the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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sf bay area: celebrate black farmers with a night of films

Interested in learning more about the rich history of black farmers in the US and abroad? Join the good people at Pollinate Farm & Garden, an Oakland-based nursery and urban homestead emporium, for an evening of film celebrating “black hands in the soil.” The night is co-hosted by Farms To Grow, Inc – a non-profit dedicated to supporting black farmers and underserved sustainable farmers around the country.

What: Black Hands in the Soil – A Film Celebration of Black Farming

Where: Pollinate Farm & Garden, 2727 Fruitvale Avenue, Oakland, CA

When: Friday, February 24th, 7-9pm

Cost: Sliding scale donation, no one turned away for a lack of funds!

The feature film is Charlene Gilbert’s “Homecoming” (see an excerpt above!) with several shorter documentaries rounding out the evening. Learn more and purchase tickets HERE, and check out Pollinate’s series of hands-on urban farming classes and workshops HERE.


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in defense of hydroponics

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The latest post in our ongoing discussion about the inclusion of hydroponics in the National Organic Production standards comes from Helen Lee, a sustainability specialist, consulting and promoting local and sustainable businesses who currently works as a brand ambassador for a maple water company and holds a Master of Science degree in Sustainable Food Systems from Green Mountain College in Vermont. While her opinions diverge from the Greenhorns’ stance that hydroponics should not be included in organic, we’ve reprinted her submission here today on account of its well-researched facts and the spirit of lively debate. Also, of note, another nuanced opinion in favor of hydroponic inclusion comes from Food Hub manager Michael Powell and appears in the comments section here.

I respectfully and wholeheartedly disagree with Matthew Hoffman’s opinion. I have recently obtained my MS in Sustainable Food Systems and, at Green Mountain College, I studied with one of the people who helped write the original NOP standards.

Hydroponics is neither the ultimate nor the hackneyed solution to solving our current food system crises. A better question to pose would be, “when and how do hydroponic systems fit into a sustainable food system?”

It is a fallacy to think that any system, hydroponic or otherwise, can ever be fully removed from its surrounding environment or from the rest of the supply chain. From the construction materials used to the resources utilized in production and distribution, everything is ultimately connected.  There can be no one ultimate solution in such an interconnected ecosystem. Furthermore, it is misguided to think the NOP standards specifically focus on soil health or that all organic certifications are equal. Continue reading


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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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emergency day of action against DAPL

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The Sacred Stones Camp at Standing Rock has put out the call for immediate emergency action to stop the drilling below the Missouri River for the Dakota Access Pipeline after yesterday’s announcement by the Army Corps of Engineers of their intent to issue permission to proceed with construction, ignoring a previous order to conduct an environmental impact study on the project before doing so. Without action, drilling will likely begin today, Wednesday February 9, and the pipeline could be completed in 80 days.

If there were ever a time to flood TDP banks, shout outside of Army Corps of Engineers offices, and share this information widely, this is it. Find actions near you today!

We’ll leave you with this excellent quote from indigenous American Kandi Mosset in the Guardian today: “The Dakota Access pipeline is a symptom of the larger problem, which is the fracking that’s continuing to happen. Society as a whole needs to wake up and realize there are no jobs on a dead planet.”


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ann arbor: historic biodynamic farm seeks head farmer(s)

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Photo Credit: The Community Farm of Ann Arbor

Attention all experienced biodynamic farmers! The Community Farm of Ann Arbor is seeking a head farmer or head farmers. Located in the greater Ann Arbor area, there are almost too many pros to list for this beautiful historic farm, but we’ll give it a shot:

  • established in 1988, it was the first CSA in Michigan
  • an opportunity to learn from retiring farmers Anne and Paul, who have 26 years of experience
  • they have a cow, 4 goats, bees and “a flock of chickens named Jessica”
  • they use a solar tractor!
  • the farm has a non-exempt educational arm, which means farm tours and teaching opportunities
  • serves a dedicated community of close to 80 families

Interested applicants (as an individual OR a team) should click HERE to learn more about the position and the farm. They’re looking to hire soon, pay is dependent on experience, and consider these two things while you’re applying:

The two most important aspects of the farm are that it is Biodynamic and that it is a CSA. Ideal candidates will have: a familiarity with Biodynamics and a willingness to undertake the spiritual work it requires, and a commitment to original CSA principals in operating through the development of consensus.


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learn to farm on an island in washington

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Want the skills to manage your own farm? The Organic Farm School on Widbey Island in Washington State offers aspiring farmers a practical education in how to start and manage a small scale organic farm.

They still have a few openings left for 2017 and accept Americorps awards and/or offer need-based scholarships towards tuition.

Our full-time, 8-month long experiential farmer training program is for aspiring farmers seeking to learn and practice the technical and business skills needed to run a small-scale, organic, commercial farm. Through cooperatively managing the school’s ten-acre farm and attending weekly lectures, discussions, and demonstrations on topics including organic crop production, soil science, business planning, and direct marketing, students will acquire a thorough education in organic small farm management. Student are mentored through the creation a personal farm business plan and regular field trips to regional farms allow participants to see a variety of farming styles and talk to experienced producers.

Through management of the student farm, participants develop their practical farm skills including planning, tillage, greenhouse propagation, weeding, harvesting, marketing, record-keeping, and more. Students also learn to operate tractors, make compost, and manage the farm’s livestock. With the skills and knowledge gained and a business plan in hand, program graduates are ready to start and/or manage their own small organic farm. Find out more and apply at www.organicfarmschool.org.


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supporting black and brown farmers: NC’s earthseed land cooperative is doing beautiful transformative work in their community, and they need our help

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It’s Tuesday, and we bet that you could use your daily dose of inspiration from people doing beautiful things in the spirit of hope and transformation. It’s another day, and we have another rad collective farm for you– and for this one, we are calling on the Greenhorns community to help amplify and support the voices and work of people of color who are doing incredible work in food justice, community building, and the resistance of oppression.

Introducing Earthseed Land Cooperative! A “transformational response to oppression and collective heartbreak: a model of community resilience through cooperative ownership of land and resources,” created by a visionary group of “black and brown parents, activists, artists, educators, business owners, farmers, and researchers, who came together to remember our relationships to land, to livelihood and to each other.”

The Cooperative is committed to centering the voices of people of color and other traditionally marginalized communities. They grow food with the intention of increasing access to fresh produce, offer classes and youth programs, and offer a retreat and sanctuary space for activists and artists. In their own words, “Our work is to support our members, our compañerxs in resistance, and our broader communities: to grow food, to grow jobs, to grow movements, to grow spirit and mind; to hold ceremony, to hold our differences, and to hold our common liberation.”

I’m sorry, I just can’t write any more without a firm and capitalized, HECK YES.

And now, to the point: Earthseed Land Cooperative has recently found a new home for their Tierra Negra Farms in 48 acres of pasture and woods in North Durham, NC., and they need help to get their programming and farming firmly rooted in this new ground. 

THE CAMPAIGN
Earthseed Land Cooperative just launched a fundraising campaign to transform their barn into a community gathering space! Our plan is to start by raising $30K in 30 days
Learn more here, donate to the campaign, and consider becoming a sustaining supporter of their radical efforts.
Don’t have money to give, there are more ways to help!

AMPLIFY: Give them some love on Facebook, send out an email with our campaign info, tell your friends and family!

CONNECT: Build a bridge to people/organizations who should know about the work that we do? Share our project with your people who want to see Black and Brown folks in the South reclaiming land for our common liberation with the blessing of Indigenous community and our ancestors.