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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: November, 2016
Nov 24, 2016

Heather Lekx has managed Ignatius Farm since 2001, when she arrived to start a new CSA program at the Ignatius Jesuit Centre in Guelph, Ontario. She currently oversees the vegetable farm, an extensive community garden, and land management for a multitude of independent enterprises at the Centre’s farm, which has served as the well of sustenance for the Jesuit community in the region since 1913.

Heather provides insights into the dynamics of farming with an institution, including how the CSA program and the farm developed in a vacuum left by previous programming and how the farm became a focal point of the Ignatius Centre’s identity. We discuss how her role has changed through the years from the initiation of the CSA program to its current ten acres of production alongside of 250 acres of additional farm production as part of the Ignatius Jesuit Centre’s larger mission.

We also dig deep into Ignatius Farm’s process for hiring great employees and interns, from advertising and interviewing through the onboarding process and beyond. Heather helped to start the CRAFT program for Southwest Ontario, and she shares the ways that her farm provides a mission-driven internship program that also provides for the needs of the farm.

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

Nov 17, 2016

John Middleton farms with his wife Lidia Dungue at Fazenda Boa Terra in Spring Green, Wisconsin. After years of working on other farms, and starting on an incubator program in Minnesota, John and Lidia started a vegetable farm on the farmland at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin estate. Three years into their tenure at Taliesin, they’re growing a little under ten acres of vegetables and grossing about ten thousand dollars per acre.

John shares some of the details of getting started at Taliesin, where an architectural apprenticeship program was already in place when he and Lidia started the vegetable farm – an arrangement that has been rewarding but has also come with some challenges. We discuss Fazenda Boa Terra’s strategy for investing in equipment and infrastructure, how they’ve grown their operation rapidly and what the future is expected to bring, and how they are dealing with the very full marketplace for local vegetables in southern Wisconsin.

We also dig into John’s weed control tools and techniques for both wide rows and solid-seeded beds, their year-on, year-off cover crop rotation, and the challenges of becoming a boss after many years of working on farms.

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

Nov 10, 2016

John Hendrickson raises two acres of vegetables and cover crops at Stone Circle Farm in Reeseville, Wisconsin. He also works for the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Integrated Agricultural Studies, where he has lead any number of interesting projects and where he organizes the Wisconsin School for Beginning Market Growers.

This is not a story about how John makes hundreds of thousands of dollars on two acres. It is a about how John set out to grow a farm, and how and why he decided to remain a part-time farmer. John shares the way he’s organized his production and marketing to provide a financially and emotionally rewarding supplement to his day job.

We dig into John’s narrow crop focus and why that works for him and for his farming business, how he rotates his crops with cover crops for soil building and weed control, the tools he uses to manage sales to his and his wife’s co-workers, and his discovery of the paper pot transplanter system while in Japan and the subsequent founding of his company, Small Farm Works.

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

Nov 3, 2016

Brooke Salvaggio and Daniel Heryer own Urbavore, one of the nation’s largest urban farmsteads. With thirteen acres in the urban core of Kansas City, Missouri, Urbavore produces vegetables, berries, tree fruits, and laying hens on an energy-independent piece of land with a meth house just down the street.

We dig into their mulch-based no-till production system (which doesn’t require much digging!), including the nuts and bolts of how they handle different crops, source appropriate materials, and manage fertility. Because their production system also relies on the incorporation of a 200-hen laying flock, we also dig into the challenges of managing egg production alongside of the vegetables. And a goose comes into the story, too.

Brooke and Daniel share how they developed their off-the-grid infrastructure, including an engineered filtration system to draw potable water from a pond on their farm. We also discuss the impacts of bringing a second child into the family and onto the farm, and the challenges of building a farm from the ground up with a minimal debt load.

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

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