walden today might have thoreau turning in his grave

posted January 16, 2017

samuel-oslund

In 1854 a fellow by the name of Henry David Thoreau published  a book entitled Walden, named after a small pond just outside Concord, MA. Part love letter to nature, part treatise on simplicity, Walden took the whole religion of modernity to task, from rail roads, to the media. The book mixes every day observations on simple living (cutting wood, growing beans) along with some pretty heavy philosophizing on the nature being and the joys of independence and self sufficiency.  (more…)



announcing the release of the new farmer’s almanac, Volume III!

posted January 10, 2017

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It’s nearly here: the much-anticipated Greenhorns’ New Farmer’s Almanac, Vol. III: Commons of Sky, Knowledge, Land, Water is due out imminently from our amazing distributor, Chelsea Green Publishing.

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The New Farmer’s Almanac, Vol. III is a collection of articles written by new economists, working agrarians, poets, agri-philosophers, and activists, lovingly compiled by the Greenhorns. Our Almanac focuses on today’s most fascinating and relevant issues in evolving agricultural technology, food systems, agroecology, politics, and innovations in sustainability.

Volume III centers around the idea of the commons, the shared resources—land, water, heritage—that we  are all a part of, and features new and original content, including:

  • Expert essays, practical how-to articles, poetry, and opinion pieces on topics ranging from biochar to beekeeping
  • 70+ contributing authors from diverse backgrounds and perspectives
  • Pen-and-ink illustration, historical imagery and snippets

The Almanac transcends the boundaries of genre and will interest anyone who cares about conservation and ecology, food politics, poetry and literature, urban farming, sustainability and agriculture, or just simple holistic living. As a book that integrates traditional techniques and craftsmanship with new innovations and revolutionary politics, the New Farmer’s Almanac is a unique addition for anyone interested in the critical issues of today’s food system.

Please support the new agrarian movement by purchasing an Almanac for yourself or a friend, or by buying a case to resell at your organization, farm or shop.

Join us in celebrating the momentum of the new farming movement by supporting the pioneers, experts and true believers who have generously shared their knowledge in the New Farmer’s Almanac, Vol. III!


commons based technology: a glimpse inside l`atelier paysan

posted January 6, 2017

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Farmer, tool hacker, organizer, and self styled agricultural anthropologist (and, we’re proud to say, a GH blog editor) Samuel Oslund takes us on a journey into les Rencontres de l’Atelier Paysan. Les Rencontres is a yearly gathering of farmers from across France, hosted by our French farm hacking heroes  l’Atelier Paysan (roughly The Peasant’s/agrarian Workshop).  The event is a hands on skill sharing celebration, filled with food, good wine, and some fairly strange music. (more…)


woman power: home to cameroon’s sustainable farming movement

posted January 5, 2017

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Check out Woman Power, an organization started by Cameroon locals Victor (above) and Betty Kubia.

NW Cameroon is a particularly hardworking agricultural region where 90% of the farmers are women and revolution is in the air.

In this region, a culture of chemical farming (imposed during the green revolution) has created a longstanding degenerative cycle for soil health and the nutritional quality of vegetables. As it stands, many women are obligated after so many years to purchase expensive, synthetic products to even get a yield. As one woman from the town of Bafut in NW Cameroon says: “the harvest I get is not enough to pay for the fertilizers and then feed my family of seven and also pay tuition and buy school materials for my children.”

The Kubia’s seek to build the Woman Power Training Center on their own land just outside of Bamenda City strategically close to the three villages of Bafut, Ndu, and Santa. Here nearly 600 women will have access to hands-on workshops on soil health, composting, crop rotation, cover cropping, fallow cultivation as well as many traditional methods. One such method is forming the crescent moon shaped beds that are ideal for handling some 400″ of rain per month during the rainy season.

If you are interested in being a supporting member of this project you have two options!

