the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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high tech sailors learn how to sprout!

The Ocean Going Farmer
b
y Nick Halmos

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In the fall of 2011, my fellow 11th Hour Racing teammate, Hugh Piggin and I departed from France aboard a Class 40 as competitors in the Transat Jaques Vabre. Over the course of 26 days at sea, we laid a 6000 mile track across the  Atlantic that exited the English Channel, wound south through the Azores, across the Atlantic to Puerto Rico, and a final 1000 mile sprint to Costa Rica. One of the things that set 11th Hour Racing’s entry apart is that our boat, the mighty Cutlass, carried the world’s first carbon fiber oceanic hydroponic system. This first iteration of the Cityblooms Aquatic Project was an effort to grow edible and nutritious produce in the harsh and unforgiving environment that is a shorthanded race boat.

continue reading 


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discourse between sea and shore

An older article, but so relevant.

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The Surf and Turf Connection
By Julie Flaherty

What do farmers and fishermen dream about? A bumper crop of zucchini and calm seas? Perhaps. But both lose sleep over some of the same things: finding markets for their products, transporting their goods cheaply, tapping into the local foods movement and protecting the natural resources on which they both depend.

Although the two groups face similar challenges in keeping their businesses afloat, they rarely compare notes. Two recent graduates in the Friedman School’s Agriculture, Food and Environment Program, Amanda Beal, N11, and Ellen Tyler, N11, are trying to change that. With a grant from the Eat Local Foods Coalition of Maine, they organized a series of forums around the state where farmers and fishermen could get together to talk and swap strategies.

Continue reading here


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small farms quarterly call for submissions

The Small Farms Quarterly is currently seeking articles for their Fall 2014 Issue. SFQSpring2014-2ivj0ud-235x300
The submission deadline is August 8thonline. The target readers are Northeast region farmers and farm families who value the quality of life that smaller farms provide. It is for full-time and part-time farmers, experienced and beginning farmers, and even folks who are just thinking about getting started in farming. There is a focus on the Northeast Region. Articles should be between 1000 and 1300 words and be accompanied by ~2 pictures/graphics. Of specific interest are articles highlighting beginning farmers and their journey, or programs working with beginning farmers.
More information, including example articles, tips on writing, pictures, etc. HERE


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US bullies el salvador on gmo seed

they do not budge.

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Salvadoran Farmers Successfully Oppose the Use of Monsanto Seeds
By Dahr Jamail, Global Research, July 09, 2014

Farmers across El Salvador united to block a stipulation in a US aid package to their country that would have indirectly required the purchase of Monsanto genetically modified (GM) seeds.

Thousands of farmers, like 45-year-old farmer Juan Joaquin Luna Vides, prefer to source their seeds locally, and not to use Monsanto’s GM seeds.

“Transnational companies have been known to provide expired seeds that they weren’t able to distribute elsewhere,” said Vides, who heads the Diversified Production program at the Mangrove Association, a community development organization that works in the Bajo Lempa region of El Salvador. Continue reading


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young farmer writers & artists

Here is another place for your work! The West Marin Review is seeking submissions for its next issue.

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Submission Deadline: September 1, 2014
For publication in 2015

West Marin Review, a literary and arts journal published by Point Reyes Books and Neighbors & Friends, is now accepting submissions of literary works, poetry, and visual art for Volume 6.

Submit only unpublished work in all categories (excerpts from blogs are okay).

Prose and poetry may be submitted online or through U.S. Mail. Visual art may only be submitted through U.S. Mail. To submit prose or poetry online, click here. Continue reading


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factories into farms

In Japan, Idled Electronics Factories Find New Life in Farming
Struggling to Compete with Rivals in South Korea or China, Fujitsu, Toshiba and Others Try Selling Vegetables, Too
By Eric Pfanner and Kana Inagaki, July 6, 2014

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AIZU-WAKAMATSU, Japan—Haruyasu Miyabe used to oversee a computer-chip production line at a Fujitsu Ltd. plant here. One day last year, the plant manager told Mr. Miyabe to prepare for a career change.

