the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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know your abattoir: there’s a shortage of local slaughterhouses, and it’s kind of a big problem

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The following cross-post comes from Field Notes from Maggie’s Farm, the blog from the Learn to Farm Program at the Farm School, and serves as an announcement of an exciting ongoing future partnership between this program and the Greenhorns Blog. Today, Farm School student Sophie Mendelson gives us a compelling run-down of the current quiet bottleneck crisis in sustainable meat– and what to do about it. 

Now in its 28th year, the Farm School in Athol, MA provides comprehensive educational programming in agriculture for youth, visiting schools, and adults. (Read more on their programming here!) Watch for more original posts on this blog from Sophie Mendelson, a student in their Learn to Farm Program, talented writer, and past and future farmer.

Know Your Abattoir: How to Keep Sustainable Meat Sustainable
by Sophie Mendelson

If consumers want local meat, they need to go to bat for local slaughterhouses.

At Adams Farm Slaughterhouse in Athol, MA, they play classical music on the kill floor. Cattle carcasses—seemingly as big as dinosaurs—hang by the hock from metal hooks fitted to a track in the ceiling that winds around the perimeter of the cathedral-like room. As the carcasses move along the track, they are divested of their blood, their skins, their internal organs, their heads, their hooves, and ultimately their integrity as a saw divides the animals neatly down their line of symmetry. This is how a “side” of beef is made.

The door to the holding pen opens and there is a great rattling as a cow enters the first segment of the indoor chute. A worker steps forward to urge the animal into the final compartment of the stunning pen, but this is a smaller cow, and instead of proceeding smoothly through the Temple Grandin-designed system, it begins to turn in the chute—an option not available to a larger animal. The worker attempts to redirect by prodding the cow from behind; metal clangs as the animal presses against the bars in resistance. The worker prods again, with little luck.

Noticing the commotion, another worker makes his way over to the chute. Instead of pushing from the rear, this man approaches the cow’s head. He reaches through the bars and strokes the cow’s chin. The animal stills. The man leans forward and appears to whisper something to the cow. Then, gently, he takes the cow by the ear and guides it into the stunning pen.

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radio interview with draft-horse vegetable farmer

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Farmer David Fisher with his draft horses. Photo by David Charles/NPR.

The GH radio is still on break, so if you need to satiate your weekly hunger for radio stories about farming, let me suggest this great piece by NPR’s the Salt about Natural Roots Farm, a CSA farm in western Massachusetts that uses smart systems, ecological growing techniques, and draft power to create self-reliant farm systems that rely as little on fossil fuels as possible.

Though short, the interview with farmers David Fisher and Anna Maclay touches on the discontent with consumer society that drives many of us into the fields, the idea of right work, and the emotional tolls that perfectionism can have on a farmer’s relationships. In fact, we can’t help but wish that the interview could somehow open up to explore these topics in more depth.

Oh, and breaking news! NPR reports that small-scale vegetable farmers are perfection-seeking idealists.

 

 

 


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contradance to stop the pipeline in western mass, jan 14, cummington, ma

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CONTRADANCE to Protect Otis State Forest / Sandisfield from Kinder Morgan’s Connecticut Expansion Pipeline
Saturday, January 14th, 7 p.m., West Cummington Parish House, 27 W. Main Street, West Cummington, MA
Proceeds to support legal work of PLAN-NE. Music by Steve Howland, Calling by Sadie Stull, Food from Alice’s Kitchen!
A little background: the Connecticut Expansion Pipeline is slated to run through Massachusetts’s Otis State Park, an old growth forest that is protected from development by the state constitution. Currently being fought in court, approval of the project undermines state sovereignty and threatens the health of wetlands, rivers, and the gorgeous Spectacle Pond. You can read a good summary of the project and its opposition from the Berkshire Eagle and learn more about the opposition to the pipeline from No Fracked Gas in Mass.
Lest you think this is a lost cause, we’d like to mention that last year, another Kinder Morgan-sponsored pipeline slated to run through Western Mass was successfully defeated through strong community resistance. 


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reinventing the commons, montague, ny, jan 20

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Reinventing the Commons:
Social Ecosystems for 
Local Stewardship & Planetary Survival

A Friday evening public talk and Saturday one-day workshop
With David Bollier and Dave Jacke
Montague Common Hall (“Grange”), 34 Main St., Montague, MA 01351

Friday, January 20, 20177-9 PM, $10 @ door or in advance.
Saturday, Jan 21, 2017, 8:30-5, $85-125, includes Friday evening and a soup lunch.  Preregistration required.

Sponsored by Dynamics Ecological Design.
For more information and to register:
davej@edibleforestgardens.com
603-831-1298

To register: 

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help this rad lady plant 72 rare varieties of heirloom wheat, sunday sept. 11, colrain, ma

Eli-Rogosa

Heritage Wheat Planting Festival
Sunday, Sept 11 from 11 to 4, 4 pm potluck
400 Adamsville Rd, Colrain, MA
Join us for a community planting festival! I need help to plant 72 rare
varieties of landrace wheat, that include the almost-extinct ancient grains of Eretz Israel and Europe that I collected when working with the Israel and EU gene banks*. Many hands make light work. Each person will receive free heritage wheat seeds offered on growseed.org and the joy of being part of a network to restore ancient grain traditions.
*see: growseed.org/wheat.html and attached.
Contact: Eli Rogosa
website: growseed.org
author of ‘Restoring Heritage Grains’
published by chelseagreen.com
grains of ancient Israel


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red fire farm’s strawberry soiree

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STRAWBERRY SOIREE 2016

Saturday, June 18th, 2016. 

Rain or Shine! 

Family Friendly!

Afternoon Strawberry Tasting at the Farm – Free!

2-5 pm in the fields at 184 Meadow Road, Montague 

   Join us at the farm in Montague for a celebration of the strawberry during the peak of picking season! We grow at least nine varieties of strawberries, each with their own flavor.
Come in the afternoon to try a tasting of the many strawberry varieties, enjoy some live music, take the Walking Tour, have fun at the Fairy House Building workshop, and pick your own organic berries – open to the public for the event.

Strawberry shortcake for sale! Also, quarts of our strawberries to take home!

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Schedule for the Day 

Open to the Public 
10 AM-5 PM Public Pick Your Own for Organic Strawberries
2-5 PM Strawberry Varietal Tasting, Home-made Strawberry Shortcake and Chocolate Covered Strawberries for Sale.

2-3 PM Walking Tour of the farm’s new Interpretive Trail (by Mount Grace)
4-5:30 PM Fairy House Building

Ticketed Events
5:30-6 PM Opening Course (included with dinner)
6-8 PM Strawberry Feast in the Field
8-10 PM Outdoor Concert with Jake Klar 

 

For more info and ticket purchase, click HERE!