Garden Farm Skills

Democracy needs gardeners! My liberating DIY revolution…


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From SALON

When my husband and I first moved to our house in downtown Raleigh, N.C., nine years ago, we were fascinated by the empty lot between our 1890s Victorian and the neighbor’s bungalow. “That’s where the victory garden used to be,” my neighbors said, pointing to a slightly shaded quarter of an acre. This garden existed, of course, before the Krispy Kreme was built and the drunks used to sip 40s and eat glazed doughnuts behind our fence.

I’d never thought about the patriotism of gardening, and I didn’t again until we moved to Vermont and inherited two enormous gardens and a small orchard. God, I thought.  Those look like a lot of work.

And they are.

But five years later I’m obsessed. I read seed catalogs cover-to-cover, the way I used to look at fashion magazines in college, my hungry gaze raking over the pages: Can this knowledge change my life?  When the catalogs show up in the mail stack at the end of January it feels like an omen, a promise that spring will indeed come, that months from now we will sit at the outdoor picnic table with dinner plucked from the backyard: panzanella with crisp cucumbers and sharp red onions, blueberry and arugula salads, sandwiches piled with flame-colored heirloom tomatoes and smoky roasted eggplant.

Agroforestry: The Art of Farming With Trees…


AgroforestryBeans grown under trees

From A GROWING CULTURE

Kenya is an agricultural country, endowed with an abundance of fertile soils. Farming serves as the most important economic activity for up to 80 per cent of its population. Out of this majority, a large number are small scale farmers, owning plots of less than five acres of land across the country.

Small scale farmers play a key economic role, not only in food production, but by contributing to self employment and boosting the local economies all over the country. As the UN Special Rapporteur on right to food affirms: “small scale farming is creating employment and contributing to rural development…it is better at preserving ecosystems because farmers combine various plants, trees and animals on the piece of land.”

Like any other pursuit, small scale farming is fraught with challenges that prevent farmers from reaching their full potential. Obstacles range from: [1] Depletion of soils resulting from constant overuse of the same “shamba”- a Swahili word for land.  [2] Lack of information on sustainable farming approaches [3] pest and disease management and to [4] drought, extreme precipitation and cold weathers.

Despite all these setbacks, efforts to end hunger and keep the land productive, however small, are now geared toward low-cost, sustainable approaches to farming.

Planting Potatoes…



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…and buy your organic seed potatoes from the family farmer fighting Monsanto…


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Gene Logsdon: Small Farms Create More Jobs


From GENE LOGSDON
The Contrary Farmer

All the talk about creating jobs strikes me as another example of how so many of us sneakily drink one way and piously vote another. Oh how we voice our concern, how much we pretend to support more jobs but we go right on conducting real business on the basis of replacing human workers with machines whenever possible. All the ways being proposed to increase jobs right now are the same old methods that do not face the real cause of the dilemma. The awful truth is that we have created an economy that can’t afford people to do the work and so every year there are fewer meaningful jobs and more pretend jobs. Pretend jobs require pretend money. We are capitalizing costs on money interest not on human interest.

No where is this truer than in farming. We boast about how many people one farmer feeds—155 is the latest number I think— as if that kind of efficiency is a sign of progress. I don’t hear a single business person or government official pointing out that if the whole economy of the common good is considered, one farmer feeding 155 people is not a sign of true profitability but of gross and unsustainable inefficiency. So gross in fact that while the 155 are getting fed, others are going hungry.

It is fairly easy, I think, to demonstrate the inefficiency of one person feeding a hundred and fifty five especially when some of the hundred and fifty five are having a hard time earning enough to buy their food.

Why I Farm — A City Version


From BARBARA AYERS
The Contrary Farmer

I hope everyone won’t mind if I contribute my story. I have often wanted to comment on this wonderful, thought provoking site, but felt too shy because I don’t have a farm. My husband works in the entertainment business, hence we live in Pasadena, part of the giant suburban sprawl of Los Angeles, California. I didn’t grow up on a farm either — suburbs, again, outside of Washington, DC. But my maternal grandparents were farmers who emigrated from Romania to Western Canada. I believe the urge to farm must be passed down in one’s genetic code.

