the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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to reduce food waste, farm insects

It’s called protaculture, and Robert Olivier has made it accessible using an invention he calls the “biopod.” The idea is simple: put food waste into an enclosed space with the black soldier fly to bioconvert the food into proteins and fats that can then be used for livestock feed. Unlike composting, the biopod can even be used to convert animals products. The paradigm shift he proposes is this, what if we didn’t need to grow corn and soy to feed livestock? What if we could do it with our food waste alone.

Tune into the Greenhorns Radio Show on Heritage Radio Network tomorrow at 4:00 to learn more when Sev interviews Robert Olivier. Or, as always, catch the podcast!

 


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when farms are not fair

Fair Food: Field To Table is a video project of the California Institute for Rural Studies, a nonprofit research organization whose mission is to “increase social justice in rural California for all residents, building sustainable communities based on a healthy agriculture.” Their research takes a keen look at the often-obscured lives of California farm workers in the form of research reports, videos, and action plans. They form strong relationships with grassroots organizations and farm worker communities in order to “turn research into action.”

Needless to say how important and progressive this work is.

Tune into the Greenhorns Radio on Heritage Radio Network tomorrow at 4:00 P.M. to hear us speak with Ildi Carlisle-Cummins, the Project Director at CIRS and learn more. Or, download the podcast any time!


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the incredible american-made, open source, radically accessible, and utterly adaptable tractor

One thing that is clear when you look at Oggún’s website, watch its videos, and study its tractor, is that this a no-frills organization. No frills: just results. And that is precisely why we love them and it so much.

In his ever-relevant essay “In Distrust of Movements,” Wendell Berry writes that the local food and land movement must “content itself to be poor,” because, “We need to find cheap solutions, solutions within the reach of everybody, and the availability of a lot of money prevents the discovery of cheap solutions. The solutions of modern medicine and modern agriculture are all staggeringly expensive, and this is caused in part, and maybe altogether, because of the availability of huge sums of money for medical and agricultural research.”

What we see here, in the Oggún tractor, is exactly what kind of practical, pragmatic results come from a thrifty approach. Accessing Cuba’s local food shortage, Cuban-born  Horace Clemmons and his business partner Saul Berenthal quickly realized that Cuban farmers needed technology that was simple, rugged, and easy-to-repair. And then they asked, why don’t tractors like this already exist, tractors like the original Allis Chalmers G that farmers in the US used in the 1950s? They suspected that stock-based shareholder business models might be to blame: too much money and the input of too many people with money who just do not understand the problems of small farmers.

So, in the grand spirit of Farm Hack, they used open-source technology to build a tractor with all off-the-shelf parts. Thus, repairs can be done in the field and in small local machine shops. Oggún adapted its business model to keep over-head costs low, partner closely with other local businesses, and never develop products that are planned for obsolescence. The tractors is made in Alabama, but it’s available to and possibly revolutionary for small family farmers all around the world.

Tune into Greenhorns Radio today at 4:00 PM to hear Locky Carton, Oggún partner and graduate of the University of Iowa’s agricultural business program, speak more about this exciting project. If you can’t tune in today, don’t forget that a podcast version of our show is always available at the Heritage Radio Network!


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tomorrow on greenhorns radio! jeff conan on the devasting effects of palm oil production

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Palm oil plantation in Indonesia. Photo by Archbad Robin Taim.

Tomorrow January 25th on the Heritage Radio Network, Greenhorns radio talks to Jeff Conan, Senior Forest Campains Manager at Friends of the Earth, a global activist network that campaigns for international environmental and climate justice. Much of Conan’s work focusses on the toxic legacy of palm oil production in Gautemala. Maybe you already knew that the production of this oil was rapidly spurring deforestation of some of the world’s most important rain forests, but were you also aware that the byproducts of its processing have a long legacy of polluting water sources as well?

As Conan writes in a September article on Medium.com, “One year ago, a series of spills dumped toxic palm oil effluent into the Pasión River where it runs through the municipality of Sayaxché in Guatemala’s Peten region. The spills were the latest in a long history of abuses associated with Guatemala’s palm oil industry — Continue reading


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organic grains and innovation on GH radio

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Listen to the podcast here!

Ben Dobson grew up in Hillsdale, New York, on a small organic farm and started his first agricultural business in 2001. After two years on his own, he joined forces with his father Ted Dobson and managed the fields at his salad and tomato farm in Sheffield, MA, from 2003 through 2006. Since then Ben has started, managed, and overseen the sale of two agricultural businesses: One of which, Atlantic Organics, founded in 2007, was the largest organic vegetable farm in the state of Maine. The other, a company called Locally Known LLC, founded in 2008, was a salad processing company that sold pre-packaged ready to eat salads to Whole Foods Market, Hannaford Bros. and Trader Joe’s supermarkets in the Northeast and Mid Atlantic regions.

In 2013, Ben joined Stone House Farm as the Organic Transition Manager, and in 2016 he became their Farm Manager. He planned and oversaw the implementation of an organic transition on the 2,200-acre Stone House Farm property, and developed a non-GMO feed and grain business to sell their grain. The farm is now expanding its grain operation to include organic grain from other farms in the region.

Ben also heads Hudson Carbon: a research project conducting long term research across several sites on Stone House Farm and two neighboring farms. Hudson Carbon monitors the economic impacts and ecological effects of organic farming systems regarding carbon sequestration. Collaborators in this project include the Rodale Institute, The Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory, and Scenic Hudson. This winter Hudson Carbon will be launching a website with sections dedicated to farmers, science, and the public.


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agricultural trailblazer dorn cox on GH radio tomorrow, dec. 20!

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Where does Dorn Cox find the time to get so much done? Dorn is a founding member and board president of farm hack, is director of Greenstart, and– as his bio on their webiste totes– on his 250-acre family farm in Lee, NH, “has worked to select effective cover crops, grains and oilseeds for food and energy production, and has designed, constructed, documented, and shared systems for small-scale grain and oil seeds processing, biofuel production,  and no-till and low-till equipment to reduce energy use and increase soil health.”

Also, in his spare time, Dorn find time to contribute to our Almanac. You won’t want to miss this interview. Tune in, as always, at 4:00 P.M EST to Heritage Radio Network.


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ocean forager amanda swimmer live on GH radio this tuesday

Amanda Swimmer wild-harvests local seaweed in her home in British Columbia to sell for food and medicine. She talks to Greenhorns Radio about local foods, added value products, and the value of our ocean commons on the Heritage Radio Network this TUESDAY DEC 6 at 4:00 p.m.