9.22.2009

Grazing with Portable Fencing

After seeing our portable grazing program during the Symposium a few have asked where to get the supplies:

Solar charger (doing the research I have found this one to be more powerful)… http://www.kencove.com/fence/Solar+Energizers_detail_EMS.php

Charger (this has been sufficient for our 12 acre intensive program)… http://www.premier1supplies.com/detail.php?prod_id=393&cat_id=54

Reels (you will need at least 6 reels, these are the ones we use and are most economical)… http://www.kencove.com/fence/Reels_detail_RNR.php

Twine (this has very high conductivity)… http://www.kencove.com/fence/Twine+(Electric)_detail_R5GW.php

Reel Brackets for wooden posts (also available for T-posts at a higher price)… http://www.premier1supplies.com/detail.php?prod_id=455&cat_id=49

Our favorite insulators for posts… http://www.premier1supplies.com/detail.php?prod_id=24422&cat_id=46

Poultry Netting (We have some 5 years old and they are still working great)… http://www.premier1supplies.com/detail.php?prod_id=20170&cat_id=53 Kencove will be the ones we will try in the future, a little cheaper, and free shipping!!! https://www.kencove.com/fence/Electric+Net+Fencing_detail_NSPCG.php

Everything else you can get locally

- Farmer Brad

PS: tell them HOMEsweetFARM sent you!

9.12.2009

Food Safety Act: The Latest News

HR-2749: THE FOOD SAFETY ACT - THE PALE HORSE It comes as no surprise that efforts are underway by the federal government to curtail our access to food. It's not the first time those in power have used regulatory powers to limit rights to this basic necessity. The devastating effects of government control over food can be seen in Zimbabwe and all over Africa, in Southeast Asia and in Russia. READ MORE >>

Small Food Producers Question Greater FDA Powers
New food safety legislation aimed at big producers will impose costly record-keeping and testing burdens on small farmers and food producers READ MORE >>

Food Safety Bills are Going to Bury our Farmers in Paperwork The issue becomes one of industrialized agribusiness in direct opposition to agriculturalists. READ MORE >>

LEARN MORE ABOUT The Food Safety Act... CLICK HERE >>
TAKE ACTION: Sign the Petition! click here >>

8.11.2009

HR2749 - The Latest News

House Passes Landmark Food Safety Bill: The US House of Representatives passed a food safety bill on Thursday that promises far-reaching reform of how food is processed and grown, intended to boost food safety and consumer confidence.
READ MORE >>

Food Safety Bill Needs Work The food safety bill that passed the House last Thursday faces an uphill struggle in the Senate. READ MORE >>

Politics of the Plate: Casting the Food Safety Net too Wide A bill recently passed by the House could have detrimental effects on small farmers. READ MORE >>

Food Insecurity NOT Food Safety The FDA has already demonstrated its inability to protect us from food borne illness outbreaks. In fact, Congress is giving them a reward for their failures, in an effort to look like they are doing the right thing for America. READ MORE >>

FDA releases commodity-specific safety rules for melons, tomatoes and leafy greens The Food and Drug Administration has released draft guidance for melons, tomatoes and leafy greens in a process that is expected to lead to more formal regulation of those commodities. READ MORE >>

House Approves New Food-Safety Laws "No legislation like this has moved forward this far in decades to overhaul the food safety laws, It's a pretty historic moment." READ MORE >>

House Approves Food-Safety Bill: Law Would Greatly Expand FDA's Power The House approved the first major changes to food-safety laws in 70 years Thursday, giving sweeping new authority to the Food and Drug Administration to regulate the way food is grown, harvested and processed. READ MORE >>

LEARN MORE ABOUT HR2749... CLICK HERE >>

8.05.2009

HR2749 - Passes the House

The Food Safety Enhancement Act passes the US House! It's incredible but true. Just after a few weeks being rushed through committee, and thanks to congressional leaders who opted to fast-track the new law, HR2749 passed the house with little debate and was last minute amended to exempt small farmers and local food artisans who sell 50% or more direct to the customer. More than likely this Bill will be fast tracked through the Senate this fall, so we have the rest of summer to contact our Senators to voice our disgust for their misguided concern over our "food safety". Local food advocates can print this flyer to inform others before its too late.

