“We live and die by chemical agriculture”. In the age of rampant use of chemicals such as the dreaded dicamba, truer words have perhaps never been spoken. Zachary Michael Jack, Iowa View contributor recently writes in the Des Moines Register about stark contrast between pesticide and herbicide spraying in the 80’s during his childhood versus the situation today. In times past, farmers applied chemicals to their crops when the winds was calm, and neighbours knew even then to bring their children inside away lest they be exposed to these toxic clouds.
“Sadly, the common-sense, Golden Rule honor code that held sway in the fields each spring in my 1980s Iowa boyhood no longer holds. And for those of us who still live on the farm but don’t engage in chemical-intensive large-scale farming, the results are both toxic and terrifying. Farmers now routinely spray their seasonal herbicides in winds so fierce even private pilots think twice about taking off. We watch as wind-driven clouds of chemicals drift across our fields and into our children’s lungs, onto our plants and trees, and, through the cracks and fissures of our old farmhouses, right into our very homes.”
As formerly rural populations have become increasingly urbanised, chemical hungry crops have become the dominant life-form and rural human populations are suffering from higher mortality levels as a result. Jack goes as far as describing those relocating to urban and suburban areas as rural refugees. And yet he does not call for these farmers, generally good, down to earth people, to cease their spraying, but rather makes a poignant plea that they reinstate the golden rule honor code out of concern not for himself, but for the rural children who have no choice but to breathe this chemical laden air.
Click HERE to read the full article on the Des Moines Register.
Growing Magazine recently published a good examination of community finance, community resilience and community agriculture – the CSA model. They profile 3 different farms: Brookford Farm in NH, Norwich Meadows Farm NY, and Prairierth Farm IL, all of whom are practicing a modified, diversified form of CSA and are thriving! Continue reading
The Common Friars are men and women, married and single, lay and ordained, of an emerging monastic order in the Episcopal Church, seeking to understand and live out what it means to be a Christian disciple today. They do this by placing the utmost importance on being connected to the land, to each other, and to those on the margins of society. Their land that they steward and are connected to is the Good Earth Farm located in Athens. Ohio. They live and work together here and and contribute their individual talents and gifts to one another and to the broader community. Their actions are guided by the “Rule of Life” which is defined by poverty, joy and hospitality, prayer, work, the eucharist and meals and you can visit them in Ohio if you’re in the area!
Check out their blog and website HERE
The Quivira Coalition’s New Agrarian Program (NAP) is partnering with skilled ranchers and farmers to offer apprenticeships in regenerative agriculture. Together, they create opportunities for full-immersion learning from expert practitioners. This program is designed to support the next generation of food producers and targets those with a sincere commitment to life at the intersection of conservation and regenerative agriculture. NAP mentors are dedicated stewards of the land; they practice regenerative methods of food or fiber production, provide excellent animal care, and are skilled and enthusiastic teachers. Continue reading
Calypso Farm & Ecology Center (Fairbanks, AK) is now recruiting applications for their 2018 Farmer Training Program, a 5-month immersive residential programs. The Program runs from May 7th to September 29th, 2018 and is designed to equip participants to become self-reliant farmers through immersion in all aspects of farm operations, working alongside experienced farmers for an entire Alaskan growing season. Calypso’s unique setting also provides exposure and experience with farm-based environmental education, community events, and a range of homesteading skills. The following is just a selection of the skills covered over the season:
- Seeding and caring for greenhouse transplants
- Prepping the field for planting
- Planting and direct seeding
- Managing soil fertility
- Weed and pest management
- Caring for farm animals
- Operating a CSA
- Running a farm stand and selling to local restaurants
- Working safely, using Natural Balance
- Whole Farm Business Planning
- Blacksmithing & Wood Carving
- Wool Processing
- Tool Making and Maintenance
This program is particularly good for beginning farmers as it includes a ‘Beginning Farmer’s Bonus’. Any participant who completes the entire program (including completing their whole farm plan) will be eligible for a bonus payment after completion of the program, intended to support any future farming plans. Farmer Bonus’s are based on need as well as program participation.
Students can choose to take this program as a 6 credit course through the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.