In The Land Institute senior scientist Stan Cox's critique of the 2013 Farm bill, it's argued that more federal support could be shifted to food security and conservation if less were going to Big Ag.
Current research indicates that taking on challenging new activities might be one of the best things you can do to stay sharp — and we want to know what fun, challenging new activities you've tried recently. Whether it's woodworking, jazz clarinet or raising rabbits, tell us what you've been learning lately.
While productivity is often the name of the game at large farms, local food, minimal environmental impact and healthy conditions for farm workers also are hot topics today. Yet, our agriculture — and our living — have a greater impact on the environment and the life it supports than these issues alone address.
Flashy technologies billed as holding the key to an “age of plenty” cannot ward off future hunger. But strong rural communities working with, not against, nature can create an age of sufficiency.
How sheep teach and humiliate a grown man.
This coming Tuesday, March 17, new legislation will be introduced in an attempt to protect Americans from antibiotic resistance. The Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act of 2009 will end the use of certain antibiotics in agriculture unless animals are sick.
Cam discovers he isn't as young as he once was while enjoying a sense of community at the local arena.
The bar has been raised once more as AGCO Application Equipment introduces for 2012 three new RoGator high-clearance sprayers designed with even more power.
Jacobs Farm in Santa Cruz, Calif. was recently awarded $1 million in damages for lost income due to pesticide drift.
As Congress considers the 2013 Farm Bill, it has the opportunity to enact legislation that protects and supports the nation's family farmers and market gardeners, in addition to protecting consumers and the environment.
Daedong Industrial, a global agricultural manufacturing company, celebrated its 66th anniversary in May 2012.
Two young Vermonters make the small farm a reality with some creative financing.
Responsible investment secures land for a young organic farmer in Minnesota.
Trojan Battery Company, the world’s leading manufacturer of deep-cycle batteries, today announced expansion of its AGM product line for the renewable energy (RE) market space with the launch of the U1-AGMand 22-AGMmodels.
Purchase process of the "promised land"
Legislation to control the use of antibiotics on the farm is gaining momentum in D.C., and emotions on both sides of the issue are heating up. Tell us what you think of the bill.
In this section you will find stories of real farmers across the country that made it work. You'll find their story, how they did it and who helped them. We hope these stories will inspire and educate new farmers, as well as land owners and community members to become involved in the new agrarian movement. A growing trust.
Dan Chiras discusses the differences between power purchase agreements and lease programs, and the benefits of taking advantage of either.
Country of origin labeling will be required on many types of meat, fruits and vegetables starting Sept. 30.
When I'm introduced to a new acquaintance, the introduction often ends with, "Bryan farms." Like it's the most interesting thing about me. Well, maybe it is.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is accepting public comment regarding a draft Guidance for Industry #187 — to clarify regulation of genetically altered animals.
It's hard to shop responsibly sometimes, especially for meat. There are so many different label claims that it's hard to remember which are meaningful and which are just fluff. Here's a handy reference card that will give more power to your purchases.
The Center to Expose and Close Animal Factories employs a strong legal background to take on industrial agriculture. Learn about their plan to clean up the business for good.
There are a lot of changes we'd like to see made to our food system this year. Add your own.
Dealing with a government agency to save a creek.
EcoSet consulting company helps Target and other corporations cut down on garbage and carbon during commercial production.
Sustainable farming expert Michael Pollan has some words of wisdom for the next president of the United States.
After testing 55 common food products containing HFCS, researchers found mercury in nearly one-third.
The voting outcome of Ohio's Issue 2 is seen as a win for industrial agriculture.
A western Massachusetts community rallies to save a generations old farm.
Tell the U.S. Department of Agriculture to abandon their efforts to create and enforce a National Animal Identification System. We've made it easy for you with sample wording and directions on where to submit your comments.
The Environmental Protection Agency has compiled a list of more than 100 green apps.
Over 200 million children worldwide are forced into child labor because of poverty. Help stop this from happening by becoming aware and getting involved.
Concerned about GMOs in your family's food? Take action.
We've reported on the fraudulent practices of Horizon Organic and Aurora Dairy before. Now, a federal judge has suspended one of their suppliers, Promiseland LLC., from organic commerce.
Have some fun in your garden this year and grow something giant!
