With almost 60 farmers markets across the state, demand for local food is growing. But local farmers still struggle to make a profit growing local food. In fact, about three quarters of all farms in New Hampshire gross less than $10,000 from sales each year.
This is the first installment in our summer business series investigating how a changing market place is affecting New Hampshire farmers.
Dear EarthTalk: I understand that, despite the popularity of organic foods, clothing and other products, organic agriculture is still only practiced on a tiny percentage of land worldwide. What’s getting in the way? -- Larry McFarlane, Boston, MA
This week some NHPR staffers got their first weekly share of veggies from a nearby CSA – which stands for community supported agriculture.
The idea is that consumers buy a share of the year’s crops in advance – that gives them a weekly supply of produce, while farmers get a more stable income stream than what they might have selling just through farmers markets or farmstands.
As farming takes off for a new generation of hip young homesteaders, beautifully crafted farm photos have made an impression in digital media – who hasn’t seen an adorably old-fashioned photo of sun-drenched pasture on Facebook… or a picturesque sunrise over a dewy, field of grazing grass-fed livestock on Instagram?
As a goat farmer and freelance photographer based in Vermont, Stephanie Fisher worries her own idyllic farm photos might be sugarcoating a job that’s often tougher than it looks. She spoke with word of mouth producer Taylor Quimby about her recent article in Modern Farmer, “The Side of Farming You Won’t See on Facebook”.
Congress is in the midst of renewing this giant legislation, after missing its first deadline to do so. And New Hampshire farmers are keeping an eye on this process, they want assurances a final measure won’t just favor big agribusiness, but also, the smaller farms prevalent in our region. We’ll find out the bill might include and what’s at stake for the Granite State.
A new book examines what it calls “the failed economics of the traditional small dairy farm”, blaming a complex, highly regulated market where middlemen and mega-farms always win. We’ll look at this phenomena in New England, and how the author says there are new models that offer some hope.
Kirk Kardashian – Senior writer at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College and author of "Milk Money: Cash, Cows and the Death of the American Dairy Farm.
Many kids spent their summer vacation attending camp. Maybe it was the typical cabin-in-the-woods experience, with swimming and archery lessons. Surely you or someone you know was shuttling their young aspiring athlete to and from sports camps of one sort or another. Budding engineers may have headed for science programs. There are kids, however, who spent a week or two learning to milk a goat, as well as the finer points of feeding a 700 pound pig. They did that- among other activities- at the Educational Farm at Joppa Hill in Bedford.
As a farmer in Bhutan, Laxmi Narayan Mishre provided food and stability for his family.
But when ethnic tensions flared in the small Himalayan country, his land was seized.
With his wife and ten children, Mishre would spend the next two decades living in a cramped refugee camp in neighboring Nepal. Rumors swirled about a possible resettlement to America, and what life would be like here.
Eight years ago, the garden was decrepit and abandoned. Beverly McClain walked by it all the time, on the way to her daughter's school. And one day, she and a motley group of fellow gardeners decided to revive it.
Dear EarthTalk: American farmers are an aging population. Is anyone doing anything to make sure younger people are taking up this profession in large enough numbers to keep at least some of our food production domestic?-- Beverly Smith, Milwaukee, WI