COVID-19 STIMULUS PACKAGE FOR THE FOOD SYSTEM

posted March 26, 2020

Huge gratitude to the National Family Farm Coalition, Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance, WhyHunger, FarmAid, the HEAL Food Alliance and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy for putting together these policy recommendations responding to the $2 trillion Senate stimulus bill.

These coalitions are concerned that the stimulus bill “and other existing proposals have too few protections for working families, too many corporate bailouts, and limited language on supporting food producers and food workers through this crisis.”

Their message to congress emphasiezs that “farmers, ranchers, and fishermen need (to name a few) emergency payments, debt relief, access to zero interest credit, and support to adapt their markets and distribution, and that these short-term provisions should be linked to systemic reforms.  Farm, fish and food workers should also receive a range of protections including unemployment assistance, paid sick leave and access to healthcare.”

The policy recommendations are organized by three headers: (1) ENSURE A FAIR LIVELIHOOD FOR FARMERS, RANCHERS, FISHERMEN AND ALL FARM, FISH AND FOOD WORKERS, (2) BOLSTER LOCAL & REGIONAL FOOD SYSTEMS POISED TO FEED COMMUNITIES, and (3) ENACT SYSTEMIC REFORM TO BUILD RESILIENCE FOR ALL FOOD PRODUCERS, WORKERS AND EATERS.

SHARE THESE RECOMMENDATIONS WITH YOUR CONGRESS MEMBERS AND NETWORKS! Copy & paste below:

Dear ____________,
Thank you for your hard work during this crisis.  While some of the proposed measures in the existing stimulus packages will help to boost the economy and provide some aid to households and industries, they fall short with respect to protections for food producers and workers. 
Several leading organizations, including NAMA, the National Family Farm Coalition, WhyHunger, FarmAid, the HEAL Food Alliance and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy came together to address the issues that producers and workers are currently facing. Attached are policy recommendations for a stimulus package to support the food system.  They include measures to:

  • Protect the livelihoods of food producers and workers
  • Bolster local & regional food systems that are poised to feed communities, and
  • Create systemic changes that build resilience of food producers, workers and eaters

Thanks for your consideration and please let me know if you have any questions.
Sincerely,
___________________


shelter in place: the urban homesteader’s dream?

posted March 21, 2020

How might we make the most of these unfolding, uncertain times? In the face of COVID-19, folks across the country find themselves holed up, whether self-isolating, quarantining, or social distancing — the jargon goes on.

We at the greenhorns propose to YOU: allow these mandates to motivate your homesteading genius! If you are fortunate to have a safe home space to operate in, we inspire you to pick up and start off in your very own kitchens. Extra time in the house means extra time to invest in trying new recipes, going deeper into fermentation projects, harvesting seasonal greens from your neighborhood and making pesto — the list goes on. Farmer’s markets are largely being kept open: support local and stock up on nutrient-dense produce. Whatever slew of culinary, carpentry or other crafty projects you’ve been eager to take a stab at: there is no time like the present!!

Distract your brain by working with your hands (an effective way to process anxiety and bottled up emotions, not to mention). Rake the backyard and finally hang some lights! Sow some seeds! Read on for project ideas from your’s truly, as well as urban homesteader friends across the country. (Email lucy@greenhorns.org with more project ideas, and she will add them to this post for the world to discover).

Nasturtium Greens Pesto
Needed: 
Food processor or blender
Local nasturtium plants to harvest from
Ingredients:
Freshly harvested nasturtium leaves
Olive oil
Minced garlic, OR fresh green garlic (chopped into small rounds)
Nutritional yeast, OR grated parmesan cheese
Nut or seed of choice (pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower, walnuts or pecans, all great!)
Fresh lemon juice (of 1-2 lemons)
Salt & Pepper
For more flavor: dash of curry powder, small pinch of dried thyme, and a little cayenne pepper.
Blend together all ingredients for a peppery, bright-green, immune-boosting, delicious pesto!! Add a dollop to just about any savory dish for zest and zeal. Nasturtium greens contain vitamin C and iron, and have antibiotic properties (at their most effective just before the plant flowers).

Freshly foraged late-summer chanterelles sizzling on Smithereen Farm’s timber frame stove top.

