the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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“agriculture has been one of the greatest blessings and curses to civilization”

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Curious about the title to this post? An upcoming three-day workshop in Stephentown, NY will dive deep into our problematic agricultural system and how permaculture and restorative practices can provide solutions. Taught by restoration agriculture guru Mark Shepard, the workshop runs from April 28th through April 30th at beautiful Back the Land Farm.

As we have inherited the tradition, agriculture requires massive inputs of energy to sow, harvest, and spread various biocides.   This has had devastating effects on the environment and society.  Restoration Agriculture seeks to use what we know about ecology to create food-producing systems that will require no additional energy inputs and  yield an abundance for generations to come.

It will be a fun and inspirational weekend! Camping is available on site, lunch and dinner are provided, and the whole kit and caboodle costs $550 with some early bird discounts available. Learn more and buy tickets HERE and read Mark Shepard’s bio HERE.


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full scholarships for mediation training in the nys agricultural mediation program

 

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Recently, I had the opportunity to be part of a workshop discussion at the NOFA MA conference within which arose the idea that our farms can become centers and examples of social justice and fairness. (Heck yes!) In line with this idea, the New York State Agricultural Mediation Program is currently offering scholarships for mediation training, specifically to people with roots in the agrarian community. The scholarships are provided by the NYS Agricultural Mediation Program (NYSAMP) in order to train mediators who can help out in underserved, less-populated rural areas– and in particular, they need mediators who can serve Columbia, Greene, Ulster, and Sullivan counties.

The NYS Agricultural Mediation Program offers free statewide mediation services to farmers to resolve conflicts including neighbor complains, loans or debts, landlord disputes, and family succession.

These new scholarships are available for a four-day Basic Mediation Training (valued at $1250) and are for applicants who “are curious by nature, and empathic, able to see the good in people, even when people may be in the depths of a highly stressful conflict. Applicants need to be able to see several discrete perspectives or differences of opinions at a time and hold them without judgement.”

Applicants will be interviewed for scholarships. And, if chosen for the program, will be expected to attend the training in March at Common Ground and Dispute Resolution Services. Afterwards they will join an apprenticeship program where they will put their skills into practice and receive coaching.  Applicants must be committed to “giving their time and talents” back to the community and be available to serve as a volunteer mediator in Columbia, Greene, Ulster or Sullivan counties. Applicants need to commit to serving as a volunteer mediator for at least 6 mediations per year for two years. 

The scholarships are provided by the NYS Agricultural Mediation Program (NYSAMP) in order to train mediators who can help out in underserved, less-populated rural areas.

If you are ready to serve or if you know of someone, who you think would make a

great volunteer mediator to “nominate” please contact:

Common Ground for Columbia or Greene County
(518) 943 0523; or email us at info@commongroundinc.org

Dispute Resolution Services for Sullivan and Ulster Counties
Jolynn Dunn  845-551-2668

Applications are due by February 10th.


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inspiring apprenticeship model on common hands farm philmont, ny

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We share the following apprenticeship program as much for the potential apprentices as we do for all the farms out there who either run or would someday like to host apprenticeship programs. Common Hands Farm, a 150-acre biodynamic CSA farm in New York’s Hudson Valley, has a unique three-part internship broken up by Spring, Summer, and Fall seasons. The uncompensated spring block leans heavily on classroom and practical instruction in biodynamic farming; the stipended summer block focuses on practical work experience on the farm; and the fall specialization program allows apprentices to take on responsibility and projects of their own direction around the farm with the potential to transition into paid staff.

Full program description is included below the break. Application information is available at the very bottom of the page. Continue reading


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raising hell(gate) in urban farming

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Throughout its seven years, Hellgate Farm has always done things a bit differently than other urban farms in New York City- from raising backyard chickens and housing an apiary, to producing its own hot sauce. Hellgate Farm is not your typical urban farm. Last season, crops were grown in over seven plots of land throughout Astoria and Long Island City, though Hellgate owned only one of them. The team has been able to develop partnerships with business owners and homeowners across Queens and convert unused growing spaces and backyards to successfully grow upwards of 70 crops this season, fill 30 weekly CSA orders, make and sell their own trio of hot sauces, and sell produce to local restaurants!

In 2017, Hellgate is exploring a new and less traveled business model in hopes of attaining maximum sustainability, profit, and community impact. Unfortunately, this means having to temporarily put the CSA aside.

