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 ofEliot Coleman's New Organic Grower, I have to recommendyou get into that.We've also got a nice little list going in ourGuidebook for Beginning Farmers. Furthermore, I've discoveredthe plantation pastoral genre of the New Agrarians -- Robert PennWarren, etc. Having loitered mostly in the gardening section ofused book stores, I've recently discovered all sorts of lusciousback-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 feministwartime mobilizing of the women's land army)-John Berger, Pig Earth (Beautiful vignettes of age-oldpeasant life)
Contemporary farm vacation novel:
-Kristin Kimball, The Dirty Life (Best book ever for gettingyour Mothers, Aunts, Cousins on board with farming,a raunchy, conspiratorial book about one of the mostradical 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) bookson farming too -- but that is coming out as part of ourUSDA/BFRDP grant funded Sourcebook, so you'll haveto wait a while longer for it.
Winter conference season is upon us. Greenhorns will bescreening and convening beginning farmer mixers all overthis eastern seaboard over the winter -- a big deal for us isNOFA NY on January 20. It is in Saratoga Springs, a superwonderful (train accessible) town with natural hot water,a horsey Gilded Age main street, and a kickass winterfarmers market. The Cornell/USDA cats have funded andplanned a whole Beginning Farmer Track -- and there arequite a number of young farmer scholarships left. So get intouch, 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 alsohave 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 backin holly berry red! Along with books, stickers, seeders,and new posters! It's all assembled for your leisurelyperusal over at our ETSY shop. Posters are cheaper thenever before! Buy a lot, their revenue helps keep us goingbetween those uncertain grant cycles.
2011 is big.
Seed Circuses, Grange hall Mixers, Sleepover trainingcamps in Maine and West Virginia, Workshops, farmtours, Screenings, theater performances, BBQ, bicyclepowered sewing machines, design charrettes, agrarianhistory lectures, charities, craft-celebration projectsand Art collaborations.
We have our schedule up on the wall here at HQ, andits pretty darn full. If you are wanting to collaboratewith us in 2011, please be in touch SOON and be readyto hear scheduling is already very tight. Be herebyencouraged to PLAN AHEAD -(longer than watermelonlifecycle)- so we can co-foist up a mixer or training in theplace where you live. Winter is for planning, and we arelooking for artists/ craftspeople to collaborate with in theproduction of celebration infrastructure.
Contact us day or night: [email protected]
Screenings.We are sure happy to start being able to schedulescreenings! Now don't all email at once. We have a NiftyWEBLINK on our homepage where you can fill in yourinformation. Please use that form. Please use the web form.Please please please. It does not ask for your date of birthor entail a binding contract in any way.
Outreach/Screening questions can also be directed toPatrick:[email protected]. He will urge you to considerbuying 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 AccessMini-compendium. They are free! on the website orfor sale on ETSY. On the merit of that zine-lengthguidebook we got a book deal from Storey publishingto do an expanded version with young farmer essays.So, in short, we want to hear from you! The duedate has been extended to January 15th.
description of project:
Greenhorns GUIDEBOOK is a resource for the newgeneration of farmers who are popping up all over thecountry. This collection of essays and stories conveysour ethic of thrift, innovation, persistence and strength.One part pep talk, one part advice column, and one partcelebration, this book aims to give readers a taste of thebeginning farmer experience: the pitfalls and the poetryof choosing a livelihood so far left of mainstream- of buildinga business around our love of agriculture. The book will givenew and aspiring farmers – Greenhorns – a glimpse of the roadahead in order to help them steer a satisfying and realistictrajectory into farming. For non-farming readers, this collectionof witty, gritty, raw essays written from the trenches will shedsome light on what it takes to pay your bills when you decideto start growing food for a living.
In the collaborative spirit of The Greenhorns Project, these writtenpieces by young and beginning farmers are woven together withhow-to guidance and interjected with wise words from our agrarianelders. Inspired by the pluck and purposeful protagonism of theseyoung farmers, we hope that readers, eaters, voters and moms willcome to understand the tremendous potential of sustainable agriculturein the reclaiming of America.
If things have finally slowed down a little for you and you meet thecontributor criteria, pick up the pen and send us an essay!
We'd specifically love to see some witty pieces on these general topics:
- 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.
Well, it was pretty super. There were hella young farmers there.Katheleen Merrigan spoke about how she used to talk aboutag-policy at parties and no one wanted to talk to her.(I've heard similar stories for dairy girls having no luckgetting a date) But now when she talks about Ag-policy she'sthe 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 reallymoved by her intention to support young farmers, and makegood on Vilsack's mandate to grow 100,000 new farmers -- itseems the USDA wants to hear from us on how they can help ourbusinesses succeed. So we are telling them:
Here is an article that NYFC Director Lindsey Lusher wrote forGrist on the policy panels that we hosted
Here is the testimony that Hannah Bernhardtdelivered to the Beginning Farmers and RanchersDevelopment Program Advisory Panel at the USDA: