the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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maine harvest credit project

Hey young farmers!

There is a  new Credit Union for farmers in Maine! It was founded in recognition that access to credit is one of the most difficult hurdles for young and new farmers to overcome. The Maine Harvest Credit Project is working to create a specialised credit union that is focused on providing credit to small farms and relocalizing the food economy in Maine. Their aim is to fill crucial financing gaps in the traditional credit system such as land acquisition, specialized food processing and farm equipment.

They believe that the creation of Maine Harvest will have an  impact well beyond Maine’s borders.  As the first deposit-taking institution in the USA focused on food system re-localization they will be a model for other states and regions looking to scale up the financing options for small scale, sustainably produced food and agricultural products. This is the start of something very important!

The project still needs a million dollars in order to get its accreditation, we think that this is the perfect opportunity for a tech investment (if you farm for a tech person, please pass this on for them to look at!)

To read more about the Maine Harvest Credit Union click HERE

If you or somebody you know is interested in becoming a donor, please contact Sam or Scott directly.

Sam May: sam@ddragonllc.com / 207.653.2260

Scott Budde: scott.j.budde@gmail.com / 207.653.5527


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international day for the eradication of poverty

Today is International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, the theme this year is: A path towards peaceful and inclusive societies.  Todays call to action recognizes the importance of reaching out the the poorest throughout the world. As a global society, we are only as rich as our poorest member and we all prosper when those at the bottom succeed. Almost a billion people live in extreme poverty, this year’s theme reminds us of the importance of the values of dignity, solidarity for all people.

To read more about this year’s theme, click HERE


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its world food day!

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Today is world food day and the second day of Food Week of Action. World food day was established in 1945 on the anniversary of the launch of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Celebrated on the 16th of October each year, the purpose is to raise awareness of hunger and poverty and to inspire ideas for change, the ultimate goal is zero hunger. The FAO gives 8 reasons why we should all do what we can to achieve zero hunger:

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happy international day of rural women!

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credit: UN Women/Narendra Shrestha

The UN designated October 15th as international day of rural women in recognition of the crucial role that women and girls play in ensuring the sustainability of rural households and communities, improving rural livelihoods and overall wellbeing. Rural women play an invaluable and significant role in food security, resource stewardship and and environmental sustainability. Although women account for a substantial proportion of the agricultural labour force, in addition to the bulk to unpaid domestic and care work, women and girls in rural areas suffer more extreme levels of poverty. They also face gender related barriers to exiting poverty due to difficulties accessing credit, land and other essentials.

“Globally, with few exceptions, every gender and development indicator for which data are available reveals that rural women fare worse than rural men and urban women, and that they disproportionately experience poverty, exclusion and the effects of climate change.” – .un.org

The focus of International Day for Rural Women 2017 is: “Challenges and opportunities in climate-resilient agriculture for gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls.” Rural women and girls are disproportionately affected by by climate change events and conditions including access to natural resources and the consequences of climate change can often reinforce and intensify existing gender inequalities.

When women succeed, all aspects of society improve as a result. They play a key role in building community resilience and responding to climate-related disasters. They tend to make decisions about resource use and investments in the interest and welfare of their children, families and communities. When women are empowered to act as both economic and political actors, they influence policy decisions in the direction of provision of a public good and access to social infrastructure. All of these are crucial for  peaceful societies that be resilient in the face of disaster.

Today also marks the beginning of Food Week of Action, presented by the Presbyterian Hunger Programme – this year we are proud co-sponsors! Every day this week has a theme or action that you can take to make a real change in the world.

To read more about this year’s celebration at UN Women click HERE.


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traces of glyphosate found in ben & jerry’s icecream leads company to launch an organic range.

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credit: Daniel Acker/Getty Images 

The Health Research Institute (HRI) laboratories  recently reported that there were traces of glyphosate found in  13 out of 14 tubs of Ben & Jerry ice cream tested in the EU. The samples came from a range of countries including  the UK, France, Germany and the Netherlands. Glyphosate is one of the most controversial of weedkillers and had been classified by the WHO as “probably carcinogenic to humans”. Although according to the New York Times, similar levels of glyphosate in B&J ice-cream have also been recorded in the US, scientists claim that the amounts found were “very low and not likely to pose a public health problem”. European consumers are becoming less and less tolerant of traces of poison in their food. There have been recent calls for a blanket ban on glyphosate at EU level.

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new resource: national sustainable agriculture oral history archive

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credit: Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders

The National Sustainable Agriculture Oral History Archive is a collection of interviews with people who have been instrumental in the development and implementation of public policies to advance sustainable agriculture in the United States. It was started in 2015 and has been growing ever since. Several of the interviews are with key members of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) and their interviews document the process of formation and evolution that has led to the NSAC that we know today. They also discuss the federal policy reforms NSAC, its allies, and predecessor coalitions have achieved over the past four decades.

