Tour de Farm on WAMC!

Be sure to tune in Tuesday (tomorrow!) for the Roundtable on WAMC!

Teri Ptacek, executive director of ASA, and Maria Trabka, executive director of Saratoga P.L.A.N., join Joe Donahue on the Roundtable to talk about Tour de Farm!

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A Case for Farmland Conservation.

Twenty-four year old Michael Kilpatrick, of Kilpatrick Family Farm, has been farming in Washington County since he was a fourteen.  He recently shared his testimony to the House Committee on Agriculture for the 2012 Farm Bill on the National Young Farmers’ Coalition blog.  Among many impending issues for young farmers, such as regulation and farmer education, Michael makes a strong case for farmland protection.

As a farmer who leases land on from four different properties, Michael understands the value of making prime farmland affordable.  He says,

Part of America’s greatness is in its amazing soil. It fueled the Westward Expansion, and even now its products are a major part of our exports and competitive edge. Good farmland is not cheap and it is being gobbled up by development companies at an alarming rate–over 1,200,000 acres in 2011 alone. That is 1,200,000 acres that will probably never be farmed again, that is forever lost to urban sprawl, shopping centers, or factories.

He also cites the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program as an essential part of farmland conservation:

Protecting our farmland is also vitally important. The Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP) administered by the United States Department of Agriculture has been a significant partner in this effort. The main goal of this program should be to protect at risk, working farmland for active agricultural production.

The testimony is compelling, well written and worth a read, especially if you’re interested in the issues today’s farmers face.  Read Michael’s full testimony here.

In addition to running a CSA, Kilpatrick Family Farm sells at the Saratoga Springs and Glens Falls Farmer’s Market, as well as resturants Beekman Street Bistro, 50 South, and Four Seasons Natural Foods.

Ready for Rhubarb Season?

Despite this year’s erratic weather, in May one can safely say that spring is here.  One of the earliest indicators of spring are the tart red and pink stalks of the rhubarb plant.

Often paired with strawberries, rhubarb crumble is a very easy, delicious dessert to make.  Here’s a great recipe, in case you pick some up at the farmer’s market or in your own backyard!

Fun fact:  Rhubarb is usually considered to be a vegetable; however, a New York court decided in 1947 that since it was used in the United States as a fruit, it was to be counted as a fruit for the purposes of regulations and duties.  This new order caused a reduction on imported rhubarb tariffs, as tariffs were higher for vegetables than fruits.

Don’t miss a book launch featuring Luke Deikis from Quincy Farm!

Williamstown, MA, may or may not be a bit of a hike for ya’ll, but if you happen to be in the area, be sure to visit the Greenhorns official book launch!  50 Dispatches from the New Farmers’ Movement features 50 essays from new farmers, edited by Zoë Bradbury, Severine von Tscharner Fleming, and Paula Manalo.

Luke Deikis of Quincy Farm (which happens to be one of our awesome stops on Tour de Farm!) will be speaking!

For more information visit http://storey.com/prebook_detail.php?isbn=9781603427722&cat=PreRelease

In defense of land conservation funding.

Round Lake, a property protected by Saratoga P.L.A.N. Photo by Bob Lippman.

In conserving the land, we also conserve the farmers and foresters who work on and with it.  Vermont resident Alice H. Wells makes the case for land conservation funding and environmental education in a Burlington Free Press “My Turn” column.  Although she calls upon the Vermont state government and its people to invest in the land, her column speaks to anyone concerned with land stewardship, healthy agriculture and forestry practices, and the welfare of our future generations.