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Posts tagged: technical assistance

Transitioning to Organic Back Home in the Black Dirt Region

Posted by Suzanne Pender on May 02, 2016 at 07:03 PM
Travis Jones, Verdant Common Growers, in front of his NRCS-supported seasonal high tunnel in the black dirt region of New York. The high tunnel enables Travis to grow year-round.

Travis Jones, Verdant Common Growers, in front of his NRCS-supported seasonal high tunnel in the black dirt region of New York. The high tunnel enables Travis to grow year-round.

Travis Jones of Verdant Common Growers grew up working on his father’s farm. His father was one of the few in the Black Dirt area of New York that used organic practices, though the farm wasn’t certified organic.

It wasn’t until after Travis graduated from college with a computer science degree that he decided to farm full time. “I felt I could advance farming in the area for the next generation,” says Travis. He also decided to pursue organic certification for his farm. “The main reason I want to be certified organic is to expand my sales to places like Whole Foods. I think organic certification will be even more important in the future,” he said.

He owns and leases 70 acres, rests fields for one to two years, and doesn’t use any inputs on his land, except starting seedlings in his greenhouse. In 2015, he grew 15 acres of mixed vegetables and worked to transition another 20 to 30 acres toward organic certification. Read more >>

Related Links

Tags: organic, New York, locally-grown food, high tunnels, greenhouse, soils, financial assistance, technical assistance, beginning farmer, Environmental Quality Incentives Program

categories Farmer & Rancher Stories, Conservation Programs


Growing “Full Circle” at Sun Sprout Farm

Posted by Suzanne Pender on May 02, 2016 at 06:33 PM
Simon Ziegler, of Sun Sprout Farm, planting seedlings.

Simon Ziegler, of Sun Sprout Farm, planting seedlings.

Both Simon Ziegler and Madeleine Banulski share common values and passions―helping others and producing locally-grown, healthy organic food.

“We always dreamed of starting our own farm together,” said Simon, co-owner of Sun Sprout Farm. “We have been in love with the Hudson Valley for a long time, and after several years of looking for the right place, we found our destination in Chester, New York.”

He met co-owner Madeleine while volunteering at a community for adults with developmental disabilities. Simon worked on the community’s bio-dynamic dairy farm, and she worked in the garden and apple orchard.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in Organic Agriculture Science in Germany, Simon returned to the states to work full-time for six years as the field manager at an organic farm in Connecticut. Read more >>

Related Links

Tags: organic, New York, locally-grown food, high tunnels, greenhouse, soils, financial assistance, technical assistance, new farmers, beginning farmer, Community Supported Agriculture

categories Farmer & Rancher Stories, Conservation Programs


Dirty Boots Farm: Transitioning the Land and Growing Healthy, Local Food for New York

Posted by Suzanne Pender on May 02, 2016 at 05:57 PM
Shayna Lewis examines the winter greens growing inside her high tunnel.

Shayna Lewis examines the winter greens growing inside her high tunnel.

The six-acre Dirty Boots Farm in the town of Chester is the first farm Shayna Lewis and her partner Matt Hunger have run on their own, though both have plenty of organic farming experience.

Shayna said, “What I love most is this is the first time I’ve been in charge and worked for myself. I get to make decisions and see what happens. It makes you better and makes you try harder.” It’s going well, she said. “Last year, our first here, we had a bumper crop.”

They started working with NRCS after hearing about the agency’s High Tunnel Initiative, and Shayna and other local farmers went to the field office to learn more. The plastic covering provided by high tunnels enable farmers to grow in-ground crops year-round, ensuring a healthy local food system, and reducing inputs. Read more >>

Related Links

Tags: Environmental Quality Incentives Program, beginning farmer, crops, financial assistance, technical assistance, soils, greenhouse, organic, New York

categories Farmer & Rancher Stories, Conservation Programs