The FDA is apparently ready to take full use of their new unchecked authority. The day before HR2749 passes in the House, the FDA, with backing from BIG business, released draft guidance for melons, tomatoes and leafy greens. This is sure to only be the beginning for more formal regulations that will challenge how organic and local food is produced and handled.

As a small farmer we are concerned that we will be regulated and bullied out of business. In fear of warrantless searches of business records, increased record keeping, new federal fees, fines and penalties (up to 10yrs prison and $100,000 per offense), along with increased domestic scrutiny (while less than 1% of imported food is currently inspected). At the very least we will see a rise in food prices as American farmers will be heavily burdened and priced out of the global market. This "one-size-fits-all regulatory scheme" is not good for anyone except BIG business and industrial farming.

From the local food front, Farmer Brad

7.29.2009

HR2749 - revote

The Food Safety Enhancement Act was barely knocked down today by 8 votes in the House! A short time later, the Rules Committee decided to do a revote the following day, suspending the rules, limiting discussion to an hour, and not allowing any amendments that could clarify who exactly would be regulated and were the generated funds via new registration fees would be spent (not assuring any additional inspections of imported food). This Bill needs to be opposed! We want REAL food safety by better regulating factory farms and inspecting imported food. The small family farmer needs to be exempt and the Feds need to keep their hands off of our local food economy.

Read the latest articles:
US House defeats sweeping reform of food safety (until Thursday's revote)
Find out if your Representative opposed the Bill... click here >>
HR2749 Nearly Passes and Spells The End of Local Food

Sign the petition!

7.27.2009

HR2749: A Letter To My Representatives

HR2749, The Food Safety Enhancement Act, going before Congress this week does not address the underlying problems with our food supply. All previous food recalls have been traced back to industrial farming practices and/or uninspected imported food and yet HR2749 does not directly address these issues. Instead it indiscriminately challenges all food providers giving the FDA unchecked powers that will "bully" small family farms and local food artisans out of business.

I urge my representatives to include the Farr-Kaptur amendments that would exempt small-scale on-farm processors selling directly to consumers, require FDA to coordinate with USDA and to consult with the National Organic Program, exempt farms selling directly to businesses from the traceability requirements, and establish a sliding scale for the registration fees.

In Addition to these amendments we need to limit the bill to food being shipped interstate, and explicitly exempt all farms and food processors who are selling only intrastate from all provisions of the bill. We also need to provide an exemption for farms and food processors selling directly to consumers within a local "foodshed", since those who live near a state boundary often have local markets on the other side of that boundary.

Please do the right thing by exempting our few remaining small farms and by specifically regulating the real threat to food safety: the imported and industrial food industry.

Sign the petition!

7.23.2009

"But if not"

I just came across this powerful quote, and being 38 myself, it really hits home.
Onward, Farmer Brad

"I say to you, this morning, that if you have never found something so dear and precious to you that you will die for it, then you aren’t fit to live.

You may be 38 years old, as I happen to be, and one day, some great opportunity stands before you and calls upon you to stand for some great principle, some great issue, some great cause. And you refuse to do it because you are afraid.

You refuse to do it because you want to live longer. You’re afraid that you will lose your job, or you are afraid that you will be criticized or that you will lose your popularity, or you’re afraid that somebody will stab or shoot or bomb your house. So you refuse to take a stand.

Well, you may go on and live until you are ninety, but you are just as dead at 38 as you would be at ninety.

And the cessation of breathing in your life is but the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit.

You died when you refused to stand up for right.

You died when you refused to stand up for truth.

You died when you refused to stand up for justice.”

- Martin Luther King Jr.

7.21.2009

The Food Safety Enhancement Act - HR2749

Farmer Brad is a special guest on the "Natural Way" with Howard Garrett, the Dirt Dr. Learn about this fast moving bill that may jeopardize our local food supply and organic farming across America.






