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News stories tagged with "organic"

Fixing the organic label

They cost more, but sales of organic foods are rising. Even in this down economy, organic food sales are going up three times faster than other foods. As Julie Grant reports, that's happening as the government is working to make sure everything that's labeled organic actually is organic.  Go to full article
Leo Branchaud coaxes a heifer out of the barn at his organic dairy farm in Tinmouth, VT
Leo Branchaud coaxes a heifer out of the barn at his organic dairy farm in Tinmouth, VT

Organic dairies struggling, too

The demand for organic milk and dairy products has grown by double digits each year since 2005, until this year. Now the shrinking economy has pushed consumer demand for pricey organic products down and that has left some organic farms in trouble. As part of a collaboration with Northeast stations, Susan Keese of Vermont Public Radio reports.  Go to full article
Ken and Katrina Hebb, owners of the Blackbird Cafe
Ken and Katrina Hebb, owners of the Blackbird Cafe

A Year of Hard Choices: Bucking the trend, a business built to last

On Monday, SUNY Potsdam economics professor Greg Gardner described a theory of development that he believes may be a good fit for the North Country in today's economy. Instead of trying to hook that big fish to create hundreds of jobs at once, Gardner says make your community attractive to young entrepreneurs. "Having educated creative people who then want to live in your community because it's a nice place to live," Gardner says, "and if they can't find a job, they'll just make one." For today's installment of A Year of Hard Choices, we meet a Canton couple who fit this profile to a "T". Ken and Katrina Hebb own the Blackbird Café on the main corner in the village. They say despite the recession, their business is thriving. David Sommerstein has their story.  Go to full article

Challenging organic and "buying local"

Across the North Country and nationwide, small and organic farms are proliferating. And more people are buying local produce and meat to sustain their farmers and their communities. An article in the current issue of Mother Jones magazine argues "buying local" is a good thing, but it's not the answer for a worldwide sustainable agriculture system. Paul Roberts wrote "Spoiled: Organic and Local is so 2008." Roberts is a journalist and the author of two books, The End of Oil and The End of Food. In Roberts' article, he argues to make food environmentally sustainable, climate neutral, and cheap enough for everyone to afford, organic and local won't be sufficient. We'll need to use some pesticides. He envisions skyscraper greenhouses in the world's cities. And lots and lots more people will have to labor in the fields. David Sommerstein spoke with Paul Roberts last week.  Go to full article
The houses that could set a legal precedent for Adk farmers
The houses that could set a legal precedent for Adk farmers

A farmer's legal feud with the APA could set new rules for agriculture in the Adirondack Park

One of the North Country's most influential and controversial farmers is locked in a court battle with the Adirondack Park Agency and New York's Attorney General. State officials say Sandy Lewis needed APA permits to build three new houses for workers on his farm in Essex County. Lewis defied their order and this spring the APA fined him $50,000. Lewis filed a counter-suit. He accuses the APA of intimidation, regulatory bullying, and hostility to farmers. The case goes to trial June 19th. As Brian Mann reports, the complex and bitter fight could establish new legal precedents for agriculture in the Adirondack Park.  Go to full article

Farm goes small to survive

In most of the country, small farms are now the exception, not the norm. Farming, especially with livestock, can mean hundreds, even thousands, of animals, and often distant, corporate ownership. Even the smallest farms are pressured to get bigger. So when a family in West Potsdam decides to make their farm smaller, they're rebelling. Kinna Ohman reports.  Go to full article

Celebrating farms and local food

NCPR is media sponsor for "Local Foods Connections," three events in early May celebrating the agriculture of the North Country with a focus on local food and the farm-to-table movement. The events will feature food experts, farmers, chefs and business people working toward local food sustainability. The events are May 1st in Lake Clear, May 2nd in Alexandria Bay and May 3rd in Croghan. Todd Moe spoke with Jefferson County Cooperative Extension's Molly Ames, one of the organizers.  Go to full article
Volunteers tend a community garden in Potsdam.
Volunteers tend a community garden in Potsdam.

Staying in touch as CSAs grow

The number of Community Supported Agriculture programs in New York is growing. But how do these farmers stay connected? As part of our series, "Local flavor: growing, cooking and eating locally," Todd Moe talks with the Northeast Organic Farming Association's Abby Youngblood. She's coordinating the new statewide CSA Network.  Go to full article
Produce section of a supermarket in VA. (Photo by Ken Hammond, courtesy of USDA)
Produce section of a supermarket in VA. (Photo by Ken Hammond, courtesy of USDA)

A closer look at Chinese organics

More companies are importing organic products from China and other countries. But contaminated pet food, tainted toothpaste, and unauthorized antibiotics in fish have been imported to the U.S. from China. Now, some people are concerned about organic foods from China. Julie Grant reports.  Go to full article

Norfolk farmer on state organic panel

New York's first ever panel on organic farming held its inaugural meeting this week in Albany. The Organic Advisory Task Force will help state Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker create programs and policies to take advantage of the growing demand for organic food. Sue Rau is the only North Country representative on the task force. She spoke with David Sommerstein about its first meeting. Rau manages the North Country Grown Cooperative, which distributes produce from more than 20 local farms. She also runs her own certified organic farm in Norfolk. Rau says when she started farming 20 years ago, there was no local market for organic fruits and vegetables.  Go to full article

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