Dan Hobbs cleaning seeds. Photo courtesy Hobbs Family Farms

Dan Hobbs cleaning zucchini seeds. Photo courtesy Hobbs Family Farms

To look at Dan Hobbs today, you’d never know he grew up in the city. Hobbs and his partner, Jamie Dunston, live on a 30 acre farm in Avondale, near Pueblo. Hobbs’ love of farming stems from having spent summers during his high school years living abroad with agrarian people. “I enjoyed the lifestyle,” Hobbs said. “I liked the hands-on aspect,” and the fact that farming seems like a “creative occupation.”
Part of Hobbs’ philosophy revolves around the teachings of agricultural visionary Rudolph Steiner, who developed an approach to farming called Biodynamics. Steiner’s philosophy emerged in the early 1900s through a series of lectures. His approach involves using all of a farm’s resources to create a sustainable organism. Hobbs’ take on Biodynamics involves seeing the connection between the farmer and the land. “It’s a relationship between what one wants to do and what the land can do,” he said. Hobbs has tried many different things to see what works.
One of the things that has worked well is garlic. Hobbs has seen garlic adapt to the local environment in the 15+ years he’s been growing it. Hobbs sees garlic as a good niche because there is not a lot of competition from other producers. He grows a variety of crops on his farm, and he also specializes in seed production.
One of the most successful components of a successful farming operation, according to Hobbs, is community. His farm hosts a day long garlic planting party every fall. People help break apart & plant the garlic during the day, and then some stay overnight.
A part of farming that some people might not be aware of is advocacy. Hobbs has invested a great deal of time and energy educating people about the importance of eating local. “It’s great that things are happening at the national and local level,” he said. However, he also stressed the importance of work at the grassroots level. Hobbs believes people need to see the bigger picture of how eating local can impact their health and the environment.
To help people see the bigger picture, Hobbs and a group of six other producers created an organization called Ark Valley Organic Growers, which is a marketing and distribution cooperative . One of their projects was an “Eat Local” campaign and toolkit that included “Farmer Approved” stickers that businesses could post. The group also created a publication called “Farm Beet.”
Hobbs said activities like this take a lot of time, and he encourages people who are not farmers but support eating local to get involved. “Producers need to focus on growing their product and getting it to market,” he said.  The producers rely on activists who understand the importance of eating local to help spread the word.
To read more about Hobbs Family Farm, visit their new website:  www.farmdirectseed.com

Posted in: News.
Last Modified: January 6, 2012

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