Street demonstration in Petrograd (now St. Petersburg) after Provisional Government troops open fire, July 4, 1917. Viktor Bulla / Wikimedia
In a recent article about the 1917 February and subsequent October Revolutions, Jacobin magazine discuss how, as in so many other revolutions, boiling point was reached in the fields and among the peasant class. The peasants were discounted by many at the time, on the right and left alike as ignorant and unimportant, or in the word of Marx as “the class that represents barbarism within civilization.”
Throughout 1917, however, these supposedly backward people surprised their supporters in the intelligentsia with their clever revolutionary activity. While each region and village had its own nuances, the main structures of this largely self-generated politics shared many characteristics.
First, the peasants banded together to form village committees. They also called these organizations peasant committees, although trusted non-peasants were sometimes allowed to take part: teachers, priests, and even landowners found themselves participating in committee activities. The rural workers quickly excluded anyone from those groups who tried to dominate the organization.
You’re never seen a sprout look this ghoulish. AMAZING video from band C.A.M.P.O.S. for their song Teosinte, which features incredible slow-mo of the title seed germinating.
Most of the sites that reviewed the band mentioned that teosinte is a “form of Mesoamerican corn,” but being the horticulture geeks that we are, we can’t help but mention that it is a species of South American grass that is actually considered the ancestor of all modern corn. To this end, we also can’t help but recommend this, while less visually stimulating, utterly fascinating article by the genetics lab at the University of Iowa on corn genetics and the long-standing mystery that teosinte’s genetic makeup solved. And yes, we just called corn genetics, “utterly fascinating.”
Thanks be to High Country News for this latest piece that brings us back to a much-needed review of the ins-and-outs of our representative federal form of government as they relate to the latest events at Standing Rock. Have you found yourself wondering over the past few months, how did we get here, why can this happen in our country, or, even, wait, what does usufructory mean? Then we can’t encourage you more to take five minutes to read “Back to Civics Class: 10 Things to Know About Standing Rock.”
This is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED READING. Just because it’s a well-worn cliched doesn’t make it any less true, friends, knowledge is power. Short, clear, and so freaking well-written, these ten points review historical moments including the Louisiana Purchase, relevant supreme court cases, and the current status of treaties with Native American nations.
For instance, point one: usufrcutory rights; it is an important legal construction that is currently so obscure in our collective consciousness that spellcheck reports that it is not a word. (Spoiler alert: usufructory rights have nothing to do with high fructose corn syrup and mean the right of tribes to hunt, gather and fish in their “usual and accustomed places.)
As the culture-war rhetoric simmers with caustic venom on the Northern Plains, the results of the civics survey mentioned earlier are sobering. Is it not disquieting to learn that 70 percent of us lack a rudimentary understanding of the basic principles of federalism? At what point do we cease to be a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, and become a nation of the blind leading the blind?
Peppered with priceless footage of the origins of the organic movement, this film delves head-first into where we came from and where we’re going. Our favorite quote from the trailer? “Organic can get better.” Spoiler alert: the Greenhorns are in this film. Fund them here!
We are so proud of this awesome collaboration. If you’ve been wondering how a maritime art stunt fits into the mission of an organization that supports farmers (I mean, talk about your landlubbers!), this publication is for you! Manifesta lays out the story, history, discourse, and activism behind the Maine Sail Freight project last summer! The un-monograph is a fun and galvanizing read, and we think it is going to make a real believer out of you!
It’s an elaborate stunt, invoking colonial history and the maritime ex- traction economy of coastal Maine as a platform for discourse on a more regional, more prosperous, and more diverse food economy for the future.
We claim the ocean as an ally and a commons—a venue to imagine what a world where 60% of the retail price goes to the farmer, and view- point from which to watch the farmers of the region operate, and co-oper- ate to circulate wealth and add value. We raise a flag for food sovereignty on the mast of our sail boat.
We are not content to labor where 70% of the agricultural work is performed by those without citizenship. We are not content to operate in a high-volume, low-value commodity extraction economy. We are not content to be silent while our nation negotiates yet more free trade agree- ments freeing only those at the top of the capitalist slag heap and chaining the rest of us to their terms.
Get ready to be looking at a lot of very amazing old photos on an interactive map…
From 1935-1944, the Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information undertook the largest photography project ever sponsored by the federal government. After a series of setbacks in the courts that repealed many of the First New Deal’s program, President Roosevelt pursued a new set of initiatives including the Resettlement Administration in 1935.
In order to build support for and justify government programs, the Historical Section set out to document America, often at her most vulnerable, and the successful administration of relief service. The Farm Security Administration—Office of War Information (FSA-OWI) produced some of the most iconic images of the Great Depression and World War II. Unit photographers were sent across the country. The negatives were sent to Washington, DC. The growing collection came to be known as “The File.”