7.18.2009

Food Safety Enhacement Act - HR 2749 - related articles

Sign the Petition opposing HR2749: CLICK HERE >>
Read the alarming provisions: CLICK HERE >>

For further reading, check out these related articles:


Strange Martial Law via Food Control: HR 2749
HR 2749 is a strange bill in many ways. While the other "food safety" bills have been around since winter, allowing for much public discussion on the internet, HR 2749 has only suddenly appeared. It is a mutant conglomeration of the worst of the other bills, with the addition of one very original part - martial law. READ MORE >>

HR 2749: Totalitarian Control of the Food Supply
HR 2749 gives FDA tremendous power while significantly diminishing existing judicial restraints on actions taken by the agency. The bill would impose a one-size-fits-all regulatory scheme on small farms and local artisanal producers; and it would disproportionately impact their operations for the worse. READ MORE >>

Crops, Ponds Destroyed in Quest for Food Safety
Washington - Dick Peixoto planted hedges of fennel and flowering cilantro around his organic vegetable fields in the Pajaro Valley near Watsonville to harbor beneficial insects, an alternative to pesticides... He has since ripped out such plants in the name of food safety, because his big customers demand sterile buffers around his crops. No vegetation. No water. No wildlife of any kind. READ MORE >>

“Clearly, our present ways of agriculture are not sustainable, and so our food supply is not sustainable. We must restore ecological health to our agricultural landscapes, as well as economic and cultural stability to our rural communities.” - Wendell Berry & Wes Jackson

Food Safety Enhancement Act - HR 2749

Never before have I been so concerned about our local food economy then I am right now. As if the National Animal ID System (NAIS) wasn't enough, the new Bill HR 2749, Food Safety Enhancement Act, will directly impact ALL local food production and our few remaining artisan food makers and small family farms through onerous regulations. If this bill passes, local food may need to go completely underground to survive (which is the current trend). Who would have imagined that our country could regulate local food out of the marketplace (which is currently less than 1%), but it is happening, right now before our own eyes. Please take the time to read about the alarming provisions in this bill, and then take action by signing the petition to oppose HR2749. If you are anywhere in the South, plan on attending the up-coming Farm & Food Leadership Conference this Sept. 14 &15 in San Antonio, TX to find out more about this and other policy issues relating to our local food.

May God be with us all!

5.30.2009

How do we stop NAIS?

There have been listening sessions hosted by the USDA all across the country this last month. This video is from the one held in Austin, TX. Judith McGeary, Kim Alexander, Pamela Hornby and Carol Ann Sayle are both my friends and champions in this fight. Please consider supporting www.farmandranchfreedom.org Please care about this issue... it will change the face of America.





5.29.2009

Government Funding for Organic Farmers

Funds for Organic Producers… http://www.tx.nrcs.usda.gov/news/releases/organics_initiative.html

I just talked to my local NRCS office, and they have extended the deadline to get into this program for funds, but I was wondering… Is it like selling your soul when they want a copy of your property deed, Social Security number and property tax receipt for you to be put into their FSA system to be registered with a “tracking number” (their words, not mine)? How much is our privacy worth? Are we willing to sell it for a little funding? I know we need help, but I’m not sure if I want this kind of help. Thoughts?


Farmer Brad

5.07.2009

New Well!


Yesterday we began drilling our new well to 450ft. Today the casing is going in and soon we will have a fresh new supply of water on the farm (just in time for the summer). I can't imagine a better investment from our life savings. We expect bountiful returns (Lord willing).

5.04.2009

Dinner in the Field - June 12th


Join us for this unique fundraising dinner benefiting the Outdoor Learning Center at HOMEsweetFARM, Brenham, TX

Begin the evening with refreshments and a tour of the farm. Witness the stories of a developing small family farm as presented by Farmers Brad and Jenny Stufflebeam followed by a five course farm-style meal served in a scenic field amongst the growing summer produce. Diners are joined at the table by the farmers, and other local artisans associated with the meal, graciously prepared by the talented Chef Jesse Griffiths and Tamara Mayfield of Dai Due.

JUNE 12th @ 7pm
For more information, and to RSVP online, CLICK HERE >>
(limited seats available)

4.29.2009

Hard Week


This has been one of our most difficult weeks on the farm to date (at least in my mind). It started on Saturday afternoon when I was bitten by a copperhead snake on the back of my ankle. We rushed to the emergency room just to find out that modern medicine can do nothing other than “pain management” sending me home with a dose of Benedryl and a prescription for antibiotics and Vicodin for the pain (which I took neither). Pain and swelling has left me in bed for 4 days now leaving the farm operations on Jenny’s shoulders – she is such a champ.

We have been treating the snake bite and my entire leg with doses of herbal remedies: black cohosh, echinacea, goldenseal, arnica and plantain as a compress every 2 hours along with an oral dose of all of the above MINUS the arnica. After day 3 the swelling and pain was beginning to improve.

