Category Archives: Small Farming

I haven’t been posting because …

I haven’t been posting for a while. A … little thing happened to me that turned my world upside down. There’s many words you put to why … but lets just say, the Holy Spirit knocked me off my horse. I’ve been trying to blog about food and alternative, healthier ways of living, and I will continue to do so … but … I can’t do it anymore without mentioning Spiritual Food from time to time.

I was studying Vipassina Buddhist Meditation (… be still and hear My Voice…) and then, like in every spiritual tradition I’ve attempted to undertake …. I “stopped too soon.” Initially I went deep, but after getting in touch with deep regions of my “Body-Mind”, I failed to get with a teacher or join a spiritual community (Sangha). The result of not changing? Well … you’ll never believe it unless you too know how Paul saw a bush on fire … a bush that only he could see … and the bush wasn’t consumed. That said, let’s get back to the reason for this post.

I strongly encourage each and everyone of you to view, Food, Inc.” I put a copy on hold at the local public library. This video isn’t “Republican” nor “Democrat”. (As if those labels actually meant something anymore…) Everyone has to eat, and food has changed more in the last 50 years than it has in the last 10,000.  (View the trailer link)

All around us signs point to economic disasters, natural disasters, social problems, and now, the reality of this Corporate Dictatorship called, the New World Order. Good outcomes are derived from making good decisions based on quality information. Naturally, you don’t have to take the word of a small blogger from Oakland … no … what I’ll do is point you to creditable sources so that you can decide what to believe in, and where to place your energy now that “business is no longer … as usual.”

I’ll start off with an interview with Peter Schweitzer, founding member of The Farm intentional community in Tennessee, and Director of Plenty International. This may well be a glimpse into the future. (Here is a link to their blog.) Below is a link well worth looking at and take a moment to view the video. Allow them to be … “food for thought…”

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Urban Farmer Wins $500,000 “Genius” Award

At 6 feet 7 inches tall of urban Farmer Will Allen commands attention when he speaks. “The next generation of farmers aren’t going to come from rural family farms because those farms don’t exist anymore. The next generation of farmers are going to come from the cities,” states Allen.  When we think of the current economic crisis and the “fact” that jobs aren’t coming back the way they used to be before the housing bubble burst, one is faced with the frightening dilemma of actually being free.

“Stop looking for a job and MAKE a job for yourself. That means doing what you love most … and what better cause than to “feed my sheep” or teach others how to create healthy food for themselves, how to commune cooperatively with greater quality of life.

Will Allen grew up on a farm outside Washington, D.C., played professional basketball for a time after college, mostly in Europe. In 1993, he left a job with Procter & Gamble and bought a roadside farm in Milwaukee’s economically depressed north side — the last remaining registered farm in the city — and got local teenagers involved.

Two years ago, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant. The grant recognizes Allen’s work bringing affordable fresh produce and quality grass-fed meats to the urban poor and educating communities about sustainable farming. The Chicago-based MacArthur Foundation awarded Allen $500,000 over the next five years to use however he wishes. Allen, 60, also received $100,000 in 2005 from the Ford Foundation on behalf of urban farming work. co-founded Growing Power in 1993 in Milwaukee to help teach inner-city kids about the origins of their food.

This may be one of the most important Post I’ve discovered. Please … please … visit YouTube and view some of the short videos about various projects taking place at Growing Power:

YouTube Video: Meet Will Allen

YouTube Video on:  Vermicompost
Website:  Vermicompost

YouTube Video on: Aquaponics
Website: Aqualponics

YouTube Video on Clean Water & Aqualponics <click here)

Buy and Sell Organic Produce … FREE?

What do you do when time, the economy, and practicality way-lays your “Organic Farming Dream?” Improvise, and plan. I didn’t know it earlier, but there’s a saying that goes:

“If you don’t plan, then plan to fail.”

I always thought that if I got the next degree, license, or certificate, then all would be fine. But I’ve lived most of my life in the up-and-down economy of California. So, like Buddhism, I working on a “Middle Path.”

11 or 25 acres out in the hot, mosquito infested country may not be feasible for me at this time in my life, but a cheap little foreclosed home financed by the Veteran’s Administration is. Hell, growing a garden in the back and flowers in the front may well be just as rewarding. Now, to the newest idea I’ve come across:

My Organic Acres appears to be one answer to Monsanto and Agri-Business’ move to own all farming and feed us crap that makes us fat and unhealthy. (For instance, the Russet potatoes being sold in Safeway, Lucky’s or Kroger’s TODAY are so genetically loaded with sugar that you can’t even make the same lower calorie recipes you could make 13 years ago. You have to buy the smaller ones.) No wonder Diabetes and Cancer rates are off the charts.)

My Organic Acres promises to deliver you with fresh, organic produce that YOU CHOOSE. Plus, you can get more from other farmers and either sell at the Farmer’s Market of your choice or their, online Farmer’s Market. You can even donate the produce to the poor as a tax write off.

