the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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allegheny mountain institute is now accepting applications for their farm and food education fellowship.


Allegheny Mountain Institute (AMI) is seeking applicants for its fully-funded Fellowship program. Now in its seventh year, the 18-month Fellowship prepares and empowers individuals to become teachers and ambassadors for a more vibrant and accessible local food system. Selected Fellows spend six months in immersive training on their mountain farm campus (Phase I) and one year in service work with non-profit partner organizations (Phase II). AMI is an educational non-profit organization with the mission to cultivate healthy communities through food and education based in Staunton, VA.

Phase I – Farm Study (April 22-October 31, 2018)

  • Gain hands-on experience in sustainable fruit and vegetable production, small animal husbandry, beekeeping, homesteading skills and more on our mountain farm in Highland County, VA.
  • Study regenerative farming, nutrition and wellness, permaculture design, and community development through expert guest instructors, field trips, and educational sessions.
  • Explore local food system leadership opportunities and participate in school gardens, farmers markets and other community events.
  • Stay in handcrafted cabins, study in wifi-equipped common spaces and share farm-fresh meals supplemented with whole food staples.
  • Receive $1,000 upon successful completion.

Phase II – Service Work (January 2- December 31, 2019)

  • Work with AMI and Partner Organizations to help build healthy communities through food and education in Highland and Augusta Counties.
  • Contribute to projects such as: developing school gardens and site-based curriculum, creating infrastructure for local food systems, growing food and increasing food access, and teaching nutrition and cooking.
  • Build leadership skills through monthly professional development sessions and continuing education opportunities.
  • Receive an annual salary of $18,000 (less payroll taxes, paid bi-weekly)

Applicants must be physically fit, able to lift 50 pounds, walk distances up and down steep hills, work outdoors for extended periods of the day, and be comfortable living and working communally as a team in a remote, mountain setting.

Applications are due by February 1, 2018 and are available at: www.alleghenymountaininstitute.org. Applications are considered on a rolling basis and are reviewed as soon as complete. For more information please e-mail jessa@alleghenymountainschool.org or call 540-886-0160.


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upcoming: heritage livestock conference

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The Livestock Conservancy are holding their annual conference in Williamsburg VA from November 9th-12th 2017. The Livestock Conservancy, is a national nonprofit which plays an important role in educating the public about heritage livestock breeds on both a national and international scale.

Speakers include Deborah Niemann-Boehle, a heritage breed farmer and author of three books on sustainable living, Kathy Donovan who produces  award winning heritage wool from her flock of Karakul sheep, and Steve Edwards of Gwaltney Frontier Farm, Inc , a non profit breed conservation program in VA. There are full-day and pre-conference clinics which cover a vast array of topics, from heritage breed selection to social media marketing and everything in between.

There will be a networking reception on Thursday evening before the pre-conference intensive clinics begin on Friday morning, these include:

  • All Things Sheep (Full-day)
  • Using Entertainment, Education, And Public Service to Promote Heritage Horses (Full-day)
  • The Natural Home Dairy
  • Maximizing Your Products and Marketing Heritage Breed Wool
  • Chicken Processing
  • Social Media Marketing Options for Your Breeds
  • The Tricky Business of Breed Registries and Associations

The conference workshops include:
Grass Based Cattle  Geese – What Makes Them Special | Managing Poultry Health Before Problems Happen | Dutch Belted Cattle | Maternal Breed Selection | Gardening with Chickens | Strategies to Protect Your Favorite Breed for the Future | The Shocking Truth About Electric Fences | Small Ruminant Health and Biosecurity | Selecting the Correct Forage for your Ruminate | Value-Added Meat Goat Production…and more!

The conference has much to offer greenhorns. If you would like your rare breed meat to be featured, the Livestock Conservancy encourages you to send business cards and flyers to Angelique (athompson@livestockconservancy.org). These can be shared with attendees during the kick-off banquet on Friday night. Your name and contact information will also be included in the conference packets that all attendees receive at check-in. There are also a number of volunteer opportunities available.

For more information about the conference or to register click HERE


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the shortage of livestock veterinarians is reaching “crisis levels”

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Even after the lamb comes, the ewe continues to strain. Sticky with afterbirth, the ram lamb calls to his mother in quavering tenor, but though she lifts her head in his direction and lets out a low moan of response, her heaving sides won’t let her rise and go to him.

