Those of us lucky enough to be at the NOFA Mass Winter Conference this year were privileged to see Elizabeth and Paul Kaiser of Singing Frogs Farm in Sebastopol, CA give this Keynote speech. You’ve never seen no-till farming look this easy or this sensical. Skip to minute 27 to see my favorite part: 45 minutes of bed changeover condensed in a 45 second time lapse video.
Greenhorns! It’s no secret that the National Young Farmers Coalition goes to Herculean efforts for young farmers across the country, from fighting lobbyists from big ag to make sure the farm bill addresses the needs of small farmers to advocating their chaps off for farmer student loan forgiveness programs. Now, it’s time to help them help you!
This year, like they do every five years, NYFC conducts their National Young Farmers survey in order to understand and elevate the issues that matter most to young farmers and aspiring farmers. The result of this survey help to define the organization’s policy goals and agenda. Since they launched the survey website a couple of weeks ago, a couple of thousand farmers have taken the survey, but they still need 3,000 more respondents to reach their goal of 5,000. Let’s go!
Young farmers and ranchers – what are the issues that matter most to you? What policy changes could help your business succeed? Take the National Young Farmers Survey today and let the nation know that FarmersCount! www.youngfarmers.org/survey
This seems like a combo we could use more of: according to Ecowatch, “this hospital prescribes fresh food from its own organic farm.” The reporting in the linked article accurately articulates a move we hope to see more of in Western Medicine: a holistic approach that recognizes patients as members of large societal systems in which the health of the two (patient and society) is inextricably linked.
Long before Martha Stewart printed her seasonal gardening chores on the first pages in each issue of Martha Stewart Living, The Old Farmer’s Almanac outlined the farm-related tasks for any given month in a not dissimilar tone.
“The almanac as a form is actually much older than The Old Farmer’s Almanac,” said The New Farmer’s Almanac Vol. III lead editor, Nina Pick. There is, for example, the Babylonian Almanac, which dates back to the first millennium BCE and detailed the relative auspiciousness of each day of the year for any endeavor of ordinary life—including activities related to food, health, travel, and business. In the first century ACE, Greek writer Ptolemy connected celestial movements with future weather patterns. By the Middle Ages, people saw little difference between predicting the movements of the stars and tides and predicting the future for purposes of divination. In other words, you could read your horoscope in medieval almanacs—just as you can today.
Pick said the new publication is “drawing on a very old, traditional form, and while keeping the integrity of this old form, we’re also radicalizing it—bringing in ideas that are more revolutionary, more radical—to have these conversations with a new agrarian movement.”
Contributions come from farmers young and old, activists, economists, poets, ecologists, and a former Russian literature professor. One contributor, Elizabeth Henderson, has been an organic farmer since 1980 and is two weeks away from celebrating the end of her 28th season at Peacework Organic CSA—which she says is the oldest CSA in New York State north of Long Island. She has contributed to The New Farmer’s Almanac for two years, and the latest volume includes two more of her essays: one on GMOs and another on raising the minimum wage for farmworkers.
There is a strong anti-GMO theme running throughout the volume, Pick said, and support of local and alternative economies. Henderson, for her part, said she has been able to sustain her farm for so many years by building and relying on networks of social capital. The members of Peacework, for example, contributed money to the Genesee Land Trust to purchase the farm’s land.
Poet Douglass DeCandia was eager to contribute to the third volume because “I feel that The New Farmer’s Almanac is giving voice to the people who are coming to agriculture to help heal the land, ourselves, and our communities.”
What the almanac as a form can do—and what The New Farmer’s Almanac does—is unite two distinct human needs between the covers of one book.
-Sarah McColl has written for Yahoo Food, Bon Appétit, and other publications. She’s based in Brooklyn, New York. This piece was created for Takepart, published on November 6, 2016.
Please join National Farmers Union December 5-8, 2016 for our FREE online
beginning farmer and rancher conference.
Growing for the Future is a unique online, interactive virtual conference
focused on beginning farmer and rancher issues, including: mentorship,
business planning, USDA programs women and veterans in farming, conservation
and much more!
The conference is completely online, and features farmer-to-farmer webinars,
live Q & A, a discussion board, a resource center and free giveaways! Register
now for free to join us in December for this unique opportunity!
Register here: https://nfu.org/growing-for-the-future/
Please contact NFU Education Coordinator Melissa Miller for questions:
Kiva and Greenhorns working together to help small farmers grow their businesses
Katrina and Keely, Founders of Tinyfield Farm in Brooklyn, NY
The Greenhorns and Kiva are working together to help farmers access the capital and customers they need to successfully grow their businesses. Over the next few months, The Greenhorns will host a series of articles and podcasts about how farmers can benefit from a 0% interest, crowdfunded loan from Kiva at various stages in their business’ lifecycle.
Imagine the perfect growing season for your farm. It’s probably a warm, sunny one and the frost stayed away long enough for you to complete your harvest. You’re popular at your farmers markets, always selling out, and your delivery van didn’t break down once! People are raving about your produce: they’re writing great reviews and are signing up for your CSA.
It’s the type of season that fills you with pride.
Now imagine a season where things start to go wrong. The weather takes a turn for the worse and a field gets flooded, your delivery van breaks down on the way to market, the birds are more numerous than usual and are destroying your food…The list goes on and on.
Running a farm can be a stressful affair, especially when it comes to dealing with uncertainty.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
Hundreds of farmers have found peace-of-mind by raising 0% interest capital for their businesses from Kiva, a nonprofit that supports U.S. entrepreneurs.
Since 2012, Kiva has helped hundreds of farmers raise over $2 million in funding – all without charging a single cent of interest or fees.
As a nonprofit, Kiva is dedicated to increasing access to capital for business owners who need it the most: people who are unable to raise money for their business from traditional sources, like banks.
With 8,000 small business loan applications rejected in the U.S. every day, more and more entrepreneurs are turning to alternative sources of financing, and Kiva is here to help.
Kiva is a crowdfunding platform like Indiegogo and Kickstarter, except instead of donations or purchases, the “crowd” makes 0% interest loans to entrepreneurs fundraising on the platform.
Kiva’s “crowd” is made up of 1.5 million supportive lenders around the world, many of whom lend locally and become business’ new customers, brand ambassadors and fans.
Like Indiegogo and Kickstarter, entrepreneurs create a campaign where they tell their story and why they’re raising money. Unlike Indiegogo and Kickstarter, entrepreneurs on Kiva have a 90% public funding success rate.
Even better, farmers have a 98% funding success rate on Kiva!
Over the next few months, The Greenhorns will post a series of articles and podcasts about how a Kiva loan can support at different stages in a farm’s lifecycle. These posts will be anchored in stories of real entrepreneurs, who have grown their business through Kiva.
Theo, Co-Owner of Helios Farms Liz, Co-Owner of Happy Hollow Farm
These entrepreneurs are people like Liz, co-owner of Happy Hollow Farm, who borrowed $10,000 to build three high tunnels that extended her growing season; and Theo, co-owner of Helios Farms, who borrowed $5,000 to help purchase a refrigerated trailer to serve as a butcher shop and walk-in cooler.
More than just capital, Liz and Theo had 337 people from Kiva’s community lend to them! These entrepreneurs now have larger networks of people who believe in them and their businesses.
This is the power of Kiva. Kiva’s community of lenders truly believes in supporting small business owners and shows so by expecting only the money they lent in return for their investment.
Every farmer has their off-days, and Kiva is here to help them realize more perfect ones.
Check in again next week for a new story, and to learn more about Kiva, visit us.kiva.org/greenhorns or email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out this timeline (found HERE) from the center for new economics. It’s great!