Essays & Articles

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matador network article featuring severine vt fleming!

14 women who work every day to improve your food 3. Severine Von Tscharner Fleming Based in Chaplain Valley, NY, Fleming is an activist, farmer, founder and director of The Greenhorns, a grassroots cultural organization that advocates for a growing movement of young farmers and ranchers in America. Fleming founded the Society for Agriculture and […]

Posted: February 20 2016
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decolonizing permaculture

As a quick thumbnail sketch, permaculture is an ecological approach to the design of whole systems. It is an ethically bounded framework of ecological design that can be used to design everything from landscapes and farms to business enterprises and other cultural projects, on nearly any scale. On the surface, permaculture is often about designing […]

Posted: February 17 2016
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making market bouquets

...Let’s say last season I had a 70 foot bed (roughly 500 plants) of Bells of Ireland. Each plant produces between 6-8 stems that are tall enough for bouquets, for a total of 3-4,000 stems. Bells are great bouquet filler and I like to use three stems in each one to make things go fast. […]

Posted: February 17 2016
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throw away the teflon, use cast iron

There have been several stories lately about the poisons of teflon and the down-right corruption from DuPont (influencing the EPA, among other agencies). There is currently a corporate lawyer battling it out with DuPont in order to get the many people affected by the manufacturing of teflon their settlement, but there's a long way to […]

Posted: February 11 2016
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TPP signing represents corporate wish list; farmers, consumers and the environment lose

The newly released IATP statement on the Feb. 3 signing of the Trans Pacific Partnership reflects the major flaws with the trade agreement and the growing TPP opposition in the U.S. and around the world. The signing doesn't mean the TPP is a done deal. It's now up to Congress to authorize changes to US […]

Posted: February 8 2016
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yeah baby! cover cropping makes the NYT front page

I can almost hear organic farmers across the country rolling their eyes, cover cropping: this is news? And, I know, I know, you've been doing this for years-- but, yes, actually there's some real good news here: New York Times writer Stephanie Strom's report, "Cover Cropping: A Farming Revolution with Deep Roots in the Past," indicates that the […]

Posted: February 7 2016
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carbon farming gives hope for the future

From wellnesswarior.org The concept of carbon farming is relatively simple. The industrial agricultural system we’ve developed over the last 60 years, while being incredibly productive, robs the soil of carbon and other nutrients. Carbon, in the form of soil organic matter, is the thing that gives soil life. Techniques like cover cropping (never leaving the […]

Posted: February 4 2016
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from corn-fed to vegetarian to freegan to vegan to meat eater

Dustin's View, Jan. 31, 2016, Wreflective Writing Would you describe yourself as a long-time farmer and environmental activist? Not at all. I used to be a redneck. I used to race cars and motorcycles and snowmobiles… I was a motorhead. I don’t want people to think I was always like this, because then they’re like […]

Posted: February 1 2016
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the year that ended dangerously: the ETC's ireverant, snarky, and spot-on end of year review

Every year, our friends at the ETC (stands for Action Group on Erosion, Technology, and Concentration) puts out an, as they say, "irreverent," year-end recap-- and this year's is out now! We've compiled a brief list of the highlights from the 2015 edition of the ETC's yearly End of Year Review: Comparing itself to the […]

Posted: January 31 2016
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we are all flint

The same forces that have made the Flint disaster possible are the same ones that are bent on privatizing public water supplies and preventing a just resolution to the growing world climate disaster. The following is an excerpt from a Statement from SxSW Experiment about the water crisis in Flint, MI. The experiment is a powerful grassroots coalition of […]

Posted: January 31 2016
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a gut feeling

Last August we shared a New York Times piece on a new and growing body of research that suggests that the bacteria living in the human digestive track plays an intricate role in the production of hormones and regulation of mood. Research featured in that article found a correlation between certain strains of bacteria and […]

Posted: January 17 2016
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meet johny wildseed: foraging expert russ cohen has a new mission

An interview with foraging genius Russ Cohen on his new mission to create a seed bank of wild edible plants in North America.

