Soil erosion may get us before climate change does

Syrian ruins

Outside the entrance of the glorious Hall of Western History are the marble lions, colorful banners, and huge stone columns. Step inside, and the popular exhibits include ancient Egypt, classical Greece, the Roman Empire, the Renaissance, Gutenberg, Magellan, Columbus, Galileo, and so on. If we cut a hole in the fence, and sneak around to the rear of the building, we find the dumpsters, derelicts, … [Read more...]

Climate, food, and art

Urban Farming and Climate

There's less than 36 hours until Transition Voice editor Lindsay Curren's Kickstarter project — 31 Days of Urban Agriculture — ends. In Kickstarter's all-or-nothing crowd funding model, that means if Lindsay makes her goal, her project is funded. And if she doesn't, she loses all the pledges (and no backers are charged for their pledges, either). At almsot 60% funded, we think with your help, … [Read more...]

Sustainable farming mania is frustrating me

farm display

I'm certainly no farmer. I work at a computer all day. So it's odd that the books that get me most jazzed up these days are not about the big problems of the day -- the economy or politics or climate and energy. They're about farming. For me, that's a real about face. I used to revel in the skulduggery of the Koch Brothers and scorn the subtleties of heirloom tomatoes. But now I can't get … [Read more...]

Secrets of the trait


Picture this:  You’re an organic farmer in – well, pick a place. Your neighbor also farms, but not organically. As neighbors go, he’s a pretty good one; the two of you talk about the weather at the feed store, and he’s been interested in your agro-forestry sideline. By the same token, Monsanto’s visited your county multiple times, and your gut tells you he’s one of their hot prospects. … [Read more...]

Soil, soul, and society

Farm store

On July 30, 2012, Hawthorne Valley Association marked the 40th anniversary of working the soil of agriculture on its land in the Hudson Valley of New York. In all that time it has been Hawthorne Valley’s mission to inspire by example social and cultural renewal through the integration of education, agriculture, and the arts. The significance of place and the ability to connect intimately to and … [Read more...]

A GMO is a GMO is a GMO

Image: David Dees Illustration.

Quick: name the one issue about which Democrats, Republicans and even Independents all agree.  No, not alpaca farms. Yes, I know everyone would like to have one, and yes, baby alpacas are cuter than the dickens.  Try again. What’s that? Everybody agrees  genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that food processing companies put on our kitchen tables should be labeled? Is that your answer? Well, … [Read more...]

Fruit pickin’


The idea of eating locally and in-season just makes sense. Foods that grow locally are produced in the very same environment in which we're nested. Thus it’s quite likely that they contain the essential micro-nutrients which, quite naturally, work well for us. The “in-season” concept, in fact, makes more and more sense when we start to really study nature. Think about it: in the spring, … [Read more...]

A solar flair


Nietzsche said that we were all Hyperboreans. I’d say that if our culture were any more alienated from Nature, he’d have been better advised to call us all extraterrestrials. We are, frankly, so removed from Nature that it’s hard to take seriously our claim to be a vital part of the planet. More worrisome is the fact that most people don’t even recognize the alienation. If asked, they tell you … [Read more...]

America’s most famous farmer puts America over his knee

Joel Salatin speaking in 2010

It's not only Sarah Palin who thinks that America is the world's essential nation because Americans are exceptionally worthy. All too many of us Yanks continue to believe that we're the smartest, hardest working and most self-reliant people on Earth. And that God or evolution or just history has rewarded us with superpower status and super riches because we deserve it. Well, if you believe any … [Read more...]

Two words to win the presidency: food freedom


This past weekend I attended the state meeting of VICFA, the Virginia Independent Consumers and Farmers Association. Hosted at Joel Salatin's Polyface Farms, this casual potluck held under a shade tree included a gathering of, as Salatin put it, "fierce loose canons" all of whom hold passionate convictions about his or her God given right to choose what to eat, what to produce and how to buy … [Read more...]