Yesterday, the House Ag Committee released their first draft of the next farm bill, which when passed will be in place until 2023.
The Farm School is offering 4 exciting new fellowship positions in 2018!
Program for Visiting Schools Fellowship for Farm-Based Education Leaders:
Two of the new Fellowships available from The Farm School invest in training and mentoring the next generation of farm-based education leaders. The focus of the fellowship is on developing practical agricultural skills, production experience and exposure to The Farm School’s nationally recognized Program for Visiting Schools.
The Farm School will award up to two full scholarships (including tuition, room and board, books and materials) to our year-long practical training in sustainable farming to compelling applicants who communicate a clear vision for connecting young people to the land through farming. They should also demonstrate that they possess leadership potential to either start a farm-based education organization in the future, or to manage and shape an existing program at another institution.
Doune Trust Fellowship for Community Agricultural Leaders:
One full scholarship is available for a uniquely bright and compelling student representing an underserved community. The recipient of this fellowship should have great potential to serve or lead that community agriculturally. This scholarship carries the full value of the student farmer tuition contribution, including room, board, books and materials.
Willow Tree Fellowship for African American/Black, Hispanic/Latinx and Indigenous Farmers:
One full scholarship is available for a student who identifies as African American/Black, Hispanic/Latinx or Indigenous and who demonstrates particular promise to make good use of the Learn to Farm Program’s agricultural training. This scholarship carries the full value of the student farmer tuition contribution, including room, board, books and materials.
The closing date for these fellowships is FEBRUARY 15th SO DON’T DELAY!
Click HERE for more information on eligibility and how to apply.
There is a growing recognition in both the faith and farming communities, of the opportunities for both to work together. Greenhorns recognized this and partnered with members from a diverse range of faith communities to hold our Faith Lands conference in California this coming March. We have connected with farmers and faith leaders from all over the country. Together we will discover what works and what does not with these two communities come together. Our partner in this work Rev. Nurya Parish of Plainsong Farm & Ministry drew our attention to a recent article written by Kendall Vanderslice for Christianity Today about this idea of Farminaries that is spreading across the country.
“Throughout his time in seminary, Stucky had dreamed of teaching theology on a farm—or a “farminary,” his colleagues joked. Intrigued by this vision, Barnes began to explore rumors that the seminary owned a nearby piece of empty property. The seminary purchased the plot in 2010 from a friend of the school, hoping that one day the property could somehow contribute to the mission. For four years, it remained nothing more than an asset on a spreadsheet. As Barnes later discovered, the 21-acre field was already zoned for agriculture, and Princeton’s Farminary Program was born.”
Click HERE to read the full article.
Downeast Foxfire Camp is a ten-day rowing and sailing expedition in eastern Maine that is being hosted by the Greenhorns and taught by the wonderful and talented Arista Holden. The expedition will take place from August 17th – 26th 2018.
In addition to travelling in a Bantry Bay gig to rugged, spruce-covered islands and peninsulas, we will be celebrating the folk traditions of the Maine coast and practicing our best “Leave No Trace” camp craft techniques. Together we will learn traditional crafts, sustainable forestry techniques and island farming. Expect to be challenged, inspired and to make life-long friends as we ebb and flow along with the 12 foot tides in an environment of support, safety and encouragement.
The course boh starts and Ends in Machiasport, Maine – 44 ̊37’15” N 67 ̊23’03” W
The cost of this expedition is $450 which includes:
– Three meals a day with snacks
– Traditional seamanship: rowing, sailing, navigation, knots, tide and weather
– Spoon carving and birch bark containers
– Sustainable firewood lot management
– Salt water farming
– Leave No Trace camp craft techniques
– Foxfire oral story collection
– Lots of smiles, support and spontaneous fun.
Getting to/from Machiasport. (However we will help you connect with other participants to carpool)
The nearest International airport and bus station with connections to major US cities is in Bangor.
Group size: 15-25 people
Have questions? Please contact:
Trainer and Program Director of Downeast Foxfire Camp.
Click HERE to find out more about the Downeast Foxfire Camp!
The Heinrich Boll Foundation and the ETC Group recently released a 20 page report about the ill defined and understood “Climate Smart Agriculture”. Unsurprisingly the agro-industrial sector has embraced these developments that rely heavily on synthetic biology. Synthetic biology sometimes dubbed “genetic engineering on steroids,” broadly refers to the use of computer-assisted, biological engineering to design and construct new synthetic life forms, living parts, devices and systems that do not exist in nature. Proponents maintain that designer crops and entirely genetically new products are the way forward in the fight against climate change. The lobbying power of this sector is significant, we cannot allow them alone to dictate the future of the food system.
