martonklin @ alumni.duke.edu
Paul's interest in sustainable agriculture began with a course on Sustainable Societies at Carleton College in 1978. During graduate school at Duke University he was active in the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association. The CFSA was the pre-USDA certifying body in the Carolinas and he worked on the certification committee, developing standards, reviewing applications and inspecting farms. Upon returning to Minnesota he was active as an interested citizen in the Sustainable farming Association for five years. During that time he worked for the Soil Science Department of the UofM on a research project studying the application of food processing wastewater to agricultural fields.
In 2000 we bought our farm just west of Bemidji, which we have developed into a diversified small family farm growing market vegetables distributed mostly through a CSA, grass fed highland beef, eggs and honey. They started farming in part because he sensed that there was a disconnect between research, writing and advocacy about farming and what was possible and practical on an actual farm. He didn't think he could continue talking about it without actually doing it. In his 20 years of trying to put the many sustainable practices he had heard and read about into action, he realized how much each farm is different. The farms that get a lot of press tend to be the superstars, were soil, energy and determination of the farmers, markets, labor and the right practices all mesh. Finding the right mix of all these factors for every farm to make progress toward sustainability goals is not easy.