subrata Nagchoudhury

When we normally think of tea farms, we picture massive estates and thousands of acres of that familiar dark-leaved perennial shrub. In North Bengal, however, creative farmers, gardeners, and entrepreneurs are both thinking outside and shrinking down the box. Subhash Sarkar, a retired government worker, is leading the charge:

While this region in North Bengal has always been associated with tea, small gardens like that of Sardar, measuring between an acre and 25 acres, are a relatively new feature and are rapidly coming up. Their owners say that if an acre of paddy yields Rs 6,000 a year, a tea plantation of the same size fetches them at least double the amount if not more, excluding expenses on labour, fertilizers and pesticides.

With small-scale tea farming looking increasingly feasible and earning farmers twice the payback as rice, the suburbs outside of Bangladesh’s major cities may soon be dotted with productive patches of Camellia sinensis.

Check out the photos and learn more about North Bengal’s burgeoning small-scale tea farms by clicking HERE.