The main objective of this project was to compare on-farm measurement techniques for estimating N-contributions from cover crops using 1) separated species lab tests (a standard experimental method), 2) bulked species lab tests, 3) fresh weight, 4) dry weight and 5) canopy height and density. We also recorded relative weed biomass in different cover treatments. After the project started, collaborating growers said they were interested in predicting available N from cover crops. We used a mineralization model to compare the ability to predict plant-available nitrogen (PAN) from bulked species and separated species sampling methods.
One increasingly successful approach to enhancing small farm viability is for farmers to market their products directly to consumers and food-oriented businesses and institutions within their local area. This localized approach to food production and distribution is based on theoretical concepts often articulated as community, local or regional food systems. But is there sufficient consumer support to make local food systems viable? Do communities differ in their potential for developing a local food system based on their dominant socio-economic and/or political characteristics? This study reports on the results of a random mail survey of households in two Oregon communities. Although the two communities contrast socioeconomically and politically, they show common but somewhat different support for local agriculture. The results demonstrate the potential for the development of more localized food systems in both communities. However, the type of products, their method of delivery and pricing will likely need to be tailored to fit each community.