I’d always made flower gardens, and I’m a good cook. Somewhere back during the culinary revolution, I came upon a cookbook by Alice Waters, who can’t help but be inspiring. So I planted a pot of basil and parsley on my apartment balcony. Alice was right — picking that super fresh basil whenever I needed it, instead of spending two dollars for it, half wilted from the grocery store, was absolutely life changing. I spent the next fifteen years growing fruits and vegetables wherever they could be squeezed in, and dreaming of life in a more rural setting. Then, one happy day, my young children were accepted by a school that had, among other attractive features, a small organic farm. I spent the summer driving stealthily past the school’s farm property, stalking it, wondering if there would be any space for me to sponsor a project or two. It turned out to be a dusty acre of weeds with a pretty, tiny pond

How To Save Heirloom Tomato Seeds



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The Dirty Life


From THE ETHICUREAN

[Our own local CSA farms are now taking memberships for the season: Paula and Adam of Mendocino Organics, the Decater family of Live Power Community Farm, and Tom Palley of Covelo Organic... and the new season starts tomorrow 5/6/11 for our local Farmers Markets.  -DS]

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 serve the school’s kitchen. It was my first farm-y job, and it didn’t fit the usual master/apprentice approach: I had people I could ask questions, but there was no master — just me. I was in a little over my head, and I was nervous. But that didn’t stop me from taking a detour from what I thought was practical to a workshop that thoroughly intrigued me even though the people running it sounded insane.

The workshop was titled “Everything But Sushi” with a subtitle something like

Gene Logsdon: Archeology Not Agriculture Teaches Good Farming


From GENE LOGSDON
Upper Sandusky, Ohio

I’m thinking lately that a farmer can learn more about sustainable farming from history rather than from current science. Agriculture has been taking giant leaps “forward” and archeology giant leaps “backward,” both with intriguing and absorbing results. Both work under a handicap. Archeology studies a silent past and has to worry that it’s getting the story right. Agriculture assumes a future that may not turn out to be true either. The two sciences have markedly different philosophies. Agriculture is interested in making farming a money-profitable business. Archeology is interested in finding out why profitable farming invariably leads to wrecked civilizations.

Archeologists are discovering new information all the time, especially in Central America and in North Africa because in both cases the past is not so silent after all. Written records and datable non-written records are coming to light especially for the Mayan empire on this continent and the Carthaginian Empire and its aftermath in North Africa. For example, researchers are reporting new evidence indicating that the Mayan Empire was maybe a thousand years older than it had been thought to be. The Yucatan Peninsula supported a population of millions more people than historians previously had concluded. Supporting those millions was an extremely advanced maize or corn agriculture, the profit-farming of that time. But whenever the Mayans figured out yet more clever ways to increase corn yields, the population increased and that required yet more yield increases. One example: the people literally built upland fields for corn by carrying rich mud up from swamp land that they could not otherwise drain. Sadly, the Mayans used the wealth from their profit-farming

Lucy Neely: Crazy about ‘maters


From Lucy Neely
The Gardens Project
Ukiah

I felt like I needed to buckle down and really write some news, instead of just musings. I asked myself, ‘what’s the news right now? What’s happening?’ It only took a short moment: ‘Ah hah! Tomatoes!’

What is it about tomatoes? What makes them arguably the most popular vegetable plant with United States of American home gardeners? What makes them hold such a place in our hearts and minds? And what is the state of tomatoes in Mendocino County and in Ukiah?

Mendocino County Agriculture Commissioner Tony Linegar estimates that 40% of households in Inland Valley Mendocino County have at least one tomato plant. Ukiah Mayor Benj Thomas estimates that 30-40% of households in Ukiah have at least one tomato plant.

Scott Cratty, manager of the Ukiah Farmers Market and co-owner/operator of the Westside Renaissance Market (WRM), the most local food store in Ukiah – says that a lot of people won’t come to the Farmers Market until there are tomatoes. Cratty theorizes that tomatoes symbolize summer, abundance, and eating dinner outside. Melanie Underhill, an AmeriCorps VISTA with First 5, points out that she can really tell the difference between a fresh tomato and a not fresh tomato, more so than with other vegetables. Is the tomato the symbol of the glory and importance of fresh food?

Linegar tells me that tomatoes are technically a berry (as are grapes) and that Inland Mendocino County has “some of the best tomato growing conditions in California.

Support Local Raw Milk


From JERRY BRUNETTI
AcresUSA.com

[I've been drinking raw milk regularly since childhood, and raised my kids on it. I'm a dedicated imbiber of local, non-pasteurized, raw goat's milk. Please support your own health, and our local, mom-and-pop, raw dairies. Ain't nobody's business if you do. -DS]

What a surprise! “Pseudo” farm organizations like Farm Bureau — an oxymoron — now support Wisconsin Governor Doyle’s veto of a proud bill to legalize raw milk in the Dairy State, all in the name of protecting everyone from … what? The existing centralized, monopolized, industrialized food system is literally owned and operated by a handful of dominating cartels, who in turn, are in bed with agencies such as the FDA. According to the centers for Disease Control, this well-subsidized inner sanctum of a corporate-state food alliance kills 5,000 Americans annually, hospitalizes over 300,000 every year, and sickens at home an estimated millions more.

