The world premier of the Evolution of Organic (see our previous post on this film here and here) is finally upon us! You can catch the event at the opening Night of Green Film Fest 2017 on April 20 at the Castro Theatre. Schedule as follows:
6:00pm :: Opening Night Reception with Mark Kitchell and Festival filmmakers 7:30pm :: Evolution of Organic(Mark Kitchell, USA, 2017, 82 mins)
As the Film Fest surmises, “[The Evolution of Organic] started with a motley crew of back-to-the-landers rejecting industrial farming. It went on to spawn a renewed connection with our food and land. Filmmaker Mark Kitchell(Berkeley in the Sixties; A Fierce Green Fire)presents a celebration of Californian organic farming told by the people that started it all thru to a new generation who continue to reinvent the food system.”
The film will be followed by a discussion with filmmaker Mark Kitchell and special guests. Buy tickets here!
After a year that put large swaths of New England in prolonged severe to extreme drought, reporter Kori Feener devoted episode two of her new podcast series to ask: what is the future of farming in New England in an increasingly erratic climate? Feener speaks to our a small farmer, the head of environmental studies at Brandies University, and our own Severine. The experts agree, the challenges are daunting but hardly insurmountable. Realistic and yet incredibly hopeful, this is great listening for long days of seeding in the greenhouse.
To that point, the new series, Under Reported, is sleek, smart, and incredibly engaging. Based out of Boston, Feener goes beneath the headlines to give voice to the personal narratives of today’s news cycle and draw attention to what the mainstream media often ignores. “Through in-depth interviews, and audio storytelling Under Reported connects with those on the front lines of change in America.”
What is it about the ruthless sea? An acculturation in agricultural landscapes, full of flower buds, dewdrops, fresh hay, kittens and baby lambs cannot prepare you for the hard, chilling mechanics of a mechanized fish harvest. To my tender agrarian eyes, the fishing business is brutal. We may call them “stewards of the ocean” but lets face it—they are killing fish.
-Severine on the Alaskan fishing commons in “A Farm Organizer Visits Fish Country: Part II,” for In These Times. Read the rest of the article here!
This past Fall, Severine travelled to beautiful Alaska and wrote three comprehensive articles based on her experience for In These Times. From Halibut festivals to fish processing boats to the rugged Alaskan homesteaders, she explores three questions fundamental to her journey:
What can the farming community learn from the highly managed, and highly abundant commons of Alaska? Are these lessons applicable to land?
What do young agrarians have to learn from the governance and politics of a wild fishery?
What does a wild fishery have to learn from the cultural activities of agrarian organizers?
Join Brian Donahue, Marguerita Desy and John Forti for an evening panel and facilitated public discussion to bring these questions to the fore- ground. The Greenhorns’ Maine Sail Freight project, delivering Maine-grown cargo to Boston’s Long Wharf on August 30th prolongs our public- performance logistics with a series of public conversations. We’ll be at Boston Public Market the whole month of September, and over the winter will start back up with public programs in Maine.
The young farmers movement shares a bold vision, to rebuild a more regional, more sustainable, more resilient food economy. Individual farms and farmers are actors, but we know that coordinating across bigger distances and confronting the structural and economic barriers will require serious teamwork. Our boat-stunt, doing more than $70,000 in regional trade, is intended to bring into the open some of these larger systems- coordination questions. We Greenhorns want to get guidance from our elders, and lessons from history about how trade evolves, and how systems evolve, and how we should be preparing ourselves for the work ahead. This panel is mostly about the history of trade in this country, as a way to inform our approach to the re-design of trade-systems. Continue reading →
Land reform is about changing the legal, administrative and fiscal relationship between society and land in order to deliver public policy in areas such as housing, development, the environment, agriculture and forestry in a democracy. It is the system within which rights to land are defined, held and exercised. It is a system governed by law passed by Parliament on behalf of the people of Scotland. It is not about the current proprietors of land or their personal interests. It is about the system within which we all, whether owners of land or not, determine how land should held and used. The system is a public system and it is legitimate and proper for the public to seek to inquire, debate, reform and adapt it whenever it likes.
Here is a new venue for discussing policies and programs that do not exist within the current farm bill — or even the farm bill debate. As an organizer I deeply appreciate this new forum for visioning and proto-wonkery. – Severine
In Conversation with Severine von Tscharner Fleming, a Young Farmer and Activist
I first met Severine von Tscharner Fleming when she was a student at UC Berkeley. Her bubbling, nay BOILING energy was a pleasant surprise for me. This wasn’t some idealistic naïve college student nonsense: Severine was already at that point a killer organizer, a thoughtful writer, and a principled investigator into all things farming. In working with and knowing her for the past 8 years, she’s only gotten better, and her work has successfully spread and become more and more effective. Severine’s list of projects is positively intimidating for people not used to such ambition, or trying to plot their own path into food/farming activism. My read is, if you have that ambition, and you can marshal it for good, and not be a jerk in the process, then go for it! And Severine should serve as an inspiration to all activists: young, farmy, or not.
Terre de Liens is a civil society organization created in 2003 to address the difficulties faced by organic and peasant farmers in securing agricultural land. Land prices are high and land market so competitive that access to land has become a major bottleneck for farmers seeking new farms or additional land to maintain their current activities.
Terre de liens first supported collective ownership schemes, wherein farmers received contributions from their kin, consumers or local community to set up an investment business to buy their land. Since 2007, Terre de liens has also directly acquired farmland, which it holds in perpetuity for the sake of current and future generations. Terre de liens’ land is let to farmers who undertake to farm organically or biodynamically or who are peasant farmers committed to respecting the environment.
I’m here from the USA with a focus on charting the organizational work of young farmers across Europe. Throughout this month I’ll be meeting social entrepreneurs, farmers, organizers and activists who, undaunted by the complex, multidimensional ecosystem and broken economy of food, are working together to fix it. Documenting these projects, evaluating, and sharing ideas between us will speed this up. Our directory and community of cooperative food ventures and initiatives can make us stronger as we apply models from other places to our own towns, and learn as much as we can before repeating mistakes. Continue reading →
Lots of passionate people are taking up farming these days, motivated by frustration with industrial farming, concerns about the environment, and a desire to build community and local food markets. Some of these new farmers have joined the Grange, a long-established fraternal organization for farmers with roots in social activism.
In Oregon, Granges dominated by this new generation have banded together in a coalition dubbed “Green Granges,” which work together to advance the issues they care about.
You would think that would be good news for the Grange, a group whose membership peaked in the 1870s at 2 million and has been struggling to draw new blood in recent years. But these “Green Grangers” are creating an identity crisis for the organization, which has long been made up of older, more conservative farmers.