the irresistible fleet of bicycles

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a+ technology (adaptive, accessible, appropriate)

Examples of Questionable Applications of Technology:

  1. using garden sheers to trim your bangs
  2. building a forest fire to barbecue burgers for two
  3. mincing garlic with a machete
  4. driving a ton of steel to transport a 150 lbs human body across town
  5. relying on expensive, petroleum-reliant, highly-commodified tools to support innovative, unconventional, and ecologically-sound small farms


This week in the Food List, the focus is on Appropriate Technology— or, in other words, technology that suits its purposes (in scale, cost, application, etc.). The presented case studies presented prove that when it comes to sustainable, small-scale farming, bigger is not better and one size doesn’t necessarily fit all.

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proving that not all farmers are luddites


Young farmers aren’t just going back to the land, we’re also headed back to the future. Case in point? Last week, the open source web-based platform for  farm management FarmOS released its second edition, Beta2. (For some background, read our post about Beta 1.) The new edition boasts easier navigation and many new and useful features, such as its “Clone” button, which allows users to create new logs from preexisting ones.

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joel salatin shares his opinion with greenhorns after nyt glorifies new ag data and technology

“The demise of the small family farm has been a long time coming;” writes New York Times journalist Quentin Hardy. The solution to escaping this demise? Get big. Get REAL big, through investing heavily in expensive, mind-boggling technology in order to stay competitive in the world of corn and soy. In last week’s article, Working the Land and the Data, Midwestern farmer Kip Top was interviewed about how his implementation of the newest technology and data (drones, GMO crops, infrared cameras, GPS combines, iphone apps for irrigation, cloud computing systems and satellite imagery) has allowed him to increase his production from 700 acres in 1970 to 20,000 acres today.

Joel Salatin shared his retort with the Greenhorns:

As a puff piece for industrial agriculture, the Nov. 30 NYT Working the Land and the Data story about the 20,000 acre Indiana farm does an incredible disservice to earthworms, soil life, and the entire integrity food movement.

At the risk of sounding ungrateful, many of us think farming this way is terrifying, violent, and harmful.  The world has twice as many obese as hungry.  Frankly, we don’t want or need these bushels.  They destroy soil, create chemicalized riparian dead zones, produce nutrient deficiencies and depend on taxpayer subsidies.

To insinuate that those of us who create intricate multi-speciated bio-mimicry farms are technologically backward is not only incorrect; it’s disingenuous.  On our farm, we use computer micro-chip electric fence energizers to manage cattle so they don’t even need corn.  How about that for futuristic?  And yes, the production per acre is the same while building soil, hydrating the landscape, and sequestering carbon.

And if I don’t bow to Monsanto, I’m not using business principles?  Dear me, it is precisely because of business principles that I think Monsanto is the Devil. The real kicker in the accompanying video, of course, is the notion that the featured Tom farm is smart.  The obvious insinuation is that the rest of us aren’t smart.  Pardon me, but I’ll take the smartness of nature’s template over the contrivances of Monsanto anytime.

And by the way, my family enjoys being with me on our farm.  It’s an aesthetically and aromatically sensually romantic place.  What a horrifying thought that I would need driverless tractors in order to spend more time with my family–the ultimate segregated farm.  How tragic.  Diminishing farmers indicate a weakening civilization.  And yes, farmers include backyard gardeners.

Armed with our laptops, electron microscopes, and a deep awe toward ecology and food integrity, a whole new generation of farmers is realizing that community-building diversified farms enjoy more economic, ecological, and emotional resiliency than industrial models.


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Thirty years after Koyaanisqatsi, Godfrey Reggio–with the support of Philip Glass and Jon Kane–once again leapfrogs over earth-bound filmmakers and creates another stunning, wordless portrait of modern life. Presented by Steven Soderbergh in Black and White digital 4K projection, VISITORS reveals humanity’s trancelike relationship with technology, which, when commandeered by extreme emotional states, produces massive effects far beyond the human species. The film is visceral, offering the audience an experience beyond information about the moment in which we live. Comprised of only seventy-four shots, VISITORS takes viewers on a journey to the moon and back to confront them with themselves.

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technology criticism from the beef world



Here’s an excerpt from a recent post in the Ranching for profit blog. The whole post can be found HERE

“According to one cattle industry leader quoted in a prominent publication, Those who are not willing to take advantage of the new technology may not be able to survive. He isn’t alone in believing that technology is good for ranching.  It is good for business. It just isn’t very good for the cattle business.”

Ranching for profit blog