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Cornell Small Farms Update 2016

Message from the Editor

Summer is upon the farm and this always means sweaty long days where we often push our bodies and minds to their limit; sometimes not leaving the field until the sun has slipped down over the horizon. We are busy as farmers, and there never seems to be enough time in the day.

I’ve been reflecting on this recently – these notions of being “so busy” and not having “enough time” to get the list of tasks completed. In many ways these statements, which I say myself frequently and hear often from other farmers, are true. Yet we also are the victims of our own creation. We can choose to feel overwhelmed and busy, yet we can also choose to take time off and enjoy ourselves, too.

This year on our farm my wife and I have made a pact to be okay with the list not being done, and to be sure to carve our time for swimming, hiking, kayaking, and picnicking together with our dogs. As a farmer friend recently reminded me, “The farmers are the farms greatest asset.”

Just like our crops and animals, we need to be taken care of, too. Here’s to a productive (and relaxing) summer for you and yours.

— Steve Gabriel

New Manual Available

The Cornell Small Farms Program is pleased to announce the new Baskets to Pallets Teaching Manual (1st Edition).  The 16 lesson plans in the Manual are intended for an audience of small and mid-scale farmers in New York and the Northeast, who have been primarily direct marketing, but who are seeking to explore wholesale markets — specifically groceries, food hubs, restaurants or cooperatives.  The Manual contains a series of presentations, discussions, activities, videos and other teaching resources that an agricultural service provider can adapt and tailor to local farmer audiences.  The Manual incorporates two Case Study Farms, based on an actual produce and livestock farm currently operating in NY.  Over the course of the Training, various Units examine the two farms from different angles, enabling trainees to understand real-life management, production, and promotion strategies through the lens of ‘wholesale’ marketing.

The lesson plans may be taught in sequence over the course of a two-day training, or excerpted for a series of shorter workshops.  To access the Manual, fill out the user request form at https://smallfarms.cornell.edu/projects/wholesale.  The Baskets to Pallets Teaching Manual was produced in collaboration with Cornell Cooperative Extension and Northeast SARE.  For more information, contact Project Manager Violet Stone at vws7@cornell.edu or 607-255-9227.

Armed to Farm Training in Central NY

The Cornell Small Farms Program and the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) will conduct a week-long Armed to Farm workshop at the White Eagle Lodge in Hamilton, New York this summer from August 8th through August 12th. The program is available to military veterans at no cost in New York State who are interested in starting a farm or who have been farming for less than 10 years and who wish to learn more skills, explore sustainable and diverse enterprises, and improve or change their farm business plans. The program includes classroom and on-farm learning through exercises, discussions, presentations, hands-on skill practice, and tours at host farms in the area.

New Cornell Food Safety Lab

The Rich’s Food Safety Lab officially went into service April 28 as Cornell expands its position as a global leader in food safety. Located at 352 Stocking Hall, the Rich’s Food Safety Lab is home to unique molecular biology and classical microbiology technology and processes that address food safety issues along the whole supply chain. Designed to facilitate collaborative efforts with researchers from all areas of the Department of Food Science, the lab will provide a unique environment in which to foster interdisciplinary approaches to ensuring a safe global food supply. The lab enhances Cornell’s position as the global leader in using systems approaches in assuring food safety.

Steve Gabriel

Steve is an Extension Specialist focused on specialty mushroom production and agroforestry. Throughout his career, Steve has taught thousands of people about the ways farming and forestry can be combined to both benefit the ecology and economies of small farms.  He is also a farmer, author, hiker, and musician.

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