the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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article: west coast grange wars

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On one hand you have an established order that, while quick to conjure its Populist origins, appears threatened by the kind of grassroots change it once championed. On the other, a contingent of rogue Grangers—progressives decidedly less interested in nostalgia than their national counterpart—attempting to breathe new life into an aging system that doesn’t seem to want the CPR.

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“There’s a contestation around what the Grange will be,” says Von Tscharner Fleming. “Right now, the Grange present is captured by a pretty corporate voice. The original Populist voice of the Grange is not present on the national level. We called our project Grange Future because we’re claiming an interpretation. We’re saying: the future’s a long time and we’re going to be here and we can use these buildings and this infrastructure.”

In a captivating article feature on In These Times, John Collins takes on the history of The Grange, the recent polemical schism between the California Grange and the national organization, and Grange Future.


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soul foods, not whole foods (staying abreast of the riots in Baltimore)

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Just because Spring is the busiest time of year for farmers doesn’t mean that we’re not taking the time to keep a close eye on the riots in Baltimore. We know that the entrenched system of labor exploitation and land abuse that makes it to be a small farmer in this country is exactly the same system of greed, racism, and oppression that devalues black bodies and black life.  We understand that the success of our (and, in fact, all progressive) movements are not separate but intrinsically linked.

Whole Foods came out last week in support of The National Guard Last week. No surprise here, but we’d like to suggest that, in response, you choose not to support them. Check out this handy (though not complete) list Black Farmers to Buy from Instead of Whole Foods.


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on decay: dental, moral, and otherwise

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In delightfully unsurprising news for conspiracy theorists, a recent paper published in PLOS Medicine Journal reveals a rather crooked historical alliance between the National Institute of Dental Research and the cane and beet sugar industry.

The distillation of the story is alarmingly familiar: federal health organization caves to pressure from big ag and industry groups, turning a blind eye to risk to Americans’ health.

Thousands of internal industry documents analyzed by the paper’s authors reveal that the Sugar Industry knew as early as 1950 that sugar was a key player in dental decay. In order to prevent dentists from doing what dentists arguably do best (handing out apples on Halloween?), trade organizations attempted to deflect attention from the sugar question towards research on enzymes that reduce dental plaque and a dubious vaccine against cavities.

The study notes that a whopping “78% of a report submitted to the NIDR by the sugar industry was directly incorporated into the NIDR’s first request for research proposals” for its National Caries Program (NCP), whose purported goal was to eliminate tooth decay in America. Meanwhile, the NIDR neglected to call for research that would potentially damage sugar industry interests, and, when the agency launched the NCP, it omitted this kind of research from its priorities.

The Sugar Industry responded to the paper by calling its tactics “‘a textbook’ play from the activist agenda.”

To which we say, “Carie on!”


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twenty best college farms

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From small student-run organic farms, to large agribusiness training centers and entrepreneurial programs, farming plays a central role in many American higher ed institutions. To highlight this unique offering, Best College Reviews surveyed over 50 schools to come up with a list of the best university farms in America.

Using this Ranking Criteria:

  • Farm Size
  • Integration with the Main Campus
  • Sustainability
  • Are courses taught at the farm?
  • Do students use the farm?
  • Integration with the community

A list of twenty colleges was compiled with beautiful photos. See the full story here.


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work for the rabblers

Who protect the organic industry from besmirchment and collusive bad boy behaviors by watchdogging mercilessly.
Good for the small start-ups among us, really.  Though sometimes hard to like it.

Connect Your Career and Your Heart — Organic Farming Champions Wanted (locations: virtually-officed/national and Wisconsin)

The Cornucopia Institute is a farm policy research group focused on research and education. We are one of the most preeminent and aggressive organic and sustainable food and farming watchdogs. Continue reading

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