“Starting tomorrow, you are going to make lettuce,” he recalls being told.

Amid troubled times in the Japanese electronics industry, Fujitsu shut one of the three chip-making lines at the plant in 2009. Now, in a sterile, dust-free clean room that once built the brains of high-tech gadgets, Mr. Miyabe and a staff of about 30 tend heads of lettuce.


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the shape of crisis, a historical perspective

via the Sustainability Research Institute (SRI)

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Economic Crises, Land Use Vulnerabilities, Climate Variability, Food Security and Population Declines: Will History Repeat Itself or Will Our Society Adapt to Climate Change?
by Evan D. G. Fraser, March, 2009

Abstract
Although many of today’s ecological, climatic and socio-economic problems seem unprecedented, similar events have occurred in the past. Western Europe’s “middle ages” (circa 11-14th century) may be one such case. By the 12th century, medieval Europe had shifted from the subsistence agrarian economy that emerged following the collapse of the Roman Empire to one where spatially dispersed trade in
agricultural commodities helped support a complex society that devoted considerable resources to cultural works. Continue reading


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As part of our effort to report more on issues shared by immigrant as well as citizen farmers

this story about indignities suffered by Basque, Maori and other herders.

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Federal Appeals Court Invalidates Department of Labor Rules That Set Unfair Employment Standards for Sheep and Cattle Herders

Government Must Undertake New Rulemaking to Set Herders’ Wages and Housing Conditions

June 13, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. and foreign herders will benefit from a decision today by the D.C. Circuit to invalidate U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) rules that permit employers to pay herders far less than other agricultural workers and allow lower standards for employer-provided housing, Public Citizen said.

“Today’s decision will force the DOL to reconsider the unjust employment standards that it set for sheep and cattle herders,” said Julie Murray, an attorney at Public Citizen and counsel for the plaintiffs. “It is a victory for U.S. and foreign herders alike, who toil for unconscionably low pay and are often forced to live in abysmal housing conditions.” Continue reading


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young farmers in the news

Organic agriculture attracts a new generation of farmers
by Ricardo Lopez for the LA Times
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By 9 a.m., Jack Motter had been planting peas for hours.

He pushed a two-wheeled contraption that deposited a seed every few inches along neat rows at Ellwood Canyon Farms, just outside Santa Barbara. As clouds gathered overhead, he picked up the pace to avoid losing days of work to the fall rain.

Timing can mean the difference between profit and loss for the 4-year-old farm.

Motter and his business partner, Jeff Kramer, are part of a growing crop of farmers — many of them young — choosing to produce food without pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. As consumers demand more fresh and local food grown with minimal environmental effects, a new generation has taken up organic farming.

The two Brawley, Calif., natives, both 30, have learned that small-scale agriculture is neither easy nor lucrative. Their days on the 15-acre farm start at dawn and end with exhaustion.

“There’s nothing romantic about it,” Kramer said. “It’s hard work and long hours for little pay.”

Agriculture officials are hoping more young people heed the call to till the land, whether organically or conventionally, as the average age of California farmers continues to climb. It hit 58 in 2012, up by nearly two years from 2007, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s most recent census.

read the full text here & watch a great video that accompanies the piece.


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china’s new agrarians

How China’s young idealists are turning to the soil
by Carrie Gracie for the BBC

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In June 1989, on the orders of China’s ruling Communist Party, the army crushed pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square, killing hundreds of people. Twenty-five years on, a different type of protest against the values of modern China has emerged.

My hunt for China’s young idealists, the inheritors of the Tiananmen spirit, started with a three hour drive through snarled traffic. Ironically the route took me first across the north end of Tiananmen Square, under the gaze of Chairman Mao’s portrait on the gate of heavenly peace.

