the irresistible fleet of bicycles

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join greenhorns and uci professor eric freyfogle for drinks and a talk this friday!

Extra! Extra!

Come out this Friday Nov 21st in NYC for a short talk by esteemed author and University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaigne professor of Law Eric Freyfogle, followed by drinks and a discussion of land rights.

Friday November 21st, 6-8 pm
at Jimmy’s 43
43 East 7th Street
Between 2nd & 3rd Avenues
New York, NY

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Today, we face an unprecedented demographic consolidation of farmland ownership, with 70% of farmland owned by those 65 and older. An estimated 400 million acres will change hands in the next 20 years, which is just about the size of the Louisiana Purchase. Retiring farmers need to cash out, and entering farmers struggle to cash in, while economists predict massive consolidation in ownership as a result. What are the implications of this moment? What are the political and economic consequences of financialization? And, most importantly, how can we impact the decisions on the ground?

We face this cultural, economic, and environmental dilemma from a landscape perspective, with ownership-regimes at its root.

Join us as Eric Freyfogle, Swanlund Chair at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, helps set the context of our current predicament, and inform our collective work supporting a shift to a new food paradigm. Eric’s books include: The Agrarian Reader, Wilderness Law,  On Private Property: Finding Common Ground on the Ownership of Land (Beacon Press, 2007; paper ed. 2009) and The Land We Share: Private Property and the Common Good (Island Press, 2003; paper ed. 2011), along with two law school casebooks, Natural Resources Law: Private Rights and Collective Governance (Thomson/West, 2007) and Property Law: Power, Governance, and the Common Good (Thompson/West 2012. 

Eric will be joined by North Carolinian board member of Agrarian Trust, Jean Willoughby who directs the Agricultural reinvestment project of RAFI, the Rural Advancement Foundation International, and heads up their new Cooperative Development program for farmer-owned cooperative enterprises.  As well we’ll hear about land reform efforts in NYC with Caroline Woolard, artist and organizer of and She is working on commons based solutions for  affordable housing for artists and low income New Yorkers.  Moderating the session is Severine v T Fleming, founder of Greenhorns, board secretary of Farm Hack, and founding board member of Agrarian Trust.

Hope to see you there!

Read more about the event HERE.

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from the archives: “they teach people ignorance”


Todays post is the text of an opinion piece written by William C Gehrke and published in The Kansas Union Farmer on April 16, 1936! Gehrke does an incredible job of articulating the benefits of organizing farmers, the challenges posed by hegemonic education, and the insufficiency of “rugged individualism and the gold standard.” His remarks are stunningly insightful and relevant to our situation today.

Union Farmer Editors: The following article by Mr. Gehrke contains so much that is good that we feel it is worthy of a front page position.

“They Teach People Ignorance”

William C. Gehrke

I am taking up the suggestion of A.W. Ricker of Minnesota by giving my personal reflections in the following comments.

Having lived on the farm for 27 years, only absent long enough to take my four years of college work, I still feel my interests are just as strongly with you. However, any views I hold I do so in the interests and welfare of all concerned, rather than just our particular class. I feel highly honored to be a member of the Farmers Union because of the principles for which they stand and the democratic procedure that governs the organization. In the Unions [sic] workings and philosophy, I can see the more abundont life so many desire yet I can see many of the shortcomings that prevent this attainment. I sometimes marvel at the faith, patience, and endurance of the leaders and its members knowing what the odds are against them. In spite of these known odds they struggle on slowly gaining those things necessary for the abundant life. I wish we had a better way to get more people including the farmers to see all our problems from a social viewpoint. By that I mean that every action of ours should be tested in the light as to how it will affect our fellowmen rather than the selfish motive that prompts each individual to get the better things at the expense of someone else.

There is a rather hopeless situation before the mass of people to which you and I belong. Remember there are just two classes of people—there are the ruling class and the ruled class. When we go to the records of ancient civilizations we find the grim face that most of our civilizations were built with a certain group bearing the brunt, generally known as slaves. It is common knowledge that in the United States we hear more about economic freedom, personal freedom, and freedom of the press than in most other countries, yet little realize the numerous obstacles that prevent us from really exercising these. Physical slavery, where the master drives with a long whip, is of course a scene that would be hard to find. But there are so many ways of accomplishing the same purpose; such as monetary control, real wages and monetary wages, false advertising, biased court decisions, false newspaper propaganda, and many others. Continue reading

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how to shrink the economy without crashing it

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Check out the text of Richard Heinberg’s talk at the recent Techno-Utopianism conference in New York.

