This post is the ninth in a series – Letters from the Low Country – about food and agriculture in the Netherlands, written by Laura Genello as she studies organic agriculture at Wageningen University.
After years of working to support farmers at a Dutch agricultural organization, Geert van der Veer wanted to change the system. Dutch agricultural land prices are some of the highest in the world, and Geert met many farmers who found their businesses squeezed by low prices and increasing costs. He saw many farms disappear, and other farmers forced to take out a mortgage on their property just to survive. Read More >
This post is the seventh in a series – Letters from the Low Country – about food and agriculture in the Netherlands, written by Laura Genello as she studies organic agriculture at Wageningen University.
When I first met Pieter Lammerts he told me something I have never heard a farmer say: he had a lot of free time. Most vegetable farmers I know who farm on a similar scale work long hours in the fields Read More >
This post is the fifth in a series – Letters from the Low Country – about food and agriculture in the Netherlands, written by Laura Genello as she studies organic agriculture at Wageningen University.
My first summer working on a farm 10 years ago was hard: long days of physically demanding work under the sun. But there were moments that season—mulching peppers as the sun set, weeding carrots in an early fall breeze, or admiring the remarkable shapes and colors of a couple dozen tomato varieties—that were sometimes meditative and sometimes exhilarating. But they were always grounding and satisfying. Read More >
This post is the third in a series – Letters from the Low Country – about food and agriculture in the Netherlands, written by Laura Genello as she studies organic agriculture at Wageningen University.
The Netherlands is a country with a heavily industrialized food system. Yet in between the bricks and canals of Amsterdam, nearly 200 registered urban gardens grow. On the first sunny Saturday of spring, I took a train to the western edge of the city to see one of these urban farms in action. I walked under an overpass and past a ramshackle squatter community to arrive at an orchard of tidy rows of fruit trees awakening for the season. I grabbed a pair of work gloves Read More >
Photo by Future Harvest.
Sometimes electrical wiring saves the chickens. Radish plants can feed the soil in winter.
These pearls of wisdom and many others were shared earlier this month at the 2017 Future Harvest Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture (CASA) Conference. Three CLF staffers attended sessions at the conference to broaden their perspectives on how food systems can be improved to become not only more resilient but more profitable. Here are some of the things we learned. Read More >
When the Johns Hopkins Center for Livable Future (CLF) approached OROSW (Operation ReachOut SouthWest) with the idea of community food assessment study, we first had to figure out what a community food assessment, or CFA, is. Essentially, a CFA is a survey that researchers use to get a sense of how much food security or food insecurity a neighborhood is experiencing. We used it to survey people in the neighborhood and get their thoughts on food availability in southwest Baltimore.
We learned so much from the CFA findings. We found that not only are food deserts prevalent, but also that many residents travel outside Southwest Baltimore for their primary grocery shopping—to 29 different supermarkets and other food outlets. We learned that Read More >
In Alaska, it’s legal but only for your pets. In Oregon, you are allowed to buy it from a farm that has a maximum of two cows, nine sheep and nine goats that make it. In Kansas, you can have it as long as the farm doesn’t advertise it too much. And in Minnesota, you can get it if you go to the farm and bring your own containers.
Raw milk has long polarized scientists, politicians, farmers and food advocates, who disagree about both its health consequences and the government’s right to control access to it. Driving those debates are a dizzying variety of laws Read More >
The thought of anything being able to grow locally may be difficult to imagine amid the frozen ground of February in Baltimore, but farming season has already begun. Crops must be planned in advance, seeds must be purchased, and labor must be organized, which can be difficult for small-scale farmers during a time of year when revenue is not as strong. One method to help sustain a farm is Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), whereby members of a community pay a farmer up front for a share of the anticipated harvest, which arrives weeks later in the season. Read More >
From producer to consumer: Tom Albright of Albright Farms handing over his chickens to hungry CSA member Russell
Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA for short, is often associated with an abundance of kale, collards, and other greens that, for many people, barely fit in the fridge, let alone their stomachs. As is often the case on days after a Tuesday CSA pickup, the topic of conversation around the CLF office is, “What am I supposed to do with all this lettuce?” While the CSA model, in which consumers pay an upfront cost for a share of the harvest on a local farm, began several decades ago with an emphasis on produce, the model has grown to include a larger array of products straight from the farm. Many CSA arrangements are now beginning to include meat as part of their business model.
A meat CSA works in the same way as a produce CSA, and has many of the same benefits. The model supports local family farms by guaranteeing a customer base and providing economic security for farmers in the face of unforeseen natural events such as droughts or diseases that may have negative impacts on production. In addition, CSAs allow consumers to purchase products that have a lesser environmental impact and are not associated with the same public health risks as are products from industrial farming operations. Read More >