“Greenhorns” seeks Contributing New Farmer Writers

15 Dec
Thanks for your interest in the Greenhorns! Please read through the following important information for contributing writers.

Packet Contents:

  1. Book Description
  2. Criteria for Contributors
  3. Information for Contributors:
    • Essay Details
    • Submission Details
    • Submission Deadline
    • Compensation
  1. Tentative Book Outline with Annotated Chapters (chapter titles subject to change)
  1. Editor Profiles

1.  Book Description:

Greenhorns is a protein-packed resource for the new generation of farmers who are popping up all over the country. This collection of essays and stories conveys our ethic of thrift, innovation, persistence and strength. One part pep talk, one part advice column, and one part celebration. This book aims to give readers a taste of the beginning farmer experience: the pitfalls and the poetry of choosing a livelihood so far left of mainstream- of building a business around our love of agriculture. The book will give new and aspiring farmers – Greenhorns – a glimpse of the road ahead in order to help them steer a satisfying and realistic trajectory into farming. For non-farming readers, this collection of witty, gritty, raw essays written from the trenches will shed some light on what it takes to pay your bills when you decide to start growing food for a living.

In the collaborative spirit of The Greenhorns Project, these written pieces by young and beginning farmers are woven together with how-to guidance and interjected with wise words from our agrarian elders. Inspired by the pluck and purposeful protagonism of these young farmers, we hope that readers, eaters, voters and moms will come to understand the tremendous potential of sustainable agriculture in the reclaiming of America.

2. Criteria for Contributors:

In order to be considered for inclusion in the book, contributors must:

  • Be a beginning, new or young farmer and have farmed for 10 years or less;
  • Make at least 75% of his/her income directly from commercial farming; and
  • Be a good writer and have a distinct story to tell, as outlined below under “Essay Details.”

3.  Information for Contributors:

Essay Details:

  • On average, each chapter will feature approximately eight to ten essays relevant to the chapter theme.
  • Essays can range in length from 500 words to 2000 words. We will include a variety of length essays in each chapter.
  • Essay content should be deeply personal and tell a good, true story. They should be written in the first person. We are not trying to compile a how-to manual; rather, essays should shed light on the gritty, raw and beautiful realities of farming – be they emotional, physical, financial, professional, political and/or personal. Essays should be instructive and enlightening, but not prescriptive. They should be inspiring and eye-opening but not sappy or overly-romanticized. They should tell it like is and portray the real-meal-deal of farming, in all its beauty, challenge, hardship and reward.

Submission Details:

  • First: determine which chapter you are most inspired to write an essay for, based on the annotated chapter outline provided below.
  • Second: contact the chapter editor by email and provide a brief outline or blurb about your proposed essay. Please provide an estimated essay length.
  • Third: draft your essay and submit it to your chapter editor by email before the submission deadline. Please write GREENHORNS ESSAY in the subject line of your email when you submit your essay to your chapter editor.
  • Please note that inclusion in the final book is at the sole discretion of the editors and Storey Publishing. Essays will be selected according to content, quality, and relevance to the overall manuscript.

Submission Deadline:

  • First drafts of essays are due by January 15th, 2011. Email your draft directly to your chapter editor.


  • If your essay is selected to be included in the book, you will have a short biography (30-50 words) in the back of the book and receive a copy of the book when it is published.

4.  Tentative Book Outline with Annotated Chapters

Table of Contents



Nine Thematic Chapters (in no particular order):

  • Money
    • Essays covering: finances; budgeting; borrowing; saving; business planning; frugality; off-farm income; government grants; dealing with banks; loans; 0% credit cards; cash flow crises; barter; slow money, etc.
    • Chapter Editor: Zoë
  • Metal, Wood, Nuts & Bolts (& Baling Twine)
    • Essays covering: designing smart systems; learning key skills: welding; wiring; carpentry; using power tools (the awesomeness of community colleges for learning on the cheap); useful and ingenious tools; machinery; flow; repair; making it work with 5 gallon buckets / pallets / cinder blocks / baling twine; infrastructure planning; ergonomics and efficiency; etc.
    • Chapter Editor: Paula
  • Beasts
    • Essays covering: adventures with farm animals of all kinds; making money raising protein; legal issues; processing bottlenecks (meat, dairy, etc.); milk, dairy, eggs; pricing your protein; feed sources for animals; value-added animal products; alternative meat and protein distribution (meat CSAs, etc.); encounters with wildlife; using draft animals; pasture fence tangles and creating infrastructure for farm critters; farm animals and how they tie you down; coyotes, raccoons and predators; working dogs, etc.
    • Chapter Editor: Zoë
  • Body – Heart – Soul
    • Essays covering: self care; smart ergonomics; envisioning a livelihood and a lifestyle you want – and manifesting it; being a female farmer; being a queer farmer; career-changing; dealing with family dissent; working with your life partner; fitting farming into your family; the physicality of farming; the gift – and responsibility – of feeding people; hiring labor; the love and the passion, etc.
    • Chapter Editor: Paula
  • Ninja Tactics
    • Essays covering: dealing with the “man;” dealing with Mom; navigating laws & regulations; food safety issues; insurance; taxes; liability; becoming a responsible employer; opportunities within big government programs; making do with very little; creative recycling/re-purposing; cultivating zen: dealing with the unexpected and uncontrollable; knowing when to do it yourself and when to hire help; forging partnerships with unlikely allies; turning foes into friends; the importance of good scavenging skills (auctions, roadsides, dumpsters), etc.
    • Chapter Editor: Severine
  • Purpose
    • Essays covering: why we farm; philosophies of social change; overcoming the odds; innovating within the system; the transition from apprentice to farmer, or suburbs to boonies; values training; tribe vibe; how to know you want to be a farmer; our sense of ourselves, etc.
    • Chapter Editor: Severine
  • Land + Water + Lots of Other Things = Food
    • Essays covering: land access (buying, renting, leasing, squatting and otherwise); water rights; unique land tenure relationships; establishing infrastructure; farming with the wild and on-farm conservation; land preservation; crop planning; making it grow (fertility, irrigation, pest management, tillage, weeds, crop varieties, seeds, labor, record-keeping, harvest, post-harvest handling); intergenerational transfer/farm succession, etc.
    • Chapter Editor: Severine
  • Making it Shine
    • Essays covering: marketing; branding; quality; image; carving out your niche; pricing; certification; relationship marketing; various sales models (wholesale; farmers market; CSA; etc.); doing what you do best and doing it best; dealing with the public and the press, etc.
    • Chapter Editor: Paula
  • Old Neighbors; New Community
    • Essays covering: farmer to farmer exchange & collaboration; farmer mentoring; cooperatives; working together; business and community networks; social capital; weathering judgment and skepticism from elders and the status quo; building celebratory and mutually supportive community through CSA and other models; renewing the countryside; resurrecting old institutions of the grange, women’s land army, farmers non-partisan league, farmers union; online tools for social communication and networking, etc.
    • Chapter Editor: Zoë

