Currently Browsing: Farming

Shedding light on a permaculture farm: Review of “Bioshelter Market Garden”

As small farmers look for ways to cut costs and increase their profit margins, they focus more attention on the energy used on the farm. Whether they implement energy efficiency measures or find ways to produce home-grown energy (through wind, solar, biofuel, and more), farmers who examine the energy...

Minding common ground: “Poly-farming” in northeast Ohio

Just about any road I take that leads me out of Wooster, Ohio, very quickly guides me past vast fields of corn or soybeans. Agriculture plays a vital role in Wayne County’s economy, and for several decades now, commodity crops have contributed more than their fair share to our local economy. Smaller farms...

Goats: An overlooked pasture-raised animal

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...

On the trademarking of ‘urban homesteading’: The Original Best Most Complete Post on the Subject™

By Mat Rogers, Director of Agrariana Language and terminology are an integral part of the food movement. Making distinctions between agricultural practices deemed vile and reprehensible, in favor of methods moral and healthful, is a critical organizing tool for activists. Thus the good-food lexicon is...

Getting plowed: Kristin Kimball’s captivating “Dirty Life”

The first time I heard of Essex Farm, I was working a kitchen/garden internship at the Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Vermont. The school sent me to the Northeast Organic Farming Association’s 2009 conference, where I carefully chose workshops I thought would help me plan and plant a garden that would...

Tipping sacred cows: Reviewing “Meat: A Benign Extravagance”

Mainstream culture and news abound with broad statements about our food system and the choices we make about what we put on the dinner table. Surely you’ve heard that if you want to save the planet, you should eat a vegan diet, since raising livestock contributes significantly to carbon emissions and thus...

Olney Friends School in Ohio grows food to grow enrollment

The farm-to-school movement has been gaining ground lately as advocates encourage administrators to bring more local food into school cafeterias. But at Olney Friends School in Barnesville, Ohio, eating locally goes beyond farm-to-school: for this small college-prep boarding school, it's farm-AT-school all...

One sick chicken

With a few exceptions, the animals on my farm are not pets. My sheep and chickens have jobs to do -- eating grass and bugs, making eggs and meat and babies. If they don't do their job, they don't stay on my farm. That isn't to say that I don't treat them well or care what happens to them. In stark contrast...

Notes from a new farmer: Q&A with Michael Gallagher, Square Roots Farm

In every school, there is a legendary former student -- the one whose academic prowess knew no bounds. "Brilliant," people marvel about this student, even decades later. "That kid was brilliant." (Or, here in New England, you might hear: "Wicked smaaaaaht.") At my daughter's school, that individual is...

Fish tale: Walmart’s sustainable seafood pledge has a long way to go

When big corporations make pledges to improve their sourcing practices, it's important to hold them accountable. After all, it's easy to hold a press conference pledging a new green policy; it's not so easy to fulfill the pledge. This was one of the action points in an article in the journal Oryx that I...

Grow vacancies: Gene Fredericks is thinking inside the city’s big box

They're the bane of urban and suburban areas alike: the vacant, boarded-up K-Marts and Home Depot Expos, squatting like concrete cowpies amidst a landscape of weedy parking lots. But where most people see blight and a waste of space, San Francisco Bay Area entrepreneur Gene Fredericks sees opportunity: to...

San Francisco set to approve zoning changes for backyard farming for cash

Summer of urban-ag love: The Bay Area is known as a bastion of urban farming and the local food movement, but "laws governing land use are still stuck in another era, one that frowned on farming in the city, especially in residential areas," reports Zusha Elinson. When Little City Gardens ran into trouble...

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