(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.
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.
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.
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…)
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 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.
The first of two videos that we have for you nature lovers this morning!
Some brief and interesting context for the information presented here: wolves did not disappear from the Yellowstone landscape by incident or historical coincidence. In fact, historians say that since nearly the beginning of westward expansion by European settlers, settlers and ranchers (whose cattle were at risk of being poached) engaged in what some historians call a “war with the wolf” that culminated in the early 20th century in a governement-sponsored nation-wide “wolf control” policy. The history involves mountains of wolf carcasses, canine bounty hunters, rifles, traps, and poison– tactics so widely supported to have included environmentalists like Teddy Roosevelt and John James Audubon. For more information on this, we recommend this piece from PBS.
Just goes to show that when it comes to the incredible fragile balance of ecosystems, we don’t know what we don’t know.
A CONFERENCE EXPLORING LAND AND THE FOOD SYSTEM: HOW LAND AFFECTS WHAT WE EAT, WHO WE ARE, AND THE ENVIRONMENT WE LIVE IN
March 25–26, 2016
Wasserstein Hall, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts
This year’s Just Food? conference will examine the relationship between people and land, primarily through agriculture and food. Conference events will explore the legal, moral, policy, health, historic and environmental aspects of our modern domestic and international food system, with a focus on the intersection of land and justice. The conference will bring together scholars, farmers, activists, practitioners, and other authorities to discuss the growing concerns about who has access to land, how agriculture changes land, and who is marginalized or dispossessed by our current system. Our goal is to educate attendees, empower them to make changes, and engage them in a larger dialogue about food.
A full conference schedule, when it becomes available, will be posted. But please feel free to register here now!