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!
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 York Times 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.”
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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…
Farmers react: ART PIECE.
Labor forms, Labor arrangements, Negotiating power.
– 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
The Edmund Hillary Fellowship just published this great article about Severine!
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.
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.”
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.