Read more and navigate your towns Ag history HERE.
American History, it’s not boring. (And it’s worth knowing.) Just ask J.L. Bell, a historian who writes on his well-curated blog about the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston.
How can we sell you on studying up on your American history? Well, we could give you the 3 a.m. infomercial-style pragmatic sales pitch, i.e.”Tired of being confused by the nightly news? Do you want a better understanding of today’s most prescient political arguments? Learn more about American’s aversion to taxation, the country’s long-standing tradition of underpaying agricultural workers, and the foundations of a long-entrenched and still-present racial, gender, and class-based hierarchy– and many more!”
Or, we could appeal to your competitive side. i.e. “Trivia night!!!! VICTORY!!! It’s IN YOUR HAAANDS!!”
We could. But today I think we’ll try selling you sensationalist style, because colonial history of political dissent turns out to be far juicier than today’s petition-signing. i.e. Tune in to today’s American history on Boston 1775 for the ARSEN OF THE COURTHOUSE BY ANGRY MOB, the TARRING AND FEATHERING of public officials, and the HANGING OF THE TAXMAN EFFIGY. You won’t want to miss this!”
note: this is not actually the From Down East. This is the cover of a beautiful volume by William Blake (also comes highly recommended).
Can You Sing “Maine”? Songs of Maine’s Fishermen, Sailors, Lumberjacks, River Drivers, & Shore Workers
featuring: From Away Downeast, America’s Easternmost Chantey Group will be playing the fiddle, guitar, banjo, and harmonica this week in Maine, and we highly recommend you make it one (if not both) of the shows. Singing along is strongly encouraged, and family members of all ages are welcome to attend.
First, they will performing Monday, August 17th at 7:00 p.m. at the Indian River Community Association at 1440 Indian River Road in Addison, ME. Admission to this event will be by donation to the building repair fund. For more information, email email@example.com or call 207-497-2450.
Then! On Wednesday, August 19th, Songs of Maine will continue with a FREE SHOW at the Pembroke Library on 221 Old County Road, Pembroke, ME, opposite the fair grounds and horse track. For more information on this show, call 207-726-4747, 726-4745, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Around the turn of the century, the Salvation Army founded three intentional communities in Colorado, Ohio, and California in an effort to relieve urban poverty that followed in the wake of rapid industrialization. Conceived by founder William Booth, the project was organized by his son-in-law Frederick Booth-Tucker, commander of the Salvation Army in the United States. Clark Spence’s account of this back-to-the-land experiment is at once agricultural, social, religious, and even political history enacted on both sides of the Atlantic: in the irrigated beet and alfalfa fields where small farmers fought hoppers, drought, or saline soil in an effort to wrest a living from their twenty acres; at the fund-raising meetings where the Booth-Tuckers garnered both applause and dollars from business leaders; and in the halls of Congress and Parliament where Army supporters argued in vain for government subsidies.
The Harvest Story depicts the life of rural American threshermen. This collection of first-person narratives chronicles the eyewitness accounts of people who threshed grain with steam engines. The book selects anecdotes from over 50 volumes of material published in The Iron-Men Album Magazine and arranges them in a coherent recitation. The result is a story of hard, honest work, of heartfelt cooperation and of triumph not unmarred by tragedy. Readers hear the recollections of those who pitched the bundles of grain onto the horse-drawn wagons, unloaded these bundles into the threshing machine and saw the stream of clean wheat cascade from the grain auger. Readers encounter the wit and humor that characterized yesteryear’s harvests. They learn about the vast industries that supported the agricultural enterprise, and they discover the dangers posed by mechanical equipment. The Harvest Story concludes by examining the birth and development of a movement to rescue the agrarian past from oblivion. This book captures authentic voices from the era of steam-powered threshing and offers readable interpretation and explanation, including detailed appendices.
Via the Organic Seed Alliance:
There shall be at the seat of government a Department of Agriculture, the general design and duties of which shall be to acquire and to diffuse among the people of the United States useful information on subjects connected with agriculture, rural development, aquaculture, and human nutrition, in the most general and comprehensive sense of those terms, and to procure, propagate, and distribute among the people new and valuable seeds and plants.
– Department of Agriculture Organic Act (May 15, 1862)
It is also the intent of Congress to assure agriculture a position in research equal to that of industry.
– Morrill Act (July 2, 1862)
This year marks the 150th anniversary of two laws that significantly transformed U.S. agriculture. The first law launched the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which President Abraham Lincoln, in his last address to Congress, called “the people’s department.” He placed the farmer’s interest above all others. The second law, the Morrill Act, established our land grant university system, intended “to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture.”
The new infrastructure established through these laws aimed to expand U.S. agriculture for the sake of prosperity and security – to further research, education, and innovation, and make advancements accessible to all. Continue reading →