the irresistible fleet of bicycles

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vote for the hmong american farmers to receive a 500k grant!

HAFA is delighted to be a finalist in theTwins “Fans Choose” All-Star Legacy Giving grant program.

We need your help. As a finalist, we are now competing against six other top organizations for a $500,000 grant. In this final portion of the program, fans get to choose which organization should get the $500,000 grant.

Please go to the Twins “Fans Choose” website and vote for the Hmong American Farmers Association. You can vote once a day, every day until the end of the contest. Voting will begin on June 10 and will end at 4 pm on July 10. The winner of the $500,000 grant will be revealed on Monday, July 14 at Target Field.

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vote for the butterflies!

Tigers on Market Street!

The Western Tiger Swallowtail butterfly (Papilio rutulus) has found habitat on San Francisco’s Market Street. Over the next two years, while Market Street’s ultimate design is in the lurch, the City’s “Make Your Market Street” campaign has invited us to tell this unique story of urban ecological adaptation. The Action Grant will be used towards engaging the public in understanding this unique butterfly phenomenon, create pilot methods for placemaking, and connect people to wildlife in one of the densest urban areas. These interventions will ultimately test ideas that may be integrated into the permanent design of Market Street.

Click to cast your vote!

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belgium: civil action against gmos

Field Liberation Movement

The Field Liberation Movement and its sympathisers promote sustainable solutions for farmers and consumers and a transparent research funding of science in the interest of society.

Public funds should benefit sustainable agriculture, and not the patenting of genes and crops by a handful of multinationals. The position of farmers in the food chain should be strengthened, not weakened.

There are insufficient studies of the risks of GMO’s for humans and the environment. The monoculture that GMOs are designed for do not solve hunger nor enrich biodiversity.

To learn more about the FLM, visit their website HERE!

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cowboys and indians together protesting pipeline

Text by Kristin Moe, photos by Garth Lenz, for the International League of Conservation Photographers.

On April 22, 2014, the dozen or so leather-booted ranchers mounted their horses and lined up in the midday sun. Facing them were an equal number of American Indians, in the regalia of tribes from across the U.S. The two groups stood still, waiting for the signal. Around them, the crowd cheered, photographers snapped photos, and in the background loomed the dome of the U.S. Capitol.

But this was no showdown. Nor was it – despite the banners that said “No Tar Sands, No KXL” – a protest. This was the opening ceremony of Reject and Protect, a five-day gathering of the Cowboy Indian Alliance: a coalition of tribal members, ranchers, and landowners which over the past forty years has come together again and again to fight industrial incursions onto their land. This time, the fight is over the Keystone XL pipeline. Click HERE to read more—->

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guess which corporations are donating millions towards the future farmers of america (ffa)

FFA Organization

According to the FFA website, Monsanto, Pfizer (Monsanto’s pharmaceutical business), Cargill, Dupont and Syngenta donated millions of dollars to the FFA in 2013, and have been awarded “Platinum” and “Gold” sponsorship titles by the organization.  In 2012, a press release from the FFA stated that these companies (and some others) had donated 16.8 million dollars to help “create critical educational opportunities for our students as they grow and learn about the science, business and technology of agriculture.” As a blogger for the Greenhorns who is also a farmer in a very rural area, I feel it necessary to briefly step out from my regular veil of anonymity and give a personal account of the trickle-down effect that I feel corporate sponsorship is having on one particular young student in my area.

I mentor a 14 year-old who wants to be a farmer when he gets out of high school. He comes over to my farm and helps me on
weekends and holidays, where we have long one-on-one discussions about what he’s learning in school. In his ag classes (FFA), he has learned about round-up ready corn/soy and how it is going to feed 9 billion people, yet nothing about the negative effects of farmer health when using chemicals or how wind-pollinated patents can take away your right to save seed. Save seed? I’ve slowly been introducing him to that concept. When I talk to him about all of this and many other aspects of my farm life, I can tell he is conflicted. He’s surrounded by a world where alternative or more natural farming methods are seen as “radical” and looked down upon. The future farmer of America who I mentor won’t go and tell his classmates about what he learned on a given day of working with me because he’s risking his precious/precarious place on the 8th grade FFA social ladder, yet he comes back to my farm every weekend to learn more. In my observations as a mentor, it is my opinion that the millions of agribusiness dollars being funneled towards the FFA are helping to rear a future generation of agricultural intolerance towards non-conventional ways of farming.

As future farmers and as greenhorns, we carry the responsibility of cultivating the next generation of food and farmers. Someone once said that the world is run by those who show up. If Big Ag is showing up in the schools, we’ve got to do something in order to introduce these kids to another option in farming. We may not have millions but we do have the ability to connect with younger generations in a way older generations cannot. We’ve got some leverage in just showing up. If a school near you has a local ag program, call them to see how you can get involved. Volunteers are rarely turned away.