In the compounded darkness of the manger—it’s well after sunset—it’s hard to see what’s happening. The ewe stretches a hind leg in effort, and then again, and again, pushing. She stops her rhythmic movement, breath ragged. Someone shines a light: there is something there, behind her hind legs, on the straw. A second lamb? The thing is dark, darker than the first lamb. A black lamb? But no, it glistens too strangely in the odd glare/shadow contrast of the flashlight.

“I—I think that’s part of her body.” What? “I think those are her organs.” 

The stillness breaks. The livestock manager is called. “Prolapse,” “iodine,” “warm water,” “towels.” There is a flurry of activity in service to these words. The rumble of a truck announces the arrival of Josh, the livestock manager, from down the road. He clicks his headlamp on to peer at the lumpen tangle between the prostrate ewe’s legs. “That’s her uterus,” he says, and walks away to call the vet.

He returns shaking his head. The vet can’t come for two hours—there’s another emergency, over the border in Vermont. “I guess I’ll try to put it back, but I’ve never had much luck.”

Josh instructs someone to fetch sugar, someone to fetch a better light, someone to prepare a bottle of colostrum for the new lamb (“He’s huge, look how huge he is! That must be what did it”). He sloshes iodine up to his elbows while two people hold the ewe still. Gingerly, he lifts the uterus from ground, pulling off bits of straw and hay. He pours sugar over it. “The vet says this will make it shrink, so that it will fit,” he tells us. Then in a low mutter, to himself, “This was my favorite sheep.”

After a few moments, he begins trying to push the uterus back into the ewe. But even gritty with sugar, reverse-osmosis starting to drain the fluid, it’s slippery and swollen, bulging any place where Josh’s hands can’t stretch, the task like trying to fit a water ballon into the tap from which it was filled. “She’s pushing against me,” he says. “Her body thinks she’s having a lamb.”

He keeps trying: adding more sugar, repositioning, applying prolonged pressure, but it won’t go. Josh sits back on his heels. There’s nothing to do but wait for the vet.
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rural route film tour 2017

The Rural Route ‘Best of/Shorts’ Tour Program
Upcoming Shows:
March 12 – Decorah, IA @ Oneota Film Festival
March 14 – Cedar Rapids, IA @ CSPS
April 6 – Richmond, VA @ James River Film Festival
May 13 – Portland, OR @ Clinton Street Theater
June 3 – Rochester, NY @ The Little Theater
 
This year’s show contains…Réka Bucsi,’s latest animation, Love, featuring red panthers, black horses, and a giant water guy (and has been nabbing masses of awards all around the world)…Black Canaries, Jesse Kreitzer’s stunning, beautifully-shot 1907 period piece about an Iowa mining family’s continuous descent for coal…Jan van IJken’s The Art of Flying, artistically documenting one of the most spectacular sights on Earth involving starlings in Holland…and Ogasawara, Georgian director, Tato Kotetishvili’s whimsical tale of a Dukhabor wedding on the Armerian border…  Check out the full program at https://ruralroutefilms.com/tour/!  
 
Write to tour@ruralroutefilms.com to set up a screening! And filmmakers, please note, Rural Route’s annual CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS closes on March 18!  The best way to submit is via withoutabox(where you’ll save $5 off the already low entry fee).  


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farm aid 2016 concert details!

Farm Aid’s annual concert is an all-day music and food festival, featuring a unique lineup of artists and genres and family farm-identified, local and organic foods with its own HOMEGROWN Concessions®. In Farm Aid’s HOMEGROWN Village, attendees will have the chance to meet farmers, engage in hands-on food and farm activities, and learn about the ways family farmers are enriching our soil, protecting our water and growing our economy, in addition to bringing us good food for good health.

To learn more about Farm Aid and to purchase tickets, click HERE!


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virginia farmers share their stories


Earlier this year, The Virginia Beginning Farmer & Rancher Coalition sat down with the owners of five farms across Virginia to talk with them about their enterprises. They asked them how they got started in farming, where they sell their products, how they handle their labor, and so much more! These conversations were recorded for the purpose of creating videos that will help you learn more about your fellow Virginia farmers while learning valuable information that may help you in your own enterprise. The five farms that will be featured in these videos include:

  • Bellair Farm (Charlottesville)
  • Porcello Farm (Charlottesville)
  • Agriberry Farm (Hanover)
  • Amy’s Garden (Charles City)
  • Browntown Farms (Warfield)

Over the next few months, The Virginia Beginning Farmer & Rancher Coalition will be releasing a new video to our YouTube channel every week to share their stories with you.