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Farmer to Farmer with Chris Blanchard

The organic and sustainable farming movement has its roots in sharing information about production techniques, marketing, and the rewards and challenges of the farming life. Join veteran farmer, consultant, and farm educator Chris Blanchard for down-to-earth conversations with experienced farmers - and the occasional non-farmer - about everything from soil fertility and record-keeping to getting your crops to market without making yourself crazy. Whether his guests are discussing employment philosophy or the best techniques for cultivating carrots, Chris draws on over 25 years of experience to get at the big ideas and practical details that make a difference on their farms and in their lives. If you've been farming for a lifetime, are just getting started, or are still dreaming about your farm of the future, the Farmer to Farmer podcast provides a fresh and honest look at what it takes to make your farm work.
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Now displaying: December, 2015
Dec 31, 2015

Don Zasada and Bridget Spann own and operate Caretaker Farm in western Massachusetts, where they raise vegetables for 275 CSA families. Caretaker Farm got its start in 1969 when Sam and Elizabeth Smith purchased the land. They started the CSA in 1991, and Don and Bridget came to the farm in 2004, eventually transferring ownership through a land trust and lease arrangement. We dig into Caretaker Farm’s relationship to its members, and how Don and Bridget arrange things so that members do more than just picking up their vegetables, as well as how Don and Bridget have structured their own relationship to the farm and the apprentices to enhance the farm’s sustainability, profitability, and quality of life.

The Farmer to Farmer Podcast is generously supported by Vermont Compost Company.

Dec 24, 2015

When today’s guest Leslie Cooperband, and her husband, Wes Jarrell, started Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery in 2005, they didn’t expect the goat dairy and creamery to become the primary driver of the farm. Located just outside of Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery has over seventy milking does providing the basis for their goat cheese and gelato business, which they run in addition to a vigorous on- farm dinner enterprise. We discuss the history of the farm and its various production and marketing enterprises, including market development, how Leslie and Wes navigated the regulatory landscape in a state that lacked farmstead creameries, and how the farm has grown and changed to meet the realities of the farm economy while staying true to its principles - and we dig into the nuts and bolts of the record-keeping Prairie Fruits uses to keep on top of the profitability of various enterprises and market outlets, including on-farm sales, farmers markets, CSA, and wholesale sales.

The Farmer to Farmer Podcast is generously supported by Vermont Compost Company.

Dec 17, 2015

Elizabeth Henderson was a founder of Peacework Organic CSA, one of the oldest CSAs in the United States, where she farmed for over thirty years. She is also the author of the definitive work on CSA farming, Sharing the Harvest . And she has been involved in any number of other initiatives in the food movement, from shaping the National Organic Foods Production Act,  to her work with the Agricultural Justice Project. In this movement, especially in the Northeastern United States, it can be hard to turn anywhere without seeing Elizabeth’s handprints – and indeed, this is true around the country and even internationally.. When we recorded this interview, she had just returned from the sixth gathering of Urgenci, the International Network for Community Supported Agriculture, which took place in Beijing, China, this year. Elizabeth reflects on the shape and texture of the international CSA movement and the resurgence of small-scale organic farming in China, and we dig into the mechanics of how her CSA farm accommodated having members and children as part of the harvest activities, the farm’s transition to new partners, and the farm’s relationship to the Genesee Land Trust.

The Farmer to Farmer Podcast is generously supported by Vermont Compost Company.

Dec 10, 2015

Sophia Kruszewski leads the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s work on food safety, and has put a ton of time and effort into the FDA’s new rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The final version of the produce rule was just rolled out by the FDA, so we take the time to dig into who and what is covered under the rule, how the exemptions work, and the highlights of the major provisions of the rules – including some of the important victories we achieved in the proposal and revision process, and where work remains to be done.

Sophia does a great job of putting the Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Rule in context, especially where we’re at and what happens between now and the point when non-exempt farms have to come into compliance.

The Farmer to Farmer Podcast is generously supported by Vermont Compost Company.

Dec 3, 2015

Dru and Adam Montri raise vegetables in 6 large high tunnels and on 3 acres outdoors at Ten Hens Farm in Bath, Michigan, just outside of Lansing. They also both work off farm in jobs related to farming – Dru as the Executive Director of the Michigan Farmers Market Association, and Adam as the Hoophouse Outreach Specialist at Michigan State University’s Center for Regional Farm Systems. In this wide-ranging discussion, Dru, Adam, and I talk about how they balance their off-farm jobs with a farming operation that could easily keep them employed full time, including their strategies for managing employees and their relationship with each other. We also dig into the nuts and bolts of selling to restaurants and how they grew with, and helped to grow that market in their area; dig into winter production and the high tunnel they use for a packing shed; and Dru’s experiences as a woman farmer and agricultural activist.

The Farmer to Farmer Podcast is generously supported by Vermont Compost Company.

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