the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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soil atlas 2015

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The Soil Atlas 2015 is a sixty-three page resource guide to all topics soil. There are many articles of extreme interest about land access, ownership, biodiversity and climate change, organic stewardship, how gender discrimination affects future of farmland ownership, to name a few.

The global significance of soils demands global responses. 2015 is the International Year of Soils. In this year, the United Nations wants to further the goal of soil protection. This Soil Atlas shows what can succeed and why the soil should concern us all.

Best of all, this is a free resource. FREE! Download the PDF here or have a copy sent in the mail.


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soul foods, not whole foods (staying abreast of the riots in Baltimore)

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Just because Spring is the busiest time of year for farmers doesn’t mean that we’re not taking the time to keep a close eye on the riots in Baltimore. We know that the entrenched system of labor exploitation and land abuse that makes it to be a small farmer in this country is exactly the same system of greed, racism, and oppression that devalues black bodies and black life.  We understand that the success of our (and, in fact, all progressive) movements are not separate but intrinsically linked.

Whole Foods came out last week in support of The National Guard Last week. No surprise here, but we’d like to suggest that, in response, you choose not to support them. Check out this handy (though not complete) list Black Farmers to Buy from Instead of Whole Foods.


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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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local dollars, local sense…guidance from Michael Shuman

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By Michael H. Shuman 

If you’ve been told that it’s impossible to invest your life savings in anything but Wall Street, here’s some practical advice to prove the financial “experts” wrong:
  • Move Your Money – Move all your day-to-day financial activities, including your checking, loans, credit cards, and mortgage, to a local bank or credit union.  These are the institutions that recycle their capital locally—so much so that even though local and regional banks account for only 20% of the assets of all banks, they provide more than half of all the loans to small business.
  • Start A Credit Union – If your community doesn’t have a local bank or credit union, then start one.  Credit unions are easier and cheaper to launch than banks, and many communities have small credit unions managed by part-timers or volunteers.
  • Create Targeted CDs – By law, local banks and credit unions must be very conservative with their money, so they are often wary of loaning money to any local businesses without full collateral.  A few banks, such as Ithaca’s Alternatives Credit Union, have agreed to set up special certificates of deposits that fully collateralize loans to high-priority local businesses.  Eastern Bank in Boston has a CD that collateralizes a line of credit to Equal Exchange, a local fair-trade company.

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cooking healthy in indian country

“Cooking Healthy in Indian Country” was developed by the Klamath Trinity Resource Conservation District as a way to encourage people to eat local in season vegetables and integrate Native and commodity foods for a healthy diet.

With diabetes and heart disease affecting Native communities across Indian country, Meagan Baldy shows us that it is easy to cook healthy. This video series showcases recipes for families that are quick and easy and full of awesome flavors and utilizes accessible and familiar ingredients to our Native families.

Enjoy her latest video here on Veggie Roast Beef and find more information and shows from Meagan on Facebook and her YouTube channel.


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the land portal

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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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principle: turn the tables

Sometimes the most compelling way to expose an injustice is to flip it around and visit it upon the powerful.

Remember the great scene from “Erin Brockovich” where the hero brings a glass of contaminated water to a meeting with the companies her clients have accused of contaminating their drinking water. “You claim this water is perfectly safe to drink?” she says. “Okay, drink this,” and she places the glass of water before them. When they refuse, the injustice of the situation is laid bare for all to see. She has “turned the tables.”

People have an innate sense of fairness, but don’t always see the injustices happening around them. By taking an existing unjust situation and dramatically flipping it back upon its source, you can highlight the inherent asymmetry and activate people’s sense of fairness. Turning the tables like this can be an effective means of garnering public support as well as undercutting the moral authority of your target. Click HERE to read more about the principle of turning the tables!

Also, Beautiful Trouble: A Toolbox for the Revolution, is a fantastic activist resource. Check it out! 

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