the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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oh boy! check out this treasure trove of apiary wisdom.

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Once upon a time in a land… not so far from Seattle… lived a man, his wife and their two beautiful young daughters.

One day the man came to his wife and proclaimed that he wanted to be a beekeeper. The wife, completely bewildered by his announcement, looked at her husband and demanded:
“WHY on Earth, would you want to do that?”
After many months of attempting to convince his wife that beekeeping would be fun, educational and beneficial to their family, she finally gave in.

As the winter passed the man and his two daughters’ researched the art of keeping bees, built beehives and prepared to become “backyard beekeepers” in the coming spring.  The two young daughters took a genuine interest in the newfound hobby. Everyday their knowledge and enthusiasm for beekeeping grew until finally one day they made a proclamation of their own:
“Daddy,” the five year old said to the man, “I think sissy and I should be the beekeepers, and you can just kinda stand by and supervise.”

It was that day, which Two Little Ladies Apiary was born.

Check out their site HERE, they have a ton of amazing resources and links for new and old beekeepers alike that range from DIY tips to links to the required legal information for beekeepers and everything in between.

 

 


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arizona science institute launches first ever glyphosate testing biobank

The Detox Project reported on Tuesday that they along with MetricBio have launched the first ever Glyphosate Biobank. which is being funded by the public. The aim of the Biobank is to help shed further light on the levels of glyphosate in the U.S population in addition to helping researchers investigate human health issues that could be linked to Glyphosate. The test is non-invasive and carried out on urine samples.  Continue reading


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new resource: national sustainable agriculture oral history archive

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credit: Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders

The National Sustainable Agriculture Oral History Archive is a collection of interviews with people who have been instrumental in the development and implementation of public policies to advance sustainable agriculture in the United States. It was started in 2015 and has been growing ever since. Several of the interviews are with key members of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) and their interviews document the process of formation and evolution that has led to the NSAC that we know today. They also discuss the federal policy reforms NSAC, its allies, and predecessor coalitions have achieved over the past four decades.

To date there are 31 interviews available in the archive, most in a video format with accompanying written transcription. The plan for the next year involves conducting 8-10 more interviews featuring  several farmer/civil rights activists in the South among others.

Among the main topics covered in the interviews are:

  • The political and social context surrounding the initial federal policy efforts in the 1970s and 1980s to advance organic and sustainable agriculture;
  • The evolution of what became the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, from its early days as an informal network of grassroots organizations, to the more formal structure of regional Sustainable Agriculture Working Groups (SAWGs) in the 1990s, to the NSAC of today with its 120 organizations from around the country;
  • A review of the policy gains that support organic and sustainable agriculture achieved through federal Farm Bills from 1985 through 2014, including a discussion of where policy proposals fell short, despite the efforts of sustainable agriculture advocates;
  • What now? Exploration of priorities going forward that are needed to strengthen organic and sustainable farming and build a healthy food system.

Check out the archive HERE

The archive is housed at the University of Minnesota’s Institute for Sustainable Agriculture. The interviews were conducted by Ron Kroese (rkroese@visi.com), a senior fellow with the University’s Endowed Chair in Agricultural Systems. 


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sowing the seeds of food sovereignty.

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The mission of A Growing Culture is “supporting farmers to reshape the food system” to ensure that the future of agriculture is just, sustainable  and supportive of farmers. We are very excited about the wide range of resources they have to support farmers, not least their much anticipated Library for Food Sovereignty. The library, due for release in the late summer or early autumn of 2017, will include stories of farmer led innovations from around the world, local knowledge, grassroots farming movements and technical and environmental resources.

Continue reading


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the farmers aren’t alright

Rural View - Anton Novoselov

Rural View – Anton Novoselov

We recently ran a piece from VPR on farmers and the difficulties of accessing affordable health insurance – this is surely a topic that requires some serious thought and discussion in the years to come.

Wrapped up in our general well being is the taboo topic of mental health and as we invest our bodies, savings, and futures into the land, it can be a serious challenge to keep the spirit and mind at peace. Whether you are starting or running a business, changing fields, underpaid, or just exhausted, farming can be incredibly stressful work. So following on this theme we’d like to recommend the Ruminant’s recent episode on farmers and mental health.

The Ruminant is wonderful podcast and blog that discusses ideas, issues, and inspiration for today’s agrarians.

So give yourself and hour, pour glass of wine or warm a cup of milk. curl up and listen in on what is an important conversation for all of us to be having.

You can hear the episode here

 


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full scholarships for mediation training in the nys agricultural mediation program

 

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Recently, I had the opportunity to be part of a workshop discussion at the NOFA MA conference within which arose the idea that our farms can become centers and examples of social justice and fairness. (Heck yes!) In line with this idea, the New York State Agricultural Mediation Program is currently offering scholarships for mediation training, specifically to people with roots in the agrarian community. The scholarships are provided by the NYS Agricultural Mediation Program (NYSAMP) in order to train mediators who can help out in underserved, less-populated rural areas– and in particular, they need mediators who can serve Columbia, Greene, Ulster, and Sullivan counties.

The NYS Agricultural Mediation Program offers free statewide mediation services to farmers to resolve conflicts including neighbor complains, loans or debts, landlord disputes, and family succession.

These new scholarships are available for a four-day Basic Mediation Training (valued at $1250) and are for applicants who “are curious by nature, and empathic, able to see the good in people, even when people may be in the depths of a highly stressful conflict. Applicants need to be able to see several discrete perspectives or differences of opinions at a time and hold them without judgement.”

Applicants will be interviewed for scholarships. And, if chosen for the program, will be expected to attend the training in March at Common Ground and Dispute Resolution Services. Afterwards they will join an apprenticeship program where they will put their skills into practice and receive coaching.  Applicants must be committed to “giving their time and talents” back to the community and be available to serve as a volunteer mediator in Columbia, Greene, Ulster or Sullivan counties. Applicants need to commit to serving as a volunteer mediator for at least 6 mediations per year for two years. 

The scholarships are provided by the NYS Agricultural Mediation Program (NYSAMP) in order to train mediators who can help out in underserved, less-populated rural areas.

If you are ready to serve or if you know of someone, who you think would make a

great volunteer mediator to “nominate” please contact:

Common Ground for Columbia or Greene County
(518) 943 0523; or email us at info@commongroundinc.org

Dispute Resolution Services for Sullivan and Ulster Counties
Jolynn Dunn  845-551-2668

Applications are due by February 10th.


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another model for financing farm starts

Kristopher Flack from 2015 New Farmers Almanac

Kristopher Flack from 2015 New Farmers Almanac

Let’s talk about money folks.

How do we go about starting farms? Some of the main barriers new farmers face are access to training, access to land, access to funding. We’ve definitely noticed that in the last 10 years there has certainly been an increase in training opportunities, from more farms offering better employment, institutions offering curriculum around sustainable ag, and organizations, with as similar mandate to ours, helping connect budding agrarians.

But land access and funding remain serious challenges. While farmers continue to create novel approaches to financing their operations (CSA’s, community borrowing) we clearly need more recognition and support from the financial industry to help get new farms off the ground. Continue reading