Smithfield's hog farms produce a lot of meat and make a lot of money, but at what cost? Can we continue to look the other way as they pollute waters, abuse animals and terrorize their neighbors?
Congress is accused of bait-and-switch tactics when they propose millions in reductions to the conservation-related program assistance that helped pass the 2008 farm bill.
The next time you stop to buy a bunch of flowers you will look for the Rainforest Alliance green frog seal — your assurance the flowers were grown in a way that respects both the environment and farm workers alike. Since the mid 1980s, growers in a Latin America have been increasing their production of roses, carnations and other blooming species. Ninety percent of the cut flowers and ferns imported to the United States come from Latin America.
The EPA continues to fight a six-year battle against White House and Pentagon officials about drinking-water standards.
The Environmental Protection Agency is trying to cancel the use of carbofuran, but FMC Corporation stands in their way.
Water conservation can help you save big on money and energy. Here are a few ways to help you conserve water at home by simply using water-efficient appliances.
As modern farms increase production using monoculture crops, the nutritional value of the harvests diminishes, along with the economic stability and self-reliance of the farmers and their local communities.
Detroit automakers ask Congress for $25 billion, but that money could come with some energy efficiency strings.
Pretty much everything I own got soaking wet with the Mama Earf's recent rain bender in Virginia. But on the bright side, I got to see the genius behind the tipi structure firsthand.
For the first time, acclaimed Not So Big House author and architect brings quality-over-quality design to a residential development.
Once reserved for the pizzeria, the calzone is possible to make in your own home.
Anecdotal evidence from coast to coast indicates that Americans have had enough of granite countertops and whirlpool tubs. They want smaller homes with green finishes instead.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is seeking comments on how to implement the new Conservation Stewardship Program. Here's the lowdown, plus instructions on how to submit your opinion — it's easy!
According to a recent Congressional Research
Service report, nearly 40 programs, from
land conservation to support for beginning farmers and ranchers, are set to
lose funding in the upcoming 2012 Farm Bill.
Notes on immigrant farm labor and livable wages.
What's behind the food contamination issues plaguing us of late? Poop. Plain and simple. The Cornucopia Institute weighs in.
Homegrown vegetables are a lesson for kids in where food comes from.
Draughts alone don't cause desertification, but drought, overgrazing and bad agricultural practices — the results of overpopulation — create more desert land.
With population growing and oil supplies diminishing, more land than ever is being consumed to grow both food and fuel crops.
A recent report noted concerns about top seed and agrochemical corporations that are placing claims on multigenome crop patents, which could put the planet’s agricultural biomass at stake.
Urban Agriculture activists and advocates work to change the zoning laws in Chicago to be more friendly to urban agriculture.
In eggs from a healthy chicken, proteins found within the egg white control the growth of dangerous bacteria. If a chicken is infected with salmonella, the proteins can't protect you.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the American Egg Board are being sued for using $3 million in public funds to fight a phase-out of inhumane farming practices.
The EPA will regulate perchlorate and other toxic chemicals--but you may want to consider water filters in the meantime.
Last year saw the biggest jump in CO2 emissions from power plants ever. Texas, Florida and Ohio lead the pack.
People living near massive livestock operations may be at risk from the pollution they generate--which is higher in some cases than the nation's most polluted cities.
The cosmetics industry may have to pay if the Obama administration makes new regulations on the way chemicals are tested.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program launched its 2011 Change the World, Start with Energy Star Campaign. This campaign encourages and inspires Americans to commit to energy efficiency by highlighting grassroots efforts of individuals all over the United States.
President Barack Obama signed an executive order to help reduce automobile gas emissions in the United States. This is the first of many steps that the Obama administration plans to make to improve global warming.
Read about new legislation that would stop the government from funding the fossil fuel industry. Then, sign your name to the petition and make a difference.
The process of mechanically tenderizing steaks creates a food safety hazard by transferring bacteria that otherwise would be limited to the surface of a steak to the entire cut of meat, inside and out. Rare steak lovers, beware.
The National Animal Identification Plan will be easily implemented by large factory farms, but it means trouble for smaller operations. Will the system really keep us safe from disease, or will industrial ag and tracking system manufacturers be the only beneficiaries?
Pass the cold, wintry months with warm thoughts of how you can eat more local food while supporting sustainable agriculture this coming season.