To date there are 31 interviews available in the archive, most in a video format with accompanying written transcription. The plan for the next year involves conducting 8-10 more interviews featuring  several farmer/civil rights activists in the South among others.

Among the main topics covered in the interviews are:

  • The political and social context surrounding the initial federal policy efforts in the 1970s and 1980s to advance organic and sustainable agriculture;
  • The evolution of what became the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, from its early days as an informal network of grassroots organizations, to the more formal structure of regional Sustainable Agriculture Working Groups (SAWGs) in the 1990s, to the NSAC of today with its 120 organizations from around the country;
  • A review of the policy gains that support organic and sustainable agriculture achieved through federal Farm Bills from 1985 through 2014, including a discussion of where policy proposals fell short, despite the efforts of sustainable agriculture advocates;
  • What now? Exploration of priorities going forward that are needed to strengthen organic and sustainable farming and build a healthy food system.

Check out the archive HERE

The archive is housed at the University of Minnesota’s Institute for Sustainable Agriculture. The interviews were conducted by Ron Kroese (rkroese@visi.com), a senior fellow with the University’s Endowed Chair in Agricultural Systems. 


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event: are rural communities doomed? changemakers say no!

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credit: japan society

As you may be aware, Japanese society is contending with the combined societal challenges of an ageing population, low birthrate, and the decline of primary and local industries in a highly globalised world. This trend has also led to a significant and rising level of inequality between urban and rural areas in Japan. While Japan may be the first country to have to contend with these challenges on such a large scale, these same issues are in the pipeline for all developed and developing nations, the US included. We now know that the average age of the US rural farmer is about 57, and yet there are significant barriers for the next generation of young farmers who wish to access land. We here at Greenhorns know this as well as anybody else, our mission is to support and motivate the young farmers movement!

In response to these challenges, the Japan Society and the Japan NPO Center have joined forces for Resilient and Vibrant Rural Communities in Japan and the U.S., and are bringing together leaders from Japan and the U.S. dedicated to the revitalization of rural areas and small towns experiencing economic stagnation and declining population. Leaders from Japan will visit West Virginia, Ohio and Nebraska in the first stage of the project. Through the sharing of best practices that build back community resilience and vibrancy, the project contributes to leadership development through a unique international learning exchange and experience, and strengthens the work and impact of the participants’ organizations and their respective communities.

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listen: episode 3 of the just food podcast

Listen to the latest episode of The Just Food Podcast. The 6-part podcast series covers a range of topics aimed at cultivating justice and health. They are produced by the Berkeley Food Institute in partnership with the UC Berkeley Advanced Media Institute at the Graduate School of Journalism. Episode 3 tells the story of the nation’s first sugar-sweetened beverage tax which came into law in 2014 in Berkeley. It examines how the tax and the revenue it generates are shaping the health of Berkeley residents today.

Listen to the other podcasts in the series HERE 


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rally keep the soil in organic! – oct 8th and 15th

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“Organic without soil is like democracy without people.”

     -Vermont Lieutenant Governor-elect David Zuckerman at the Rally In The Valley

The first of two rallies to keep the soil in organic takes place this Sunday October 8th at the Intervale Center (180 Intervale Rd) in Burlington VT. The second rally is being planned for Sunday, October 15th on the green at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. These are just two of dozens of rallies happening around the country this fall in solidarity with organic producers growing in, and caring for the soil.

Tractor parades at each rally will start rolling at noon, followed by brief speeches, local food, live music, and lively celebrations!

Speakers at the Intervalle rally include: Senator Bernie Sanders, Eliot Coleman, Lt. Governor David Zuckerman, Maddie Monty, Christa Alexander, Taylor Hutchison, Will Raap, Joe Tisbert and Pete Johnson.

Speakers at the Hanover rally include NOFA VT executive director Enid Wonnacott, farmers Roger Noonan, Lisa McCrory, Will Allen, Jake Guest, Dave Chapman, Karl Hammer, Michael Phillips and Davey Miskell

Please join us as we rally together to take back the National Organic Program (NOP) from corporate influence and reclaim the lost meaning of organic. Organic integrity has suffered in recent years as a flood of hydroponic vegetables and berries and products from animal confinement operations have forced their way into the Program. Join us in sending a strong message to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) that animal confinement and hydroponic production have no place in organic. Real organic is based on healthy soil and working with natural systems, not imitating and replacing them. We are preparing for a historic NOSB vote in November on reconfirming fertile soil as the foundation of organic farming.