Resource Index

Contributing Essayist Profiles

5.  Editor Profiles:

Severine von Tscharner Fleming


Farmer, activist, organizer. Severine is the director of http://www.theGREENHORNS.net, a small, land-based non profit working nationally to promote, support and recruit young farmers.

Born to urban planners in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Severine spent her summers chasing cows and picking blueberries at her aunt’s nunnery in the Alps, and at her mother’s family dairy and cherry farm. She moved westward to attend Pomona College in Los Angeles where she was a founder of the Pomona College Organic Farm. After 2 years she dropped out to apprentice at Camp Joy in Boulder Creek, CA, for the Soil Association in Scotland, for the National Botanic Garden of South Africa, and for three summers woofed, milked and made cheese at alpine dairies in Switzerland. After the farming hiatus, Severine returned to the University of California at Berkeley where she graduated with a B.S. in Conservation/AgroEcology. At Berkeley, Severine founded the Society for Agriculture and Food Ecology (SAFE). While directing The Greenhorns, Severine runs a diversified small farm operation in the Hudson Valley.

Zoë  Ida Bradbury


Organic farmer, freelance writer, Food & Society Policy Fellow. Zoë lives, writes and farms on the southern Oregon coast.

Born onto a small sheep ranch on the Oregon coast, Zoë, 31, grew up in hoody sweatshirts and rubber boots – birthing lambs in the spring, watching salmon spawn in the fall, and taming plums, blackberries and tomatoes into canning jars all summer. Her love for food, farming and rural livelihood got its foothold early on and carried her full circle back to her native southern Oregon where she now runs her own farm, growing mixed produce and berries for local markets with the help of her family and a team of draft horses (www.valleyflorafarm.com).

In the winter, Zoë also freelances for various publications. Her work has appeared in Edible Portland, USA Today, Oregon Coast Magazine, The Oregonian, Grist, In Good Tilth, the Draft Horse Journal, and Stanford Magazine. She is the author of the online blog, Diary of a Young Farmer. Her activism in sustainable agriculture has engaged her with numerous non-profits and commercial farms over the years, including Ecotrust, the Agriculture and Land-based Training Association (ALBA), the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA), the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Sauvie Island Organics, Ella Bella Farm and others. She served as a national Food & Society Policy Fellow from 2008-2010, working explicitly to raise awareness about new farmer issues and the need to cultivate a next generation of sustainable food producers in this country.

Zoë did her undergraduate work at Stanford University where she studied ecological anthropology with a focus on sustainable agriculture.  Her honors thesis took her home to Floras Creek and then south to Chile where she took a hard look at the struggle to sustain family agriculture – in both hemispheres. In 2008, she completed her Masters degree with a focus on rural development, food systems and community change.

Paula Manalo


Biodynamic farmer and founding Greenhorn, Paula is a first generation American farmer.

Originally from western Maryland, Paula is in her third year of co-managing Mendocino Organics, a biodynamic farm in Northern California. She and her partner raise various livestock for meat and grow produce, including a winter vegetable CSA, for local and Bay Area eaters. Paula received her B.A. in Economics from Stanford University in 2004 and worked as a natural resources economist for Defenders of Wildlife in Washington, DC for over two years. In 2007, she moved to farm in Mendocino County amidst the “beyond organic”ˇ farm scene. Paula also serves on the Board of Directors of the Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association, helping shape and nurture the biodynamic movement into the future. Paula is dedicated to promoting and professionally supporting local and healthy food systems for ecological, economic, and social sustainability, and has found farming to be the most fulfilling and tasty way to achieve this.

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