July 17th, 2009
By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now
If you’re looking for the small, family farm, you can find it in history books. Or in Iowa. Amid the oceans of corn and hogs being raised by giant industrial concerns is a small but tenacious under-current of small farmers determined to make it on 60 acres, give or take, on their own terms.
These small business owners (they’re not just in Iowa of course) are gambling that America’s taste for organic and naturally grown vegetables, grains and meats will sustain them as they revive trusted old methods, (like enriching the soil with natural compost), and incorporate technology that fits with their humane, sustainable model.
There’s hope on the horizon for these mavericks: Consumer demand for natural products is soaring. Organic agricultural production, despite more than doubling in the last decade, can barely keep up. Groceries and schools are increasingly looking for local food sources.
Phil and Marjorie Forbes, with part-time help from both their parents, are one farm family trying restore the land to feed this growing market. We talked with Phil during a visit to central Iowa, where he’s been farming outside of Kolona since the 1998.