12/14/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Salad Bowl Of The East Coast: Organic Greens, Grown In Maine

Ben Dobson is making the 3,000-mile salad a thing of the past. He has planted 170 acres of salad greens this year, and the 24-year-old farmer is hoping that his budding agricultural enterprise will lead to the next big thing in organics: the salad bowl of the East Coast.

Dobson and his business partners are using the efficiency of large-scale farms to provide local buyers with affordable organic salads from their farm in Bowdoinham, Maine. Call them second-generation organic--they're part of a wave of 20-somethings buying tractors on eBay, blogging about field conditions, and investing in automatic salad-cutting equipment--all in an effort to shrink the carbon footprint of clean, healthy food.

Dobson's two-year-old produce company, Atlantic Organic, harvests as much as 50,000 pounds of greens each week. Not only does the company promote its local provenance--its five-ounce clamshell-style packages sell in New England under the name of its sister packing company Locally Known--but it is also attempting to rebuild a regional food system. "The East Coast should be feeding itself," Dobson says. "That's really our philosophy."
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