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greenhorns update!

Posted: December 26 2010


Greenhorns are back in the Hudson Valley from the far
reaches of western America, the brimming young farmer
scene filling our cup from Albuquerque to Vashon Island
and back. Maybe you came out to one of the mixers we
held in New Mexico, California, Washington and Oregon
this fall? There's a very nice video of our Sacramento
Valley mixer we originally posted on our blog.
More to come in the new year!

It's real winter here now, snow and ice and vermillion
winterberry hugging the shaggy windblown trees
by the wide river. Brrr. Time for work! We're editing,
budgeting, planning well over fifty events for the year,
grinding coffee at a stupendous rate, taking twilight
walks and turning our daydreams into plans of action.
Oh - and we're wrapping up Christmas presents!
Reading for winter

For those of you unfamiliar with the amazing reference section of
Eliot Coleman's New Organic Grower, I have to recommend
you get into that.We've also got a nice little list going in our
Guidebook for Beginning Farmers. Furthermore, I've discovered
the plantation pastoral genre of the New Agrarians -- Robert Penn
Warren, etc. Having loitered mostly in the gardening section of
used book stores, I've recently discovered all sorts of luscious
back-to-the-land drama in the literature section. Holy smokes!

Check out:
-Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd
(Females wreck agriculture, protagonist Bathsheba)
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, Blithedale Romance
(He hates on back to the land, protagonist is Zenobia)
-Elaine Weiss, Fruits of Victory (Progressive feminist
wartime mobilizing of the women's land army)
-John Berger, Pig Earth (Beautiful vignettes of age-old
peasant life)

Contemporary farm vacation novel:
-Kristin Kimball, The Dirty Life (Best book ever for getting
your Mothers, Aunts, Cousins on board with farming,
a raunchy, conspiratorial book about one of the most
radical farms in the northeast - horsepower on 500 acres,
full-season CSA with meat, milk, grain, beans, veg, fruit,
sugarbush, etc.

We've got a great list started of children's (and teen) books
on farming too -- but that is coming out as part of our
USDA/BFRDP grant funded Sourcebook, so you'll have
to wait a while longer for it.


Winter conference season is upon us. Greenhorns will be
screening and convening beginning farmer mixers all over
this eastern seaboard over the winter -- a big deal for us is
NOFA NY on January 20. It is in Saratoga Springs, a super
wonderful (train accessible) town with natural hot water,
a horsey Gilded Age main street, and a kickass winter
farmers market. The Cornell/USDA cats have funded and
planned a whole Beginning Farmer Track -- and there are
quite a number of young farmer scholarships left. So get in
touch, and if you are going to attend, help us with set up.
Volunteer for that to Patrick at [email protected].
Other state NOFA chapters (NJ, VT, NH, MA) will also
have greenhorns presence at their winter conferences.
The complete schedule is online on our Events page.


Just in time for the holidays our bike flags are back
in holly berry red! Along with books, stickers, seeders,
and new posters! It's all assembled for your leisurely
perusal over at our ETSY shop. Posters are cheaper then
ever before! Buy a lot, their revenue helps keep us going
between those uncertain grant cycles.
2011 is big.
Seed Circuses, Grange hall Mixers, Sleepover training
camps in Maine and West Virginia, Workshops, farm
tours, Screenings, theater performances, BBQ, bicycle
powered sewing machines, design charrettes, agrarian
history lectures, charities, craft-celebration projects
and Art collaborations.

We have our schedule up on the wall here at HQ, and
its pretty darn full. If you are wanting to collaborate
with us in 2011, please be in touch SOON and be ready
to hear scheduling is already very tight. Be hereby
encouraged to PLAN AHEAD -(longer than watermelon
lifecycle)- so we can co-foist up a mixer or training in the
place where you live. Winter is for planning, and we are
looking for artists/ craftspeople to collaborate with in the
production of celebration infrastructure.

Contact us day or night: [email protected]
We are sure happy to start being able to schedule
screenings! Now don't all email at once. We have a Nifty
WEBLINK on our homepage where you can fill in your
information. Please use that form. Please use the web form.
Please please please. It does not ask for your date of birth
or entail a binding contract in any way.
Outreach/Screening questions can also be directed to
Patrick:[email protected]. He will urge you to consider
buying a screening kit, with organic popcorn, stickers,
posters et al. He is very organized and effusive.
Greenhorns Book project.
Many of you have seen our Guidebook + Land Access
Mini-compendium. They are free! on the website or
for sale on ETSY. On the merit of that zine-length
guidebook we got a book deal from Storey publishing
to do an expanded version with young farmer essays.
So, in short, we want to hear from you!  The due
date has been extended to January 15th.

