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Community supported agriculture (CSA) is an alternative model of farming in which consumers become “members” of a farm, by contract, to receive a share of the harvest. Case study interviews were used to ascertain CSA grower perspectives, as indicated by sources of information and motivations. Like most organic growers, but unlike most conventional growers, few CSA growers have family background in agriculture. Common sources of information and strong informal communication were observed among CSA growers. Primary information sources include other growers, printed material, and conferences. Conventional sources of information used in agriculture, i.e., the cooperative extension system and formal agricultural education, appear to be underutilized and are ranked lowest in importance by CSA growers. CSA growers are motivated in their agricultural endeavors by multiple goals: marketing, education, community, and environment. Marketing was the most frequently cited primary goal, followed by education of consumers. For many CSA growers, the marketing motive is not solely monetary, but also philosophical, as a vehicle for achieving right livelihood and building an associative economy that redefines society's relationships to food and land.

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A weak electrical field has a stimulatory effect on germination of seeds and the early growth of young plants. Waldo bean seeds were placed in a chamber with moistened filter paper. Oppositely charged aluminum plates were used to stimulate growth. The top plate was,suspended above the filter paper to eliminate the possibility of a direct current flow through the paper. Each set of samples was examined after 5 days. The average root length of the test groups was significantly greater than that of the control groups. Additional experiments suggested that the rate of growth of the plants in soil was enhanced by applying a weak electric field to the soil. Using electricity to stimulate better germination has many practical applications. A current agricultural practice is to germinate seeds in dissolving tubes for planting as individual plants. Results of these experiments suggest that applying an electric current to the germinating seeds would stimulate them to grow more vigorously for more successful growth in the field, The use of electricity may have important applications as art adjunct to organic farming practices. Experiments are under way to apply the use of electricity to hydroponic systems. Foster, K.R. and H.P. Schwann. 1986. In: C. Polk and E. Postrow (eds.). CRC handbook of biological effects of electromagnetic fields. CRC Press, Inc., Boca Raton, Fla. Weaver, J.C. and R.D. Astumian. 1990. The response of living cells to very weak electric fields: The thermal noise limit. Science 247:459-462.

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organic production and would ideally be used as a spot treatment for weeds growing in the cranberry canopy as well as on larger non-production areas where cranberry vines are not as abundant such as bed edges, ditches, and dikes. Literature Cited Caruso, F

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Land-grant institutions throughout the US face declining resources in general. Particularly reduced is institutional ability to offer core graduate and upper level undergraduate courses in production agriculture and agricultural science. For example, while North Carolina (NC) State University is still able to offer a wide range of upper-division production courses in Horticulture, many sister institutions are facing restrictions on offerings in Fruit and Vegetable Production and Floriculture courses. New areas such as Sustainable Agriculture and Organic Farming also justify course offerings but few resources exist to create and teach such courses. At NC State, distance education (DE) is able to begin overcoming these problems in several ways. First, high demand, low-seat-available classes such as Postharvest Physiology can offer additional enrollment for credit if open to DE students. Second, courses offered asynchronously or with alternative delivery strategies (such as the videotapes distributed in this course) students having course/time conflicts in a semester can enroll simultaneously in two campus time-conflicted courses, completing both successfully. The framework for the Postharvest course now being taught via DE and how it came to gain institutional support will be discussed in this paper.

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rotation, polyculture, and cover cropping ( Table 2 ), which have demonstrable benefits on land use and crop production. Steiner’s original teachings did not include these methodologies, which along with other practices are the basis of organic farming as

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The use of organic farming techniques to grow crops has gained in popularity in recent years as a result of both an increase in consumer demand for organically grown produce and a genuine desire on the part of many growers to sustain or improve the

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Located on a 20-ha commercial apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) orchard in the Yakima Valley, Washington, a 1.7-ha study area was planted with apple trees in 1994 in a randomized complete block design with four replications of three treatments: organic (ORG), conventional (CON), and integrated (INT). Soil classification, rootstock, cultivar, plant age, and all other conditions except management were the same on all plots. In years 9 (2002) and 10 (2003) of this study, we compared the orchard productivity and fruit quality of `Galaxy Gala' apples. Measurements of crop yield, yield efficiency, crop load, average fruit weight, tree growth, color grades, and weight distributions of marketable fruit, percentages of unmarketable fruit, classifications of unmarketable fruit, as well as leaf, fruit, and soil mineral concentrations, were used to evaluate orchard productivity. Apple fruit quality was assessed at harvest and after refrigerated (0 to 1 °C) storage for three months in regular atmosphere (ambient oxygen levels) and for three and six months in controlled atmosphere (1.5% to 2% oxygen). Fruit internal ethylene concentrations and evolution, fruit respiration, flesh firmness, soluble solids concentration (SSC), titratable acidity (TA), purgeable volatile production, sensory panels, and total antioxidant activity (TAA) were used to evaluate fruit quality. ORG crop yields were two-thirds of the CON and about half of the INT yields in 2002, but about one-third greater than either system in 2003. High ORG yields in 2003 resulted in smaller ORG fruit. Inconsistent ORG yields were probably the result of several factors, including unsatisfactory crop load management, higher pest and weed pressures, lower leaf and fruit tissue nitrogen, and deficient leaf tissue zinc concentrations. Despite production difficulties, ORG apples had 6 to 10 N higher flesh firmness than CON, and 4 to 7 N higher than INT apples, for similar-sized fruit. Consumer panels tended to rate ORG and INT apples to have equal or better overall acceptability, firmness, and texture than CON apples. Neither laboratory measurements nor sensory evaluations detected differences in SSC, TA, or the SSC to TA ratio. Consumers were unable to discern the higher concentrations of flavor volatiles found in CON apples. For a 200 g fruit, ORG apples contained 10% to 15% more TAA than CON apples and 8% to 25% more TAA than INT apples. Across most parameters measured in this study, the CON and INT farm management systems were more similar to each other than either was to the ORG system. The production challenges associated with low-input organic apple farming systems are discussed. Despite limited technologies and products for organic apple production, the ORG apples in our study showed improvements in some fruit quality attributes that could aid their marketability.

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The assistance of James McFerson and Paul Kisley (U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Geneva, N.Y.), John Bouwkamp (Dept. of Horticulture, Univ. of Maryland), and numerous members of the Maryland Organic Food and Farming Association (MOFFA) for

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Mäder, P. Fließach, A. Dubois, D. Gunst, L. Fried, P. Niggli, U. 2002 Soil fertility and biodiversity in organic farming Science 296 1694 1697 McArtney, S.J. 2000 Thinning

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Oral Session 1—Organic Horticulture Moderator: Matthew D. Kleinhenz 18 July 2005, 2:00–4:00 p.m. Ballroom H

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