the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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hot off the press just in time for the holidays!

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The Alaska Young Fishermen’s Almanac is the first book project of the Alaska Young Fishermen’s Network with support from the Alaska Marine Conservation Council and the Alaska Humanities Forum. Using her experience gleaned from creating our own New Farmer’s’ Almanac, Severine worked with the Alaskan Young Fisherman on this project and it features art, stories, advice and more from young fishermen across Alaska. Salmon Sisters is excited to offer this first, beautiful edition to our fishing community!

Continue reading


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applications for calypso farm & ecology center’s 2018 farmer training program are now open!

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Calypso Farm & Ecology Center (Fairbanks, AK) is now recruiting applications for their 2018 Farmer Training Program, a 5-month immersive residential programs. The Program runs from May 7th to September 29th, 2018  and is designed to equip participants to become self-reliant farmers through immersion in all aspects of farm operations, working alongside experienced farmers for an entire Alaskan growing season. Calypso’s unique setting also provides exposure and experience with farm-based environmental education, community events, and a range of homesteading skills. The following is just a selection of the skills covered over the season:

  • Seeding and caring for greenhouse transplants
  • Prepping the field for planting
  • Planting and direct seeding
  • Managing soil fertility
  • Weed and pest management
  • Caring for farm animals
  • Harvesting
  • Operating a CSA
  • Running a farm stand and selling to local restaurants
  • Working safely, using Natural Balance
  • Whole Farm Business Planning
  • Blacksmithing & Wood Carving
  • Building
  • Wool Processing
  • Tool Making and Maintenance

This program is particularly good for beginning farmers as it includes a ‘Beginning Farmer’s Bonus’. Any participant who completes the entire program (including completing their whole farm plan) will be eligible for a bonus payment after completion of the program, intended to support any future farming plans. Farmer Bonus’s are based on need as well as program participation.

Students can choose to take this program as a 6 credit course through the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

To find out more about the program, click HERE


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music we love: alaska

Part II of our videos for nature lovers this morning continues with this magical song by Maggie Rogers, a Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter. Written while she was training to be a nature guide in Alaska, the song draws on Maggie’s more traditional training as a folk musician but is also heavily influenced by the catchy club dance music she discovered in France. Personally, we think putting this on repeat is the perfect way to wade through the spreadsheet-laden swamps of crop-planning.


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obama administration to sell offshore drilling leases

On March 15th, the Obama administration released a draft offshore drilling plan for 2017-2022 that includes 10 lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and 3 in the Arctic Ocean off the coast of Alaska. This proposed drilling plan puts our communities, wildlife and environment in danger — all so oil companies like Shell and BP can increase their profits. The Obama administration has the power to stop it — but it needs to hear from you.

Submit your comment today to protect our oceans and coastal communities from Fossil Fuel Empires!


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What is it about the ruthless sea? An acculturation in agricultural landscapes, full of flower buds, dewdrops, fresh hay, kittens and baby lambs cannot prepare you for the hard, chilling mechanics of a mechanized fish harvest. To my tender agrarian eyes, the fishing business is brutal. We may call them “stewards of the ocean” but lets face it—they are killing fish.

-Severine on the Alaskan fishing commons in “A Farm Organizer Visits Fish Country: Part II,” for In These Times. Read the rest of the article here!


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why agrarians should care about fishing

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“For many terrestrials, and certainly for me, the ocean and fisheries are a foreign place. We cannot see into the sea and don’t know much at all about what goes on there, except perhaps familiarity with the blanket-term “over-fishing.” Young agrarians of the rangeland know well that a blanket critique—that the Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service’s policies lead to “over-grazing,” for example—is not enough. Indeed after decades of handing over mining, drilling, grazing and mineral rights on public lands, there’s a flank of the environmental movement calling for privatization of over 400 million acres of public lands. Another flank, the Rainforest Action Network, is calling for a moratorium on the sale of mineral rights on public lands.

We need to look more closely. We need to survey what we already know. And we need to build from there.

Some of us have followed the campaigns against factory fish—the Costco victory against GMO salmonGMO soy oilbeing sold as pelletized fish food and the pollution caused by fish farms. And we have heard hype about aquaculture projects and been confounded by this glamorization of international fish farm development projects. We use kelp supplements for our dairy animals and soil mix, but don’t know much about the controversy behind them. For the most part, we aren’t much connected as producers with fisher people whose fish-meal we farmers buy. (I hope this article may woo a few young farmers to study across the boundary of the seashore and help us discover our common causes.)

So, what’s the difference between a well managed and a poorly managed commons?”

-Severine on the ocean commons, in “A Farm Organizer Visits Fish Country: Part I” for In These Times. Read the whole article here!


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severine and the last american food commons, part I

 

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This past Fall, Severine travelled to beautiful Alaska and wrote three comprehensive articles based on her experience for In These Times. From Halibut festivals to fish processing boats to the rugged Alaskan homesteaders, she explores three questions fundamental to her journey:

  • What can the farming community learn from the highly managed, and highly abundant commons of Alaska? Are these lessons applicable to land?
  • What do young agrarians have to learn from the governance and politics of a wild fishery?
  • What does a wild fishery have to learn from the cultural activities of agrarian organizers?

Convinced? You can read the three articles, Part I, Part II, and Part III on In These Times.

