the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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yeah baby! cover cropping makes the NYT front page

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David Kasnic for the New York Times

I can almost hear organic farmers across the country rolling their eyes, cover cropping: this is news? And, I know, I know, you’ve been doing this for years— but, yes, actually there’s some real good news here: New York Times writer Stephanie Strom’s report, “Cover Cropping: A Farming Revolution with Deep Roots in the Past,” indicates that the tide of mainstream agriculture may be moving towards more sustainable practices.

Case-in-point #1: Some large-scale midwestern grain growers are actively working cover crops into their rotation.
Case-in-point #2: In Maryland, “the state reimburses farmers for the cost of cover crop seed and has been informing them about the impact that fertilizer runoff has on Chesapeake Bay.”
Case-in-point #3: Even Monsanto is investigating cover crops. “Monsanto, together with the Walton Family Foundation, recently put up the money to support the Soil Health Partnership, a five-year project of the National Corn Growers Association to identify, test and measure the impact of cover cropping and other practices to improve soil health.”

We were skeptical of a few of the articles claims– namely that “new” no-till technology contributes to erosion and degrade microbiology in the soil– but we’re still ready to count this article as a victory for all the extension agents and small-scale farmers who have been championing this technology from the beginning.

“We’ve never seen anything taken up as rapidly as using cover crops,” said Barry Fisher, a soil health specialist at the Natural Resources Conservation Service, an agency within the Agriculture Department.


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baby goats to a good home, west cornwall, vermont

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Photo compliments of twigfarm.com

Greetings from Twig Farm! We’re a small goat dairy in West Cornwall, Vermont. Kidding season will soon be upon us, and while baby goats are unquestionably most adorable animals of all time, sadly we cannot keep all of our darling doelings. That’s where you come in! Our registered Alpines boast superb genetics, bred for hardiness and superior milk production. (Papers and milk records available upon request.) We’re asking $50 per doeling and are willing to negotiate a reduced fee for larger orders. Happy to disbud them for you free of charge if you like. These ladies will certainly be incredible additions to your herd, enviable backyard milkers or the most personable pets you’ve ever had.

They’ll be available beginning the week of March 7th. To reserve your babies, email laurengitlin@gmail.com with Twig Farm Doelings in the subject. We will notify you when your kiddos have arrived, after which time, you will have a week’s window to retrieve them. For each additional day that we hold them, a small surcharge for food and care will be added to your total. We look forward to hearing from you!


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hard time not to be paranoid

Zika Outbreak Epicenter In Same Area Where GM Mosquitoes Were Released In 2015

Zika Outbreak Epicenter In Same Area Where GM Mosquitoes Were Released In 2015

The World Health Organization announced it will convene an Emergency Committee under International Health Regulations on Monday, February 1, concerning the Zika virus ‘explosive’ spread throughout the Americas. The virus reportedly has the potential to reach pandemic proportions — possibly around the globe. But understanding why this outbreak happened is vital to curbing it. As the WHO statement said:

A causal relationship between Zika virus infection and birth malformations and neurological syndromes … is strongly suspected. [These links] have rapidly changed the risk profile of Zika, from a mild threat to one of alarming proportions.

WHO is deeply concerned about this rapidly evolving situation for 4 main reasons: the possible association of infection with birth malformations and neurological syndromes; the potential for further international spread given the wide geographical distribution of the mosquito vector; the lack of population immunity in newly affected areas; and the absence of vaccines, specific treatments, and rapid diagnostic tests […]

The level of concern is high, as is the level of uncertainty.

To read more, click HERE!


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rick berman, gun for hire, is attacking chipotle

Who is Richard Berman?

Richard “Rick” Berman is a longtime Washington, D.C. public relations specialist whose lobbying and consulting firm, Berman and Company, Inc., advocates for special interests and powerful industries. Berman and Co. wages deceptive campaigns against industry foes including labor unions; public-health advocates; and consumer, safety, animal welfare, and environmental groups.

Non-profits linked to Berman include:

To learn more, click HERE!


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carbon farming gives hope for the future

From wellnesswarior.org

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The concept of carbon farming is relatively simple. The industrial agricultural system we’ve developed over the last 60 years, while being incredibly productive, robs the soil of carbon and other nutrients. Carbon, in the form of soil organic matter, is the thing that gives soil life. Techniques like cover cropping (never leaving the fields bare), no-till farming (leaving the soil intact while preparing and planting), crop rotations and carbon banking in perennial plants, take carbon from the atmosphere and lock it up in the soil. Soil-1, climate change-0. And the benefits of soil carbon sequestration go beyond reducing GHGs. Using the term “regenerative farming” Debbie Barker and Michael Pollan explain in a recent Washington Post article:

Regenerative farming would also increase the fertility of the land, making it more productive and better able to absorb and hold water, a critical function especially in times of climate-related floods and droughts. Carbon-rich fields require less synthetic nitrogen fertilizer and generate more productive crops, cutting farmer expenses.

In fact, research shows that in some regions a combination of cover-cropping and crop rotation vastly outperforms conventional farming. So why isn’t everyone doing it?

One of the problems, as Eric Toensmeier explains in his upcoming book The Carbon Farming Solution (to be released in February) is that carbon farming is not a one-size-fits-all venture. Cover-cropping may work in the southeast where winters are shorter, but may not work in northern Minnesota, for example. For more farmers to take up these practices, they need the assurance that they will work for them economically, and this type of assurance will come through research. But, research dollars for agriculture in the U.S. are not exactly flowing to sustainable agriculture.

To read more, click HERE!


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fellowship deadlines for the vermont studio center

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Image: This Is Where We Live Now (detail), ©Kathryn Lien, 2015 (www.kathrynlien.com)

VERMONT STUDIO CENTER’S february 15th, 2016 FELLOWSHIP DEADLINE

The Vermont Studio Center is pleased to announce the following 55+ fellowships available at our February 15th, 2016 deadline:


OPEN TO ALL

25 VERMONT STUDIO CENTER (VSC) FELLOWSHIPS OPEN TO ALL VISUAL ARTISTS AND WRITERS LIVING AND WORKING ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD, BASED ENTIRELY ON MERIT.

These fellowships are for residencies scheduled between May 2016 – March 2017

In addition to these 25 awards, we are offering the following special awards for writers and visual artists at this deadline:

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