the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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last chance to register for cornell rotational grazing skills course this weekend!

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credit: Jason Detzel

This weekend, Friday August 25th – Saturday August 26th CCEE Livestock Educator Jason Detzel is running a 2 day hands on clinic on rotational grazing. Over the course of the weekend you will learn the practical skills necessary for implementing a rotational grazing system on your farm to improve the overall health and efficiency of your animals. Rotational grazing systems can also increase your profits by lowering feed costs, improving pasture swards, decreasing on farm labour requirements among a host of other benefits.
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workshop: regenerative agroforestry in hawaii.

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Hawaii based Agroforestry Net and FARM Centre are teaming up to offer the Aloha Syntropica-Regenerative Agroforestry Workshop series in Hawi, North Kohala, Hawaii from August 20th to 31st, 2017. The workshops are designed to immerse farmers in regenerative agroforestry and will include personal training in the theory and practice of planning, planting and managing diverse food forests in a way that is both ecologically and economically sustainable.
Rodale Institute’s 2014 report on regenerative organic agriculture and climate change confirms the value of the work, “Changing farming practices to organic, regenerative and agro-ecological systems can… improve farm profitability and revitalize traditional farming communities while ensuring biodiversity and resilience of ecosystem services.”
Costs:
August 20–25, 2017—Part 1: $1195 ($1075 before July 7)
August 27–31, 2017—Part 2*: $1195 ($1075 before July 7)
Parts 1 & 2: $1995 ($1795 before July 7)
10% early registration discount for payment before July 7
To find out more about this workshop and to register click HERE


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Northern NY Bee Health Survey Results Reveal Insights Into Colony Loss.

 

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Bee colony loss is an increasingly serious issue for the entire beekeeping industry causing in some cases an unsustainable loss of 1/3 of beekeepers operations. In response to increasing levels of colony loss, the first ever survey of parasites and pathogens in regional bee colonies has just been carried out and released by the Northern New York Agricultural Development Programme. The survey participants included 31 beekeepers of all stripes, from hobbyists to commercial beekeepers. Project leader Emma Mullen, a Honey Bee Extension Associate with Cornell University, Ithaca, NY explains that “this project documents for the first time the levels of key parasites and viruses in commercial and hobby bee colonies in Northern New York”. The aim of the project was to contribute to regional knowledge of pathogens affecting bees, and to educate regional beekeepers about ways to protect against relevant pathogens relevant to protect against economic and colony loss. The replacement of a colony can cost between $100 and $200.

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(some more) awesome western ranch apprenticeships

photo credit – Dustin Blakey

The New Agrarian Program at Quivira Coalition has some more really great apprenticeship openings in California and Colorado.

All the details below:

 

Cobblestone Ranch

Eight-Month Ranching Apprenticeship in Chico, California Continue reading


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job opportunities like this signal brighter days

Good Monday to you!

Here in the North East the weather seems hellbent on reminding us that its still winter… so when a job posting like this comes across our desks we feel obligated to share the warmth far and wide.

Most rural communities can trace their origin to some sort of food production. As industries come and go and we find ourselves headed back to the soil – to towns and villages that have been watching the population migrate in the opposite direction – we are reminded that food production can/is/will always be a vital part resilient communities.

And now a wonderful opportunity in Huntly, Scotland.

From the posting:

Town is the Garden: Gardener in Residence

Deveron Projects is an arts organisation based in the rural market town of Huntly, Scotland. Through creative critical work we aim to contribute to the social wellbeing of the town, connecting artists, communities and places. Deveron Projects has no building, instead the town is the venue; acting as studio, gallery and stage for artists of all disciplines invited from around the world to live and work here.

Through artist driven projects we explore, map, inhabit and activate new spaces and places around Huntly. We believe artists are cultural activists that can energise people and communities, adding vitality to our society. By utilising creative and playful processes art can be employed to untangle and overcome real-life challenges, invent and enact alternative possibilities, and help solve problems.

The Town is the Garden is a one-year creative horticultural programme aimed at improving Huntly’s potential to grow more of its own food and create a more sustainable local food economy. Through employing a Gardener in Residence we hope to develop Huntly into a garden town that celebrates locally grown produce.

It’s an ambitious project, but we’re certain there are some well callused greenhorns out there looking to dig into something like this.

You can find out more about this position here.


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an alternative route to farm financing

 

photo credit – Don Graham

Recently a friend of mine ran a pretty successful crowdfunding campaign to help secure a startup loan for her and her partners farm. I had heard of Kiva before (socially focused micro loans) but this was the first time I actually checked the organization out.

Crowd-sourcing has it’s detractors. For a while there it seemed like kickstarter was set to be the worlds largest purveyors of ‘knick-knacks with a purpose’. But given barriers to finance, they actually can be useful tools. It takes town and a community to grow food and it makes sense to have communities and people directly invested in the success of farms and businesses in their regions.

Kiva has a fairly simple concept and for folks that want to go around traditional forms of debt, ie banks, this could be another option. The part of this organization that makes the most sense is that there is 0% interest. Even though I am not a financial specialist, I can state pretty unequivocally that’s a pretty good percent rate for interest! It’s also a unique way to get community buy in for your farm without having to secure 1000 individual small contributions (and the paperwork and legalities that would entail).

Other social, agriculture, and community related crowd financing platforms exist as well. The slow money movement’s Beetcoin is a good example.

So, if you have been looking into different financing to help get things off the ground take a second to look into this organizations and some of the other successful small farms that have used the tool for funding their projects.

you can check Kiva’s site here


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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 difficulties of trying to navigate the world of health care for farmer businesses.

UVM rural sociologist and researcher Shoshanah Inwood 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 the 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