Agriculture Conference 2018 will take place from the 7th to 10th of February at the Goetheanum in Dornach. The biodynamic preparations bring vitality to the earth, its fruits, the farms and their communities. They inspire our actions and bring concrete benefits to nature as a whole. They also present us with big questions. At the conference insights will be shared from all over the world and in order to inspire and encourage, there will be an intensive exchange of experiences. Those invited include farmers, gardeners, wine growers, orchardists, herb growers, advisors, researchers, students and apprentices, food processors, traders, cooks, nature educators and also consumers and friends of the biodynamic impulse. The plenary sessions will explore the preparations in all their breadth and depth, in the parallel themed sessions specialists will be able to share experiences and deepen their work while in the workshops intensive personal dialogue will be encouraged. To complete the programme there will be music, artistic courses, guided tours of the Goetheanum and an exhibition.
The conference includes: Themed sessions on biodynamic preparations for viticulture, food, tropical agriculture, preparations in daily life, soil fertility, medicinal plants and herbs, plus 23 workshops, 14 artistic courses and 15 guided tours. All are welcome.
Click HERE for the Programme and HERE to register.
Despite the fact that women have alwaysfarmed, they have been left out of our agricultural narrative. An incomplete story has real consequences: women have been left off land titles and bank documents; they have been denied federal loans and training opportunities; and until the 1982 census of agriculture, female farmers were not counted at all.
The Heinrich Boll Foundation and the ETC Group recently released a 20 page report about the ill defined and understood "Climate Smart Agriculture". Unsurprisingly the agro-industrial sector has embraced these developments that rely heavily on synthetic biology. Synthetic biology sometimes dubbed “genetic engineering on steroids,” broadly refers to the use of computer-assisted, biological engineering to design and construct new synthetic life forms, living parts, devices and systems that do not exist in nature. Proponents maintain that designer crops and entirely genetically new products are the way forward in the fight against climate change. The lobbying power of this sector is significant, we cannot allow them alone to dictate the future of the food system. (more…)
In the southwest German city of Freiburg, there is a successful co-op of some 260 people who are participating in successful organic vegetable gardening and sharing the costs and risks. Whatever the harvest, good or poor, it’s distributed to all members. Cucumbers are allowed to be bent, carrots entwined, the occasional lettuce smaller than average. Seasonal, totally organic growing, 100% original seed, local food production, solidarity economics, collective property and education are some of the many hallmarks of the work that they are doing. (more…)
Join Andy Smith of Smith's Smokehouse and delve into the basics of charcuterie through a series of four workshops. Learn how to create your own charcuterie goods, and potential business, and then dig deep into a variety of curing processes including bacon, bresaola, beef jerky and more!
Don't forget to register for this course, there are only 10 spots available. The complete series is $350 for MOFGA members and $400 for non-members. Each course will take place at Smith's Smokehouse; bring your own lunch.
Click HERE to register and please contact Anna Mueller at [email protected] if you have any questions.
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Woodlanders is an online film series that seeks to document the work of people who care for and depend on forests for their livelihood and well-being throughout the world. They are up to 21 episodes now, and each episode focuses on a person or culture who has a sustainable relationship and/or livelihood with a forest. The topics covered range from Chestnut nurseries to oak swill basketry to woodland mushroom cultivation.
Click HERE to read more about the project and please consider donating to the patreon fund if you like the work that these wonderful filmmakers are doing.
MYCOLOGOS is the world's first online and in-person mycology school and demonstration mushroom farm, based in Portland, Oregon. They are currently raising funds through a Kickstarter campaign (ending December 20) where you can save up to 80% off online courses in mycology. The founder of mycologos, Peter McCoy will be teaching a Greenhorns mycology workshop in our new headquarters in Maine next Summer. Email [email protected] to express your interest in this July 2018 class.
Click HERE to check out the kickstarter, there is only 6 days left to donate!
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This lovely clip above give a snapshot of Arista Holdens most recent sail camp. Arista will be working with the Greenhorns to hold another sail camps in the Summer of 2018 on the beautiful coast of Maine. Contact Arista directly if you would like more information by sending an email to [email protected]
Once upon a time in a land... not so far from Seattle... lived a man, his wife and their two beautiful young daughters.
One day the man came to his wife and proclaimed that he wanted to be a beekeeper. The wife, completely bewildered by his announcement, looked at her husband and demanded:
“WHY on Earth, would you want to do that?”
After many months of attempting to convince his wife that beekeeping would be fun, educational and beneficial to their family, she finally gave in.
As the winter passed the man and his two daughters’ researched the art of keeping bees, built beehives and prepared to become “backyard beekeepers” in the coming spring. The two young daughters took a genuine interest in the newfound hobby. Everyday their knowledge and enthusiasm for beekeeping grew until finally one day they made a proclamation of their own:
“Daddy,” the five year old said to the man, “I think sissy and I should be the beekeepers, and you can just kinda stand by and supervise.”
It was that day, which Two Little Ladies Apiary was born.
Check out their site HERE, they have a ton of amazing resources and links for new and old beekeepers alike that range from DIY tips to links to the required legal information for beekeepers and everything in between.
Rogue Farm Corps helps teach the next generation of farmers via hands-on immersive training on sustainable farms in Oregon. Live and learn side-by-side with a mentor farmer. Take part in classes, farm tours, and discussion circles. Learn more and apply today for the 2018 season: http://roguefarmcorps.org”
Applications for the 2018 season are now open. They offer programmes for both beginners and advanced apprentices. Click HERE to find out more and to apply.
