the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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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 

 


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“ditching NAFTA” may hurt american farmers, but which ones?

https://www.npr.org/player/embed/515380213/515638250

NPR’s The Salt spoke to American farmers growing products (strawberries) in and outsourcing their products (milk, powdered) to Mexico. And no doubt, these industrial farmers will either pay more to import and export their crops and could lose potential markets. Given, however, that NAFTA’s effect on small and medium farms in this country– which we rarely mentioned in the discussion– has been largely detrimental, and NAFTA’s effect on small farmers in Mexico has been unequivocally disastrous, we wonder how this conversation could be extended to address small-scale sustainable agriculture.  Greenhorns, policy buffs, what do you think? Surely, it is not always true that what is bad for industrialized ag is good for sustainable ag, but….

What do you think, Greenhorns, specifically our economics buffs out there, what will it mean for young agrarians and small farms if the US “ditches NAFTA?”


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show the country that farmer’s count!

facebook_survey

Greenhorns! It’s no secret that the National Young Farmers Coalition goes to Herculean efforts for young farmers across the country, from fighting lobbyists from big ag to make sure the farm bill addresses the needs of small farmers to advocating their chaps off for farmer student loan forgiveness programs. Now, it’s time to help them help you!

This year, like they do every five years, NYFC conducts their National Young Farmers survey in order to understand and elevate the issues that matter most to young farmers and aspiring farmers. The result of this survey help to define the organization’s policy goals and agenda. Since they launched the survey website a couple of weeks ago, a couple of thousand farmers have taken the survey, but they still need 3,000 more respondents to reach their goal of 5,000. Let’s go!

Young farmers and ranchers – what are the issues that matter most to you? What policy changes could help your business succeed? Take the National Young Farmers Survey today and let the nation know that FarmersCount! www.youngfarmers.org/survey


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occupied territory farmers tell their needs

Calendula seed

Calendula seed

From Via Campesina, the organization of peasants and agrarians across the world, comes a list of needs from farmers living and working in the occupied territories of Palestine. In early November a delegation of representatives from social, political, unions, and farmer organizations from Spain met with the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) in Palestine to discuss needs of the rural communities.

From the statement:

[We see] the path toward Food Sovereignty as a tool for resistance, a way to feed their population and to maintain their culture and identity, to survive the violence of the occupation and to remain on their land – a path that in addition unites them in brotherhood with peasants and farmers throughout the world.

Continue reading


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this is what it looks like when MONSANTO rents the state house in Iowa

And this is what happens when activists like our hero Reverend Billy refuse to stand by silently. Brought to you by Occupy the World Food Prize, a response to the World Food Prize, an organization that gives millions of dollars to support agribusiness giants under the guise of trying to combat world hunger.


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new michael keaton film features the evolution of macdonalds

In the spirit of the old adage: If you can’t beat ’em… learn everything about ’em that you possibly can so that you can beat ’em later. “*

The Founder, written by Robert Siegel and starring Michael Keaton was in theaters everywhere last Friday.

*’Em, of course being the agribusiness giants that got us into this whole super-sized conglomerate of a food system to begin with.


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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.