Then west along the avenue of eternal tranquillity, the very same route the tanks took in the opposite direction 25 years ago, rumbling into the heart of Beijing to kill both an untold number of young people and the idealism of a generation.

These public spaces haven’t changed much, but the Beijing beyond is unrecognisable from the one the students marched through a quarter of a century ago. No more mule carts, markets and teeming brick alleys. Beijing has supersized – it’s now all six-lane ring roads, high rise glass and concrete.

The young idealists I was hunting had renounced city life and decamped to the countryside. After much to-ing and fro-ing on bumpy tracks, we finally stumbled upon a flaking sign proclaiming the Righteous Path farm.

continue reading HERE

 


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urban ag in baltimore

URBAN GREEN: HOOP HOUSES REPLACE ROW HOUSES IN BALTIMORE’S SANDTOWN
by Alia Malek

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BALTIMORE, Md. — In Sandtown, Douglas Wheeler looks out with satisfaction over the abandoned city-block-turned-farm where he works growing all sorts of greens and lettuce — “but never iceberg” — and remembers how it used to be.

“This lot was a garden of trash,” he says. “With rats all over the place.”

Before they were demolished in 2005, the block had 27 row houses, most of them long boarded up and abandoned, transformed from icons of Baltimore pride to casualties of the blight brought on the city by deindustrialization, unemployment, addiction and the war on drugs.

Until the 1960s, Sandtown was part of the vibrant 72 square blocks that made up a family-based, African-American community where laborers, professionals and artists all lived together across socioeconomic lines. The quarter took its name from the horse-drawn wagons that would trail sand through its streets after filling up at the local sand and gravel quarry. Thurgood Marshall graduated from Sandtown’s Frederick Douglass High School, locals Cab Calloway and Billie Holiday sang in the legendary jazz clubs on Pennsylvania Avenue, and any kid could get some wood, build a box and make a few bucks on that main drag shining shoes.

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is it in the gluten or is it the glyphosate (round-up)?

 

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From Examiner.com, February 18, 2014

New evidence points to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, as the culprit in the rise of gluten intolerance, celiac disease and irritable bowel syndrome. A study just published in the Journal of Interdisciplinary Toxicology (Vol. 6(4): 159–184 ) by Anthony Samsel and Stephanie Seneff explains how the nearly ubiquitous use of glyphosate as a crop desiccant is entering our food chain and making us ill.

Pre-harvest application of glyphosate to wheat and barley as a desiccant was suggested as early as 1980 and its use as a drying agent 7-10 days before harvest has since become routine. It is now used on all grain crops, rice, seeds, dried beans and peas, sugar cane, sweet potatoes, and sugar beets. According to thePulse Growers Association in Canada (legume growers), “Desiccants are used worldwide by growers who are producing crops that require ‘drying down’ to create uniformity of plant material at harvest. These products may also assist in pre-harvest weed control. In Canada, products such as diquat (Reglone) and glyphosate (Roundup) have been used as desiccants in pulse crops in the past, and there are new products on the way. ” To read more, click HERE


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important article

Realities of Shifting to a Sustainable Economy
by John Fullerton

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“The true nature of the international system under which we were living was not realized until it failed.”  —Karl Polanyi

A transition to a sustainable economy requires not only population stabilization, breakthroughs in resource productivity and checks on material consumption, but also constraints on aggregate investment. Built into the DNA of finance is the goal of optimizing relatively short-term returns on investment, which, when successful, induces exponential growth in the aggregate stock of financial capital. When that expanding stock of financial capital is then reinvested, it spurs ever-increasing demands for natural resources and pressure on waste sinks. The contradiction between the finite scale of the biosphere and the endless growth of finance capital will be resolved either through crisis or, as advocated here, through foresight and remedial action. Shifting the economic system demands a fundamental transformation of finance, at least for the real investment decisions of the largest actors in the economy. We must view this profound shift as a critical national and global security priority that will require unprecedented intervention by governing institutions on the public’s behalf. 

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