The Alaska Young Fishermen's Almanac is the first book project of the Alaska Young Fishermen's Network with support from the Alaska Marine Conservation Council and the Alaska Humanities Forum. Using her experience gleaned from creating our own New Farmer's' Almanac, Severine worked with the Alaskan Young Fisherman on this project and it features art, stories, advice and more from young fishermen across Alaska. Salmon Sisters is excited to offer this first, beautiful edition to our fishing community! (more…)
The young farmers conference 2017 took place this past week, and you may have already heard about the controversy that unfolded during and after the first days keynote speech. The keynote was a discussion between Ricardo Salvador from the Union of Concerned Scientists and writer Mark Bittman who is the author of 20 acclaimed books, including the How to Cook Everything series, the award-winning Food Matters, and The New YorkTimes number-one bestseller, VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00. Bittman has become a prominent and and distinguished figurehead of the sustainable food movement over the course of his career, and yet during the young farmers conference, it became clear that he does not represent the foot soldiers of the movement.
During the question-and-answer session after Bittman and Salvador's keynote, chef and educator named Nadine Nelson directed a question at Bittman that he did not seem able to answer. She asked: “How do you hold yourself accountable to communities of color, and vulnerable communities?" Nelson was communicating her concern as a woman of color about the disparity between the rhetoric, and action of liberals who say that they support minority groups but who often do not realise this.
Bittman for all intents and purposes did not respond to the substance or content of her actual question, answering simply with "ok well then, fair enough”. When prompted to answer the question more fully, the stated that he didn't understand what "how he could hold himself accountable" within the context of the question and maintained that he has always tried to do good throughout his career. The tension is palpable in the video footage (it takes place from around minute 56 onwards) and serves as a snapshot of the discontent and miscommunication that exists between the leaders and founders and the new generations within social movements, not least the sustainable food and farming movements.
This was not however the last word on the issue. Minutes later another attendee made her dissatisfaction with Bittman's disregard of people of color known. She explained that land reform alone was not the answer to systemic racism. White men have always had a disproportionate number of seats at the table and what is needed now is for those like Bittman not only to respect the voices of people of color but to observe their seats at the table.
“This shit is exhausting,” she said, in reference to Bittman’s dismissal. “And we’re not all friends. Y’all don’t listen to us.”
Click HERE to watch the full video or HERE to read an account by the New Food Economy.
You might remember the clip above the Juliette of the Herbs, the maker of that film is currently crowdfunding for their new project - Tulsi, Queen of the Herbs. Like Juliette, this new project will introduce you to a remarkable being. This time the being is Tulsi, ocimum sanctum, or Holy Basil. She is a plant. Sacred to Hindus, Tulsi is a goddess, a healer, an ecologist and most recently, she has become an ambassador for the plant kingdom. (more…)
credit: Hayden Stubbins - Forest and Feast at Yale
It's been a busy year for Hayden Stubbins from Hayden's Harvest. He hosted forage and feasts, plant walks, mycology talks and herbal classes in North America, from NYC to coastal Maine. Check out his cool video about Forage and Feast that has over 1 million views HERE
Hayden has been involved with some really interesting projects on subjects such as Lyme Disease and invasive species over the past year:
Japanese Barberry: A story of Lyme Disease, invasive species, medicine, and scarves
Japanese Barberry creates ideal habitat for ticks, and has been attributed to the rise in Lyme Disease. More barberry = more ticks = more Lyme Disease. I have shifted my winter focus to finding products using Japanese Barberry with the hopes of decreasing its population in our woods with the aim of decreasing rates of Lyme Disease. These products include potential medicine (type II diabetes, fatty liver disease, statin-resistant high cholesterol, digestive issues), as a dye, bitters, and more to come. If you are interested in Japanese Barberry removal, any of the products listed above, or a monograph, please contact me.
He is currently taking booking for his spring teaching schedule, so if you or any organizations you know are interested in hosting a Forage and Feast, plant walk, mycology talk, herbalism event. These events are perfect for public and private schools, universities, youth groups, farms, community centers, and private residences alike. Many people have celebrated their birthdays at a Forage and Feast, so why not book a private Forage and Feast for you and your loved ones to celebrate a special day?
If you have any questions, are interested in getting involved with any of the above projects, or if you would like to host an event, please be in touch with Hayden at[email protected].
Greetings writers, artists, photographers, agrarians! It’s almanac time again! If you would like to contribute to the next volume of the Almanac, now is the time to get thinking, writing and creating agrarian content. This year we have a wonderful new editor Briana - you can contact her with your ideas and submissions at [email protected]. Please see below for more details about the submissions process as well as our guidelines for themes for the upcoming Almanac.
- ASAP/ By the End of January: Send a quick description of what you want to submit to [email protected]. If we’re amenable, we’ll invite you to submit via a google form.
- February 28 will be the deadline for completed submissions.
Send us essays, interviews, recipes, ruminations, reading lists, rants, star charts, stories, instructions, jokes, thoughts, dreams, or other curious textual things. For prose, 700 words (give or take) is our preferred length. If you’re submitting poems, give us up to three to consider. If your work defies such categories, aim for one page, or two, or three (but no more than that unless we ask).
Visual Arts Submissions
Send us your photographs, original art, illustrations, picture essays, flowcharts, diagrams, maps, doodles, or natural world paraphernalia. Whatever your medium, materials should be submitted as 300 dpi grayscale images, formatted as .tiff, .png, or .jpg files. With each piece, please specify artist name, name of work, and medium.
We will solicit your reactions to selected art works early in 2018. Let us know if this form of writing calls to you.
Themes and Challenge Questions
As usual we have laid out some themes as a scaffold to inspire and provoke your Almanac contributions. You can ignore them, or you can rebut them--but it does seem to work well when we have some consonance within the chapters.
