the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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after the aqueduct: through april 12, 2015

As California’s severe drought drags on, water is top of mind, part of a zeitgeist that the things we’ve done for decades aren’t working so well anymore and never did, for everyone. The Los Angeles Aqueduct is one of them.

Pencil illustration of future aqueduct with two columns of text, one on either side of the sketch.

First page of survey document for L.A. Aqueduct, 1907-1944, courtesy of Library of Congress collection http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/ca3095/.

The always controversial L.A. Aqueduct is a 233 mile hydraulic water conveyance system that has provided potable water for the City of L.A. since 1913. Today, the water for the aqueduct originates in the Mono Basin, 338 miles away, moves through the Owens Valley, and eventually reaches L.A. through a complex system of siphons, tunnels, dams and reservoirs. The water diversions from Owens Valley effectively killed it, and continue to threaten the ecology of Mono Lake and other areas.

In a refreshing contrast, the Aqueduct Futures (AF) Project “aims to inspire civic imagination about the future of the Los Angeles Aqueduct and Owens Valley” and is “mapping the hidden impacts of the Aqueduct to create a framework for lasting peace between Los Angeles and Owens Valley. 127 Cal Poly Pomona students (and counting), together with the Owens Valley and Mono County communities have contributed ideas to the project.”

Watch a video synopsis of the project on Vimeo and, if you’re in the L.A. area, check out the After the Aqueduct exhibit in person at the L.A. Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), 6522 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90028. The exhibit runs through April 12, 2015.


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“our land” screenings in berkley march 17 & 18!

In this Reel to Real mini-series, the Brower Center and the Agrarian Trust explore the future of American farmland and farmers. In these two fascinating documentaries, audiences will encounter a first-generation farming couple who left the urban areas of their youth to found a biodynamic dairy (Brookford Almanac) and a lifelong rancher turned “eco-cowboy” (Hanna Ranch).
Poster advertising two films showing in Berkeley, CA at 7 PM on March 17th and 18thThese films allow us to explore issues of land access, land care, and land transition. Afterwards, engage in discussion with producers and stakeholders of these films.

Buy tickets in advance here!


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what nobody told me about small farming

Jaclyn Moyer, a small farmer and writer in Northern California, has an article at Salon on not getting by as a small farmer. She describes a situation familiar to many of us, that “90 percent of farmers in this country rely on an outside job, or a spouse’s outside job, or some independent form of wealth, for their primary income.”

Courtesy of the Farm Security Administration photo archive, Library of Congress.

Courtesy of the Farm Security Administration photo archive, Library of Congress.

She writes:

“On the radio this morning I heard a story about the growing number of young people choosing to become farmers. The farmers in the story sounded a lot like me — in their late 20s to mid-30s, committed to organic practices, holding college degrees, and from middle-class non-farming backgrounds. Some raise animals or tend orchards. Others, like me, grow vegetables. The farmers’ days sounded long but fulfilling, drenched in sun and dirt. The story was uplifting, a nice antidote to the constant reports of industrial ag gone wrong, of pink slime and herbicide-resistant super-weeds.

What the reporter didn’t ask the young farmers was: Do you make a living? Can you afford rent, healthcare? Can you pay your labor a living wage? If the reporter had asked me these questions, I would have said no.”
Read the rest of Jaclyn’s essay at Salon >>

We’d love to hear your comments on Jaclyn’s piece and your stories. How do you make farming work for you? Do you see outside employment as a long-term necessity or as temporary, a transition point from our modern day urban professions back to farming? What would most help you, as a new, small or someday-maybe farmer?


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see two “our land” films in berkeley, ca – march 17th and 18th at 7 PM

Poster advertising two films showing in Berkeley, CA at 7 PM on March 17th and 18thWhat does the land want? How can our human systems for legacy planning, farm transition and land-linking best serve the interests of the land? Please join the Agrarian Trust and Our Land at two film screenings that explore issues of land access, care and transition. Each film will be followed by a Q&A or roundtable discussion.

What: Film screenings of Brookford Alamanac and Hannah Ranch

When: Tuesday, March 17th at 7 PM (Brookford Almanac) and Wednesday, March 18th at 7 PM (Hannah Ranch)

Where: The David Brower Center at 2150 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA

How much: $10 Advance/$12 Door/$5 Students + Teachers


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do you live in one of california’s pesticide hotspots?

image via theguardian.com

You might wonder how much of your food and air is contaminated by pesticides. Now, if you live in California, you can find out!

The Center for Investigative Reporting has put together an interactive map of California’s pesticide hotspots so you can check whether or not you live in one.

Check out the interactive map HERE.


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uc berkeley 11th hour food and farming journalism: application deadline march 15th

image via blog.longnow.org

The UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism is offering ten $10,000 postgraduate Food and Farming Journalism Fellowships in a new program established by Michael Pollan, the John S. and James L. Knight Professor of Journalism at UC Berkeley. The fellowship, a project of the Knight Center in Science and Environmental Journalism, is supported by a grant from The 11th Hour Project, a program of The Schmidt Family Foundation. Aimed at early and mid career journalists, the Fellowship presents an opportunity to report ambitious long form stories on the full range of subjects under the rubric of food systems: agricultural and nutritional policy, the food industry, food science, technology and culture, rural and urban farming, agriculture and the environment (including climate change), global trade and supply chains, consolidation and securitization of the food system and public health as it relates to food and farming.

In 2015, the fellowship is open to print and audio journalists; in future years, we hope to expand to include multi-media and video journalists. We will give preference to U.S. focused stories, but will also consider international stories with a strong U.S. angle or connection.

Online applications for this year’s fellowship will be due March 15, 2015, and should include a one-page pitch with a clearly defined story idea, not just a subject. The pitch should reflect some preliminary research, providing a clear sense of place, characters, narrative and reporting strategy. The application also requires a CV, two letters of recommendation and published clips.

Those interested in applying will need to be available for a workshop June 8-12, 2015 at UC Berkeley with the 2015 cohort of fellows, fellowship director Michael Pollan, guest editors from national publications and managing editor Malia Wollan. Travel, lodging and meals for the meeting will be covered by the fellowship. During the first session, fellows will refine their story pitches with the help of the editors, and develop a reporting and publishing or broadcast strategy. Fellows will also have opportunities to meet with and interview faculty members and researchers doing work relevant to their stories at UC Berkeley.

Reporting and writing will then take place from June-November. Fellows will meet for a second four-day session in mid-November, during which time completed stories will be workshopped and edited; the editors will also assist fellows in placing their stories for publication or broadcast. Travel and lodging for the November session will also be covered by the Fellowship.

Learn more and apply HERE.


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restoring health to agricultural ecosystems workshop: deadline extended!

image via paicinesranch.com

On the weekend of March 4th-6th Paicines Ranch in Paicines, CA will be hosting a workshop on Restoring Health to Agricultural Ecosystems. The theme this year is Principles and Practices from Soil to Communities.

DESCRIPTION: The potential for sustaining civilization is largely dependent on how we care for the soil, particularly through our farming and grazing practices. In this practical and dynamic workshop we will explore principles and practices for creating healthy agricultural ecosystems. Emphasis will be placed on the importance of soil carbon and the interconnectedness of soil health to the health of all life.

WHERE: Paicines Ranch, 13388 Old Airline Hwy, Paicines, CA 95043

WHEN: Tuesday, March 4-6, 2015, 9 to 5 each day

You can learn more about the workshop and find out how to register for the workshop HERE.

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