  1. You may email Andrew at wpcameroon@gmail.com to join their emailing campaign
  2. You may click HERE to learn more about Woman Power and then Donate at least $10 to support building a Woman Power Training Center for alternative agriculture.

how the wolves saved yellowstone: a lesson in keystone species

posted January 5, 2017

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.

Interested in learning more about how these majestic canines shape the landscape of the park? There are great resources on Yellowstone’s website.


ranch management school

posted January 4, 2017

ranch management

photo: Samuel Oslund

Whatever it was that called you to farming – political, environmental, social, or your love of nature – one thing we often overlook as new farmers is the complex realities of running profitable businesses. It only takes a season to realize that the margins of profit in agriculture are small. As producers seeking to work in more environmental and socially focused ways the revenue versus expenses lines in your budget are pretty hard to balance when you factor in fair wages and ecologically sound inputs. (more…)


radio interview with draft-horse vegetable farmer

posted January 3, 2017

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Farmer David Fisher with his draft horses. Photo by David Charles/NPR.

The GH radio is still on break, so if you need to satiate your weekly hunger for radio stories about farming, let me suggest this great piece by NPR’s the Salt about Natural Roots Farm, a CSA farm in western Massachusetts that uses smart systems, ecological growing techniques, and draft power to create self-reliant farm systems that rely as little on fossil fuels as possible.

Though short, the interview with farmers David Fisher and Anna Maclay touches on the discontent with consumer society that drives many of us into the fields, the idea of right work, and the emotional tolls that perfectionism can have on a farmer’s relationships. In fact, we can’t help but wish that the interview could somehow open up to explore these topics in more depth.

Oh, and breaking news! NPR reports that small-scale vegetable farmers are perfection-seeking idealists.

 

 

 


Greenhorns 2016 Impact Report

posted December 21, 2016

 

On this winter’s solstice, along with traditions of stoking the hearth and nestling fireside, we thought to drop a line on the past season.

In 2016 our Greenhorns network surpassed 62,000 – a community within reach of our media projects, news and inspiration. We are continuously working to broaden and diversify our network of new agrarians, to bring the voices, testimony and success stories of today’s new agrarians to ever more aspirants and students. Please take a moment to review our 2016 impact report for all the clever details.

Thanks to your support, we continue to grow stronger.

Happy Winter, The Greenhorns’ Team

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sweet herbal remedy book and GH almanac release party, brooklyn, dec. 10!

posted December 9, 2016

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Dec 10th Book Release Party: Nature’s Remedies & New Farmers Almanac

Calling all fellow Greenhorns, plant lovers, and herb nerds! 

It’s Jean Willoughby here, and I can easily be described by all three of those lovely, earthbound designations. I hope you’ll join me and an amazing group of folks at the Third Root Community Health Center, a worker-owned cooperative in Brooklyn, for a book release party this Saturday, December 10th.

We’re getting together to celebrate the launch of my book Nature’s Remedies: An Illustrated Guide to Healing Herbs (Chronicle Books). We’ve also teamed up with Greenhorns folks to usher in the release of the latest edition of The New Farmers Almanac.

I’m planning to give a short talk, sort of a ‘people’s history of herbal medicine,’ that I’m excited to share with the Greenhorns community. We’re also going to be joined by a few herbalists, who will be on hand with their wares. Come get some healing, nourishing, and delicious gifts for your loved ones and learn more about medicinal herbs.

Nature’s Remedies & New Farmers Almanac
Book Release Party
Saturday, Dec. 10th, 2016
6:30 pm to 9:30 pm
Third Root Community Health Center
380 Marlborough Rd, Brooklyn, New York 

+ Food & Drink
+ Herb-infused Meads
+ Meet farmers, medicine makers, and herbalists who will be there with their wares
+ 100% of Nature’s Remedies book sales will benefit Third Root!

Get more event info or RSVP: http://bit.ly/dec10releaseparty

I hope to see you there!
Green forever,

Jean

Ps. Our new site for herb curious folks: www.HerbCurious.com