A look at the new farmers' movement
By Zoë Bradbury, Farmer, Valley Flora Farm
Farmer, Valley Flora Farm
Zoë Bradbury is an Oregon farmer and author. She's interviewed here by Lola Milholland, marketing and communications manager for Ecotrust's Food & Farms program.
Editor's note: We are republishing this blog post which recently ran over at the excellent Ecotrust Blog. For more news about the agriculture business, check out our recent focus story, "Sustainable agriculture heats up."
In February 2008, Zoë Bradbury left her job at Ecotrust, where she was a regular contributor to Edible Portland, to start farming on Oregon’s southern coast. Right after leaving us, she wrote, “I pulled up to my new greenhouse on Floras Creek with a riot of saw-toothed artichoke divisions in the back of the truck, teased them apart into one-gallon transplant pots, and officially began my first season farming for myself, next door to my mom and sister.”
Over the next year, Zoë kept a blog for Edible Portland called Diary of a Young Farmer. Her intention to share her experiences as she began farming has blossomed into a full-fledged collaborative book, which she co-edited, hitting stores this month: Greenhorns: 50 Dispatches from the New Farmers’ Movement.
Zoë will launch the book in Portland, alongside several Oregon contributors, with two public events – at Powell’s on May 9 and Equal Exchange on May 10. We caught up with Zoë to talk about the book, learn about her life at Valley Flora Farm in Langlois, and get a glimmer of what the New Farmers’ Movement is and where it’s headed.
Can you tell me a bit about the book – how you got involved, who the writers are, and why you think it’s a good read?
The idea for the book hatched about three years ago when [co-editor] Severine von Tscharner Fleming and I were at a food and farming conference together. We got Storey Publishing interested in the idea and spent the next couple of winters – during our “off” seasons – putting the book together. The essayists are from all corners of the country, and all of them are beginning farmers, meaning they’ve been running their own operations for fewer than 10 years.
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