Contacts:

Intervale: Davey Miskell (802) 318-0576 or Maddie Monty (802) 324-1580

Hanover: Dave Chapman (802) 299-7737 or Cat Buxton (802) 359-3330

To keep up to date on the “Keep the Soil in Organic” movement, click HERE.


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save the date: october 17th for the 2017 food sovereignty prize.

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The Food Sovereignty Prize honors grassroots organizations who are challenging corporate control of the food system. This years honorees of the ninth annual Food Sovereignty Prize are Zimbabwe Small Holder Organic Farmers’ Forum (ZIMSOFF) ,and the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance (NAMA). The prize giving ceremony takes place on October 17, 2017 and is streamed live online at 12PM EDST.

This year’s honorees were selected for their success in promoting food sovereignty, agroecology, and social justice to ensure that all people have access to fresh, nutritious food produced in harmony with the planet. Lauded as an alternative to the World Food Prize, the Food Sovereignty Prize champions real solutions to hunger and is recognized by social movements, activists, and community-based organizations around the world. This year’s honorees are tenacious in their resistance to the corporate control of our food system, including false solutions of biotechnology that damage the planet while exacerbating poverty and hunger.

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listen: Severine talks seaweed on the BBC

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Photo Credit: Gordon Chibroski/Press Herald Staff Photographer

Severine spoke to BBC radio in the UK this about the need for an informed and sustainable approach to seaweed farming, one of the fastest growing aquaculture sectors anywhere right now. Listen to her talk about the culinary benefits of seaweed, and tell the story about how she got into seaweed herself on the coast of Maine by getting in literal touch with nature.

Listen to the full programme HERE


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pick for chief scientist of the usda…is not a scientist

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photo credit: Alex Hanson 

Sam Clovis, Trumps nominee for chief scientist of the USDA, is not a scientist, he does however, question the scientific consensus that climate change is a result of human activity.

“I have looked at the science,” Clovis said, “and I have enough of a science background to know when I’m being boofed. And a lot of what we see is junk science.”

So, there we have it, the guy who will be responsible for the USDA’s $3 billion budget, which, among other things, funds research to assist in mitigating the effects of climate change on farmers and ranchers, doesn’t believe in climate change. What we see here is the epitome of fake news in the Trump era, when a man, who is not a scientist can be elevated to the position of chief scientist of a department, which relies on scientific data for much of its operations, you have to admit that reality is finally stranger than fiction. Clovis is utterly unqualified for this position, a common theme in the Trump administration, which may pose some barriers to his confirmation in the senate. The senate hearing has not yet been scheduled yet, but if Clovis is successful, it could have devastating and long-term effects on the sector.

Click HERE to read the full article.


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the right to repair movement takes on apple and john deere in nebraska

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Photograph: Olivia Solon for the Guardian

“Kyle is one of many farmers in the US fighting for the right to repair their equipment. He and others are getting behind Nebraska’s “Fair Repair” bill, which would require companies to provide consumers and independent repair shops access to service manuals, diagnostic tools and parts so they aren’t limited to a single supplier. They have an unlikely ally: repair shops for electronic items like iPhones, tablets and laptops who struggle to find official components and information to fix broken devices. This means the bill could benefit not just farmers but anyone who owns electronic goods. There’s also a benefit to the environment, as it would allow for more refurbishment and recycling instead of sending equipment to the landfill,” Continue reading


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fda questions safety of the ‘impossible burger’

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photo credit: Natural News

Recent documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that the Impossible Burger, a meatless burger derived from a protein found in the root of the soy plant is not necessarily safe for human consumption. The burger in question has received a lot of high profile attention recently because despite containing no meat, it looks very much like a regular beef patty, and it ‘bleeds’ like one too. It is a frontrunner in the race to create lab-grown ‘meat’.

The FOI documents show that the FDA cast doubt on the safety of the key GMO ingredient,soy leghemeglobin, with the company being told that they has not provided adequate proof of safety for their genetically engineered protein before putting it on the market.  Impossible Foods based their safety analysis on the similarities between their protein and the proteins found in pork. What they failed to identify and acknowledge was the differences between both proteins and the impact of these differences.  Continue reading


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transnational corporations, factory farms and the economic colonization of rural america

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photo credit: farmaid.org

John Ikerd, August 3rd, 2017, In These Times 

“The sense of impotence and dread in rural America is a consequence of decades of economic extraction and exploitation carried out in the guise of rural economic development. Rural areas are suffering the consequences of prolonged “economic colonization”—a term typically used in reference to neoliberal economic development in nations previously colonized politically. Rather than being colonized by national governments, most economic colonization today in rural America, and indeed in rural communities around the world, is carried out by multinational corporations.
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