Local family farms thrive in southeastern Connecticut

It is often said that family farming in Connecticut is only a bit of the past, now swept away by suburban sprawl and by the takeover of food production by international agribusiness. Yet in southeastern Connecticut, a younger generation is helping family farms to thrive, due partly to technical innovations, but primarily to their creativity in adopting new business models and their willingness to respond to changing social attitudes about food and where it comes from.

Two New London County farmers, one from Bozrah and one from Griswold, discuss how they work with their families to adjust to the demands on farms in the 21st century.

Richard Campbell III, 43, who with his sister Rhonda represents the sixth generation on Campbell’s Farm (his and his sister’s children are the upcoming seventh), points out that one of the major changes in family farming in the last generation is an increase in direct sales to customers. Sitting in the family’s farmstand on busy Route 138 in Griswold, Rich says, “The farm stand itself is nothing new. Farm stands have existed for generations. What’s new is the number of people who come here and the variety of products they can get.”

Once, farm families would set up stands on the side of the road to sell their own excess produce in season. Today, Connecticut farmers cooperate with one another to expand the range of products individual stands can offer. Groceries available at Campbell’s include not only their own beef, pork and fresh vegetables in season but also Connecticut grown milk, fruit, honey, maple syrup, preserves and eggs, among other food products and crafts. “I always tell people who come in that when they buy from me they are not just supporting Campbell’s Farm but they are supporting about 30 other small local farms whose products I sell.”

Read the complete article at www.theday.com.


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