history

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the honey locust contest revisited

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 […]

Posted: November 2 2017
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the peasantry fight for control

In a recent article about the 1917 February and subsequent October Revolutions, Jacobin magazine discuss how, as in so many other revolutions, boiling point was reached in the fields and among the peasant class. The peasants were discounted by many at the time, on the right and left alike as ignorant and unimportant, or in […]

Posted: October 23 2017
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the story of the texas xit ranch

In the 1880s, the XIT ranch was the largest range in the world under fence and it all laid in the Texas Panhandle. It's three million acres sprawled across ten counties in Texas. The state of Texas, the biggest state in the union, used the sale of the ranch to pay for it's red granite […]

Posted: October 12 2017
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new resource: national sustainable agriculture oral history archive

The National Sustainable Agriculture Oral History Archive is a collection of interviews with people who have been instrumental in the development and implementation of public policies to advance sustainable agriculture in the United States. It was started in 2015 and has been growing ever since. Several of the interviews are with key members of the National […]

Posted: October 12 2017
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learn about the history and anthropology of mead with this awesome mead-zine

Check out this awesome zine about making mead sent to us by our friend Jonathan Tanis. It starts with an introduction contextualising fermentation as a political act which is both democratizing and embraces the commons, bubbling away with "unrealized possibility" for forming human connections and alliances. It then moves on to explain the historical and […]

Posted: October 5 2017
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on this day in 1845, a fateful step was taken towards enclosure of the commons

On this day in 1845, Westminster, the UK Parliament passed the 1845 enclosure act. Although not the first step in the enclosure of the commons, this act created enclosure commissioners who were given the authority to enclose land without prior parliamentary approval. In total, over the course of 300 years, the British government enclosed nearly […]

Posted: August 8 2017
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biochar, worth all the hype?

I first heard about biochar from a gentle and unassuming older lady who was making biochar at home in her kiln. She explained the role that biochar could play in both the fight against climate change and the improvement of soil quality, before gifting me a small bag of it to try out in my […]

Posted: July 17 2017
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watch: everybody’s coffin - ken crane

[vimeo 124726853 w=640 h=360] Ken Crane, a farmer, forager and hunter, speaks about the process of building his own coffin and about his life spent living off the land in upstate NY. Ken reminds us of the importance of inter-generational dialogue to share resources, stories and experiences. With thanks to Elise McMahon.

Posted: July 6 2017
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from the horses mouth

The big economists are taking note of the the local in this podcast that focuses on BerkShares alternative currency.

Posted: April 5 2017
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amazing footage of corn monsters

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_hvGmoLrE0] You're never seen a sprout look this ghoulish. AMAZING video from band C.A.M.P.O.S. for their song Teosinte, which features incredible slow-mo of the title seed germinating. Most of the sites that reviewed the band mentioned that teosinte is a "form of Mesoamerican corn," but being the horticulture geeks that we are, we can't help […]

Posted: March 14 2017
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read a book: agee and walker's "rediscovered masterpiece"

"Let Us Now Praise Famous Men" may be a classic, but James Agee and Walker Evans' "Cotton Tenants" is also well worth a read.

Posted: February 2 2017
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resistance of the heart against business as usual

We are cultivated by the land. Thoughts on the daily act of farming.

Posted: January 20 2017
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how the wolves saved yellowstone: a lesson in keystone species

A lesson in keystone species and biodiversity. When wolves are reintroduced to Yellowstone, incredible changes occur.

Posted: January 5 2017
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10 things to know about standing rock

Thanks be to High Country News for this latest piece that brings us back to a much-needed review of the ins-and-outs of our representative federal form of government as they relate to the latest events at Standing Rock. Have you found yourself wondering over the past few months, how did we get here, why can this happen […]

Posted: December 14 2016
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come a long way baby: new film on the evolution of organic

[vimeo 170086849 w=640 h=360] Peppered with priceless footage of the origins of the organic movement, this film delves head-first into where we came from and where we're going. Our favorite quote from the trailer?  "Organic can get better." Spoiler alert: the Greenhorns are in this film. Fund them here!

Posted: June 21 2016
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greenhorns releases: MANIFESTA!

We are so proud of this awesome collaboration. If you've been wondering how a maritime art stunt fits into the mission of an organization that supports farmers (I mean, talk about your landlubbers!), this publication is for you! Manifesta lays out the story, history, discourse, and activism behind the Maine Sail Freight project last summer! The un-monograph is a […]

Posted: May 3 2016
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when the oil fields burned

While we're on the subject of oil, this past Sunday, the New York Times magazine re-ran Sebastiao Salgado's 1991 photo documentary of the burning of Saudi oil fields. And, holy crap, they are, without doubt or exaggeration, some of the most stunning photographs ever taken, highlighting both the unequivocal devastation of war and the abject threat posed by […]

Posted: April 12 2016
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from the ag archives: the harvest of shame

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJTVF_dya7E] On the one hand, it is great to see how far we've come. And on the other, it is pretty difficult to accept how far we haven't. Pay close attention at 19:00 minutes to what one farm employer has to say about working conditions, wages, and his workers dispositions.