The overarching theme of this year’s almanac is a bigger, broader WE. The motto we’ve chosen is: Together WE can make the Almanac (and agriculture) great for everyone. As Marada Cook always says: “Food is physical”--and the physical proof of a series of inter-linked land actors--so when Aldo Leopold talks about “Land as a community to which we all belong,” it’s perhaps not too dumbed-down to recognize ourselves and one other as both inextricable beneficiaries and victims of land-use decisions. Directly or indirectly. Now or sometime soon. What fictional and exclusive “We” that sees itself apart from the coiling, uncoiling, and recoiling of nature’s news may exist in TV newscaster and consumerist narratives, but this is a shrinking and fortified minority--a miserable abstract demographic otherness.
We therefore challenge ourselves to look straight at the question: “Which WE are WE? And how can we work more together in that WE?” Aren’t WE the settler-homesteaders, aren’t we the dispossessed Irish, Scottish, Mexican, and Caribbean diasporas who arrived penniless on ships? Aren’t we the re-settled Japanese or Chinese coolie-workers? Aren’t we the trail-guard cavalry or buckboard opportunists with a pick-axe? Aren’t we those enslaved for sugar or cotton? Aren’t we the offspring of oppressors and oppressed? Aren’t we the H2A guest workers, or undocumented and fearing the traffic cop? Aren’t we the kids on the Reservation, or orphaned from it by bureaucracy? Aren’t we those chased over the border by structural adjustments, refugees of the “Green Revolution”? Are we not All of these?
Aren’t we all citizens of this same landscape, voters in our watersheds, stewards in the neighborhood, committee members to a changing climate? Isn’t that the WE we are talking about? The bigger broader inclusive and all-encompassing WE, the WE it will take to turn this situation around. The hearts and minds and shovels and sandbags, the libraries and ambulances, the pollination and aquifers, the relief efforts and scar commons that will take part in the distributed volition and immediate reactions to crisis near and far. WE collaborators who can relate with one another alongside, not one-sidedly, in this our shared project of survival.
The editors of this year’s New Farmer’s Almanac challenge you, dear authors and agrarians, to consider the WE. To name your subject, your object, your actions and your place in the ecosystem of successional, emergent, spontaneous, collaborative and altru-opportunist future-making that lies ahead.
What story are WE?
Reflections on the Trump era, local practices, resilience-based organizing. Tuning in, Tuning out--coping strategies, adrenaline and keeping it real.
- Peace Economy, relations in a small town.
- Peace Economy, relations in the big city.
- Peace culture, non-violence and relating through conflict.
- Peace culture--relating across histories with hispano/indigenous water rights.
- Radical Extension--a thought experiment on how the Extension service might operate in the future, imagine the role of community testing plots for new crops and varieties.
- Punk Extension--a thought experiment on how communities might self organize to do crop research and form adaptation strategies on next crops...
Age of SAIL
Looking across the bow at a new economy--a report from the International Sail Freight Alliance.
- How do we orient (post-colonially) to the logic of the landscape, the harbor, the river-system, the portages and canal-making.
- Bodies in Motion/Thoughts on animal movement, human migrations, and the finding of habitable habitats in our beleaguered world.
- Re-negotiating terms of trade.
- Re-negotiating settlement norms.
- Looking at the cargos pre-diesel:Sandalwood, Potatoes and Sardines to the California Gold Rush, Opium and tea Trades, Chilean Nitrate, Russian Hemps, Chinese Silks, Tropical Hardwoods, Masts and lumber, Molasses and Rum, Ice to India. Pick a story, go research it-- and tell us what you learn of its enduring consequence.
- Wobbling docks, longshoremen, and the Wobblies.
- Some thoughts on Partnerships and LLCs.
Age of TRAIL
Criss-crossing the plains and passes. Please choose one and teach us about it.
- The role of the US cavalry, native treaty negotiations, and broken promises. Fort Laramie.
- The history of trade along the Santa Fe Trail.
- Jedediah Smith and the Beaver trade.
- Forts--Fort theory.
- Fording the rivers, taxes, veins, caches, the Cumberland Gap.
- Research Project: Comparative legal infrastructures of Pastoralism (i.e. Seven North African nations agree to allow their pastoralists to travel freely between the nations without harm).
- Forgotten words, “Land Marks” of animal passage.
- Beginners’ guide to Fruit Exploring.
- Tracking on the farm, using spoor and knowing the wild life.
- Quaker Underground, apples, and peace.
Age of RAIL
Farmers Cooperatives, especially the sheep/goat cooperatives of Texas and Colorado, a micro history.
- Hoard’s Dairy, the Wisconsin cooperative milk delivery history.
- The Oak Savanna, and its analogues (Savanna Institute).
- Cattle hubs and spokes, slaughter, hides, buffalo robes.
- Oil Trains, a report from Wisconsin on the rail freight of fracked shale gas.
- Vision for bio-myco-remediation of contaminated railroad lands.
Exploring trauma in relation to extreme weather.
- Fraternity, exploring the themes, rituals, economic relations and underlying lessons of Fraternal orders in the US.
- Stories from Grange revivals and dissolutions.
- Healing from Lyme.
- What went down with the California “Green Grange Movement.”
Farmers react: ART PIECE.
Faith Lands Testimony from farmers working within religious communities, or on church-owned lands.
- A report from the Catholic Workers Movement.
- Report from Puerto Rico/Caribbean relief work.
- Report from the American Friends Service Committee.
- Culinary Seed Breeders Network.
- Sandhill Cranes, migration and the Federal Wildlife Reserve system (GMOs?).
- Super PACs--back to the land as a progressive political strategy, Brian Donahue...
- Illustration: Comparative value systems for shared profit models (East India Company, Letters of Marque, Whalers, Merchant-ships, Sharecropping arrangements) (cotton, pecans, wheat ground, marijuana cartel). *Will require some research and interviews.
