The Irresistible Fleet of Bicycles

Vermonters: Join the Climate Strike!

posted September 15, 2019

“Vermont has always been a leader in the climate movement, and we’re heeding the call of concerned youth. We need Vermonters to step up and demand action to protect us and our children,” said Abby Mnookin of 350Vermont, one of the organizations in the VT Climate Coalition. “With eight days of actions, we’re kicking it into high gear and asking Vermonters to go on strike Friday the 20th. If they can’t strike all day, they can temporarily walk out from their workplaces and schools to join a local event and demand action on climate change.”

The rally September 20 in Burlington will begin at noon from Burlington City Hall, 149 Church Street. Along with other strikes on the 20th, Vermont activities planned for Sept. 20-28 are:

  • An action against fossil-fuel lobbyists;
  • Distribution of large public banners about climate change around the state;
  • A direct action targeting one of the few remaining coal plants in the Northeast; and
  • Musical performances, worship services, a tour of a regenerative agriculture farm, and more. 

For info on the dozens of upcoming events, see www.vermontclimatestrike.org/events/list

With this current climate crisis and with the call to action voiced by youth globally in mind, the Vermont Strike Coalition demands the following:

  • Comprehensive and immediate solutions rooted in the respect for and dignity of all people.
  • Support for just policies that transition rapidly to a clean and renewable energy economy for all.
  • A commitment to keeping fossil fuels in the ground.
  • A just and inclusive movement that centers frontline communities.

Among the Vermont organizers of strike-related activities is Extinction Rebellion Vermont. “The damage to the Bahamas caused by Hurricane Dorian and our government’s coarse response to the plight of Bahamians are more examples of the devastating impacts of climate change and the ineffectiveness of our political leadership to properly respond to the needs of people on the front lines of the crisis. As these storms are made worse by the manufacture and burning of fossil fuels, it is critical to transform our society into one that is compassionate, inclusive, sustainable, equitable, and connected,” said Dan Batten of Extinction Rebellion Vermont. 

Organizations providing financial support include Seventh Generation, Ben & Jerry’s, Sierra Club, Chelsea Green, SunCommon, 350.org, Front Porch Forum, and Eco-Equipment Supply. 


Eisenhower Fellowship Agriculture Program 2020: recruiting applicants, active farmer/ranchers

posted September 12, 2019

Eisenhower Fellowships is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit international leadership organization with a distinguished history of providing mid-career U.S. leaders with a customized four-or-five week professional experience abroad. EF is chaired by former Secretary of Defense Dr. Robert Gates and governed by a diverse and distinguished board of trustees. Since 1989, more than 300 ascendant U.S. leaders have traveled abroad as part of this transformative program. The fellowship offers a unique opportunity for selected Fellows to travel abroad to reexamine, refocus, and reenergize their professional and leadership skills and to work on projects that will increase social impact in their communities.

Currently, EF is recruiting active farmer and ranchers for their 2020 Agriculture Program. Applications are due by Monday, October 14 at 9am — email skirts@efworld.org for materials.


2019 REGENERATE Conference, call for applications to HERD Fellowship

posted September 5, 2019

The Quivira Coalition, Holistic Management International, and American Grassfed Association are pleased to announce a call for applications for the 2019 REGENERATE HERD Fellowship, which provides scholarships for young farmers, ranchers, and conservationists, and students in related fields to attend the 2019 REGENERATE Conference from November 19-22 in Albuquerque, New Mexico!

The HERD Fellowship seeks to connect scholarship recipients with peers and mentors at the event, as well as support their pursuit of lives in agriculture beyond the event. Attending the REGENERATE Conference provides fellows with the opportunity to learn from leaders in the field, build relationships with peers and mentors, find support for their work, and bring a fresh perspective on the future of agriculture.

We will award 12 full scholarships (covers conference registration fee, and travel and lodging expenses) and 25 tuition-only scholarships (covers conference registration fee) to ranchers, farmers, conservationists, and others in related fields who are beginning their careers. These scholarships will be prioritized to support individuals who identify as belonging to a community historically underrepresented, economically low-resource, and/or marginalized in agriculture. We are specifically encouraging the application of Tribal, Hispanic/Latinx, Black/African American, and Asian/Pacific Islander beginning ranchers, farmers, and conservationists. However, qualified applicants from any background with a strong application will also be considered.

