Vern Grubinger is the vegetable and berry specialist and Extension Professor with the University of Vermont, and coordinator of USDA’s Northeast SARE program. In this interview, we draw on Vern’s several decades as an educator and extension agent and talk about the changes, innovations, and breakthrough’s he’s seen over the years. We discuss how he suggests new farmers get started, how a culture of shared learning has only brought the industry forward, and untapped resources that farmers can use to innovate and grow their farms.
In This Episode:
>> The number one priority that Vern learned from his mentor that he uses every day to stay on track as an educator
>> How growing vegetables is ultimately the easy part and the real challenges that farmers face
>> How the general growing philosophy has changed from “spray and pray” to a more holistic and systems thinking approach
>> What 1 technique that new farmers can use to assure a strong first year of farming
Quotes from the episode:
On keeping a good crew on your farm: “It helps to have when you are farming.”
“My number one favorite tool as a farmer is my brain, and then a high tunnel.”
“Every so often we have a new growing challenge pop up, but the major concerns we hear from farmers now is labor, market availability, regulations, and climate change.”
“In one sense, food safety has helped our farmers by helping them implement best practices and making things more efficient on their farms.”
About the Guest
Vern Grubinger has been working with and learning from farmers for more than 30 years. He is the vegetable and berry specialist and Extension Professor with the University of Vermont, and coordinator of USDA’s Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program (SARE) which makes grants to researchers, educators and farmers. He authored the books ‘Sustainable Vegetable Production from Start-Up to Market’ and ‘With an Ear to the Ground: Essays on Sustainable Agriculture.’ He co-authored ‘Farms, Food, and Communities: Exploring Food Systems.’ Over the years, Vern has sought to enhance the viability of farms by providing actionable information through conferences, fact sheets, a grower listserv, newsletters, on-farm workshops, a web site, videos and, most enjoyable and mutually beneficial, individual conversations and farm visits.