the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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get the small farmers journal back on its feet… or, er, presses

We post Kickstarters all the time over here at the Greenhorns Blog, and we mean it when we say that we are excited about them all (such an amazing amount of creative and NECESSARY work going on out there), but there are few Kickstarter campaigns that are as near and dear to our heart as this one. For the last 40 years, the Small Farmers Journal has given voice to the small independent family farm, publishing pieces that honor both the traditions and innovations of small-scale farming. Somewhere in my closet of precious things, is an edition that a friend found for me in a thrift store that– though it is older than I am– is bursting with that sort of advice that is never out of style. In fact, it taught me half of what I know about pruning.

These days there is a wealth of hip publications with glossy photos that report on farms, but SFJ is one of the pioneers of grassroots agricultural journalism, and there still just ain’t nothing else like it, folks! (Well, except maybe the New Farmer’s Almanac… the new edition, by the way, is now available!) Point is, that the new agrarian movement has a lot to thank this publication for. As the journal describes itself, “Supported 100% by its readership, this folksy and feisty publication, a true clarion of free speech in the best old sense of the phrase, is a vibrant and exciting platform for engaging far-flung ideas about anything pertinent to the small family farm experience.”

SFJ hit a few road bumps in the last year and is a little behind on its publication, but we are CONFIDENT that this community can help them raise the $25,000 necessary to jump-start publication and get the journal back on its feet. Let’s do this!


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know your chocolate: a resurgence in small cacao farms in Costa Rica

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Photo Credit: Yellow Seed

The 20th century history of growing cacao in Costa Rica is a sad yet familiar story. Large corporations moved in, bought large swaths of land, and insisted on growing only a small number of cacao varieties. These varieties were extremely productive, but not as unique and tasty as others. This industrial, undiversified method of growing cacao lined the pockets of these large corporations for decades, but they had no answer to an aggressive fungus that wiped out their crops and led to a collapse in the industry in the 1970s.

Luckily, throughout this destructive era, small farmers saved and passed down native cacao seeds that could still thrive on the island. Fast forward to the present day and a booming global chocolate industry, small farmers (with the help of trustworthy B-Corporations) have led a resurgence in growing cacao in Costa Rica.

Small farmers to the rescue!

Yellow Seed, a non-profit “conscious trade project”, tells the whole story HERE. Check it out!


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is the world bank in with monsanto?

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ATTN: Organizations, academics, and activists!

California-based independent Think Tank, the Oakland Institute is calling for signatories to help put pressure on the World Bank to stop promoting policies that favor (and are deeply influenced by) agri-giants like Monsanta and Syngenta in ways that may support countries in passing laws that dramatically limit small farmers’ rights to save, sell, and exchange seeds. It takes no stretch of the imagination to envision the repercussions that this type of global policy might have on small food systems, the viability of small farming in developing countries, seed sovereignty in sustainable ag, and biodiversity worldwide. Continue reading


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fund the library for food sovereignty!

Donate at the indigogo page here!

In the creators’ own words,

“A Growing Culture (AGC) is a global coalition that connects farmers to each other and to the resources they need to create an ecologically sound food system and prosperous planet. We are building the world’s first digital, open-access platform powered by farmers, for farmers. The Library for Food Sovereignty will make it possible for farmers to connect directly with each other for the first time, to compare ideas and approaches, and to join together to build a global food system that works for everyone without harming our planet.

We’ve already raised 2/3 of the money we need to create the Library; reaching our crowdfunding goal will enable us to finalize and perfect the basic model. We need your help to get there. Any donations above our goal will go towards the creation of more advanced functions.”


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declaration against the criminalisation, persecution and judicialization of the struggle for the defence of life, rights, land, water, seeds and mother earth

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International Conference on Agrarian Reform

La Via Campesino, The Peasant’s Movement
Marabá, 15 April 2016

From 13 to 17 April 2016, in Marabá, Pará, Brazil, more than 130 delegates from 28 countries around the world were brought together as part of La Vía Campesina and allied movements, as part of the International Conference on Agrarian Reform, a symbol of the fight for freedom for men and women in the fields, the mangroves and on the sea. The aim of the conference was to draw up a much-needed proposal for Popular Agrarian Reform to override capitalist and neoliberal expansion. 

At this time of struggle and resistance for peoples of the world, we debated thecriminalisation, persecution and judicialization of the struggle for the defense of life, rights, land, water, seeds and mother earth, promoted by capitalist interests imposing political, economic, military and social terrorism. This all occurs with the consent of State Governments by means of their lethal projects such as extraction-based infrastructure projects, or capitalist ‘development’ (tourism, carbon markets, mining, hydroelectricity, monoculture, agribusiness, industrial agriculture and mariculture), as well as the militarisation of our lands. Deprivation, social instability and repression are widespread as a result of systematic assassinations, massacres, forced disappearances, high rates of femicide, imprisonment and arbitrary detention, intimidation, harassment and threats, prosecution of leaders, forced migration and wars against ordinary people.

On top of this there is political instability with the purpose of maintaining an imbalance among populations over the world, as well as frequent coups on the US government’s radar, a state which begins by creating unstable, failed states, as is the case in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Paraguay, Ecuador, Bolivia, South Africa, and the current attempted coup against the Brazilian people and the systematic meddling in the Venezuelan process.

We see collusion between the State, private companies, corporations and elites who create a culture of impunity that allows perpetrators to escape unpunished.

Faced with this wave of unbridled criminalisation of those of us who defend water, land, mangroves, sea, territory and life, we denounce and call for the punishment of those responsible for thousands of assassinations of social leaders, we denounce the legal prosecution of thousands of campaigners, we call for the liberation of thousands of political prisoners, we denounce the extreme case of the assassination of Berta Cáceres, one of the most symbolic leaders in the fight against capital plundering and a campaigner for peace in Honduras. We urgently need an end to the criminalization of the fight for land, mangroves and sea, and the social struggle.

Today, more than ever, we reaffirm that our fight is part of the defence of human rights and life. For life we give everything, for death we give nothing.

Throughout our lifelong struggle, not one moment of silence for our dead!

 

La Via Campesino is an international movement  that seeks to unite peasants, landless, woman farmers, and rural youth to fight to defend and promote small-scale sustainable agriculture as a lifestyle and livelihood. Read more about their work here! And check out our 2011 blog post about their food sovereignty youth training program.


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need more acres: great farm name, sweet video

Need More Acres farm owners Nathan and Michelle discuss the necessity of diversified vegetable farms and increasing food access. This is a beautiful and heart-felt little video about a family passionate about the work that they do: providing a multi-farm CSA to 35 families; organizing a community market to make more food available in their region; and engaging in the slow, sometimes tedious, but ultimately critical work of reforming our food system from the roots up.


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GOOD DIRT premier @ BAM, april 10

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GOOD DIRT is a multimedia performance based on real stories from six diverse farm families in the Hudson Valley. Written by Jeremy Davidson and directed by Mary Stuart Masterson of Storyhorse Documentary Theater, GOOD DIRT illustrates the fragility of our agricultural heritage and inspires the audience to rebuild what’s been lost. 

APRIL 10, 2016 // PREMIER
Show starts at 4pm // at the BAM Fisher (Fishman Space)
Cocktail reception at 6pm // at BAM Lepercq Space, 30 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

The proceeds from this event go to support the work of our good friends at the National Young Farmers Coalition.

Buy tickets here!