Posted: January 17 2016
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What is it about the ruthless sea? An acculturation in agricultural landscapes, full of flower buds, dewdrops, fresh hay, kittens and baby lambs cannot prepare you for the hard, chilling mechanics of a mechanized fish harvest. To my tender agrarian eyes, the fishing business is brutal. We may call them “stewards of the ocean” but […]

Posted: January 10 2016
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why agrarians should care about fishing

"For many terrestrials, and certainly for me, the ocean and fisheries are a foreign place. We cannot see into the sea and don’t know much at all about what goes on there, except perhaps familiarity with the blanket-term “over-fishing.” Young agrarians of the rangeland know well that a blanket critique—that the Bureau of Land Management and Forest […]

Posted: January 10 2016
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severine and the last american food commons, part I

  This past Fall, Severine travelled to beautiful Alaska and wrote three comprehensive articles based on her experience for In These Times. From Halibut festivals to fish processing boats to the rugged Alaskan homesteaders, she explores three questions fundamental to her journey: What can the farming community learn from the highly managed, and highly abundant commons of Alaska? […]

Posted: January 10 2016
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want to know why a large portion of the us doesn't trust big ag or government findings?

There are 60,000 unregulated chemicals in use by chemical companies right now and the EPA/FDA/USDA aren't regulating. This is a frightening David-vs-Goliath New York Times piece which is well worth the read. Here are a couple snippets: Bilott learned from the documents that 3M and DuPont had been conducting secret medical studies on PFOA for […]

Posted: January 8 2016
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historical interlude: the cooperator!

Looking for some blast-from-the-early-1900s-yet-still-relevant winter reading? Look no further than The Cooperative Journal.

Posted: January 7 2016
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field peas, a southern good luck charm

Kim Severson, Dec. 29, 2015, New York Times SHORTER, Ala. — Eating a bowl of black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day is not the nation’s sexiest food ritual. Peas are not as beloved as Thanksgiving turkey. They lack the easy appeal of Super Bowl guacamole or the religious significance of a Hanukkah latke. But for […]

Posted: January 4 2016
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monsanto cancels building new industrial plant

The Gazette, and Iowa City newspaper, recently published a story mentioning the "struggling farm economy" being the cause of the cancellation of a $90,000,000 Monsanto seed corn plant. The story can be found here, but one must ask the question: Is consumer awareness prohibiting the expansion of these GMO giants? Keep putting your money where […]

Posted: December 30 2015
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Today, in incredibly awesome things made available by the internet, a new(ish) website  called Vintage Aerial provides access to over 5 million photos, taken in 41 states over the second half of the twentieth century. Looking to find an aerial photograph of a specific farm, homestead, or rural township? The librarians at the site are nearly positive that […]

Posted: December 27 2015
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hawaii back story of colonialization

What We Want vs. What We Can Get:Colonizing Ourselves Colonization can take place in many ways. One of the ways that it occurs is diverting our energy away from organizing for what we actually want, to instead organizing for what we think we can get under the current system. Large environmental groups in the U.S. […]

Posted: December 24 2015
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interview with lindsay rebhan, farmscale permaculturalist

Our friend Lindsay Rebhan, ecological designer extraordinaire at Ecological Gardens, was recently a featured interview in Acres' December issue. Check it out HERE!    

Posted: December 18 2015
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global agribusiness mergers not a done deal

The $130 billion Dow-DuPont merger announced last week has rekindled ChemChina’s $44.6 billion bid for Syngenta which, in turn, may provoke a fourth takeover try by Monsanto. If ChemChina prevails, Monsanto is likely to look for a deal with either BASF or Bayer. If they get their way, the world’s Big Six agricultural input companies […]

Posted: December 17 2015
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among other failures paris deal mentions agriculture a whopping zero times

Maybe you heard that the Climate Summit in Paris had lead to an "landmark deal," and you were as skeptical as we were. Maybe you also wondered how often the word "agriculture" appeared in the climate deal or how indigenous groups were responding to the agreement. Feed your skepticism! Danny Chivers and Jess Worth of The New […]

Posted: December 14 2015
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a land built by gravity

Oregon-based young farmer and photographer Nolan Caldish takes beautiful photographs, often pertaining to agricultural subjects. Several of the projects up on his website, both independent and commissioned feature vegetables, fruits, and land use issues. The three images above come the from "A Land Built By Gravity," which explores America with stark realism, the intersection of the […]

Posted: December 6 2015
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red clover genome for sustainable farming

November 30, 2015 The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC) in collaboration with IBERS, has sequenced and assembled the DNA of red clover to help breeders improve the beneficial traits of this important forage crop. The genome is published in Scientific Reports, a journal from the Nature publishing group. Before industrial nitrogen fertiliser production (from fossil fuels), […]

Posted: December 1 2015
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heck yes, the EPA revokes new DOW pesticide for GMO crops

