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Cornell Small Farms Program Update- Fall 2011

Message from the Managing Editor

I am writing this note just days after Hurricane Irene caused disastrous flooding to many areas in our readership.  We at the Cornell Small Farms Program send our deepest sympathy to the hundreds of farmers and homesteaders that lost crops, livestock, buildings, roads and precious topsoil.  As I look back upon the 2011 issues of Small Farm Quarterly, a reoccurring theme this year has been the many ways in which farming builds community.  I hope in the aftermath of the severe weather, your farming neighbors and customers come together as friends to begin restoring what was lost.

I hope Small Farm Quarterly serves as a reminder that you are part of a vibrant community of creative, hardworking, spirited individuals.   I wanted to share a story about an email I received recently from a farmer in Kenya named Odhiambo Ngesa. He found the Fall 2010 article “Harvesting Water is a Breeze” in an online search. The farmer featured in that article – Jonathan Barter – had made friends with Odhiambo in Kenya during a visit a decade ago, and the article re-aquainted the two old friends.  Odhiambo wrote “Thank you for helping me get hold of my long lost friend. I am personally involved in farm management practices and benefit greatly from your magazine”.  So, we are spread far and wide, but still live in the same small ‘community’.

As always, we love to hear from you.  Drop us a line anytime!

Best wishes,

Fall Online Courses for Beginning Farmers Open for Registration!

This Fall, we’ll be offering 7 online courses – including 4 new topics – to help you continue your farming education. As always, our courses are taught by experienced Cooperative Extension educators, farmers, and other specialists. Courses are typically 6 weeks long, cost $175, and include both real-time meetings (online webinars) and on-your-own time reading and activities. We do not offer any academic credit, but those who successfully complete a course will receive a certificate and are also eligible for Farm Service Agency (FSA) borrower training credit, which can improve eligibility to receive a low-interest FSA loan.  Courses fill up fast so check our calendar for details, times, dates and availability.  More info at http://nebeginningfarmers.org/online-courses/

Let the Sun Shine In: Farms Show Off Renewable Energy   

This past September, over 100 attendees gathered at farms around New York to get plugged in to the possibilities of renewable energy at four small farms around New York. Tim and Jean McCumber at Dorpers Sheep Farm taught a do-it-yourself solar electric and solar thermal workshop.  Jay and Polly Armour at Four Winds Farm described their professionally installed PV electric system and share other techniques to reduce fossil fuel use.   Jan and Ron Bever, shared info on how to live off the grid on a maple sugar farm. And Dani Baker and David Belding at Cross Island Farms led a tour of their brand new 10KW wind turbine and a 7KW solar array.  To see videos from the field days or to locate other energy resources, visit https://smallfarms.cornell.edu/resources/farm-energy/

Violet Stone

Violet Stone

Violet is the coordinator of the Baskets to Pallets project, which seeks to prepare small and mid-sized farmers to enter intermediated market channels such as food hubs, groceries, schools and cooperatives.  She also serves as the NY SARE Coordinator and can help farmers and educators navigate NESARE grant opportunities.

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