To make the farm life more difficult, it has been raining regularly making our CSA harvest more challenging in the mud while worrying about flood damage to the new crops (11 inches so far with more in the forecast). The family car got a flat and needs to be changed (it is still jacked up after 4 days with no time to take care of it). The livestock needed to be moved to a different pasture. The septic system is backing up due to the saturated ground. We have new baby chicks (8 days old now) needing regular attention. The girls are busy with homeschooling. Customers are showing up at unusual hours for feed and supplies. Flash flooding in the area is demanding more customer care concerning CSA deliveries. Managing COOP orders for this month’s delivery. Not to mention Jenny’s time to nurse me back to health with the treatments to deal with the snakebite; preparing meals for the family, cleaning house and keeping up with all of the phone calls and emails. All the while I lay here helpless unable to stand or walk on my own (knowing we are in the peak of spring planting and the work is extra difficult this week without me). After four days, I’m trying to keep a good attitude. Jenny and the girls are remarkable, as always.

This too will pass, and after Thursday’s CSA harvest and delivery, we may be able to catch our breath with a quiet weekend ahead. Hopefully, by day seven of my injury I may be back on my feet, giving Jenny a much needed break. She deserves it! Hang in there baby.

4.27.2009

Spring Chicks and Ducklings

These babies arrived April 23rd...
Black Runner Ducks and Pekin Ducks
Barred Rocks, Buff Orpingtons and Black Australorps

4.18.2009

Farm Flooding

We just had our first break in the storm to take pictures of the damage. 8 inches of rain in 24hrs. and it just started raining again. Needless to say, this may cause some delay in our CSA shares. The good news: sustainable ag techniques are proving reliable. Raised beds, terraces and green buffer zones are saving the farm from soil erosion. We may not be able to determine the full amount of the damage until this passes in a few days. Stay posted.

Swiss Chard under water.

Summer beds under water after 8 inches of rain in 24hrs.

Green Beans underwater. These same beans were trying to recover from a late freeze. This may be their end.

4.13.2009

Great Article about our Community Supported Farm

We just had an article out on our farm in Country World News... We are real pleased on how it turned out. Carolyn Rost did a great job at writing it.

Thanks so much to our workshare volunteers. Their enthusiasm and dedication is contagious. Our family farm and lives are so much richer for having them involved. We couldn't do it without them.

- FB

4.11.2009

Outdoor Learning Center


After two days of work, we have built new wood-framed raised beds for our Outdoor Learning Center which will demonstrate urban farming techniques. More pics coming soon as we build!

We hope to have a few TX A&M interns and Wednesday volunteers help us with this project. Contact us if you are interested.

When the project is complete we will release a detailed journal of the development.

4.02.2009

Food Safety Act, NAIS and farm update...

Recently, the online local food community has been alive with news concerning the "Food Safety Modernization Act". Although HR875 is unlikely to go anywhere, we do have much to be concerned about, as watch dogs viewing the horizon of what's to come. From this perspective there are multiple challenges before us at the national level (HR875, HR759, HR814, SB51 and SB425... all reviewed by FARFA - click here). It is apparant to most of the country that industrial food manufacturers DO need to be more regulated for our safety (as food recalls are becoming a regular circumstance), but we need to make sure that a "one size fits all" approach does not threaten our local food economy which provides our safest and freshest food.

Locally at the state level, SB 682 will limit NAIS to a voluntary program in Texas. This bill was left pending last week by the Senate Agriculture Committee and may be voted on this week. I'm urging everyone to take action by contacting the Senate Committee members urging them to vote "YES to SB 682". CONTACT INFO HERE >>

The Urgency of NowWith all of that serious stuff behind us, our family farm is daily encouraged by the growing awareness for local food and our community. People are going out of their way to eat, grow and live more locally. Recently we had a group of young people stay with us while riding their bikes across North America from Vancouver to Boston spreading the news about living more sustainably. They termed their trek "The Urgency of Now". After harvesting for our CSA and planting 500 tomatoes they rode off toward Houston, and ultimately Boston by June. The "Good Food Revolution" is underway, and we ourselves are off to spread the good news in Waco, TX this weekend at the Spring Farm Day at World Hunger Relief Farm, April 4th. If you are in the area we hope you can make it out.


Yours in the local food revolution,
Farmer Brad

3.16.2009

HR 875 - The Federal Take-Over of Food Regulation

This just out from The Farm To Consumer Legal Defense Fund...  please read...