But maybe you’re still not sure why young farmers should care about the ocean? We’ll be posting a few short excerpts on the blog throughout day, and we suspect they might just change your mind.

 


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here we go magic

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Tim Meyers, Meyers Farm. Bethel, Alaska. Photo: Meyers Farm website

NPR’s The Salt: “Alaskan Farmer Turns Icy Patch of Tundra Patch into a Breadbasket.”

But tapping that ultra-rich soil takes time. To prepare the land for farming, Meyers starts in June when the permafrost ground begins to melt a bit. He uses a tractor to clear the low-lying mossy lichen and other tundra plantlife that act as an insulator to keep the permafrost cold. Then, in July, he plows fields to loosen the soil and dislodge the remaining native plant roots.

In all, Meyers must spend as much as two years working a piece of land before he can plant it. And even then, the ground below the soil in which he farms is still ice.

Leif Albertson, who worked for Meyers for three summers prior to his current post as a Bethel-based extension agent for the University of Alaska, says Meyers’ farm is as magical as “Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. ” Visitors can transport themselves from the tundra to the jungle just by stepping into one of Meyers’ greenhouses. It could mean a difference of 40 degrees between the chilly tundra air and in the greenhouse.

If you’re curious about learning more, check out Meyer’s Farm website, which has photos, press, and audio from an interview with the farmer.


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learn to farm in alaska

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Calypso Farm and Ecology Center, located in Fairbanks, Alaska, is now accepting applications for their 2016 farmer training program! Calypso’s Training Program is an intensive experiential education program focused on providing the skills, inspiration and experience necessary for participants to embark on starting their own small farm with confidence. A small group (5-6 people) of aspiring farmers participate in the program each year — allowing for a high level of personalized attention.

This training program immerses you in farming and self-sufficiency, therefore the majority of the training is experiential and field and farm based, however the program also includes, topical workshops, a creative farm business planning project, discussion groups, visits to other farms and involvement in farm-based youth education. For more information about the program click HERE.

To be considered early —apply by October 15th. To be part of our second round of applicants – apply by December 1st.

Dates: May 2nd – October 5th, 2016

Tuition: $3,500 for the season


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another great farm training program

Calypso Farm and Ecology Center‘s Farmer Training Program is accepting applications now!
(4 spaces currently available) Open until filled – if you’re interested, apply now! Spaces are limited. Students are selected based on their level of interest in the program and potential for future application of wFarmer Training Programhat they’ve learned. We also strive to select a diverse group of participants. To be considered in our first round of applicants—apply bySeptember 15th! To be part of our second round of applicants (if space allows) – apply by December 1st
For more information on the program and how to apply, visit:

Calypso’s Farmer Training Program is an intensive experiential education program focused on providing the skills, inspiration and experience necessary for participants to embark on starting their own small farm with confidence.

Participants learn how to become self-reliant farmers by working alongside experienced farmers through the entire growing season from caring for greenhouse transplants, prepping the field for planting, planting, seeding, harvesting, managing soil fertility, weed and pest management, caring for farm animals, operating a CSA, running a farm stand, selling to local restaurants, working in natural alignment to prevent injury and more. Guided training in art and craft skills such as wood carving, basic tool making, papermaking, metal working, wool processing, etc is also provided.

See some photos from the year 2013 here! Continue reading


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pacific NW+alaska USDA grain prices

canola2USDA Announces Harvest Prices for 2013 Crop Year Small Grains and Canola Revenue Products

SPOKANE, Wash., September 5, 2013 — USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) announced approved harvest prices for the 2013 crop year for revenue protection insurance plans within the Common Crop Insurance Policy for wheat, barley, fall canola, and rapeseed in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

CROP  TYPE HARVEST PRICE
Barley (Alaska) Spring TBD approx. 10/1/13
Barley Winter $4.31/bu.
Barley Spring $4.31/bu.
Canola Fall $0.220/lb.
Canola Spring TBD approx. 10/1/13
Rapeseed Fall $0.303/lb. (set equal to Projected Price)
Rapeseed Spring (set equal to Projected Price)
Wheat Winter $7.26/bu.
Wheat             Spring $7.26/bu.
Wheat (Alaska) Spring $7.33/bu.

Harvest prices for spring canola and Alaska barley will be announced in early October. Harvest prices for corn and soybeans will be announced in the next couple of months.

For producers who bought a 2013 crop year Revenue Protection or Revenue Protection with Harvest Price Exclusion policy, the harvest price is used to determine the calculated revenue. The harvest price is multiplied by the appraised and/or harvested production to determine the calculated revenue. The calculated revenue is subtracted from the final revenue guarantee to determine possible indemnities (insurance losses).

Producers should contact their insurance agent to learn more program details related to these price announcements.


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alaska farmer training program, check it out

Happy Spirit of the Season and pre-Solstice-looks like we’ve survived and thrived in 2012!

The Calypso Farm/Susan and Tom’s Sust Ag/Life program is now in its second year,  and it’s aimed for folks who are seriously interested in starting their own farm– but there is also room for people who are more inclined to environmental education but are also exploring the farming lifestyle. They’ve incorporated craft skills, tool building, wood working. blacksmithing, etc. – as well as farm business planning, etc 

 Detailed info is on their website –
www.calypsofarm.org.-