farming

An Inside View of Sang Lee Farms

Just Food VISTAs Wen Jay Ying and Matt Chan have launched a series of podcasts that will focus on the stories of the people in the local food movement, such as farmers, community garden members, and activists, and will feature policy updates and relevant news.

Their first episode, which can be heard here, features an interview with Farmer Fred Lee of Sang Lee Farms.

Sang Lee Farms is a second generation family farm that originally grew produce for the Asian markets in New York and along the east coast.  Over the last fifteen years, the farm has shifted its focus to retail, farmers' markets and CSA. In doing so it has added many new specialty vegetable and herb products, including heirloom tomatoes, multicolored carrots, asparagus, potatoes and garlic.

Listen to the story of Sang Lee Farms and hear about Fred Lee's journey from farming predominately to the wholesale market to eventually delivering fresh produce to CSAs in New York City.

Farm Views, an Introduction

by Ed Yowell, Slow Food NYC

Farming in the Northeast is different than it is in the rest of the country.  Northeast farms are small.  According to the USDA, the average farm size in the United States is 418 acres.  In the Northeast, it is about 105 acres, 194 in New York State.  By comparison, the average farm in California is 312 acres, with 5.5 percent over 1,000 acres.  In New York State, about 2.9 percent are more than 1,000 acres.  It’s not just size, 84 percent of farms in New York State are family owned compared to 79 percent in California.  Farming in our region is basically a family affair.

Food Detective March 2010: Farm News and Views

by Ed Yowell, Slow Food NYC

Farming in the Northeast, in some ways, looks more European than American.  Farms are small.  According to the USDA, the average farm size in the Northeast is about 105 acres, 194 in New York State, while the average farm size nationally is 418 acres.  By comparison, the average farm in California is 312 acres, with 5.5 percent over 1,000 acres.  In New York State, about 2.9 percent are more than 1,000 acres.  But the difference is not just size: 84 percent of farms in New York State are family owned, compared to 79 percent in California.  Farming in our region is basically a relatively small, family affair.

Farming is not a simple proposition. Besides hard work, it is science, art, luck and, to be successful, no small amount of shrewd entrepreneurship.  It is a profession that affords practitioners the ability to be far more independent in their chosen endeavors than many of us who labor in complicated social structures, like corporations and government.  If the great American personality trait is rugged individualism, then I think family farmers are where it is vested mostly these days. 

Farming seems like big business.  It added about $183 billion to the US economy during 2008, according to the USDA.  But is it?  According to the USDA, in terms of annual farm sales revenue, 75 percent of our New York State farms earn less than $49,000, 82.2 percent less than $99,000.  Only 18.8 percent of our New York State farms bring in more than $100,000 per year.  However, according to the American Farmland Trust, 125,000 of 2.2 million farms in the United States produced 75 percent of the value of US farm production in 2007.  In fact, farming overall is big business, but most farmers run small, family businesses. Nonetheless, where there is big business, there is big government.

No Farms No Food Rally in Albany, March 15th


Vilsack No Farms No Food More than ever before, we need to tell our state leaders why they have to invest in New York’s farm and food system.  Severe and disproportionate cuts to New York’s food, environment and agricultural programs have been proposed in Governor Paterson’s 2010-2011 State Budget. 
Some proposed cuts eliminate programs that help farmers make a good living, such as the Farmers Market Grants program and the New York Farm Viability Institute. Other programs have been slashed. The Farmland Protection Program, the premier state program for protecting irreplaceable farmland from development, may be shut down for at least two years.  Meanwhile, the Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program, which helps provide nutritious food to food pantries, is being cut by $1 million. 
These cuts are not inevitable! Current funding for farms and food represent far less than one percent of the state’s $130 billion budget. There are other solutions to our budget woes than slashing programs that invest in a farm and food system which strengthens the economy, feeds people and protects the environment. 
Make a statement about your food priorities.  Send a message to state leaders.  Join the No Farms No Food Rally on March 15th at the State Capitol in Albany. Ask your local farmers market, community garden, coop or other organizations to sign on as a supporter of the No Farms, No Food agenda.
For more information or to take action, go to American Farmland Trust’s New York website at www.farmland.org/newyork, e-mail newyork@farmland.org or call (518) 581-0078. 

