Soul Fire Farm’s action steps and policy platform for food sovereignty

posted June 14, 2020

Soul Fire Farm’s action steps and policy platform for food sovereignty [pdf]:

CHECK OUT this incredible resource and guide for addressing and dismantling racism in the food system, galvanizing the movement for land and racial justice, written by the illustrious folks at Soul Fire Farm.

Thank you to Nora Feldhusen, Organizing Committee Member of the Hudson Valley Young Farmers Coalition, for recently circulating the document. In her words, this “is a great resource for considering how we can move towards food sovereignty, centering BIPOC communities. In particular, a great starting point in this document is section #5 on Internal Organizational Transformation for actionable ways to build more equity and antiracist practices into our farms and organizations.”

Furthermore, Nora shares:
If you’re looking for organizations and groups to financially support, here is an incomplete list of food justice initiatives in [the Hudson Valley] region that are BIPOC-led and/or primarily made up of BIPOC youth:
Soulfire Farm 
Wild Seed Collective 
YMCA Kingston Farm Project 
Kite’s Nest 
Rise and Root Farm 

Additionally, here is a list from Soul Fire Farm of action steps you can take RIGHT NOW:


the people’s agroecology process

posted June 12, 2020

A NEW PUBLICATION! published on WhyHunger, and co-authored by grassroots organizations in the Caribbean and North America:

The People’s Agroecology Process: Unlocking Our Power Through Agroecology // [pdf]

You can download the publication in English and Spanish.

Text from WhyHunger: “Six years of experience under their belt, grassroots organizations launched this year a new publication describing their path to scale agroecology in rural and urban areas. “The People’s Agroecology Process: Unlocking Our Power Through Agroecology” includes personal testimonies, the method applied and a timeline of events since 2015.”

“The Process” – as the initiative is called – started with the Campesino a Campesino Agroecology Encounter in Fellsmere, Florida led by migrant farmworkers. The event’s host, the Farmworker Association of Florida (FWAF), a member of La Via Campesina International, had participated in learning exchanges in Guatemala, Cuba and Brazil and took on the task to scale out agroecology among its members through a set of popular education methodologies. Through this experience, FWAF and a group of ally organizations from Puerto Rico, Canada and the United States (inspired by the Farmer-to-Farmer Methodology in Cuba) envisioned a “process” to replicate the experience in Black, Latino and Native American communities. Seven agroecology encounters later, the initiative has brought together hundreds of farmers, farmworkers, fisherfolk and urban growers to learn with each other and practice agroecology.

This publication summarizes the overarching framework, practices and experiences of the protagonists of the People’s Agroecology Process. It is not a step-by-step manual, nor does it intend to be a comprehensive response to the many questions facing our movements.


towards deep agroecology

posted May 6, 2020

“Farms are the foundation of civilization, and our civilization is fragmenting. In light of this, we must focus on the work of building a new agrarian foundation. This is an urgent mission and agroecology is fitted for the challenge.” — Steven McFadden

The Ecologist recently published this succinct and enlightening article TOWARDS DEEP AGROECOLOGY by Steven McFadden, author of Deep Agroecology: Farms, Food, and our Future.


Online Permaculture and Agroecology summer courses at the University of Vermont

posted April 22, 2020

The University of Vermont’s (UVM) Plant and Soil Science Department (PSS) and the Agroecology & Livelihoods Collaborative (ALC) will be offering two online courses this summer. The courses are PSS 156: Permaculture and PSS 311: Introduction to Agroecology.  PSS 311 is the first required course for the Certificate of Graduate Study in Agroecology (CGSA) (can be taken as a stand-alone for graduate credit or as non-credit professional option). Given the COVID-19 pandemic, this courses will be offered fully online.

PSS 156: Plant & Soil Science: Permaculture

PSS 311: Introduction to Agroecology

Visit here for more information on the Certificate Graduate Study in Agroecology, registration, costs, etc.