description of project:

Greenhorns GUIDEBOOK is a resource for the new
generation of farmers who are popping up all over the
country. This collection of essays and stories conveys
our ethic of thrift, innovation, persistence and strength.
One part pep talk, one part advice column, and one part
celebration, this book aims to give readers a taste of the
beginning farmer experience: the pitfalls and the poetry
of choosing a livelihood so far left of mainstream- of building
a business around our love of agriculture. The book will give
new and aspiring farmers – Greenhorns – a glimpse of the road
ahead in order to help them steer a satisfying and realistic
trajectory into farming. For non-farming readers, this collection
of witty, gritty, raw essays written from the trenches will shed
some light on what it takes to pay your bills when you decide
to start growing food for a living.

In the collaborative spirit of The Greenhorns Project, these written
pieces by young and beginning farmers are woven together with
how-to guidance and interjected with wise words from our agrarian
elders. Inspired by the pluck and purposeful protagonism of these
young farmers, we hope that readers, eaters, voters and moms will
come to understand the tremendous potential of sustainable agriculture
in the reclaiming of America.

If things have finally slowed down a little for you and you meet the
contributor criteria, pick up the pen and send us an essay!

We'd specifically love to see some witty pieces on these general topics:
  • Weeds
  • Land Access
  • Family issues
  • New social methods for farmers
  • Getting credit
  • Water/water rights
  • Bees/worms and other essential micro-critters on the farm
  • Predator/pest tales
  • Draft animal stories
  • Marketing bling, zing, and secrets to success

The Writer Guidelines are downloadable here.
Report on the Young Farmers Conference, Stone Barns
Well, it was pretty super. There were hella young farmers there.
Katheleen Merrigan spoke about how she used to talk about
ag-policy at parties and no one wanted to talk to her.
(I've heard similar stories for dairy girls having no luck
getting a date) But now when she talks about Ag-policy she's
the belle of the ball. Well, she's also Deputy Secretary of Agriculture,
so some of those people at the ball might be her staff. I was really
moved by her intention to support young farmers, and make
good on Vilsack's mandate to grow 100,000 new farmers -- it
seems the USDA wants to hear from us on how they can help our
businesses succeed. So we are telling them:

Here is an article that NYFC Director Lindsey Lusher wrote for
Grist on the policy panels that we hosted

Here is the testimony that Hannah Bernhardt
delivered to the Beginning Farmers and Ranchers
Development Program Advisory Panel at the USDA:

On the practical side, NYFC is pleased to announce the launch of


A place for practical sharing of farmer innovations.

Notice how the National Young Farmers' Coalition is kicking
butt? Join the listserv! Become a member! Get in on the action!
Policy is only one third of what we do, and if there were more of us,
we could do more!

Updates are live on SYCF.net
There is a larger web-overhaul afoot in which the map takes a
more central role -- but for the meantime we've put in some helpful
1. Pink dots are service providers of young farmers in the northeast.
We got that data from our work with USDA Beginning farmer and
rancher group. Not sure what a farmer service provider is? They
provide services to farmers. Business planning help, technical
assistance, legal advice, mediation services, pep talks, workshops.
All these things.
2. Yellow dots. These are members of the Majesteria otherwise known
as the House Committee on Agriculture. Greenhorns believes most
strongly in the power of community, but we do recognize that
government money is a good thing for young farmers. Here is the
recommendation: this Christmas send a nice letter to your
senator/congressional representatives include some pictures
of your farm, the copious amounts of vegetables, the fat bellied
porkers, the healthy all-American farm-raised children. The
contact information is on the site, just click.
3. And email us. Tell us how you think the map could be made
more useful. Those comments are valuable to us now as we are
pouring over development plans.

That is all for now!

HAPPY CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEARS from all us greenhorns.

Winter Trees

by William Carlos Williams
All the complicated details
of the attiring and
the disattiring are completed!
A liquid moon
moves gently among
the long branches.
Thus having prepared their buds
against a sure winter
the wise trees
stand sleeping in the cold.
Laura Cline, graphic design
Brooke Budner, graphics
Hannah Bernhardt, project management, policy, radio, USDA
Saundra Ball, research, statistics, development
Olivia Sargeant,  Seed Circus Connecticut
Louella Hill, Seed Circus Oakland
Anna Moreton, ETSY
Ines Chapela, logistics
Paula Manalo, wiki, guidebook
Anne Dailey, blog+profiles
Anya Kamenskya, West Coast organizer/ photo
Patrick Kiley, outreach/ screenings coordinator
Severine v T Fleming, founder, director
Hallie Chen, Farmhack
red hook, new york