the irresistible fleet of bicycles

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a great read/resource: small farm equipment

the farmers library

“Small Farm Equipment” covers many facets of equipment use and maintenance on the small- to mid-size farm. Topics include the following:

  • Mechanical concepts and terminology
  • Best practices and safety around farm equipment
  • Tools for maintenance
  • Tips for shop work
  • Regular maintenance tasks
  • Troubleshooting start-up problems
  • Common small equipment
  • Tractor operation and safety

Written to be accessible and straightforward—detailed, yet broad enough for the variety of skills needed on the diversified farm, Small Farm Equipment offers clear illustrations of tools, parts, and equipment throughout the text.

Small Farm Equipment offers various benefits to daily farm work: Reduce downtime from non-operational equipment. Learn common terminology to better communicate with mechanics and service personnel. Improve the quality of on-farm repairs with the proper tools and methods. Stay aware of safety and working standards on the small farm.

To learn more about this book or to buy it, check out the Farmer’s Library Website. 

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let’s help growing innovation get over the hump!

They are 67% funded with 12 days to go.  Every little bit counts!

Growing Innovation Online Library & Book

Why does this project matter? Because stakes is high! 

In case it's hard to see, this farmer's clever t-shirt says 'stakes is high'
In case it’s hard to see, this farmer’s clever t-shirt says ‘stakes is high’

To make a more serious point, success in agriculture is hard to achieve and harder to sustain. Tens of thousands of small farms go out of business each year. Those that make it often survive on precarious margins. To succeed, most small and mid-scale farmers need to innovate constantly. That’s why farmers go to other farmers for new ideas more than any other source, but most farmers are limited to only a few sources of inspiration.

The online library will provide an especially useful resource for beginning and transitioning farmers. Beginning farmers will find a rich storehouse of ideas for generating agricultural income. Transitioning farmers will find tested models and stories that they can relate to. Could this project be the seed bed for a national agricultural innovation library? It all starts right here!

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new book: grass, soil, hope

grass soil hope

 Build topsoil. Fix creeks. Eat meat from pasture-raised animals. 

Right now, the only possibility of large-scale removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere is through plant photosynthesis and related land-based carbon sequestration activities. These include a range of already existing, low- tech, and proven practices: composting, no-till farming, climate-friendly livestock practices, conserving natural habitat, restoring degraded watersheds and rangelands, increasing biodiversity, and producing local food.

In Grass, Soil, Hope, the author shows how practical strategies can be bundled together into an economic and ecological whole, with the aim of reducing atmospheric CO2 while producing substantial co- benefits for all living things.

It’s available through Chelsea Green Publishing

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featured resource: protecting organic seed integrity

Protecting-Organic-Seed-Integrity-220x300Protecting Organic Seed Integrity 

Why Protect Organic Seed?
The organic seed industry is at the same time especially vulnerable to transgenic contamination and also a crucial link to reducing contamination. Organic seed, which by definition is free of genetically engineered (GE) contaminates, is the foundation of organic agriculture. Organic crops grown with contaminated seed will inevitably yield a contaminated crop. GE contamination, however trace, is unacceptable.

Compromised organic seed integrity has broad-reaching impacts on the viability of organic farms and the credibility of organic products. Organic farmers also risk the threat of patent litigation in the face of contamination. In order to limit GE presence in organic seed, growers need to become educated about best practices for contamination avoidance.

Ensuring the Integrity of Organic.
The Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association has produced a manual, entitled Protecting Organic Seed Integrity: The Organic Farmer’s Handbook to GE Avoidance and Testing, to serve as a one-stop tool to help farmers, as well as seed handlers and seed companies, maintain genetic purity in organic seed, as well as organic food crops. Continue reading

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support growing innovation

We need this library!  Please pitch in.  All contents of the library will also be contributed to the Farm Hack website.

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Here’s the scoop:
Growing Innovation Online Library & Book

We will build an online library of agricultural innovations developed by farmers and create a book celebrating their ingenuity.

The Growing Innovation project was inspired by farmers. At our small nonprofit organization, we work with farmers who amaze us everyday with their ingenuity and determination. Over the past 17 years, we’ve documented hundreds of successful farmer-led projects. We want to celebrate and share their innovative ideas by creating an online library and a new book.