For questions you can email agroecol@uvm.edu


#StayHomeButNotSilent – In times of pandemic, peasants are united to feed the people

posted April 5, 2020

APRIL 17, 2020 – CALL FOR MOBILISATION – INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEASANTS’ STRUGGLE

(Reprint from La Via Campesina): On April 17, La Via Campesina will commemorate the International Day of Peasants’ Strugglei in a context that once again validates the historical role of the peasantry in societies and their fundamental task of feeding the people, even in times of war, fascism, authoritarianism and pandemics.

COVID-19 has crippled the world. This deadly virus has exposed the vulnerability of the current globalised food system dominated by industrial agriculture, and the dangers it poses to all life forms. We should learn from this crisis and invest in building local, resilient and diverse food systems. States must begin by implementing ‘food sovereignty’ through agroecological production and enabled by popular agrarian reforms. Again, the extraordinary circumstances facing humanity today must compel all countries to protect and guarantee the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas, as articulated in the United Nations Declaration, approved in 2018 (UNDROP).

We do not want economic measures that benefit the elites as they did in the past by bailing out banks and businesses to “save the economy”. We demand justice for the peasantry and the oppressed sectors of the world. This April 17, 2020, we call upon our members and allies to be alert against all kinds of opportunism in this global crisis.

Watch LVC’s recent docufilm L’Espérance Paysanne | Globalize Hope | La Esperanza Campesina, chronicling how La Via Campesina was born more than 25 years ago, as an alternative that brings together struggles, dreams and challenges to build solidarity and secure our collective human future.


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.


growing rice in maine!

posted November 8, 2017

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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…)


a mushroom with a story

posted April 7, 2017

book review by Samuel Oslund

Salvage capitalism, ecological assemblages, and precarity… These are a few concepts that Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing fleshes out in The Mushroom At the End of the World, a genre bending book that tracks the global economy by way of the Matsutake mushroom.

As a farmer, I have noticed that my own ways of thinking and seeing the world have shifted with each passing season. I have felt something akin to love for an animal that I knew would one day be dinner, have felt tremendous connection to invisible soil critters and life webs as I hoed through pea patches. Social scientists refer to this process as affect, the suggestion that other-than-human-beings (plants, animals, earth elements) can impact and shape our ways of being.  (more…)


the open source ethos in agroecology

posted April 5, 2017

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Illustration by Freya Yost

The following paper, submitted to the Greenhorns by Freya Yost, Vice President of A Growing Culture, traces the building blocks of Agroecology (local knowledge, resilience, cultural traditions, working with nature) and analyzes them within the context of our current technological culture. This is a long but compelling piece, scholarly without being a sludge to read, accessible in tone and content, and we highly encourage everyone to read it. 

The basic premise is something that we know intuitively without necessarily having articulated it: that Agroecology is an inherently open source tradition whose knowledge and genetics have been co-opted, constrained, and privatized by for profit– to the great detriment of small farmers and ecological networks. The paper’s author casts our eyes simultaneously forward to the internet age and down to myccorrhizal networks to find hopeful models for creating egalitarian ways of producing and disseminating information to small farmers. The ultimate suggestion here– and it’s one of grave importance– is that those of us who are invested in the success of regenerative and sustainable growing ought also to be deeply committed to the overturning of proprietary development models and privatized knowledge systems. As the author writes:

All these dimensions make farming one of the most demanding and knowledge-intensive professions in the world. Sadly, because farmers are also some of the poorest people on Earth, lack of information can have devastating effects. Entire regions are vulnerable to being forced to adopt proprietary practices. Lack of information access puts farmers’ autonomy at risk. Open is not just an environmental issue, it is also a social justice issue.

The Open Source Ethos 

Open access is an ancient public good. 

Western discourse around open access has largely been restricted to academic, scholarly communications circles. In fact, many friends and colleagues have told me they first encountered open access when, after graduating from university, they were confronted with the fact they no longer had access to school databases; or when online article searches reached the dead-end prompt “click here to pay for access.”

The internet now provides a free platform for sharing knowledge. How is it possible—or even socially just—that so many of us can’t get access to scholarly research? Isn’t society propelled forward by access to the science, literature, and art of the world’s scholars? What if that research is publically funded? These are the primary concerns that drive the open access movement.

(more…)