U.S.D.A. supports new farmers

Baylee believes in marketing her crops locally through farmers markets and her CSA. (Photo Credit: Upper Pond Farm)

TOLLAND, Conn. — USDA celebrated National Farmers Market Week with farmers, like Baylee Drown, who supply fresh fruits and vegetables to their communities. Farmers markets give consumers access to locally-grown and farm-fresh products, while giving farmers the platform to grow and connect with their customer base.

Farm Kid to Farmer

Baylee grew up on a conventional dairy farm in Michigan. Like many farm kids, she participated in 4-H and FFA. In college, she followed her passion for agriculture by pursuing an animal science degree. A college class changed her perspective on agriculture and piqued her interest in growing vegetables.

Her first job out of college was working on a diversified organic farm in Vermont. The operation produced livestock and vegetables. This is where Baylee was exposed to small-scale organic and sustainable practices and fell in love with direct marketing and growing vegetables.

College changed Baylee’s perspective on agriculture and piqued her interest in growing vegetables. (Photo Credit: Upper Pond Farm)

Fresh from the Market

Baylee has been in business on her own for five years in southeast Connecticut. She started her own agriculture operation, Upper Pond Farm, growing a variety of vegetables Continue reading U.S.D.A. supports new farmers

“Crazy plant ladies” are my favorite people!

By Stephanie Rose – Garden Therapy Blog

Crazy plant ladies are my favorite people. They (we) are so passionate about nature and that enthusiasm is contagious. Today I want to take a minute to acknowledge some of the amazing historical ‘crazy plant ladies’ whose love of botanicals influenced the way we view plants and the study of plants today. The women in this list are not well known (or at least not well known for their work with plants) but have made important contributions to the field of botanical sciences and changed the way we think about nature.


This is not to say that these brilliant women struggled with mental health or were labelled insane in their time! In case you didn’t get the memo, Crazy Plant Lady is a badge now worn with pride by the many women who confess that they have an enthusiastic love for plants and nature. Yep, you can get a T-shirt or a mug that Continue reading “Crazy plant ladies” are my favorite people!

Sustainable Food and Farming Jobs

annaliseIf you listen to the news these days, everyone is talking about jobs, jobs, jobs.   And indeed opportunities in some fields are up!  Still…. for graduating seniors from colleges and universities, the stress of finding work remains high – particularly given the cost of their education.

Students are (appropriately) asking if the value of a college education is worth the cost.

I’m one of the academic advisers for students in our Sustainable Food and Farming program in the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and I often get asked – so will I be able to get a job when I  Continue reading Sustainable Food and Farming Jobs


Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez was tying grape vines at a farm in Central California, when the temperature soared well above 95 degrees. Only a few days in the country, this undocumented field worker, who didn’t have easy access to water, shade or the work breaks required by law, passed out from the heat and died two days later.Maria-Isabel

Maria was 17 years old. The Center for Disease Control reports that heat-related deaths of farm workers are on the rise in the U.S.  This deadly trend is unfortunately one of the costs of cheap food.   When you buy cheap food at the big box stores, you also invest in this deadly system of industrialized food.

Compare this experience with that of working at a local farm like Simple Gifts in North Amherst, MA.  Here the farm workers work hard but are treated fairly.  As apprentices who live on the site, they are gaining a Continue reading BUYING LOCAL IS AN INVESTMENT IN A BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE FOR ALL!

Examining the True Cost of Food

By Claire Morenon – Daily Hampshire Gazette; May 28, 2018 (Original Post – shared with permission of the author)

Produce at the Tuesday Farmers Market in Northampton. COURTESY CISA

How much should food cost? The answer may seem simple: less! But if we pay less for food than it costs to grow, who bears that difference?

Americans spend less on food as a percentage of income than anyone else in the world, and that percentage has fallen during the past six decades. In 1960, Americans spent 17.5 percent of their disposable income on food, and by 2014 that percentage had fallen to 9.7 Continue reading Examining the True Cost of Food



Liz Whitehurst dabbled in several careers before she ended up here, crating fistfuls of fresh-cut arugula in the early-November chill.

The hours were better at her nonprofit jobs. So were the benefits. But two years ago, the 32-year-old Whitehurst – who graduated from a liberal arts college and grew up in the Chicago suburbs – abandoned Washington, D.C., for this three-acre farm in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.

FARMERSShe joined a growing movement of highly educated, ex-urban, first-time farmers who are capitalizing on booming consumer demand for local and sustainable foods and, experts say, could have a broad impact on the food system.

For only the second time in the last century, the number of farmers under 35 years old is increasing, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest Census of Agriculture.

This new generation can’t hope to replace the numbers that farming is losing to age. But Continue reading A GROWING NUMBER OF YOUNG AMERICANS ARE LEAVING DESK JOBS TO FARM