New and Beginning Farmers: Opening up Possibilities Through Agroforestry

Previous Inside Agroforestry issues have highlighted the use of agroforestry on farms and forest lands across the United States to address a host of landowner needs. This issue highlights the opportunities that agroforestry is providing to new and beginning farmers, a sector that received special attention in the 2014 Farm Bill. These landowners, especially those with limited resources, are taking advantage of the economic and ecological opportunities that intensively managed agroforestry systems can provide -a variety of benefits and income sources at multiple levels and over a range of time periods. Producers can harvest perennial crops from forests, trees, and shrubs; annual field crops; and/or produce livestock and dairy products on the same piece of land.

The Benevolent Investors Guide to helping farmers own land

The Benevolent Investor’s Guide (BIG ) is intended for private investors - high net worth individuals, family foundations, and others - who are interested in building community wealth, sustainable agriculture and resilient landscapes. It advocates a principled approach to investing across a spectrum of expectations for social and financial returns, with the goal of helping more farmers own their land.

Food and Agriculture Policy Recommendations

As an interdisciplinary academic center based within the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Center conducts a range of research, policy, communication, education, and advocacy activities that increase scientific understanding, raise awareness, and promote action on issues such as eliminating the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in food animal production, reducing the environmental degradation caused by industrial agriculture, reducing food waste, assisting institutions seeking a more sustainable food supply, and building the capacity of communities of practice to reshape the food system.

Greenhorns 2016 Impact Report

Our 10-year anniversary is just around the corner, and we thought we’d take this time to share some of the bench-marks we’ve hit this year and send out our most heartfelt thanks. We could not have done this without your participation!

Farmland Access Legal Guide

Vermont Law School's Center for Agriculture and Food Systems, funded by the USDA's National Agricultural Library, is creating a Farmland Access Legal Guide a free online resource meant to help farmers, landowners, and advocates navigate key legal issues related to accessing and transferring farmland, including leasing.

Young Farmers’ Needs in Italy

The “Pilot Project: Exchange programmes for young farmers” has been commissioned by the European Commission, Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development (DG AGRI) to identify the needs of young farmers, get an overview of the existing exchange schemes for young farmers and develop a guide to establish or improve exchange schemes for young farmers (DG AGRI, Tender No AGRI-2012-Eval-03). The study has been implemented by Ecorys in cooperation with LEI and Aequator Groen & Ruimte in 2014-2015. The aims of this study were:  To provide a comprehensive assessment of the specific needs of young farmers across the EU:  To describe and access existing schemes and initiatives for the exchange of young farmers;  To identify specific results of exchange schemes and specific support measures that have proved to be effective and efficient;  To provide recommendations on the design, implementation and delivery of exchange programmes and schemes.

National Park Management Plans

This guidance is for National Park Authorities and for all who have an influence over the future of the National Parks of England. It gives guiding principles for developing a National Park Management Plan, describes the process and the elements of the plan and also includes advice on the essential monitoring and review cycle.
This document is published for historic and research purposes.

Dirt First

A renegade soil scientist is transforming American agriculture.


Article from Orion Magazine by Kristin Ohlson


Area Wide Management (AWM). The proposed plan for AWM in Ventura County will involve spraying ALL CITRUS orchards a minimum of two times per year in Ventura County, starting in late spring, 2016. This is a solution with questionable documented justification or information. Agriculturalists, Epidemiologists and Entomologists have raised serious questions about AWM’s scientific validity.

Concerns over use of glyphosate-based herbicides and risks associated with exposures: a consensus statement

The broad-spectrum herbicide glyphosate (common trade name “Roundup”) was first sold to farmers in 1974. Since the late 1970s, the volume of glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs) applied has increased approximately 100-fold. Further increases in the volume applied are likely due to more and higher rates of application in response to the widespread emergence of glyphosate-resistant weeds and new, pre-harvest, dessicant use patterns. GBHs were developed to replace or reduce reliance on herbicides causing well-documented problems associated with drift and crop damage, slipping efficacy, and human health risks.

Grange Future Oral History Toolkit

This guide is intended for a broad range of community members who want to collect oral histories about the Grange in conjunction with the Greenhorns’ Grange Future project.

Organic Works

Farming methods over half a century of agricultural intensification have inflicted a terrible toll on the landscapes of Britain. Nearly everyone is now aware of the lost wildlife. But what about the other type of lost biodiversity – of the human kind? Our Government has even invented a new language to celebrate the ‘achievement’ of the removal of labour from British farms. Labels like ‘competitive’ and ‘efficient’ are attached to ‘successful’ farmers who eliminate farm workers in the quest for ever lower unit production costs. As a consequence, today’s countryside can be a lonely and soulless place.

Milan Urban Food Policy Pact

The Milan Urban Food Policy Pact is going to be one of the most important legacies of Expo 2015. Milan is advocating an international protocol, engaging the largest number of world cities for the development of food systems, based on the principles of sustainability and social justice. This commitment for the coordination of international food policies will be subscribed by Mayors on the occasion of a major event during our Universal Exposition, dedicated to two of the most severe emergencies of the third millennium: food security and sustainable development.

Labor of Love: Small-scale farmers in alternative food networks

By: Analena Bruce

October 5th 2015

"The problem is that many small-scale alternative farmers have trouble making a living from farming. Research suggests that many only manage to ‘get by’ if they have some off-farm wealth or outside income that enables them to operate the farm without earning sufficient income from it. If sustainable agriculture is only feasible for those who can afford a paltry income, the likelihood that it will transform the larger agricultural system seems low."

A World in Three Aisles

A world in three aisles, browsing the post-digital library

The Mismeasure of All Things

On a road NOT FAR FROM MORGANTOWN, West Virginia, my guide pulled over to show me the peculiar color of a certain river. It was orange. The rocks and creek bed were a hue somewhat brighter than rust but duskier than the reflective vests worn by utility crews. Years of drainage from coal mining tailings, high in the acid produced during the washing of the coal, had killed everything in the watercourse, rendering the water a moving hazard and contributing to the economic decline of the area. Coal had also sickened the bodies of miners, as well as the atmosphere.

Agrarian Justice

To preserve the benefits of what is called civilized life, and to remedy at the same time the evil which it has produced, ought to considered as one of the first objects of reformed legislation.

MSF Media and Press Kit

Event Schedule

Sail Freight in Context


Earlier Voyages

Contact Information

Further Reference

Grange Future Oral History Toolkit

Welcome to the Grange Future Oral History Toolkit. This guide is intended for a broad range of community members who want to collect oral histories about the Grange in conjunction with the Greenhorns’ Grange Future project. While we have developed this resource specifically for Grange Future, we hope that it will be useful for other oral history projects as well.

Bill A.1571/S.1824

One of the biggest challenges facing the next generation of farmers in New York is access to affordable farmland. Beginning farmers find themselves competing with real estate developers and others for land whose price is frequently beyond their ability to purchase. At the same time, farms being passed from one generation to the next are vulnerable to being lost to development as farm families grapple with the challenges of successfully transferring their land and businesses.

A Communication from Civil Society to the European Union Institutions on the future Agricultural and Rural Policy

The aim of ARC, the Agricultural and Rural Convention, is to give civil society a strong voice and to prepare a powerful common message for a new European agricultural and rural policy. ARC is an innovative, transparent process, open to all those interested in reform of the Common Agricultural Policy. It has been designed to gather a wide diversity of aspirations for the future of agriculture and rural areas, and then to combine them into a creative and practicable vision which achieves the widest combination of benefits.

600,000 new entrants

Sjoerd Wartena, founder of Terre de liens in France, highlights the problems ahead for the agricultural sector and the urgent need to recruit young farmers and growers to ensure the survival of organic and family farms

Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security

The purpose of these Voluntary Guidelines is to serve as a reference and to provide guidance to improve the governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests with the overarching goal of achieving food security for all and to support the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security.

The Great Recovery

The Great Recovery project, launched in September 2012 by the Action and Research Centre at the RSA, aims to build a cross disciplinary design community that is equipped to support the development of an economy based on resource-efficient principles.

Sharemilking in Wisconsin: evaluating a farm entry/exit strategy (Research Brief #34)

In a sharemilking agreement, a young farmer operates a farm on behalf of the farm owner for an agreed share of farm income and expenses. The arrangement offers young farmers a way to build assets and dairy management skills without requiring a large amount of capital input at the beginning of their careers.