- Illustration: Peasant holidays secured in different feudal arrangements, concessions for subsistence alongside service to the estate/center of power.
- Overview of the H2A system.
- Description of the Student Loan Forgiveness program.
- Illustration: Photos of Sharecropper houses, photos of sugar cane workers, photos of Mockabee farmworker houses, photos of farm apprenticeship housing, photos of mini-houses, photos of prairie homesteads, photos of worker trailers.
- Sharecroppers Union formed Southern Federation of Cooperatives, the legacy and the work ahead.
Farmers react: ART PIECE.
What would a Restoration Economy look like? And would it pay as much as videography?
- Confronting racism in the food system.
- Sherman’s Order.
- Solidarity practices.
- Thought experiment: What would it look like if the Food Deserts got a Land Trust, and elected to protect their agricultural foodshed?
- Acequia stories: Hispano/Indigenous water rights issues in the Southwest.
- Marijuana philanthropy, small town politics.
- Market limits...Who will smoke it all?
- Race and enforcement, legalization for whom?
- CBD recipes and markets.
- Venture stoners.
- Discussions about warehouses, hydroponics, and the future of ‘organic’.
- Population breeding, a report on the work in Italy.
- Adaptation, how does nature learn?
- Assisted migration theory, SW Seed Partnership botanists explain their work collecting seed from native populations for restoration practices.
- Personal audit, who are my people? Which WEs am I?
Native Sovereignty Movements
- The work ahead.
- Native food products, aggregation.
- The story of Chimayó chiles.
- ‘First foods’.
- About the Huckleberry Commons of Mt. Hood.
Looking at the forms of human coping post-crisis, post-displacement. How we reformulate ourselves into coherence. Reactive institution-making.
- Refugee farms, Alcoholics Anonymous, Syrian Seed bank project, Community Centers in the old rural schools, and on.
- Personal reflections on healing from trauma.
Briana Olson - Lead Editor
Severine vT Fleming - Director of the Greenhorns
Katie Eberle - Visual Editor
Emma O'Leary - Office Manager
There is a question we need to ask when talking about food production. The question is, “Who is telling what story, and on whose behalf?” Is it a story that goes with dinner? Or does it perhaps focus on the “We feed the world” narrative so dominant in the agricultural and general press these days? That story goes something like this: We (Read: developed world) need to grow food as quickly, cheaply, and efficiently as possible in order to be able to feed a growing (Read under-developed world) population that is growing at a rate of change faster than we can keep up with. Crops are necessarily bred for maximum size, yield, speed to harvest, and disease-resistance, while taste, diversity and nutritional value considered somewhat irrelevant. We are told this is the only way to keep up with our growing population.
If we are to believe the predominant narrative, there is no other way to feed a rapidly growing global population.
Simultaneously, there is a crisis looming across much of the developed world. Bluntly put, farmers are becoming a dying breed. The older generation is retiring, while their children and grandchildren now have alternative options available to them — they’re moving to the cities, they’re chasing a multitude of new career opportunities, they are no longer opting for a hard day’s labour in the dirt. They’re not taking on the family farm, the way that generations before have done since the dawn of the agricultural age.
I wrote about the future of farming a couple of years ago, and New Zealand’s golden opportunity to leverage our natural advantages to become a premium producer of sustainably-produced agricultural products, that regenerate the land. Now, we can look to the far northeast at a number of growing movements that can offer a potential pathway for New Zealand’s agricultural transformation. Across the Pacific, there is a seed of hoping springing forth. There are radical new green shoots breaking through the endless monocultures that sprawl across the midwestern United States. There is a new movement of young farmers, who recognise that short term thinking and the ecological damage inherent in the industrial food system, is leading us rapidly towards the edge of the proverbial cliff.
At the coal face of this movement is Severine von Tscharner Fleming, based in Champlain Valley, New York.
In the past few years, members of Edmund Hillary Fellowship team have been connecting with communities who are leading global work around building a robust, sustainable and healthy food system. In conversation with diverse groups from Bioneers to the Near Future Summit and EAT Forum, people everywhere have told us “You’ve got to connect with Severine”. It seems that within both new and ancient holistic farming circles, all roads lead to Severine.
Speaking in the video below at New Frontiers festival in New Zealand earlier this year, Severine describes farming in America today as both a privilege and a service. She has co-founded, led and been involved in a number of different initiatives to bring young people back to the land, and stands as a dedicated voice for regenerative agriculture and land reform. And there is a growing chorus of voices behind her, walking the talk and providing the collective roadmap to feed the planet in a healthy, sustainable way.
Her talk at New Frontiers was entitled “The Project is Land Repair”. This title alone provides an insight into how a generation of young farmers are thinking about what they do. Natural ecosystems are very good at repairing themselves. Plants and trees provide organic matter to the soil below, which composts alongside waste matter from passing animals and birds. This provides the land with the right nutrients that it needs to thrive. The protective canopy of plants drip feeds water to the land, while providing a root system that keeps the soil in place, and shade that keeps moisture in and provides a home for countless helpful bugs and microorganisms. Dozens of other symbiotic exchanges occur to keep the ecosystem in balance.
Monoculture farming strips all of this away. We have placed value on only some parts of the ecological system, devaluing others, removing some crucial parts altogether, and resulting in degraded land. Decades of abuse at the hands of the “produce-as-much-as-you-can-at-all-costs-with-as-little-land-as-possible” mentality, has left millions of acres of agricultural land in dire need of repair.
The young farmers at the spearhead of this land repair movement have a name — the Greenhorns — and they are bringing the “human” back into farming. Greenhorns is a grassroots organisation founded by Severine, with the mission to recruit, promote and support the rising generation of new farmers in America. Or as Severine put it, “it’s about the recruitment of bodies back onto the land.” An identity as well as an organisation, the people who call themselves Greenhorns are those that are embracing farming as a calling and a way of life.
