Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Cottingham Farm

I read about a lovely nearby organic farm in the newspaper. I admit that the idea of having an organic farm enchants me, although as far as I have ever gotten with it is an organic garden in my back yard. Such farms add to the health and well-being of the entire community. The farm website shares the history and mission of Cottingham, as follows:
Cottingham Farm in Talbot County, Maryland has a long and a short history. The land was settled in 1658 by Isaac Abraham who arrived from England on a condition of plantation to farm tobacco on fifty acres. 
Jonathan and William Shaw, from “Cottingham” in Yorkshire England, claimed an adjacent 900 acres in 1662 and called it Cottingham. Tobacco grew here in colonial times, likely followed by wheat to feed General Washington’s Continental Army, followed by fruit tree orchards through the early 1900’s, supplanted by feed corn and soy in the 1940’s. In this new century, the land (now about 160 acres) is being transitioned to healthful sustainably grown and locally distributed fruits, vegetables and herbs. We grow our produce using organic methods, with no synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides, surrounded by buffers of wildlife habitat and buffers for the Chesapeake Bay. We like to call it Real Food....
We believe we must return to the times of organically growing healthy and nutritious food for people to eat – and there is no better place for this to happen than on Maryland’s Eastern Shore which lies in the Chesapeake Bay watershed — which has an agrarian history and reputation — and is within a short driving distance of some of our favorite metropolitan centers in addition to our own small Eastern Shore towns. Organic food is healthier for us because it is free of synthetic pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers and because there is significant evidence that it contains higher levels of nutrients. Further, we select for nutrient value and taste rather than for transportability, uniformity of size, and shelf life.

 In addition to providing more nutritious food, this type of farming creates jobs (it is labor intensive rather than reliant on chemicals), it frees up land for implementation of good environmental practices (like buffer strips, cover crops and fallow periods), it can help us grow a Maryland economy (because Marylanders will be paying Marylanders rather than Californians, Floridians, Canadians and Mexicans to grow our food for us), and it can even have, in the collective sense, an impact on American health care costs as well as on the tremendous energy costs of our existing industrial agricultural model (under which the average food miles traveled by your food is 1,200 miles – and 1,500 miles if it is fresh produce). (Read entire article.)
Here is an article about the need for change which says:
The current food supply system in Maryland, as in much of the country, is dominated by low value corn and soy, fed to confined animal feed operations (“CAFO’s”), chicken “broilers” in the case of Maryland, and beef, hogs, and chicken in other areas of the country, which is then distributed on a national basis. This industrial system produces “cheap” food with very high costs. It costs taxpayers billions of dollars in annual federal corn and grain subsidies. It imposes extraordinary health care costs on American.... (Read entire article.)

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