Interested individuals can apply by submitting an online application or completing an interview by phone or in-person. Please call the Quivira Coalition at 505-820-2544 to schedule an interview with either Arielle or Sarah. Applications must be submitted by 11 pm MT on Friday, September 20. Applicants will be notified no later than October 1 about the status of their applications.

You may also recommend someone for a scholarship by emailing arielle@quiviracoalition.org their name, contact information, and 1-2 sentences why they would be a good candidate for the HERD Fellowship. 


New Documentary Release from Indie Lens Storycast: The Seed Saver

posted August 29, 2019

ITVS’s Indie Lens Storycast releases the new short documentary The Seed Saver by director John Picklap. The Seed Saver explores a young Korean-American farmer’s mission to save heritage seeds from her native land. Adopted by an Irish-Catholic family on Long Island as a baby, Kristyn Leach grew up outside of Korean culture. When she moved to California, she started growing food from East Asia, and it helped her connect to her Korean identity for the first time. We follow Leach through a growing season as she battles the natural environment to protect her rare soybeans that were given to her in Korea. Along the way, we meet the community of people Kristyn works with and what inspired her to devote her life to this work.

“To give someone a seed requires a little bit of trust. It’s so personal and you care so much about it where you just want to make sure you do a good job,” said Leach in the film.

The Seed Saver will be released as part of a series of three standout, standalone short documentaries about women. Jewel’s Hunt explores a Native Alaskan girl balancing an age-old tradition with modern life, and The Last Trap Family follows a Rhode Island “fishermom” keeping the family business afloat. 

Link to share the film: https://youtu.be/xoxMHVcbvSw

#SeedSaverFilm #Storycast #Badassfarmer


Cover Crop Incentive Program Survey – make your voice heard!

posted August 25, 2019

EDWIN REMSBERG

Cornell University, with support from Sustainable, Agriculture, Research, and Education (SARE), is conducting a survey for all fruit, vegetable, field crop, grain, and mixed crop-livestock producers in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Vermont to identify the biggest challenges that farmers face, as well as the best solutions in regards to cover crop incentive programs. You do not need to have experience with cover crops to participate.

Please click here to fill out the survey.

Our goal is to understand what the most important factors are for farm owners and managers when deciding whether or not to use incentive programs. Notably, the survey also provides an opportunity to share your experience managing issues related to cover crops and incentive program requirements.

Key findings from the survey will be published and communicated to grower organizations and other farmer advocates so that recommendations, actions, and outcomes reflect what you identify as being most helpful for your operation. Whether your farm is small or large, organic or conventional – your responses to this survey can be a powerful tool for change.


Summer Camp Film Series: MOVIE NIGHTS! at Reversing Hall, August 21 to 24

posted August 14, 2019

Craving a summer evening filled with fantastic, award-winning film on food, farming and the future? Join Greenhorns for our Summer Camp Film Series, featuring inspiring films about the quests of farmers engaging with the food system for a brighter, more biodiverse, more just future.

Screenings will take place at Reversing Hall, 4 Leighton Point Rd. Pembroke, ME. Attendance is free, though donations greatly appreciated. RSVP to Movie Nights on our Facebook event. And for lodging / camping needs, RSVP to office@greenhorns.org. We cannot wait to enjoy these films in your good company. Come through!

Migrant Dreams
Wednesday August 21, 8:20 PM
at Reversing Hall, 4 Leighton Point Rd. Pembroke, ME

A powerful feature documentary by multiple award-winning director Min Sook Lee, Migrant Dreams tells the undertold story of migrant agricultural workers struggling against Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program that treats foreign workers as modern-day indentured labourers. Migrant Dreams exposes the underbelly of Canadian policy that has built a system designed exploit, dehumanize and deceive migrant workers who have virtually no access to support or information in their own language. Migrant workers who deserve basic labour and human rights. Watch the trailer, here!

