Organic Farm Manager Wanted: Hudson Valley Well established and profitable organic vegetable farm in Orange County, NY seeks experienced and highly motivated grower(s) to co-manage 14-acre operation and, within 2 to 5 years, assume full management responsibility and enter into a partnership arrangement with owner. Must be genial, even-tempered, have experience with farm equipment, crew management, and be comfortable selling in New York City Greenmarket. Competitive salary and good housing provided. Contact Keith Stewart, 845-856-4955. firstname.lastname@example.org
There’s plenty at stake in the Food and Farm Bill—that tome of legislation covering everything from farmers markets to food stamps to farmland conservation. As of two days ago, our 2008 Farm Bill has officially expired, with no viable replacement. What does this mean? While big programs like SNAP (food stamps) are safe for now, several other lesser-known programs are left abandoned, or risk losing their funding altogether. Here are five programs that might matter to you.
1.) Are you a regular at your local farmers market? With the expiration of the farm bill, new farmers markets, community-supported agriculture programs, and roadside stands do not have access to startup funds.
2.) Prefer organic farming practices? Programs which offer incentives for farmers using sustainable practices or transitioning to organic production, as well as dedicated research funds for organic farming, are on hold.
3.) Care about land conservation? At present, farmers can’t enroll sensitive land like wetlands or grasslands in restoration projects.
4.) Want to see young farmers thrive? Programs which provide training opportunities, education, and technical assistance for beginning and young farmers—the future providers of food in this country—risk losing funding altogether.
5.) Do you like knowing which products use organic farming and production methods, and which do not? Programs which help cover the costs of becoming certified USDA organic—a pricey undertaking—are now at stake.
With the Food and Farm Bill in limbo, these important programs have been put on hold and their future remains unclear. I touched base with Dan Imhoff of Food Fight 2012 to find out why he’s worried, and how we can be proactive towards a better farm bill.
I see this [expiration] as something to be worried about because it seems that our leadership still doesn’t understand the crisis in the food system, and just how fundamental the Farm Bill is to getting things right in society. There is nothing more fundamental than food. And there are some real problems with how and what we are producing. The Farm Bill is our mechanism to right things that are wrong in the farm system, to do things that the market doesn’t compensate land owners for, to make sure everyone has access to healthy food. And by ignoring this important debate, they are putting off some of the most important work that should have been done this year. Congress refused to act and I think that’s a broader reflection of how dysfunctional things are right now at the national level.
HMI and our collaborators are now accepting applications for our Beginning Women Farmer programs in Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, Maine, and Texas.
HMI’s Holistic Management® whole farm/ranch planning curriculum focuses on business planning skills, time management, soil fertility management, and profitable sustainable livestock and crop farming practices.
Join the Program
If you are a beginning (less than ten years experience) women farmer or rancher in Texas or the Northeast and you are interested in joining the program, please contact the individuals below. While there is a small fee to join the program in the Northeast, scholarships are available for those in need of financial assistance. The program is free in Texas. Program applications are currently being accepted, so contact these state coordinators now!
New York—Lauren Lines, Central NY RC&D, email@example.com (deadline October 15, 2012)
Connecticut—Deb Legge, CT NOFA, firstname.lastname@example.org (deadline September 15, 2012)
Sweden recycles so effectively that it has to import garbage to incinerate
As reported by Public Radio International, Sweden has a remarkably effective recycling program. Only 4 percent of the country’s waste ends up in landfills, with the other 96 percent being reused in some way. There is one problem with that, however: The country has incinerators that burn waste to create heat (a must-have in the region) and electricity. And too little waste means not enough fuel for those fires.
One night a little more than a decade ago, Steve DeCaprio pulled his bike up to an abandoned house in Ghost Town, a poor neighborhood in West Oakland dotted with vacant lots. He cut through the rusty lock on the chain-link fence with bolt cutters, then pried open a plywood sheet that stood where the front door once had. Then he replaced the locks with his own. This is how DeCaprio, a longtime East Bay squatter and veteran of the punk and metal scenes, acquired his home.
He already knew that the previous owner of the house had died in the early 1980s and that no one had come forward to claim it. The turn-of-the-century bungalow had sat empty for many years. The kitchen floor was burned out, and the back of the house hung off the foundation. An acacia tree in the backyard had grown into the roof, leaving the interior open to the elements. The top floor was piled with the carcasses of dead raccoons and other small animals.
