“We live and die by chemical agriculture”. In the age of rampant use of chemicals such as the dreaded dicamba, truer words have perhaps never been spoken. Zachary Michael Jack, Iowa View contributor recently writes in the Des Moines Register about stark contrast between pesticide and herbicide spraying in the 80’s during his childhood versus the situation today. In times past, farmers applied chemicals to their crops when the winds was calm, and neighbours knew even then to bring their children inside away lest they be exposed to these toxic clouds.
“Sadly, the common-sense, Golden Rule honor code that held sway in the fields each spring in my 1980s Iowa boyhood no longer holds. And for those of us who still live on the farm but don’t engage in chemical-intensive large-scale farming, the results are both toxic and terrifying. Farmers now routinely spray their seasonal herbicides in winds so fierce even private pilots think twice about taking off. We watch as wind-driven clouds of chemicals drift across our fields and into our children’s lungs, onto our plants and trees, and, through the cracks and fissures of our old farmhouses, right into our very homes.”
As formerly rural populations have become increasingly urbanised, chemical hungry crops have become the dominant life-form and rural human populations are suffering from higher mortality levels as a result. Jack goes as far as describing those relocating to urban and suburban areas as rural refugees. And yet he does not call for these farmers, generally good, down to earth people, to cease their spraying, but rather makes a poignant plea that they reinstate the golden rule honor code out of concern not for himself, but for the rural children who have no choice but to breathe this chemical laden air.
Click HERE to read the full article on the Des Moines Register.
Drumduan school, in the Scottish highlands, offers it’s students a unique and emancipatory education experience free of any form from exams or standardised testing. It’s educational focus is on participatory and practical education. Academic study is enhanced and balanced with movement, music and artistic work, with crafts, foraging and outdoor activities. Students learn through experience, they learn their science by building a Canadian canoe, or making a knife, or caramelising onions. What’s more, the teenagers who attend the school are happy and inspired and have the opportunity to discover who they are and what they want to achieve from life. Aspects that are all too frequently missing from the tradition educational experience. (more…)
Register your interest HERE
Growing Magazine recently published a good examination of community finance, community resilience and community agriculture – the CSA model. They profile 3 different farms: Brookford Farm in NH, Norwich Meadows Farm NY, and Prairierth Farm IL, all of whom are practicing a modified, diversified form of CSA and are thriving! (more…)
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency have banned food replacer Soylent as it does not meet the criteria of real food as it does “not meet a select few of the CFIA requirements for a ‘meal replacement”. The CFIA strongly recommends that it not be consumed and the meal replacement product manufactures do not understand the requirements of human nutrition.
This is not the first time the Soylent products have come under fire from the CFIA, they recalled one of their nutrition bars last year as they were making people ill. Naturally Soylent themselves naturally maintain that the problems with their products are regulatory rather than based in any fact.
Click HERE to read the full article on Eater
The Common Friars are men and women, married and single, lay and ordained, of an emerging monastic order in the Episcopal Church, seeking to understand and live out what it means to be a Christian disciple today. They do this by placing the utmost importance on being connected to the land, to each other, and to those on the margins of society. Their land that they steward and are connected to is the Good Earth Farm located in Athens. Ohio. They live and work together here and and contribute their individual talents and gifts to one another and to the broader community. Their actions are guided by the “Rule of Life” which is defined by poverty, joy and hospitality, prayer, work, the eucharist and meals and you can visit them in Ohio if you’re in the area!
Check out their blog and website HERE
The Packer reports that yesterday the USDA National Organic Standards Board voted 8 to 7 not to ban hydroponic and aquaponic production from being included under the organic umbrella. Lee Frankel, executive director for the Coalition for Sustainable Organics, shared the news today in an e-mail to members. The board did vote in favour of excluding aeroponics from the definition.
Click HERE to read the full article on the Packer and we will keep you updated once further information emerges.
In 1926 J Russell Smith launched a contest to gather honey locust pods from across the country, the Savanna Institute are continuing what he started.
Contest Details & Instructions
Step 1: Photograph the tree
Photograph the tree before the pods have fallen from the tree, although preferably after leaves have dropped. Include the entire tree within the photo. Prior to taking the photo, tack a standard 8.5×11″ piece of white paper to the tree trunk (scale reference). Include the ground. Use the highest resolution camera that you have access to.
Step 2: Collect 25 pods
Once the pods have fallen from the tree, collect 25 representative, dried (brown), whole pods off the ground and put them into one or more plastic grocery bags. The pods should be collected as soon as possible after they fall to the ground to prevent damage from animals. Be sure to choose a representative sample of pods – not the 25 largest! If possible, although not required, please also count the total number of pods that fell from the tree, as this will help calibrate their yield models.
Step 3: Fill out & print the entry form
Fill out the official contest entry form HERE, which includes basic information about you and the tree. You will be able to upload the tree photo here as well. This form will be submitted to the institute digitally, and you will receive a copy via email. Print a paper copy of your emailed entry to include with your pods.
Step 4: Ship your pods & entry form to the Savanna Institute
Place your bag(s) of pods and entry form into a sturdy cardboard box. Ship your entry to:
Attn: Honey Locust Contest
1360 Regent St. #124
Madison, WI 53715
IMPORTANT: If submitting multiple trees/entries, ship each entry separately, using a different box for each. This will ensure that pods from different trees do not mix in transit.
Click HERE for the contest website where there are more details about the contest.
The USDA recently made their final decision on GIPSA – to pull the pending Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) rules designed to level the playing field for poultry and livestock producers. These rules have been languishing since the 2008 farm bill, and today’s action firmly places this administration on the side of large meatpackers and poultry processors, not family farmers.
After years of negotiation and analysis, the rule would have protected contract livestock growers from the retaliation they have suffered after exposing financial hardship and ruin caused by large-scale poultry companies and meatpackers. If there was any hope that Secretary Perdue and this administration would stand up for small- and medium-sized family farmers and the rural communities they support, that has been dashed now.
Click HERE to read GIPSA’s full statement.