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Like most urban farmers Rob McGrath, Hellgate’s owner, envisions everyone having access to clean, organic, and affordable produce. To this end, he is looking forward to improving the local food system by working with a large acreage organic farm in upstate New York. With more land Hellgate will be able to provide additional CSA shares for the Queens community. Their goal is to offer at least 50% of the shares at a subsidized price in areas with less access to affordable fresh produce, combined with community education programs.

Hellgate’s impact will be far more reaching even by harvesting one half acre upstate than they could ever accomplish with scattered backyard plots around Queens, but don’t worry, those plots are still going to be used!

In order to financially support their mission, Hellgate plans to use the land in Queens to focus on their value added products. Last year they began a partnership with a factory owner in Long Island City that provides them access to the factory’s rooftop. Due to the climate on the roof, the Hellgate team was able to grow a wide variety of peppers, and as such, Hellgate Farm Hot Sauce was born. They have already sold thousands of bottles of their hot sauce and it has been a profitable venture to date. Hellgate hopes to expand their product yield even more this year and get more bottles in the hands of their loyal customers.

Through their partnerships with local restaurants and sales of their hot sauces, ketchup, and other products currently in development, Rob hopes to be able to get their sister-farm started and restart the CSA as soon as possible. Rob notes, “This is a lifetime project, it will only keep growing and developing!”

With the team’s continued hard work, community support, and growing line of Hell-ishly delicious products, Hellgate’s new business model is well positioned to pay off for all of us!

-Greenhorns Contributor Julia Caruso

 

 


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spirited music! legendary gawker family band at mettabee farm in hillsdale, jan. 27

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Looking for  a way to keep moral up and marching after yesterday’s historic marches? Hudson Valley folks will have a great opportunity next weekend. Friday, January 27, 2017, from 7:00pm  9:00pm the Gawler Family Band will be playing raucous joyous Americana and folk from around the world. Find them at Mettabee Farm and Arts Center in Hillsdale New York. Information can be found on the farm website, which we’ve copy and pasted below the break. Read more about the band and its history here and listen to member Edith Gawler sing here. Continue reading


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job working on a cooperatively-run horse farm in NY for the 2017 season

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Abode Farm is Hiring for 2017!

 Abode Farm— is a cooperatively run 8-acre horse-powered farm in New Lebanon, NY. We produce vegetables, herbs, and flowers for our summer and winter CSA, wholesale accounts, schools, and farmers markets. Our farm is located on historic Mount Lebanon, a diverse ecological site; with wetlands, ponds, streams, woodlands, and meadows. We work to honor this diversity in our growing practices with a holistic farm system that builds soil, protects wildlife, and produces healthy crops.

Practices— Our bio-extensive farm system focuses on diversity, cover cropping, composts, mineral amendments, and careful crop rotation. We do not use any synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides on our farm. We rely on our Belgian draft horses as our primary source of power, which helps us stay light on the land, and sensitive to the biological rhythms we work with. We also use a small Farmall Cub tractor for bed-preparation and light tillage.

Community— The farm is a dynamic educational and community space. We share our land with The Abode of the Message—a Sufi spiritual community, and Flying Deer Nature Center. It’s a busy place and there are always events going on. At the farm, we host many performances, workshops, potlucks, artists’ visits, and educational programs throughout the season. Community outreach and food access are extremely important to us. We are looking for someone who has an interest in community organizing, food justice, and education in addition to holistic agriculture.

Abode Farm Job Description

Seeking –  2 Full-time farm co-workers
Start/End – April-November
Schedule – TuesdayFriday 7:30-5pm, weekend chore rotation
Spring and Fall hours 8:30am-5pm
                   35-40hrs/week—potential for extra hours
Compensation – TBD, $10/hr or Housing & Stipend

Full job description below the break! Continue reading


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man writes the NYT advice column in a panic that his son want might volunteer on an organic farm

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This one here is a good laugh for all of us who may or may not be the black sheep of the family. (My grandma clipped the above cartoon out of the New Yorker and promptly sent it to me without any card when I started farming six years ago. I like to think she was smiling about it, but it’s hard to tell.)

Some man wrote the New York Times “Social Q” column last week, explaining that he is “not paying $60,000 a year (after taxes) for him to become a farmer.” And, for once in a blue moon, the NYT writer abstained from millenial-bashing to explain that the parent might consider seeking out “less controlling ways to teach him the consequences of his professional choices.” Read the full clip below the break, and maybe consider that abysmal attitudes like this are best countered with a donation to your friendly local farm advocacy organization. We still need all the help we can get! Continue reading