the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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“ditching NAFTA” may hurt american farmers, but which ones?

https://www.npr.org/player/embed/515380213/515638250

NPR’s The Salt spoke to American farmers growing products (strawberries) in and outsourcing their products (milk, powdered) to Mexico. And no doubt, these industrial farmers will either pay more to import and export their crops and could lose potential markets. Given, however, that NAFTA’s effect on small and medium farms in this country– which we rarely mentioned in the discussion– has been largely detrimental, and NAFTA’s effect on small farmers in Mexico has been unequivocally disastrous, we wonder how this conversation could be extended to address small-scale sustainable agriculture.  Greenhorns, policy buffs, what do you think? Surely, it is not always true that what is bad for industrialized ag is good for sustainable ag, but….

What do you think, Greenhorns, specifically our economics buffs out there, what will it mean for young agrarians and small farms if the US “ditches NAFTA?”


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dogfish: a shark for breakfast?

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A shark called Dogfish. Photo by Ben de la Cruz/NPR.

https://www.npr.org/player/embed/508538671/508668113

Currently one of the most plentiful fished fish on the East Coast is actually a shark called dogfish, and yet most Americans have hardly even heard of it. So where are the catches going? Turns out, 90% of the fish Americans eat is imported, whereas 99% of dogfish is exported other places.

 


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famers! this music was literally made for you.

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Remember those song birds up in Maine that we wrote about a few weeks ago? (To refresh your memory: they play magical folk tunes with lyrics that will make any farmer smile, cry, and chuckle. We recommend them most for tapping your toes and stirring pots of chili after long crisp days of fall harvest.)

Well, we’re excited to announce that those far from the dreamy lands of Maine can still get their hands on the music. Adam Nordell’s new songs and CD are now available for preview, download, and even physical purchase on CD Baby!


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a podcast to get your enlightenment on

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Painting showing Rsabha’s Enlightenment or Kevala Jnana. From Pancakalyanaka of Rsabha series. Amber, Rajasthan c. 1680.

What is it about young farmers that makes them such fanatic podcast listeners? Is it the lonely nature of their tractor work? A need for brain food during otherwise mind-dulling tasks such as hand-weeding the parsnips? Do they have a desire to remain attune to the otherwise distant goings on of popular culture? Or is it an obsessive need to meet the pinnacle of multitasking in all moments? Regardless, every farmer I know can rattle off their favorites list

On Being with Kristina Tippet marks the top of ours: a little bit of soul food during some of the the more patience-trying, faith-testing, energy-zapping moments of the summer. Tippet makes intelligent and deeply engaging conversation with some of the greatest contemporary thinkers from scientists to seminarians– such as Nikki Giovani, Yo Yo Ma, Thich Nach Hahn, to name just a few– on subjects ranging from everything from Buddhist practice to the language of whales and elephants.

Two weeks ago, Tippet interviewed philosopher of ecology, climate activist, author, translator, and environmental activist Johanna Macy. The conversation delves heavily into the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke, and (because, as before-mentioned, poetry may just be the thing to carry us up) we recommend this as a great starting place.


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bbc’s business daily: what is up with global agriculture subsidies?

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Man! We’re always asking the same question! Seriously though, this is a great episode, both for those looking for a good primer on the subject and a fascinating case study for those who already know a lot about it. The podcast delves into the soya market in Argentina, global ag subsidies as a whole, and, as a bit of a non-sequador, on lab-grown meat for human consumption.


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milk: the new crude oil?

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NPR’s The Salt, on why the USDA is purchasing $20,000 worth of cheese to help US dairy farmers– and why it doesn’t really make a difference to the big dairy industry. If this piece whets your appetite to understand globalization and milk production, we recommend you keep on down the rabbit hole with this Modern Farmer piece. Then, watch this mind-blowing lecture that we posted last July about the impact that trade deals like the TPP would have on small dairy farmers in Maine.


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NPR’s the salt puts spotlight on industrial ag workers

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Photo by Dan Charles/NPR

We don’t often see mainstream media outlets report on the often invisible farm workers that hold up so much of American agriculture– let alone do in depth and humanizing interviews with them. So, in case you missed it, we wanted to bring your attention to a series created by Dan Charles for NPR’s The Salt in which Charles interviews the largely-Hispanic migrant immigrant workers on sweet potato, apple, orange, strawberry, and blueberry farms. Even for those of us who have worked on smaller-scale farms, a look into the lives of workers on these gigantic combines is both fascinating and critical. We can’t recommend a listen more highly.

You can read Charles’s summary of his findings here and follow his links to listen to each piece individually.