DeCaprio and a crew of friends got to work making the place habitable. “At first, it was basically just urban camping,” he remembers. It took eight months of on-and-off work to fix the roof. He got the water flowing, bought storm doors and painted the exterior, planted cacti in the front yard, and yanked out another backyard tree that had begun to menace the house next door. He named it Noodle House, and he currently shares it with three people plus the occasional touring underground band.
DeCaprio, who turns 40 in August, has tousled, graying hair and favors Carharts and black T-shirts bearing band logos. In a more mainstream context, he would be described as a “go-getter.” He plays guitar in a black-metal band named Embers, works as a member representative for the California League of Conservation Voters, and is pursuing a law degree through an independent study program (he expects to take the bar exam next year). And, of course, there’s the house. Right now, DeCaprio is working on a solar array to provide electricity. “There’s gonna be this moment when I turn on a light switch and it’ll be epic,” he says.
Perhaps most impressively, DeCaprio is no longer simply a squatter. He didn’t buy his house, but, after more than a decade of struggle, he owns it. Indeed, he has lived in his house so long that he has gained ownership of it under an obscure law called “adverse possession,” which allows ownership not through purchase or inheritance (the common paths to home ownership), but through occupation—provided no one else can prove he or she is the real owner. Adverse possession, DeCaprio says, is the “holy grail of squatting.”
THE ENLIGHTENED HAPPY HOUR: AN INTERACTIVE DRINK GUIDE
As more restaurants make their nutrition information available, patrons are becoming all too aware of the shocking calorie counts behind some of their favorite menu items. Gut-busting appetizers like Chili’s Hot Spinach & Artichoke Dip with Chips (1,520 calories), Cheesecake Factory’s Factory Nachos with Spicy Chicken (1,930 calories), or Outback Steakhouse’s Bloomin’ Onion (1,959 calories) are dangerously delicious.
But did you know that the happy hour drinks you guzzle also come with their own significant calorie count?
Use this interactive guide to help you make smarter decisions about what you sip at the bar. If you’re counting calories, the guide offers info on a variety of popular drinks by total calories and approximate calories per ounce.
The interactive also breaks down the alcohol beverage content in each drink, in case you’re looking to get the best buzz for your buck. Either way, click through to study up for your next happy hour.
Dole Food Company and Hy-Vee Food Stores recently celebrated the donation of five salad bars to schools in the central Iowa area at the United Community School in Boone, Iowa. The salad bars were donated as a part of the First Lady’s Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative, which has donated more than 1,440 salad bars serving more than 720,000 children across the country.
NOTE: Dole Food Company had $6.7 billion in reported sales during the last year. Do they really need to have a logo on these salad bars which is bigger than the heads of the children!?
FairMail Helps Global Youth Become Commercial Photographers
Many travelers know that handing your digital camera over to a local kid in a place like Mombasa, Bogota, or Jakarta can yield some seriously cool shots. It’s also a fact of globalization that this common exchange can serve as the first hands-on experience with digital technology for many young people growing up in developing countries.
When Dutch couple Janneke Smeulders and Peter den Hond lived in Peru in 2006, Smeulders noticed the enthusiasm the local kids had for photography. She also knew they’d never be able to afford a camera of their own. Thus began FairMail Peru, Smeulders and den Hond’s project to sell greeting cards with photographs shot by local teens in the vegetarian restaurant they were running.
When dining patrons, who also happened to be ethical venture capitalists, told the Dutch duo that they were “morally obliged” to make the project bigger, they acquiesced. The Fair Trade certified business now operates out of three countries—Peru, India, and just recently, Morocco— and was named a winner in the Ben & Jerry’s Join Our Core sustainable businesses competition in Europe earlier this summer.
“Who would have thought kids [would be] able to take such good pictures that can compete in the global photography market?” den Hond said. “But they all take to it quite quickly just as all teenagers get the hang of electronic gadgets easily.”
In each location—selected to offer “different cultural backgrounds” throughout their image catalogue—the business partners with local NGOs and youth projects which work with at-risk youth to provide well-rounded support. They then loan out a camera to each teenager and have them sign a contract in which they agree to pay off broken or lost cameras with their earnings if necessary.
FairMail sells the images to publishing houses who licence them everywhere from stock photography websites to on-demand print shops. The progress of each individual photographer can be tracked on FairMail’s website, and each product sold also includes a picture of the photographer on the back, as a reminder of their story. Sales are tracked and money is dispersed each quarter to the photographers for their sold work. Some of FairMail’s top earners have reached more than $10,000 in their careers.
