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!
Our organizations work together to strengthen practical knowledge – on both problems and solutions – in the field of access to land for agroecological farmers. We thereby aim to promote the emergence and consolidation of grassroots initiatives, working towards securing access to land and land stewardship, as well as fostering a broader evolution of national and EU policies and regulations on land use and management.
1- Strengthen practical knowledge to secure good land access
• Identifying relevant national organisations • Understanding options for land tenure • Developing specific knowledge and resources about several areas of work
2- Build citizen support for land access • Building up knowledge and skills of volunteers/ local groups/ the public on European land context • Engaging with other CSOs, in particular CSAs, farmers’ organisations, rural development organisations and others.
3- Contribute to the evolution of the support system for farmers’
For more information about this amazing website, click HERE!