Seedy Characters

Unless antitrust regulators display the backbone they’ve been missing for the last four decades, the contested $45 billion takeover bid by Monsanto (globally, no. 1 in seeds and no. 5 in pesticides) of Syngenta (no. 1 in pesticides and no. 3 in seeds) will lead to these two companies controlling 54% of global commercial seed sales and a third of the world’s pesticide market.1 While regulators focus on the two agribusinesses, farmers – as well as those of us who like to eat food – should look at the proposed merger through at least three other lenses.

Addiopizzo: Can a Label Defeat the Mafia?


Crop Insurance – How a Safety Net Became a Farm Policy Disaster: Principles of Reform

1.Major reform can and should be achieved

2. Reform should improve the broad public good, including the long-term health and fertility of America’s farmlands.

3. Reforms should be shaped by the people directly affected.

Crop Insurance — How a Safety Net Became a Farm Policy Disaster, White Paper No. 3

Federally subsidized crop insurance inflates land prices beyond the reach of beginning farmers by providing some of the largest crop operations in the country a consistent, publicly-funded source of cash for bidding up rental and purchase prices.

Requiring several years of “yield history” to qualify for optimal crop insurance benefits puts beginning farmers at a severe disadvantage, not only in terms of insurance coverage, but how lenders view them when they are seeking operating loans.

Crop insurance’s focus on rewarding the all-out production of a handful of commodity crops benefits largescale operations that focus on monocultural agriculture and penalizes beginning farmers and others who utilize diverse systems.

Crop Insurance — How a Safety Net Became a Farm Policy Disaster, White Paper No. 2

Crop insurance benefits the largest agricultural operators most. They receive the vast majority of crop insurance premium subsidies and insurance payouts, and use these disproportionate benefits to outcompete family farmers for land and other resources.

Crop insurance is the new vehicle for using public funds to concentrate agricultural wealth in this country. This consolidation increases economic and environmental risk and threatens community health at the public’s expense.

Twenty-two percent of U.S. farmers use crop insurance, and the majority of the benefit goes to a tiny fraction of producers. Despite the narrow group of private interests that benefit disproportionately from the program, it has imposed a $58 billion price tag on the American people over a 10-year period.

How a Safety Net Became a Farm Policy Disaster: White Paper No. 1

There is significant disconnect between the massive profits crop insurance corporations enjoy and the risks they take on. • There is little systematic accountability to make certain an insurance company’s administrative costs match the amount of tax money it receives for administrative reimbursement. • Profit margins for crop insurance companies far exceed what is considered a reasonable rate of return for crop insurers.

Terra Viva: Our Soil, Our Commons, Our Future

The Manifesto shows how critical issues and crises are interconnected and cannot be addressed in silos: soils, land and land grab, farming, climate change, unemployment, growing economic inequality and growing violence and wars. Based on a transition from the current linear, extractive way of thinking to a circular approach based on reciprocal giving and taking, the Manifesto offers a new paradigm for a New Agriculture, a new Circular Economy which can sow the seeds of justice, dignity, sustainability, peace and a true New Democracy.

Reclaim the Fields: Bulletin #2

Reclaim the Fields is a constellation of people and collective projects willing to go back to the land and reassume the control over food production. We are determined to create alternatives to capitalism through cooperative, collective, autonomous, real needs oriented small scale production and initiatives, putting theory into practice and linking local practical action with global political struggles.

Reclaim the Fields: Bulletin #3

Reclaim the Fields is a constellation of people and collective projects willing to go back to the land and reassume the control over food production. We are determined to create alternatives to capitalism through cooperative, collective, autonomous, real needs oriented small scale production and initiatives, putting theory into practice and linking local practical action with global political struggles.

Reclaim the Fields: Bulletin #4

Reclaim the Fields is a constellation of people and collective projects willing to go back to the land and reassume the control over food production. We are determined to create alternatives to capitalism through cooperative, collective, autonomous, real needs oriented small scale production and initiatives, putting theory into practice and linking local practical action with global political struggles.

Reclaim the Fields: Bulletin #5

Reclaim the Fields is a constellation of people and collective projects willing to go back to the land and reassume the control over food production. We are determined to create alternatives to capitalism through cooperative, collective, autonomous, real needs oriented small scale production and initiatives, putting theory into practice and linking local practical action with global political struggles.

Reclaim the Fields: Bulletin #7

Reclaim the Fields is a constellation of people and collective projects willing to go back to the land and reassume the control over food production. We are determined to create alternatives to capitalism through cooperative, collective, autonomous, real needs oriented small scale production and initiatives, putting theory into practice and linking local practical action with global political struggles.

Reclaim the Fields: Bulletin #8

A lot of the content comes directly from this very intense meeting point of RtF connections last summer as you will see & read in the meeting notes; reflective articles; and the call out for the traveling caravan: an idea shaped at the RtF camp. Nevertheless we once again came across some essential questions that seem to pop up regularly..:Why did so many “starters”of the network stop coming to meetings and gatherings?; What is the role of this constellation?; How do we combine working on local and global scales?; How can we improve the tools we use and make our links stronger?

Reclaim the Fields Bulletin #9

Reclaim the Fields is a constellation of people and collective projects willing to go back to the land and reassume the control over food production. We are determined to create alternatives to capitalism through cooperative, collective, autonomous, real needs oriented small scale production and initiatives, putting theory into practice and linking local practical action with global political struggles.

Trade and Environment Review 2013: Make Agriculture Truly Sustainable Now For Food Security in a Changing Climate

Trade and Environment Review 2013: WAKE UP BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE. Make agriculture truly sustainable now for food security in a changing climate

Surging Inequality and the Foreclosure Crisis

The dramatic rise in inequality over the past three decades is no longer contested as indicated by the attention paid to this issue by publications ranging from the Wall Street Journal to Mother Jones. Another issue that continues to grab headlines today is the foreclosure crisis and the associated economic challenges facing many households and communities. Lost in much of this discussion, however, is the central role that inequality in general and residential segregation in particular play in the flood of foreclosures and their costs.

Where There is No Farm Advisor

In the present global climate of food shortages and price increases in food and fuel, it is more important than ever that communities improve local, sustainable food production. This handbook is a preliminary resource to introduce to you methods and concepts in tropical agriculture, and to assist you in conducting further research.

Hungry for land: small farmers feed the world with less than a quarter of all farmland

It is commonly heard today that small farmers produce most of the world's food. But how many of us realise that they are doing this with less than a quarter of the world's farmland, and that even this meagre share is shrinking fast? If small farmers continue to lose the very basis of their existence, the world will lose its capacity to feed itself. GRAIN took an in depth look at the data to see what is going on and the message is crystal clear. We need to urgently put land back in the hands of small farmers and make the struggle for agrarian reform central to the fight for better food systems.

Seed Laws that Criminalize Farmers: Resistance and Fightback

... seeds have also been the basis of productive, social and cultural processes that have given rural people the resolute ability to maintain some degree of autonomy and to refuse to be completely controlled by big business and big money.

Conservation and Affordability of Working Lands

A recent survey by the National Young Farmers Coalition determined that new farmers face substantial barriers to entering agriculture. Topping the list are: poor access to land; insecure land tenure; and poor access to financing. Our nation’s beginning farmers are so hindered that they are not entering agriculture in great enough numbers to fill the shoes of our aging family farmers. The result is that we find ourselves in a national farm transition crisis. In California, there are nine senior farmers aged 65 and older for every young farmer under age 35. Our state’s beginning farm operators decreased in numbers by a full twenty percent between 2007 and 2012.

Center for Agricultural and Food Systems Convening: Suggested Topics Land-Tenure Project

*How do we define “land tenure”?

Live Free and Farm

Live Free and Farm: Food and Independence in the Granite State by John E. Carroll

Foreword by Former Agriculture Commissioner Steve Taylor

With Illustrations and Book Design by Linda R. Isaacson

Searching for the “O-Word”

While some organic-pertinent research does exist, these projects mostly are unrelated to any coherent strategy or analysis of organic farmers’ needs. Organic farming systems represent a vital scientific frontier in the development of environmentally sound agriculture. The growth of the organic production sector is also an important economic opportunity and an element of sustainable rural development. The national agricultural research system has failed to recognize this potential, let alone explore it seriously or help to improve the performance of organic farming systems. This failure is contradictory in light of policy goals seeking reduced environmental risks in agriculture (e.g. The President’s IPM Initiative), greater diversity in cropping patterns (e.g. “Freedom to Farm” legislation), and the incorporation of “sustainability” as a guiding policy principle.