“There are big income differences between the teenagers, depending on their talent, motivation and effort,” den Hond said. “We want to show the kids that they can control their destiny by working for it.”
Den Hond is proud of FairMail’s recent recognition as a leading model of social enterprise and he thinks the idea that businesses can find fixes for social problems needs further understanding.
“Our teenagers don’t need pity,” he said. “They need customers who buy their product just because they love their pictures. After that it is great if they come back for more because they also love the story behind each of the cards.”
Property address: Lee Hollow Road, Bovina, NY 13740 (Lee Hollow Road is accessed from Rte. 28 in Bovina. It also becomes Bramley Mountain Road that is accessed from Rte. 18 in Bovina/Kortright.)
Available for: Lease/Share/Partnership/Sale Sale or lease, including lease with option to buy will be considered. Owner would also consider some participation in an agricultural enterprise with the land value and use considered for equity or partnership interest.
Acreage available: 76-100 acres
Land use: The property is currently used for hay. About 29 acres were in corn production a few years ago. The land could be used for a variety of agricultural crops and could also be used for livestock grazing.
Land description: The land consists of roughly 50-60 acres of meadow, with the balance being forested. It is subdivided into 3 lots for ease of multiple leasing or combination ag use and home sites. The Little Delaware River is a property border and the land slopes from Lee Hollow Road toward eventual steeper drops to the river. The land is used for hay and is otherwise idle.
Organic: Yes (without certification)
Water description: River, stream and water drainage creek. Possibilities for ponds exist in a few locations on the property.
Housing available: No
Buildings available: No structures available
Other details: Property was owned by the Inman family of Bovina and was allied to their dairy farm as a producer of hay and corn.
Today, Philadelphia will begin spraying parts of Fairmount Park in efforts to reduce the spread of West Nile Virus, as we move into what many see as a critical time of year where battling the disease is concerned. This evening, at dusk, a truck with a mounted spray machine will dose areas in the eastern part of the park, primarily Robin Hood Dell East, Smith’s Playground, Strawberry Mansion, as well as areas around Reservoir and Kelly Drives.
As fall approaches and we enter into what is the peak time of year for mosquito numbers, we must remain watchful and diligent in our preventive practices. People are cautioned to remain indoors during early mornings and dusk. If you do have to venture out then it’s strongly advised that you wear long sleeves and/or use insect repellent, one containing DEET. Keeping a watchful eye out for insect bites in infants, children, people with disabilities and seniors is especially important as these groups may be more prone to contracting the disease and are less likely to be able to protect themselves.
Remember that one in five people unlucky enough to get WNV may develop West Nile Fever.This more serious incarnation can last from a few days to more than a few weeks and the person’s immune system may stop the onslaught. Those symptoms are fever, fatigue, headaches, swollen lymph glands and possibly, a rash on the body. People contracting West Nile Fever have a 1 in 150 chance to contract a more severe neuroinvasive form of the disease, West Nile Encephalitis or Meningitis.
Called neuroinvasive because they each attack the nervous system, the symptoms for these conditions are headaches, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, confusion/disorientation, coma, tremors, muscle weakness or paralysis. Anyone is susceptible but those over the age of 50 and others with pre-existing conditions are more so. And let’s not lose sight of the other infections caused by mosquito bites. These include Malaria, Dengue Fever, Yellow Fever, St. Louis Encephalitis, La Crosse Encephalitis and Western Equine Encephalitis. These are all hazardous to humans and, just like WNV, are out there as well.
As of September 4, 2012, there have been 1,993 cases of West Nile Disease reported in people, birds or mosquitoes; 1,064 (54 percent) neuroinvasive and 924 (46 percent) non-neuroinvasive occurrences. This is a 25 percent increase over last week’s numbers. To area gardeners, I would say that there is definitely a new game in town; one that’s absolutely necessary we each learn to play. Gone are those days of care-freely stepping into your yard and tending to your plots. Nowadays, serious preparations must be made in order to safeguard your health.
Even if you’re only going to be outside for a few seconds, you still should use a repellant or wear long sleeves/long pants, and spray those articles of clothing with repellent, as well (On a personal note, going outside simply to turn my water on or off resulted in at least 4-5 insect bites on my person in the few seconds it would take for me to do so). It makes no difference how little an amount of time you’ll be outside. You can be bitten rather quickly and it only takes one bite to produce a serious problem.
