longhouse food revival 2014!

posted August 1, 2014


This annual gathering is the Woodstock of food—an intense, weekend symposium designed to raise the bar on how food stories are told and to connect generations of food-inspired artists, writers, web producers, documentary filmmakers, and broadcasters. Every year, LongHouse focuses on a single story to create a multi-media Pop-Up Food Magazine that allows participants to experience state-of-the-art food stories in short, documentary films, live interviews, photography, music, radio broadcast, spoken word, fine art, web-based mapping, and hands-on cooking.

LongHouse 2014 delves into the intersection of culture and agriculture in the American Midwest with a series of unexpected stories, presentations, and performances. To learn more about this event, CLICK HERE!

farm transitions in the midwest

posted April 11, 2014


During the summer of 2013, Land Stewardship Project Farm Beginnings journalism intern Alex Baumhardt interviewed families in Minnesota and Wisconsin that were in various stages of farm transitions. The following five “Farm Transition Profiles” are the result of those interviews.

Ryan Batalden Profile: A Return to the Community

Lauren & Caleb Langworthy Profile: Teeming with Team Members

Jon Peterson Profile: Trust in the Land

Mary Ellen Frame, Erin Johnson & Ben Doherty Profile: Luck, Pluck & Relationships

Craig Murphy Profile: Leaving an Organic Legacy

The common thread connecting these profiles is that all parties involved—retiring farmers as well as new farmers—have given the transitioning process long, careful thought. Planning, flexibility and creativity are key elements of any transition plan. In the end, these profiles illustrate that no matter what the circumstances, successful transitions require help and support from a broad spectrum of community members. For more information on the farm transitions toolkit, visit HERE.

inspiring videos from a fellow greenhorn

posted March 4, 2014

You guys continue to inspire us! We just heard from Deann Horak who had this to say:

About 5 years ago I saw a picture of Severine in an in-flight magazine on Midwest Express. She was so happy holding a goose and eating an apple. The accompanying story was really inspiring and something about that picture struck me and I knew that I wanted to feel that way about the life I was living. I tore the picture out of the magazine and kept it with me – something of an unwritten mission statement.  I went back to my life as a tv editor in NYC  and kept at it until I found my farm – its in the Driftless region of Wisconsin and it made for the best 35th birthday gift I could have ever bought myself. On a Friday last May I walked out of our offices on Wall St. and on Monday, just after lunch the Uhaul was in the driveway of the farm. We call it East Branch Heirlooms. We grow organic vegetables for the Viroqua Food Coop and 2 restaurants. I only wish I had done it sooner.
As much as I thought I was done with tv, I’m not. There are too many great young farmers here!  I bought a camera, started shooting myself and am putting together the stories of the farmers and foodmakers in this region.
Well done, Deann.  Here’s one of her videos:

one outcome of drought in california

posted March 2, 2014

…would be incentives for other regions  to begin and expand vegetable production. Indeed here they are, stepping high!
Imagine the job creation potential…OH WAIT, you don’t have to: Leopold Center did an Iowa jobs report.


The Seeds of a New Generation
by Michael Moss for the New York Times

John D. Jackson lives in the heart of the Corn Belt, where most of the corn has nothing to do with sweet kernels on the cob. His farm in Southern Illinois typically grows field corn, the high-starch variety that is turned into ethanol and cattle feed. He also works as a logistics manager for Archer Daniels Midland, the agricultural giant that produces the other big artifact of this crop: high fructose corn syrup.

But on 10 of his 700 acres, Mr. Jackson broke from this culture of corn last fall by planting something people can sink their teeth into. With a tractor and an auger, he drilled four-foot holes in his soil, added fertilizer and put in 48 apple trees bearing Gold Rush, Jonagold, Enterprise and the sweet-tart blushing globe called the Crimson Crisp. This year he plans to add more apple trees, blackberry bushes and possibly some vegetables.