Soil and Health Library – Tasmania



Certified Organic Everlasting Starflower Seeds by Dave Smith

[Steve Soloman founded Territorial Seeds in Cottage Grove, Oregon many years ago, then sold it and moved to Tasmania. Here is what he has been doing since... -DS]

This website provides free e-books, mainly about holistic agriculture, holistic health and self-sufficient homestead living. There are secondary collections about social criticism and transformational psychology. No fees are collected for this service.

Upon special request the Soil and Health Library provides custom-made digital copies of a far wider range of books in the same subject areas for its patrons, delivered on CD-ROM by post. There is a small fee for this service.

The library’s subject seemingly-diverse topic areas actually connect agricultural methods to the consequent health or illness of animals and humans, shows how to prevent and heal disease and increase longevity, suggests how to live a more fulfilling life and reveals social forces working against that possibility.

The Free Digitalized Library:

There are four major subject areas:

Radical Agriculture. The nutritional qualites of food and consequently the health of the animals and humans eating that food are determined by soil fertility. This section’s interest is far wider than organic gardening and farming; other health-determined approaches to food-raising are also included. Go to the Agriculture Library

The Restoration and Maintenance of Health. Nutritional medicine heals disease, builds and maintains health with diet—and sometimes heals with fasting or other forms of dietary restriction. There are many approaches represented in this collection. There is also a collection concerning longevity and nutritional anthropology. Go to the Health Library

Achieving Personal Sovereignty. Physical, mental, and spiritual health are linked to one’s lifestyle. This collection focuses on liberating activities, especially homesteading and the skills it takes to do that—small-scale entrepreneuring, financial independence, frugality, and voluntary simplicity. There is also a collection of social criticism, especially from a back-to-the-land point of view. Go to the Personal Sovereignty Library

Farming Is Cultural As Well As Agricultural


From GENE LOGSDON

Last week, in company with Wendell Berry and Wes Jackson, I spent a delightful evening at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, discussing the importance of good food and good farming. [Podcast 42 minutes Wendell Berry / Wes Jackson / Gene Logsdon.mp3 or here.] At one point, someone in the audience asked what we thought of the practice of urban farming. As often happens at panel discussions, we got sidetracked a little, and I did not have an opportunity to say as much as I would have like on that subject. So I will try to answer the question more fully here.

I think urban farming is one of the most hopeful developments to come down the street in a long time. First of all, it encourages the practical economic advantages and benefits of raising and consuming food locally. But its importance goes beyond that for me. I am sometimes asked why I spend my time writing about farming and gardening when, it is suggested, there are more important topics to which to apply my talents. That, in one sentence, indicates one of the most troublesome cultural problems that modern society faces today: the notion that food-getting is not an important enough subject to merit the close attention of all of us.

First of all, if you let big food business rule the roost in agriculture, you are going to get just what you pay taxes for: more big food business. For example, most people don’t even know that they are eating potatoes that have been genetically modified to kill potato bugs. If sometimes you get a notion that potatoes don’t taste as good as they used to, you just might be right. The potato bugs would surely agree with you.

But there’s something else that I think is important in this regard. The fact that our country has become divided into so-called red and blue states is an outcome directly traceable to the urban-rural division of our society… More at The Contrary Farmer
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Goats, Chicken Yurts, and Olive Trees


From PEAK MOMENT TELEVISION

Tour the century-old organic Chaffin Family Orchards where even the animals are “farm hands.”

Visit chickens in their egg-mobile, scratching for bugs and pooping fertilizer in the heirloom stone-fruit orchards.

Goats chomp off low branches from the olive trees, so no fuel or human labor is needed.

This certified predator-friendly enterprise includes 200 acres of olive trees plus various fruit and nut trees; sheep, goats, broiler and egg-laying chickens.

They distribute only locally through fruit and meat CSAs (community-supported agriculture), growers markets and a farmstand, providing fresh foods that burst with flavor and nuance.
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Why Small Organic Farming Is Indeed Radical (and Beautiful)



From ELIOT COLEMAN
Four Season Farm

The radical idea behind by organic agriculture is a change in focus.