“E.P.A. can no longer be confident that Enlist Duo will not cause risks of concern to nontarget organisms, including those listed as endangered, when used according to the approved label,” the agency said in its filing to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco. Read more at the New […]

Posted: November 29 2015
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apocalypse pig

The last antibiotics begin to fail... http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/files/2015/11/Clemson-pig-e1448140337896.jpg   On Thursday, researchers from several Chinese, British and US universities announced in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases that they have identified a new form of resistance, to the very last-ditch drug colistin—and that it is present in both meat animals and people, probably comes from agricultural use of […]

Posted: November 26 2015
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bread is broken

On the morning of July 13, like most mornings, Stephen Jones’s laboratory in Mount Vernon, Wash., was suffused with the thick warm smell of baking bread. Jones walked me around the floor, explaining the layout. A long counter split the space down the middle. To the right was what Jones called ‘‘the science part,’’ a […]

Posted: November 18 2015
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usda makes another website

USDA has a new website and you can see it here.  Its purpose is to support new farmers and is pretty awesome. We are thankful for the websites, USDA! What we'd like is a national land bank that holds land in transition and allows young farmers to buy their way into ownership over the course of 30 […]

Posted: November 17 2015
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plant breeding for local food systems

Abstract: The rapid growth and co-option of the local agriculture movement highlights a need to deepen connections to place-based culture. Selection of plant varieties specifically adapted to regional production and end-use is an important component of building a resilient food system. Doing so will facilitate a defetishization of food systems by increasing the cultural connection […]

Posted: November 14 2015
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bread reimagined

The Bread Lab is arming bakers with a whole new set of grains. Once upon a time, there was white flour and whole-wheat flour, and that was about it. In California, I'd watch my chef friends return from the markets with diverse hauls of amazing produce and think, Wait, what about us bakers? At Tartine, […]

Posted: November 14 2015
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hand labor, tractor labor and horse labor: a question of power and scale

By Jelmer Albada When considering the potential utility of draft animal power on the modern 21st century farm, I like to begin from the perspective of examining those farm models where all the work was done by hand. That hand work was done with a lot of care and precision and with great attention to […]

Posted: November 10 2015
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how many bicycles would it take to power the internet?

Oh, just "a mere two billion bike generators, with 8 billion people pedal- ing." That's right, as it turns out, the entire population of the earth (and then some!) would need to pedal at once to power the internet by bike generator. How do we know? Well, we were curious, and so we did an […]

Posted: November 8 2015
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how i edited an agricultural paper (once)

How I Edited An Agricultural Paper (Once) By: Mark Twain Friday, Oct 18, 2015, Rural America I did not take temporary editorship of an agricultural paper without misgivings. Neither would a landsman take command of a ship without misgivings. But I was in circumstances that made the salary an object. The regular editor of the […]

Posted: October 26 2015
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state of the maine grange

STATE OF THE GRANGE by Mary Pols Originally Posted on the Portland Press Herlad This week, the Maine State Grange holds its annual conference in Skowhegan. What, you didn’t know? Once upon a time, you absolutely would have known, because Grange was an integral part of Maine rural life, a gathering place for farmers and community […]

Posted: October 25 2015
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rewild! escape from monomania

Rewild! Escape from Monomania by: George Monbiot October 17, 2015, Rural America Most human endeavours, unless checked by public dissent, evolve into monocultures. Money seeks out a region’s comparative advantage—the field in which it competes most successfully—and promotes it to the exclusion of all else. Every landscape or seascape, if this process is loosed, performs […]

Posted: October 20 2015
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maine grange halls

Photographer, Rose Marasco, has developed a large collection of photographs of the aging Grange halls of Maine. The halls in her photographs are at once regal relics of the past and a little spooky, leaving us both nostalgic and slightly unsettled by their slight disrepair. See a sampling of the collection on her website. A […]

Posted: October 18 2015
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a tale of two food prizes

What’s in a prize? The politics of distribution versus growth. On October 14th in Des Moines, Iowa, the Food Sovereignty Prize will be awarded to the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, run by African-American farmers of the southern United States and to OFRANEH—the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña). The next day, hundreds […]

Posted: October 15 2015
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we're featured in this beautiful magazine

But we don't think that we're the only reason that you should pre-order it. The cover (like a good cover should) speaks for itself: ffreelancing co-ops, abandoning the perpetual growth model, and a fascinating look at the potential of abandoned villages in Southern Europe and the diverse communities they might encompass. STIR Magazine is a "quarterly […]

Posted: October 4 2015