How to Shrink the Economy without Crashing It: A Ten-Point Plan
The human economy is currently too big to be sustainable. We know this because Global Footprint Network, which methodically tracks the relevant data, informs us that humanity is now using 1.5 Earths’ worth of resources.
We can temporarily use resources faster than Earth regenerates them only by borrowing from the future productivity of the planet, leaving less for our descendants. But we cannot do this for long. One way or another, the economy (and here we are talking mostly about the economies of industrial nations) must shrink until it subsists on what Earth can provide long-term.
Saying “one way or another” implies that this process can occur either advertently or inadvertently: that is, if we do not shrink the economy deliberately, it will contract of its own accord after reaching non-negotiable limits. As I explained in my book The End of Growth,there are reasons to think that such limits are already starting to bite. Indeed, most industrial economies are either slowing or finding it difficult to grow at rates customary during the second half of the last century. Modern economies have been constructed to require growth, so that shrinkage causes defaults and layoffs; mere lack of growth is perceived as a serious problem requiring immediate application of economic stimulus. If nothing is done deliberately to reverse growth or pre-adapt to inevitable economic stagnation and contraction, the likely result will be an episodic, protracted, and chaotic process of collapse continuing for many decades or perhaps centuries, with innumerable human and non-human casualties. This may in fact be the most likely path forward.

You can read the rest of the talk HERE.

To learn more about Richard Heinberg HERE and The Carbon Institute, at which he is a member, HERE.

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Grange to Honor Farmers who Pioneered CSA

Originally posted on The Call of the Land::

CSAceremonyA thoughtful Grange chapter plans to honor three farmers who helped pioneer the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) movement in the USA. The event is set for Sunday, November 23 at the Monadnock Center for History and Culture, and it’s sponsored by the Peterborough Grange #35 in New Hampshire.

CSA has multiplied from just two USA farms in the late 1980s to as many as 10,000 CSA farms now according to some estimates, with many thousands of other CSAs in nations all across the globe.

In the early era of CSA, in parallel with efforts at Indian Line Farm in Western Massachusetts, the three New Hampshire farmers — Trauger Groh, Lincoln Geiger and Anthony Graham — initiated the Temple Wilton Community Farm.

Land for the Temple-Wilton Community farm is held in common by the community through a legal trust. Pictured founding members Lincoln Geiger, Anthony Graham, and Trauger Groh. Photo courtesy of Trauger Groh.

Land for the Temple-Wilton Community farm is held in common through a legal trust. Pictured circa 1986 are founders Lincoln Geiger, Anthony Graham, and Trauger Groh.

Their innovative…

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audio from the techno utopia conference is now available online

45 LEADING SCHOLARS, AUTHORS AND ACTIVISTS (including our own Severine von Tscharner-Fleming) convened at The Great Hall of Cooper Union, New York City, for a public “TEACH-IN” on the profound impacts—environmental, economic and social—of runaway technological expansionism and cyber immersion; the tendency to see technology as the savior for all problems. A change of direction is required, returning the fate of nature to the center of economic and social decision making.

Click here to listen to the amazing panel discussions by this event.

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help bring food justice to thousands more in the bay area

There is something magical that happens when you first put your hands in soil and plant. Not only are you transforming the land, you’re transforming yourself. Unfortunately, there is a lack of land in the Bay Area for people to experience this.

But, your support of urban agriculture is part of a revolution. Together, we’ve planted more than 300 urban gardens throughout the Bay Area in homes, schools, community centers, Stanislaus County Juvenile Commitment Center, and San Quentin State Prison.

With a freshwater spring and an abundance of Life, this farm sits on sacred land that has nurtured people for thousands of years. Our watershed stewardship practices, including one mile of countoured swales and neighborhood-scale rain-water catchment, will honor the past and future of this land, regenerate the creek and freshwater spring, and model drought-resilient solutions.

 The farm will be home to 1,000 fruit and nut trees, a native and edible plant nursery, and an education center with a mission to bring permaculture to the people. It will be the largest food forest farm in the Bay Area, create dozens of living-wage jobs, and provide the freshest and most affordable organic fruit, nuts, berries, vegetables, herbs, and medicine to thousands of Bay Area residents.

But we can’t transform this land without your help!

Your donation to our #5acrefarm will bring us one plant closer to this 5-acre food forest.



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