[This post was adapted from an address given at the recent Eco-Farm conference in California.]

When a friend told me of two of the proposed discussion topics for a major agricultural conference — “What is so radical about radical agriculture?” and “Is small the only beautiful?” — I told him that I thought both questions had the same answer. Let me see if I can explain.

The radical idea behind organic agriculture is a change in focus. The new focus is on the quality of the crops grown and their suitability for human nutrition. That is a change from the more common focus on growing as much quantity as possible and using whatever chemical techniques contribute to increasing that quantity.

None of the non-chemical techniques associated with organic farming are radical or new. Compost, crop rotations, green manures and so forth are age-old agricultural practices. What is radical is the belief that these time-proven “natural” techniques produce food that is more nourishing for people and livestock than food grown with chemicals. What is radical is successfully pursuing that “unscientific” belief against the counter-propaganda and huge commercial power of the agrochemical industry.

The initiators of this new focus were a few perceptive old farmers from the 1930s and ‘40s who had not been taken in by commercial pressures and saw clearly the flaws of chemical agriculture. The popularizers of the new focus were the young idealists of the 1960s and 70s who were attracted to the idea of food production based on non-industrial systems, even though most of them had no previous connection to agriculture.

Mendo Slaughterhouse? Kill ‘em Where You Raise ‘em! (Updated)


From Grist

Whole Foods’ new mobile slaughterhouses

Massachusetts poultry farmer Jennifer Hashley has a problem. From the moment she started raising pastured chickens outside Concord, Mass. in 2002, there was, as she put it “nowhere to go to get them processed.” While she had the option of slaughtering her chickens in her own backyard, Hashley knew that selling her chickens would be easier if she used a licensed slaughterhouse. Nor is she alone in her troubles. Despite growing demand for local, pasture-raised chickens, small poultry producers throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut, and even New York can’t or won’t expand for lack of processing capacity…  Full article here
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Update: [As a carnivore, I support our small, local, pastoral farmers. Our weekend lamb-shank soup/stew (simmered for 4 hours with local organic veggies), from Owen Family Farm in Hopland, was superb! (They'll raise lamb, goat, or Black Angus beef for you - 707-744-1615.) Other than our much-respected vegan/vegetarian community, previous opposition centered around outside investors imposing a large facility on our population center to serve distant markets. I believe that the healthiest, sustainable farms are small, "garden farms" that include grass-fed livestock, with agricultural practices such as Biodynamics. Whether using mobile units for chickens, or more permanent structures for larger animals, sustainable community principles for local meat-processing include: humane slaughter, small-scale, location on the ranches or ranch-lands outside population centers, environmentally-friendly, wastes composted, locally-owned. -DS]

See also: Save The Planet: Eat More Beef

…and Favorite Veggie Burger recipes
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Harvesting Tranquility


From GENE LOGSDON
The Contrary Farmer

When visitors ask what our main crop is on our little farm, they look a bit startled when I reply “wood.” They look even more startled when I say the reason wood is important to us is that it brings tranquility to our lives. In winter when an old man’s fancy turns to thoughts of staying warm, I am just about as happy to have a garage full of stove wood as to have a storeroom full of food. I could not afford to keep the house toasty warm with “bought” fuel. If the electricity conks out in a January blizzard, as it seems to do more often now than in years past, we can ride the storm out fairly well. Not only will we stay warm, but we can cook our food and warm our water. The mere thought of this kind of security relieves stress and brings tranquility— the Federal Reserve can take away the interest on our life’s savings, but I don’t think even that bunch of buzzards can take away the warmth from our wood. Tranquility is the most precious possession of life, possibly more conducive to good health than proper food, exercise or medication. Add to that the tranquility that can be achieved in the work of cutting and splitting wood in the sanctuary of the trees. I often think of one of my heroes, Scott Nearing, who kept cutting wood until he was 100 years old. He stopped then, figuring he had enough ahead to last the rest of his life.

In terms of income, we reckon our tree land brings in about $1000 a year from the value of the wood substituting for other home heating fuels and an occasional sale of sawlogs and veneer logs, plus some black walnut and cherry lumber turned into furniture. There are also nuts and mushrooms for food, and hickory bark for cooking and smoking meat on the grill. There are bean poles and fence posts and gate boards and chicken roosts too. A thousand dollars is not much in terms of today’s high-flying business profits, but even this small amount, in terms of saving money is interesting (another dratted pun).