How agricultural research systems shape a technological regime that develops genetic engineering but locks out agroecological innovations

Science and technology are at the core of agricultural change. Fundamental and applied research in biology, chemistry and genetics has resulted in a constant flow of innovations and technical changes that have greatly influenced agricultural systems

Closing the knowledge gap: How the USDA could tap the potential of biologically diversified farming systems

Modern agriculture has proven highly productive, yet has simultaneously generated environmental and social impacts of global concern. Pressing environmental issues call into question the ability of the current model of industrial agriculture to sustain adequate yields without undermining the natural resource base upon which it depends.

Wild Pollinators: Agriculture’s Forgotten Partners

Playing a remarkable role in enabling plants to produce their fruits, wild pollinators have proven most effective on farms located close to native habitat and on diverse, pesticide-free farms. Discoveries such as these may just be the tip of the iceberg. What we have yet to learn could reveal significantly more benefits of native pollinators to farms.

Agricultural Cropping Patterns: Integrating Wild Margins

A farm under cultivation, whether irrigated or not, can provide varying degrees of opportunity for wildlife to co-exist in the landscape. In fact, “farming with the wild” can improve the living situation for many wildlife species and make farming interesting without harming economic productivity. In an effort to further understand and apply such practices, agriculturists and conservationists are forming partnerships to study, conserve, and reconnect living native landscapes for the prosperity and diversity of wildlife.

Instructions for Accessing Information of At-Risk Species and Habitats in Your Area from Two Websites

Biodiversity is the variety of life. What does this have to do with a farm? Agriculture that provides natural habitat can support pollination and pest control, protect water quality, meet the needs of multiple species, and make a meaningful contribution to wild Nature. On most farms, opportunities exist to accommodate the needs of local species with only minor changes to farming practices. Many farmers are already contributing to biodiversity by some of their activities.

Delicate Revival: Banner Grange grows a community

With ideas of sustainability still fresh in their minds from the weekend's food and farm conference, folks gathered Monday for a potluck of organic, locally grown food, storytelling and presentations by the New York-based Greenhorns and local farmer Amigo Bob Cantisano, founder of the Felix Gillet Institute.

By Laura Petersen Special to The Union

The History of Fair Trade

Written by Phyllis Robinson & Nicholas Reid Illustration and Graphic Design by Vendetta Larsson

Cultural ReProducers: Propositions, Manifestos, & Experiments

Edited by: Christa Donner
Chicago: Temporary Services, December 2014
Pages: 48 plus bound-in folded 11X17 poster insert

Manifesto on the future of knowledge systems

Solutions to the problems of society depend on the way knowledge is produced, used and diffused. Reductionism, fragmentation and mechanical thinking are at the root of the multiple catastrophes that grip humanity today: the financial implosion and economic collapse, climate chaos and the energy and food crises. Solutions to these crises require a new way of thinking – a new knowledge paradigm is necessary.

In the past we have seen cultures and ethnic groups disappear as a result of wrong choices. Today we are living at a time when decisions in one place affect the world at large and wrong choices can lead to irreversible destruction. A holistic approach is necessary to ensure our future on a healthy planet.

This manifesto offers a framework for a new knowledge paradigm based on the six principles outlined below, the first three delineate the failings of the present dominant knowledge system, the last three define the way forward.

Poison Apples

Thirty years ago, Apple Computer launched a new product with a messianic commercial in which legions of blank-faced, coverall-clad workers march, as if in a trance, through a strange industrial world. They arrive at a bright screen, which they sit in front of in homogeneous rows to watch a Big Brother–like figure announce the triumph of a mind-controlling monoculture. An athlete speeds toward the massive hall. Her sprinting power, her golden skin and bright red shorts, and even her gender stand in contrast to the zombie shuffle of the male figures.

Long-term study shows many benefits of longer rotations

What would you think if a farmer could grow corn and soybeans with lower costs, fewer chemicals, less environmental impact, all while increasing yields and making a profit?

The Law of the Seed

Seed is the first link in the food chain and embodies millennia of evolution and thousands of ears of farmers breeding as well as the culture of freely saving and sharing seed. t is the expression of earth's intelligence and the intelligence of farming communities down the ages.

The ecological and biological laws of the Seed draw upon the perennial laws of nature and evolution based on diversity, adaptation, resilience and openness. They also draw on principles of jurisprudence of human rights, public goods and the commons.

HoneyBee (English) Magazine Vol. 25.1

No matter how vulnerable one is, one often searches for a more vulnerable person to blame for one's own inadequacies. Given the economic stress, many small entrepreneurs face enormous challenges in the market place...It seemed that a large number of problems of small enterprises owed their origin to the rising aspirations of the workers and inability or the unwillingness of the entrepreneurs to meet those.

Land Governance in China

The aim of the Framing the Debate series is to facilitate a
deeper understanding of land governance debates. Land
governance is understood as the formal and informal rules,
mechanisms, processes and institutions through which land
is accessed, used, controlled, transferred, and land-related
conflicts are managed. It encompasses, therefore, land tenure
systems, land and agrarian reforms, and land administration.
The terms of the debate on land, agrarian reform, land
tenure and administration have become increasingly
diverse and complex, as a result of a rapidly and radically
changing global context. The greater demand for land,
for productive use, human settlements, as well as for
environmental conservation and climate mitigation
purposes, creates new land governance challenges.

Access to Land

Equitable partition of land is the necessary basis of all self-sustaining agriculture.
"This partition and use of land may be in the form of ownership or in the form of right
to hold the land for a specified time. The ownership may be of different degrees:
The owner may have unlimited right to sell and to bequeath, or he may be bound
by certain statutory restrictions. Likewise, the rental of land may be of different
degrees and kinds, and in some cases it may amount to practical ownership.
These varying forms of land partition have arisen with the evolution of society. "
-Liberty Hyde Bailey

The Undercommons

In this series of essays Fred Moten and Stefano Harney draw on the theory and practice of the black radical tradition as it supports, inspires, and extends contemporary social and political thought and aesthetic critique. Today the general wealth of social life finds itself confronted by mutations in the mechanisms of control: the proliferation of capitalist logistics, governance by credit, and the management of pedagogy...

Legal Eats

It’s not immediately apparent why people who are passionate about food justice should also care about
enterprise. After all, business and enterprise are often viewed as the cause of the problem, particularly
with the domination of the food industry by a few mega-corporations. And yet, we believe that creating
socially responsible, community-accountable enterprises is a potent means of achieving food justice. So
what do we mean by food justice? Let’s start with some definitions.
Food justice: A movement that attempts to address hunger by addressing the underlying issues of racial
and class disparity and the inequities in the food system that correlate to inequities in economic and
political power.1
Enterprise: A business, company or undertaking that is difficult and complicated.

Think outside the boss

Worker cooperatives are business entities that are (1) owned by their workers,
(2) governed by their workers, and (3) operated for the benefit of their workers. Because worker
cooperatives are owned and controlled by and for the people who work there, they operate
differently from traditional businesses in some key ways.

El Proceso Legal Para Iniciar Tu Negocio Cooperativo

Las cooperativas de trabajadores son entidades de negocio que están (1) en posesión de los trabajadores, (2) gobernadas por los trabajadores, y (3) operadas por y para el beneficio de los trabajadores. Puesto que las cooperativas son propiedad y están controladas por y para los empleados que trabajan allá, son operadas diferentemente de las empresas tradicionales en unos aspectos clave.

Land Values 2014

Average Cropland Value, Average Farm Real Estate Value, Farm Real Estate Value by State, Average Pasture Value


Food Sovereignty: A Critical Dialogue

California is a land of contradictions. It is known as the breadbasket of the nation, but farmland
is disappearing with alarming speed. Crop and ranch lands are falling out of production at a rate
of one square mile every four days between 1984 and 2008.1 Urbanization and real estate
development are a key factor in this conversion process, eating up an average of 38,000 acres a
year between 1990 and 2004.2 However, in the scramble for what crop and ranch land stays in
production, large-scale agribusiness is also strong and well established throughout the state’s
warm valleys. The result: farmland prices have steadily risen (by 100% between 2002 and 2012
for irrigated land in California) and in many cases surpassed the productive value of the land.
In the nation’s top agricultural producing state where over half of all fruits, nuts and vegetables
in the country are produced, farmland is disappearing.