Honeyland
Thursday August 22, 8:20 PM at Reversing Hall

HONEYLAND, the most awarded film from this year’s Sundance Film Festival, features Hatidze, a lone beekeeper in Macedonia. She’s the last in a long line of wild beekeepers, eking out a living farming honey in small batches sold in the closest city – a mere four hours’ walk away. When new neighbors arrive that threaten to destroy her traditional way of life, a breach in the natural order provokes a conflict with Hatidze that exposes the fundamental tension between nature and humanity, harmony and discord, exploitation and sustainability. While the family provides a much-needed respite from Hatidze’s isolation and loneliness, her means of survival are threatened. She must protect her relationship with the fragile ecosystem she depends on. Watch the trailer, here!

The Permaculture Orchard: Beyond Organic
Friday August 23, 9 PM at Reversing Hall

The Permaculture Orchard : Beyond Organic is a feature-length educational film that will teach you how to set up your own permaculture orchard at any scale. Recognizing the limitations of the organic model as a substitute to conventional fruit growing, this film proposes a more holistic, regenerative approach based on permaculture principles. Based on 20 years of applied theory and trial and error, biologist and educator Stefan Sobkowiak shares his experience transforming a conventional apple orchard into an abundance of biodiversity that virtually takes care of itself. The concepts, techniques and tips presented in this film will help you with your own project, whether it is just a few fruit trees in your urban backyard, or a full-scale multi-acre commercial orchard. Watch the trailer, here!

Planet Local Short Films
Saturday August 24, 8:20 PM

The Planet Local short film series on food and farming share the stories of a new generation of farmers with a focus on human and planetary wellbeing. Topics include The New Local Food Movement, Diverse Farming Systems, Local Food Webs — Exploring Systems of Distribution, Local Food Processors, AKA Making Delicious Food, Ecovillages and Networks for New Farmers. Check out the film list, here!


Commons Based DIY Farm Tool Production, ‘AutoConstruction’

posted July 27, 2019

Spearheading the movement for cooperative, user-led tool production in Quebec’s farming community is CAPÉ, la Cooperatif pour Agriculture de Proximité biologique et Écologique. “AutoConstruction” in French, collective, DIY tool production allows farmers to save money by working together and buying materials in bulk. These projects allow participants to enjoy a dynamic workspace and the expertise of an entire group, in addition to manufacturing unique tools that do not exist on the market yet allow for better farming practices.

Farmer, researcher, traveler and writer Samuel Oslund published this beautiful photo essay while researching L’Atelier Paysan in 2016. According to Samuel, “Whether in France, Quebec, the US, or Italy, I have observed that a common theme of this movement is inclusion and participation. Rather than creating uncomfortable, exclusive or intimidating spaces, the hackathons and builds I’ve observed and participated in are always filled with a mix of ages, genders, and people from different experience.”

“This model gives communities direct access to tools created specifically for their needs, and at the core of the designs is the knowledge that they will be hacked, tweaked, and rethought by each user. This has the added benefit of prompting quicker innovation in future and diverse iterations of the tools as they are adapted to suit different needs.”

When evaluating the success of these projects there are many variables to take into consideration from labor, coordination and design, to development and prototyping. With a hackathon it can be difficult to quantify some of these values, because the events are aimed at actively building skills and knowledge through hands-on practice. In the cold and somewhat isolating months of the Quebec winter, these workshops also serve as an excuse to gather together old and new friends from across the province.

Follow CAPÉ’s AutoConstruction Facebook page to learn more, watch inspiring build videos, and get invoved in the movement!


TAKE ACTION: Student Loan Forgiveness for Young Farmers

posted July 22, 2019

Exciting news, folks, from the National Young Farmers Coalition: last week, Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) introduced the Student Loan Forgiveness for Farmers and Ranchers Act (S.2168). The July 18 press release from NYFC can be found here.

In the House, HR 3232 would add farmers to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. In the Senate, the Student Loan Forgiveness for Farmers and Ranchers Act (S.2168), would create the Agricultural Loan Forgiveness Program, a loan forgiveness program specifically for farmers and ranchers that would provide a pathway out of student loan debt, bolster the nation’s agricultural economy and provide security to its food supply. 

