the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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the true story of a farm turned cult

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Helen Zuman, long-time Greenhorns-follower and contributor to New Farmers Almanac, has an agricultural story to tell that is as gripping as it is disquieting– and she’s asking for help getting it published.

Helen writes, “The action unfolds on a farm in the backwoods of Western North Carolina – Zendik Farm, which, I discovered after being kicked out, was actually a cult. The story features an urge to homestead (part of what sent me hunting for a place like Zendik in the first place), firewood, wheelbarrows, snuffling bucks, outhouses, de-nailing, wild persimmons, abundant intrigue – and a glimpse of the detours aspiring agrarians were perhaps more likely to take back in the late 90s, when the beginning-farmer scene was nowhere near as robust as it is today.”

An intimate journey through the full arc of cult involvement, MATING IN CAPTIVITY shows how Zuman joined Zendik, learned its mating rituals, endured exile, and – finally – mated in the wild.

Helen has launched a thirty-day kickstarted campaign to fund the book, and rewards include advance access to the paperback, a reading (with Q&A) at a venue of your choice, and a handwritten copy of the manuscript. The campaign ends April 10.


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supporting black and brown farmers: NC’s earthseed land cooperative is doing beautiful transformative work in their community, and they need our help

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It’s Tuesday, and we bet that you could use your daily dose of inspiration from people doing beautiful things in the spirit of hope and transformation. It’s another day, and we have another rad collective farm for you– and for this one, we are calling on the Greenhorns community to help amplify and support the voices and work of people of color who are doing incredible work in food justice, community building, and the resistance of oppression.

Introducing Earthseed Land Cooperative! A “transformational response to oppression and collective heartbreak: a model of community resilience through cooperative ownership of land and resources,” created by a visionary group of “black and brown parents, activists, artists, educators, business owners, farmers, and researchers, who came together to remember our relationships to land, to livelihood and to each other.”

The Cooperative is committed to centering the voices of people of color and other traditionally marginalized communities. They grow food with the intention of increasing access to fresh produce, offer classes and youth programs, and offer a retreat and sanctuary space for activists and artists. In their own words, “Our work is to support our members, our compañerxs in resistance, and our broader communities: to grow food, to grow jobs, to grow movements, to grow spirit and mind; to hold ceremony, to hold our differences, and to hold our common liberation.”

I’m sorry, I just can’t write any more without a firm and capitalized, HECK YES.

And now, to the point: Earthseed Land Cooperative has recently found a new home for their Tierra Negra Farms in 48 acres of pasture and woods in North Durham, NC., and they need help to get their programming and farming firmly rooted in this new ground. 

THE CAMPAIGN
Earthseed Land Cooperative just launched a fundraising campaign to transform their barn into a community gathering space! Our plan is to start by raising $30K in 30 days
Learn more here, donate to the campaign, and consider becoming a sustaining supporter of their radical efforts.
Don’t have money to give, there are more ways to help!

AMPLIFY: Give them some love on Facebook, send out an email with our campaign info, tell your friends and family!

CONNECT: Build a bridge to people/organizations who should know about the work that we do? Share our project with your people who want to see Black and Brown folks in the South reclaiming land for our common liberation with the blessing of Indigenous community and our ancestors.


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NPR’s the salt puts spotlight on industrial ag workers

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Photo by Dan Charles/NPR

We don’t often see mainstream media outlets report on the often invisible farm workers that hold up so much of American agriculture– let alone do in depth and humanizing interviews with them. So, in case you missed it, we wanted to bring your attention to a series created by Dan Charles for NPR’s The Salt in which Charles interviews the largely-Hispanic migrant immigrant workers on sweet potato, apple, orange, strawberry, and blueberry farms. Even for those of us who have worked on smaller-scale farms, a look into the lives of workers on these gigantic combines is both fascinating and critical. We can’t recommend a listen more highly.

You can read Charles’s summary of his findings here and follow his links to listen to each piece individually.


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affordable sustainable ag education opportunity for north carolina folks

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Located at the very center of North Carolina’s local food and farming scene, the Sustainable Agriculture Program at Central Carolina Community College is a unique opportunity for sustainable agriculture education.

At CCCC’s sustainable agriculture program students have the opportunity for “Real Farming- Right Now”. The Pittsboro, NC based program has an on-campus, year-round certified organic farm that is an integral part of teaching and learning. Field and hoophouse production, pasture-based heritage breed chickens and a commitment to incorporating sustainable technologies (solar, biofuels, reduced tillage) make this established and accessible program the place to get started in organic farming.

