Archive for the ‘Around The Web’ Category
From KATHERINE DALTON
Front Porch Republic
[...] The word “farming” means something, and its meaning is not “gardening,” and it’s not “puttering,” and it’s not “edible landscaping.” As small farm advocate Mary Berry Smith likes to emphasize, farming must mean (among many other obvious things, like real work) putting equity at risk.
Years ago my friend “Dan,” who has farmed all his life, including running a dairy as a teenager and raising tobacco, took on a second job of selling real estate in order to bring in some extra income. Everybody knows what you’re doing in a small town, and it wasn’t long before some neighbor at the coffee shop twitted him about being a realtor and not a farmer anymore.
It was an unfair remark, but it showed how country people feel about anyone they can accuse of lack of seriousness. To call yourself a farmer without having earned the title is, in this small community at least (and I suspect in many others), not done. My husband and I have made plenty of social mistakes in Henry County, but we have never insulted our neighbors by calling ourselves farmers. We have run cattle, and we have lived on a farm, and my husband has done plenty of tobacco work, calf pulling, and haycutting; but the semantics are important. Rural people don’t appreciate the pretentions of those who want to wear the mantle of Berrylike back-to-the-landedness without sweating for it—physically and financially…
Calling our gardening hobby a “farm” and ourselves “farmers” is a way for us to fool ourselves that we are doing something more socially significant than we are—that we are part of a movement towards national self-sufficiency and greener living. But four tomatoes will not improve your global footprint very much, and a few square feet of vegetables will hardly feed one person even in July. More Farmer Dude…
Selecting an Enterprise for Small Farms Production
- What Can I Do With My Small Farm? Selecting an Enterprise for Small Acreages
- Small Farms Funding Resources
- Building a Sustainable Business: A Guide to Developing a Business Plan for Farms and Rural Businesses
- List of Alternative Crops & Enterprises for Small Farm Diversification–Alternative Farming Systems Information Center
- Alternative Agricultural Enterprises — Texas A&M
- Organic Farming Publications — ATTRA
- Organic Farming Research Foundation
- WWW Virtual Library: Sustainable Agriculture
- Alternative Farming Systems Information Center — National Agricultural Library
- Sustainable Farming Connection
- PNW Steep Home Page — Washington State Univ.
- Center for Sustaining Ag & Natural Resources — Washington State Univ.
- Sustainable Research and Education Program (SARE) — Univ. of California, Davis
- Sustainable Agriculture Network & National SARE — USDA
- Mulch-Based Agriculture Group’s Web Site — Cornell Univ.
Small Farms Related Sites
- Washinton State Small Farms
- Acreage & Small Farm Insights –Univ. of Nebraska
- Agroecology/Sustainable Agriculture Program (ASAP) — University of Illinois
- Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas — ATTRA
- Small Farms at USDA
- Small Farm Center
- Cornell Small Farms
- Maryland Small Farms Institute
- Alternative Farming Systems Information Center
Large Searchable Sites More Small Farms…
From MARC R.
Goat meat is already very popular around the world – the Washington Post claims that goat makes up almost 70 percent of the red meat eaten globally – and its popularity could increase in the U.S. because of the convergence of several things: renewed interest in grass-fed animals; openings of new butcher shops or revitalization of old shops (such as Avedano’s in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights), and increasing numbers of U.S. residents from Latin America and South Asia. With a bit of education and experimentation by farmers, butchers, chefs and home cooks, this adaptable animal could become a key part of a return to meat raised on pastures.
