Food Alliance has come to mean a lot to me in the last few months, but the first I had heard of it was when Dickinson College Farm got the certification last year. Coming to college from the suburbs of Columbia, MD, I never expected to become interested in agriculture, but during my freshman year, I began volunteering at the […]

This week, I developed ideas for how partner farms might use the standards, certification process and/or relationship with Food Alliance to support their programmatic work and achieve their mission. Here are a few of my proposals: FA-themed workshops for the farm’s typical audience. For example, a short workshop series could use each FA criteria category as separate topics. If the […]

…and awareness raised!

I continued with the cold calls this week, and I am really happy with how they are going. Perhaps my hopes were not high enough to begin with, but I am delighted that the majority of the people I have spoken to have said that the Partner Farm Program aligns soundly with their farms’ missions. This tells me that my […]

Cold calls

I started making cold calls this week to potential partner farms in the mid-Atlantic, and I will say that this kind of communication is harder than I thought! At first I was pretty shaky, but I think it just takes practice. Jenn did a practice call with me, which helped me to iron out the details, anticipate questions, and sound […]

I enjoyed all the forward motion of this week, including looking over Roberta’s rankings and prioritization categories of the potential partner farm master list, speaking to Margot from soon-to-be-certified Pennypack Farm & Education Center, and scripting a draft for outreach phone calls to mid-Atlantic educational and research-based farms. With respect to the rankings, some farms scored better than others, as […]

Check out our calendar for more info about how to sign up for the mock inspection. What happens when 20 professional farmers convene on one farm to hear about a certification process? Will they be taking copious notes or will they wander off through the fields (there was talk of using a hay wagon–sometimes people need to be herded, too, […]

I compiled a preliminary list of potential Partner Farms that we should consider inviting to the Mock Inspection event (taking proximity into account). The list includes college farms/facilities, urban farms, and¬†nonprofit organizations. I found more potential Partner Farms by searching “teaching farm” and “demonstration farm” (idea brought to you by Roberta). Even by casting such a wide net, I was […]

Obstacles and patterns

The master list of potential Partner Farms is really coming together. I have documented 30 sound candidates from all over the country, 21 of which are associated with a college/university and 9 of which are nonprofit organizations. Five are on the west coast, three are in the midwest, six are in New England, two are in the southeast, and 12 […]

Farming in higher education

This week I focused on various college/university farms around the country for my research of potential Partner Farms, specifically non-land-grant schools that practice small-scale sustainable/organic farming. Farming has returned to higher education with a bang. Although Berea College’s farm was established in 1871, this is largely a more recent movement, peaking in the past decade. From community colleges, like Central […]

What I’ve learned this week: lots of potential farms exist out there! With websites ranging from exceptionally helpful, to “getting there,” to somewhat incomplete. Granted, it is difficult to imagine a farmer sitting down at a computer to design a fancy website (I am currently learning website editing, and it’s not so easy), so I completely understand the shortcomings and […]