The young farmers conference 2017 took place this past week, and you may have already heard about the controversy that unfolded during and after the first days keynote speech. The keynote was a discussion between Ricardo Salvador from the Union of Concerned Scientists and writer Mark Bittman who is the author of 20 acclaimed books, including the How to Cook Everything series, the award-winning Food Matters, and The New York Times number-one bestseller, VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00. Bittman has become a prominent and and distinguished figurehead of the sustainable food movement over the course of his career, and yet during the young farmers conference, it became clear that he does not represent the foot soldiers of the movement.
During the question-and-answer session after Bittman and Salvador’s keynote, chef and educator named Nadine Nelson directed a question at Bittman that he did not seem able to answer. She asked: “How do you hold yourself accountable to communities of color, and vulnerable communities?” Nelson was communicating her concern as a woman of color about the disparity between the rhetoric, and action of liberals who say that they support minority groups but who often do not realise this.
Bittman for all intents and purposes did not respond to the substance or content of her actual question, answering simply with “ok well then, fair enough”. When prompted to answer the question more fully, the stated that he didn’t understand what “how he could hold himself accountable” within the context of the question and maintained that he has always tried to do good throughout his career. The tension is palpable in the video footage (it takes place from around minute 56 onwards) and serves as a snapshot of the discontent and miscommunication that exists between the leaders and founders and the new generations within social movements, not least the sustainable food and farming movements.
This was not however the last word on the issue. Minutes later another attendee made her dissatisfaction with Bittman’s disregard of people of color known. She explained that land reform alone was not the answer to systemic racism. White men have always had a disproportionate number of seats at the table and what is needed now is for those like Bittman not only to respect the voices of people of color but to observe their seats at the table.
“This shit is exhausting,” she said, in reference to Bittman’s dismissal. “And we’re not all friends. Y’all don’t listen to us.”
Greetings writers, artists, photographers, agrarians! It’s almanac time again! If you would like to contribute to the next volume of the Almanac, now is the time to get thinking, writing and creating agrarian content. This year we have a wonderful new editor Briana – you can contact her with your ideas and submissions at email@example.com. Please see below for more details about the submissions process as well as our guidelines for themes for the upcoming Almanac.
– ASAP/ By the End of January: Send a quick description of what you want to submit to firstname.lastname@example.org. If we’re amenable, we’ll invite you to submit via a google form.
– February 28 will be the deadline for completed submissions.
Send us 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. 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
Send us your 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.
We will solicit your reactions to selected art works early in 2018. Let us know if this form of writing calls to you.
Themes and Challenge Questions
As usual we have laid out some themes as a scaffold to inspire and provoke your Almanac contributions. You can ignore them, or you can rebut them–but it does seem to work well when we have some consonance within the chapters.
The overarching theme of this year’s almanac is a bigger, broader WE. The motto we’ve chosen is: Together WE can make the Almanac (and agriculture) great for everyone. As Marada Cook always says: “Food is physical”–and the physical proof of a series of inter-linked land actors–so when Aldo Leopold talks about “Land as a community to which we all belong,” it’s perhaps not too dumbed-down to recognize ourselves and one other as both inextricable beneficiaries and victims of land-use decisions. Directly or indirectly. Now or sometime soon. What fictional and exclusive “We” that sees itself apart from the coiling, uncoiling, and recoiling of nature’s news may exist in TV newscaster and consumerist narratives, but this is a shrinking and fortified minority–a miserable abstract demographic otherness.
We therefore challenge ourselves to look straight at the question: “Which WE are WE? And how can we work more together in that WE?” Aren’t WE the settler-homesteaders, aren’t we the dispossessed Irish, Scottish, Mexican, and Caribbean diasporas who arrived penniless on ships? Aren’t we the re-settled Japanese or Chinese coolie-workers? Aren’t we the trail-guard cavalry or buckboard opportunists with a pick-axe? Aren’t we those enslaved for sugar or cotton? Aren’t we the offspring of oppressors and oppressed? Aren’t we the H2A guest workers, or undocumented and fearing the traffic cop? Aren’t we the kids on the Reservation, or orphaned from it by bureaucracy? Aren’t we those chased over the border by structural adjustments, refugees of the “Green Revolution”? Are we not All of these?
