the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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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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goats in the city

Our friends at Kiss the Ground take the cake for this week’s most uplifting environmental video– best of all it integrates two of our favorite things: videos of goats being goats and alternatives (dare we say upgrades?) to fossil fuels in land stewardship. Also, does anyone else want this woman’s job?


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the open source ethos in agroecology

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Illustration by Freya Yost

The following paper, submitted to the Greenhorns by Freya Yost, Vice President of A Growing Culture, traces the building blocks of Agroecology (local knowledge, resilience, cultural traditions, working with nature) and analyzes them within the context of our current technological culture. This is a long but compelling piece, scholarly without being a sludge to read, accessible in tone and content, and we highly encourage everyone to read it. 

The basic premise is something that we know intuitively without necessarily having articulated it: that Agroecology is an inherently open source tradition whose knowledge and genetics have been co-opted, constrained, and privatized by for profit– to the great detriment of small farmers and ecological networks. The paper’s author casts our eyes simultaneously forward to the internet age and down to myccorrhizal networks to find hopeful models for creating egalitarian ways of producing and disseminating information to small farmers. The ultimate suggestion here– and it’s one of grave importance– is that those of us who are invested in the success of regenerative and sustainable growing ought also to be deeply committed to the overturning of proprietary development models and privatized knowledge systems. As the author writes:

All these dimensions make farming one of the most demanding and knowledge-intensive professions in the world. Sadly, because farmers are also some of the poorest people on Earth, lack of information can have devastating effects. Entire regions are vulnerable to being forced to adopt proprietary practices. Lack of information access puts farmers’ autonomy at risk. Open is not just an environmental issue, it is also a social justice issue.

The Open Source Ethos 

Open access is an ancient public good. 

Western discourse around open access has largely been restricted to academic, scholarly communications circles. In fact, many friends and colleagues have told me they first encountered open access when, after graduating from university, they were confronted with the fact they no longer had access to school databases; or when online article searches reached the dead-end prompt “click here to pay for access.”

The internet now provides a free platform for sharing knowledge. How is it possible—or even socially just—that so many of us can’t get access to scholarly research? Isn’t society propelled forward by access to the science, literature, and art of the world’s scholars? What if that research is publically funded? These are the primary concerns that drive the open access movement.

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mapping perennials

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Ever wish you could find every perennial farm any where you went in the country? Turns out you can. Perennial Map provides a great interactive platform for finding perennial farms across the country. Whether you’re looking to network, hire, or just learn more, farms that raise everything from maple syrup to asparagus are listed here. Is your farm missing from the list? It’s free to create a new posting!


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free download of “pasture rabbit for profit”

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Nichki Carangelo, of the delightful Hudson Valley-based, cooperative Letterbox Farm Collective, has just finished a publication on the commercial production of pasture rabbits. Funded by a SARE grant, “Pasture Rabbit for Profit” is an easily digestible, practical resource for farmers intended to guide readers through the start-up phase of their own pasture-based rabbitry. It includes a full enterprise budget along with housing plans, sample breeding schedules, feed guidelines and other rabbit husbandry basics. And it’s available for free download here!


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regenerative enterprise

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Regenerative Enterprise, or the idea that business doesn’t have to suck so much. Wait! Don’t go: before you think I’m about to preach to the choir on creating businesses that go beyond the extractive model, or throw some vague “Be sustainable!” nonsense at you, don’t worry.

Enter, the Regenerative Business Institute, a nonprofit with its roots in permaculture and agriculture. The organization provides an incredible wealth of resources on “regenerative enterprise.” A lot of this, are things that small farmers have and have been doing for years: valuing social connections, social health, and the health of land as much (if not much more than) monitory profit. But, what the institute has to offer that is new are economic ways of thinking that allow us to clearly articulate our goals and create smarter systems.

For instance, download an entire book on Regenerative Enterprise for free. Or, spend some time exploring the idea that there are actually eight forms of capital (spoiler alert, only one of them is financial). Ask, how can this change our budget, goals, and planning? Or, watch this truly excellent talk on the  Introduction to Seven First Principles from CAROL SANFORD on Vimeo.


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to reduce food waste, farm insects

It’s called protaculture, and Robert Olivier has made it accessible using an invention he calls the “biopod.” The idea is simple: put food waste into an enclosed space with the black soldier fly to bioconvert the food into proteins and fats that can then be used for livestock feed. Unlike composting, the biopod can even be used to convert animals products. The paradigm shift he proposes is this, what if we didn’t need to grow corn and soy to feed livestock? What if we could do it with our food waste alone.

Tune into the Greenhorns Radio Show on Heritage Radio Network tomorrow at 4:00 to learn more when Sev interviews Robert Olivier. Or, as always, catch the podcast!