2007-07-26 / News

Film crew visits island farms for national project

YERT, Your Environmental Road Trip, is a year-long eco-expedition through all 50 states exploring the landscape of America's unique approach to environmental sustainability. Founders Mark Dixon, Bob Evans and Julie Dingman Evans will visit 50 states in 52 weeks. Their journey brought them to Jamestown last week to visit the Dutra Farm and the Watson Farm.

Eager to learn all they could about a small family dairy operation and Rhody Fresh, the cameras rolled at the Dutra Farm as the team learned the history, the current operation and what Joe and Jessie Dutra are doing to remain viable moving toward the future. They spoke at length about Rhody Fresh, the importance of keeping dairy farms sustainable in Rhode Island and the overwhelming support from Jamestown and the state as a whole.

Walking through the fields, Joe Dutra explained the value of the pastures, rotational grazing and the harvesting of corn and hay to feed their 100+ Holstein cows. Standing on the back edge of the horizontal silo, taking in the views of pastures, corn fields and sail boats on Narragansett Bay, Jessie spoke of the importance of keeping a sustainable working farm that can be passed on to their son Joey, who is 4 years old.

The next stop on their environmental road trip took the YERT team across North Road to the Watson Farm. Don and Heather Minto spoke to them about the importance of having small farms in the community and how fortunate we are in Jamestown to have so many working farms making up our landscape. Most communities don't have that, Don said.

They spoke at length regarding how they manage the land and their philosophy of raising grassfed beef. Farmers committed to grass-fed livestock are part of a movement to raise animals good for the farm, the environment and the consumer. It is a win-win situation with the driving force being the health benefit for the consumers.

Most of these farms are doing direct sales through farmers markets and other direct marketing. Don explained the importance of selling local. The Minto's have been selling their products locally for 28 years. Don said "Farmers who shorten the distance between the farm gate and the consumers table are enhancing the farms viability while being sensitive to the environment. Direct marketing cuts down on fossil fuel consumption and it connects people to the land because they know where their food is coming from."

Currently, the Land Trust and the town are working toward the permanent protection of the Dutra, Neale, and Ceppi Farms.

For more information about YERT and to follow them on their road trip visit www.YERT.com.

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