While conservation is neccessary for providing for an ever-growing human population, it alone cannot solve our problems. In fact, it may distract us from the real issue at hand.
It's official: The USDA has finally hammered out the details on country of origin labeling. The rule will take effect March 16, but some say it could use a little tweaking first.
Hello to my new life and good-by to the old.
This listing links to information resources related to sustainable agriculture, organic farming and gardening, and growing and buying good, safe food.
Many sustainable agriculture groups sponsor conferences in the winter. Learn more about these opportunities to continue your learning and broaden your network.
Relax: HR 875 isn't a bill to outlaw organic farming, as you might have heard. But it's not exactly good news for pesticide-free producers, either. Here are the details.
More on the much-feared food safety bill, HR 875, and its Congressional counterparts.
Green Earth Technologies is a “totally green” clean tech company that combines sustainable, American sourced, bio-based ingredients with proprietary technologies shaped around the four ideologies of being GREEN: biodegradable, renewable, recyclable and environmentally safe.
Learn how to request your “closed” complete pesticide complaint file from the State agency through the Freedom of Information Act.
Calling all gardeners — If you want to view a remarkable series of photographs of vegetables as art, check out Lynn Karlin’s exhibit, Taking a Stand: the Pedestal Series. You can view the series here http://goo.gl/K1apd or at the Maine Farmland Trust in Belfast, Maine from September 28 to November 14th.
Location near public transporation and walkability are as important as green materials and design in creating a green home, study finds.
During National Ground Water Awareness Week next week, let's bring attention to what natural gas drilling is doing to our ground water supplies.
A National Resources Defense Council analyst calls proposed standards “the most important actions to clean up air pollution from dirty coal-burning power plants since the Clean Air Act was last updated in 1990.”
New Holland Agriculture is unveiling new equipment, and exciting new technology at the 2012 Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa.
Secure grant funds for your farmers market, community-supported agriculture program and more by applying to the USDA by April 27.
H1N1, or swine flu, didn't have to be the epidemic it is today. Are factory farms to blame?
Grit magazine is offering a Belted Galloway heifer as a prize in a giveaway.
Looking for a farming internship or apprenticeship? Search the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Center’s online directory of farming internships and apprenticeships to find one that interests you.
Hermann and Laura Weber are preparing to host their ninth annual pasture poultry seminar on their farm in Attica, N.Y. Speakers include Peter McDonald of Pasture Pride Farm, Dave Snyder from ADM Alliance Nutrition, Inc. and Brian Fleishman from the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce and the Wyoming County Tourist Program. Contact the Webers for more information: 585-591-0795.
The workshop series "In Her Shoes: Sustainable Farming for Women, by Women" will provide on-farm, women-led sharing of resources, experiences and inspiration to further connect, encourage and support female organic farmers, entrepreneurs and agricultural leaders. These all-day workshops will be in Wisconsin and Minnesota, and each will cost $20 and include lunch.
The story of two ladies and their small CSA in the Rocky Mountains.
Learn a few tips for efficiency from seasoned CSA Farmers: La Vista CSA Farm.
Proposals to weaken the links among conservation, farming and fair access to food would worsen the problems of U.S. agriculture.
Productive urban landscapes, if managed correctly, can reduce pollution in local watershed.
The Worldwatch Institute declares that many people worldwide are turning to organic agriculture to feed themselves and others, while feeling good about protecting the environment in a time of economic depression.
Guest blogger and longtime advocate of sustainable food Gwen Roland reflects on the new popularity of local eating, and highlights some of the innovative local food projects funded by Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) grants.
The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture’s upcoming annual conference on sustainable farming will focus on how to achieve sustainability in our food system, as well as the future of agriculture in general.
We know why we love heritage breed livestock, but why do you?
Air conditioning accounts for as much as 20 percent of the average homeowner's utility bill. These simple tips can help you reduce your mechanical cooling needs, meaning more money for you and better-quality air for the world.
We're probably on our way to a population-related catastrophe, after all.
Sandy Boyce's sauerkraut was a hit, selling out each week, until her county health department asked her to stop. Across the nation, regulations can prevent small-time home producers from distributing their 'cottage foods' to the public.
Solar Energy International (SEI), the National Wildlife Refuge System, and the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service all offer events to educate participants in varying pursuits. This blog provides links to activity calendars and workshop schedules.
