the irresistible fleet of bicycles

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New financing for small farmers:

Kiva and Greenhorns working together to help small farmers grow their businesses

tinyfield-farm-bk-ghKatrina and Keely, Founders of Tinyfield Farm in Brooklyn, NY

The Greenhorns and Kiva are working together to help farmers access the capital and customers they need to successfully grow their businesses. Over the next few months, The Greenhorns will host a series of articles and podcasts about how farmers can benefit from a 0% interest, crowdfunded loan from Kiva at various stages in their business’ lifecycle.


Imagine the perfect growing season for your farm. It’s probably a warm, sunny one and the frost stayed away long enough for you to complete your harvest. You’re popular at your farmers markets, always selling out, and your delivery van didn’t break down once! People are raving about your produce: they’re writing great reviews and are signing up for your CSA.

It’s the type of season that fills you with pride.

Now imagine a season where things start to go wrong. The weather takes a turn for the worse and a field gets flooded, your delivery van breaks down on the way to market, the birds are more numerous than usual and are destroying your food…The list goes on and on.

Running a farm can be a stressful affair, especially when it comes to dealing with uncertainty.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Hundreds of farmers have found peace-of-mind by raising 0% interest capital for their businesses from Kiva, a nonprofit that supports U.S. entrepreneurs.

Since 2012, Kiva has helped hundreds of farmers raise over $2 million in funding – all without charging a single cent of interest or fees.

As a nonprofit, Kiva is dedicated to increasing access to capital for business owners who need it the most: people who are unable to raise money for their business from traditional sources, like banks.

With 8,000 small business loan applications rejected in the U.S. every day, more and more entrepreneurs are turning to alternative sources of financing, and Kiva is here to help.

Kiva is a crowdfunding platform like Indiegogo and Kickstarter, except instead of donations or purchases, the “crowd” makes 0% interest loans to entrepreneurs fundraising on the platform.

Kiva’s “crowd” is made up of 1.5 million supportive lenders around the world, many of whom lend locally and become business’ new customers, brand ambassadors and fans.

Like Indiegogo and Kickstarter, entrepreneurs create a campaign where they tell their story and why they’re raising money. Unlike Indiegogo and Kickstarter, entrepreneurs on Kiva have a 90% public funding success rate.

Even better, farmers have a 98% funding success rate on Kiva!

Over the next few months, The Greenhorns will post a series of articles and podcasts about how a Kiva loan can support at different stages in a farm’s lifecycle. These posts will be anchored in stories of real entrepreneurs, who have grown their business through Kiva.


theo                  liz

Theo, Co-Owner of Helios Farms                        Liz, Co-Owner of Happy Hollow Farm

These entrepreneurs are people like Liz, co-owner of Happy Hollow Farm, who borrowed $10,000 to build three high tunnels that extended her growing season; and Theo, co-owner of Helios Farms, who borrowed $5,000 to help purchase a refrigerated trailer to serve as a butcher shop and walk-in cooler.

More than just capital, Liz and Theo had 337 people from Kiva’s community lend to them! These entrepreneurs now have larger networks of people who believe in them and their businesses.

This is the power of Kiva. Kiva’s community of lenders truly believes in supporting small business owners and shows so by expecting only the money they lent in return for their investment.

Every farmer has their off-days, and Kiva is here to help them realize more perfect ones.

Check in again next week for a new story, and to learn more about Kiva, visit or email questions to

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farm grrrl power symposium


Tickets available on a sliding scale:

A day of education, celebration and dialogue, this one-day symposium intends to acknowledge, celebrate and lift up the leadership and voice of women in the food movement.  The day will focus on a transfer of knowledge and foundation-building through an intergenerational dialogue weaving together historical narrative and current efforts spanning policy, advocacy, art and farming – both through dialogue and visual representation.
Hosted by Red H Farm at the Permaculture Skills Center.

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documentary: the hand that feeds

The Hand That Feeds trailer from Robin Blotnick, a film on reforming the food system by organizing from the ground up for fair wages, fair working conditions, and collective bargaining rights. This is a rare story in which workers, with tenacity beyond imagination, are actually able to defeat the giant. It is also a good reminder that food justice work in the United Staes should be inherently intertwined with immigration reform.

