Have you heard about agrihoods? The concept has been gaining popularity over the last few years and the term is short for “agricultural neighbourhoods”. Agricultural neighbourhoods is an unusual concept. Agricultural tends to conjure images of rural living, open spaces and sprawling farmland. Neighbourhoods on the other hand bring to mind images of suburbia or urban spaces – densely populated concrete jungles. The idea of an agrihood fuses these two very different concepts into something new and they are being heralded as a creation of millennials.
Reading the recent piece in the World Economic Forum on agrihoods, I couldn’t help but think back to the stories I have heard about wartime London, where public spaces were transformed into allotments to help people grow food for themselves. While this was primarily a government response to wartime food shortages that ceased shortly after the war, it makes for an interesting comparison nonetheless. Humans have been intentionally cultivating and growing food for 12,000, agriculture is the foundation of human civilisation and is something inherent in human nature. In time of hardship we turn away from importing food and grow it for ourselves instead.
Agrihoods, as far as I can tell do not spring from a lack of food or resources, but instead seem to be a creation of young, wealthy people with ample resources. “Agrihoods are designed to appeal to young, active families who love to eat healthy and spend time outdoors — and they’re not off the grid.” They are intentional communities designed to be working and sustainable living spaces. They represent a “confluence of economic profits, environmental good, and social benefit” that appeals to the millennial mindset.
The WE Forum article also makes an interesting comparison between the agrihood of today and the golf course preferred by our predecessors. In fact, in Palm Springs CA, developers are ripping out an 18 hole golf course in order to turn it into a olive grove which will serve as the epicentre for an agrihood called Miarlon.
I am excited about the potential of agrihoods. The more sustainable agriculture that we are practicing close to home the better for a multitude of reasons (not least that no food tastes as good as the food that you have grown and picked yourself). However in reading about these shiny new developments, I cannot help but be concerned that agrihoods may very well become the golf courses of tomorrow. With prices between $300,000 and $700,000 for a house in the Miralon community, only the already wealthy millennials will be able to benefit from this new trend. “Wealthy” is not a term typically used to describe millennials, so I have to wonder, who are these agrihoods being built for? What do you think? Let us know in the comments!
Click HERE to read the full article on the World Economic Forum
SolarCulture (a PineGate Renewables project), is an initiative developed to enhance environmental stewardship, promote sustainable agriculture, and collaborate with the community to support research with a goal of encouraging smarter solar through science. They have just recently opened a solar apiary in Jackson County, Oregon. The project is two pronged, it aims to tackle both our fossil fuel dependance as well as our rapidly declining numbers of bees.
After examining the site’s seed mix, vegetation management plan, and early growth of native flowers and grasses, John Jacob of Old Sol Apiaries determined the site would offer safe refuge for his 48 hives of honey bees.
“In 2016/17, Oregon beekeepers reported losing nearly one-third of all honey bee colonies statewide,” said Jacob. “The pollinator-friendly solar sites Pine Gate Renewables is developing can play an important role in helping address the population crisis among our managed and native pollinators.”
Data from the UK shows that pollinator-friendly solar arrays result in increased abundance of bees and other insects, which can provide important pollination and pest management services to crops. “Examining the Potential for Agricultural Benefits from Pollinator Habitat at Solar Facilities in the United States,” a recent peer-reviewed study published in Environmental Science & Technology, identified more than 16,000 acres of pollinator dependent crops in proximity of 204 megawatts of solar arrays throughout Oregon.
Praised by several of the nation’s most prominent entomologists, including MacArthur “Genius” award recipient Dr. Marla Spivak and Presidential Medal of Science recipient Dr. May Berenbaum, pollinator-friendly solar arrays are different than traditional arrays. Pollinator friendly solar sites use low-growing meadows of native flowers and grasses to enrich top soils, capture storm water, and benefit pollinators. All SolarCulture sites meet the specific criteria established by entomologists to qualify as pollinator-friendly.
Dangerously high levels of lead in Pittsburgh’s drinking water
It has recently emerged that a lack of corrosion control in the water system in Pittsburgh has caused dangerously high levels of lead in the city’s drinking water. According to Dr. Marc Edwards, levels recorded in Pittsburgh are even higher than the levels recorded in Flint MI in 2015. A lack of corrosion control was the physical issue in Flint, as it is in Pittsburg. However, that the level of lead was allowed to get to such levels shows an utter disregard for the wellbeing of those affected. Government and private actors tasked to serve the people and provide basic and essential services have failed.
It is not surprising to learn that the private company behind the lead crisis in Flint, is behind the current situation in Pittsburgh. Vieola is the worlds largest private supplier of water services.
The cities of both Flint and Pittsburgh have taken legal action against Vieola. Charges in flint include: “professional negligence and fraud. These actions caused Flint’s lead poisoning problem to continue and worsen, and created an ongoing public nuisance”. In Pittsburgh, the Water and Sewer Authority sued Vieola in 2016 for the sum of $12.5 million. Charges against Vieola include: gross mismanagement of PWSA’s operations, abuse of it’s position of trust and confidence, and misleading and deceiving PWSA.
