the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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accessible innovation

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!

You can find out more info about the Nomade des Mers voyage here and look at some of their low-tech lab documentation here. And while you’re feeling inspired maybe you want to contribute some of your own low tech solutions to the farmhack tool list.


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watch: practicing for when peace breaks out on the latest our land

This latest episode of Our Land takes place at the intersection of farming, faith, and political activism. Take a walk with us through farms formed by the Catholic Workers Association. “A friend calls it practicing for when peace breaks out, because, really, if we were to live in a world filled with peace, we wouldn’t be able to live with the resource extraction that’s happening.”

See the (dare we say charming?) sisters at Sinsinawa Mound in Wisconsin who are sharing land parcels– “we hold the land in common”– with young farmers to grow food for their community.

And be ready to get your goosebumps on and go forth into the world inspired.


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from the horses mouth

Okay, so perhaps we don’t like to repost to some of the bigger, traditional purveyors of economics, but here is a podcast on alternative local currency coming at you from Bloomberg…

The episode focuses on BerkShares, which is currency started in the Berkshires, MA. If you’re familiar with E.F. Schumacher (Small is Beautiful) you may also know that his thinking inspired some very cool projects that continue to this day. One such initiative is the local BerkShare, one of the longest running and successful alternative currencies in the US.

So, back to Bloomberg – here is one of the largest US media publications ,that focuses on the economy (re: free market), taking the time to look at local currency. Hey, that’s pretty good news and it’s also a very informative and interesting podcast!

Give it a listen here.


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a legal step forward in the fight against herbicides

Monsanto’s Roundup is facing increasing legal pressure with it’s active ingredient being labeled as potential carcinogen.  From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s marquee product, Roundup, is coming under fire from hundreds of legal challenges across the U.S., with individuals alleging that the herbicide is carcinogenic and linked to cases of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Whether the cases pay out for plaintiffs remains to be seen. But at the very least, they represent a big opportunity for litigators, with some thinking “glyphosate” could become a legal buzzword on par with asbestos.

The article suggests that the increasing legal cases against Monsanto is related to a recent change in the statute of limitations that allows individuals 2 years to file a lawsuit after they are aware of a possible health concern. Over the course of the next few weeks and months the number of cases good be in the thousands.

It’s hopeful trend in the longstanding legal battle farm workers and communities have been waging against the biotech giant.

You can see the full article here.


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calling all artists: ecofarm needs your work!

EcoFarm + Artists

Are you a talented artist or designer looking to help a good cause and get exposure for your artistic endeavors? If the answer is YES, then send a sampling of your work to the wonderful folks at EcoFarm and it could be picked to promote their annual conference in Pacific Grove, CA:

Showcase your artistic vision through a unique design around the yet-to-be-announced theme of the 38th annual EcoFarm Conference. The selected artist will receive significant exposure, an honorarium, and help generate buzz for this iconic event.

Submit your portfolio to deborah@eco-farm.org by Saturday, April 1, 2017. EcoFarm will be in contact with selected artist by Wednesday, April 12. Completed artwork will be due in mid June, 2017.

If you’re unfamiliar with EcoFarm, you should get acquainted! You can learn more by clicking HERE, but this is an incredible organization with a long history of promoting an ecologically sustainable and just food and farming system, as well as putting together an inspiring farming conference each and every year.


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the future of farming in new england

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After a year that put large swaths of New England in prolonged severe to extreme drought, reporter Kori Feener devoted episode two of her new podcast series to ask: what is the future of farming in New England in an increasingly erratic climate? Feener speaks to our  a small farmer, the head of environmental studies at Brandies University, and our own Severine. The experts agree, the challenges are daunting but hardly insurmountable. Realistic and yet incredibly hopeful, this is great listening for long days of seeding in the greenhouse.

To that point, the new series, Under Reported, is sleek, smart, and incredibly engaging. Based out of Boston, Feener goes beneath the headlines to give voice to the personal narratives of today’s news cycle and draw attention to what the mainstream media often ignores. “Through in-depth interviews, and audio storytelling Under Reported connects with those on the front lines of change in America.”

We also highly recommend episode one, on Standing Rock, Sovereignty, and Erasure.


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seedy films

Misleading title perhaps… but for those of you that are curious about seed production, consider checking out this series of tutorials by Martina Widmer et Sylvie Seguin from the Coopérative Longomaï and the Forum Civique Européen.

Beautifully captured, this series takes you through all the stages of seed production for 32 different crops.

There are a ton of great books out there on seed saving, but it can be a bit of a challenge to find such consistent and well documented video tutorials.

And if you want a little more inspiration for why you might consider saving seed, have a look at this lovely post by greenhorns contributor Sophie Mendelson.