Mary Rohlfing-Sustainable Farmer
Among the advantages of small- and mid-sized family farms is their ability to adapt quickly to new markets and meet the heightened demand for local and sustainably raised food. Helping those who are either new to farming—or new to sustainable farming—identify and use these advantages, is the goal of a nine-week University of Idaho Extension course that begins Oct. 14 in Meridian.
Mary Rohlfing is a retired professor and farmer of eight-acre Morning Owl Farm in Boise. She’s offering the course for the fourth time. “It especially helps new farmers who are interested in contributing to the local and sustainable agriculture movement,” she says. “Farmers learn about finding their niche in the local food system, planning their own farms so they’re sustainable and getting help with direct marketing, value-added processing, production, regulations—everything they need to know to get started right. Mary says that this type of farming can be perceived incorrectly: “I think there is that mentality that it is the young hippy folks who are wanting to do this type of sustainable farming, but most farmers are doing sustainable farming. So when we talk about this kind of scale, what we’re really talking about is how to manage a smaller part of a larger farm, or someone who only has an acre, or 5-15 acres and how they can actually make money off of that.”
Participants get to meet and network with established area farmers as well as farmers, who, like them, are just starting out.