It's right there on the title page, y'all: either this work is about community, or it ain't about nothing at all.
As my friend and mentor Tyson Neukirch once told me, agriculture is a civilization-long experiment, and we're forever learning from each other. I know I am. There are innumerable people who have influenced, and will influence, me on my own journey with work and food and farming and what it all means. You, person reading this right now, you probably have some insight or experience that'll blow my mind, that'll change how I see everything. Or, it might just make me laugh. Share it with me.
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Seriously, let's start a conversation.
Below you'll find a short and evolving list of farms and farmers and food people who are much smarter than me, who are all doing amazing work. They're all revolutionaries, all Dirt Eaters, all inspiring and informing in their own way. Let me know who I've missed!
In no particular order:
- The Farm School - You'll read plenty about this place. Which is good because I don't know quite how best to sum it up.
- Star Hollow Farm - Located in Three Springs, PA, Randy Treichler and Family run a great operation. I was a proud CSA member for three years while living in DC, inspired by Randy's innovative online store CSA model, blown away by the quality of the product.
- New Morning Farm - Located in Hustontown, PA, this farm was started by Jim Crawford in 1972, and has been a pioneer in the region for local and sustainble farms. Jim hosted me for a week in August as I worked the fields and learned from the many dedicated folks working at NMF.
- Moutoux Orchard - A third-generation, family owned and operated farm in Loudon County, VA, Moutoux has gained recent acclaim for its unique, year-round, whole-diet CSA program. They offer vegetables, fruit, and pasture-raised meats, eggs, and dairy. I recently had the chance to spend a few days with co-managers Rob Moutoux and Maureen Moodie, learning from and working with them in August.
- Evening Song Farm - Ryan Wood Beauchamp and Kara Fitzgerald run a vegetable CSA in central Vermont. Their resilience after losing their farm in 2011 from Hurricane Irene earned them a great deal of local admiration. They are friends of mine from our college days, and I can't wait to learn from them.
- Reber Rock Farm - An 88-acre draft powered farm on the southern edge of the Reber Valley in Essex, NY. They use draft horses for the majority of field preparation, cultivation and harvesting, producing a variety of pastured meats, vegetables, maple syrup, and other value-added products. Co-owner/manager Nate is another good friend from college from whom I also plan to learn a lot.
- Evandale Farm - A diverse permaculture farm in Pittsfield, NH that works hard (and creatively) to build truly sustainable models. Co-owners Ray and Peter are fascinating people that I know through common friends, and I can't wait to see how they make it all work.
- ECO City Farm - An educational, non-profit organization located in Prince George's County, MD designed to serve as a prototype for sustainable local urban farming. They work toward a just, vigorous and sustainable food system in the Chesapeake foodshed. I participated in an urban agriculture intensive workshop in 2012, learning more than I ever thought possible about compost from Benny Erez, master composter.
- Common Good City Farm - An urban farm and education center in Washington, DC's LeDroit Park neighborhood, CGCF is working hard to integrate sustainable urban agriculture with food justice and community empowerment. I've volunteered on and off for CGCF since 2008, most recently helping farm manager harvest okra and reinforce their bee zone.
- Real Food Farm - An innovative urban agricultural enterprise engaged in growing fresh produce on six acres of land in Clifton Park in northeast Baltimore. Farm Manager Tyler Brown is another friend from college, and another friend from whom I have a great deal to learn.
- Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Agriculture - An ambitious nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a more equitable and sustainable local food system in the Washington, DC are, Arcadia has several different programs to prove what is possible. My friend Benjamin Bartley runs their Mobile Market, driving a retrofitted school bus all over the city, selling locally sourced produce, eggs, dairy, and meat.
- Scattergood Friends School - A small boarding high school in West Branch, IA where I taught from 2008-09. While there, I was greatly influenced by the Scattergood Farm. Combining five acre of organic vegetable production and 30 acres of pasture, the farm provides over 50% of the food the school eats. Farm Manager Mark Quee and Livestock Manager Dana Foster are dear friends, and very important mentors.
- Food Cyclist Farm - I don't actually know John Suscovich or Food Cyclist Farm, but I've so thoroughly enjoyed his Growing Farms podcast that I can't wait to meet him and pick his brain in person. Every episode is enlightening and inspiring, it's truly a wonderful service.