Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Why Local Farming is Important

Rebecca Kline of New Haven Farms stands at the site
of a proposed community garden in New Haven.
An excerpt from a recent Huffinton Post Article about our local (and impressive) Common Ground Farm and High School reads, "In a 1787 letter to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson wrote, 'Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will, in the end, contribute most to real wealth, good morals and happiness.' In short, farming produces not only food, but also the foundation for a good life." Growing the number of farms in our state addresses more than just food access and nutrition; it also fills a cultural void that has been present in our country ever since industrial agriculture stole the spotlight from traditional community-based means of food production. Without local farms available in and around the places where we live and work, we suffer emotionally and culturally as well as physically. In communities where there aren't many remaining farms, losing another one can be especially unsettling, as is the case with Purdy's Farm in Greenwich, one of only two farms left in the town.

But there is light on the horizon. Of late there has been a new resurgence in the number of new people, many of whom have never farmed before, developing an interest in local sustainable agriculture. In New Haven, the same city in Connecticut that Common Ground calls home, a nonprofit called New Haven Farms has set its sights on creating a new urban community farm that aims to feed 250 people in the surrounding area. Additionally, other nonprofits and farming organizations like the NOFA state chapters have implemented programs to help teach and train a new generation of farmers.

If you are interested in starting a sustainable farm and want to learn more about taking the first steps, join CT NOFA and a group of other established and prospective farmers this Saturday at the Getting Started in Organic Farming Conference in Rockfall, CT. Come and learn about the topics that are most integral to starting your farm - land access, leasing, marketing, and more. To learn more about the conference and to register, check out our website. Working together, we can change the culture of farming in our state and in our country.

Have a great day!

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