the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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happy boy farms needs your help!

happy boy farms flood

For over 20 years, the good people at Happy Boy Farms have been providing delicious organic produce to loyal customers throughout Northern California and the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Now more than ever, though, they need your help as unfortunately it is possible to have too much of a good thing:

Last year at this time, we prayed for rain, as we had experienced significant crop failure due to years of drought. This winter, we got what we prayed for, and it has rained, and rained, and rained, resulting in flooding that has caused catastrophic damage to our farm.  While we know the risk of farming fresh, organic produce looms large, this winter season has hit us harder than any of our 25 years growing organically. A thirty foot river of water swept away our tractor while wiping  out over 100 acres of crops ready for harvest.  Meanwhile, the flooding has prevented us from accessing 80 acres of our fields to plant for the upcoming spring crops.  In all, over 1/2 of our productive land is inaccessible. Furthermore, several large electric motors that power our wells have been ruined by flood waters. Now more than ever, the generosity of our dedicated customer base will help to determine the future of our farm.

There’s a Go Fund Me campaign set up to help out this wonderful farm in their time of need. Feel free to donate large or small and please help spread the word by sharing this post and the following link:

https://www.gofundme.com/happyboyfarms


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talking empires: cotton and capitalism

Cotton Farmers

Want to dive deep into the relationship between the history of cotton farming, capitalism, and the global economy? Then Sven Beckert, author of Empire of Cotton: A Global History, is your man. He’s a historian who knows all things cotton and his book was described by the New York Times as:

…a major work of scholarship that will not be soon surpassed as the definitive account of the product that was, as Beckert puts it, the Industrial Revolution’s “launching pad.”

More than that, “Empire of Cotton” is laced with compassion for the millions of miserably treated slaves, sharecroppers and mill workers whose labors, over hundreds of years, have gone into the clothes we wear and the surprising variety of other products containing cotton, from coffee filters to gunpowder.

If you don’t, however, have the time to read all 640 pages of Sven’s book, check out the video in the link below. It’s a recent lecture that he gave at the New School in New York that’s guaranteed to make you more informed and super smart!

https://www.c-span.org/video/?324267-1/empire-cotton


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stay local but stay informed

Interested to know what’s going on in the global agrarian movement? We do our best to cover stories from across the globe, but… there’s a lot going on. One way we keep informed on all of the work of our fellow farmers is through La Via Campesina.

La Via Campesina is the international movement which brings together millions of peasants, small and medium-size farmers, landless people, women farmers, indigenous people, migrants and agricultural workers from around the world. It defends small-scale sustainable agriculture as a way to promote social justice and dignity. It strongly opposes corporate driven agriculture and transnational companies that are destroying people and nature.

Continue reading


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get regenerative: watch this inspiring keynote on no-till practices

Those of us lucky enough to be at the NOFA Mass Winter Conference this year were privileged to see Elizabeth and Paul Kaiser of Singing Frogs Farm in Sebastopol, CA give this Keynote speech. You’ve never seen no-till farming look this easy or this sensical. Skip to minute 27 to see my favorite part: 45 minutes of bed changeover condensed in a 45 second time lapse video.


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call for film submissions for change making tool-kits

unnamed-7

Real Food Films is calling for filmmakers to submit projects by April 1st that correspond to the themes of:

  • Crafting Public Policies for Public Health: Taking on Big Soda
  • Building Power with Food Workers
  • Tackling Climate Change Through Food

Selected films will be included in their 2017 Organizing Toolkits, which will be jam-packed with educational materials for groups and individuals interested in working in food system reform.


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holy, moly, 2017 ranch apprenticeships!

photo credit – Lars Plougmann

Great news! We found a couple exceptional ranching apprenticeship opportunities with The Quivira Coalition New Agrarian Program. The organization is seeking some eager greenhorns for several 2017 positions on ranches out west.

The New Agrarian Program offers apprenticeships in regenerative agriculture through partnership with mentor ranchers and farmers who are part of the Quivira community. In particular, this program aims to build resilience on Western lands by training the next generation of stewards in agricultural best practices, and by training ranchers and farmers to be mentors.

Our apprenticeship program works closely with carefully selected rancher and farmer mentors who are dedicated stewards of the land; practice beyond organic, regenerative methods of food production; provide excellent animal care; and who are natural teachers for young agrarians.

