GOOD

It started as an empty lot on 41st and Alameda. It became, with care and patience and the hard labor of hundreds of families, 14 acres of productive farmland, a source of fresh food and pride for an underserved community. A decade later, in 2003, the City of Los Angeles decided to sell that land in South Central, which had been transformed from urban wasteland to arguably the largest community garden in the country. And then there was shock, anger, organization, fundraising, negotiation, rejection, a zucchini in a tailpipe, and finally, the bulldozers roared.

Keep Reading Show less
Articles

New Microloans Could Give Young Farmers the Capital They Need

Beginning farmers don’t need much money to get started. But until now, the USDA had no way of giving them any loans at all.


Farmers are not a good investment risk. Their business requires substantial influxes of capital to erect barns, buy tractors, and plant seeds, with little guarantee of return. When a river floods or a heat wave hits, it can throw the best business plan off course. One of the best ways for farmers to borrow money is to ask the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which can provide hundreds of thousands of dollars in financing. (Unfortunately, there’s a huge amount of paperwork involved in these loan programs.)

But young and beginning farmers don’t need all that. Starting out, a farmer might need a few thousand to buy a truck, some tools, or a round of seed. Young farmers who want to start small, often organic farms have had trouble getting access to that kind of money. When the National Young Farmers Coalition asked beginning farmers last year to list the challenges they faced, lack of capital came out on top.

Keep Reading Show less
Articles

How Young Scientists Are Determining the Future of Organic Farming—And Craft Beer

One of the country's first organic plant breeding fellowships is funding a Washington State University graduate student studying barley for beer.

Washington State University graduate student Brook Brouwer

Keep Reading Show less
Articles