It started with a film project of the same name in 2011, after Severine spent three years travelling across America interviewing young farmers. Originally a platform to broadcast the voices and visions of young farmers, it has now grown to a thriving nationwide community that produces literary journals, almanacs, a popular blog, a weekly radio show, a short film series, and a national OPEN GIS farmer database, while also hosting a variety of social and political events. On a broad level, the work of the Greenhorns is to provide the cultural infrastructure required to inspire an agrarian revolution.
Journalist Kate Bolick recently wrote about her experience in visiting artist Andrea Zittel in the Californian desert. Zittel has spent the past 20 years of her career exploring solitude and this path has led her to create her "Experimental Living Cabins" at A-Z West near Joshua Tree National Park.
"Zittel sees herself as part of the 20th-century tradition of American artists leaving cities for the open spaces of the Southwest, but she is aware of her deviations. O’Keeffe and Martin chose the desert as a form of retreat, but Zittel saw it as liberation. As for the parallels often drawn between her and the largely male artists who came to make their massive, macho marks on the desert, she gently notes that she is not interested in “grand interventions,” only in finding meaning in intimate, everyday gestures."
New Entry Sustainable Farming Project & the Conservation Law Foundation are teaming up to hold a workshop that will provide an overview of key employment issues that farmers need to know. The workshop will be presented by Mary O'Neal, Partner at Conn Kavanaugh, and employment law expert. From apprenticeships to agricultural minimum wage, the workshop will cover key topics that come up on the farm and provide attendees with an agricultural employment law handbook. It will also include case studies that provide an opportunity to apply the topics to real situations.
The workshop will take place on Tuesday December 12, 2017 at 4:00 PM at the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth. It is free to attend, however please make sure that you register in advance HERE.
Discover the hidden power soil has to reverse climate change, and how a regenerative farming diet not only delivers us better health and wellness, but also rebuilds our most precious resource—the very ground that feeds us.
Josh Tickell, one of America’s most celebrated documentary filmmakers and director of Fuel, has dedicated most of his life to saving the environment. Now, in Kiss the Ground, he explains an incredible truth: by changing our diets to a soil-nourishing, regenerative agriculture diet, we can reverse global warming, harvest healthy, abundant food, and eliminate the poisonous substances that are harming our children, pets, bodies, and ultimately our planet.
Through fascinating and accessible interviews with celebrity chefs, ranchers, farmers, and top scientists, this remarkable book, soon to be a full-length documentary film narrated by Woody Harrelson, will teach you how to become an agent in humanity’s single most important and time sensitive mission. Reverse climate change and effectively save the world—all through the choices you make in how and what to eat.
Click HERE to buy the book, it's currently the #1 bestseller on Amazon! Once you have bought and read the book consider joining the Kiss the Ground Bookclub!
The following article was submitted to the Greenhorns by Freya Yost. Freya is Director of Operations at Cloudburst Foundation, an Italian-based non-profit working closely with the Commonwealth to address climate change and meet the UN SDGs. Her background is in information science, specializing in areas of government information and policy, open source technologies, and digital rights tensions. After receiving an M.S. in Information Science from Pratt Institute, she started facilitating knowledge exchange between indigenous farmers in East Africa as Vice President of the organization A Growing Culture. She is a contributing writer at Global Voices, and has published with outlets including the Association for Progressive Communications, Peer-to-Peer Foundation, Truth-Out, and Shareable. She has articles in several peer-review journals including the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions Journal and Indigenous Knowledge: Other Ways of Knowing.
Cities currently hold more than half of the world’s population, and that number is increasing with rural to urban migrations. Decline of subsistence agriculture, a changing climate, and lack of opportunity are some of the main reasons for migration—all consequences relating to industrial agriculture, the predominant agricultural model in the world.
We know how devastating the industrial model of agriculture is to the planet (draining natural resources and contributing ⅓ of greenhouse gas emissions) and to rural farming communities (destroying livelihoods and dominating markets with cash crops to be sent away to other countries) but we haven’t heard enough about how “big ag” erodes the resilience of cities. Rural areas are still the main producers of food and smallholder farmers account for 94% of the farms worldwide: there is more space to grow, raise livestock, process food, ecosystem diversity, and richer soils. In fact, the wellbeing of rural farming communities has incredible influence on the food security of urban populations—making the rural-urban relationship inextricably linked. If we allow industrial agriculture to continue to devastate rural farming communities it will only perpetuate hunger in cities. Rooftop gardens and urban agriculture are helping some inner-city communities get access to fresh food, but they are not feeding the world and certainly not the 8 million residents of New York City. When we evaluate alternative models to sustain growing cities we must support the potentially symbiotic relationship between urban and rural. This means that rural issues are urban issues, and vice versa.
Family farmers already produce enough food to feed 10 billion people yet over 1.2 million New York City residents are food insecure and hunger is a grave, global reality. In this context our fixation with increasing crop yields seems rudimentary. The true challenge lies in improving access to food, social and economic disparity, excessive waste, and a centralized food-production system that prioritizes profit above the health and wellbeing of people. As an industrialised, wealthy and leading food producing nation, the US continues to have both hunger and health problems in all 50 states. In New York City alone, the income gap between rich and poor is the greatest in the country. New York City’s food insecurity rate is 11% higher than the national rate. These facts alone tell us how central inequality is to the food system and how, despite growing city populations, we need to continue to invest in rural, peri-urban environments around cities that can ultimately feed urban communities. Well functioning peri-urban areas act as a buffer that benefit both rural and urban areas, disrupting concentrated centers of inequality, and providing opportunities for communities.
