the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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allegheny mountain institute is now accepting applications for their farm and food education fellowship.


Allegheny Mountain Institute (AMI) is seeking applicants for its fully-funded Fellowship program. Now in its seventh year, the 18-month Fellowship prepares and empowers individuals to become teachers and ambassadors for a more vibrant and accessible local food system. Selected Fellows spend six months in immersive training on their mountain farm campus (Phase I) and one year in service work with non-profit partner organizations (Phase II). AMI is an educational non-profit organization with the mission to cultivate healthy communities through food and education based in Staunton, VA.

Phase I – Farm Study (April 22-October 31, 2018)

  • Gain hands-on experience in sustainable fruit and vegetable production, small animal husbandry, beekeeping, homesteading skills and more on our mountain farm in Highland County, VA.
  • Study regenerative farming, nutrition and wellness, permaculture design, and community development through expert guest instructors, field trips, and educational sessions.
  • Explore local food system leadership opportunities and participate in school gardens, farmers markets and other community events.
  • Stay in handcrafted cabins, study in wifi-equipped common spaces and share farm-fresh meals supplemented with whole food staples.
  • Receive $1,000 upon successful completion.

Phase II – Service Work (January 2- December 31, 2019)

  • Work with AMI and Partner Organizations to help build healthy communities through food and education in Highland and Augusta Counties.
  • Contribute to projects such as: developing school gardens and site-based curriculum, creating infrastructure for local food systems, growing food and increasing food access, and teaching nutrition and cooking.
  • Build leadership skills through monthly professional development sessions and continuing education opportunities.
  • Receive an annual salary of $18,000 (less payroll taxes, paid bi-weekly)

Applicants must be physically fit, able to lift 50 pounds, walk distances up and down steep hills, work outdoors for extended periods of the day, and be comfortable living and working communally as a team in a remote, mountain setting.

Applications are due by February 1, 2018 and are available at: www.alleghenymountaininstitute.org. Applications are considered on a rolling basis and are reviewed as soon as complete. For more information please e-mail jessa@alleghenymountainschool.org or call 540-886-0160.


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emancipatory educational experiences in scotland

Drumduan school, in the Scottish highlands, offers it’s students a unique and emancipatory education experience free of any form from exams or standardised testing. It’s educational focus is on participatory and practical education. Academic study is enhanced and balanced with movement, music and artistic work, with crafts, foraging  and outdoor activities. Students learn through experience,  they learn their science by building a Canadian canoe, or making a knife, or caramelising onions. What’s more, the teenagers who attend the school are happy and inspired and have the opportunity to discover who they are and what they want to achieve from life. Aspects that are all too frequently missing from the tradition educational experience.  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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island farm oasis in the middle of NYC

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Here’s an island you’d be down-right lucky to get ship-wrecked on! Greenhorns correspondent Julia Caruso spoke recently with Gabrielle Hayes, the Farm Coordinator at GrowNYC’s urban educational farm, Governors Island Teaching Garden, about the rewards and challenges of educational urban farming and– an idea we especially love– the need for and incredible potential of fostering active relationships between urban and rural farmers. 

Farming and Teaching Against the New York City Skyline
A Walk Through the Governor’s Island Teaching Garden
by Julia Caruso

GrowNYC is an environmental organization most well-known for operating Greenmarket, 52 farmers’ markets around the city, also works actively throughout the city to build community and school garden where they promote hands-on horticulture education for all ages. One such garden, the Governors Island Teaching Garden, is a working urban farm in its fourth year as part of the GrowNYC organization. In a single growing season, April to October, with a half-acre of land they grow 100+ crops and teach 5,000 students between grades K-12 the process and importance of growing and consuming whole foods.

The mission of Teaching Garden is to teach the value of healthy eating, how to grow and use productive green spaces to be better stewards of the environment, and to make sure students always leaving having had a positive experience with nature.

 “Urbanization is making us all extremely disconnected from what we eat,” she said, “we need more educational farms.”

Though visitors are at the mercy of the hourly Governors Island ferry schedule, the planning and traveling is worth it. The reward for the journey can be immediate; some students exclaim that the ferry is their first time on a boat! Taking the ferry and walking around the island gives visitor a fresh perspective of the Concrete Jungle, a closer look at the Statue of Liberty, and a chance to experience food from seed to mouth.

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Gabrielle chose to farm in an urban environment instead of rural because she loves the opportunity to interact and educate the next generation. (The balance between living in a city and escaping it 5x weekly on the island helps to). She is able to create lessons that vary from healthy eating and growing crops, to food justice and ethnobotany, depending on the grade level of the kids.

The Teaching Garden is a wonderful resource for public school children; especially those underprivileged and undernourished as it can open their eyes to food beyond processed and packaged calories. The biggest problem, Gabrielle says, is that with a staff of only two full-time and three seasonal part-time employees, they can only accommodate 100 students a day, three days a week. Many teachers ask to bring their students again, but Teaching Garden cannot accommodate repeat visitors. This is where you lovely rural farmers come in!

Gabrielle would love to see more partnerships between rural and urban farms. “Urbanization is making us all extremely disconnected from what we eat,” she said, “we need more educational farms.”

More and more people do not know where their food comes from. Seeing a “real life farm,” as she put it, might further inspire children to care more about the environment and eating whole, nourishing foods. A school could explore an urban farm and then travel out of the city to see how a large acreage farm operates and how the principals of small urban farming translate. “Urban farms and farmers and rural farms and farmers are very disconnected,” Gabrielle lamented. She believes that the more kids can be exposed to farming, the more they’ll want to be a part of it.

In a nonchalant manner Gabrielle concluded our discussion, “I think it’s [Teaching Garden] the coolest place in New York City.”

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premature deaths on the rise in rural areas

Where you live should not determine how long you live. New research shows it does.

Americans have enjoyed increasingly longer lives over time. Advances in medicine, a decline in fatal car accidents, and falling violent crime rates mean we are living longer.

But new research shows a reversal of this trend for some. If you are rich, geography doesn’t matter. Your expected lifespan is still increasing. But if you are poor, geography matters. In parts of the country we see an actual reversal of the trend.

geography of life expectancy map

The trend is also correlated with increasingly fractious politics. The Washington Post found that the places where middle-aged whites are dying fastest are the same places where presidential candidate Donald Trump is performing best.

To read more of this article from the Center for Rural Affairs, click HERE!