Aren’t we all citizens of this same landscape, voters in our watersheds, stewards in the neighborhood, committee members to a changing climate? Isn’t that the WE we are talking about? The bigger broader inclusive and all-encompassing WE, the WE it will take to turn this situation around. The hearts and minds and shovels and sandbags, the libraries and ambulances, the pollination and aquifers, the relief efforts and scar commons that will take part in the distributed volition and immediate reactions to crisis near and far. WE collaborators who can relate with one another alongside, not one-sidedly, in this our shared project of survival.
The editors of this year’s New Farmer’s Almanac challenge you, dear authors and agrarians, to consider the WE. To name your subject, your object, your actions and your place in the ecosystem of successional, emergent, spontaneous, collaborative and altru-opportunist future-making that lies ahead.
What story are WE?
Reflections on the Trump era, local practices, resilience-based organizing. Tuning in, Tuning out–coping strategies, adrenaline and keeping it real.
– Peace Economy, relations in a small town.
– Peace Economy, relations in the big city.
– Peace culture, non-violence and relating through conflict.
– Peace culture–relating across histories with hispano/indigenous water rights.
– Radical Extension–a thought experiment on how the Extension service might operate in the future, imagine the role of community testing plots for new crops and varieties.
– Punk Extension–a thought experiment on how communities might self organize to do crop research and form adaptation strategies on next crops…
Age of SAIL
Looking across the bow at a new economy–a report from the International Sail Freight Alliance.
– How do we orient (post-colonially) to the logic of the landscape, the harbor, the river-system, the portages and canal-making.
– Bodies in Motion/Thoughts on animal movement, human migrations, and the finding of habitable habitats in our beleaguered world.
– Re-negotiating terms of trade.
– Re-negotiating settlement norms.
– Looking at the cargos pre-diesel:Sandalwood, Potatoes and Sardines to the California Gold Rush, Opium and tea Trades, Chilean Nitrate, Russian Hemps, Chinese Silks, Tropical Hardwoods, Masts and lumber, Molasses and Rum, Ice to India. Pick a story, go research it– and tell us what you learn of its enduring consequence.
– Wobbling docks, longshoremen, and the Wobblies.
– Some thoughts on Partnerships and LLCs.
Age of TRAIL
Criss-crossing the plains and passes. Please choose one and teach us about it.
– The role of the US cavalry, native treaty negotiations, and broken promises. Fort Laramie.
– The history of trade along the Santa Fe Trail.
– Jedediah Smith and the Beaver trade.
– Forts–Fort theory.
– Fording the rivers, taxes, veins, caches, the Cumberland Gap.
– Research Project: Comparative legal infrastructures of Pastoralism (i.e. Seven North African nations agree to allow their pastoralists to travel freely between the nations without harm).
– Forgotten words, “Land Marks” of animal passage.
– Beginners’ guide to Fruit Exploring.
– Tracking on the farm, using spoor and knowing the wild life.
– Quaker Underground, apples, and peace.
Age of RAIL
Farmers Cooperatives, especially the sheep/goat cooperatives of Texas and Colorado, a micro history.
– Hoard’s Dairy, the Wisconsin cooperative milk delivery history.
– The Oak Savanna, and its analogues (Savanna Institute).
– Cattle hubs and spokes, slaughter, hides, buffalo robes.
– Oil Trains, a report from Wisconsin on the rail freight of fracked shale gas.
– Vision for bio-myco-remediation of contaminated railroad lands.
Exploring trauma in relation to extreme weather.
– Fraternity, exploring the themes, rituals, economic relations and underlying lessons of Fraternal orders in the US.
– Stories from Grange revivals and dissolutions.
– Healing from Lyme.
– What went down with the California “Green Grange Movement.”
Farmers react: ART PIECE.
Testimony from farmers working within religious communities, or on church-owned lands.
– A report from the Catholic Workers Movement.
– Report from Puerto Rico/Caribbean relief work.
– Report from the American Friends Service Committee.
– Culinary Seed Breeders Network.
– Sandhill Cranes, migration and the Federal Wildlife Reserve system (GMOs?).
– Super PACs–back to the land as a progressive political strategy, Brian Donahue…
Farmers react: ART PIECE.
Labor forms, Labor arrangements, Negotiating power.
– Illustration: Comparative value systems for shared profit models (East India Company, Letters of Marque, Whalers, Merchant-ships, Sharecropping arrangements) (cotton, pecans, wheat ground, marijuana cartel). *Will require some research and interviews.
