the irresistible fleet of bicycles

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how many bicycles would it take to power the internet?


Oh, just “a mere two billion bike generators, with 8 billion people pedal- ing.” That’s right, as it turns out, the entire population of the earth (and then some!) would need to pedal at once to power the internet by bike generator.

How do we know? Well, we were curious, and so we did an internet search to find that a smart lady named Jane Anne Morris had already asked the question in her essay “Eat, Sleep, Click: The Bicycle-Powered Internet.”

I didn’t check her math, but the logic seems sound. Oh man, guys, this entreating read is  going to make you rethink some things…

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research highlight: removing non-crop habitat does not increase food safety


Schematic of farm environment using co-management approach for food safety and environment.

In 2006, a deadly Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreak in bagged spinach was traced to California’s Central Coast region, where >70% of the salad vegetables sold in the United States are produced. Although no definitive cause for the outbreak could be determined, wildlife was implicated as a disease vector. Growers were subsequently pressured to minimize the intrusion of wildlife onto their farm fields by removing surrounding non-crop vegetation. How vegetation removal actually affects foodborne pathogens was unknown. Researchers at UC Berkeley (including Daniel Karp and Claire Kremen of BFI‘s Center for Diversified Farming Systems), UC Davis, the Nature Conservancy, and the Natural Capital Project found that removal of non-crop vegetation did not in fact reduce incidences of enterohemorrhagic E. coli(EHEC). The study actually found a slight but significant increase in pathogen prevalence where non-crop vegetation had been removed, calling into question reforms that promote vegetation removal to improve food safety.

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RSVP now: northeast gathering on domestic fair trade, august 14 in amherst, ma

ATTN:: Open Meeting: Northeast Gathering on Domestic Fair Trade
Friday August 14, 2015 9:00 am-12:30pm
Campus Center 903 UMASS, Amherst

This Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) Summer Conference Free Meeting, sponsored by The Domestic Fair Trade Committee of NOFA’s Interstate Council’s (IC) Policy Committee, invites activists from the Northeast Region who are engaged in projects and organizing efforts that come under the broad heading of Domestic Fair Trade to come together to share their work and ideas and to discuss possible collaboration for the immediate future.

Who should come? Farm workers, farmers, food system workers, processors, manufacturers, worker organizers, farmer organizers, cooperative organizers, visionaries, and allies.

Consider attending if your work (paid or volunteer) involves fairer wages, safer work, Continue reading

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a+ technology (adaptive, accessible, appropriate)

Examples of Questionable Applications of Technology:

  1. using garden sheers to trim your bangs
  2. building a forest fire to barbecue burgers for two
  3. mincing garlic with a machete
  4. driving a ton of steel to transport a 150 lbs human body across town
  5. relying on expensive, petroleum-reliant, highly-commodified tools to support innovative, unconventional, and ecologically-sound small farms


This week in the Food List, the focus is on Appropriate Technology— or, in other words, technology that suits its purposes (in scale, cost, application, etc.). The presented case studies presented prove that when it comes to sustainable, small-scale farming, bigger is not better and one size doesn’t necessarily fit all.

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the land portal

Screen Shot 2014-11-28 at 9.22.47 PM

There is a wealth of information and data online about land governance. However, much of this content is fragmented and difficult to locate, and often it is not openly licensed to enable wide dissemination and reuse. Grassroots knowledge may be particularly hard to find, or may not be available online, and the data and information available is often not presented in ways that are accessible to grassroots communities, media and organizations. Bringing this information together in one place through the Land Portal, actively addressing gaps in the available information, and providing a range of ways for the information to be accessed and shared will increase the use and usefulness of the available information.

This will support more informed debates and policy making, and greater adoption and up scaling of best practices and promising innovations, leading to improve land governance practice. Through a focus on localization of content creation and use, the Land Portal will contribute to the cultivation of information and creation of interfaces and tools that help tip the balance of power towards the most marginalized and insecure, promoting greater social justice in land tenure practices.

The Portal allows for the collection, sourcing, and searching of otherwise fragmented and inaccessible data and information on land governance and land use from diverse sources, produced by governments, academia, international organizations, indigenous peoples and NGOs. Besides documenting land rights, the Portal also encourages social information exchange, debate and networking.


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