There are some powerful examples of cities that prioritized rural-urban food dynamics and established greatly-improved food security. Belo Horizonte, the capital of Minas Gerais state and Brazil’s sixth largest city, implemented a comprehensive set of programs aimed at providing access to food and support to small-scale family farming in surrounding rural areas. The Bolsa Família, a Brazilian nationalinitiative based on the same objectives, reduced the number of food insecure people from 50 to 30 million. These initiatives adopted a policy based on the inalienable right of all citizens to sufficient, good quality food, not unsimilar to the values proposed by the food sovereignty movement.
Food sovereignty, that declares the rights of all people to healthy, affordable, and culturally appropriate food and to control the mechanisms that govern the food system, is a movement pioneered by peasant groups like La Via Campesina—and its relevance is as urban as it is rural. It grew in part out of a fundamental flaw with the food-security approach; that is, that food security falls short of addressing the complexities of the entire system and all the socio-economic and cultural dimensions of the current food-production model. Food sovereignty is far reaching: from the family farmer to the World Bank, the inequalities of power that accompany gender, race, and social class, and violence against women.
The values of food sovereignty have a lot to teach us. The movement moves beyond the overly emphasized “yield problem” to an array of deep-rooted, systemic issues—importantly inequality—that play an integral part of the food system. As we work to improve urban food systems we need to include rural, family farmers in the discussions and strategies. This is how we replace an unjust food system with a democratic one.
Penn State Extension are running a best milking practice course for professionals in the dairy industry who want to learn about problems on dairy farms that result from mastitis. "Best Milking Practices" is a self-paced course primarily designed for dairy producers, employees and managers that teaches concepts to help them measure and reduce levels of mastitis, and it offers practical solutions to help apply that knowledge to milking practices.
Mastitis is a common and expensive problem on dairy farms. It is, on average, costlier than veterinary care, food, housing or equipment maintenance. To maximize a dairy's profitability, it's important for producers to learn as much about mastitis as possible to reduce or eliminate the spread of it on their farm. The course includes eight sections: Mastitis Basics, Cleanliness, Handling Cows, Pre-milking Prep, Milking and Post-milking, Managing Infection, CMT and On-farm Culturing, and Standard Operating Procedures. (more…)
We found this worksong among a wonderful collection of other songs on worksongs.org, which is run by Maine farmer-musician Bennett Konesni. It's kind of a digital soundbook and Bennett has created a collection of songs used to aid labor and has included lyrics on many of the songs. His long term goal is to have recordings, lyrics, history, usage tips and comments on each song. He created the site to address three needs:
First, the need to share songs that people can use in their fields, markets, kitchens and at the table. Second, and more generally, my wish to understand and enliven the culture of food. Third, and in a universal sense, my desire to explore ways to make all work more fun.
It's a really cool project and he and his trained harbor seal Andre accept donations if you would like to support him.
Click HERE to check out the full site.
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How do you choose the land or the sea? Longtime deep sea fisherman turned goat farmer, Gabriel Flaherty of Aran Islands Goats Cheese, doesn't have to, the sea surrounds him and runs through his veins. (more…)
As winter approaches, research funded by the farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program has identified cold weather strategies for attention by regional dairy calf managers.
“Winter weather poses a natural challenge to raising young animals. Respiratory illness in calves can negatively impact weight gain, age at their first calving, first lactation milk production, farm revenue and costs,” says project leader Kimberley Morrill, Ph.D., a regional Cornell Cooperative Extension dairy specialist, Canton, NY. (more…)
You have have read about our upcoming Faith Lands conference in our newsletter during the week. The purpose of the gathering is to connect landowning faith groups with landless young farmers. We want to help create a network that will help nativiate some of the complex issues that can arise in these situations. We are not the first to have this thought however, and we are delighted to see that there are already relationships blossoming between these two diverse groups. Once such example can be seen in the collaboration between Moses Kashem and the St. Simon's Episcopal church as reported by the Miami Herald this week.
St. Simon's Episcopal church was going broke. It's a tiny squat building on 4 acres of land in south Miami-Dade County, with a tiny congregation. That's when a new member of the congregation, Moses Kashem, came up with an idea. A young farmer, he asked the church elders to give him half an acre to farm specifically for local restaurants and chefs, and he already has signed up several chefs to purchase his produce.
credit: ETC Group and the Heinrich Böll Foundation
ETC Group and the Heinrich Böll Foundation have produced an interactive map of geoengineering projects around the world in an attempt to shed light on the worldwide state of geoengineering. The map is the first of it's kind that is publically available that shows the scope of research and experimentation.
This latest addition to the project builds on an earlier map of Earth Systems Experimentation that was published in 2012. The original map documented almost 300 projects and experiments related to geoengineering. Five years later, more than 800 projects have be identified. These include projects in Carbon Capture, Solar Radiation Management, Weather Modification among others. This is not a complete record of weather and climate control projects, so expect it to grow as the ETC group continue researching and as new experiments are launched.
Click HERE to explore the map and HERE to read more about geoengineering.
The owners of this property, John and June Strothenkeare selling in the most unusual way - an essay contest! It costs $1000 to enter but they are only accepting 420 applicants so that odds that you could win are relatively high! (more…)
EarthWorks Urban Farm are looking for a Community Outreach Specialist who will be responsible for supporting the work of the CSK EarthWorks Urban Farm team by interacting with and supporting the local community by informing those in the community of EarthWorks services, scheduling volunteer opportunities, and providing valuable information regarding initiatives within EW and the Capuchin Soup Kitchen.
Essential Duties and Tasks Include:
Demonstrate, exemplify and support the Capuchin Charism and Provincial Mission, Vision and Values throughout all professional responsibilities and activities.