– Illustration: Peasant holidays secured in different feudal arrangements, concessions for subsistence alongside service to the estate/center of power.
– Overview of the H2A system.
– Description of the Student Loan Forgiveness program.
– Illustration: Photos of Sharecropper houses, photos of sugar cane workers, photos of Mockabee farmworker houses, photos of farm apprenticeship housing, photos of mini-houses, photos of prairie homesteads, photos of worker trailers.
– Sharecroppers Union formed Southern Federation of Cooperatives, the legacy and the work ahead.
Farmers react: ART PIECE.
What would a Restoration Economy look like? And would it pay as much as videography?
– Confronting racism in the food system.
– Sherman’s Order.
– Solidarity practices.
– Thought experiment: What would it look like if the Food Deserts got a Land Trust, and elected to protect their agricultural foodshed?
– Acequia stories: Hispano/Indigenous water rights issues in the Southwest.
– Marijuana philanthropy, small town politics.
– Market limits…Who will smoke it all?
– Race and enforcement, legalization for whom?
– CBD recipes and markets.
– Venture stoners.
– Discussions about warehouses, hydroponics, and the future of ‘organic’.
– Population breeding, a report on the work in Italy.
– Adaptation, how does nature learn?
– Assisted migration theory, SW Seed Partnership botanists explain their work collecting seed from native populations for restoration practices.
– Personal audit, who are my people? Which WEs am I?
Native Sovereignty Movements
– The work ahead.
– Native food products, aggregation.
– The story of Chimayó chiles.
– ‘First foods’.
– About the Huckleberry Commons of Mt. Hood.
Looking at the forms of human coping post-crisis, post-displacement. How we reformulate ourselves into coherence. Reactive institution-making.
– Refugee farms, Alcoholics Anonymous, Syrian Seed bank project, Community Centers in the old rural schools, and on.
– Personal reflections on healing from trauma.
Briana Olson – Lead Editor
Severine vT Fleming – Director of the Greenhorns
Katie Eberle – Visual Editor
Emma O’Leary – Office Manager
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.
Following the devastation caused by the spread of massive wildfires in California over the past week it has become apparent that many of those within the biodynamic community have been directly affected. Among these is Frey Vineyards, a pioneer in Biodynamic® wine and dedicated supporter of the BDA. The vineyard has experienced significant losses due to the fires, as have many other farms and vineyards. Many more have been evacuated from their homes and are waiting anxiously as the fires continue to spread. In response the Biodynamic Association is considering setting up a recovery fund to enable donations to assist biodynamic farmers experiencing losses of animals, crops, homes, and infrastructure in the region. If you or someone you know in the biodynamic community is in need of financial support, please contact Karisa Centanni at email@example.com to help them better understand the needs of the biodynamic community and how they can mobilize support.
“Organic without soil is like democracy without people.”
-Vermont Lieutenant Governor-elect David Zuckerman at the Rally In The Valley
The first of two rallies to keep the soil in organic takes place this Sunday October 8th at the Intervale Center (180 Intervale Rd) in Burlington VT. The second rally is being planned for Sunday, October 15th on the green at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. These are just two of dozens of rallies happening around the country this fall in solidarity with organic producers growing in, and caring for the soil.
Tractor parades at each rally will start rolling at noon, followed by brief speeches, local food, live music, and lively celebrations!
Speakers at the Intervalle rally include: Senator Bernie Sanders, Eliot Coleman, Lt. Governor David Zuckerman, Maddie Monty, Christa Alexander, Taylor Hutchison, Will Raap, Joe Tisbert and Pete Johnson.
Speakers at the Hanover rally include NOFA VT executive director Enid Wonnacott, farmers Roger Noonan, Lisa McCrory, Will Allen, Jake Guest, Dave Chapman, Karl Hammer, Michael Phillips and Davey Miskell
Please join us as we rally together to take back the National Organic Program (NOP) from corporate influence and reclaim the lost meaning of organic. Organic integrity has suffered in recent years as a flood of hydroponic vegetables and berries and products from animal confinement operations have forced their way into the Program. Join us in sending a strong message to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) that animal confinement and hydroponic production have no place in organic. Real organic is based on healthy soil and working with natural systems, not imitating and replacing them. We are preparing for a historic NOSB vote in November on reconfirming fertile soil as the foundation of organic farming.
To keep up to date on the “Keep the Soil in Organic” movement, click HERE.