Currently one of the most plentiful fished fish on the East Coast is actually a shark called dogfish, and yet most Americans have hardly even heard of it. So where are the catches going? Turns out, 90% of the fish Americans eat is imported, whereas 99% of dogfish is exported other places.
The use of silvopasture systems on farms in the Northeastern United States has never been documented. Our objective was to gather baseline data to describe silvopasture practices and perspectives in the Northeastern United States. To accomplish this, we investigated the structure, management of, and reasons for use of silvopastures in New York state and New England through a series of interviews and inventories on 20 farms purposefully chosen as practicing silvopasture. Thematic content analysis was conducted to summarize interview results and identify trends related to silvopasture practices. Three farmers in this study had been practicing silvopasture on their farms over 30 years; the rest were new to silvopasture in the past 10 years. Only three of 20 farmers interviewed in this study had experience practicing silvopasture prior to implementing it on their farms. Forest conversion to silvopasture was the primary starting point for silvopastures observed on regional farms. Orchard, open field edge, outdoor living barn, and plantation silvopastures were also documented on multiple farms. Shade and a desire to maximize use of farm woodlands were primary reasons for silvopasture utilization. This research provides evidence that silvopastures are being used to diversify regional farms. For the practice to be advanced in the region further research is needed on the topic.
Winter is a great time for farmers to rest, slow down the pace, and build new skills for the coming growing season. The Cornell Small Farms Program is pleased to announce the winter roster of online courses available through its Northeast Beginning Farmer Project. These courses help farmers learn from the latest research-based education.
Since 2006, the program has offered high quality, collaborative learning environments online and each year educates hundreds of beginning and established farmers through these courses.
Are there courses for me? From aspiring to experienced farmers, there is a course for nearly everyone. There’s a handy chart on our course homepage to direct you to the right courses for your experience level.
What are the courses like? All of our courses consist of weekly real-time webinars followed by homework, readings, and discussions on your own time in an online setting. If you aren’t able to attend the live webinars, they are always recorded for later viewing.
Qualify for a 0% interest loan! Participants who complete all requirements of one or more online courses are eligible to be endorsed for a 0% interest loan of up to $10,000 through Kiva Zip.
Each course is $200, but up to 4 people from the same farm may participate without paying extra. See the course description page for more on the course learning objectives, instructors, and outline
“It’s art. It’s protest. It’s celebration. And, who knows? It may even be a practical way to get cargo to market.”
AND NOW, inspired by Sail Freight and Farm Hack, there will be a FoodBarge Hack lunch Friday Nov. 13, at NEWSAG‘s It Takes a Region Conference. The event’s organizer’s write:
“Together, we will envision an energy efficient, sustainable regional food system using our waterways. We will focus on how to connect mid-sized upstate farmers with underserved NYC neighborhoods using a barge on the Hudson River, and challenge the status quo. With your help, we want take real steps towards a viable alternative to food filled trucks on our roads.”
Please note that you must be attending the conference and should RSVP to Jill Slater in advance if you would like lunch.
Every year the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture and Research and Education (SARE) offer grants capping at $15,000 to commercial farmers who are looking to explore and innovate. Last years winners included projects so wonderfully creative that they bordered on zany– such as using mustard cover crops to biofumigate strawberries, pasturing rabbits for profit, and (my favorite) designing a low-impact amphibious vehicle for oyster harvesting.
This year’s deadline is in less than two weeks– on midnight Nov. 12! If you have an idea that you’d like to try out, you can download the application materials here, and there is a wealth of knowledge to gleaned from the grant page on SARE’s website.
Back in June, we posted about the upcoming NESAWG (Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group) It Takes a Region Conference. And maybe, at that moment, you thought that this year’s theme of “Putting MOVE in the Movement” was so freaking great that you signed up immediately. If so, good for you! But maybe you, like me, were busy planting kale starts, packing for market, coordinating campaigns, or any of the many other June activities that might keep a Greenhorn busy and, planning to sign up later, left the conference page open in a tab on your browser for months. If so, I wanted to gently remind you that It Takes A Region is in THREE WEEKS: Nov. 12-14 in Saratoga Springs, NY. And, phew, it is not too late to register!
This year’s conference will focus on studying social movements of the recent past in relation to our current work in sustainable food systems and food justice. Examples of workshops include sessions on: Addressing Racism in the Food System, Enhancing Food Security in the Northeast, and Food Hubs. The conference is geared towards farmers, nonprofit professionals, activists, and journalists alike, and there is ample discussion time built into the conference schedule.
Terrific offerings and a guide to choosing which courses are best for you.
With the growing season at its peak, it’s hard to believe that the “down” season is just a couple months away. Use that slow season wisely to continue your farming education with a selection of 12 online courses. Registration is open now and some courses fill quickly, so be sure to check them out soon!
Small Farms Quarterly
As the new farmer editor I invite anyone who is located in the Northeast (Maine-Pennsylvania & points east) to submit an article. These can be focused on beginning farmers you work with, or yourself as a beginning farmer, with a story to tell about an innovation in production, marketing, new varieties, use of technology, etc… These should be timely topics and those with stories others can learn from. You can find more information on writing styles, guidelines and more at: http://smallfarms.cornell.edu/quarterly/writers/#Examples. The deadline for submission is August 2nd through the online submission form located here: online submission form with several pictures. The word length and other details are addressed in the first link. I hope you will consider submitting a piece.