Butternut Squash Seed Milk
Needed:
Blender, nut milk strainer bag or cheese cloth, butternut squash
Instructions:
Hollow out 1-2 butternut squashes, plopping the seeds into a bowl of water.
Cover completely with water and let soak overnight for slight sprouting effect.
After soak, separate seeds from squash flesh, lay in a baking tray (atop parchment paper recommended) and bake for 30 minutes at 325 degrees.
Let cool, and place in a jar for storage in the fridge.
When desired, blend seeds with hot water (+honey, a little salt, and spices of choice! such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, turmeric) and strain through a nut-milk bag or cheese cloth (or, enjoy chunky!).
Add to your favorite hot tea for a delicious, nutty, nutrient-dense non-dairy milk.
Butternut seeds are rich in zinc, calcium, and also contain magnesium, vitamin A & C, potassium and iron.

Ophir’s Tahini Oat Bread
Small loaf recipe:
3/4 cup oat flour from ground oats
1/4 cup oats
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp salt
1/2 cup tahini (can substitute with other seed or nut butter)
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
3 tbsp olive oil (or other oil)
4 eggs
Optional: 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp cardamom
Extra seeds or nuts as you like
Process:
Combine in separete bowls your dry ingredients and wet ingredients. Helpful to gently heat (I.e. double boil) your wet ingredients to thoroughly mix together. Tenderly and with love, sprinkle dry ingredients incrementally into wet ingredients, folding together to create a beautiful batter. Pour into baking dish, and decorate with seeds and spices on top. Bake for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees, or until loaf has fully risen and become golden brown around all edges! (Check for a baked inside by inserting toothpick, bread done when only tiny crumbs remain).

From author and fermentation revivalist Sandor Katz:
Sweet Potato Fly!
A delicious tonic beverage native to Guyana. Follow link for the recipe. Consider making a simple rennet or farmer’s cheese to obtain whey, which you can use as a starter for your Sweet Potato Fly.

From herbalist Aisling Badger of Urban Moonshine, a beautiful recipe for Immune Tonic Soup.

From herbalist Rosemary Gladstar and Mountain Rose Herbs, spicy and powerful Fire Cider Recipes. Hop to it!

Kate processing algae harvest in Smithereen Farm timber frame kitchen.

WOODLANDERS: EP1

posted February 25, 2020

A CROWD-FUNDED FILM SERIES DOCUMENTING FOREST CULTURES

WATCH NOW, EP1: Ecological Forestry

Mike DeMunn is a prominent forester and conservationist who has managed thousands of acres of forest across the Eastern US. Mike is of French-English and Seneca-Onondaga Iroquois heritage and is a person who has walked the edge between two worlds, combining understanding of forest from both perspectives, an expert in forest ecology and ancient tradition of indigenous practice.

Join the WOODLANDERS team and help support this series at PATREON.com/WOODLANDERS


Opportunities with Quail Springs Permaculture

posted February 25, 2020

Work with the amazing team at Quail Springs Permaculture! Based near Ventucopa, California in the Cuyama Valley, QSP hosts programs at a variety of sites in the Cuyama Valley and throughout Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

Current job openings include Program Coordinator and Hosting and Volunteer Director, as well as their Work Trade program with rolling applications.

Quail Springs accomplishes its mission through youth and adult programming, maintaining an example of high-desert regenerative human settlement, and partnerships with for-profit and nonprofit organizations.

QSP draw students from their region as well as from around the world—from South India, where international development workers are organizing farms for children and adults orphaned with disabilities, to Oakland, where urban gardeners employ formerly incarcerated youth to use regenerative design in cityscapes.


Fully-sponsored Farm Fellowship with Allegheny Mountain Institute

posted February 18, 2020

Now in its ninth year, this unique program provides six months of free farm training followed by a year of employment with regional non-profits working to build vibrant, healthy local food systems.

Applications due by March 9, 2020.

Learn more and apply today at www.amifellows.org.

For more information, e-mail jessa@amifellows.org or call 540-886-0160.


BERNIE for “community ownership of farmland” !

posted February 5, 2020

Bernie Sanders on REVITALIZING RURAL AMERICA, an issue near and dear to the hearts of Greenhorns far and wide:

“Fundamental change in America’s agricultural and rural policies is no longer just an option; it’s an absolute necessity. With the right support and policies, we can have rural communities that are thriving economically and ecologically.”

Major policy developments are being called for on three fronts: (1) Policies Leveling the Playing Field for Farmers and Farmworkers, (2) Policies to Empower Farmers, Foresters & Ranchers to Address Climate Change and Protect Ecosystems, and (3) Policies to Foster Investment to Revitalize Rural Communities. Yes, yes and yes!!

Particularly exciting for the young farmer movement and developing the agrarian commons are the propositions below. Learn more about the work of our sister organization, Agrarian Trust, here!