Weeding in the summer is all about species maintenance
Managing compost now allows for more productive use the following season.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS interviewed poultry advocate Oprah HenFree at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR.
On Saturday, the G-20 will likely discuss trade policy that affects American farmers.
At least four major beef recalls due to E. coli tainted meat occurred in 2010. A substantial percentage of the meat was certified organic. With these beef scares in mind, the fact that Grist readers voted hamburgers as the second scariest food of 2010 comes as no surprise.
What is Pesticide Drift? “Pesticide drift” is the movement of a pesticide through the air away from the intended target. You might actually see the drift in the form of a mist. You may smell it. But it can be invisible and odorless. The spray may be applied from the back of a tractor — referred to as a “rig.” Or it may be applied from a spray plane or helicopter.
Incorporating charcoal into the soil helped Amazonian farmers grow better crops, and its new industrial version is promoted as a panacea for both agriculture and the global climate. Those claims are not realistic.
Recently a trend in farming called hydroponics has resurfaced and gained national attention that has grown in popularity with some, but has left others with mixed feelings.
The tall-tale vintage postcard collection consists of turn of the century photomontages depicting the utopian dream of agricultural America.
The Environmental Protection Agency has given the go-ahead to Dow Chemical for its genetically modified 2,4-D resistant corn.
Managing Cover Crops Profitably, 3rd Edition, is now available in print and by download from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program. Learn how to make your soil perform at its very best!
The Rainforest Alliance Certified seal has been popping up on coffee, tea, cocoa and fruit products all over the world. So what exactly does this certification signify? We’ve investigated.
These online tools can help you find the best sources for local food, including local farmers markets and community-supported agriculture programs.
Weather.com now features customizable local weather applications, including an Agriculture Application with great tools for farmers and gardeners.
Amid mounting concerns over food security and sustainable food systems, the rise of urban gardens and agriculture has been on the rise. Due to a paralleled increase in the numbers of people interested in learning how to garden, programs in urban agriculture at colleges as well as nonprofit urban garden training programs have sprouted up across the country.
At first glance George Siemon and Doc Hatfield don’t appear to have a whole lot in common. But George and Doc and a bunch of conspirators are revolutionizing agriculture: they are putting consumers back in touch with the people who grow their food.
Support your local food systems while getting the most from your home garden.
New Holland Agriculture is unveiling a number of new tractors as well as new haytools and other equipment at the 2012 World Ag Expo in Tulare, California and the 2012 National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Kentucky.
Clearly the NACE considers “useless” degrees to be ones in which pay is low and availability of jobs is scarce. However, shouldn’t measuring the usefulness of an education take into account the actual benefits bestowed upon the person doing the study
Starting flats of seedlings begins this year's growing season.
Transitioning seedlings from indoor starts to outdoor plants
Harvesting abundance in the early spring.
The accumulation and storage of hay is an essential summer task.
Use of a mobile chicken tractors allows us to keep the birds on fresh ground and stay on top of the weeds.
Preserving an abundant basil harvest for the coming winter.
The Ecological Farming Association will host the 33rd annual EcoFarm Conference at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, Calif., Jan. 23-26, 2013. The conference will offer more than sixty workshops, as well as the opportunity for eight beginning farmers to win substantial grants.
It has been fifteen months since heritage breed hog farmer Mark Baker sued the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to stop the implementation of an invasive species order (ISO). The swine ISO supposedly targeted feral swine but could be applied to any domestic pig not raised in confinement. Baker has yet to have his day in court and it is still not settled when his trial will take place. It is common for lawsuits like this to turn into wars of attrition; the state has virtually unlimited resources while the farmers are bled of theirs over the course of the litigation.
Dairyman Nick Snelgar reflects on the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health certification process and bagging hay for winter on his UK dairy farm.
In this excerpt from Fair presenters Hank and Karen Will’s new book, Plowing With Pigs and Other Creative, Low-budget Homesteading Solutions, they’ll show you how to add small grains to your plot.
FairShare CSA Coalition partners with health insurance groups to offer a rebate for selecting fresh, organic, local produce.
Don't like weeds? Well, maybe this will change your mind. An article in the New York Times, discusses possible ways that weeds could help fight global warming.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture deems Roundup Ready alfalfa safe, leaving organic crops vulnerable to contamination and paving the way for more superweeds.