California Guide to Labor Laws for Small Farms

This guide is intended to help farmers become familiar with the labor laws that govern California agriculture as they pertain to having someone work on your farm, whether in an educational capacity or not. It includes basic information about farm labor law as well as discussion of alternative options for small growers who host interns or have an apprenticeship program. This guide is written for California and does not discuss the labor laws in other states; however the information on federal laws and alternative options may be applicable in all states and may help lay the foundation for understanding state-specific requirements.

A New England Food Vision


New England Food Vision is a story about the future of our region. Because it centers
on food, it’s a complicated story: it not only involves many characters, settings, and facts,
but it has multiple endings—or, more precisely, alternative futures. It’s a story that stretches back
to the foodways of Native peoples who were devastated by European colonization and extends
through the present into the future. It’s a story that generates questions and choices as New
Englanders decide what’s important for their immediate and long-term food futures.

Cultivating the Next Generation: Resources and Policies to Help Beginning Farmers Succeed in Agriculture

The number of beginning farmers has reached a 30-year low. Just between 2007 and 2012, the number of beginners dropped 20 percent, and they now represent the smallest share of farmers reported by the Census of Agriculture since 1982.

Many reasons have been cited for the decline of beginning farmers and ranchers, most notably the high start-up costs and capitalization needed to enter agriculture and the difficulty of securing land to purchase or to rent. American Farmland Trust (AFT) investigated the challenges and opportunities facing beginning farmers to find out what it takes for them to enter and succeed in agriculture.

Farm Cooperation Planning Tool

Cooperative Farm Planning Tool

Farm Cooperation Planning Tool: Current Farm Survey

General description of your current farm operation

Instructions for the Farm Cooperation Planning Tool

The “Cooperative Farm Planning Tool” aggregates and organizes the results of simple yet powerful farmer surveys.

Stagnation and Financialization

More than six years after the beginning of the Great Recession in the United States, and nearly five years since it was officially declared over in this country, the core economies of the capitalist world system remain crisis-ridden. The jobs lost in the downturn in the United States have not yet been fully recovered and the economy remains sluggish. In Europe the crisis has hardly abated at all and a number of the peripheral European Union countries are in what can only be called a depression—especially Greece, Spain, and Portugal.2 The last member of the triad of advanced capitalist centers, Japan, has gone through what have been called two “lost decades” of slow growth and deflation and is attempting once again to jump-start the economy through a combination of devaluation of the yen and deficit spending.

Permaculture Library

compiled by Owen Hablutzel--Permaculture Research Institute, USA

A New England Food Vision

A New England Food Vision is a story about the future of our region. Because it centers on food, it’s a complicated story: it not only involves many characters, settings, and facts,  but it has multiple endings—or, more precisely, alternative futures. It’s a story that stretches back  to the foodways of Native peoples who were devastated by European colonization and extends  through the present into the future. It’s a story that generates questions and choices as New Englanders decide what’s important for their immediate and long-term food futures.

Food Value Chains

A new model of organization is beginning to pop up in the agribusiness sector that seeks to merge social mission objectives with core business operating principles. Known as food value chains, these business arrangements are distinguished by their commitment to transparency, collaborative business planning and exchange of market intelligence and business knowhow among chain partners, and their interest in developing business strategies and solutions that yield tangible benefits to each participant in the system.

New England Food Policy: Building a Sustainable Food System

This report contributes to efforts across New England to promote a more regionally focused, healthier,
economically vibrant, resilient, just and environmentally sustainable food system for New England.

Re-crafting Food Safety Regulations for Farm Direct Marketed Foods

A Food Systems brief from JAFSCD. Provides a summary of the article entitled "Can We Have Our (Safe and Local) Cake and Eat It Too? Oregon Re-crafts Food Safety Regulations for Farm Direct Marketed Foods"which was published online on February 18, 2013.

Designing State or Local Laws for Purchasing Locally Grown Food: Suggestions for Policymakers and Advocates

A Food Systems Brief from JAFSCD which is a summary of the original article, "Laws to Require Purchase of Locally Grown Food and Constitutional Limits on State and Local Government: Suggestions for Policymakers and Advocates" published online August 13, 2010.

Measuring the Current Consumption of Locally Grown Foods

A Food Systems Brief from JAFSCD. Summarizes the basic points of the original article "Measuring Current Consumption of Locally Grown Foods in Vermont: Methods for Baselines and Targets" which was published online on May 17th, 2013.

Growing a Food System for the Future: a manual for co-operative enterprise development

This is an exciting time for the co-operative movement, and particularly for New England’s agricultural,
fishery and food co-ops, some of which are profiled in this manual. In the wake of the financial meltdown
of 2008 and the resulting global recession, co-ops have been recognized for their resilience, preserving
jobs, economic infrastructure and rural communities. Across our region, people are working to rebuild
local and regional food systems, and co-ops have a unique role to play.

People & Land – Volume 2 Number 1 – Summer 1974

People & Land is a new newspaper of as yet undetermined frequency. It is not an environmental publication, though it will be concerned with environmental issues. Its subject, as its name implies, is the relationship between people and land. In the process of covering this subject, it will deal with such matters as corporate power, taxes and government policy generally.

People & Land Magazine – Volume 1 Number 2 – Winter 1974

People & Land is a new newspaper of as yet undetermined frequency. It is not an environmental publication, though it will be concerned with environmental issues. Its subject, as its name implies, is the relationship between people and land. In the process of covering this subject, it will deal with such matters as corporate power, taxes and government policy generally.

People & Land Magazine – Volume 1 Number 1 – Summer 1973

People & Land is a new newspaper of as yet undetermined frequency. It is not an environmental publication, though it will be concerned with environmental issues. Its subject, as its name implies, is the relationship between people and land. In the process of covering this subject, it will deal with such matters as corporate power, taxes and government policy generally.

NYFC Affiliate Agreement

This Affiliation Agreement (the “Agreement”) is made this _____ day of ___________, 20____, by and between the National Young Farmers Coalition (“NYFC”), an unincorporated association, and ____________________________(“Affiliate”). Defined terms used herein have the same meaning as ascribed to them in the Affiliation Agreement.

Competition versus cooperation

"Survival of the fittest" means survival of those who successfully integrate the seemingly opposite tendencies of competition and cooperation.

Good Food Purchasing Guidelines for Food Service Institutions

Food system transformation depends on large-scale shifts in the demand for and the subsequent purchasing of
Good Food. By practicing Good Food purchasing methods, institutions can support food systems that are healthy,
ecologically sound, economically viable, socially responsible, and humane.

Critical agrarianism

This paper develops the concept of ‘critical agrarianism’ to describe and advance the pursuit of land-based work as a means of realizing social justice and environmental sustainability. Encouraging new agrarianism to more carefully scrutinize its agenda, critical agrarianism celebrates the promise of a close working relationship with the natural world while insisting that a return to the land—per se—is insufficient. In the practice of linking people and land, past and present, critical agrarianism continually questions and reshapes the very category of agrarian, toward a more equitable and enduring prosperity.

Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development: Growing New Farmers

Follow the link for specific articles:

Access to farmland: A systems change perspective

While the topic of farmers’ access to farmland is not a new issue, contemporary conditions have made it an even greater challenge than in the past. In this reflective essay I suggest that the farmland access challenge in the U.S. means thinking outside the box of ingrained cultural values, past historical arrangements, and current conditions. Using my organization, Land For Good, I argue that persistent challenges to farmland access will be addressed best through dialogue and innovation around how farms and farmland can optimally be accessed, held, and passed on. Land For Good, a New England–based not-for-profit organization, posits a systems change framework for farmland access, tenure, and transfer. This essay explores solutions in a broad context and addresses how farm seekers, landowners, service providers, communities, and policymakers all play key roles.

The Debt Resistors’ Operations Manual

This operations manual -- written by an anonymous collective of resistors, defaulters and allies from Strike Debt and Occupy Wall Street -- is for all those being crushed under the weight of debt.