  • Invest in beginning farmers to purchase land and equipment for sustainable farming.
  • Allocate government funding to purchase easements to ensure land stays in agriculture.
  • Incentivize community ownership of farmland to allow more people to work the land and produce food for local consumers.
  • Make government owned farmland available as incubator farms for beginning farmers.

And the list goes on. Click here to read more on Bernie’s plans to Revitalize Rural America.


Foraging Adventures with Healing Ecosystems! SF Bay-Area, February 23, 2020

posted February 3, 2020

Learn to safely identify, forage & cook local plants & fungi in a beautiful outdoor setting. Sample tasty foraged foods from the ecosystem on
Sunday, February 23, 2020 from 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM PST.

Get your ticket, here!

Winter rains bring plentiful foraging opportunities from choice greens to delicious mushrooms. Our foraging adventure will teach you where to collect edible plants & fungi and how to identify them safely as well as poisonous specimens to be aware of. Our relaxed hike will end with a sampling of deliciously prepared locally-foraged food.

Many choice greens like Miner’s Lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata), Chickweed (Stellaria media) & Thistle (Cirsium spp.) (just to name a few) are in their immature stages at this time of year. Some species can be foraged as microgreens, which are in some cases more nutritious and succulent than their older counterparts. Plants are predictable but mushrooms are not – we will do our best to find some fungi during the walk. Either way, there will be examples to identify and you will learn habitat considerations for finding edible fungi.

The class is hands-on, in field and provides a perfect chance to directly connect with Nature. The class will focus on identification so you can forage your own foods – we will not be actively foraging as a group. We will discuss ethical harvesting and you will learn ways to tend our local ecosystem towards greater abundance using Native Ecology as our model. That’s right, proper foraging supports a thriving ecosystem- come be a part of the regenerative foraging movement.

Sign-up for the mailing list for future events by visiting www.healingecosystems.com


Northeast Healthy Soil Network: Symposium February 20-21

posted January 27, 2020

The Northeast Healthy Soil Network Presents:

Agriculture and Climate in the Northeast: Soil and Ecosystem Health

Register here today!

The Northeast Healthy Soil Network will strengthen and aid the healthy soil movement in the Northeast region by fostering communication and collaboration. Building on an initial conference in April 2019, the 2020 Symposium will bring together policymakers, farmers, academics, and students for a symposium aimed at advancing healthy soils policies and practices throughout the Northeast.

Agrarian Trust Director, Ian McSweeney, will speak on the creation of the Agrarian Commons. Database & Relationships Manager Megan Browning will also be in attendance. 

The event will begin on Thursday, Feb 20th, with an all-day in-depth policy working group for members of the Northeast Healthy Soil Network. Click here to see the Thursday, February 20th working group schedule.


CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS! The New Farmer’s Almanac, Vol V, the FARMERS NEW DEAL

posted December 10, 2019

The New Farmer’s Almanac is a place for public thinking and proactive literary inquiry into the future we share on the land and at the table. Shifting practices is a team sport, and with its original artwork, stories, poetry, and old-time manifestos, this is just the compendium to inspire your own part in the mix.

Submissions for Volume V will be accepted between December 1, 2019 and March 1, 2020. If you miss that deadline, query anyway—we may still be seeking just what you have to share! 

Submission Guidelines: 

Query before submitting at almanac@greenhorns.org. Include a brief description of the work you’d like to submit, and a word or two on your connection to the land. You can pitch completed work, work-in-progress, or ideas on work-to-be.

Written Submissions

We will consider 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. (We’ve been known to be flexible, but it’s not often that we publish works longer than eight pages). 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

We will consider 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.

Volume V, THE FARMERS NEW DEAL

What emphasis is still missing from the Green New Deal that we read so much about?

We think: Land use! Adaptive, resourceful, responsive re-use is the theme song of the next Almanac.

Imagine the tremendous potential for climate mitigation and resilience if we reconsider habits and conventions of land use that contaminate water, degrade soil, and make our cities dysfunctional despoilers of their ecosystem.

You who are accustomed to making lists of land tasks… let’s look beyond the boundaries of the farms we manage and talk publicly about the changes we could make. All the land around us needs better care, restoration, and refurbishment. 

What do you see? What ideas do you have for WHAT CAN BE DONE on the land? Please take a look around and put your thoughts down on paper, share with us your wild notions and practical thinking for a Farmer’s New Deal.

Didn’t catch the last iteration of the Almanac? Order one now!