the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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call for film submissions

photo credit – Nino Rocha

Tales from Planet Earth, an environmental themed film fesitival, is looking for submissions to the upcoming 2017 event in Madison.

The theme for this years festival is ‘Land’! Does that resonate with you?

“Standing Rock. Idle No More. The Landless Worker’s Movement. Across the globe, land dispossession—both past and present—is bringing together new alliances and collective actions in the struggle for the rights and sovereignty of local peoples to determine their own futures. The 6th biennial Tales from Planet Earth will showcase stories that inform, challenge, and inspire audiences to rethink relationships to land in an era where greed, corruption, and resource demands are swallowing up ancestral and customary lands, severing cultural traditions rooted in the earth, and threatening the livelihoods, sovereignty, and self-determination of communities throughout the world.”

Filmmakers interested in having films considered for the festival should email the festival project manager, Peter Boger, at pgboger@gmail.com no later than May 1st with a brief synopsis of their film and any other relevant information. We will follow up if we are interested in viewing a screener of the film to consider for the festival program.

 


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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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the conversation continues: hydroponics divorce people even further from the stewardship of the land

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This recent submission to our series on whether or not hydroponics should be considered organic comes from Joanna Storie, a Doctoral candidate in the Department of Landscape Architecture at the Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences of Estonian University of Life Sciences. She takes a similar stance on hydroponics to our last contributor, adding that hydroponics are not sustainable agriculture in that they divert attention from strengthening rural economies and reinforce urban ways of being that divorce people further from the land.

Have something to add? Email submissions to greenhornsblog@gmail.com.

In your recent blog you asked the question on whether hydroponics is organic or not and I have to agree that it is not. The following statement sums it up for me:


“Hydroponics may be a fine way to grow food and it might be an important part of how cities feed themselves in the future, but it’s no more a form of sustainable agriculture than producing wood fiber in a laboratory is a form of sustainable forest management.”

It also worries me that Hydoponics divorce people even further from the idea of stewardship of the land– which is something that makes the urban areas increasingly vulnerable, because– even if they can produce food in the cities using hydroponic techniques– this will not be the sum total of their food supply.

Recently I submitted an abstract for a conference, which took the position against urban-centric ways of structuring our society, arguing that “rural social networks need to be seen as inherently valuable to the resilience of the whole region.”

I think the hydroponics fits into the urban 24/7 mindset, which values cheap food and devalues rural social network,  thus exacerbating the situation of removing people further from the knowledge of healthy food and healthy environments.


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“hydroponics is not organic — it’s not even agriculture”

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Last week we asked the Greenhorns network what you think about the vertical farm. A perennially contentious idea, are hydroponics the way to the future or are they a hackneyed and ultimately artificial solution to the current crises of our food systems. The following submission on hydroponics comes from Matthew Hoffman, a Fulbright Scholar, Norwegian Centre for Rural Research, who argues vehemently that hydroponic farming be removed from organic certification.  Send us your opinions at greenhornsblog@gmail.com!

The farmers market in Jack London Square in Oakland, California was a bustling scene when I worked there in the late 1990s, and my customers liked to tell me how devoted they were to organic agriculture.

I remember one devotee in particular.  Her tote bag bulged with produce and her brow wrinkled beneath the brim of her floppy hat as she stopped one day to study the sign above my new display of organic flowers.  At length she turned to me and said, “How can flowers be organic?”

This was not the first time that I realized a devoted customer had no idea what organic meant.  So I explained to her about how organic farmers take care of the land, maintaining healthy soil and a healthy environment for plants to grow in without the use of synthetic chemicals—and how organic practices apply just the same to flowers and fields of grass as to lettuces and bell peppers.

She nodded thoughtfully and seemed to appreciate this explanation, but then she frowned again and asked, “What does it matter if you’re not eating them?” Continue reading


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ca: nominate a local food hero!

Every February, at the annual Farmers Guild-Raising, our community recognizes individuals making a difference by contributing to a stronger local food economy, promoting food justice and empowering a new generation of agrarians. If you know someone deserving of such acknowledgement, use the form below to nominate one or several people from your food and farming community. Nominations due February 12th, awarded the evening of February 20th.

Nominate HERE


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call for submissions for the new farmers almanac

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Time to submit to the NEW FARMER’S ALMANAC vol. III

Agrarians and stewards of all types, young and old, seasoned and greenhorn, we want to hear from you! We’ve begun the process of compiling submissions to the New Farmer’s Almanac: vol III. Awash in fascinating content, we want more!

The upcoming Almanac will explore the theme of The Commons, drawing from folklore, mathematical projections, empirical, emotional and geographical observations of theory and praxis. As farmers we hold space in many interwoven commons—the carbon sequestered in the soil, the water cycling through our landscapes, the biodiversity of the insect resources living among our operations, and all the other natural and human-crafted systems in which we function.

Possibilities for our shared future would seem to rest on how these intersecting commons are governed, particularly at the juncture of humanity and ecology where we make our workplace. In re-visiting the Almanac format we assert our version of Americana—one which might better lay the cultural groundwork to serve the information needs of today’s young farmers, field hands, and land workers of all kinds—and equip ourselves for the challenges of rebuilding the food system and restoring a more democratic, more diverse, and more resilient foundation for society.

We face a dystopian future, with guaranteed-unpredictable weather, the impending collapse of the fossil fuel economy, endlessly consolidating monopolies, and a country that is, for the first time in our history, majority urban. That’s why the Almanac is a utopian publication, one that reminds today’s farmers about the foundational concepts of an agrarian democracy—themselves utopian.

But we also reject the self-propelling logic of techno-utopia—dependent upon extraction economies which, through enclosure of common resources, bleed out our land, resources, and people. We orient ourselves instead toward the words of Ursula Le Guin, who reminds us that our intent in utopian thinking should not be “reactionary, nor even conservative, but simply subversive. It seems that the utopian imagination is trapped, like capitalism and industrialism and the human population, in a one-way future consisting only of growth.”

We want to hear from you on your engagements with the Commons and all its intricacies—marine and terrestrial, tragic and elemental, constantly under assault and yet inexorable in the persistence of its promise. Send us astronomical data, exercises in cooperation, reading lists, games, poems, rants, historical accounts, animal handling instructions, illustrations, guides to any and all aspects of farming and stewardship, recipes, health suggestions, thoughts, dreams, plans, schematics, even computer code if you’ve got some that’s applicable. We’re open to everything!

Text submissions should be around 700 words. Visual materials should be submitted as 600 dpi grayscale images, formatted as .tiff, .psd, or .jpg files.

If you’ve got ideas and want to run them by us beforehand, please do so by Jan. 10, 2016. Submissions are due by Feb. 1, 2016!

Send submissions to almanac@thegreenhorns.net

Questions or further information needs? Email us at the above address.

Onward!

Information about the 2015 New Farmer’s Almanac here, for sale here.  More on our 2013 New Farmer’s Almanac (on sale for $20) here. Questions about the 2015 Almanac? Send us an email