On February 4, 2009 Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 (HR 875),
a bill that would establish the Food Safety Administration (FSA) within
the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).   HR 875 represents
a tremendous expansion of federal power, particularly the power to
regulate intrastate commerce.  While the proposed legislation tries to
address the many problems of the industrial food system, the impact on
small farms if the bill becomes law would be substantial and not for
the better.  HR 875 is a major threat to sustainable farming and the
local food movement.  READ MORE >>

3.12.2009

House AG Committee

Dr. R.M. (Max) Thornsberry, D.V.M., President of the Board, R-CALF USA, Richland, Missouri gave excellent testimony before the US House AG Committee on March 11th in opposition to the National Animal ID System (NAIS). He eloquently describes how history proves that the USA has an effective program against disease and that the NAIS program is soley for the interset of foreign markets. This is a must read for those concerned about NAIS.

3.11.2009

Tag, We're It

AT first glance, the plan by the federal Department of Agriculture to battle disease among
farm animals is a technological marvel: we farmers tag every head of
livestock in the country with ID chips and the department
electronically tracks the animals’ whereabouts. If disease breaks out,
the department can identify within 48 hours which animals are ill,
where they are, and what other animals have been exposed.

At a
time when diseases like mad cow and bird flu have made consumers
worried about food safety, being able to quickly track down the cause
of an outbreak seems like a good idea. Unfortunately, the plan, which
is called the National Animal Identification System and is the subject
of a House subcommittee hearing today, would end up rewarding the
factory farms whose practices encourage disease while crippling small
farms and the local food movement.

READ MORE :  Op-Ed Contributor - Tag, We’re It - Pitfalls of an Animal ID System - NYTimes.com

3.09.2009

People Who Produce Real Things...

“Agriculture’s been a horrible business for 30 years. For decades the money shufflers, the paper shufflers, have been the captains of the universe. That is now changing.

The people who produce real things [will be on top]. You’re going to see stockbrokers driving taxis.

The smart ones will learn to drive tractors, because they’ll be working for the farmers. It’s going to be the 29-year-old farmers who have the Lamborghinis. So you should find yourself a nice farmer and hook up with him or her, because that’s where the money’s going to be in the next couple of decades.”

~ Jim Rogers

By the way, Lamborghini used to make a great tractor, but I will stick with my International. - Farmer Brad

2.05.2009

Local Veggie Farming

Our up-coming Symposium has been promoted by the TX Dept. of AG!!! LISTEN HERE >>

LOCAL/ORGANIC FOOD! It's better for our health, our ecology and our local economy. For more info, visit http://www.homesweetfarm.com/Workshop.htm

Farm on! Brad

1.22.2009

So you want to farm?


Andy Griffin recently wrote an excellent article that I have to recommend. His advise is wise, and as I have frequently suggested to new farmers... leasing land is worth considering.

Farm on!

The article: http://www.ladybugletter.com/?p=70

1.08.2009

Market Growers Symposium, Feb 26 & 27

Market Growers Symposium

February 26 & 27, 2009 Brenham, TX

Hosted by: HOMEsweetFARM

Join us for this two-day event designed to help new and experienced market growers get the job done. Network and meet with experts in the field for technical discussions and then experience hands-on farm tours and training to deepen your understanding. Lunch includes seasonal surprises prepared by some of the leading Texas chefs promoting local food…

Dr. Joe Novak Dr. Steven King Bill Adams

Carol Ann Sayle Marla Camp Tatum Evans Ben Godfrey

Suzanne Santos Brad & Jenny Stufflebeam Zach Griffin

Morning sessions are in a classroom setting with technical discussions on diversified vegetable farming, disease and pest controls, grafting, marketing, variety selection and more.

Afternoon sessions will be in the field at HOMEsweetFARM, a 22 acre diversified CSA vegetable farm serving the Houston area. Hands-on applications covering horse power on the farm, greenhouse production, bed preparation, soil amendments, cover crops, rotational grazing, irrigation, equipment, planting techniques, distribution, customer care and much more.

Includes a local/organic lunch filled with seasonal surprises prepared by

Chef Joe Apa of T’afia, Houston and Chef Jesse Griffiths of Dai Due, Austin

Do not miss this unique event!

For more information and to register online visit www.homesweetfarm.com

Call 979-251-9922 Email info@homesweetfarm.com