the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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free book: fields, factories and workshops

How much and how little things change. We’re delighted to be able to read and recommend the free 1912 book Fields, Factories and Workshops: or Industry Combined with Agriculture and Brain Work with Manual Work by the prescient Pëtr Kropotkin. Who was he, and what messages did he have for today’s Greenhorns?

Black adn white photo of balding man with long black beard and small wire-rimmed glasses.

Photo of Kropotkin taken by Gaspard-Félix Tournachon, AKA Nadar, as shown at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nadar_(photographer.

Born in Moscow in 1842, Kropotkin was a true Renaissance Man, a “Russian geographer, economist, activist, philologist, zoologist, evolutionary theorist, philosopher, writer and prominent anarchist,” according to Wikipedia.

When he wrote Fields, Factories and Workshops, Kropotkin was seeing some of the same things we are today. He saw “decentralisation of industries going on” and new-comers developing “on their own… the principal industries,” which implied freedom from exploitation. Agriculture was part of this big decentralization. Kropotkin, for instance, didn’t buy the accepted wisdom that sufficient food couldn’t be grown locally and urged people to do it:

“As the manufacturing nations of West Europe are meeting with steadily growing difficulties in selling their manufactured goods abroad, and getting food in exchange, they will be compelled to grow their food at home; they will be bound to rely on home customers for their manufactures, and on home producers for their food. And the sooner they do so the better.”

Kropotkin also wrote about soil health, crop yield, the abandonment of fertile land and the threat this posed, and sought to show “what can and ought to be obtained from the land under a proper intelligent treatment.” Sounds familiar!

An easier-on-the-eyes PDF version of the book is available here. Enjoy!


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reverend billy targeted by the new york police

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Greenhorns –

Most of you know that I have been targeted by the New York police.  It’s a dispiriting turn of events, but after traveling to Ferguson twice last fall, the second time with the Stop Shopping Choir, I shouldn’t be surprised at what’s happened.

But I am surprised.  Hand-cuffed in mid-speech in Grand Central Terminal, then lied about in the press – yes I am surprised and disappointed.  The people who said that our mayor “has blood on his hands” after a completely crazy person shot two police-men – these spokespersons for police are simply dangerous.  They use the Murdoch press against people and slander is their bill in trade.

When I found in the papers that I “attacked a policeman” –  I looked at my four year old daughter Lena and then I went to the window and looked at my neighborhood.  I have police families who live nearby and they are reading that I attacked one their own?  Even without witnesses, videotape evidence or even the willingness of the District Attorney to press charges – they would endanger me in this way.  And now Lena has nightmares…

It’s a wonder that I’ve been an activist for so long without this kind entrapment.  Maybe the humor and music in our approach to protest has protected me. Ultimately, I’ll grow from this. Our singing activism will be braver.  


And Choir has been wonderful.  I’m so lucky to have these friends.  And many of you have reached out to us.  Thank you. 

Here is my new Freakstorm, Radical Forgiveness in Grand Slander Station.  


Earthalujah!

P.S. Anyone who wishes to know more about our lawsuit against New York City authorities for violation of free speech and defamation, please contact Marnie Glickman at marnie@revbilly.com or 415-259-7121. Likewise anyone who wishes to inquire about future protests against police violence.


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spiral: a summer permaculture intensive for young women!

Spiral is a month-long residential intensive Permaculture Design Course offered at Dig In Farm (a ten-acre perennial farmstead in western Massachusetts) for women aged 15 to 18. Aimed to empower young women through regenerative agriculture, this program will be a combination of PDC coursework, hands-on farming, community living and social justice.

Permaculture is a design process that helps people design systems (be they agricultural, social, financial, or other) that nourish the earth, care for people, and bring a more just world into being. Students will graduate from the program with internationally recognized Permaculture Design Certificates. Know of a young woman who might be interested? If so- check out SpiralspiralBecause of the sliding-scale nature of this course in order to give equal opportunity, this amazing program is seeking donations. Please contact grace@diginfarm.com if you would like to help support this cause.


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it is our human right to save seed and distribute it for free. minnesota doesn’t think so

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com)

The Duluth Seed Library is under fire from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture for illegally distributing seeds.

The seed library, located within Duluth’s Public Library has been operating for about a year, distributing seeds for gardeners to grow, harvest the produce, and return new seeds to the library.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture contacted the Seed Library in Mid-September to notify it that the law prohibits the transfer of ownership of seeds without proper labeling and testing of seeds to make sure they germinate.

The Seed Library has said they do not receive enough seeds of certain varieties to allow for accurate testing. The MDA has stated the law is intended to create a level playing field for seed companies and to protect consumers.

“Humans have been exchanging seeds for thousands of years and the idea that even if I grew something in my garden and saved a handful of seeds and passed them over to you, that would be illegal, just seems not very reasonable” said Duluth Public Library Manager, Carla Powers. To view this article, click HERE.

 

The Greenhorns are in total support of world-wide seed sovereignty. These threats are on a humanitarian level. If you would like to see how you can help mobilize and support your local seed sources, please contact Eliza: egreenman (at) gmail (dot) com.


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how factory farming ravages the earth

These feedlots confine thousands of animals in small spaces before they are slaughtered, leading to a litany of abuses: the confinement inflicted on the animals, the use of preventive antibiotics to control the spread of diseases in such close quarters, poor working conditions and worker abuse, destruction of rural communities, small towns and family farms, overconsumption of resources, legendary “manure lagoons” stinking up the countryside holding animal waste unsuitable for fertilizer because of the way they are raised and fed, and climate change-inducing greenhouse gases they produce. Click HERE to read more from EcoWatch.com, Anastasia Pantsios, and Mishka Henner.

 


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interview with claire hope cummings, seed advocate extraordinaire!

Interview can be found on ethicalfoods.com!

Seeds live at the heart of our food system. Seeded plants provide us with just about everything we need to live, from most of our foods, clothing, shelter, and even the air we breathe! Seeds are living organisms and part of the great web of life. So to have a private company buy up valuable seed collections, own them, and patent the genetic basis for our most vital food crops is a real threat to our food security. Seeds are a gift of creation, and the natural world belongs to all humanity, it is our common wealth. Now, a handful of companies decide what plants are useful to them for profit and discard the rest. This is an ignorant approach to life on earth.

Very few people know that agro-chemical companies privately own almost of all useful seeds and they do not have the public interest in mind. They decide what seeds are available. In some areas farmers can’t get any seeds other than what Monsanto makes available. And Monsanto, for instance, forbids farmers and researchers to study and improve basic food and fiber plants. This threat is largely invisible but it will become an issue for everyone the next time we need ways to cope with droughts or diseases, because public access to the greatest amount of genetic diversity is the key to both our abundance and survival. When people still had the means to grow food and save seeds locally, that dispersed food system was far more resilient than what we have now. Even if certain crops don’t get grown, we will regret allowing the privatization of our seed supply.

Click HERE to read her answers to the following questions:

What threat does genetic engineering pose to human and environmental health?

How has genetic seed engineering impacted small-scale and subsistence farmers in particular?

Why do you think America in particular has charged headlong into genetic modification while other countries have largely banned or strictly regulated GMO foods?

What is your take on Synthetic Biology, or synbio, and its agricultural applications? Could synbio have potential benefits as the world population grows, or will it further endanger our food systems?

Is there any hope of saving traditional farming methods and biodiversity?

How can backyard farmers and gardening enthusiasts ensure their seeds have not been genetically altered?

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