Apple and Orangutans: Apes Found to be Enamored with iPads
The comparisons between orangutans and humans are undeniable and multifaceted – they can recognize themselves in a mirror, they have hairlines (that recede, just like ours), they share 97% of our genetic code, and the males tend to be sociable only during mating (we kid). And now, zookeepers across the U.S. and Canada have discovered, both species share a technological fascination, too. For orangutans, playing with iPad apps appears to be as popular among the apes as it is with humans.
Late Monday night, I read about the Stanford University report on organic food, which said that organic and conventionally-grown food offered similar nutritional benefits, and have spent the last few days processing this news.
After careful thought, here are my key takeaways.
INTELLECTUAL HONESTY MUST REIGN SUPREME
Based on the parameters that the Stanford professors used, it was obvious that organic was going to be the clear loser before they even got started.
No study that they looked at was longer than two years. Furthermore, rather than doing their own testing, the Stanford professors compiled other people’s research, much of which was presumably biased, influenced and/or funded by industry.
Doing it this way, how can anyone be in the least bit surprised at what Stanford came up with????
As I say all of the time, plant nutrition is all about soil quality.
How can soil that is not bio-diverse, that has been ravaged by toxic pesticides, and that is not the recipient of crop rotation produce food with the same nutritional content as organic food?
I don’t believe that it can.
How can genetically-modified food (much of which has toxins genetically-inserted inside of it) or food produced with synthetic growth hormones have the same nutritional content as organic food?
I don’t believe that it can.
A person doesn’t need to be a MD or PhD to come to a similar conclusion.
A person just needs to be intellectually honest.
A WAKE-UP CALL
While I could go on and on poking holes at this report, there is a bigger message that we all must understand.
There is a massive and incredibly well-funded campaign at work to discredit organic.
Why is this?
Educated consumers know that toxic pesticides, synthetic growth hormones and genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) have absolutely no business being on our dinner plates.
Educated consumers are also putting up increasing resistance to our water supply being ruined by poisonous chemicals and are filing lawsuit after lawsuit to prevent the USDA from force-feeding us a slew of new GMOs.
And the number of educated consumers is growing by the day, which presents a serious problem for Big Ag’s plans to control every aspect of the world’s food supply while making billions in the process.
Even though industrial agriculture has proven that it can “buy” food policy on the federal level, by spending $572 million on lobbying and campaign contributions from 1999-2010, it is facing its largest threat yet – the upcoming California ballot initiative to label GMOs.
Because California citizens will be voting on this measure and California citizens cannot be “bought” via lobbyists, industrial agriculture will be pulling out all the stops to damage the organic brand.
By discrediting organic, it is creating doubt and confusion in the minds of those people who do not fully understand why they should be eating organic and avoiding genetically-modified food.
It is also creating doubt and confusion in the minds of California voters, who will associate GMO-labeling with organic.
Is it any coincidence that this research report came out of Stanford, a world-class institution which just happens to be based in California?
Is it any coincidence that this research report has come out just a few months before the GMO-labeling ballot initiative takes place in November?
For me, the answer is a resounding “no” to both of these questions.
Any educated consumer who understands the true value of organic knows that this Stanford report has zero merit.
However, the problem is that there are far too many people out there who don’t know the truth about organic and are ripe to be influenced by misleading propaganda. As such, they are susceptible to making dietary and voting choices that will be detrimental to their own health and that of future generations.
That is precisely why this Stanford report, which spread like absolute wildfire across the national media landscape, should serve as a serious wake-up call to all of us who understand that high-quality, organic food is essential to our well-being.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
We need every American citizen actively engaged in this fight to protect our food supply. Here’s what you can do:
- Continue to purchase organic. As Joel Salatin, star of the movie Food, Inc., told me, “there is nothing more powerful than voting with your dollars.”
- Inform your friends and family. It is imperative that we are all educating our friends and family about the importance of eating organic food – food that is free from toxic pesticides, synthetic growth hormones and very risky genetically-modified ingredients.
- Get involved and support the upcoming California ballot initiative to label GMOs (Proposition 37). Even if you don’t live in that state, a victory will have a monumental impact on food policy throughout the nation and will affect every single one of us.
To learn more about this ballot initiative, click HERE.
