08 March 2013

Top Five Friday: New and Small Farm Web Resources

The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all.
~ Wendell Berry


M
y spreadsheet mania knows no bounds!  I got so caught up in Excel La-La land, that I decided I should keep track of my gardening costs.  This led me to looking for farming resources on the web that would help me figure out how to track expenses for crops.  That led me to a couple of really great websites for beginning farmers. 

While I’m not going to be growing crops on a large scale, most of these resources will come in handy in the coming months and if this sustainable endeavor ever grows into a full time project/business.

Tons of resources here, from finding farmland and starting a farm to the politics of agriculture.  Wish their GUI were more, well, user friendly.  Although any resource that helps me with my gardening dreams doesn’t have to be 100% on the organic/sustainable band wagon to have valuable information, I heart them even more if they do.  I don’t know how BF feels about organic farming, but they do have a link to organic and Non-GMO seed sources.

Another great resource.  And their GUI is beautiful.  Researching which flowers to plant next to which plants to keep away pests is so much better when the website is easy on the eyes.     

Best feature?  Online courses – which include Feasibility and Financial Record Keeping.

Speaking of confusing GUIs, I’m still not sure what this page/organization is about; however, they are on board with organic, sustainable farming and the list of resources if extensive.

Best feature?  Library contains full texts of older resources. 

Dude, just hire Cornell U’s web designer.

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education
Another beautifully designed website.  SARE is ~ as their name implies ~ all about education.  And if you really are serious about starting a small sustainable farm, they have grant information by region.

This site is specifically about encouraging the establishment of small farms in Chatham County, NC.  However, the resources page has many links that work just as well here in Virginia, or for any small farm. 


Garlic Plants
Photo Credit: 123rf.com

The loss of farmland to commercial development in general, and specifically the disappearance of small, family farms to the commercial monstrosities that tend (although maybe not always) to use GMO seeds and choke their veggies with gallons of pesticides, has been a lament and topic of discussion for awhile now. 

But I am hopeful and optimistic that the tide is turning.  A growing number of people are curious about where their food comes from, and concerned about the effects (known and unknown) of pesticides, genetic modification (not to be confused with hybridization). 

I for one, will know exactly where my veggies are coming from: my back yard.

Oremus pro invicem,
~ Mikaela
Want to know more? Best place to start is your local cooperative extension office.  They’re always happy to answer questions and help you out! 
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