A real lesson in farming-Green String Institute

green_string_certified-originalcolorsIn 2000 Fred Cline, founder of Cline Cellars, and Bob Cannard founded the Green String Institute. The Institute was created because both men saw that as the concept of organic farming became more popular it was unfortunately also being diluted from what it truly is.

To Bob Cannard, one of the pioneers of the organic movement in California and one of the original providers of produce for Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse, the term organic meant “that produce should be locally grown, with respect for the environment and the planet. It meant that food should not travel across countries or continents from farm to table. It meant the use of compost and cover cropping and crop rotation and other practices that enrich the soil so that the fields become richer and more fertile year after year”.

This is the authentic idea, and deeper purpose of organic farming…taking care of the land as well as the people and community where it is grown. This is also in effect the mission of the Slow Food Movement. Today with USDA  organic certification, and other certification programs, the definition of organic has changed drastically and what we are told in the stores is “organic” does not fulfill this criteria any longer. With this in mind the Green String Farm Institute was founded, bringing back this original intention of organic farming.

The Institute has created an Intern Program where farmers and future farmers participate in a three month, very hands on program. Interns live in a house on the Green String Farm while attending classes, working on the farm, in the farm store as well working at farmers markets. Classes are most weekday afternoons and mainly taught by Bob Cannard.

It sounds to me like an immersion program in what it truly means to be a farmer and one who is also a steward of the land. I did not have a chance to make it to the farm on my last trip but I plan to visit on my next one. I was even told that I could attend class…I cannot wait! And I promise to add lots of photos from the farm.