Robert’s Farm (II)

Posted: 10 August 2010 in Robert's Farm

Made it out to the farm again last week.  A chilly morning (for August) allowed us to pick melons and tomatoes in long sleeves.  In digging out some drip tape I found last fall’s beets, leeks and kohlrabi (a massive turnip-like plant).  We made a wonderful beet salad from these leftovers and the kohlrabi and a few bird-pecked tomatoes I hauled home added to a very tasty brushetta.  It was good to take from the field what nature would have been happy to take back into the soil.  Robert shared more of his vision for the farm and this (taken from something he wrote up a while back) is what what it is really all about.  He calls it the “Interface Project” and it is worth a look:

The Interface Project is based on the belief that the best use of farmland next to our communities is to produce ultra-local food for those communities.  There are many environmental, social and economic reasons and benefits.

During our 15 years of farming, we’ve seen a number of folks start small farms. The mortality rate is horrendous; the odds are against them, as are the odds against farm workers becoming farm owners.  The Interface Project could tilt the odds in favor of folks who want their own farms.

“Interface” is an acronym for the 3 necessary components of the model:  Integrated   Retail Farming  At the City Edge

Integrated:

  • a wide variety of crops, livestock and finished food products; non-food farm products
  • vertically integrated business model
  • on-farm wildlife habitat & corridors
  • multiple farming partners with complementary abilities; multiple generations for continuity; interns/apprentices/future partners on site
  • cooperation among farms (for community as well as business purposes)
  • community involvement

Retail Farming:

  • sell direct to local community
  • “inefficiencies” of small-scale production are offset by distribution efficiencies of direct on-farm/nearby sales and the retail margin
  • directly providing folks with food is more than a business; a direct connection to one’s food can foster better community
  • we are hardwired to do this at a human scale

At the City Edge:

  • farms are very close to their customers; within 2 or 3 miles of the community’s edge (just a bike ride away)
  • no shipping, transportation, packaging
  • many customers will see “their” farm over their backyard fences or just down the street

Want to see what this is all about?  Come on out for a visit.  I am sure Robert won’t mind.

My apprenticeship continues.

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