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in solidarity with workers

Our Farm Worker Community needs your help today. As many of you know, Familias Unidas por la Justicia has been in a labor dispute with Sakuma Bros. Farms in Skagit County.  Familias Unidas por la Justicia want a just wage, fair treatment, and decent housing and have been trying to negotiate with the farm since last summer. Many of the Farm Workers have been working at Sakuma Bros. Farms for many years and have helped it become one of the most recognizable names in agriculture within the region. However the workers that have helped the Sakuma Farm throughout the years are now in danger of losing their livelihood because as of Monday April 14, 2014 Sakuma Bros. Farm has applied to bring in over 400 workers under the controversial H-2A program. Under H-2A the farm can displace the families that are already here and have been working at the farm with contracted workers from outside of the US.
We are asking supporters to email Charlene Giles from the Dept. of Labor in Chicago, who plays a critical role in determining the status of the H-2A application that Sakuma applied for and also email Alberto Isiordia from Employment Security Department in Olympia, Washington who also oversees the H-2A process. We want workers to be treated with dignity considering all the contributions they make to our local economy and food system and don’t want the further exploitation for our brothers and sisters with the systemic implementation of a quasi-slave labor force.
We are recommending that the following action be taken: Reject the H-2A application that was submitted by Sakuma Bros. because:
1.      Over 450 workers and families that have been at the farm for years have already committed in returning to work this season
2.      The majority of the 450 workers are already here in the area
3.      Workers that are here locally should be able to work at the farm without fear of reprisals
Please support Familas Unidas por la Justicia.
Charlene Giles
Dept. of Labor
Alberto Isiordia
Employment Security Dept. of WA

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the greenhorns sign and support the petition to stop development on the gill tract farm

A Food Initiative on the Gill Tract Farm

>> Sign Here << Gill Tract Farm

We urge UC Berkeley administration, the UC Regents, and President Napolitano to halt the current development plan for the Gill Tract Farm and enter into a collaborative design process with students and community for the entire Gill Tract Farm.

For over 15 years, faculty, students, and local community have protested the commercial development of the historic Gill Tract Farm and research site, managed by UC Berkeley. These concerned stakeholders have crafted several alternative proposals, advocating for its preservation as an educational resource.  In 2012, after neighbors and students occupied the land in protest of its commercial development, a 1.5 acre section called “Area A” was saved and became a pilot project for a new community-UC collaboration.  That project is flourishing, and we hope to see it grow to all 20 acres rather than the commercial development.

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activism we admire

This video demonstrates how a community is trying to save their water and wetlands and reduce the impact of an unnecessary freeway. Save Little Lake Valley members are requesting that the California Water Quality Control Board order Caltrans, the Department of Transportation in CA., to cease and desist construction on the Willits Bypass. In March 2014 Caltrans is, and has been, in violation of the Water Board permits that are needed to proceed with construction.

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keep the soil in organic

Dear Community,

Eliot Coleman suggests that we educate ourselves about this issue at the National Organic Program to allow for “soil-less” organics. He is one of  dozens of elders in the farm world who are concerned about this issue.  Read up on the issue and sign the petition here: Keep the Soil in  There is one petition for consumers and another for growers.
In short:
Hydroponic growing is a soil-less system in which all the nutrients are supplied to the plants through an irrigation system. There is no soil involved. It is ingenious, and it works well, which is why virtually all the conventional greenhouse vegetables are grown this way. But it is NOT organic. There is no reliance on the microbial activity of the soil to provide the biological diversity that is the basis of organic growing. The old adage for organic farming has always been, “Feed the soil, not the plant.” Hydroponic growing is based on the opposite belief, “Feed the plant, not the soil.” We are not arguing with whether either system can be effective. Most of the world’s vegetables grown in greenhouses are now grown hydroponically. Only the organic growers are following a different, more difficult path.

The stated NOP standard emphasizes that organic growing is based on caring for the soil, but their refusal to prohibit soil-less growing defies their own standard.

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young farmers: join the nop and hold the usda’s feet to the fire!


The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service’s National Organic Program (NOP) is the team that develops and enforces national standards for organically-produced agricultural products. They support consumer confidence that products with the USDA organic seal meet consistent, uniform standards.

In 2014, the NOP will be recruiting for multiple positions, including: Policy Analysts, Accreditation Managers, and Materials Specialists; Compliance and Enforcement Specialists; Communication, Outreach, Training Specialist; and Program Analysts and Administrative Support. Learn more about the NOP and its upcoming recruiting by clicking on this FLYER.

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do you see land grabbing from your front porch?

Map it!  With Farmland Monitor
Create a Digital Postcard
Add a PDF

You can also alert us to land grabbing activity through one of the following channels and we will post the information on your behalf:

  • Email:
  • Call: (202) 543 – 5675
  • Fax: (202) 543 – 0978
  • Mail: National Family Farm Coalition, 110 Maryland Ave, N.E., Suite 307, Washington, D.C. 20002

The Farmland Monitor Project seeks to leverage small farmer and rural community knowledge by creating a space where folks can map instances of farmland purchases for investment, and the companies and contracts involved. Using this platform, NFFC hopes to elevate the issue of land grabbing and generate concrete data to help us pinpoint where land is being taken out of the hands of family farmers.


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