Manage the Earthworks office and indoor workspace, creating a welcoming environment.
Schedules volunteer groups in collaboration with CSK Volunteer Coordinator Team
Send out email updates.
Update social media resources.
Create occasional promotional documents.
Answer EarthWorks email, phone, and snail mail, providing answers or directing messages to who is best suited to answer.
Provide Tours of EarthWorks.
Coordinate tabling events.
Coordinate speaking engagements and deliver public speaking engagements.
Assist in greenhouse and fields.
Assist with market days Comply with Province and ministry policies, procedures, guidelines and standards
The desired education and experience level for this position are: A High School Diploma, strong customer service and communication skills, strong attention to detail. Experience in administration, volunteer coordination and public speaking are strongly preferred. Valid drivers license required. Chauffeur’s license preferred.
Please send letter of interest and resume to: [email protected] and make sure to include EarthWorks Community Outreach Specialist in the subject line.
Alternatively you can send the same documents to:
Attention: Human Resources EarthWorks Community Outreach Specialist,
The Province of St. Joseph of the Capuchin Order
1820 Mt. Elliott Street
Detroit, MI 48207
If you would like more information about the great work that EarthWorks does, click HERE
A team of divers, photographers and scientists set out on a thrilling adventure to document the disappearance of the world's coral reefs, this documentary is the result of 3 years work and hundreds of hours of underwater footage. Corals are a fundamental part of the planetary and oceanic ecosystem (supporting 25% of marine life) as well as being exceptionally beautiful. A temperature increase of just 2 degrees Celsius may not seem like a lot in the air, but for marine life this is like living with a constant fever. The damage done to the corals in the oceans due to climate change is scary, profoundly moving and motivating. Coral reefs are dying at an unprecedented rate, but it's not too late to save them. Do do so however we need to act right now to lower our ocean’s temperature by reducing carbon emissions in the air and working towards clean energy solutions. This is something that each and every one of us has a responsibility to undertake in any way that we can. (more…)
credit: Todd Darling
1,500 miles apart, two rivers flow. One alongside rolling hills and blue skies of the North Dakota high plains, the other tumbles past volcanoes, down narrow gorges, and through rugged mountain terrain. Beyond the distance and difference that separates these rivers is a similar story that begins over 500 hundred years ago, with their shared outcomes projecting us into our collective fate in the next century.
From the maker of “Occupy the Farm”, which premiered premiered two years ago this week at the United Artists Berkeley 7 Theater, comes a new documentary "Two Rivers" which tells the tale of the Missouri and Klamath Rivers and the indigenous tribes who fight to defend their waters from outside industries. Director and producer Todd Darling spent ten weeks camped out at Standing Rock near the Missouri River, and nearly as long traveling up and down the gorges of the Klamath River to make this film. A lot has been accomplished, but he and his team still have some production to complete and editing to move forward. (more…)
The Boston Food Forest Coalition (BFFC), a grassroots non-profit land trust, is a growing "community of practice" linking gardeners across greater Boston to permaculture projects. Neighbors come together, creating food forest gardens in their neighborhoods, and these open spaces engage and strengthen communities, producing food, hosting cultural events, and sharing experiences and skills with all ages. BFFC has a growing membership of 1,500 people in the greater Boston area. Since we launched, BFFC has offered over 150 free hands-on workshops (with topics from compost tea, permaculture design, medicinal herbs, mushroom logs, soil regeneration, biochar, mounded agriculture, companion plants and guilds, winter pruning, making elderberry syrup, nature art, and more) taught by herbalists, permaculture gardeners, designers, professional farmers and others in our community. The Boston Food Forest Coalition is currently composed of eight sites across the city, in Mattapan, Jamaica Plain, West End, Dorchester, East Boston, and Roxbury. The goal of the land trust is to support hundreds of forest gardens, stewarded by neighbors and community organizations. Imagine each with its own harvest festival and cultural events, sharing abundance, mitigating urban heat island effects, capturing rain-water, sequestering carbon, reducing stress, and regenerating life in the city. Healing ourselves, our communities, and the land. (more…)
ReGroup.Farm is the tale and reality of a group of Boomers, Gen X-er's and Millennials found themselves on a farm in the Midwest. They recognized that something very interesting was happening in society at large, that in spite of all the division and decay of rural towns, that these phenomena can be reversed. In fact this process has already begun via the "food movement".
There is a recognition that people come together over food. Whether it’s family, friends or community, food tends to bring us together for a pretty good time. Exploring this movement, asking questions and improving the food system is the core of ReGroup.Farm.
Click HERE to read more about ReGroup Farm and their mission for the future!
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New and exciting things are happening at the Permaculture Skills Center.The Eco-Landscape Mastery Courseis already underway! It couldn't be a more opportune time to continue our work educating our communities and ourselves!
It's a degraded world out there. So many acres/hectares of landscapes have been destroyed and it's having negative consequences for humans as well as the environment.Can we really restore these degraded landscapes? Is it possible to scale regeneration? Can we actually create businesses that focus on this vital work? The answer is…YES, YES, YES! Anyone and everyone can do this with the right knowledge. We know YOU can too, and the Eco-landscape Mastery School want to give you the roadmap to make it happen.
The course is ideally suited to:
Anyone who wants to start a business in ecological landscape design and contracting.
Beginning landscape designers who want to learn best practices and quickly grow a successful landscape design business.
Experienced designers, landscapers, and contractors ready to grow their business to the next level through having professional mentorship and business development support.
Landscape and maintenance workers who want to grow out of manual labor and into higher paid positions or start and run their own companies.
Permaculture practitioners and designers who want to professionalize their work.
Consultants who want to establish a successful and professional consultation business.
