Bootstrap @ Wild Ridge Farm – The Joy of Community

Wild Ridge Farm - flower community 3Many days this summer began with Anna, Joseph and myself tumbling out of our little red Mazda pickup into the field around 7 am, and beginning the morning’s tasks. Soon after, another red truck – this time a 90’s model Tacoma – would drive through the open gate in the deer fence around our field and our flower farmer friend Courtney would emerge. Her business partner Jamie would also often show up within the hour. They would start filling square plastic containers with water from the well, and soon after they’d be filled with cut flowers of all sizes and colors. (more…)

Enrollment Deadline for USDA’s Conservation Stewardship Program is Extended Two Weeks to March 13th

CSP buffer stripsThe USDA has announced that they are extending the deadline for applying to the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) this year! If could use extra funding for on-farm conservation, CSP is the program for you.  You now have until March 13th (the original deadline was today, February 27th).

What is CSP?

CSP is a working lands program run by USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). It provides funding for farmers to take on conservation activities while simultaneously farming the land. For farmers that care about the environment, this program is a great way to receive help funding projects that improve soil, air, and water quality; increase water quantity, wildlife habitat, and biodiversity; or decrease soil erosion. (more…)

Thanks to Everyone for an Incredible Winter Supper

winter supper pic - smallLast week the National Young Farmers Coalition hosted our first Young Farmer Winter Supper at Wythe Hotel. We met over a hundred of incredible like-minded people devoted to promoting NYFC’s cause and mission.

Click here for some great images of the event to get a sense of what was shared that evening at the Winter Supper.

We would be remiss if we did not take this opportunity to once again thank all of our generous sponsors –Etsy, Stonyfield Farm and Wythe Hotel — who believed that NYFC could host an event of this kind. We would not have had the resources to embark on the Winter Supper without their initial faith in us.
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Bootstrap Dairy Farmer Video Release!

The Bootstrap Dairy Farmer Videos are finally here!

In 2013, five young women chronicled their experiences of starting dairy farms on our Bootstrap Blog. In the long-awaited final installment of the series, three of the women take us to their farms in short films. Watch now and see how these women overcome icy temps, broken tractors, early mornings and a tough farm sector. Films are produced by Farm Run Media and sponsored by Stonyfield.  You can check out all three at NYFC’s video hub, or click below to watch each one directly.

See Sarah Chase of Chaseholm Farm transition her family’s dairy to a grass-fed herd.

NYFC Bootstrap Chaseholm image
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“The Girl with Grit” – Reposted from the USDA Blog

A few of NYFC's leaders gathered this winter to education and organize!

A few of NYFC’s leaders who gathered this winter to education and organize!

Starting a farm is no easy path, and overcoming financial obstacles is a huge part of the high risk of failure. New farmers often come up against high costs of land and equipment, just a couple of the many barriers to entry. If our generation is to successfully continue the American agricultural legacy, we need to work together to find solutions.

Check out this great piece from Lilia McFarland at the USDA about facing financial challenges in starting a farming career, just published on the USDA blog.

Lilia is the USDA’s New Farmer and Rancher Coordinator, and we’re thrilled to be working closely with her and others at the USDA to figure out ways of better connecting beginning farmers and ranchers everywhere to USDA programs and services. At NYFC we’ve brought new farmers to Washington, DC repeatedly to give testimony and brainstorm ways to further support our members, and we’re glad to know that Lilia and the USDA are continuing to focus on addressing these problems. (more…)

Check Out Our February Update: New Faces, Discounts, Campaign Updates

In our first monthly update of the year, we have lots of news to share from our snowbound headquarters in Hudson, NY: new staff, new board members, new advisors, and a new guidebook! We also have updates on #FarmingIsPublicService, a rundown of events and conferences, and a reminder about our money-saving member benefits as you order your seeds and supplies.

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NYFC Welcomes New Team Members

Over the past six months, NYFC has added some incredible individuals to our roster of staff, board members and advisors – and we aren’t done yet. Please join us in welcoming our newest teammates: staff members Leanna Mulvihill and Derek Denckla; board members Brian Depew, Clayton Harvey, Jacqueline Lewin and Nicole Shore; and advisory council members Mark Justh, Michel Nischan, Andrew Rotherham and Karen Washington. Welcome to our team!

Staff

Derek_200x200Derek Denckla joined NYFC as our Deputy Director of Investments and Partnerships. Derek comes to the organization with experience as an impact investor, community organizer and social entrepreneur. He founded and led Slow Money NYC, North East Foodshed Finance Alliance and initiated Foodshed Investors NY, the first angel investor network in the US funding small, local and sustainable food business. He has provided consulting and private equity to projects like Egg Restaurant in New York City, Windowfarms, Mouth.com, Red Hook Community Farm, Local Farms Fund and Blue Marble Ice Cream. Through 2010, Derek ran a green real estate development company that built Greenbelt, Brooklyn’s first LEED Gold project. Derek holds a JD from Fordham University and a BA from Columbia University. (more…)

USDA’s Conservation Stewardship Program Enrollment Window is Closing Soon!

CSP buffer stripsFebruary 27th is the last day to apply for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) this year! If could use extra funding for on-farm conservation, CSP is the program for you.

What is CSP?

CSP is a working lands program run by USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). It provides funding for farmers to take on conservation activities while simultaneously farming the land. For farmers that care about the environment, this program is a great way to receive help funding projects that improve soil, air, and water quality; increase water quantity, wildlife habitat, and biodiversity; or decrease soil erosion. (more…)

Bootstrap @ Wild Ridge Farm – Debating the Policies of Organic Certification

As someone who has spent many hours paging through codes and regulations in an attempt to develop a compliant organic system plan (OSP), I understand why many small farmers find the process too arduous and time-consuming to be worth their while. And yet, I also understand and appreciate the rigorous and meticulous nature of the certification process which gives real meaning to the USDA Organic label: a certification which takes no effort to obtain and which lacks the oversight to ensure proper compliance cannot give us any confidence that the fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy, and grains are truly free of the pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers which have systematically tainted our nation’s food system.

Wild Ridge Farm - Policy - Hoop House ExteriorTo date, we at Wild Ridge Farm have decided not to certify even though we have complied and will continue to comply with all the methods and material restrictions as stipulated in the National Organic Program (NOP) code—with the sole exception of the Final Rule which I will presently discuss at length. (more…)

Land Stewardship Program Releases New Report – “Crop Insurance – How a Safety Net Became a Farm Policy Disaster.”

Land Stewardship Project logoAlthough we don’t often discuss it, one of the largest ways that the government and US farming community interact are through crop insurance. NYFC focuses on highlighting and reforming the many programs and institutions that play a big role in beginning farmers’ lives, and for most – in particular for first-generation farmers – crop insurance isn’t high on that list. But we can’t ignore crop insurance programs completely, especially when it becomes such a big part of the national discourse on the USDA.

For that reason, we’re thrilled to report that our friends at the Land Stewardship Project have released a  new three-part report, “Crop Insurance – How a Safety Net Became a Farm Policy Disaster.”

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