It aims to provide specific tactics for understanding and fighting against the debt system so that we can all reclaim our lives and our communities. It contains practical information, resources and insider tips for individuals dealing with the dilemma of indebtedness in the United States today and also introduces ideas for those who have made the decisions to take collective action.

An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Farming in Massachusetts

This guide is written for people who are interested in starting a farming business in
Massachusetts, or who already farm and are looking to expand the crops they grow or
places they sell them.
This guide is written as a series of independent Fact Sheets that can be used separately
as needed or together as a complete guide.
It may be helpful for you to use this series with someone who can guide you to more
farming information, such as an experienced farmer, a Massachusetts Department of
Agriculture employee, a United States Department of Agriculture employee, or other
service provider.

WHOLE MEASURES for Community Food Systems

"Community Food Security is a condition in which all community residents obtain a safe, culturally
appropriate, nutritionally sound diet through an economically and environmentally sustainable food
system that promotes community self-reliance and social justice."

The Agrarian Reform Project

"From this day on the peasants of Peru will no longer be pariahs or the disinherited, living in poverty from birth to death and viewing themselves as powerless in the face of a future that appears equally dismal for their children. From the time of this fortuitous day, June 24th, the peasants of peru will truly be free citizens, whose right to the fruits of the earth they cultivate, and to a just place in a society that will never again treat them as diminished citizens, men to be exploited by other men, the nation will finally recognize." - General Juan Velasco Alvarado's speech of the nation announcing the 1969 Agrarian Reform

Farmers by Age

A long term trend observed in the Census of Agriculture is the aging
of farm operators. The average age of the principal farm operator has
increased roughly one year in each census cycle, from 50.3 in 1978 to
57.1 in 2007. The majority of farm operators are between 45 and 64, but
the fastest growing group of farm operators is those 65 years and older.

Pimbert, Michel, Towards Food Sovereignty: Reclaiming Autonomous Food Systems

Towards Food Sovereignty is an online book with linked video and audio files. The first three chapters, available here, begin to describe the ecological basis of food and agriculture, the social and environmental costs of modern food systems, and the policy reversals needed to democratize food systems. The video and audio clips show farmers, indigenous peoples and consumers all working to promote food sovereignty, it highlights the importance of locally controlled food systems to sustain both people and nature.

Commons Sense: Co-operative place making and the capturing of land value for 21st century Garden Cities

In this time of growing austerity, revisiting pioneering ideas from the past on how land is owned and
shared can be a source of innovation and insight on how to self-finance local economic renewal. Henry
George posed the conundrum: why do we have industrial progress and yet rising poverty? As he showed,
a key explanation is the way escalating land values contribute to a structural mal-distribution of wealth.
First, the value of land depends on location, and second, concentrated urban investment, both public and
private, increases site values while in turn raising the costs of meeting basic urban needs – from housing to
workspace and public services. How might this be overcome?

A Grange Story – Finding My Place

After nearly a century and a half of fellowship, community service and advocacy, the Grange is a staple in many hometowns across Americas. However, many people still don't know what the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization is all about.

To tell the story, we created the first National Grange comic.

Vermont Sail Freight Project – Schedule!

Full itinerary for the Ceres sailing barge!

Big News From a Young Farmer-led DIY Tech-Startup

We’re proud to announce that has launched our first INDIE-GOGO campaign with our brand new video and new OPEN SHOPS feature! Farm Hack is honored to present at this weekend’s World Maker Faire NYC!

Cereal Secrets

The four big commodity traders – Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Bunge, Cargill and Louis
Dreyfus, collectively referred to as ‘the ABCD companies’ – are dominant traders of grain
globally and central to the modern agri-food system. This report considers the ABCDs in relation
to several global issues pressing on agriculture: the ‘financialization’ of both commodity trade
and agricultural production; the emergence of global competitors to the ABCDs, in particular
from Asia; and some of the implications of large-scale industrial biofuels, a sector in which the
ABCDs are closely involved. The report includes a discussion of how smallholders in developing
countries are affected by these changes, and highlights some development policy implications,
given the importance of the ABCD firms in shaping the world of food and agriculture. The report
highlights the ways in which these four firms are decisive actors in the global restructuring of the
overlapping food, feed, and fuel complexes that is now under way, and considers how the firms
are evolving as they respond to and shape the new pressures and opportunities in the modern
agri-food system.

World Farmers Organization F@rmletter


Iowa Farm Business and Transfer Plans Survey

The goal of this study is to provide a comparison of the attitudes and motives behind farm succession. The hope is that a comparison between the data obtained in 2006 and 2000 in the state of Iowa will provide insight into the mechanics of farm business transfers. Unlike most farm transfer studies the focus of this study is on the transfer of intangible assets rather than physical assets. For this study a survey was mailed to 2,847 farm families throughout the state of Iowa. The response rate to the survey was 34.14 percent providing a sample of 972 farm families.

Land Values, 2013 Summary

The United States farm real estate value, a measurement of the value of all land and buildings on farms, averaged
$2,900 per acre for 2013, up 9.4 percent from revised 2012 values. Regional changes in the average value of farm real
estate ranged from a 23.1 percent increase in the Northern Plains region to no change in the Southeast region. The highest
farm real estate values were in the Cornbelt region at $6,400 per acre. The Mountain region had the lowest farm real estate
value at $1,020 per acre.
The United States cropland value increased by $460 per acre (13.0 percent) to $4,000 per acre. In the Northern Plains and
Corn Belt regions, the average cropland value increased 25.0 and 16.1 percent, respectively, from the previous year.
However, in the Southeast region, cropland values decreased by 2.8 percent.
The United States pasture value increased to $1,200 per acre, or 4.3 percent above 2012. The Southeast region had the
largest percentage decrease in pasture value, 1.5 percent below 2012. The Northern Plains had the highest increase at 18.4

Case Study: Access to Land for Community Connected Farming

In 2010-11, an informal group of civic organisations from across Europe conducted
a project on Access to Land for Community Connected Agriculture. A key part of the
project lies in a series of seven case studies, documenting experiences from various
European countries and different levels of activity (local, regional, national). These
case studies seek to explore both the functioning and the benefits of community
connected farming. From this they seek to identify the constraints that limit access
to land of sufficient quality and size, and the potential solutions that have been
found to reduce the impacts of these constraints. The case studies are illustrative
of a variety of issues and situations and, taken together, present some interesting
and innovative approaches to the development of local, civic agriculture.

What went wrong at agway

By Bruce L. Anderson and Brian M. Henehan

On October 1, 2002 Agway filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Many people are asking
what went wrong. This is a hasty attempt by the authors to analyze the situation. We hope that
this short article will provide valuable lessons for other cooperatives and organizations.
First, a little history. Agway was formed in 1964, the result of a merger between GLF
(Grange League Federation) and Eastern States Farmers’ Exchange. A year later the
Pennsylvania Farm Bureau Cooperative merged into Agway. The result was a very large
agricultural supply and marketing cooperative that covered 13 states, spanning from Maryland to
Maine to Eastern Ohio.
We have divided our discussion into historic and recent issues.

Community Orchards

This publication introduces community orchards and discusses the history of the community orchard
movement and the motivations behind producing fruit in a community orchard. It offers a step-by-step
guide to starting a community orchard and advice on choosing fruit trees and plants most likely
to provide successful harvests, including apples, pears, grapes, brambles, and other, unusual fruits. A
profile of a community orchard program and a list of further resources are also included.

Transportation And The Commodification of Milk in New York State

Senior thesis by Holly Rippon-Butler

Young Agrarian Culture in Nova Scotia

For Nova Scotia, a province historically characterized by rural communities and family farms,
the overhaul of Canadian agriculture to an industrial production model has had major
ramifications. Farmers are an aging and shrinking demographic. There is growing support for an
alternative food system, focused on re-establishing local capacity for food production. Despite
financial constraints, a new generation of young people are pursuing farming in Nova Scotia. 


