Journalist Kate Bolick recently wrote about her experience in visiting artist Andrea Zittel in the Californian desert. Zittel has spent the past 20 years of her career exploring solitude and this path has led her to create her “Experimental Living Cabins” at A-Z West near Joshua Tree National Park.
“Zittel sees herself as part of the 20th-century tradition of American artists leaving cities for the open spaces of the Southwest, but she is aware of her deviations. O’Keeffe and Martin chose the desert as a form of retreat, but Zittel saw it as liberation. As for the parallels often drawn between her and the largely male artists who came to make their massive, macho marks on the desert, she gently notes that she is not interested in “grand interventions,” only in finding meaning in intimate, everyday gestures.”
We found this worksong among a wonderful collection of other songs on worksongs.org, which is run by Maine farmer-musician Bennett Konesni. It’s kind of a digital soundbook and Bennett has created a collection of songs used to aid labor and has included lyrics on many of the songs. His long term goal is to have recordings, lyrics, history, usage tips and comments on each song. He created the site to address three needs:
First, the need to share songs that people can use in their fields, markets, kitchens and at the table. Second, and more generally, my wish to understand and enliven the culture of food. Third, and in a universal sense, my desire to explore ways to make all work more fun.
It’s a really cool project and he and his trained harbor seal Andre accept donations if you would like to support him.
How do you choose the land or the sea? Longtime deep sea fisherman turned goat farmer, Gabriel Flaherty of Aran Islands Goats Cheese, doesn’t have to, the sea surrounds him and runs through his veins. Continue reading →
Street demonstration in Petrograd (now St. Petersburg) after Provisional Government troops open fire, July 4, 1917. Viktor Bulla / Wikimedia
In a recent article about the 1917 February and subsequent October Revolutions, Jacobin magazine discuss how, as in so many other revolutions, boiling point was reached in the fields and among the peasant class. The peasants were discounted by many at the time, on the right and left alike as ignorant and unimportant, or in the word of Marx as “the class that represents barbarism within civilization.”
Throughout 1917, however, these supposedly backward people surprised their supporters in the intelligentsia with their clever revolutionary activity. While each region and village had its own nuances, the main structures of this largely self-generated politics shared many characteristics.
First, the peasants banded together to form village committees. They also called these organizations peasant committees, although trusted non-peasants were sometimes allowed to take part: teachers, priests, and even landowners found themselves participating in committee activities. The rural workers quickly excluded anyone from those groups who tried to dominate the organization.
South Street Farm is glorious in the height of fall, and to make it even better, this coming Thursday, October 19th, they are throwing a Cider Day Party! Whether you’ve been to the farm many times or have no idea where it is, you are more than welcome and they would love to celebrate the end of their growing season with you!
Cider Day Party will be a festival of all things fall:
– Apple cider pressing
– Free food (first come first served!)
– Face painting
– Live music
– Games, crafts, prizes, and more
They will also be celebrating their volunteers and unveiling their brand new greenhouse with a ceremonial ribbon cutting so it is sure to be a day full of festivities.
South Street Farm is located at 138 South Street, Somerville MA 02143.
Check out this awesome zine about making mead sent to us by our friend Jonathan Tanis. It starts with an introduction contextualising fermentation as a political act which is both democratizing and embraces the commons, bubbling away with “unrealized possibility” for forming human connections and alliances. It then moves on to explain the historical and anthropological contexts of mead making. Humans have been consuming honey for nearly 9,000 years and mead has featured heavily throughout our civilizations. Naturally there are also instructions and a recipe for brewing your own mead at home!
This is a fascinating and inspiring read full of history, art, poetry and politics, and as the authors say, in this time of global strife and agitation, make mead, not war.
If you or somebody you know is an artist, poet, academic or farmer, and would like to get involved with future Culture & Agriculture or Agropunk zines, please contact Jonathan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 12th annual all-ages dress-up Blackfly Ball is taking place this weekend, August 19th, in Machias, Maine. The Ball has been taking place every year since 2005 to celebrate the restoration and reopening of the Machias Valley Grange Hall and as a testimony to the 100+ years that the building has served as a community center to the people of Washington County. The event itself embodies the history of the building, bringing together people from all walks of life to find a common ground through community and celebration.
This years line up features soothing brass, wacky ukuleles, flocks of fiddles and more from far and wide. This event is 100% free and is entirely funded by poster sales, the posters are designed each year by the newest illustrator to join the Beehive Collective and are exceptionally beautiful!
To see all of the previous posters click HERE and to find out more information about the ball and to keep up to date or to organise ride sharing to and from the ball click HERE
Haven’t we been hearing or a long time that that human innovation and technology will be the thing that gets us through the projected crisis’ ahead, from the environmental, to the social and political. Yet even as we are seeing an unprecedented increase in affordable technologies, these solutions still tend to consolidate power in the hands of a few as most are proprietary by design.
Wasn’t it Wendell Berry that said a solution is not a solution if it is not available to all? It’s a rational that resonates with a lot of the opensource and farmhack ethos of simple, user designed, accessible technologies and practices. Because beyond just being accessible, open source innovations respond to the needs of a community rather than being prescriptive solutions coming from outside.
We’re excited about this little project by some folks from France called The Gold of Bengal. The group has been sailing a boat made of recycled material, navigating the the world in search of different interesting initiatives. Their current voyage began in 2015 and for the next 3 years they are documenting low-technology innovations that they encounter along the way.
Three cheers for community led, decentralized, open innovation!
Greenhorns blog reader Robin Wilson has an intriguing pitch for anyone out there who could use a free eco-village retreat. I’ve driven through West Virginia in the Spring: the rolling hills, the verdant green, me senses magic afoot there! Those of you out there who aren’t tied ball and chain to a greenhouse of needy baby plants, do it for the rest of us! (And while we’re living vicariously through you, think about riding your bike there…)
She describes the opportunity:
“Five days in rural West Virginia between May 19 and June 11, 2017
• Simple living, activist, eco-village, experience in rural West Virginia.
• Time to write, research, create. Learn or swap ideas about Appalachian history, nature, gardening, tree crops, and carbon neutral ways of life
• Room and board in exchange for three hours shared work per day – garden / orchard work, building, organizing for people and planet over profit.
• Housing: small separate bedroom and use of outhouse, Food: mostly local and mostly vegetarian
• Please send a short (max 200 words) pitch for why you’re a good fit for this idea – Robin Wilson email@example.com – I’ll email you back if it looks like it will work for one of the five day slots between the dates given.”
Salvage capitalism, ecological assemblages, and precarity… These are a few concepts that Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing fleshes out in The Mushroom At the End of the World, a genre bending book that tracks the global economy by way of the Matsutake mushroom.
As a farmer, I have noticed that my own ways of thinking and seeing the world have shifted with each passing season. I have felt something akin to love for an animal that I knew would one day be dinner, have felt tremendous connection to invisible soil critters and life webs as I hoed through pea patches. Social scientists refer to this process as affect, the suggestion that other-than-human-beings (plants, animals, earth elements) can impact and shape our ways of being. Continue reading →