the irresistible fleet of bicycles

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the history of fair trade in comic book form


Fair Trade, like coffee, is complex, rich and fascinating.

We now have available a new educational resource: The History of Authentic Fair Trade.  In comic book format we present a version of Fair Trade that is shared by many Equal Exchange colleagues, allies, and partners.  We hope that by presenting the material in this way, with heroes and villains, and condensed stories, it will pique the reader’s curiosity so that she will dig deeper, ask questions, and ultimately make a conscious decision about where she stands in relation to small farmers, co-operatives, and democratic movements, as well as corporations, certifying agencies, and alternative trade organizations.


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be a hobbit, save the earth

a worthy kickstarter project by Steve Bivens. cover

In Be a Hobbit, Save the Earth: the Guide to Sustainable Shire Living I look at the problems facing mankind and our planet today, through the lens of Tolkien’s Middle Earth and the War of the Ring. Both Middle Earth, and our Earth face destruction at the hands of dark forces, Sauron and his One Ring on one hand, and the forces of corporate greed and materialism on the other. In both cases, civilization faces overwhelming odds.

    We have lost our ‘Shire-ness.’ Be a Hobbit, Save the Earth is about bringing it back to the world, from the bottom up: one hobbit and one Shire at a time.

I believe there are positive lessons we can learn from the courage and resourcefulness of the hobbits, elves, wizards and men of Middle Earth who faced nasty orcses, dragons and trolls, by comparing their situations and responses to the issues that face us modern hobbits today (we have our share of orcses, dragons, and trolls too).

      While our modern challenges seem complicated to the extreme, I believe the solution is actually quite simple. In essence it is merely a change of ‘mind,’ a shift in the way we view the world. I said the solution is simple; it is not, however, EASY. Changing one mind is an easy task (maybe) but changing enough minds to affect the course of the planet, is another matter altogether.

more information on the project page

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the hidden wound

A less-read book by Wendell Berry. This one is about racism, agriculture, land reform, Malcom X, Leo Tolstoy, and his intimate hiddenwoundrelationships with the Afro-American people of his childhood.Since usually we think about Wendell Berry in the white-agrarian context, this is a useful read.

“With the expected grace of Wendell Berry comes The Hidden Wound, an essay about racism and the damage it has done to the identity of our country. Through Berry’s personal experience, he explains how remaining passive in the face of the struggle of racism further corrodes America’s potential. In a quiet and observant manner, Berry opens up about how his attempt to discuss racism is rooted in the hope that someday the historical wound will begin to heal.”



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roadmap to generosity farm

Check out this kickstarter campaign – a great concept!

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How do we bring together young organic farmers and wise energetic elders to form multigenerational retirement communities that farm?

“Roadmap to Generosity Farm” is a book about how to provide (1) aspiring young farmers with land and (2) energetic elders with a healthy and intellectually stimulating life to form thriving community farms.

A “Generosity Farm” is a community built around a farm and based on the principles of nature — diversity, interdependence, ecology. Generosity Farm will serve two primary populations — retirees and young farmers.  Active retirees are looking for alternatives to conventional retirement homes. Young farmers are looking for land and purpose. Both are looking for lives that are meaningful, productive, healthy, and equitable.

more here.

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agricultural authors at empire farm days

Empire Farm Days is celebrating authors who write about agriculture. Five New York State-based RinckerCover-35383002.5authors will be talking with visitors and signing and selling books in the Cornell Marketplace Building at the 2014 Empire Farm Days on Wednesday August 6 from 10am to 4pm. The 300-acre event takes place at Rodman Lott and Son Farms, 2973 Route 414, in Seneca Falls, NY.

The authors coming to Empire Farm Days include:

. Dr. George Conneman, author of General, Miscellaneous, and All Other: Stories from Dr. George Conneman, a lighthearted collection of lessons the highly-regarded Cornell University professor emeritus of farm management has learned from nearly 60 years of working with farmers and their families in New York;

Cari B. Rincker, Esq., co-author of Field Manual: Legal Guide for New York Farmers and Food Entrepreneurs, a practical guide to everything from farm and wind energy leases and animal law to food labeling and considerations for on-farm slaughter and cottage food production; Continue reading

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hms beagle’s library is now availble for free online!


At 22, Charles Darwin set sail for a 5-year trip around the world. His notes from the Galapagos and other destinations were central to the development of his theory of evolution through natural selection, which he described in his 1859 book, On the Origin of Species. The lost collection of books that kept Darwin company aboard the HMS Beagle and provided inspiration for his work on evolution have been made available online for free!

To check out these texts and collection of amazing images, head over to Darwin Online Beagle Library Project!


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until there are fair wages, we cannot have our cake

Behind the kitchen door
How do restaurant workers live on some of the lowest wages in America? And how do poor working conditions—discriminatory labor practices, exploitation, and unsanitary kitchens—affect the meals that arrive at our restaurant tables? Saru Jayaraman, who launched the national restaurant workers’ organization Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, sets out to answer these questions by following the lives of restaurant workers in New York City, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Miami, Detroit, and New Orleans.

To read more about this book or to purchase, click HERE!



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