Howdy! Cody Hopkins, here. I’m thrilled to be guest blogging for the Greenhorns on behalf of Grass Roots Farmers’ Cooperative. We’re a group of pasture-based livestock farmers operating under a single set of animal husbandry standards and selling our meats under the same brand. Of the many exciting endeavors our cooperative has set out to accomplish, the one I want to focus on here is our efforts to breakdown the daunting barriers to entry for beginning farmers.
My wife Andrea and I are fortunate to have been farming for 11 years now. When we first founded Falling Sky Farm, we had a lot of support from friends and family. But not everyone is so lucky. And even though we had relatively easy access to leased land (a barrier that’s insurmountable to a lot of folks looking to get started in agriculture). Dealing with the lack of access to processing and cold storage services, combined with managing the complexity of operating a fast-growing small business, was extremely overwhelming. (more…)
Journalist Kate Bolick recently wrote about her experience in visiting artist Andrea Zittel in the Californian desert. Zittel has spent the past 20 years of her career exploring solitude and this path has led her to create her “Experimental Living Cabins” at A-Z West near 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.”
Check out this awesome rice growing project in Maine by Wild Folk Farm. Their goal is to get as many farmers and folks eating and growing rice throughout Maine, the Maritimes, and the Northeast. They are developing an educational, research and commercialized rice operation as currently there are no commercial rice growers in the state, and only a sprinkling of homesteading rice practices. Most domestic rice farms in the United States are monocultures that rely heavily on fossil fuel-driven mechanized cultivation and harvesting processes, and chemical sprays and fertilizers. Their proposed systems on the other hand are ecologically beneficial and symbiotic, adaptable to otherwise inaccessible farmland (low-lying wet clay soils), void of chemical inputs, and after initial excavation of the paddy areas, non-reliant on fuel-driven tools and machines. Arsenic is not an issue in our rice. (more…)
Elise Wach from the Indie Farmer wrote an article published last week that explores the necessary trajectory of the future of farming. At a time when industrial agricultural systems are depleting our soil and placing quantity of produce and profit before quality and ecological health, this discussion is crucial. She also addresses the myths and misunderstandings attached to the local and organic food and farming movement.
“Ecological and local food movements – and the farmers supporting them – are not trying to be elitist. They are trying to survive. In our current socioeconomic system, which ‘externalises’ the social and ecological costs of production, farmers tend to have two main choices – quality or quantity. They either produce for luxury niche markets (e.g. organic salad leaves, fancy preserves and veg boxes) or produce as much as possible through increasing their farm size (a strategy largely influenced by land area-based subsidies) and using industrial practices that destroy the soil, wildlife and water.”
It’s a fantastic article that gets to the core of the problems in the current global food system, saying:
“It is clear that the existing food and farming system is not serving the public interest. It is also clear that efforts to change our food system through existing socioeconomic models have not worked. The problem isn’t organic. It’s capitalism.”
To read the full article by Indie Farmer, click HERE
The theme of the upcoming 37th annual E.F. Schumacher Lectures, taking place on November 4th, is “Choosing the Path that is Green”, a reference to the prophecy of the Anishinaabe peoples. Winona LaDuke, who is a member of the Anishinaabe is this years keynote speaker. La Duke is an activist, community economist and author and her work has always been in alignment with the work of the Schumacher Center and of Greenhorns. She has been a persistent advocate for community land stewardship, local food sovereignty and sustainable resource use. She has a unique ability to communicate the stories, ideas and wisdom of the Anishinaabe people in ways that are both timely and relevant.
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
As part of their True Blue project, Fibershed, have recently released a report on the processes and practices involved in the making of blue indigo dye. They explain the idea of a closed-loop ideal indigo dye production system which “moves from soil to dye to textiles and back to soil.” The basis for the report is multifaceted, including academic literature reviews, books on natural dyeing and personal interviews with skilled artisan dyers including Rowland Ricketts, Jane Palmer, and Kori Hargreaves.
The mission of A Growing Culture is “supporting farmers to reshape the food system” to ensure that the future of agriculture is just, sustainable and supportive of farmers. We are very excited about the wide range of resources they have to support farmers, not least their much anticipated Library for Food Sovereignty. The library, due for release in the late summer or early autumn of 2017, will include stories of farmer led innovations from around the world, local knowledge, grassroots farming movements and technical and environmental resources.
Check out Woman Power, an organization started by Cameroon locals Victor (above) and Betty Kubia.
NW Cameroon is a particularly hardworking agricultural region where 90% of the farmers are women and revolution is in the air.
In this region, a culture of chemical farming (imposed during the green revolution) has created a longstanding degenerative cycle for soil health and the nutritional quality of vegetables. As it stands, many women are obligated after so many years to purchase expensive, synthetic products to even get a yield. As one woman from the town of Bafut in NW Cameroon says: “the harvest I get is not enough to pay for the fertilizers and then feed my family of seven and also pay tuition and buy school materials for my children.”
The Kubia’s seek to build the Woman Power Training Center on their own land just outside of Bamenda City strategically close to the three villages of Bafut, Ndu, and Santa. Here nearly 600 women will have access to hands-on workshops on soil health, composting, crop rotation, cover cropping, fallow cultivation as well as many traditional methods. One such method is forming the crescent moon shaped beds that are ideal for handling some 400″ of rain per month during the rainy season.
If you are interested in being a supporting member of this project you have two options!
You may email Andrew at email@example.com to join their emailing campaign
Respected Internet explorers and seekers of Harmony with Nature; welcome to this entry portal, introducing you to our work at the Ha’iku Aina Permaculture Initiative (also known as HAPI).
The project, as we see it, is a way of applying principles of agroforestry and permaculture in an area of rainforest on this beautiful island in the South Pacific Ocean.
Integrating principles and wisdom of native Hawaiian spiritual culture, we are aspiring to create a model of soil renewal, reforestation, and human interaction with nature in a paradigm of respect, harmony, and adherence to the natural law. Welcome to our vision and our world. We hope you will find something here that can serve and inspire you as well.
(In the Hawaiian Language, which is filled with mysteries and hidden meanings, “HA” represents the Breath of Life – The Spirit, “I” represents The Self, and “KU” means “rising upright” it is the name also given to the Rising Sun. So Hai’ku, the name of the place where our project is located can be said to represent The True Self Standing Upright in Spirit).