Take action today to support and help move forward this crucial legislature!! Text “student loans” to 40649 and *click hereto ask your Members of Congress to co-sponsor the Student Loan Forgiveness for Farmers and Ranchers Act because #farmingispublicservice!

Farming is a capital-intensive occupation and student loan debt is often prohibitive for young people in getting the credit needed to start their own farms and contribute to their local economies. These bills would help make farming a viable career choice for young people as our nation’s average age of farmers creeps higher and higher. They would allow the nation to invest in retaining more young farmers who are highly educated, experienced, and pursuing successful agricultural careers, but struggling under the burden of student loan debt. 

Thank you, National Young Farmers Coalition.


LOCAL IS OUR FUTURE

posted July 9, 2019

New book from Helena Norberg-Hodge outlines the steps needed to enable ‘economies of happiness’ to spread and flourish, globally.

“There is no more important task than re-localizing our economies, and this book will tell you how it’s done.” Bill McKibben

Poverty, climate change, the erosion of democracy, an epidemic of depression – these and many other social, economic, ecological, and spiritual crises are connected, and one of their primary causes is our global economic system. Local is Our Future, a new book by Helena Norberg-Hodge, draws out these connections and describes how simple steps towards the local can lead to a sustainable and fulfilling future for both planet and people.

In Helena’s words, “For our species to have a future, it must be local. The good news is that the path to such a future is already being forged. Away from the screens of the mainstream media, the crude ‘bigger is better’ narrative that has dominated economic thinking for centuries is being challenged by a perspective that places human and ecological wellbeing front and centre. People are coming to recognise that connection, both to others and to Nature herself, is the wellspring of human happiness. And every day new, inspiring initiatives are springing up that offer the potential for genuine prosperity.”

While humans thrive on connection, Local is Our Future explains how the global economy systematically severs our connections to the natural world and to community – separating us ever further from each other and from nature. Building local economies, the book argues, can allow those ties to be regenerated, while providing profound economic, social, environmental and psychological benefits.

Taking inspiration from a worldwide movement that is already emerging beneath the radar of the mainstream media, Local is Our Future outlines the steps needed to build a world of interlinked and decentralised economies. On every continent, people are coming together to claw back control over their own livelihoods, and in doing so are healing fractured communities, repairing damaged environments, and building a brighter future.

Helena Norberg-Hodge, the book’s author, has been promoting an economics of personal, social, and ecological wellbeing for four decades across the global North and South. Author of the book Ancient Futures, producer of the award-winning documentary The Economics of Happiness, and founder of the non-profit organisation Local Futures, she was honoured with the Right Livelihood Award (often called the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’) for her groundbreaking work in Ladakh, India, and received the 2012 Goi Peace Prize for contributing to “the revitalisation of cultural and biological diversity, and the strengthening of local communities and economies worldwide.”

In keeping with the book’s message about the importance of connection, Helena would like to encourage readers to join with their community to read Local is Our Future together, as part of a book club or other community group. Local Futures is offering members of these groups a 30% discount on the book – anyone interested should send an email to seankeller@localfutures.org.


Sardine Camp, coming right up!

posted July 6, 2019

The end of the month at Smithereen Farms comes with a full serving of sardines — smoked, pickled, sauced — you name it. Join us for a dreamy and adventure-filled day on and off the water this July 31, SARDINE CAMP! For all yous out there craving an immersive, hands-on, salty summer escapade. Along with an in-depth look at the local history, ecological significance, and cultural importance of sardines and the Downeast Maine fishery.

For more information and RSVP, email office@greenhorns.org. Full day on a sliding scale to $80 includes boat ride, fishing, presentations with local experts and pickling/smoking workshop with James Beard award-winning chef Michael Wiles of Eventide restaurant. Delicious farm fresh & smoked sardine lunch at Reversing Hall, $20. Visit here for the line up of events and special guests and full details on the day.

Come for the sardines…stay for the blueberries!

Greenhorns Sardine Camp Flyer