To learn which conventional, organic and natural food companies are trying to defeat the mandatory labeling of GMOs, click HERE.
Acceptable Social and Cultural Capital in an Unfair Society
One of the big drivers in starting a new company is to locate in the inner city and employ inner city youth. The unemployment rate among inner city young people in NYC is incredibly high-devastatingly high. Just read this article about a research piece on the subject (link to full article appears at the end, here) :
Small crimes and acts of resistance are often survival skills used by underprivileged youth denied the social and cultural capital necessary to succeed professionally.
Ronny was called in for a job interview at Carrows, a chain restaurant that served $9.99 sirloin steak and shrimp. He called me up, asking for help. I loaned him a crisp white dress shirt, which I had purchased at a discount store when I worked as a server at a steak house during my undergraduate years. I convinced Ronny to wear fitted khakis, rather than his customary baggy jeans. He agreed, on the condition that he would wear his white Nike Air Force Ones. These shoes had been in and out of style since the early 1980s. By 2002, a famous rapper, Nelly, created a popular song named “Air Force Ones,” and famous basketball players such as Kobe Bryant wore these shoes during games. Black and Latino youths in Oakland sometimes even wore them to more formal events such as high school proms, quinceañeras, and weddings. I asked Ronny why he insisted on wearing these shoes in a professional setting. He replied, “Because professionals wear them.”
I continued to prepare Ronny for his interview, helping him develop “acceptable” social and cultural capital. The day of the interview, I walked into the restaurant separately from Ronny. He looked sharp: a professionally dressed, athletically built, charismatic, tall, African American young man with a charming dimple every time he smiled. I was certain he would get the job. I sat down for lunch at a booth, in an attempt to observe Ronny being interviewed.
Ronny tried to use his charisma to connect with the manager, but she kept her distance and did not look at Ronny, seemingly uninterested in what he had to say. At the end of the interview, Ronny stood abruptly and walked away, with no handshake or smile. I ordered my burger to go, paid my bill, and met him in the parking lot. As I headed to the door, I turned to look in the manager’s direction, and she was greeting a white male youth. She smiled, gave him her hand, and offered him a place to sit. Ronny’s first contact with her was not this friendly.
Ronny told me that he had a good feeling and that the manager seemed to like him. I asked him to walk me through the interview. “Why didn’t you shake her hand when you left?” I asked. “Because it was a white lady. You not supposed to shake a white lady’s hand. They be scared of a nigga. They think I’ma try to take their shit or fuck ‘em. I just said thanks and walked out.” Ronny did not get the job.
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You’ve been asking for it, now we have it: NYS-grown certified organic seed garlic! We have a limited supply. We are accepting orders now and will begin shipping September 14th. Photos coming within the week!
Soft-neck storage garlic will last long into the winter months.
Garlic Seed Foundation 50 (GSF-50) is a softneck artichoke type of garlic with layers of cloves that will keep for months. Grown by Wellspring Farm in Little Falls, NY, a certified organic garlic farm. Each head is inspected for fusarium rot and this garlic has been tested negative for garlic bloat nematode.
Easy to peel bronze skins reveal tasty spicy cloves beneath.
Garlic Seed Foundation 65 (GSF-65) is said to be one of the spiciest garlics out there! This hardy, mid-season rocambole type produces 6-7 bronze-hued cloves per head. Grown by Wellspring Farm in Little Falls, NY, a certified organic garlic farm. This garlic has been inspected for fusarium rot and tested negative for garlic bloat nematode. Rocambole garlics have a shelf life of up to 4 months, superior flavor and are easy to peel.
Your mouth will sing with pleasure with the tasty garlic notes of Music.
Perhaps one of the most sought after garlic varieties. White, plump, easy to peel cloves reveal a sweet, mellow, tasty cloves. Great for fresh eating, roasting or cooking. Also produces nice, plump scapes. Porcelain hardneck type. Grown by Wellspring Farm in Little Falls, NY, a certified organic garlic farm. This garlic has been hand inspected for fusarium rot and tested for garlic bloat nematode.
Try a bit of each of the 3 garlic varieites we offer.
For the gardener that wants to try them all! Equal amounts of each type are included in this variety pack: GSF-65, GSF-50, and Music. Each type is clearly labeled and separated. Grown by Wellspring Farm in Little Falls, NY, a certified organic garlic farm. This garlic has been inspected for fusarium rot and tested for garlic bloat nematode.