Fearing a sugar shortage, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it would defy a District Court judge's ban on Roundup Ready sugar beets.
Concerned about the U.S. Department of Agriculture's refusal to stop Monsanto? Here are four steps you can take now.
The Department of Natural Resources seeks to fine a family for possession of prohibited swine.
Monsanto, the world’s largest producer of genetically modified seeds and the toxic herbicides used to drench them, is calling itself a supporter of sustainability. You’re kidding, right?
The documentary Urban Roots takes a look at how city farming is transforming the city's vacant lots into community gardens, ultimately changing the community as a whole in the process.
This blog post started life as an article in The Natural Farmer,published by the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA). It could be said to herald the birth of that entity we have come to call The Cynical Optimist.
A quick essay regarding the "size" question of a top bar hive, from the bee's point of view - where it's all about the "volume"!
It helps us feel better to know "why" things happen, but we don't always get to know that answer...
By the 4th of July, there's a palpable shift in the feel of the beekeeping season. New beekeepers wish for more guidance, and may even be wondering why they started this project! Here's a little reassurance that you are not alone in your endeavor.
As winter descends a three-season hoop house is weeded, compost spread, and a straw mulch applied. Next spring will be here soon.
Pruning perennials is essential for plant health and vigorous production.
There are various means for developing an edible landscape.
Community food events are an outstanding way to share the abundance of our harvest and strengthen local community ties.
Looking ahead to spring, we're using these long days to plan a rootstock order of perennial trees, shrubs, and herbs.
Docking of dairy cows serves no purpose and causes pain and discomfort for the
A winter thaw inspires starting the first seeds of the season - indoors, of course: kale, chard, and spinach to start.
The place I call home these days is The FarmSchool, a fertile 180-acre strip of ridge top in Athol, where 15 student-farmers are spending a year learning the ins and outs of growing food, managing forests, and raising animals for meat. I arrived at the farm in October, just as the leaves were reaching their peak brilliance. The Farm School — which offers three-day programs for schoolchildren, a summer camp, a full-time middle school, and the apprenticeship program I’m in — takes us through all seasons of farming, weaving together class work and on-farm training.
A few months back I heard a comment on an NPR radio program that really caught my attention. The program was about the local food movement and at one point the guest on the show said, “Now remember - just because it’s local doesn’t necessarily mean it has a smaller carbon footprint. That Argentinian apple that was shipped on a barge with thousands of tons of other apples may actually have required less fuel per apple than the apple than came from a few hundred miles away in the back on a farmer’s pickup.”
Honey bees, the Boston tragedy, and our power to create the world we’ve been waiting for.
When we stayed on an organic farm in Costa Rica, my kids and I experienced the beauty of self-sufficiency and saw how truly sustainable development benefits the local community as well as the global one. Mostly, we miss the homemade butter.
This is a rundown of films that came out in the last few years. These films cover a wide range of environmental topics, from energy, climate, and fuel, to food, farming, and health. Many of the films have won awards or been critically acclaimed.
Once a barren wasteland destroyed-like much of Costa Rica's land--by decades of cattle ranching, Rancho Margot is now a verdant and productive paradise. Find out how the Sostheim family has accomplished this in just seven years.
Whether or not it was devised by clever Mexican potato growers, the cheap, easy to build, and space-saving potato tower is a unique alternative to rows, barrels, and other methods for planting, growing, and bringing in your season's spuds.
The process of curing potatoes for winter storage.
D Acres offers alternative economics. We are the 99&: join us.
Leaves are a valuable source of mulch and fertility within the permaculture garden.
Sauerkraut is an effective and delicious way to store cabbage and add something "fresh" to the winter months
Steve Judge of Bob-White Systems in Vermont offers his Micro Dairy expertise in this blog series on how to start and manage a Micro Dairy, from farm and barn planning to selecting dairy cows, goats and sheep to daily operations and being profitable.
Slower growth in crop yields, high oil prices and use of food crops to make biofuels could push food prices higher for the next year and beyond.
Urban food forests and public gardens provide communities with an edible landscape for everyone to share. These public fruit forests are the new trend in urban agriculture and play an important role as sustainable local food systems in their communities.
Simran Sethi looks back at her New Year's resolution: to nourish herself.