Students have the opportunity to meet and network with a wide variety of sustainable farms, businesses and organizations while participating in focused, practical education and training. Whether you are exploring the possibilities of a career in sustainable farming or you are already farming and recognize the need for some targeted learning opportunities (soil science, marketing, business plans!) you are welcome at CCCC Sustainable Agriculture Program.

Interested students may apply online: http://www.cccc.edu/admissions/apply/

Fall 2016 registration for new students is open now; Fall classes will begin August 15th

Call Robin Kohanowich for more information about sustainable agriculture at CCCC. 919-545-8031rkoha065@cccc.edu Certificate and Degree programs available.

www.cccc.edu/agriculture/  Affordable, convenient, established


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apply for amazing farm incubator program in NC

The Roots & Fruits Farm Business Incubator in Black Mountan, NC provides the tools and resources aspiring agricultural entrepreneurs need to develop and manage viable farm enterprises in Appalachia. The Incubator reduces the traditional barriers to success for new farm businesses by providing access to land, shared equipment, infrastructure, low-interest capital, business mentoring, and training in advanced practical skills. Launching farm-based businesses in the supportive, low-risk environment of the Incubator greatly increases the likelihood of business viability and success.

Once their businesses have matured to the point of self-sufficiency, we will assist Incubator graduates in transitioning to longer-term landholdings in the region, ensuring they will have a place to operate their businesses independently while also bringing more land into production. Through the Incubator, we will be ushering in a new generation of profitable, conservation-oriented farm entrepreneurs while bringing more preserved farmland into production and investing in farm communities across the region.

We are currently seeking proposals for the 2016-2018 seasons. The length of the lease period will be 2 years. All needed infrastructure is in place, including water supply, irrigation lines, chicken coop & run, hoop houses, greenhouse, wash facilities, cold storage, and a multi-purpose shed. All business infrastructures are in place, including direct selling through Roots & Fruits market & café.

Jump-start your farm business on the Front Porch of North Carolina! Are you looking for a low-risk entry point for your organic and biologically intensive farm practice? Join us in our campaign to re-imagine human-scale food systems. Together we will empower through education and build an inspiring community through food.

Learn more and apply at: http://rootsandfruitsmarket.com/?p=326.


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hollerin’ – the original group chat

Hollerin’ is considered by some to be the earliest form of communication between humans. It is a traditional form of communication used in rural areas before the days of telecommunications to convey long-distance messages.

Evidence of hollerin’, or derivations thereof such as yodeling or hunting cries, exists worldwide among many early peoples and is still be practiced in certain societies of the modern world. In one form or another, the holler has been found to exist in Europe, Africa and Asia as well as the US. Each culture used or uses hollers differently, although almost all cultures have specific hollers meant to convey warning or distress. Otherwise hollers exist for virtually any communicative purpose imaginable — greetings, general information, pleasure, work, etc. The hollers featured at the National Hollerin’ Contest typically fall into one of four categories: distress, functional, communicative or pleasure.

Every year, on the third Saturday of June, in an otherwise sleepy borough of southeastern North Carolina known as Spivey’s Corner (population 49), some 5,000-10,000 folks gather from far and wide to take part in the festivities and entertainment in the day-long extravaganza known as the National Hollerin’ Contest.

Keep READING.


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environmental racisim: hog farms in north carolina

The first thing Violet Branch does when she wakes up is to inhale through her nose to see whether the smell of hog excrement from across the street has seeped into her home again.

“Sometimes when I wake up the odor is in the house. Sometimes before I go to bed, the odor is in the house,” says Branch, 71, who lives next door to a swine farmer who keeps two lakes filled with a swampy mixture of feces and urine that he periodically spreads on his crops as fertilizer. An acrid odor of rotting eggs fills her yard at least twice a week and occasionally her home, giving her nausea and on some occasions causing her to vomit. All she can do is wait until it passes or ask her son who lives next door to drive her to the nearby Walmart where she paces the aisles until her breathing returns to normal.

Branch is one of over 500 residents in eastern North Carolina who are suing Murphy Brown, the pork production arm of Virginia-based meat conglomerate Smithfield Foods. They’re seeking damages over the cesspools, or lagoons as the industry calls them—uncovered earthen storage pools of waste. The complainants say the lagoons disrupt their lives and devalue their properties. Click HERE to read more.