Posted: March 24 2016
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hollerin' - the original group chat

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=voSURH87mHI] Hollerin' is considered by some to be the earliest form of communication between humans. It is a traditional form of communication used in rural areas before the days of telecommunications to convey long-distance messages. Evidence of hollerin', or derivations thereof such as yodeling or hunting cries, exists worldwide among many early peoples and […]

Posted: February 15 2016
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find a treasure trove of old maine seed catalogs online

Mary Pols, Jan. 17, 2016, Portland Press Herald An amazing cache of old seed catalogs – many of them local, beautifully rendered and full of clues to vintage varieties and growing methods – is now digitized and available to anyone with Internet access. And if it weren’t for a Mainer, the collection might not even […]

Posted: January 18 2016
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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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we are all watching hawaii

Right now the Islands of Hawaii are in a food fight of global consequence. Although Hawaii has a rich history as a self-sufficient agricultural society, Hawaiians now import 90% of their food. Hawaii is also ground zero for the world's biotech companies, which capitalize on the tropical climate and lax environmental laws to test experimental […]

Posted: December 22 2015
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free produce movement

As we approach the holidays ever deeper, we must question what we are buying and gifting to our loved ones. Where did your gift come from? Who made it? Does it have a story? Is it a story that you want to be telling? I went to The Mall yesterday with my mother, bless her, […]

Posted: December 1 2015
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call out for great holiday gifts

It may not be a samurai sword, but these tools are about as close to one as you can get! Hida Tool and Hardware Company features exceptional tools from Japan. Hida Tool is your source for woodworking tools, gardening tools, and kitchen knives that continue the metalworking traditions of the samurai sword makers. History of […]

Posted: November 30 2015
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how DO they get all those little seeds into packets?

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gfze7gpoSR8&w=560&h=315] And now you know!

Posted: November 22 2015
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documented agricultural history from 1935-1944

Get ready to be looking at a lot of very amazing old photos on an interactive map... From 1935-1944, the Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information undertook the largest photography project ever sponsored by the federal government. After a series of setbacks in the courts that repealed many of the First New Deal’s program, President […]

Posted: October 20 2015
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the real world .... of 17th century farming

This is the true story... of seven strangers and farm animals... picked to live on a 17th century farm...working together with only the tools available in the year 1620 .... Tune in to find out what happens... when people stop being polite... and start getting real... Spoiler alert: everyone on this show is always polite […]

Posted: August 19 2015
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the independent farmer

Salina, Kansas, Thursday, October 3, 1929

Posted: August 17 2015
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this history is worth knowing (for farmers, for everyone)

American History, it's not boring. (And it's worth knowing.) Just ask J.L. Bell, a historian who writes on his well-curated blog about the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. How can we sell you on studying up on your American history? Well, we could give you the 3 a.m. infomercial-style pragmatic sales […]

Posted: August 16 2015
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two chances to hear songs of maine by away down east this week

Can You Sing “Maine”? Songs of Maine’s Fishermen, Sailors, Lumberjacks, River Drivers, & Shore Workers featuring: From Away Downeast, America’s Easternmost Chantey Group will be playing the fiddle, guitar, banjo, and harmonica this week in Maine, and we highly recommend you make it one (if not both) of the shows. Singing along is strongly encouraged, and family members of […]

Posted: August 15 2015
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incredible lecture on the north atlantic fishery-- from a historical perspective

Posted: August 12 2015
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xtreme farming

Maybe you thought your inclines were intense. These guys are my new heroes. Watching this video as a farmer is a little like watching the Tour de France as a commuter cyclist, which is to say, rousing inspiration!

Posted: June 28 2015
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a stroll down the cooridor of digital humanities

Maine Sail Freight festivities kick off tonight! And in our continued excitement, we'd like to share this neat timeline of Whaling History by PBS. It is wonderfully chockful of top-notch historical trivia. For instance, in 1820, when their Nantauket whaleship The Essex is stove by a stermwhale, the crew is caught up in a classic tale of you-get-what-you-resist […]

Posted: June 28 2015
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the west coast grange wars

On one hand you have an established order that, while quick to conjure its Populist origins, appears threatened by the kind of grassroots change it once championed. On the other, a contingent of rogue Grangers—progressives decidedly less interested in nostalgia than their national counterpart—attempting to breathe new life into an aging system that doesn’t seem […]

Posted: June 14 2015
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sail-o-rama

  Are you getting as excited as we are for Maine Sail Freight? Get your boat on with some of these other cool boats in history:  The Making of the Plastiki: Sailing a boat made entirely of recyclable plastics across the Pacific Here's one of the last sail shipping lines: The Last Cape Horners First wave […]

Posted: June 14 2015
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great little horticulture trivia nugget

A recent post on the Smithsonian blog tells the story of how a 17-year-old Russian scientist in 1901 discovered the plant hormone ethylene, which causes plants to ripen. It's a must-read for horticultural geeks called The Peas that Smelled the Leaky Pipes.

Posted: May 31 2015
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history lesson - salvation army farm colonies

Around the turn of the century, the Salvation Army founded three intentional communities in Colorado, Ohio, and California in an effort to relieve urban poverty that followed in the wake of rapid industrialization. Conceived by founder William Booth, the project was organized by his son-in-law Frederick Booth-Tucker, commander of the Salvation Army in the United […]

Posted: April 8 2013
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another set of ag history books from purdue

check them out HERE.  For example, The Harvest Story: Recollections of Old-Time Threshermen The Harvest Story depicts the life of rural American threshermen. This collection of first-person narratives chronicles the eyewitness accounts of people who threshed grain with steam engines. The book selects anecdotes from over 50 volumes of material published in The Iron-Men Album […]

Posted: November 7 2012
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history lesson

First major tractorcades and strikes of farmers coming to Washington and Colorado...from Nebraska! The so-called  "American Agricultural Movement". An almost instant mobilization.  Check it out HERE.

Posted: November 6 2012
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remembering the 'people's department'

Via the Organic Seed Alliance: There shall be at the seat of government a Department of Agriculture, the general design and duties of which shall be to acquire and to diffuse among the people of the United States useful information on subjects connected with agriculture, rural development, aquaculture, and human nutrition, in the most general […]

Posted: October 2 2012