Glynwood: Because, Farming, Food & Community Matter

by Leslie Boden The Glynwood Center, a Food Systems Network member in Cold Spring, NY, is working to build a thriving regional food system by reviving farming and revitalizing farm communities throughout the Northeast. Filmmaker and FSNYC member Sara Grady’s beautiful new film about Glynwood illustrates the challenges—high costs, low profits, land use development pressures, and inadequate infrastructure among them--that Hudson Valley farmers face, as well as the value that farms bring to their own communities, and the tremendous importance of those farms for an environmentally sustainable regional food system. Glynwood, it becomes clear, plays a critical and respected role in empowering communities to support farming and conserve farmland. Glynwood recently announced the 2009 recipients of its Harvest Awards, which honor farmers, organizations, and businesses from across the United States for innovation and leadership in sustainable agriculture and regional food systems. For more information about Glynwood and this year’s award recipients, click here. Glynwood Vision Statement: "Glynwood envisions a revival of farming and a revitalization of rural communities throughout the Northeast. We foresee harmonious working farmscapes supporting energetic local economies and vibrant communities. We anticipate that consumers throughout the region will have ready access to fresh, healthful food produced by local farmers who practice good land stewardship and environmentally sustainable agriculture. We intend to continue exerting thoughtful and energetic leadership in helping communities to realize this vision." For a higher quality viewing experience, visit Sara's website: http://www.saragrady.net/glynwood.php

Glynwood: Because, Farming, Food & Community Matter

Posted by Leslie Boden   The Glynwood Center, a Food Systems Network member in Cold Spring, NY, is working to build a thriving regional food system by reviving farming and revitalizing farm communities throughout the Northeast.  Filmmaker and FSNYC member Sara Grady’s beautiful new film about Glynwood illustrates the challenges—high costs, low profits, land use development pressures, and inadequate infrastructure among them--that Hudson Valley farmers face, as well as the value that farms bring to their own communities, and the tremendous importance of those farms for an environmentally sustainable regional food system.  Glynwood, it becomes clear, plays a critical and

Brooklyn Farmers and Friends Will Get Down to Grow Food Justice

While others ask how to build a more inclusive good food movement, Henry Harris has an answer: beets.

As a primary organizer of the Food Security Roundtable, Henry has recently worked with Mothers on the Move of the South Bronx to bring a ton of fresh organic vegetables, including over three hundred pounds of beets, straight from farmers in Vermont to communities where such quality produce can be difficult to find.

And now he is turning his energy to another innovative collaboration, working with staff and volunteers from Just Food and other organizations to build a diverse delegation from New York to attend the Growing Food and Justice Initiative (GFJI) conference in Milwaukee at the end of October.

The Growing Food and Justice Initiative came about through the work of Growing Power, Will Allen’s national non-profit. As the successes of Allen and his organization are being lauded by everyone from Bill Clinton to the Macarthur Foundation, this year’s conference will focus on building cross-cultural understanding for systems change.

Panel: The Changing Role of American Farmers

McNally Jackson Books
52 Prince St. (btwn Lafayette & Mulberry Streets)


"Over the past decade, our relationship to food and how it’s grown has transformed. But what about our relationship to the people who grow it? There is hope in the legions of new, young, and urban farmers cropping up around the United States, and yet overall, our country’s agricultural community is shrinking by the day. How is the role of farmers in our society and in our lives shifting? And what still needs to change?

Tomatoes: The Catastrophe, the controversy, the culinary joys

Food Systems Network NYC will be holding a panel to celebrate the tomato and explore the tomato blight crisis and the impact on local farming. Farmers who grow tomatoes will talk about their tomato crops or losses due to late blight. Christina Grace from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and others will also contribute their views at this forum, the Network’s first evening program.  It will take place Thursday, September  24, 2009 at the Ethical Culture Society, 53 Prospect Park West, Brooklyn, in the Library, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.  There will even be a few local tomatoes to sample, and a few recipes.     

 

Suggested donation: $7. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.

RSVP: 646-233-3058 or kristin@foodsystemsnyc.org.  

Subways: 2, 3 at Grand Army Plaza, F train, 7th Avenue

Tomatoes—the Late Blight Catastrophe, the Controversies, the Culinary Joys

Food Systems Network NYC will be holding a panel to celebrate the tomato and explore the tomato blight crisis and the impact on local farming. Farmers who grow tomatoes will talk about their tomato crops or losses due to late blight. A local agriculture expert and others will also contribute their views at this forum, the Network’s first evening program.  It will take place Thursday, September  24, 2009 at the Ethical Culture Society, 53 Prospect Park West, Brooklyn, in the Library, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.  There will even be a few local tomatoes to sample, if available.     Suggested donation: $7. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Please let us know you are coming, as seating is limited. 

RSVP: 646-233-3058 or kristin@foodsystemsnyc.org.  

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