Cultivating big dreams on a smaller scale

Farm Loan Fact Sheet

The following chart summarizes FSA farm loan information, effective Feb. 1, 2013. Additional details are
available at local FSA offices and on FSA’s website:

A 50-Year Farm Bill

Long-term food security is our issue. We begin with the knowledge that essentially all of
nature’s ecosystems feature perennial plants growing in species mixtures and that they
build soil. Agriculture reversed that process nearly everywhere by substituting annual
monocultures. As a result, ecosystem services—including soil fertility—have been
degraded. Most land available for new production is of marginal quality that declines
quickly. The resulting biodiversity loss gets deserved attention, soil erosion less.

US Investment in Large-Scale Land Acquisitions in Lowand Middle-Income Countries

In the past decade, investment in land used for agriculture and forestry in lowand middle-income countries has grown dramatically. This study provides an analysis of the extent of US investors’ and investment fund managers’ involvement in this phenomenon over the past 10 years. With this research, Oxfam America hopes to begin exploring the business models behind these investments and the potential food security implications in low- and middleincome countries where large-scale land acquisitions are occurring. The analysis is based on primary data collected from interviews with investors and fund managers involved in farmland and timberland investments and experts from civil society organizations, as well as a review of secondary and limited primary data on US investors and investment funds engaged in large-scale land acquisitions in low- and middle-income countries. Despite the limited transparency of the land investment market, this research establishes that the scale and trends of US investors’ involvement is discernible and substantial. The analysis reveals that US investors—mainly private equity and hedge funds—play a substantial role financing agribusiness companies that
employ monoculture production in low-income countries at the expense of biodiversity and greater food security. 

Conserving Farmland… But for Whom?

This study frames the ACE—a relatively new farmland conservation tool—in the context of land reform; examines the extent to which the ACE and its actors address land tenure currently; and formulates recommendations for improving ACE application. A review of the literature provides background on land reform in the West and why we should concern ourselves with land access for beginning farmers. It then describes how agricultural conservation easements emerged, how they do and do not address land access, and how they might be used to this greater effect. The results of interviews with Land Trusts and others ACE practitioners reveal what these groups anticipate for farm ownership of easement-encumbered parcels, and whether they take an active role in these outcomes. Several models are then presented whereby land trusts andii public policy are improving land access for farmers. Three of these are illustrated using detailed case studies.
Finally, recommendations are made that land trusts partner as frequently as possible with younger-generation farmers to purchase land; include farming and farm succession in their selection criteria; improve easement record-keeping practices; consider innovative easement language and provisions; provide assistance to incoming
farmers; work to improve public support for local farmers; and better integrate with land-use planning and other publicly-administered efforts to conserve farmland and farming.

Beyond the Discourse of Local Food: Land trusts, beginner farmers, and redefining conservation in the public interest

This is a study of the political ecology of land trusts and beginner farmers in coastal
California. Findings suggest that there is a cultural, political, and economic struggle taking
place in the study area around agricultural land resources and access to land, particularly that
held in public’s interest by land trusts. This struggle reflects national trends in the transition
in values from nature-based conservation, to a vision of integrated agro-ecological
conservation. Though land trusts continue to identify themselves primarily with the more
traditional aspects of conservation, a full discourse of local food was found to be influencing
a shift in the portrayal of land trust identity and mission. Current popular trends towards the
valuation of local food, through the local food movement, among other signs was reflected
in the public image of land trusts. The vast discursive space between how land trusts self
identify and how they portray themselves was also highlighted in farmer interviews. As
entities of a neoliberalized state, land trusts are behooved to act according to public will. If
the public will is shifting towards an increasing valuation of local food production, should
that signal a shift in the type of conservation that is being performed in the name of public

Pipe Dreams


Elanor Starmer

October, 2004

Fundamentals of U.S. Agriculture 

Prof. William Lockeretz

Fracking and the Food System

ew drilling and fracking techniques have made it possible to extract oil and natural
gas from shale and other dense rock formations that were previously inaccessible.
While such drilling and fracking has been a boon for the oil and gas industry in the United
States, it has been a nightmare for Americans exposed to the pollution that accompanies
shale development. The expansion of modern drilling and fracking across the country has
caused widespread environmental and public health problems and created serious, longterm risks to underground water resources, all of which affect farming and our food.

The Economic Cost of Food Monopolies

The agriculture and food sector is unusually concentrated,
with just a few companies dominating the market in
each link of the food chain. In most sectors of the U.S.
economy, the four largest firms control between 40 and
45 percent of the market, and many economists maintain
that higher levels of concentration can start to erode
Yet according to data compiled by the
University of Missouri-Columbia in 2012, in the agriculture
and food sector, the four largest companies controlled 82
percent of the beef packing industry, 85 percent of soybean
processing, 63 percent of pork packing, and 53 percent of
broiler chicken processing.2

The Disappearance of Smallholder and Peasant Farmers and the Coming of Agricultural Entrepreneurs

This article deals intensively with the disappearance of smallholder and peasant
farmers and the industrialization tendencies in agriculture in a global context. The
substantial developments are described through seven "spotlights". The paper discusses some
of the main trends in global agriculture, criticizes the monopoly-like structures in
agribusiness and global trade and argues in the direction that small–scale farming and
structures adjusted to local communities should be supported and, similar to the agrarian
crisis at the end of 19th century in central Europe, a systematic creation of cooperatives
should be initialized again. It should aim at strengthening the local (regional) production,
promoting the regional exchange of products as well as reinforcing the interfaces to regional
handicraft, small scale industry and modern services. There is a need for substantial political
reforms on a global (WTO, IMF) and local level (land reforms).

Leverage Points

By Donella Meadows

From the Sustainability Institute

Thirty Five Years: The Past and Beyond, The Future and Beyond

By: Wes Jackson, From the Prairie Festival, September 30, 2012, 11:00 am

A New Lease on Farmland by Susan Witt

Here in the Northeast, the past several years have seen a tremendous boost in public
awareness of the importance of farmland preservation. With public money in short supply,
many local communities like those in the southern Berkshires have taken matters into their
own hands by instituting nonprofit conservation land trusts. As private, locally based
organizations these trusts have been been able to be flexible and act quickly in order to
purchase large amounts of farmland as it comes to market, preserving it for future
generations. This is a major accomplishment.

Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program- December 2012

The BFRDP is a competitive grant program which provides organizations and educational institutions resources for assisting and training the next generation of agriculture producers.

Third Drake Forum on America’s New Farmers

full of resources!

113th Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committees

Newly compiled list of the House and Senate agriculture committees, with new members listed in italics – note that there are a particularly large number of new committee members in the House. There are still a few vacancies to be filled so this list is not yet final.
In addition to the change in ranking member in the Senate from Senator Roberts (R-KS) to Senator Cochran(R-MS), it should be noted that Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) will no longer be chairing the House Agriculture Appropriations subcommittee. Rep. Aderholt (R-AL) will be the new subcommittee chair.

Trespass: Genetic Engineering as the Final Conquest

Sample Worksheet – (go to UCSC CASFS publications to get actual excell file)

Sample Worksheet - (go to UCSC CASFS publications to get actual excell file)

Critical Cash Flow Management (for if you have lots of debt)

  • Staying out of trouble in the first place; plan, communicate, and prioritize.
  • Getting your head above water; take stock, seek objective guidance, prioritize, communicate, and negotiate.
  • Down the garden path; how good businesses go bad.
  • Back from the Underworld; vocabulary and resources for defending yourself against foreclosure and forces liquidation.
Intro to Cash Flow Budgeting for a Small Farm

How to think about cash flow

The Economic Cost of Food Monopolies

For nearly 80 years, academic studies have documented the negative impact of agriculture’s consolidation and industrialization, which aligns farms more closely with food manufacturers than their local communities. The rising economic concentration has contributed to the decline in the number of farms and the increased size in the farms that remain. Communities with more medium- and smaller-sized farms have more shared prosperity, including higher incomes, lower unemployment and lower income inequality, than communities with larger farms tied to often-distant agribusinesses. Agribusiness concentration works in many ways, all with same objective: to move income from farmers and rural economies to Wall Street. In this report, we examine five case studies of agribusiness concentration.

West Virginia’s Road Map for the Food Economy

West Virginia’s Road Map for the Food Economy is a statewide “food
charter” designed to help us all focus, measure and celebrate our
collective progress towards stronger local food systems. The Road Map offers a vision for West
Virginia’s local food economy and provides ways of measuring how statewide and local policies,
programs, and community efforts are contributing to the strength of that food economy.
outlined in the following pages, the road Map contains two parts: an action plan for building a food and farm economy over the
next five years, and a “food economy score card” which allows us to measure collective progress towards the big-picture goals of
the action plan. starting in 2013, the food economy score card will be updated
annually, and progress in achieving the goals and actions of the road Map will
be celebrated in an annual report.

