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Thank you for signing up for Elmwood Stock Farm's newsletter! Mac talks about some essential organizations in the "good farming, good food" world and invites you to join in on the action in one or more ways.

LAST CALL! We still have some smaller heritage turkeys available, perfect for holiday gatherings. Click here for pricing and ordering information. Please contact us now with any other holiday meat orders!


 

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Time to Weigh In


No matter how busy we are coaxing vegetables out of the ground and nurturing animals on Elmwood Stock Farm, we do find time to donate some time for the collective betterment of society. As food farmers with a lot of acreage, buildings and other infrastructure to keep up with, we essentially put all our financial resources back into the farm and the farm business, but we can give our time to several organizations that strive to forward our values. Our causes revolve around our passion about the value of organic foods to personal health of humans and to Mother Earth.

Organic Food
John, Ann and I have rotated through leadership positions in several non-profit organizations over the years, and I donated 15-20 hours a week for five years to the federal government with my stint on the National Organic Standards Board. Currently, John and I, each serve as board members of the Organic Association of Kentucky (OAK) whose mission not only helps organic farmers be better farmers, but includes educating consumers about the value of eating organic foods. One program unique to OAK is the transition trainer program, a national model for other organizations. If a farmer is interested in organic production, OAK will send a qualified individual out to their farm to help them decipher the organic regulations, advise them on where to find necessary inputs, and give them opportunity to benefit from various educational events hosted by OAK. This is important if we want to see more farms transition their production practices away from the industrial model to certified organic.
 
Another OAK program is helping employers set up a wellness benefit program so their employees have access to certified organic foods. The data on improved employee health which leads to better performance in the workplace has allowed employers such as UK, LFUCG, and several private companies to offer cost-share vouchers towards the purchase of CSA produce shares. Your business, or your employer may want to contact OAK to explore offering this type of program in your workplace.

The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF), of which I served on the board in the past, funds research projects for the betterment of organic farmers. This is important as the lion’s share of USDA research funding goes to support mainstream industrial scale farming systems. OFRF works on policy changes such as asking Congress to direct research dollars to organic systems research commensurate with the percentage of organic food consumption in this country. With organic food sales increasing at a double digit pace, funding is woefully behind.

Earlier this month, I was invited by the Organic Trade Association (OTA) to participate in a “Farmer Fly-In” in Washington DC. We made visits to key lawmakers to ask them to increase funding for organic research that keeps pace with consumer demand, particularly focused on the 2018 Farm Bill that is currently being drafted. I will say that some Congressional offices showed more interest than others. However, organics is more well-received than a decade ago when we were met with snickers and seemingly disinterested Congressional aides. Many of the staffers and a few of the members of Congress with whom we met, actually buy organic foods. The staffers who are the parents of young children were the ones to share how important organic is to them; therefore I feel they will make sure their bosses get the message.

One reason I was probably asked to participate in the fly-in was my experience as former Chair of the National Organic Standards Board. I know how important it is to ensure that the National Organic Program, a regulatory arm of the USDA, is fully funded in light of the de-regulatory climate in DC. Organic farmers and stores that sell organic voluntarily submit to a strict set of federally mandated regulations, to set organic apart from the numerous confusing and misleading food labels in the marketplace. The organic community has worked hard for many years on a federal organic labeling program, and gets anxious when there is chatter about defunding. Thankfully groups like OTA, OFRF, and many others have a strong presence on Capitol Hill.  

Winter is considered meeting season in the farming community, so the OAK board of directors and staff is busy planning for our two day annual conference March 2-3, 2018 at the Clarion Hotel on Newtown Pike in Lexington. There are workshops, panel sessions, organic meals, a bustling trade-show, and opportunities to build partnerships with like-minded organizations and government agencies. Signup is posted on the OAK website, and there are some consumer focused tracts as you might be interested in attending.  

Farming in the Southeast
Another big event held each winter is the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG) annual meeting that brings about 1,200 attendees each year. Held in Kentucky the last two years, this January it moves to Chattanooga, Tennessee, and registration is open right now on the SSAWG website.

SSAWG affords people the opportunity to learn about other local food systems being developed with the resources and personalities and culture specific to each region. Such diversity of people all together brings rich conversations about food, food hubs, food security, food ignorance, food deserts, food economies, and good food as medicine. Hearing how people in other places across the South have structured incentives and built models to enhance their economies around local food can inform the work of those in Kentucky. We are blessed with lots of amazing people doing amazing work in developing a vibrant local food economy right here in the Bluegrass, and often such folks are called on to share their stories as well.

