the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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get regenerative: watch this inspiring keynote on no-till practices

Those of us lucky enough to be at the NOFA Mass Winter Conference this year were privileged to see Elizabeth and Paul Kaiser of Singing Frogs Farm in Sebastopol, CA give this Keynote speech. You’ve never seen no-till farming look this easy or this sensical. Skip to minute 27 to see my favorite part: 45 minutes of bed changeover condensed in a 45 second time lapse video.


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call for film submissions for change making tool-kits

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Real Food Films is calling for filmmakers to submit projects by April 1st that correspond to the themes of:

  • Crafting Public Policies for Public Health: Taking on Big Soda
  • Building Power with Food Workers
  • Tackling Climate Change Through Food

Selected films will be included in their 2017 Organizing Toolkits, which will be jam-packed with educational materials for groups and individuals interested in working in food system reform.


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the true story of a farm turned cult

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Helen Zuman, long-time Greenhorns-follower and contributor to New Farmers Almanac, has an agricultural story to tell that is as gripping as it is disquieting– and she’s asking for help getting it published.

Helen writes, “The action unfolds on a farm in the backwoods of Western North Carolina – Zendik Farm, which, I discovered after being kicked out, was actually a cult. The story features an urge to homestead (part of what sent me hunting for a place like Zendik in the first place), firewood, wheelbarrows, snuffling bucks, outhouses, de-nailing, wild persimmons, abundant intrigue – and a glimpse of the detours aspiring agrarians were perhaps more likely to take back in the late 90s, when the beginning-farmer scene was nowhere near as robust as it is today.”

An intimate journey through the full arc of cult involvement, MATING IN CAPTIVITY shows how Zuman joined Zendik, learned its mating rituals, endured exile, and – finally – mated in the wild.

Helen has launched a thirty-day kickstarted campaign to fund the book, and rewards include advance access to the paperback, a reading (with Q&A) at a venue of your choice, and a handwritten copy of the manuscript. The campaign ends April 10.


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amazing footage of corn monsters

You’re never seen a sprout look this ghoulish. AMAZING video from band C.A.M.P.O.S. for their song Teosinte, which features incredible slow-mo of the title seed germinating.

Most of the sites that reviewed the band mentioned that teosinte is a “form of Mesoamerican corn,” but being the horticulture geeks that we are, we can’t help but mention that it is a species of South American grass that is actually considered the ancestor of all modern corn. To this end, we also can’t help but recommend this, while less visually stimulating, utterly fascinating article by the genetics lab at the University of Iowa on corn genetics and the long-standing mystery that teosinte’s genetic makeup solved. And yes, we just called corn genetics, “utterly fascinating.”

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rural route film tour 2017

The Rural Route ‘Best of/Shorts’ Tour Program
Upcoming Shows:
March 12 – Decorah, IA @ Oneota Film Festival
March 14 – Cedar Rapids, IA @ CSPS
April 6 – Richmond, VA @ James River Film Festival
May 13 – Portland, OR @ Clinton Street Theater
June 3 – Rochester, NY @ The Little Theater
 
This year’s show contains…Réka Bucsi,’s latest animation, Love, featuring red panthers, black horses, and a giant water guy (and has been nabbing masses of awards all around the world)…Black Canaries, Jesse Kreitzer’s stunning, beautifully-shot 1907 period piece about an Iowa mining family’s continuous descent for coal…Jan van IJken’s The Art of Flying, artistically documenting one of the most spectacular sights on Earth involving starlings in Holland…and Ogasawara, Georgian director, Tato Kotetishvili’s whimsical tale of a Dukhabor wedding on the Armerian border…  Check out the full program at https://ruralroutefilms.com/tour/!  
 
Write to tour@ruralroutefilms.com to set up a screening! And filmmakers, please note, Rural Route’s annual CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS closes on March 18!  The best way to submit is via withoutabox(where you’ll save $5 off the already low entry fee).  


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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!

 


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what an english sheep farmer has to say about rural america

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“But for my entire life, my own country has apathetically accepted an American model of farming and food retailing, mostly through a belief that it was the way of progress and the natural course of economic development. As a result, America’s future is the default for us all.

It is a future in which farming and food have changed and are changing radically — in my view, for the worse. Thus I look at the future with a skeptical eye. We have all become such suckers for a bargain that we take the low prices of our foodstuffs for granted and are somehow unable to connect these bargain-basement prices to our children’s inability to find meaningful work at a decently paid job.”

James Rebanks in the New York Times op-eds last week explaining why the stakes are so high, but missing all the reasons to hope… (This is the part where we say, YOU, Greenhorns! From your draft-powered farms to your new resilient corporative models, there are a lot of new energy in rural America. And, thank you!)