Complete article here
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How a Doctor learned about health from his farm


From DR. ROBERT GROSS
Cooper Mountain Vineyards
Cooking Up A Story

On the surface, the practice of medicine — both the traditional and non-traditional approaches — would seem to have little in common with the growing of wine grapes. For Dr. Robert Gross, there is a strong connection between his training as a Psychiatrist, and viticulture. This episode draws upon the rich interplay between two completely separate fields, each helping to enhance better understanding with the other.

It’s hard to tell how agriculture is influenced by medicine, and how medicine is influenced by agriculture because it kind of flows back and forth

My main job is being a psychiatrist, a medical doctor in which I practice mostly psychotherapy with some medication, and I mix that with alternative medicine which includes acupuncture and homeopathy.

And then I run Cooper Mountain Vineyards. Grapes are a lot like human beings in that when they’re real young they don’t show the same maturity that an older vine, or older person, might show. And so the grapes become much more elegant, sophisticated, and balanced as human beings usually do too as they get older. Then, of course, at some point in life, or in the age of the vine, they start fading.

My growth as a Doctor, and as a Farmer and Winemaker, have fed each other. As an example, I know in this plot here, in the early 1980s, we were using some chemicals that were available and were used to keep the birds off these grapes. We would apply the chemical fairly close to the harvest. The birds would eat it and eventually vomit because it affected their nervous systems. We were all told that these chemicals disappear. There were 10 days [after application] that we didn’t pick.

And then Canada decided they were going to measure the amount [of that chemical] that was left in the wine… something that most of us hadn’t thought about because we had been told it was all gone. Canada eventually banned the substance because it was a neurotoxin… a neurotoxin not just for birds, but a neurotoxin for human beings too.

That knowledge came from agriculture… learning about birds and what it does, and realizing that

“No One With Land Should Be Without A Job”


From GENE LOGSDON
Upper Sandusky, Ohio

The sentence nearly leaped off the page and knocked me down: “No one with land should be without a job.” Jennifer McMullen, writing in Farming magazine in the current Fall, 2009 issue (“Good Food Depends On Local Roots”) was quoting Jessica Barkheimer, who, like Jennifer, is deeply involved in developing farmer’s markets in Ohio. I was at the time wrestling with a closely related concept but had not thought to put it in those words. I might have said it a bit differently— “no one with land is without a job” but the meaning would be the same. If you have some land, even an acre, you have the means for making at least part of your income and in the process gain a more secure life. Surely that is what it means to “have a job.” Our society hasn’t endorsed that notion yet, but I think that we are evolving toward that kind of economy.

We are only beginning to recognize how many income possibilities that a little piece of land can provide. We know about market gardening but most of us do not yet appreciate its reach. It’s not just sweet corn and tomatoes. It’s about all the fruits and vegetables on earth. Tasted any pancakes made with cattail pollen lately? Neither have I but it is treasured in some gourmet circles, I understand.

Market gardening goes beyond the plants themselves. A whole new world of marketing can open up from inspired ways to package the products. At a market in Bellefontaine, Ohio, a couple of weeks ago, shelled lima beans were going fast at five bucks for a half pint!

There are far more products you can grow than just fruit and vegetables. Meat is beginning to show up at farmers’ markets, as well as dairy products and grains. Flowers, fresh and dried, too. Uncommon seeds are a possibility, especially of heirloom varieties or uncommon wildflowers and trees. Medicinal herbs. Mushrooms. Nuts. Baked goods. Plants for holiday decorations. We are all familiar with the success of pumpkins, but have you ever seen corn husks that in the autumn develop streaks of red and green and purple in them, fashioned into wreathes and bouquets? Magnificent.

Why become a seed saver?


From About.com
Via The Oil Drum

Seed saving is as old as gardening. There was a time when gardeners considered seed from their favorites plants to be treasures well worth saving from year to year. These days, seeds and seedlings are relatively inexpensive and there are new plants to try every year. So why be a seed saver?

Aside from the politics, capitalism and biotechnology arguments that are making the news, the bottom line reason for saving seeds is because you have a plant you love and want to grow again. It could be the perfect blue campanula, the best tasting tomato or a champion pumpkin. You never know when a seed company will discontinue your favorite seed to make way for new varieties. Saving your own seed is the only guarantee.

What Seeds Can Be Saved?

Open Pollinated or heirloom, self-pollinated plants are the only varieties that will grow true from seed, meaning the seedlings will be exactly like the parents. These are the seeds worth saving.

