This years NYCO meeting program dates are up! If you’re in the NY area this a great opportunity to meet with folks and representatives from around the state working in organic agriculture. The event brings grain and dairy farmers together with guest speakers to discuss organic crops and dairy production.
The 2017 dates are January 10, February 14 and March 13. Each program begins at 10 AM in Jordan Hall, 630 West North Street at the New York State Agricultural Experimental Station, Geneva, NY. (more…)
Can produce grown in a soilless medium be called organic? Vermont-based “Keep the Soil in Organic” says HECK, NO. Growing rapidly, this grassroots movement is drawing attention to the degradation of organic certification by big money and corporate interest in hydroponics. Started with a petition by two small-scale organic farmers, Dave Chapman and David Miskell, “Keep the Soil in Organic” has gained traction nation wide and around the world. Organic has always been about the health of the soil, so why change now?
The hydroponic invasion started as a tiny exception here and there years ago. Now it has become the dominant form of production for certified “organic” tomatoes and berries in the US. What began as a minor trickle has become a major flood, as the hydroponic greenhouse producers of the world have discovered that the USDA will allow them entry into the coveted organic market. By changing the fertilizer brew in their mixing tanks to “natural” (but highly processed) soluble fertilizers, and then switching to “approved” pesticides, the hydroponic producers can miraculously become “organic” overnight.
Growing soilless plants with force fed organic nutrients is a step backwards. Perhaps it is a technological innovation, but not an organic innovation. Call it what you want, but it is not organic.
To learn more about the “Keep the Soil in Organic” movement, check out their website HERE for more information, petitions to sign, actionable steps to take, and videos of a recent farmer-led rally in Vermont. In their words, “Organic without soil is like democracy without people!”
Applications are currently being accepted for UVM’s farmer training program! The six-month program offers a certificate in Sustainable Agriculture and provides students with a combination of classroom learning and hands-on experience managing the school’s 10-acre education farm. Each year, 25 students are accepted and learn everything from crop rotation to marketing. If you’re looking for an learning experience that is more formally structured (and probably more comprehensive) than the traditional farm apprenticeship, this program might be right for you!
The program runs May-October and is “designed for people interested in immersing themselves in sustainable, local food systems in a hands-on educational setting. Candidates include, but are not limited to: new and beginning farmers, urban and community gardeners, farm educators and students interested in deepening their understanding of sustainable farming systems in an intensive and focused learning environment.”
You can learn more at UVM‘s website and order an information packet for the program. Admission is given on a rolling basis.