Mr. Jackson is part of a small but eager cadre of corn farmers who are starting to switch sides, as it were, lured by a little-appreciated fact of farm economics: There is vastly more money to be made in growing other vegetables and fruits. While an acre of corn is projected to net average farmers $284 this year after expenses, and just $34 if they rent the land, as is common, an apple orchard on that same acre will make $2,000 or more, according to crop analysts. A sophisticated vegetable operation using the popular plastic covers called high tunnels, which increase yields and extend the growing season, can push that figure as high as $100,000.

read the full article


MOSES new farmer summit

posted February 16, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-02-16 at 11.14.16 AM

New Farmer Summit
April 4-5, 2014
Primrose Valley Farm
Belleville, Wisconsin (near New Glarus & Madison)

Two full days of workshops, networking, hands-on learning, organic food and fun!

  • 24 workshops focused on issues on the minds of new farmers
  • Pre-summit farm tours with a light lunch April 3
  • Friday evening dance with live folk music and a caller
  • $75 (includes meals and entertainment)
  • Scholarships available
  • Registration opens February 15

find more information, and a full list of the amazing workshops that will be offered, HERE.

moses conference, coming right up.

posted February 11, 2014


La Crosse, Wis.
Feb. 27 – Mar. 1, 2014

The MOSES Conference, started 25 years ago with 90 people who wanted to learn more about farming organically, has grown to become the country’s foremost educational and networking event for the organic community. The people involved in organic and sustainable farming tend to be passionate about food and farming, which makes for a truly inspiring event. Please join us in celebrating the 25th anniversary of this remarkable gathering!


women in sustainable ag!

posted August 28, 2013

The National Conference is coming right up. November 6-8, Des Moines, IAwfanlogo_circle1-300x167

Gather with women farmers, advocates and landowners from across the US engaged in healthy food and farming for a unique mix of sharing, learning, field tours, and seasonal food from Midwest women farmers!

  • Keynotes by Danielle Nierenberg of FoodTank, Pakou Hang of the Hmong American Farmers Association, and Kari Hamerschlag of Environmental Working Group.
  • Workshops and panels on dozens of topics ranging from CSA management to soil health to farm bill advocacy.
  • Field tours will be offered to showcase women-owned farms and teach skills such as chain-saw use and prescribed fire.
  • Opportunities to sponsor and exhibit! (The call for proposals is now closed; if you submitted a proposal, you will be notified of its status by one of our staff members.)

Much more HERE

the land connection

posted August 8, 2012

More great resources for you Midwest greenhorns.

The Land Connection is an educational nonprofit dedicated to preserving  and protecting our agricultural heritage through farmer training programs, sharing resources on how to acquire farmland and facilitating connections between people who own farmland, want to farm, and love healthy food.  The organization is based out of central Illinois, where their educational programs are held.
Midwest Farm Connection, a project of The Land Connection, connects aspiring farmers with retiring farmers and farmland owners who have an interest in sustainable farming. Through online matching, the site seeks to promote continued agricultural production and the protection of valuable farmland in the Midwest.

midwest happenings

posted July 9, 2012

via the Inn Serendipity newsletter – a good one!

Sat. July 14 & Sat. Oct. 6
Thanks to strong response to the first one last year, we’ll be hosting two Speed Skilling sessions this year in partnership with Transition Green County daylong events from 10-4 pm during which area community friends share skills ranging from electric cars to goats to food preservation.  Think “speed dating” for homesteading enthusiasts.  More info here.  Event is free and open to the public but please e-mail Lisa to pre-register (lisa@innserendipity.com)
Inn Serendipity & Farmstead Chef Updates
The extreme early summer heat fast-tracked our harvest by several weeks; we’re pulling in the garlic and potatoes already.  Do a rain dance for Wisconsin farmers – the gardens are overdue for a long drink.  We’re looking forward to some of our fresh summer favorites from Farmstead Chef, such as Fresh Tomato Breakfast Pie and the Fried Green Tomato and Basil Sandwich.
We’re posting weekly to our Farmstead Chef blog with HobbyFarms.com on topics ranging from favorite recipes and food entrepreneurs we encounter in our travels (check out the lasagna recipe from the MREA Energy Fair) to new twists on salad greens (Farmstead Greens with Honey-Jalapeno Dressing), as well as writing for publications like Natural Awakenings on starting a hobby farm. (more…)


posted June 23, 2011

pay heed.

these are profound images of agriculture being forced to absorb the overrun of the missisippi.
Paving, channelling, developing wetlands. over tiling, distrurbing hydrology, climate change.
The waters are rising. The gasoline prices are rising. Farmers feel this first.