Despite legal proceedings, Vieola has so far been able to avoid responsibility. In Pittsburgh both the city and Vieola are trying to pass the blame onto each other. Neither party is taking responsibility for poisoning those who they should be accountable to. After an extensive arbitration process Vieola and the city authority issued a joint statement . It said that neither party “admits or concedes any allegations or claims made”
In an era of increasing water scarcity and rapid urban growth, privatization of water services and resources is a global threat. Privitization can seriously undermine the democratic control and power of the people and the structures of the state. Recent events have shown that water privitization also puts the people at risk of being held hostage by unaccountable mega-corporations who have a monopoly on our most precious resource – water.
Check out this awesome article written by very good friend of the Greenhorns, Jean Willoughby for Yes! Magazine. Jean writes about the recent changes within the farming movement. Her article focuses on the increase in the number of voluntary transfers of land and resources to people of color as a means of reparations for past injustices.
“Last month, Dallas Robinson received an email from someone she didn’t know, asking if she would be open to receiving a large sum of money—with no strings attached. For once, it wasn’t spam. She hit reply.
Robinson is a beginning farmer with experience in organic agriculture, and has had plans to establish the Harriet Tubman Freedom Farm on 10 acres of family land near her home in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Located in an area where the poverty rate hovers at nearly 20 percent, according to census data, and where both food insecurity and obesity rates are even higher, the farm will focus on serving the needs of the surrounding community by producing vegetables, herbs, and mushrooms.
The gift from the stranger arrived thanks to a new online map, the Black-Indigenous Farmers Reparations Map, a project to promote “people-to-people” reparations.”
The email that Robinson received was from Douglass DeCandia (regular contributor to the Greenhorns New Farmers Almanac!) who had heard Robinson speak at the young farmers conference this year which featured the controversial speech from keynote Mark Bittman. Bittman’s response to those speaking truth to power at the conference was a stark awakening for many and has encouraged many of those who hold power to question how they are holding themselves accountable.
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
Forest fires have become an increasingly significant issue in the last decade and it seems as though nowhere is safe from the death and destruction that they bring. Few places have to contend with fires on a large a scale as Portugal. The fires this year killed 64 people and destroyed tens of thousands of hectares of forest and farmland.
In addition to climate change, one of the major issues in Portugal is urbanisation. In recent decades populations who once inhabited the land have been moving to urban areas in search of work, abandoning their land. This has lead to a lack of maintenance and an abundance of undergrowth which is in turn more vulnerable to these all consuming fires.
“This was an area where families had their small properties and they lived off the land. That ended in the 1970s, they left, and the owners of the land now live in the cities…The landscape we now have is the result of abandonment.”
– Antonio Louro, deputy mayor of Macao
Forest fires in Portugal account for a disproportionate amount of the total number in Europe. Despite accounting for less than 3% of the EU population, this year Portugal had to contend with 40% of the forest fires. Louro, the architect of land reforms in the area has proposed a novel solution to the problems in the region – namely ‘village companies’ that practice shared land management of abandoned land. This would see the reintroduction of native crops such as citrus trees and olives and the profits generated would be shared among the community.
It is so wonderful and inspiring to see innovative solutions take hold and gain traction in the face of environmental and social catastrophes. To read the full article, click HERE.
The Schumacher Centre for a New Economics is seeking a Development and Communications Director to join their non-profit organisation in Western Massachusetts, to further the transition to a new economy. The centre’s mission is to educate the public about an economy that supports both people and the planet. They believe that a fair and sustainable economy is possible and that citizens working for the common interest can build systems to achieve it. Much of the work of the Schumacher centre is in the area of sustainable local agriculture, land access, land trust with an ever present focus on communities and the commons.
As part of their 2017 speaker series, Wright-Locke Farm are hosting their second monthly speaker, Molly Anderson, on July 19th. Molly is a professor of food studies at Middlebury College, a member of the Network Design Team of Food Solutions in New England and is co-author of A New England Food Vision 2060: Healthy Food for All, Sustainable Farming and Fishing, Thriving Communities, which explores that potential futures of the food system in New England which can support a high quality of life for everybody by supplying food that can nourish a social, environmental and economic landscape that works for everybody.
Location: Wright – Locke Farm, 82 Ridge Street, Winchester, MA
Time: 7.30 PM
Other Details: Cost is free however the organisers request that you email them to reserve a seat on firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find the full paper A New England Food Vision 2060 HERE
When portrayed by the film and TV media, the one thing that all fictional futures seem to have in common is a coffee shortage. Only the elite and the lucky manage to get their hands on a coveted cup of joe. In the dystopian fictional future, coffee is a black market product and in the wake of climate change, future coffee shortages may not be such a far-fetched concept after all. In 2016, Climate Institute, an Australian non-profit released a report that stated that in the next number of decades, the area of land suitable for growing coffee will decrease by about 50%. In addition to this, increased temperatures in the southern hemisphere, where much of our coffee comes from, encourages the spread of diseases and pests that affect the coffee plant, which can only grow well in a stable climate with steady levels of both heat and water. If you are anything like me, the thought of having to start your day without a cup of freshly brewed coffee may strike fear in your heart, but fear not!
The Landworkers Alliance, is an organisation based in UK made up of farmers, growers and land workers working together to find solutions to the shared challenges they face, and raising awareness about the contributions that they make to their communities. In Our Hands, is their documentary, made to share their quiet revolution with the world. It is a beautiful and inspiring documentary which reminds us that we hold the seeds of a better food system and a sustainable environment in our hands.
To read more about the Landworkers Alliance and the work that they do click HERE