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hawaiins fight in court to preserve GMO ban


In case you missed it, two weeks ago, our friends and allies at the Hawai’i Center for Food Safety took five cases through the 9th circuit appeals court focusing on the rights of local communities to regulate and legislate genetically engineered seed crops and pesticide use. The video embedded below has the live recording of court proceedings. Scroll to 1:40:00 to see CFS lawyer Andy Kimbrell in action in court. See fellow CFS lawyer Sylvia Wu speak about the impacts of these cases here.

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ultra-extra-awesomely-superb podcast series: earth matters

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Have you been listening to Earth Matters?? This fabulous podcast series gives voice to indigenous activists, environmentalists, and people around the globe working for social justice. We cannot recommend it highly enough. Hailing from Australia’s community radio station 3CR AM, Radical Radio, you can stream episodes online or download straight form iTunes.

The link above will bring you to this past Sunday’s episode, “Creative Dissent: the pen (and voice is mightier),” which spans themes of deep connection to land, climate change, colonialism, “nationalism, nuclear disaster, direct action and love on the frontlines” in the voices of actives poets.

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helping rural kids!

Social obstacles faced by the youth of San Luis are many for a small town. Since traditional ways of life have been eliminated by loss of land rights, youth are challenged by poverty, northbound drug trafficking, and alcoholism. Costilla County has the highest rates of diabetes in the state. The 2012 Census states 37.3% of residents of San Luis were below the poverty line; more than double the rate of Colorado. Despite these challenges, the youth involved in our program are achievers. 19 out of 21 surveyed youth at the culmination of Summer 2015 internships agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “I have a plan for my future that makes me feel excited.”

Move Mountains focuses on transforming all forms of oppression by focusing on empowering individuals and learning how to best support their organizing efforts to make change. To learn more and to support their cause, click HERE!

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declaration against the criminalisation, persecution and judicialization of the struggle for the defence of life, rights, land, water, seeds and mother earth


International Conference on Agrarian Reform

La Via Campesino, The Peasant’s Movement
Marabá, 15 April 2016

From 13 to 17 April 2016, in Marabá, Pará, Brazil, more than 130 delegates from 28 countries around the world were brought together as part of La Vía Campesina and allied movements, as part of the International Conference on Agrarian Reform, a symbol of the fight for freedom for men and women in the fields, the mangroves and on the sea. The aim of the conference was to draw up a much-needed proposal for Popular Agrarian Reform to override capitalist and neoliberal expansion. 

At this time of struggle and resistance for peoples of the world, we debated thecriminalisation, persecution and judicialization of the struggle for the defense of life, rights, land, water, seeds and mother earth, promoted by capitalist interests imposing political, economic, military and social terrorism. This all occurs with the consent of State Governments by means of their lethal projects such as extraction-based infrastructure projects, or capitalist ‘development’ (tourism, carbon markets, mining, hydroelectricity, monoculture, agribusiness, industrial agriculture and mariculture), as well as the militarisation of our lands. Deprivation, social instability and repression are widespread as a result of systematic assassinations, massacres, forced disappearances, high rates of femicide, imprisonment and arbitrary detention, intimidation, harassment and threats, prosecution of leaders, forced migration and wars against ordinary people.

On top of this there is political instability with the purpose of maintaining an imbalance among populations over the world, as well as frequent coups on the US government’s radar, a state which begins by creating unstable, failed states, as is the case in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Paraguay, Ecuador, Bolivia, South Africa, and the current attempted coup against the Brazilian people and the systematic meddling in the Venezuelan process.

We see collusion between the State, private companies, corporations and elites who create a culture of impunity that allows perpetrators to escape unpunished.

Faced with this wave of unbridled criminalisation of those of us who defend water, land, mangroves, sea, territory and life, we denounce and call for the punishment of those responsible for thousands of assassinations of social leaders, we denounce the legal prosecution of thousands of campaigners, we call for the liberation of thousands of political prisoners, we denounce the extreme case of the assassination of Berta Cáceres, one of the most symbolic leaders in the fight against capital plundering and a campaigner for peace in Honduras. We urgently need an end to the criminalization of the fight for land, mangroves and sea, and the social struggle.

Today, more than ever, we reaffirm that our fight is part of the defence of human rights and life. For life we give everything, for death we give nothing.

Throughout our lifelong struggle, not one moment of silence for our dead!


La Via Campesino is an international movement  that seeks to unite peasants, landless, woman farmers, and rural youth to fight to defend and promote small-scale sustainable agriculture as a lifestyle and livelihood. Read more about their work here! And check out our 2011 blog post about their food sovereignty youth training program.