Bootstrap @ Nightfall Farm – Building a Farm from Scratch

The differences between working on an established farm and starting your own were evident this month. Rather than learning the ropes and falling into developed routines, we’re recreating some systems that have worked on other farms. We’re solving problems unique to our farm. We’re spending a lot of time cobbling together equipment and systems. And often, that costs money. The animal groups we are raising this year afford us the luxury of not... Read More

Bootstrap @ Wild Ridge Farm – Making the Right Choices on Farm Equipment

If the farmer paused briefly from his ceaseless toil, taking up pen and paper to list the various equipment he relies on continually in his daily labor, an afternoon would surely be lost and the farmer would retire to bed with cramps in his writing hand. Roller tables, harvest crates, wash tubs, pruners, hand hoes, soil knives, drip tape, row cover, lay flat hose, pitch forks, spades, backpack sprayers—hundreds of simple tools and supplies cluttering... Read More

Bootstrap @ Lemonade Springs Farm – Making Decisions on Equipment

The question of equipment and capital, it seems to me, is really a question of what decisions you make about your daily work and your financial equilibrium and why you make them. Questions we ask regarding both tools used and money spent (both whose and how much) are those of means and ends- what will the application of a particular sort of funding or a tool mean to the possible success or failure of the farm, how much labor will be eased because... Read More

Bootstrap @ Forager Farm – On Equipment and Capital

Unlike many other young farmers, we had access to land even before we made a concrete decision on whether to grow vegetables or not. We were fortunate enough to have family and friends willing to rent us a slice of land. Ultimately, we decided to rent land from some of our friends. This option allowed us access to some equipment as well as a place to live. Renting versus buying, whether land or equipment, allows us to get a feel for what works and... Read More

Bootstrap @ Lemonade Springs Farm – Making Choices on Breeds and Seeds

At our farm, we tend towards open-pollinated, heirloom varieties of seed, for reasons practical, sentimental and political. We are suckers for the poetry of seed catalogues and the promise of hopeful January orders. Our seed shelves spell out the history of our journey to this place- corn and shell beans from Oregon, garlic and dry beans from Vashon, pumpkins and sunflowers from Washington, tomatoes from a friend in Spain, greens from California.... Read More

Bootstrap @ Nightfall Farm – Choosing the Right Breed

We wanted to be able to sing “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” when we walk around our fields. Think about the standard farm animals that are on those singing kids’ toys where the arrow spins around and selects an animal and then you hear the sound they make. But we wanted to be able to support healthy animals and pay our bills, so we tabled our desire for a menagerie – at least for now. We considered our 13-acre field that has been row-cropped for... Read More

Bootstrap @ Wild Ridge Farm – A Perspective on Seeds

Our farming livelihood rests on the success of seeds. But how strange to hold something so small in the palm of my hand and realize I’m investing a lion’s share of days, dollars, and ideas in a speck of organic matter that appears so lifeless. And yet, time and time again, the seemingly powerless soon pushes through soil, and the seemingly lifeless yields fruit in its season. If we wish to finish well, we must begin well. If we desire... Read More

NYFC June Newsletter: USDA Seeks Input, Fight for Affordable Farmland, New Staff, Events

It’s officially summer and you’re probably in over your heads. But if you can come up for air, we want to collect your USDA successes/frustrations, introduce our new staffers and this season’s Bootstrap Bloggers, and update you on our fight for affordable farmland. Read More  Read More

Bootstrap @ Forager Farm – Why I Became a Farmer

When I was young I wanted to be many things: an architect, magazine editor, zoologist, but a farmer was not one of them. The closest idea of a farmer I had was my grandpa. I knew he had cattle, and a barn, and a lot of farming equipment, but eactly what he did I was unsure. Read More  Read More

Bootstrap @ Wild Ridge Farm – Why I’m a Farmer

I am a farmer because of the way it makes me feel at the end of the day.  The physical exhaustion that my muscles carry into sleep, the weary contentment of finished labor lulling my brain to stillness.  Some days I farm solely for the satisfaction that weeding can bring.  I farm because I’ve never been very good at sitting still and because I’ve always been a morning person.  I farm because I love feeding people, I delight in seeing the joy... Read More

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