agriculture, labor and the law

posted November 22, 2017

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New Entry Sustainable Farming Project & the Conservation Law Foundation are teaming up to hold a workshop that will provide an overview of key employment issues that farmers need to know. The workshop will be presented by Mary O’Neal, Partner at Conn Kavanaugh, and employment law expert. From apprenticeships to agricultural minimum wage, the workshop will cover key topics that come up on the farm and provide attendees with an agricultural employment law handbook. It will also include case studies that provide an opportunity to apply the topics to real situations.
The workshop will take place on Tuesday December 12, 2017 at 4:00 PM at the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth. It is free to attend, however please make sure that you register in advance HERE.

event: see winona la duke speak about language, the living world, and the commons

posted October 22, 2017

The theme of the upcoming 37th annual E.F. Schumacher Lectures, taking place on November 4th, is “Choosing the Path that is Green”,  a reference to the prophecy of the Anishinaabe peoples. Winona LaDuke, who is a member of the Anishinaabe is this years keynote speaker. La Duke is an activist, community economist and author and her work has always been in alignment with the work of the Schumacher Center and of Greenhorns. She has been a persistent advocate for community land stewardship, local food sovereignty and sustainable resource use. She has a unique ability to communicate the stories, ideas and wisdom of the Anishinaabe people in ways that are both timely and relevant.

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cider day celebrations in somerville – october 19th

posted October 14, 2017

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South Street Farm is glorious in the height of fall, and to make it even better, this coming Thursday, October 19th, they are throwing a Cider Day Party! Whether you’ve been to the farm many times or have no idea where it is, you are more than welcome and they would love to celebrate the end of their growing season with you!

Cider Day Party will be a festival of all things fall:
– Apple cider pressing
– Free food (first come first served!)
– Face painting
– Live music
– Games, crafts, prizes, and more

They will also be celebrating their volunteers and unveiling their brand new greenhouse with a ceremonial ribbon cutting so it is sure to be a day full of festivities.
South Street Farm is located at 138 South Street, Somerville MA 02143.
Check out the South Street Farm Facebook page for more details.

7th annual soil & nutrition conference takes place from nov 28-30th in southbridge ma

posted October 11, 2017

SNC7 Email Flyer 1.jpgThe 7th annual soil and nutrition conference organisers are committed to raising the quality of nutrition in food, beyond organics. Dan Kittredge, this year’s keynote speaker and  founder of the Bionutrient Food Association has taught 2,500 farmers, in 27 states in the last 6 years how to grow food with high Brix levels.

On the first day of the conference Dan will introduce the Bionutrient Meter, which any consumer can use to determine which vegetables, fruits, flours, and the highest in nutrition, and buy those. Over the past several decades the concentration of vitamins and minerals in our food has steadily decreased and unsustainable industrial agricultural practices have polluted water tables and undermined ecosystems The rate of degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, diabetes and heart disease have increased during this same time period. While correlation and causation are not the same thing, the food and water we consume undeniable has an effect on our overall health and well-being.

This conference will explore the principles, techniques and practices at the intersection of farm and human ecosystems that can be applied to improve environmental sustainability, food quality, and overall well-being by bringing together the collective knowledge of the food and environmental movements and by integrating diverse viewpoints.

To register for the conference or to learn more, click HERE 


wonderful job opportunity in the country at the schumacher centre for a new economics.

posted July 28, 2017

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The Schumacher Centre for a New Economics is seeking a Development and Communications Director to join their non-profit organisation in Western Massachusetts, to further the transition to a new economy. The centre’s mission is to educate the public about an economy that supports both people and the planet.  They believe that a fair and sustainable economy is possible and that citizens working for the common interest can build systems to achieve it. Much of the work of the Schumacher centre is in the area of sustainable local agriculture, land access, land trust with an ever present focus on communities and the commons.

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wright-locke farm’s speaker series july 19th 2017 – molly anderson

posted July 18, 2017

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As part of their 2017 speaker series, Wright-Locke Farm are hosting their second monthly speaker, Molly Anderson, on July 19th. Molly is a professor of food studies at Middlebury College, a member of the Network Design Team of Food Solutions in New England and is co-author of  A New England Food Vision 2060: Healthy Food for All, Sustainable Farming and Fishing, Thriving Communities, which explores that potential futures of the food system in New England which can support a high quality of life for everybody by supplying food that can nourish a social, environmental and economic landscape that works for everybody.