There are still 4 positions open!

Inline image 1Brett Gray Ranch

Eight-Month Ranching Apprenticeship in Rush, CORound River Resource Management, LLC is a land resource and livestock management company dedicated to restoring and improving agricultural operations through the principles of Holistic ManagementTM in a sustainable manner and consistent with the goals of the resource owner.The name Round River is derived from the metaphorical river described by Aldo Leopold that flows endlessly into itself, circling around and around in a never ending circuit that symbolizes the current of life. Leopold’s illustration describes the manner in which energy streams from the soil into plants, then into animals and finally back into the soil in a continuous circuit of life. Round River Resource Management was founded in 2008 to manage the Brett Gray Ranch and other agricultural enterprises following the principles of Holistic ManagementTM and to provide educational and business opportunities that help young, innovative people enter the ranching business.Start Date: Flexible start date.
TO APPLY: Please email a resume and letter of interest to Louis Martin at louis@roundriver.biz.

Cobblestone Ranch

Eight-Month Ranching Apprenticeship in Chico, CAThe Cobblestone Ranch is a sheep operation based on private property and on federal wildlife refuge lands managed specifically for wildlife habitat. Breanna Owens runs approximately two hundred ewes (with expansion plans over the next few years to increase to five hundred ewes). She uses a rotational grazing strategy on the refuge with the overall goal of maintaining and enhancing wildlife habitat and specific goals of reducing thatch, shrub and weed control, and stimulating new herbaceous growth. She moves the sheep one to two times a week, in paddocks ranging from one to five acres depending on seasonality and management objectives. Owens sells lambs as grass-fed and -finished either as feeder lambs to a direct marketer or as finished lambs to a regional processor. She plans on transitioning a portion of the flock to organic and selling through a regional CSA.Start Date: Flexible start date.
TO APPLY: Please email a resume and letter of interest to Bre Owens at breowens5@gmail.com.

James Ranch Artisan Cheese

Eight-Month Dairy and Cheesemaking Apprenticeship in Durango, COJames Ranch Artisan Cheese manages a small herd of Jersey cows for the production of raw milk and small-batch cheeses in the beautiful Animas Valley near Durango, Colorado. Operated by Dan and Becca James, James Ranch Artisan Cheese is one of several family-run enterprises on the larger James Ranch. This dairy and cheesemaking apprenticeship offers professional training for aspiring agrarians committed to a life and career at the intersection of conservation, sustainable agriculture, and artisan foods. The apprenticeship includes hands-on experience with all aspects of dairy operation and cheese production, including low-stress animal handling, milking, cheese making, affinage, biological monitoring, marketing, financial planning, Holistic Management, and land stewardship.Start Date: Before April 1.
TO APPLY: Please email a resume and letter of interest to Dan and Becca James at cheese@jamesranch.net.

Vilicus Farms

Eight-Month Grain Farming Apprenticeship in Havre, MTVilicus Farms is a first generation, nationally recognized organic, dryland crop farm located in northern Hill County, Montana. Established in 2009, Vilicus Farms grows a diverse array of heirloom and specialty grains, pulse, oilseed and broadleaf crops within a 5+year rotation on approximately 5,000 acres. Vilicus Farms practices advanced land stewardship at a scale that matters. The Vilicus Farms Apprenticeship is intended to be a multi-season training and mentoring program that immerses highly motivated young professionals in organic farm operation and management – a journey that ultimately ends in farm ownership. Doug and Anna understand the challenges of taking a farm from vision to reality. Through the Vilicus Farms apprenticeship program they hope to give beginning farmers a real opportunity to start a successful organic dryland crop farm in the Northern Great Plains.Start Date: Before April 1.

TO APPLY: Please email a resume and letter of interest to Anna Crabtree-ones at anna@vilicusfarms.com.


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support the young farmer success act

Hey friends, Last month, Reps. Joe Courtney (D-CT), Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA) and John Faso (R-NY) reintroduced the Young Farmer Success Act (H.R. 1060), a bill to provide student loan forgiveness to young farmers.
This is an initiative which could have a very positive impact, not only on current farmer, but by encouraging more young folks to join us in the field.
Tell your representative’s that this is an important issue! Take a moment to head over to the National Young Farmers Coalition to sign on.