Join TXYFC, as we dive into the Texas legislative process with Judith McGeary, director of the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance (FARFA). Judith has been working for years to create and pass legislation that helps promote and support small farms in Texas and beyond. On Episode #8, Judith walks us through, step by step, how the Texas Cottage Law – House Bill 970, put forth by FARFA – was passed into law. From conception of the bill in the farming community, to finding a legislative sponsor, to passing through various committees at the Texas capital, to finally becoming law. It’s a fascinating process, filled with priceless tips on how to make the legislative process work for small farms. Take a listen, and get learned!
Here it is! Episode #7 features A+S Farm, based out of Moulton, TX. Shaun and Amy Jones raise heritage Gulf Coast Sheep for meat, utilizing an intensive pasture management system called “Mob Grazing”. We dive into the details on this, as well as the nitty gritty of moving from an urban setting to a rural one, with tips on how to get out into the country as painlessly as possible. They are making it happen super legit style – much to learn from these trailblazers!
Well then! A special episode of This Is The Farm! We air a farmer panel discussion recorded LIVE at Green Gate Farms in Austin, TX. We discuss what local food distribution currently looks like in Central Texas, and how we can improve upon it. The panel line up includes:
On Episode #5, we talk with Brad Stufflebeam of Home Sweet Farm out of Brenham, TX. Home Sweet Farm is unique, in that they not only own and operate a highly diversified farm – fruits, veggies, and animals – but work cooperatively with other farmers in the area to help distribute their goods through Home Sweet Farm’s CSA (300+ strong) and retail storefront. Brad is truly a jack of all trades, with lots of practical advice, tips, and stories to share. Real talk!
Marysol Valle and Jeff Wiley of Fat Frog Farm enlighten us with their wisdom on this installment of This Is The Farm. Marysol and Jeff have extensive experience growing fruits and vegetables, as well as raising cattle. They’ve been through many trials and tribulations, and bring light to many of the successes and problems they’ve encountered on their various farming adventures. Starting farms from scratch, investing in infrastructure, speculating on how policy can encourage more new and young farmers, tips on how to grow better fruits and veggies, and so much more. Serious Knowledge.
A week before the fundraiser, Lorig and I were sweating hard about low ticket sales. As it turns out, the day before the event demand for tickets went wild-crazy, and we sold out in a flurry. It was such a relief to see that people in Central Texas care so deeply about young farmers and the future of agriculture, that they’ll lay down their hard-earned cash to help support it. Not only did they get to support TXYFC and Cardo’s Farm Project, but they got some delicious food, drink, a farm tour, and an excellent farm panel discussion! Everyone’s a winner!
The warm, golden evening laid the groundwork for an ultra-sweet event. We started things off with Farmers Skip and Erin of Green Gate Farms showing off their beautiful farm. They concentrated on their pig production, showcasing their larger Hampshire mix breed that impressed everyone with their sheer size – mammoth creatures! Later on, we got to hang out with their Guinea Hogs – a rare heritage breed that produces tasty meat, as well as ample fat, which they process into lard for their customers.
After Lorig and I rambled about how rad TXYFC is, we dived right into the farmer panel discussion – and what a panel it was. Everyone on the panel generously contributed food to the event – Skip and Erin of Green Gate Farms, Katie Pitre of Tecolote Farm, Amy Greer of Winter’s Family Beef, Renee Miller-Rangel of RRR Farm, and Marie DeNoon of Cardo’s Farm Project. Also, a huge shout out to Madrono Ranch for their donation of tasty bison. Lorig asked the panel exactly one question, and the panel flew with it for 30+ minutes, addressing important issues such as: Defining what ‘Local’ is; How we strengthen the Local movement; Defining what a CSA really is; How consumers can support local farms; and much, much more. It was inspiring to see such respected farmers from our own backyard address these issues, drawing off of their years of experience and expertise. Also, everyone on the panel knew each other in one way or another, so the dynamic was electric yet casual – many laughs abound.
Chef Tony Grasso of Split Rail Ales / Field and Fare took the stage, introducing the menu to the guests. Everyone then proceeded to gorge themselves on the awesome food, buffet style, and consume tasty drink. Here’s what the menu looked like:
I, personally, met so many amazing farmers / food folk – and we can’t thank you all enough for coming out to the event. I hope everyone else got to meet some cool folks, as well.
We’re looking forward to stretching each and every penny raised at this event to help support young farmers and local communities. We’ll be purchasing workshop time with Cardo’s Farm Project to help connect young farmers in the Denton, TX community, as well as establish a North Texas Young Farmer Coalition. This will happen down the line in the fall, although we’ll be providing Cardo’s with the payment for this event up front, now, so they can use this cash to help grow their farming operation now – when they need it most. The rest of the funds from this event will go towards paying farmers in the Central Texas area to help educate and support local young farmers. This might include: Paying farmers for farm tours and workshops, as well as organizing crop mobs and paying farmers for their time, but we’re open to putting funds towards other areas such as advocacy or events at farm conferences around the state. We mentioned this at the fundraiser, but I’d like to reiterate: We pay ourselves absolutely nothing. Every penny from this fundraiser will go back into the farming community.
We’re moving forward with great optimism into 2013. And, how could we not after such a beautiful showing of support from our friends and neighbors?
We interview Tim Miller of Millberg Farm. Located in Kyle, TX. Tim utilizes ultra intense cultivation practices on his 5 acre plot of land, and shares his deep and varied knowledge with us liberally. He practices sustainability on social, economic, and environmental levels – really and actually! He’s also a really good seed saver. And a good teacher. And is filled with enthusiasm. And has lots of practical tips!
Join us for TXYFC’s first fundraiser! 1st Annual Texas Young Farmer Coalition Fundraiser! Huzzah! Excellent local food donated by Winters Family Beef, RRR Farm, Green Gate Farms, and Tecolote Farm will be cooked into a delicious gourmet farm dinner served at beautiful Green Gate Farms! Friday, April 12. Hand crafted brew and cider from Split Rail Ales. Food, music, farm-photo booth, and plenty of folks to kick it with. All proceeds will go to TXYFC and the young farm owners over at Cardos Farm Project.
Join Amanda Austin of Cardos Farm Project and your host, Evan Driscoll, for the first installment of This Is The Farm, a monthly podcast. We talk about starting her farm, running said farm, and planning ahead for the future. Education workshops are also on the bill. Amanda knows what’s the what for sure, so please commit your ears for 20 minutes or so.