The online library will include interactive maps of farm projects along with detailed plans, budgets, and other useful information. The book will feature some of the most exciting projects we’ve seen yet.

read more HERE

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cooperative farming – a new guidebook for greenhorns

“It’s clear that we face common challenges.  It’s also clear that by working together, we get more than just a solution to a problem: we get solidarity.” coop

The Greenhorns presents Cooperative Farming, an in-depth resource for forming collaborative businesses.  Compiled from a 42 interviews with collaborating farmers and allies, this is a how-to handbook on structuring and operating a group venture.  Continue reading

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book: the meat racket, the secret takeover of america’s food business

The Meat Racket

In The Meat Racket, investigative reporter Christopher Leonard delivers the first-ever account of how a handful of companies have seized the nation’s meat supply. He shows how they built a system that puts farmers on the edge of bankruptcy, charges high prices to consumers, and returns the industry to the shape it had in the 1900s before the meat monopolists were broken up. At the dawn of the twenty-first century, the greatest capitalist country in the world has an oligarchy controlling much of the food we eat and a high-tech sharecropping system to make that possible.

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cows save the planet

Interview, photos and video by Erik Hoffner, World Ark contributor

Think for a moment about the pressing challenges the world faces: poverty, hunger, political instability, war and climate change. Loss of topsoil is seldom included in that list, even though it plays a lead role in all of them. Some experts estimate that this thin life-giving layer of the planet is in danger of disappearing within 60 years due to erosion and desertification, and with it, our ability to grow food. Statistics like this drove author Judith Schwartz to write Cows Save the Planet, and Other Improbable Ways of Restoring Soil to Heal the Earth.

read the full Q & A HERE



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food movements unite!

Food Movements Unite! Strategies to Transform Our Food Systemscolored_cover-700_0
Now available for e-readers and in Italian translation.

In communities around the world the power of the people is at work regaining control of our ailing food systems. According to the latest book from Food First, the global food movement is diverse, widespread, refreshingly creative and tremendously powerful. Food Movements Unite! Strategies to Transform Our Food Systems brings us the words, insights and vision of the remarkable farmers, workers and consumers from rural and urban communities around the globe as they address the critical question:

How can we unite to transform the global food system?
The 21 activists and practitioners contributing to this work write “from the trenches” of the food, fuel and environmental crises have much to say about our food future and the potential of this unprecedented “movement of movements.” From the writings of Raj Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved and Olivier De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, to João Pedro Stédile of the Brazilian Landless Worker’s Movement, this insightful book is a window into the thinking and actions of the people committed to bringing us affordable, healthy food in ways that harm neither the planet nor its people.

More information here

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food sovereignty e-book!

Towards Food Sovereignty

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Throughout the world, food providers (such as farmers, pastoralists, forest dwellers, and food workers) and new social movements, rather than academia and think tanks, are the prime movers behind a newly emerging food sovereignty policy framework. At its heart, this alternative policy framework for food and agriculture aims to guarantee and protect people’s space, ability, and right to define their own models of production, food distribution, and consumption patterns. Proposals for food sovereignty seek to reverse the socially inequitable and ecologically destructive nature of industrial farming, fisheries, forestry and livestock management, and the wider food systems they are a part of. Continue reading

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growing innovation online library & book

Another worthy kickstarter campaign: Growing Innovation


Our goal is to create an online library of innovative farm projects and publish a book highlighting exemplary farmer-led projects from our archives. 

Kickstarter campaigns are all or nothing, which means that we need to meet our funding goal or all the funds will be returned. We think this project has a lot of potential and we hope you’ll agree.

For 17 years, we’ve allocated grants to innovative farmers to help them put their own ideas to work. Their projects have included a diverse bunch of agricultural enterprises and initiatives: a farm-to-table cooperative, a tool-lending library, myriad farm inventions, ethnic produce projects, re-purposed poultry houses, transitions to organic production, and sustainable farms started by returning veterans. Continue reading

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during these literary months

we highly recommend a few online archives of useful contentScreen shot 2013-12-30 at 3.20.45 PM
to find any book at a public  library near you
to find online books, movies, music.. and a copy of the internet from any period in time
a non corporate version of grooveshark/pandora that lets you experiment with new music that others have posted

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technology criticism, by dave eggers


Ring of Power
‘The Circle,’ by Dave Eggers

Mae Holland, a woman in her 20s, arrives for her first day of work at a company called the Circle. She marvels at the beautiful campus, the fountain, the tennis and volleyball courts, the squeals of children from the day care center “weaving like water.” The first line in the book is: “ ‘My God,’ Mae thought. ‘It’s heaven.’ ”

And so we know that the Circle in Dave Eggers’s new novel, “The Circle,” will be a hell.

The time is somewhere in the not-too-distant future — the Three Wise Men who own and rule the Circle are recognizable as individuals living today. The company demands transparency in all things; two of its many slogans are SECRETS ARE LIES and PRIVACY IS THEFT. Anonymity is banished; everyone’s past is revealed; every­one’s present may be broadcast live in video and sound. Nothing recorded will ever be erased. The Circle’s goal is to have all aspects of human existence — from voting to love affairs — flow through its portal, the sole such portal in the world.

Read the rest of the review here.


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