Certified Organic Production Survey

The 2008 Organic Production Survey (OPS) is a
follow-on survey to the 2007 Census of Agriculture.
It is the first organic production and practices survey
conducted on the national level by the U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA), National
Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).
The organic industry has experienced measurable
growth over the last few years. This survey
responded to the intense need for detailed industry
data. The 2007 Census of Agriculture reported more
than 20,000 farms engaged in organic production
and over $1.7 billion in sales in the U.S. The 2008
Organic Production Survey collected additional
information on organic farming for the 2008
calendar year.

Guide to Financing the Community Supported Farm

Increasing numbers of farmers are exploring creative ways to acquire
capital for farm operations.

The following pages detail options and considerations for crafting
unconventional financial arrangements that have been used in other
sectors of the economy, but might be new to the agricultural sector.
We guide the reader through basic legal issues relevant to farmers and
community members when pursuing these arrangements. We highlight
several mechanisms that allow for creativity and customization
of financial transactions at the neighbor-to-farmer or farmer-tocommunity-member level:
• the promissory note
• the owner-financed land sale,
• equity financing
• revenue-based financing
• the “multi-year” CSA
• share leases

Open Space


It is a self-organizing practice of inner discipline and collective activity which releases the inherent creativity and leadership in people. By inviting people to take responsibility for what they care about, Open Space establishes a marketplace of inquiry, reflection and learning, bringing out the best in both individuals and the whole.


This guide provides a starter kit for a community member, city official, planner, or design professional to identify currently available planning tools and to assess their applicability and appropriateness to specific projects or issues, alone or in combination. It builds upon the work being done at HTTP://WWW.PLACEMATTERS.COM and provides a springboard for community action.

Agroecology and the Right to Food

In this annual report submitted to the Human Rights Council in accordance with Council resolution 13/4, the Special Rapporteur on the right to food shows why agriculture should be fundamentally redirected towards modes of production that are more environmentally sustainable and socially just, and how this can be achieved. The report is based on a large range of submissions received from experts from all regions, as well as on an international expert seminar on agroecology convened by the Special Rapporteur in Brussels, Belgium, on 21-22 June 2010, with support from the King Baudouin Foundation.


A strong argument can be made that no issue is more important to
the future of U.S. agriculture - and thus to our food supply and social
sustainability - than identifying who will be the next generation of
farmers who will steward the land and produce our food. The good
news is our nation is experiencing a surge in interest of people who
want to be farmers - what we can see as a generation of New

Agroecology vs. Industrial Agriculture

Currently 1 billion people in the world are hungry. Another billion over eat healthy foods.

One third of food produced is wasted. The productivity of nearly half of all soil worldwide is decreasing.

I Believe in the Future of Farming. By: John Ikerd

I  believe that to live and work on a good farm is pleasant as well as challenging; for I know the joys and discomforts of farm life and hold an inborn fondness for those associations, which even in the hours of discouragement, I cannot deny. (An excerpt from the creed of the Future Farmers of America)

How and Why to Build Collaborations

There is a national trend moving organizations from a ‘within’ focus to a
‘between’ focus. This new networked world is characterized by new partnerships, for example
the US Postal Service and FedEx and government agencies integrating natural resource
management. Why is this happening? “Working across boundaries delivers better service,
value, and outcomes for customers, stakeholders, and communities.” The idea of collaboration is
often first driven by budget constraints, but also by a “service first” interest.

The Farm LASTS Project

This research report addresses farm
and ranch access, tenure, succession and stewardship
in the U.S. The FarmLASTS Project researchers
investigated how farms and ranches are acquired
and held by farm entrants, and how new land tenure
and transfer approaches can improve opportunities
for farm viability and land stewardship.
The research objectives for the project were
to investigate and evaluate:
1. Farm entry through traditional and non-traditional
land tenure arrangements;
2. Farmland succession planning and execution
strategies; and
3. Environmental impacts associated with farmland
tenure and succession arrangements.
The report emphasizes successful and new
approaches and models to address the challenges
identified by researchers, field informants, focus
groups, case study interviewees and participants at
a national conference sponsored by the project. Public
policy, programming and research recommendations
were generated.

Farmer Riots in Hudson Valley–feudalism history lesson

In May 1739 New York's Lieutenant Governor George Clark urged the Lords of Trade in London to make a formal decision on the border between New York and Massachusetts because settlers from Massachusetts had already moved within sixteen miles of the Hudson River near Albany. To Clark's horror, the settlers had brought a surveyor with them to lay out townships and individual farms on land that Clark thought lay in the Van Rensselaers' one million acre New York estate. According to Clark, the Van Rensselaers acquired legal title to the land when they received a grant form the British royal governor of New York in the 1680s that clarified and legitimated an earlier grant they received from Dutch authorities. The New England farmers had so far ignored Clark's demands that they stop settling the region. Their movement into the disputed territory would fuel agrarian riots from the early 1750s through the end of the century.

Paving Paradise

One out of every six acres developed in California since the Gold Rush was paved over between 1990 and 2004, concludes a new AFT report, Paving Paradise: A New Perspective on California Farmland Conversion.  In all, more than a half million acres were urbanized during this period, almost two-thirds of it agricultural land.  Among AFT’s other findings: More than 60% of the land developed in the San Joaquin Valley, which accounts for half of California’s agricultural production, was farmland of the very best quality.  Statewide, development is consuming an acre of land for every 9.4 people – imagine them spread out over a football field.  If sprawling development patterns continue, another 2 million acres of California land will be paved over by 2050.  If, however, the state as a whole develops land as efficiently as Sacramento County or the Bay Area did in recent years, a million acres of California’s irreplaceable farmland could be saved.

Wasting our Waterways 2012

Industrial facilities continue to dump millions of pounds of toxic chemicals into America’s rivers, streams, lakes and ocean waters each year—threatening both the environment and human health. According to the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA), pollution from industrial facilities is responsible for threatening or fouling water quality in more than 14,000 miles of rivers and streams, more than 220,000 acres of lakes, ponds and estuaries nationwide.

Global Warming and Pasture-Raised Beef in the United States

Emissions of two important heat-trapping gases from agriculture account for about 6 percent of total global warming emissions in the United States, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Beef production contributes about a third of those emissions, or roughly 2.2 percent of the total. Livestock contribute a greater share of global warm- ing emissions in parts of the world with lower industrial emissions—about 18 percent, according to one estimate, including contributions from deforestation driven by live- stock production.

This report evaluates the prospects for changing management practices to reduce the climate impact of the time beef cattle spend on pasture or rangeland.

Iowa Local Food and Farm Plan

This study provided an overview of local food efforts in Iowa since 1995 and looked at the challenges and implications for increased local food production. It offers 34 recommendations that would boost the local food economy in Iowa, including creation of a state-level local food and farm program, education and training, potential funding sources and policy needs.

The Soil Association – The Road to 2020

In this refreshed strategy, we build on our past successes
and show how we will focus our work around two major
themes, ‘facing the future’ and ‘good food for all’. We want
to find the right balance between setting organic standards
and other ways of improving the performance of our farming,
food and land use systems. Our first major work theme,
‘facing the future’, will promote solutions that meet the
needs of people for healthy food, fuel and fibre while
protecting the natural world.

Leasing Land to Farmers: A Handbook for New England Land Trusts, Municipalities and Institutions

Land is an essential element of farming. After a century of significant farmland loss throughout New England, access to affordable, productive farmland is one of the greatest challenges that our region’s farmers face. Farmland owned by municipalities, institutions and land trusts represents an important source of land for farmers. Whether there are two acres or 100 acres available, a community, land trust or institution willing to lease land to a farmer can make an important contribution toward growing New England’s farms, food and economy.

Land Access Project – Farmland Leasing for Private Landowners

Land is an essential element of farming. The past decade has brought a welcome resurgence of support for New England farms as demand for locally grown farm products has greatly increased. However, after a century of significant farmland loss throughout New England, access to affordable, productive farmland is one of the greatest challenges that New England farmers face.

