the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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talkin healthcare for farmers

Farmer Taylor Hutchinson photo credit: Kathleen Masterson/VPR

Taylor Hutchinson – photo credit: Kathleen Masterson/VPR

Folks, this is a pretty important conversation!

Already on the margins of income, new farmers face an especially challenging prospect when it comes to budgeting for health insurance.

The good people over at Vermont Public Radio recently did a show on the challenges new farmers face when trying to navigate the world of health insurance.

UVM researcher Shoshanah Inwood, who focuses on rural communities, says when they asked farmers about issues they faced, she expected to hear about cost of land, inputs, neighbors, but was surprised to learn that health care was on all participants minds.

“The number one issue facing farmers was the cost of health insurance. They identified that as the biggest threat to their farm,” she said.

“Well, how many people know a farmer that has an injury? Or a farm family that has a chronic health issue? Or a mental health issue?’ And everybody’s hand goes up,” Inwood said. “And that’s the one issue we really never talk about, are some of those social needs that farm families have.”

Let’s just say this now: health care as a right not a privilege!

You can hear the VPR interview with farmer Taylor Hutchinson (Footprint Farm) and read the full article here 

 


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“ditching NAFTA” may hurt american farmers, but which ones?

https://www.npr.org/player/embed/515380213/515638250

NPR’s The Salt spoke to American farmers growing products (strawberries) in and outsourcing their products (milk, powdered) to Mexico. And no doubt, these industrial farmers will either pay more to import and export their crops and could lose potential markets. Given, however, that NAFTA’s effect on small and medium farms in this country– which we rarely mentioned in the discussion– has been largely detrimental, and NAFTA’s effect on small farmers in Mexico has been unequivocally disastrous, we wonder how this conversation could be extended to address small-scale sustainable agriculture.  Greenhorns, policy buffs, what do you think? Surely, it is not always true that what is bad for industrialized ag is good for sustainable ag, but….

What do you think, Greenhorns, specifically our economics buffs out there, what will it mean for young agrarians and small farms if the US “ditches NAFTA?”


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urban farming fellowships in berkeley, california

If you’re between the ages of 21 and 31 and looking for an incredible opportunity to learn about urban farming, listen up! Urban Adamah in Berkeley, CA is now accepting applications for its three-month fellowship program. Not only do you learn the ins and outs of growing delicious organic food in the city, but the program also incorporates social justice training, mindfulness, and progressive Jewish learning and living. No prior experience is needed.

Entering its 5th year of educating young farmers, the fellowship has a fee on a sliding scale between $600 and $3000, which includes housing, food, and all program-related expenses. There are opportunities in the spring, summer, and fall, but apply soon as spots fill up quickly.

Learn more by watching the video above and clicking HERE.


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“agriculture has been one of the greatest blessings and curses to civilization”

Mark Shepard.jpg

Curious about the title to this post? An upcoming three-day workshop in Stephentown, NY will dive deep into our problematic agricultural system and how permaculture and restorative practices can provide solutions. Taught by restoration agriculture guru Mark Shepard, the workshop runs from April 28th through April 30th at beautiful Back the Land Farm.

As we have inherited the tradition, agriculture requires massive inputs of energy to sow, harvest, and spread various biocides.   This has had devastating effects on the environment and society.  Restoration Agriculture seeks to use what we know about ecology to create food-producing systems that will require no additional energy inputs and  yield an abundance for generations to come.

It will be a fun and inspirational weekend! Camping is available on site, lunch and dinner are provided, and the whole kit and caboodle costs $550 with some early bird discounts available. Learn more and buy tickets HERE and read Mark Shepard’s bio HERE.


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rerural: notes on engaging with our towns

gaspesie

By Samuel Oslund

Urban-rural disconnect, elite-working class divide, pancakes vs waffles, oh the ever increasing list of simplistic binaries that are the focus of so much airtime these days! It seems the ‘enemies’, whichever side your on, are pretty clear.

Or are they? Perhaps the very nature of ‘Othering’ each-other is the surest ways to deepen rivalries while distracting us from the real architects of oppression.

In the after-wake of the Occupy movement many of us were left with questions of how to make actual change happen. It’s still debatable whether Occupy was a ‘success’, but one very important thing we learned from that movement was just how inaccessible and out of touch those in power have become. Given how removed we are from the highest seats of decision making, the traditional forms of political engagement have become, at best, a way to prevent things from getting much worse, a status quo with a downward leaning trajectory. Continue reading


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learn to farm in faith at the parish school in norwood, oh

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Applications being accepted now for Parish Farming School in Norwood, OH.
All who are interested in the intersection of urban farming, food and faith are invited to submit an application to the Parish Farming School of Eucharistic Discipleship in Norwood, Ohio (a city smack dab in the middle of Cincinnati). It is a chance to explore — from within the framework of the Christian tradition — some of the biological, ecological, economic, cultural, and theological realities that shape our understanding of what it means to bear the image of the triune God in post-industrial America. This residential internship offers an integrated learning experience, as interns will study, work, make meals, pray, feast, fast, laugh, and learn together.
Applications are due March 20, 2017. More information can be found here.
You can learn more about the work of the Parish Farming School from this NPR story, this article from the Regent World, and this article from Compassionomics.