I thank my friend, Jean, for bringing so many of us together for so many years as the SSAWG conference coordinator, and growing the SSAWG conference from 25 people to 1200 people over the last 25 years. Lots of others are thankful also for her work to make sure farmers had the right opportunity to have the right conversation at the right point in their farming career. At the SSAWG conference, we always enjoy seeing farmer friends from around the Southeast, and spending time with kindred spirits recharging our batteries as we share production tips and tell customer interaction war stories.

Weighing In
Knowing what we know about the relationship between food and human health, how can we not help to further the work in this area? I will go anywhere, anytime to educate groups of people about the value of good food. Talk to your coworkers and leadership of your company about the benefits of offering organic CSA vouchers as a workplace wellness benefit. Not only does the data show absenteeism goes down, but the conversation around the office changes, inspiring others to recognize the value and join in. Corn can be quite the conversation piece!

There is always more to do, and maybe you can help. Subscribe to the OAK electronic newsletter or come to the OAK Conference in Lexington. You will be inspired by the energy of the farmers and want to do something to further the cause. Poke around OAK’s, or SSAWG’s, or OFRF’s, or OTA’s websites and see how hard folks are working to bring good food to more and more people. Make an impulse buy, and send them a plastic vote of confidence. When you invest yourself in this way, you will begin to look at food more reverently.

In the last year, OAK has moved from a volunteer organization to having a full time Executive Director with the financial support of several benefactors, grants, membership dues, and donations. This organization in particular would certainly welcome your support – perhaps a donation, attendance at the OAK conference, or just volunteer to help out at a field day – where you can meet OAK’s Executive Director, Brooke Gentile. As you value access to organic food, consider donating either time or money, and if you are unsure about how best to help, feel free to give me a call!

And lastly and always number 1 on my Top Ten list of things you can do: go to the farmers market in the rain (or the snow, or sleet, or heat, or during UK basketball pre-game traffic). Well, you get the picture, and you know we’ll be there. – Mac Stone
Winter CSA Beef, Chicken, Egg, and Pantry Shares
While our vegetable CSA shares are nearing capacity, Elmwood still has plenty of meat, egg, and pantry shares available. All meat is Certified Organic from our own livestock raised on our organic pastures and processed under USDA inspection.  You can choose all chicken, all beef, or a mixture of both.
What do I get? Beef shares receive roasts and ground meats. Chicken shares receive whole birds. Mix shares receive a combination of both.
What's so special about organic, 100% grass-fed beef or pasture-raised chicken? Mac gives answers and links to research in his articles "Push Me, Pull You" and "Grass-Fed vs. Grain Fed" from September 2016.

 
Only 10 Vegetable Shares Left!
One share size- all items grown by us at Elmwood Stock Farm and USDA Certified Organic. Five distributions every two weeks from mid-January through mid-March. Shares will contain fresh green items we have growing in unheated high tunnels and storage items such as sweet potatoes, potatoes, dried beans, turnips or winter radishes - all harvested at the peak of ripeness and now in storage for distribution this winter. Click the link below for more details.
Sign Up for Winter CSA

Holiday Brunch Ideas!

Pair Elmwood's organic bacon with pancakes and broiled grapefruit

Sausage-Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole Try making your own hash browns with Elmwood potatoes and be sure to stock up on Elmwood's breakfast sausage and organic eggs.

We know that the holidays often pair with once-a-year, grandma's recipe, can't resist, sweets and treats. However, eating local and organic can still be easy with Elmwood meats and eggs! Stock up at market this weekend.
This Weekend... Come to farmers market to find Elmwood in fun and festive holiday attire!

All-organic offerings: spinach, kale, Swiss chard, winter radish, turnips, fall squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beef, chicken, pork, turkey, farm fresh eggs, pantry goods, and much more!

Give us 48 hours notice, and we'll set aside a special order for you to be sure we don't run out of your favorite items!
 
Lexington... We'll be at market this weekend and next! (23rd and 30th) Cheapside Pavilion, 8am - 1pm

Cincinnati... We'll see you again on Sunday, January 7th.
Elmwood's still has a few heritage, organic, pasture-raised turkeys in stock! You can place an order here.
Contact Elmwood Stock Farm
(859) 621-0755

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Elmwood Stock Farm · Scott County · Georgetown, KY 40324 · USA

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