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Young Farmers

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(Mostly) About Food

By Diane Pohl Minott

Food for Thought

Young Farmers

Am having a tough time concentrating on the blog this month. Summer brings so many joys—and distractions. Walking at 5:30 am along Lake Michigan definitely is a high point. Finding time to do the weeding results in time spent finding excuses (Not really. It’s easy to find excuses). But blog writing this month has been a challenge.

So, I am writing a few lines about a topic that has been floating around in my head for awhile. Living in rural Valparaiso, I have been disappointed to see so much farmland for sale. Even sadder is the number of new homes constructed in the immediate area. When I bought the house 13 years ago, I wanted the area to stay the same, although knowing that it would not.

There are, fortunately, people who want to enter the business of farming and take on its challenges for them and their families. I can’t imagine the commitment it would take to manage a farm, whether with or without animals. And I can’t imagine how to get financing to buy the land needed for a successful farm.

I did meet some members of the National Young Farmers Coalition at a winter event sponsored by the Northwest Indiana Food Council. It is stated in their literature: The National Young Farmers Coalition is a grassroots network of young farmers, ranchers, and supportive consumers fighting for the future of farming.

The hurdles are many, but the rest of us can be thankful that there are those who want to contribute to the food supply. Young Farmers has 26 chapters across the country. The aim is to provide support for anyone, no matter what letter(s) you may be, who wants to enter the field. There is even an online tool for making informed decisions about purchasing a particular plot of land.

For more information, check out their website: http://www.youngfarmers.org.

Clay Bottom Farm

Last week, I received an email from Edible Michiana. You may be familiar with this beautifully produced quarterly publication which is free (yes, FREE!) at the area’s finest food and food-related businesses. Of course, it is offered at the New Kitchen Store.

The lead story was about lean farming, a Japanese system that improves productivity through reducing waste and increasing efficiency—basically, better results with less effort. The idea is that even the micro farmer can achieve improvements through these methods. Ben Hartman of Clay Bottom Farm in Goshen is one of the foremost practitioners. He has written books on the subject and offers courses both online and on the farm to farmers and food growers.

Check out the website as follows: http://claybottomfarm.com.

And do consider signing up for Edible Michiana emails. They provide a wealth of information about area vendors, events, etc.

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