A Landowner’s Guide to Leasing Land for Farming

This handbook is intended to assist landowners in making land available for farming by others. If you have property that could be used for agriculture, this guide will help you through the steps.

Make your land available for farming – flyer

Do you have land that could be used for farming? Making your land available to a farmer can be a win-win strategy. 

Bridging the Gaps

A dearth of fresh food in urban and rural neighborhoods. Overworked and underpaid farmworkers. Water con- taminated by pesticides and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). The news today is filled with stories related to rampant problems in the U.S. food system. Yet, there are also a rising number of stories about positive change in the food system on a regional level: farmers’ markets popping up in inner-cities to sell organic, fresh food from small and mid-sized farms; public schools connecting to regional farmers for fresh healthy food; and immigrant farm workers becoming farmer-entrepreneurs.

How do we increase and expand the actions being taken to reinvent and restore a food system, one in which peo- ple and the environment are valued first and foremost?

Funding is needed to move a more sustainable food system forward and to support the organizations and busi- nesses working to aect this change. Just as the creation and rebuilding of a healthier food system will require creative and innovative solutions, so will the capital needed to support those solutions.

Your Guide to FSA Farm Loans

This guide was written for people who need
assistance starting, expanding, or owning a farm or
ranch. If you are thinking about borrowing money
to start or expand your business, it is a good idea
to ask yourself several questions before you begin.
Before you borrow money, you need to invest time
in learning about your options and the procedures
to apply for a loan. This guide will help you identify
concerns and questions you may have before you
start the loan process.
It may be helpful to use this guide with someone
who can direct you to more sources of farming
or ranching information, such as an experienced
farmer or rancher, community-based organization,
or other service provider. You may want to involve
your family when reviewing this guide to make sure
everyone understands the process and risks involved
in owning a business and borrowing money

On-Farm Poultry Slaughter Guidelines

This 28-page guide from the Cornell Small Farms Program contains sections on the 1000-bird limit exemption, where you can legally sell your birds under this exemption, labeling requirements, sanitary operating procedures and more. It includes several appendices, such as a sample flock record log and a questionnaire that your insurance company may use to assess your knowledge of safe poultry processing practices.

More information can be found on the NE Beginning Farmers website here:

The Dynamics of Change in the U.S. Food Marketing Environment

From the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, this report outlines changing circumstances and trends in successful marketing, including increasing the value of local and direct markets which benefit small and beginning farmers.

USDA: Small Farms and Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Policy

The USDA policy framework including small agricultural operations and beginning farmers, from 2006.

Think Globally – Eat Locally: San Francisco foodshed assessment

A 2008 report on the local food phenomenon and about the realities involved in feeding the city of San Francisco with a 100-mi foodshed radius.

Feeding our Green Future: legal responsibilities and sustainable agricultural land tenure

Written by Neil Hamilton, about the position of agriculture and opportunities within agriculture in furthering sustainable land tenure.

Beginning Farmer Center Resources for the family farm business

A one-pager from the Iowa State University Extension about available resources from ISU and elsewhere.

Redesigning a Broken Food System

From Dr. Oran Hesterman and the Fair Food Network, a presentation on what changes and successful steps are already being made to combat the issues of our broken food system.

Recruiting Vendors for a Farmers Market

A comprehensive intro, complete with case studies, best practices, and resources for finding the vendors that make your market a success; from the Wallace Center at Winrock International. 

Prairie Crossing Farm Lease

A sample lease from Prairie Crossing farm, and an example of the expectations and obligations potentially included in contracts for leased farm land. 

Prairie Crossing Farm Business Development Center: Operations Manual

Manual for participation in the Prairie Crossing Farm, a 100 acre certified organic space protected by a conservation easement and home to several ag. enterprises. PC Farm is located in Grayslake, IL.

Our Future in Agriculture: Resource for farm families

A presentation by David Baker of the Beginning Farmer Center at Iowa State University Extension focusing on the aging of Iowan farmers and farmland owners, and the processes involved in succession of ownership of that land. 

Obama should launch a new farmer corp

Neil Hamilton editorial in the Des Moines Register, December 2008

2008 Farm Bill

Get policy literate! The Farm Bill is renewed once every five years, and is the legislation that comprehensively guides ag policy - including subsidy designation, conservation initiatives, farm credit, nutrition and access programs - in the United States. It's 2012. Time for a new bill!

Policy of the New England Farmers Union

Adopted by members of NEFU

The vision, mission, and policies of the New England Farmers Union.

Co-operative Enterprises

The Farmers Union has a long history of supporting the development of farmer owned co-ops.

Farm Bill Links

Useful Links to the 2008 Farm Bill and Relevant Provisions

Read up about the last Farm Bill and get ready to make your case for Beginning Farmers in the 2012 bill.

Iowa Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Program

From the Iowa Department of Agriculture

Iowa has a tax credit designed to encourage owners of capital agricultural assets to lease them to qualifying beginning farmers. There is talk that this might be a good model for other states to adopt.

FSA Loans for Beginning Farmers

A Report by the Glynwood Institute

Seeking to protect and enhance farming in the region by marshalling good information that shows the positive impacts of farming, and by gathering data that illustrates the trends, challenges, and opportunities for farmers in the Hudson Valley.

Direct Marketing Opportunities and USDA Beginning Farmers Programs

This report summarizes one of the panel discussions held as part of the August 2008 USDA Fifth Annual Partners Meeting, sponsored by the USDA Office of Outreach. The annual event supports a dialogue between USDA and community-based organizations that work with socially disadvantaged farmers.

Facts on Direct-to-Consumer Food Marketing

Incorporating Data from the 2007 Census of Agriculture

A publication of the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service. Written by Adam Diamond and Ricardo Soto, May 2009.

Cultivating Resilience

A publication of the Iowa Food Systems Council. By Angela Tagtow and Susan Roberts, Feb. 2011.

From Bees to Brownfields

By Kristen Loria. In conjunction with a Greenhorns event held Sept. 15, 2011 called  "Next Level Thinking and Practice for Urban Farming in Baltimore."

A primer on federal programs

Created in partnership with the National Young Farmers Coalition.

Your Farmer’s Body Needs Protection

This double-sided 7x5 postcard was created to raise awareness about how deeply critical our own health is to the viability of the farm. When the operation of a regional sustainable food system relies for its viability on the physical strength and resilience of an individual body, the body of the young farmer turns out to be one of the

weakest links in the new food system. We need healthcare!

The Greenhorns Spotlight: A Primer on the Dairy Crisis. Issue 1: June 2011.

A primer on dairy. It's important. Read up, greenhorns, it's written by one of us.

A Guide to Seed Saving, Seed Stewardship & Seed Sovereignty

The Seed Ambassadors Project’s Guide to Saving Seeds comes from a group of folks who have recognized that saving seeds is the foundation of developing durable and resilient locally based food systems. We encourage others to join them in this important work. In our eyes every seed saved is a socially healing, community creating event. Please see their website ( for an extensive rundown of the Project and their adventures so far.

Land. Liberty. Sunshine. Stamina.

A mini compendium of resources for beginning farmers on the topic of finding sustainable land tenure.

This compendium was put together for our Land Access Forum for beginning farmers in the Hudson Valley on September 29, 2010 at the Pfeiffer Center in Chesnut Ridge, NY. We give incredible thanks to the many organizations who contributed resources for the Forum and were willing to share their materials with us.

The Greenhorns Guide for Beginning Farmers

This is a guidebook written by young farmers, for young farmers. It is written to help you plan your professional trajectory into the field of sustainable agriculture. In this 30-page guide, we cover some of the major areas of institutional support for young farmers, some likely venues of learning and useful references. You should come away with a sense of how to approach the many hurdles with style, persistance, and improvisational zip.

It's a collaboration of Greenhorns, affiliated greenhorns, and those who have contributed online to:

Challenges Faced by Young, American Farmers and a National Strategy to Help Them Succeed.

The National Young Farmers' Coalition conducted a survey of 1,000 young and beginning farmers to identify obstacles to their success and evaluate policies to address those issues. This report presents a vision of policy change and achievable recommendations to help the next generation of American farmers thrive.

Field Journal for Beginning Farmers

This guide was created with the NE Beginning Farmers Program, and is intended for use by educators to help young people explore a career in farming.