watch: practicing for when peace breaks out on the latest our land

posted April 28, 2017

This latest episode of Our Land takes place at the intersection of farming, faith, and political activism. Take a walk with us through farms formed by the Catholic Workers Association. “A friend calls it practicing for when peace breaks out, because, really, if we were to live in a world filled with peace, we wouldn’t be able to live with the resource extraction that’s happening.”

See the (dare we say charming?) sisters at Sinsinawa Mound in Wisconsin who are sharing land parcels– “we hold the land in common”– with young farmers to grow food for their community.

And be ready to get your goosebumps on and go forth into the world inspired.


latest ourland episode is out! and it’s awesome

posted April 11, 2017

Our Land Episode 6: Growing a Regional Food Economy from The Greenhorns on Vimeo.

No secret that we can’t be exactly unbiased talking about the latest Our Land episode, but as a blogger who has essentially no film-making skills and had no part in the making of this video, I have to say that it’s kind of the bomb-diggity. Episode Six, “Building a Regional Food System,” which follows the Cook family of Maine. The Cooks are responsible for the first large organic potato operation in Aroostiuck County, the phenomenally innovative and inspiring Crown of Maine Co-op, and Northern Girl— a value added processing plant that provides rural farmers with access to institutional buyers across New England. The story and its footage is as poignant and hopeful as you’d like to start off your day, but the video goes so far beyond your typical feel-good foodie youtube piece and into the nitty-gritty challenges of what it actually takes to create resilient regional food systems.



a young agrarian land covenant:

posted April 25, 2014

Food for Thought, For Becoming at Home in Our Place, For Thoughtfulness in Producing Food. By Gary Nabhangfarm2010

With future generations in mind, may my family and friends never leave the land we steward poorer, nor its water scarcer than conditions were before we acquired responsibility for their care.

May we keep land meant to be farmed from being de-veloped, and re-envelope it with people dedicated to keep its inherent productivity in tact into perpetuity.

May we work as “greenhorns” to offer dignity, reciprocity and respect to the “grayhorns” willing to offer their land to us, and to never betray our covenant with them and the land itself.

May we seek to enrich the soil, diversify its plant cover and deepen its roots both within and beyond its harvested fields, its grazed pastures, or its orchards.

May we be diligent in learning how our practices affect those who live above and below us in our foodshed and watershed— not only the human lives, but all other-than-human lives as well. Click to finish reading—>

Gary Paul Nabhan will be speaking at the OUR LAND Symposium happening this weekend!

 


the greenhorns are happy to release

posted March 27, 2014

OURLAND  Episode 4: Access to Grazing

Market demand continues to swell for ethically raised, pasture-based livestock, poultry, eggs and milk. These products fetch a major price premium over the conventional, confinement raised alternative, and present the possibility for small scale producers to make a livelihood. Young graziers are joining the fray to meet that market appetite, inspired by Joel Salatin, Jim Gerrish and the incredible soil-building potential of grass-fed animal husbandry.

For farmers who build their own low-cost infrastructure: hen houses, portable electric fencing, moveable pens and pig enclosures, the need to own land is no longer first priority. They can improve the land they’re on through grazing, by virtue of the animals’ manure, but also from the intensive management and impact of animals, creating a state change in the pasture itself, promoting plant growth, diversity, and increased organic matter. These are measureable outcomes with benefits to landowners, soil micro-organisms, the grazing animals, and water quality.

For landowners, the benefits of leasing grazing land to graziers are many and include a tax benefit for “agricultural use”, as well as the joys of enlivening pastures with contented mother cows, tick-eating hens, and young entrepreneurs.

For the farmers, it is a balance of managing a small business without clear title or much solid infrastructure, often on multiple parcels, and negotiating for fair terms and solid tenure with absent or risk-averse owners. These kinds of partnerships are increasing, particularly in areas adjacent to urban centers, where price pressure for recreation, second homes, winegrapes, and leisure activities has priced farmers out of the market for ownership. When both parties manage the relationship with care and work together, making decisions that are best for animals, place and people, its a win-win solution for local food sovereignty.

Visit the OURLAND page for more episodes and reading material.