Around the world, corporations have taken over the food supply. Factory farms, genetic engineering, pollution, habitat destruction… the list goes on and on. Fortunately there’s an alternative — growing local. Whether through backyard gardens or the return of the small family farm, communities across the planet are discovering that small scale farming is the solution to a LOT of problems. This site aims to be a resource to aid in the transition back to more natural food systems. We hope you’ll join us!
Here’s a great blog post about growing food indoors.
Includes some wild pictures of three foot tall fruit trees! It seems that the apple trees are able to sense the amount of space they have to grow and start flowering (i.e. spitting out fruit) almost immediately.
Would be great to see some simple permaculture approaches to growing indoors, getting benefits of balancing plant types for maximum growth.
There’s no time like the present – grow your own food now!
While I’m a vegetarian who is concerned about exploiting animals for food (which isn’t necessary to maintain proper health) I would much rather see this kind of fish operation than the way the oceans are being vacuumed by the corporate fish industry.
In addition, this video shows some ingenious use of vertical greenhouse farming that runs 365 days a year without heating, simply by capturing heat from compost!
Organic farming is important at any level: from window gardens to full farm operations. And while organic and sustainable farming practices create better products and maintain the quality of the land more efficiently, the cost can be prohibitive. Here are five ways organic farmers can save money:
For larger farmers, big machinery is a must. If you’re going to make large infrastructure purchases make sure you’re getting the best bargains. Don’t buy more bells and whistles than you need. When you search for, say, backhoe for sale look at local and national dealers. Don’t buy from private parties unless you can be confident that the equipment is in good shape, either by your own expertise or by having it inspected by a professional.
Seed Saving and Swap
Seed saving does require some additional elbow grease, but if you can swing it, you’ll reap significant benefits. By saving seeds, you are preserving heritage crop strains, which will ensure you are growing quality produce. You’ll save money on purchasing seeds and, if you can save enough of each strain, you can sell or trade the excess.
You’ll have to sell your produce somewhere and somehow. If you’re selling at farmer’s markets or to local restaurants are you keeping good records and keeping a close eye on the business end? Point-of-sale hardware and software can be expensive and cumbersome. Save money on hardware, software and merchant costs by using Square, a new product designed for small businesses and portability. Square is a credit card swiper compatible with smartphones to process credit card (and cash) sales on the go. If you attach it to an iPad, you can set up a full cash register. The Square and associated applications are free and the processing costs are lower than traditional credit card merchant systems.
Yes, compost. Most, if not all, organic farmers are already composting on their farms. Specifically, sourcing additional free fertilizer for your crops in a cost efficient way. Farm to fork initiatives, in which restaurants showcase and champion local produce and products, are becoming increasingly popular. Take it one step farther by partnering with the restaurants you’re already selling to and collect their food scraps for compost. It might sound like a lot of work, but if your operation is already delivering product what’s to stop you bringing something back? With small adjustments to daily practices, you’ll be significantly reducing the quantity of waste they pay to have removed and you’ll get free fertilizer.
Taking good care of your equipment pays off in the long run. Preventative maintenance, like oil changes, air and fuel filter replacement, are low cost ways to extend the life of vital farming equipment. Proper tire inflation saves fuel and prevents tire blow outs. Keeping equipment like moisture sensors and cooler thermometers properly calibrated will prevent costly errors and save energy. Even cleaning equipment can go a long way to keeping it working efficiently. When you do have to purchase new, consider whether you should bargain shop and sacrifice quality or spend more for long term viability.
What sex was to the Sixties, sustainability is to the 2010s.
Or so says a study conducted by Montreal’s Concordia University:
The cultural revolution a generation ago in the 1960s was all about sex. Now, the latest research shows, it’s all about sustainability. Not as titillating a revolution, perhaps, but the outcome is sure important — young adults participating in the new research equate the threat of global warming with the threat their grandparents felt with the onset of the Second World War.
A survey of 8,000 adults from 20 countries revealed that sustainability is the vision and mission for today’s college graduates. So there IS hope after all!
Every now and then we get some good news. Happily it’s not all gloom and doom!
The Center for Food Safety reported this week that the U.S. Court of Appeals would uphold an earlier ruling over the impacts of Monsanto’s genetically engineered “Roundup Ready” sugar beets. The previous rulings that favor farmers and conservation advocates will remain in place!
Center for Food Safety (CFS) attorney George Kimbrell:
“Today’s order cements a critical legal benchmark in the battle for meaningful oversight of biotech crops and food. Because of this case, there will be public disclosure and debate on the harmful impacts of these pesticide-promoting crops, as well as legal protections for farmers threatened by contamination.”
To help in the fight against GE foods, which threatens both our personal health as well as the safety of the entire food supply, visit Organic Consumers for more info.
Whole Foods markets itself as the safe, healthy alternative. Unfortunately the facts don’t speak for themselves. Here are two contrasting quotes obtained from Organic Consumers:
“The reality is that no grocery store in the United States, no matter what size or type of business, can claim they are GE-free. While we have been and will continue to be staunch supporters of non-GE foods, we are not going to mislead our customers with an inaccurate claim… We have advocated for mandatory labeling of GE foods since 1992…”
— Whole Foods Market Internal Company Memo 1/30/2011
“Whole Foods claim they support mandatory labeling of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms). Well, where are the labels on the vast array of non-organic foods in their stores that contain genetically engineered soybeans, corn, canola, cottonseed oil, or sugar beets? Where are the labels on their so-called “natural” meat, eggs, or dairy products, reared on GMO grains and animal drugs?”
— Protester at San Francisco Whole Foods Market, April 11, 2011
Fed up? TAKE ACTION.
Some recent site updates included content changes in a few areas, so we wanted to highlight them with a note on the homepage.
First up is a brand new page about compost bins for sale that reviews the various types of bins on the market.
Secondly we added a new section in the worm composting page to mention the popular kit Can O Worms composter. Never been a better time to dive into composting!
Anyone that believes in organic food already knows this intuitively, but it’s nice to get scientific confirmation, especially when encountering the Great Brainwashed (those that think giant, corporate factory farming is more productive).
The Rodale Institute has been doing side-by-side comparisons of conventional and organic farming plots growing soybeans and corn for nearly 30 years and the latest stats are here. The result? The plots continue to have similar yields, but the organic areas performed much better in building soil carbon (which is good for the climate) and retaining nitrogen in the soil, which is a necessity for long term cultivation.
Tom Philpott of Grist Magazine had this to say about the data:
As the globe warms up, increased droughts are likely to reduce global crop yields. The ag-biotech industry is scrambling to come out with “drought-resistant” GMO crops. But organic ag might already have that covered: “In 4 out of 5 years of moderate drought, the organic systems had significantly higher corn yields (31 percent higher) than the conventional system.”
Organic wins again!