the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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land, co-ops, compost: a local food economy emerges in boston’s poorest neighborhoods

image via citygrowers.wordpress.com

via Truth-out.org

by Penn Loh of YES! Magazine

When Glynn Lloyd couldn’t source enough locally grown produce, he decided to grow his own.

Since 1994, Lloyd has run City Fresh Foods, a catering company based in Roxbury—one of Boston’s lowest-income neighborhoods. He wanted his business to use locally produced food, but at that time it was hard to come by. So in 2009 Lloyd helped found City Growers, one of Boston’s first for-profit farming ventures.

Today, City Growers is part of an emerging network of urban food enterprises in Roxbury and neighboring Dorchester. From a community land trust that preserves land for growing, to kitchens and retailers who buy and sell locally grown food, to a new waste management co-op that will return compost to the land, a crop of new businesses and nonprofits are building an integrated food economy. It’s about local people keeping the wealth of their land and labor in the community.

“We don’t need big corporations like Walmart to come in and save us,” Lloyd said. “We have homegrown solutions right here.”

Read the full article on Truthout!


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soil, struggle, and justice: free online film!

This film examines a cooperative of the Brazilian Landless Movement (MST) in the South of Brazil, which struggled for access to land and then transitioned to ecological agriculture, or agroecology. This MST cooperative is demonstrating the possibility of an alternative model of flourishing rural life, which provides thriving livelihoods for farmers, produces high quality and low cost food for the region, and rehabilitates the earth.

You can learn more about the film and the organization MST HERE.


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the united states needs a food policy!

image via abcnews.go.com

Mark Bittman of the New York Times, Michael Pollan of the University of California, Berkeley, Ricardo Salvador of the Union of Concerned Scientists, and Olivier De Schutter of the Catholic University of Louvain have collaborated on a new article in the Washington Post that puts forward a plan for a national food policy. For the authors, “The food system and the diet it’s created have caused incalculable damage to the health of our people and our land, water and air” and that this damage continues because “we have no food policy — no plan or agreed-upon principles — for managing American agriculture or the food system as a whole.”

They put forward a set of basic tenets that could inform a national food policy adequate to our age. The priorities of this policy include healthy food for all, reducing the carbon footprint of the food industry, investing in food that is free of dangerous chemicals, and treating animals with compassion and attention to their well-being. Continue reading


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greenhorns report on the national ffa convention

 Greenhorns, in partnership with Organic Consumers Association were in attendance last month at the national gathering of the FFA. The FFA National Convention in Louisville, Kentucky, saw a sea of 60,000 students representing every nook and cranny of America (and its territories) gathered together for fellowship, belonging, education and scholarly competition. Between the ages of 13 and 18, many of these students are next-in-line to the family farm and occupy a strategically powerful position in the future of American Agriculture; they are kids with land. With a self-confidence rarely seen in teenagers and impeccable public speaking skills, these students in their blue corduroy jackets cut quite the impressive figure, particularly in a stadium context.

They are team-spirited, motivated and articulate, and most of them credit these qualities to the organization that brought them together, the FFA. The FFA is turning these next-in-line farmers, agriscientists, ag teachers and farm sympathizers into successful leaders, fierce entrepreneurs, and good Samaritans…for Big Ag.

This polished youth constituency at the FFA sing the praises, almost exclusively, of Big Ag. How did this happen? Lets start with the obvious place; let’s follow the money.

Continue reading


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action alert: protect small farmers and food producers from FSMA regulations

You might not know it, but a legislative battle is being waged over who can produce food, where they can sell it, and when the government can shut them down. The most recent incarnation of this is a modification to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that will make it possible for the FDA to force small food producers to comply with complex and costly regulations. Thankfully, the Farm & Ranch Freedom Alliance (FRFA) is organizing a push-back against these regulations that will make small food producers vulnerable to capricious government agencies, and, ultimately, harm the diversity of the food on the market.small family farm

Here is the Call to Action by the FRFA:

“We fought hard for the Tester-Hagan amendment to exempt small-scale, direct-marketing farms and artisan food producers from the most burdensome aspects of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). This exemption is essential to the continued vitality of the local foods movement.

“Now the FDA is proposing rules that would make it very easy for the agency to force even small-scale farmers to comply with the onerous FSMA regulations, and all but impossible for these vulnerable farmers to protect themselves. Continue reading

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