Regenerative agriculturists who want to educate and mentor their clients, neighbors and communities to help them grow and develop successful regenerative agriculture projects.
Newly Certified Permaculture Designers who want to add to their learning experience with professional tools to create a permaculture based business of their own.
Ecological design educators who want to support their students and colleague’s interests in providing ecological design professionally to the world.
Are you or someone you know looking to start or scale a regenerative business? Don't wait!Registration for theEco-Landscape Mastery Coursecloses November 14, 2017
Click HERE to read more about the course.
Check out this awesome rice growing project in Maine by Wild Folk Farm. Their goal is to get as many farmers and folks eating and growing rice throughout Maine, the Maritimes, and the Northeast. They are developing an educational, research and commercialized rice operation as currently there are no commercial rice growers in the state, and only a sprinkling of homesteading rice practices. Most domestic rice farms in the United States are monocultures that rely heavily on fossil fuel-driven mechanized cultivation and harvesting processes, and chemical sprays and fertilizers. Their proposed systems on the other hand are ecologically beneficial and symbiotic, adaptable to otherwise inaccessible farmland (low-lying wet clay soils), void of chemical inputs, and after initial excavation of the paddy areas, non-reliant on fuel-driven tools and machines. Arsenic is not an issue in our rice. (more…)
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQgkIrf21w0?ecver=1&w=640&h=360] Allegheny Mountain Institute (AMI) is seeking applicants for its fully-funded Fellowship program. Now in its seventh year, the 18-month Fellowship prepares and empowers individuals to become teachers and ambassadors for a more vibrant and accessible local food system. Selected Fellows spend six months in immersive training on their mountain farm campus (Phase I) and one year in service work with non-profit partner organizations (Phase II). AMI is an educational non-profit organization with the mission to cultivate healthy communities through food and education based in Staunton, VA. Phase I – Farm Study (April 22-October 31, 2018)
Gain hands-on experience in sustainable fruit and vegetable production, small animal husbandry, beekeeping, homesteading skills and more on our mountain farm in Highland County, VA.
Study regenerative farming, nutrition and wellness, permaculture design, and community development through expert guest instructors, field trips, and educational sessions.
Explore local food system leadership opportunities and participate in school gardens, farmers markets and other community events.
Stay in handcrafted cabins, study in wifi-equipped common spaces and share farm-fresh meals supplemented with whole food staples.
Receive $1,000 upon successful completion.
Phase II – Service Work (January 2- December 31, 2019)
Work with AMI and Partner Organizations to help build healthy communities through food and education in Highland and Augusta Counties.
Contribute to projects such as: developing school gardens and site-based curriculum, creating infrastructure for local food systems, growing food and increasing food access, and teaching nutrition and cooking.
Build leadership skills through monthly professional development sessions and continuing education opportunities.
Receive an annual salary of $18,000 (less payroll taxes, paid bi-weekly)
Applicants must be physically fit, able to lift 50 pounds, walk distances up and down steep hills, work outdoors for extended periods of the day, and be comfortable living and working communally as a team in a remote, mountain setting.
Applications are due by February 1, 2018 and are available at: www.alleghenymountaininstitute.org. Applications are considered on a rolling basis and are reviewed as soon as complete. For more information please e-mail [email protected] or call 540-886-0160.
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The Detox Project reported on Tuesday that they along with MetricBio have launched the first ever Glyphosate Biobank. which is being funded by the public. The aim of the Biobank is to help shed further light on the levels of glyphosate in the U.S population in addition to helping researchers investigate human health issues that could be linked to Glyphosate. The test is non-invasive and carried out on urine samples. (more…)
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V19fbaM4r_s&w=907&h=510] Northland Sheep Dairy in Marathon NY are seeking a teamster apprentice for the 2018 season. Northland is the oldest continuously operating sheep dairy in the United States. Their farm operates in a traditional pastoral style, making sheep milk cheeses seasonally from their small flock of 100% grass fed ewes. Their cheeses are truly handmade in small batches from their own raw sheep milk. They use organic lamb rennet and cave age all of their own cheeses. The work on the farm is done with draft horses and mules and they pay homage to these great work partners. They also offer 100% grass fed lamb seasonally and sheepskins and wool products.
To apply for the position or to find out more, contact Donn Hewes by email: [email protected] or phone: 607-849-4442.
The seedcorn maggot is the larvae of a fly, says Eric Sideman, MOFGA's organic crop specialist, in the fall issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener. He continues: This critter spends the winter as a pupa in the soil. Flies emerge very early in the spring from these pupae and lay eggs near decaying organic matter and germinating seeds. The eggs hatch into maggots that feed on the seeds or young plants. Gaps in rows of crops such as onions, spinach, corn, peas, etc., often blamed on poor seed, actually result more often from seedcorn maggot feeding. The fly is often attracted to decaying organic matter, including some fertilizers that organic farmers use, such as soybean meal. In such cases the maggots end up feeding on the seeds and seedlings.
We've written about his preposterous nomination before due to his sheer inadequacy for the job and thankfully Sam Clovis has finally withdrawn his nomination for chief scientist of the agriculture department. Clovis is a climate change sceptic and was just another cog in the anti-science Trump administration. However make no mistake, his lack of qualification for the job is not why he withdrew his nomination. Clovis wrote to president Trump this week saying that he 'did not want to be a distraction' after it was revealed that he had communication with George Papadopoulos who admitted to the FBI that he lied about his work with Robert Mueller as part of the investigations into the links between the Trump campaign and Russia. Clovis who had not yet been confirmed by the senate would have faced presumably intense scrutiny on his Russian connections by the Senate agriculture committee had he not withdrawn.
Either way, Clovis' withdrawal is good news for the department of agriculture's science department, perhaps their next pick will be an actual scientist suited to such an important governmental position.