A new farm school grows up in Sebastopol, CA, preparing a new generation of farmers to grow food in the face of changing climate, mounting challenges for family farmers, and a growing public desire for more sustainable ways to feed our world.
Three Illinois organizations have joined forces and answered the call to train more farmers and increase local food production. The Land Connection, Angelic Organics Learning Center, and Food Works recently launched http://www.IllinoisFarmBeginnings.org to attract prospective farmers across Illinois and neighboring states.
These organizations are all part of the Farm Beginnings Collaborative (FBC), a national alliance that promotes the Farm Beginnings training model and curriculum. Farm Beginnings is a yearlong course designed for individuals who want to start their own farm business. The course has trained nearly 400 farmers in Illinois since 2005 and will train at least 50 more during the 2015-2016 course year that begins this fall.
As you may remember from our previous blog post, the Grange Farm School in Mendocino County, CA is a 3-month residential farmer training program that combines classroom instruction with experiential education. The program is halfway through its first term, and the fall session– starts September 1st.
The Grange School curriculum focuses on holistic crop and livestock production, and their three-month terms are oriented towards aspiring farmers. They, “recognize the immediate the need to train farmers to support themselves with economically viable farm operations balanced with our focus on production and distribution methods which emphasize long term environmental responsibility”– and we couldn’t agree more!
The Fall term is $2,000, which includes concurrent enrollment in Mendocino college and credit through the college. The fall curriculum will include everything from plant propagation to composting; raising chickens for eggs and meat to marketing and business skills; harvesting; processing and marketing produce, grains, and orchard fruit; cover cropping; seed saving; and pasture development. The program will also “give students the opportunity to guide the farm through its first months of growth, maintain a succession of diversified livestock for meat and eggs, work with urban gardeners in nearby Ukiah, and build the foundations for this community centered non-profit.”
Value Your Dandelions
Wolfe’s Neck Farm is now accepting applications for thier newly launched an organic dairy farmer training program on our farm in Freeport, Maine. This is an intensive, experiential 18-month residential paid program that offers a high degree of support to help new organic dairy farmers start their own operation.
Ideal applicants will have dairy farm experience and are certain that they want to be a dairy farmer. The curriculum provides a solid background in the fundamentals needed to start and manage a dairy farm (business management, pasture and soil management, and animal health are the main areas we’ll focus on). Our team of experts provides specialized support through training, securing financing, locating land, and during the first few years of operation.
- using garden sheers to trim your bangs
- building a forest fire to barbecue burgers for two
- mincing garlic with a machete
- driving a ton of steel to transport a 150 lbs human body across town
- relying on expensive, petroleum-reliant, highly-commodified tools to support innovative, unconventional, and ecologically-sound small farms
This week in the Food List, the focus is on Appropriate Technology— or, in other words, technology that suits its purposes (in scale, cost, application, etc.). The presented case studies presented prove that when it comes to sustainable, small-scale farming, bigger is not better and one size doesn’t necessarily fit all.
As California’s severe drought drags on, water is top of mind, part of a zeitgeist that the things we’ve done for decades aren’t working so well anymore and never did, for everyone. The Los Angeles Aqueduct is one of them.
The always controversial L.A. Aqueduct is a 233 mile hydraulic water conveyance system that has provided potable water for the City of L.A. since 1913. Today, the water for the aqueduct originates in the Mono Basin, 338 miles away, moves through the Owens Valley, and eventually reaches L.A. through a complex system of siphons, tunnels, dams and reservoirs. The water diversions from Owens Valley effectively killed it, and continue to threaten the ecology of Mono Lake and other areas.
In a refreshing contrast, the Aqueduct Futures (AF) Project “aims to inspire civic imagination about the future of the Los Angeles Aqueduct and Owens Valley” and is “mapping the hidden impacts of the Aqueduct to create a framework for lasting peace between Los Angeles and Owens Valley. 127 Cal Poly Pomona students (and counting), together with the Owens Valley and Mono County communities have contributed ideas to the project.”
Watch a video synopsis of the project on Vimeo and, if you’re in the L.A. area, check out the After the Aqueduct exhibit in person at the L.A. Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), 6522 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90028. The exhibit runs through April 12, 2015.