Seeds that have been hybridized will grow into a variety of plants with some characteristics of either or both parents. Many, if not most, of the plants being sold now are hybrids. Hybridizing can create a plant with desirable traits and affords some job security for the seed company. Seed saving is not really an option with hybrids, unless you are looking to discover something new. You could however try taking cuttings.

Additionally, plants that are pollinated by insects or the wind may have cross pollinated with plants from another variety and again, will not grow true. To save seeds from these plants requires a bit of extra care, as explained below.

All that said, there are still many plants that will grow true from seed and saving and sharing these seeds has given birth to the seed savers phenomenon. Self-pollinated plants are the easiest to save and include: Beans, Chicory, Endive, Lettuce, Peas, Tomatoes. You can also save many heirloom flower seeds such as: cleome, foxgloves, hollyhock, nasturtium, sweet pea, and zinnia.

Keep reading here

Octogenarian Charlie Koiner Leads the Way in City Farming


Charlie Koiner, Farmer

From Real People Eat Local
Silver Spring, Maryland
Thanks to Organic Consumers Assn

Only one block from a typical urban strip in downtown Silver Spring, MD, that includes an old parking garage, a beauty parlor and an Ethiopian restaurant, Charlie Koiner, who’ll be 88 in November, still has a farm. It’s hard to believe, but turning east onto Easley Street off Fenton, in the course of one block, you shift from urban grime to fertile rural splendor, from the cramped seat of your hot car to a comfy lawn chair under a mature shade tree, from the usual “rodent issue” to a farm cat named Hank.

Keep reading at Real People Eat Local

See also Charlie’s Farm video
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We’ve Been Going “Back To The Land” For A Long Time


From GENE LOGSDON
Upper Sandusky, Ohio

August 27, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

Here are some quotes you expect to see regularly in the media these days.

“Today, from press and pulpit, from publicists and legislators, comes the cry, ‘Back To the Land’! The problem of the “small farm” is becoming a very interesting one. The cry is ‘Back To the Land’ but the drift is away from the land.”

“The question of the big farm versus the small farm is very hotly debated… Good farming must perish with the breaking up of large farms, contends one side. Not so, replies the other side.”

“Two classes of people enthusiastically advocate the ‘Back To The Land’ movement… editors of our city papers and the high-cost-of-living sufferers… The metropolitan editors usually say: ‘Be independent. Be good citizens. And by quitting the city for the farm, you will become both.”

But those quotes appeared in print in 1921. Almost a century ago. The writer was James Boyle, his book, Agricultural Economics. At that time, the first big wave of gigantic farming in the United States, called bonanza farming, was breaking up on the shoals of economic reality. Some of those farms were over 10,000 acres in size, powered by cheap hired help and hundreds of teams of horses. There was a great hue and cry both for and against them. If the reader replaces the word ‘bonanza’ with ‘big’,  many of Boyle’s quotes read exactly like quotes today.

“Mr. Budge says there are several bonanza farms in North Dakota and mentions one of above seven thousand acres. He adds that he would like to see them all out of the way. They take up so much space that it hurts the school districts. The owners ship in supplies from the East. They ship their men in and out too.” Keep reading at OrganicToBe
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An Interview with Gene Logsdon



From A Nation of Farmers (2009)
by Sharon Astyk & Aaron Newton

August 20, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

Along with [his good friend] Wendell Berry, Gene Logsdon has been a central leader of the American agrarian movement for decades. He is the author of many books, both practical and philosophical, and it is impossible to read any of his writing without being overcome with the desire to grow food.

Spring 2008

ANOF: Given the rising cost of fossil fuels because of their declining availability, the climate change associated with using those fossil fuels, the problems of soil erosion and water degradation and all the other problems with the way we grow food and eat it at this point in history, what do you think is the biggest challenge facing the American agriculture? And how can we address it?
Gene: The biggest problem in my opinion is that our society, our culture, does not understand that food is everyone’s business. We have decided, as a society, to let a few people worry about our food while the rest of us worry about money. And so food production has more or less become the domain of a few very large international corporations. The only cure for it is what is now happening. Food prices and food shortages and fuel shortages will force people to take back their lives. There’s an old saying that goes “People won’t do the right thing until they have no other choice.” I’m afraid that is true for the majority.

ANOF: Do you think it makes sense to grow food in the suburbs — in former farmland turned neighborhood? And do you have any suggestions for people interested in this sort of suburban homesteading?
Gene: Yes, this kind of “homesteading” is possible and admirable, and if you watch what is happening as food prices climb, it is taking place more and more.

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