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November E-News: Farmer Fellows and Scholars shaping our food and farming system

Let's support the potential of triple-bottom-line farmers like Kelly Bradford of Old House Farm. Donate to EcoFarm's Scholarship & Fellowship Fund today! Kelly was awarded a Fellowship to attend the EcoFarm Conference in 2013. She's been helping to shape the Ecological Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (EFRA) ever since, which she recounts here, as featured in EcoFarm's annual newsletter.

"In February 2014, the Ecological Farming Association working with the EcoFarm Farmer Fellows initiated a new farmers' association, now formally known as the Ecological Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (EFRA), as renamed by the farmers. We are an alliance of diverse operations from the broader ecological agriculture community with the mission to further the success of Triple Bottom Line ecological farmers and ranchers through member-led collaborative programs.

As a new organic farmer approaching my fifth season, I immediately saw the benefit and embraced the potential of a true farmer-led association. I joined the steering and organizational committees to work with fellow farmers–with the support of the Ecological Farming Association–to shape a scope and direction that best serves the practical needs of beginners and the more experienced alike. During this past year we have continued to work on our high priority projects, define our membership, set tangible goals for the near and long term, and foster sensible and fruitful collaborations with organizations that share common goals and vision with our Triple Bottom Line: people, planet and profit.

One of the first projects, the Central Coast Meat Producers Coop, continues laying the groundwork for a processing and cut-and-wrap facility for livestock producers in the region. After receiving funding for an initial feasibility study, the Coop is working to further refine the findings to fully consider the nuances, challenges and benefits of a local facility for small producers.

The Central California Seed Growers Coop is another project with exciting developments like co-organizing the fac
and launching the first round of on-farm trials for vegetables chosen by EFRA members, including beans and carrots. The Coop is working closely with the Organic Seed Alliance and Steve Peters’ Seed Revolution Now! to create and protect a diverse and strong seed system, including local seed banks and an organized network of seed growers.

One of our close collaborations is with the Agricultural Justice Project (AJP), which meets the social justice aspect of EFRA. Together we are working to integrate the values and practices of AJP into guidelines for EFRA members that can be adopted by farmers and ranchers of any size, while supporting a transition into a fully AJP certified operation when possible. Fair treatment for workers and for farmers themselves is a fundamental principle. The momentum EFRA is building is truly inspiring; farmers and ranchers are the best people to define and guide what we need to be successful because we share the common goal of producing food with ecological and social responsibility. To learn more and get involved, please email"


Imagine supporting more Farmer Fellows like Kelly, making a difference in their lives, their communities, and our food system. You can make this a reality by donating to the EcoFarm Scholarship & Fellowship Fund.

Fellows receive a full EcoFarm Conference with meals and lodging as well as a Pre-Conference and membership in the Ecological Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (EFRA). Scholars receive a single conference day. Your generous donations will directly sponsor their attendance and opportunity for success.

Give an aspiring farmer a solid foundation by donating to the EcoFarm Scholarship & Fellowship Fund. Please share this with your friends, family, and networks so we can secure support for these deserving Scholars and Fellows!


The Ecological Farming Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. All donations received are tax-deductible.

Reminder - Register by December 6th, 2015 for the 36th annual EcoFarm Conference and SAVE!