Cornell Small Farms Programme are running a three day Agroforestry in Practice training course that will take place from October 17th – 19th, 2017 at the Schuyler County Cooperative Extension at Montour Falls NY.
Agroforestry is the science and art of combining trees and forests with crop production. It is a topic of great interest to many landowners and farmers and offers many promising enterprises including maple syrup, log mushroom cultivation, silvopasture (combining trees and livestock) and others.
Agroforestry has been established as one of the most reliable and promising uses of land in terms of economic return and environmental sustainability and health. The 3 day course is designed specifically with service providers in mind and offers a combination of both classroom time and field experience in established agroforestry farms.
The list of farms on the agenda right now are fantastic and will be sure to give a diverse overview of the possibilities of agroforestry. They include but are not limited to a 300 acre cattle grazing and silvopasture system, a farm that grows shiitake mushrooms and maple syrup combined with sheep and duck silvopasture and two farms that focus on orchard alley cropping and animal integration.
To register for this fantastic course or for more information click HERE
Ken Crane, a farmer, forager and hunter, speaks about the process of building his own coffin and about his life spent living off the land in upstate NY. Ken reminds us of the importance of inter-generational dialogue to share resources, stories and experiences.
With thanks to Elise McMahon.
Bee colony loss is an increasingly serious issue for the entire beekeeping industry causing in some cases an unsustainable loss of 1/3 of beekeepers operations. In response to increasing levels of colony loss, the first ever survey of parasites and pathogens in regional bee colonies has just been carried out and released by the Northern New York Agricultural Development Programme. The survey participants included 31 beekeepers of all stripes, from hobbyists to commercial beekeepers. Project leader Emma Mullen, a Honey Bee Extension Associate with Cornell University, Ithaca, NY explains that “this project documents for the first time the levels of key parasites and viruses in commercial and hobby bee colonies in Northern New York”. The aim of the project was to contribute to regional knowledge of pathogens affecting bees, and to educate regional beekeepers about ways to protect against relevant pathogens relevant to protect against economic and colony loss. The replacement of a colony can cost between $100 and $200.
Wild Gather, a spectacularly cool herb school in the Hudson Valley, is currently offering Seeds of Herbalism, a foundations class in Western herbal traditions. Registration is open, and those who have looked at the program before will note that they’ve added an additional month to the program with 20 more hours of class time.
Wild Gather writes, “In this program, we’ll cultivate an understanding of Botany and the plants of our bio-region, learn medicine making, first-aid & hands-on self care skills. We’ll also delve into the spirit world of plants and healing, by exploring our unique ancestries and relationship to plant lore and magic. Additionally, Social and Health Justice are core values for us as facilitators, and our program is rooted in holding space for conversations, learning and growing around the many oppressions people face surrounding health care and its access. With all this and more, students will gain an incredible footing into the beautiful world of Herbalism.”
Today on Greenhorns Radio, Sev speaks to Faith Gilbert, author of the Greenhorns Guidebook Cooperative Farming, a how-to handbook on forming collaborative farm ventures, and the Vegetable Manager and Administrative Lead at Letterbox Farm Collective. Letterbox, which produces everything from vegetables to pasture rabbit (which you may remember from our post earlier this week), uses a cooperative model to increase worker investment and spread power horizontally through the farm.
Faith and Sev will talk cooperative farming, Hudson Valley, and community organizing in the digital agrarian age LIVE today at 4:00 PM on Heritage Radio Network. Tune in then, or, as always, catch the podcast any time after the show airs!
Nichki Carangelo, of the delightful Hudson Valley-based, cooperative Letterbox Farm Collective, has just finished a publication on the commercial production of pasture rabbits. Funded by a SARE grant, “Pasture Rabbit for Profit” is an easily digestible, practical resource for farmers intended to guide readers through the start-up phase of their own pasture-based rabbitry. It includes a full enterprise budget along with housing plans, sample breeding schedules, feed guidelines and other rabbit husbandry basics. And it’s available for free download here!
Greenhorns correspondent Julia Caruso spoke with Anastasia Cole Plakias of Brooklyn Grange about the farmer’s perspective on the relationships between urban and rural farms and Brooklyn Grange’s biggest challenge.
It is undeniable that real estate is skyrocketing in metropolitan areas with New York City arguably leading the pack. City dwellers are being pushed out, businesses are being forced to move, and urban farmers’ creativity is being tested. That’s why when Anastasia Cole Plakias, Ben Flanner, and Gwen Schantz, co-founders of Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm were looking to purchase land in New York City in 2010, they looked up towards the sky.
Brooklyn Grange began as the largest rooftop soil farm in the world with one-acre of land atop a commercial building in Long Island City. They broke even their first year and two years later they expanded and purchased 2.5 acres of rooftop space above the Brooklyn Navy Yard on a 20-year lease. Anastasia, VP of Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm, said that the only way they could be fiscally responsible and create a replicable and scalable urban farm, was by purchasing land closer to the sun. But even with their success it is becoming exceedingly difficult to sustain.
Or, well, almost. As you may remember, two summers ago, the Greenhorns loaded a schooner with 10 tons– $70,000 worth of cargo– and sailed it from Maine to Boston to sell at markets in the city. And then, the NEWSAG conference held a “FoodBarge Hack” lunch at their annual conference. The Portland Press Herald said of the project, “It’s art. It’s protest. It’s celebration. And, who knows? It may even be a practical way to get cargo to market.”
It looks like Maine’s Department of Transportation might actually agree. As BDN Maine reports, “The National Governor’s Association submitted its members’ wish lists to the Trump administration last week. The overall list isn’t being made public, but the Maine Department of Transportation is releasing its proposal: almost half a billion dollars for improving the state’s roads and bridges and to jump-start a project that would revive a long-dormant coastal barge route, from Maine to New York City.” They’re calling it the “New England Marine Highway.”
Though the Greenhorns would like to see a less fossil-fuel dependent model than tug-boat-pulled barges, we’re glad to see people thinking more creatively about viable ways to move goods from agricultural areas to regional markets. Put a sail on that barge— or, oh we don’t know, a solar panel, a hydrokinetic turbine, or some draft power— and we’re all for it!
Missed Maine Sail Freight, read more here!