Goats were the focus of a recent one-day festival at the Rockridge Market Hall in Oakland – an upscale European-style collection of food shops with a bakery, butcher, fish shop, and more. The “Go for the Goat!” festival included tastings of goat milk ice cream, goat milk caramel, More Goats…
Tanya and Wendell Berry Farm in Port Royal, Kentucky
From WENDELL BERRY
E. F. Schumacher Society
For many years my walks have taken me down an old fencerow in a wooded hollow on what was once my grandfather’s farm. A battered galvanized bucket is hanging on a fence post near the head of the hollow, and I never go by it without stopping to look inside. For what is going on in that bucket is the most momentous thing I know, the greatest miracle that I have ever heard of: it is making earth. The old bucket has hung there through many autumns, and the leaves have fallen around it and some have fallen into it. Rain and snow have fallen into it, and the fallen leaves have held the moisture and so have rotted. Nuts have fallen into it, or been carried into it by squirrels; mice and squirrels have eaten the meat of the nuts and left the shells; they and other animals have left their droppings; insects have flown into the bucket and died and decayed; birds have scratched in it and left their droppings or perhaps a feather or two. This slow work of growth and death, gravity and decay, which is the chief work of the world, More Wendell Berry…
From COOKING UP A STORY
This is Dr. Alan Kapuler, founder of Peace Seeds, and former co-founder and research director for Seeds of Change. He currently resides in Corvallis, Oregon where he continues his research projects, and maintains his remarkable organic seed catalog.
Dr. Alan Kapuler is a man who thinks on big time scales, and across wide geographic spheres of reality.
A molecular biologist by training, as a young adult, Kapuler experienced an almost spiritual connection from working with plants. Years later, he became a public domain organic plant breeder, and an impassioned advocate for the protection of the natural world. Kapuler believes, the interconnectedness of all living things—biodiversity itself, is the true seed of life. Widely regarded as the founding father of the organic seed movement, Kapuler’s reverence of living things is embodied in his daily work—planting, breeding, and cataloging of seeds More Kapuler…
The farm is on the National Trust’s Wimpole Estate. You’ll be part of a group of 10,000 online Farmers working with farm manager Richard Morris to decide how it should be run. You’ll vote once a month, discuss the issues with other members and explore the world of farming.
Introducing your expert farming advisors
As you can already tell, farming is a complex business and we want to make sure that we’re giving you as much information and as many angles as possible.
To help us, we’ve enlisted the help of five prominent figures in the farming world.
They’ll be working with us in a couple of different ways, talking to Richard about how the project should be run and who we should talk to, but also getting involved in the discussions themselves…
The animals of MyFarm More MyFarm…
From Here & Now
Farmer Calls For ‘Managing Manure To Save Mankind’
[This interview on May 11 brought many new readers to Gene's blog. ~DS]
Long-time Ohio farmer Gene Logsdon says human and animal waste, including that from pets, is our greatest and most misunderstood natural resource. He points out that we spend billions to throw it away, and billions more to manufacture synthetic fertilizers.
Logsdon sees a future when companies might actually pick up human and pet refuse to compost and sell to farmers, and he argues that finding ways to turn our waste into fertilizer is crucial to our survival. Gene Logsdon’s book is “Holy Shit, Managing Manure to Save Mankind.” He also writes the blog, “The Contrary Farmer.”
I half-jokingly suggested about a year ago that animal manure More Gene…
From MARK T. MITCHELL
Front Porch Republic
[See also: Gene Logsdon — Oxen Power for Family Farms]
A New York Times piece, describes the renewed interest in animal power among some small farmers. Mind you, these are not quaint Pa Ingalls actors demonstrating out-dated farming techniques to giggling groups of school children. There is a logic to this shift, one that we are all encountering when we fill up the gas tanks of our cars.
As diesel prices skyrocket, some farmers who have rejected many of the past century’s advances in agriculture have found a renewed logic in draft power. Partisans argue that animals can be cheaper to board and feed than any tractor. They also run on the ultimate renewable resource: grass.
Of course, a yoke of oxen are not suited to farming huge tracts of land, so questions of scale immediately present themselves. Nevertheless, for some farmers, the benefits are numerous:
The hummingbird successfully crossing the Gulf of Mexico is adaptive, mile by mile, to the distance. It does not exceed its own mental and physical capacities, and it makes the trip exactly like pre-industrial human migrants on contemporary energy.
For humans, local adaptation is not work for a few financiers, and a few intellectual and political hotshots. This is work for everybody, requiring everybody’s intelligence. It is work inherently democratic.
What must we do?
First. We must not work or think on a heroic scale. In our age of global industrialism, heroes too likely risk the lives of people, places and things they do not see. We must work on a scale proper to our limited abilities. We must not break things we cannot fix. There is no justification ever for permanent ecological damage. More Wendell Berry…