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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: July, 2017
Jul 27, 2017

Chris Jagger is the owner and operator of Blue Fox Farm, an organic vegetable farm in the Applegate Valley of southern Oregon. He is also the owner and head consultant for Blue Fox Agricultural Services, a full-service agricultural supply and consultation company focusing on ecological solutions for the modern farmer. Both his farm and his agricultural services use living soils as a foundation to scale farming operations efficiently and profitably.

We discuss the changes Chris has seen in the organic and local marketplace and labor environment, and how Blue Fox Farm has worked to downsize in response to those changes. Chris shares how he has worked to determine what makes money with a sensible approach to crop budget analysis.

We also dig into how Blue Fox Farm is getting better crops on a smaller piece of land, the economics of scaling up and scaling down, salad mix production, and mechanization and the choices Blue Fox Farm has made around that.

It’s worth noting here that Chris rounds out his involvement with the agricultural community by hosting the Living Soils Symposium each March. The symposium is an interactive conference for farmers, interested in regenerative farming techniques, to exchange knowledge and gain insight in a peer-to-peer environment.

Perennial support for the Farmer to Farmer Podcast is generously provided by Vermont Compost Company and BCS America.

Pictures, show links, and more at farmertofarmerpodcast.com/episodes/jagger.

Jul 20, 2017

John Stoddard and Lindsay Allen work together at Higher Ground Farm, a rooftop farming operation with two locations in Boston. John is the founder of the business and operator of the site at the Boston Design Center, and Lindsay runs the new site at the Boston Medical Center. Higher Ground sells to restaurants and direct to consumers, and provides produce the Boston Medical Center cafeteria, patient food service, and a preventative food pantry.

We dig into the fundamentals of rooftop farming, including options for different production systems and why Higher Ground has opted for their system. John and Lindsay provide insights into the surprising of ecology of rooftop farming – including weeds and seagulls! – and discuss soil fertility management and irrigation systems.

John and Lindsay also ruminate on how to find a roof to farm on, what it takes for an urban farm to survive, and how they’ve leveraged the rooftops to create relationships with customers and clients. And we examine the two different business models that Higher Ground uses to make their operation work – growing food for sale, as well as operating a rooftop farm for a management fee.

Perennial support for the Farmer to Farmer Podcast is generously provided by Vermont Compost Company and BCS America.

Pictures, show links, and more at farmertofarmerpodcast.com/episodes/higherground

Jul 13, 2017

Brendan Grant raises six acres of vegetables plus laying hens, Highland cattle, and a hundred acres of hay with his wife, Marcelle Paulin, at Sleepy G Farm, just east of Thunder Bay, Ontario, on the north shore of Lake Superior. The only certified organic farm for 500 miles around in Canada, Sleepy G’s produce is marketed through a 150-member CSA, grocery stores, a farmers market, and a small on-farm store.

Brendan shares his techniques for bringing new land into production, and delves into the ins and outs of tillage and mechanical weed control on raised beds. We also dig into marketing in Thunder Bay, an isolated city eight hours from other metropolitan areas with no history of market farming, as well as the impact of their isolation and extreme climate on production and input choices.

We also discuss how the farm survived a serious accident two years ago, the impact that accident had on the farm and on Brendan, and how they managed their way through the crisis. We also discuss the pieces that Brendan and Marcelle had in place that helped the farm survive.

Perennial support for the Farmer to Farmer Podcast is generously provided by Vermont Compost Company and BCS America.

Pictures, show links, and more at farmertofarmerpodcast.com/episodes/grant.

Jul 13, 2017

Brendan Grant raises six acres of vegetables plus laying hens, Highland cattle, and a hundred acres of hay with his wife, Marcelle Paulin, at Sleepy G Farm, just east of Thunder Bay, Ontario, on the north shore of Lake Superior. The only certified organic farm for 500 miles around in Canada, Sleepy G’s produce is marketed through a 150-member CSA, grocery stores, a farmers market, and a small on-farm store.

Brendan shares his techniques for bringing new land into production, and delves into the ins and outs of tillage and mechanical weed control on raised beds. We also dig into marketing in Thunder Bay, an isolated city eight hours from other metropolitan areas with no history of market farming, as well as the impact of their isolation and extreme climate on production and input choices.

We also discuss how the farm survived a serious accident two years ago, the impact that accident had on the farm and on Brendan, and how they managed their way through the crisis. We also discuss the pieces that Brendan and Marcelle had in place that helped the farm survive.

Perennial support for the Farmer to Farmer Podcast is generously provided by Vermont Compost Company and BCS America.

Pictures, show links, and more at farmertofarmerpodcast.com/episodes/grant.

Jul 6, 2017

Ray Tyler raises about an acre of salad greens at Rose Creek Farms in Selmer, Tennessee, about two hours east of Memphis and three hours west of Nashville. He farms with his wife, Ashley, and his five children, as well as employees. Produce is sold at farmers market, through a CSA, and to grocery stores in Memphis.

Ray tells the story of his farm from its start as a mixed vegetable and livestock operation in 2010 to its current focus on specialty salad greens, baby root vegetables, and tomatoes on a small scale. We discuss the never-ending vicious cycle of failures Ray encountered in the beginning years of the farm, and how the life-threatening illness of a young child resulted in Rose Creek Farm’s transition from a failing operation into a thriving, joyful, vegetable production machine.

Ray also provides insights into the challenges and opportunities of farming in the south – including a fantastic tutorial on summer lettuce production in that challenging climate. We also dig into how Ray leveraged an intensive education to make his farming transition, and the large and small practical changes that make it possible for Rose Creek Farms to gross big dollars on a small acreage.

Perennial support for the Farmer to Farmer Podcast is generously provided by Vermont Compost Company and BCS America.

Pictures, show links, and more at farmertofarmerpodcast.com/episodes/tyler.

Jul 6, 2017

Ray Tyler raises about an acre of salad greens at Rose Creek Farms in Selmer, Tennessee, about two hours east of Memphis and three hours west of Nashville. He farms with his wife, Ashley, and his five children, as well as employees. Produce is sold at farmers market, through a CSA, and to grocery stores in Memphis.

Ray tells the story of his farm from its start as a mixed vegetable and livestock operation in 2010 to its current focus on specialty salad greens, baby root vegetables, and tomatoes on a small scale. We discuss the never-ending vicious cycle of failures Ray encountered in the beginning years of the farm, and how the life-threatening illness of a young child resulted in Rose Creek Farm’s transition from a failing operation into a thriving, joyful, vegetable production machine.

Ray also provides insights into the challenges and opportunities of farming in the south – including a fantastic tutorial on summer lettuce production in that challenging climate. We also dig into how Ray leveraged an intensive education to make his farming transition, and the large and small practical changes that make it possible for Rose Creek Farms to gross big dollars on a small acreage.

Perennial support for the Farmer to Farmer Podcast is generously provided by Vermont Compost Company and BCS America.

Pictures, show links, and more at farmertofarmerpodcast.com/episodes/tyler.

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