Taking Stock: An ex-investor makes the financial case for sustainable agriculture

story by Shaun Brady | photo by Neil SantosAfter 15 years working as a bond trader for Susquehanna International Group, Dean Carlson quit the financial world to become a farmer. Now, instead of derivatives, he deals in cattle, poultry and heritage pigs on a 355-acre farm in Chester County.

While the sudden shift in lifestyle may seem like a Green Acres-style flight of fancy, Carlson came to the decision through some careful calculations.

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Leading the Charge: PASA Announces Leadership Award Winners

Image via pasafarming.orgThe Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture is gearing up for their annual “Farming for the Future” conference this week (Feb. 1-4), which will include the presentation of their leadership awards.

This year, Philadelphia’s own Mary Seton Corboy of Greensgrow Farms in Kensington will receive the Sustainable Ag Leader Award, while the Sustainable Ag Business Leadership award is going to Frankferd Farms Foods of Saxonburg, Pa. 

The awards, given as part of the PASA-bilities Leadership Award Series, were created to honor the individuals and businesses leading the way to a sustainable food future.

Corboy began Greensgrow Farms in 1997, when she started growing gourmet lettuce. Since then, she’s expanded into a nursery, a farm stand and a 600-member CSA program—all on a single acre, a former galvanized steel plant site in Kensington. (Check out Grid’s September 2010 cover story on Corboy.)

 Frankferd Food Farms, family owned and operated, was started 30-years ago when T. Lyle Ferderber and his wife left college and began grinding flour. Today, the Ferderbers run a farm, flour mill and natural foods warehouse.

Greensgrow and Frankferd are just two of the incredible farms part of Pennsylvania’s sustainable agriculture movement. Read about other PASA members in Grid’s annual Farmbook, hitting stands next week with our March issue.

For more information on the PASA conference, “Breaking Ground for a New Agriculture: Cultivating Versatility and Resilience,” visit pasafarming.org/conference2012.

  -- Anna Louise Neiger

Endless Summer

For all but the most dedicated locavores, facing January and February with little more on the plate than root vegetables and storage crops can be daunting. “They get to the point where they can’t face another turnip,” says Adam Gordon, co-founder of Winter Sun Farms Greater Philadelphia. “So they pop down to a conventional grocery store and start buying stuff from California, Mexico and beyond.”
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Seeds of Change

Fixing our broken food system
by Paul Glover

Everything we hope to achieve, have and enjoy would be shaken from our grasp without the miracle of seeds unfolding into food, far from where we live. Are you on the road to success? Take food with you. Whether we eat from silver plates or tin cups, three times daily or three times weekly, we will eat or die. Fortunately, enough food is brought to Greater Philadelphia to fill the Comcast Center every night.
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