Location: Wright – Locke Farm, 82 Ridge Street, Winchester, MA

Time: 7.30 PM

Other Details: Cost is free however the organisers request that you email them to reserve a seat on kkneeland@wlfarm.org

You can find the full paper A New England Food Vision 2060 HERE


let’s get everyone to the table

posted May 2, 2017

Just Roots is an incredible, beloved farm and non-profit in my own community. They provide low-income CSA shares, community garden plots, a communal medical garden, and low-cost accessible workshops at their farm. They are fundraising today to offset the cost of providing shares on a sliding scale and to expand their programming! If you have a penny to spare, this is a great jar to throw it in!


talk on the commons, april 23, great barrington

posted April 13, 2017

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The Community Land Trust in the Southern Berkshires (CLTSB) and the Berkshire Community Land Trust (BCLT) invite you to attend their joint Annual Meetings & Speaker Series on April 23, 2017:  Re-imagining the Commons with David Bollier of the Schumacher Center.


a market for mutton “would change everything”

posted April 3, 2017

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by Sophie Mendelson

My grandfather likes to tell a story about a family gathering during my early childhood. It’s somebody’s birthday, and my extended family is gathered around a long table in the dim mid-afternoon light of a Baltimore tavern. The waitress comes to the table to take our orders. The adults ask for straightforward fare: hamburgers, club sandwiches, caesar salads. Then the waitress turns to four-year-old me and asks what I’d like. “And you, in your piping voice, say: the rack of lamb, please!” He chortles. “That waitress could hardly believe her ears!”

Growing up, I thought people ate beef because they couldn’t find any lamb. Why else, I figured, would someone choose a boring steak over the heat-crisped exterior, rosy interior—tender and juicy and with a flavor actually particular—of a lamb chop?

My parents weren’t from Greece or Lebanon or anywhere else known for its affinity for sheep meat, but somehow they had discovered lamb, and so we ate lamb. We ordered it at restaurants. We served it to guests. It wasn’t a mundane meal for us, still a treat, but not an unusual one.

As it turns out, this is not the typical American relationship with lamb. (more…)


the seed we need: there’s not enough

posted March 7, 2017

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Outside right now, in central Massachusetts, it’s 5 degrees Fahrenheit. There’s a thin crust of fresh snow on the ground, and the trees are brown and bare. But in the flood of seed catalogues that have been flowing into the farmhouse mailbox over the past few months, it’s summer. Peas are fat in the pod, the lettuce is in full flush, and eggplants hang heavy, shiny, and purple. All the grass is green. There are flowers everywhere.

It’s into this imagination land of color and warmth that we’ve been burrowing throughout the coldest season as we attempt to tease out a concrete organic crop plan from this fantasy of perfect bounty. But as with any fantasy, there are limitations to this one’s ability to deliver on it’s promise: our land is not perfect land, our soils are not perfect soils, we are not perfect growers, and the weather, inevitably, will not behave perfectly for our purposes.

Even more than the obvious disparities, however, these catalogues are limited in that they bely the true nature of their industry. Abundance, diversity, and choice: this is what we hope to achieve in the crop plan for this farm’s organic vegetable CSA, and that is what the seed catalogues are selling us. But the reality of the seed industry is not that. The reality of the seed industry is this:

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Consolidation is the name of the game when it comes to seed, and nothing suppresses abundant diversity and choice like the concentration of research funding and intellectual property rights into the hands of just a few. Despite the existence of a select number of seed companies that cater to the needs of small-scale, diversified, and/or organic farmers, and despite the considerable (and still growing) market for organic seed, the actual supply of attainable organic genetics is quite small. And without sufficient organic seed, the hardiness of organic agriculture starts to look—well, considerably less hardy.

According to the Organic Seed Alliance’s 2016 report, most organic farmers still rely on conventional seed because they can’t find organic versions of the varieties they need […] The result for farmers is not simply compromised principles and reliance on regulatory exemptions, but a reservoir of organic germplasm whose quality, in addition to scale, is inadequate to their needs.

The reasoning here is partly ideological, partly regulatory, and partly (the biggest part) due to the nature of seed, explains Tyson Neukirch, former head grower at the Farm School. Growing with organic seed means supporting the growth of the organic seed industry—an act of solidarity as well as self-interest. Increased demand ought to lead to increased supply of organic seed, and increased supply enables organic farmers to better comply with organic certifiers who are becoming more stringent with their requirement that organic-certified farmers use organic seed unless, as the USDA National Organic Program puts it, “an equivalent organically produced variety is not commercially available.”

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