Canadian Woman’s Homestead Blog

Blogging is interesting. Sometimes people you’d never meet in lifeKristeva Dowling stop by and say, “hi”. That’s one of the biggest things that attracts me to a rural or semi-rural life … the possibility of unpretentious neighbors.

Sure, people are people no matter where you go … and there’s crime and drugs everywhere, but if you do your homework, you can GREATLY decrease the likely-hood you’ll run into the same kinds of problems you will in most major cities.

A woman named Kristeva Dowling is just the type of person I’m talking about. She and her husband … well … let her tell it:

“… I live on a small mixed farm on the west coast of British Columbia in a remote First Nations village town. In 2008, I quit my job, returned to the farm and committed to a project that I have dreamed  of attempting for several years. That is, to provide all the food we will eat for a year. This will entail growing vegetables, raising meat animals, fishing, and learning to hunt. I do not have an agricultural background, but know that farming is in my blood. It is almost all I can think about. If I won the lottery, I would buy a large farm or ranch and spend the rest of my life spending the money farming!”

Here’s her blog. Lots of real life stories of new farmers making a new kind of life for themselves. Extremely interesting. Have fun … and send her some comments if any come to mind.

UC Santa Cruz Small Farm Course

Grow A Farmer

Cultivating The Next Generation

“There’s a revolution underway–from inner city farmer’s markets to community to community supported agriculture (CAS), to school cafeterias grow a farmerthat serve locally grown locally grown food, people across the country AND THE WORLD are rejecting industrial food and farming in favor of local, organic, community-scale systems. Now the most critical challenge is ironically, the lack of with the training and knowledge to produce and market fresh, delicious organic food while caring for the land AND THE COMMUNITY they work and sell to.” (from the Grow A Farmer website)

Look at the signs of the time … With President Obama signed onto the Green Economy, the entire grid of the United States is going to have to be re-built.  The day of 18-wheelers transporting crops from one cost to another also has a “time-date” stamp marked on it. The only constant in the universe is change, and the way we grow food is no different.

AgicultureCareers.com states that the Department of Labor Employmment and Training Administration for direct farm workers are:

Today’s agriculture offers over 200 rewarding and challenging careers. 32% of these openings will be in science, engineering, and related specialties like Marketing, merchandising and sales. Many of the position are located in urban areas. See: AgricultureCareers.com

Opportunities are abundant for minority candidates. According to the 1990 census:

  • African Americans accounted for only 3.1% of employed foresters
  • and 6.9% of employed forestry technicians
  • Industry sources would like to increase those numbers by three to four times in the near future.

The University of Santa Cruz has an internationally respected, SIX-MONTH small, organic farming program. Click here to read more.

YouTube Grow A Farmer and check it out for yourself.

Small Farming for Profit and Stewardship

Alan Nancy HicksHere are two people who decided to do whatever they needed to do so they could do what they WANT to do. That means stepping out of the box, defining what their dream life really looks like, what is essential for them, and then partnering to get it done.

North Carolina farmer Alex Hitt and his wife Betsy have worked their 26 acre farm in Graham, N.C. into an environmental gem and profit center. “Over the years, Hitt has reduced acreage and labor by improving their soil with cover crops, concentrating on high-value crops that grow well in the area. What he has not reduced is profit, thanks to direct marketing through the Caroboro Farmers Market and Weaver Street Market, a cooperative grocery store in the area.

“Each acre returns a minimum of $20,000 annually, while four high-tunnel greenhouses (that shelter young or delicate crops) bring in $1,000 per crop. The Hitts embrace their small scale, growing 80 varieties of 23 vegetables along with 164 varieties of cut flowers on just three acres. Alex and Betsy were winners of the 2006 Patrick Madden Award for Sustainable Agriculture from Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program.” (~Reprinted from “Small American Farm” magazine”, January 2007 issue.)

Alex and Betsy Hitt delivered the keynote address at the January 12-13, 2007 “Future Harvest Alliance Conference” in Hagerstown, Maryland.  Learn more about this and other Future Harvest-CASA information on their website at: http:/www.futureharvestcasa.org/, or email: fhacasa@verizon.net.

In rural areas where the average income is between $13,000 and $18,000 annually, the Hitts are making $64,000 (!!) by doing their market research and making money in ways that people raised in urban areas might seem unorthodox. Yet, who wouldn’t relish spending a day selling products they’ve grown and produced on their own land? It isn’t hard to make organic Cheese … and you can use milk from the little, gentle cow mentioned on: “Small Cow Farm.com

Green Collar Jobs

daveradio1Green-Collar Jobs Provide Pathways Out of Poverty

Most Green-Collar jobs require more than a high school education, but less than a four-year degree. Hence, they are well within the reach of lower-skilled and low-income workers.

As long as a person has access to effective training programs and appropriate supports … it’s really not that big of a deal to get “job-ready” training in a reasonably short period of time.

Felon? Recovering Addict or Homeless?
Here in the California Bay Area, there are even “Green” programs designed just for you. (SEE Van Jones’ book, “The Green Collar Economy.”)

Green-Collar Jobs are GOOD jobs. Like blue-collar jobs that often allow a person to earn a higher wage, quicker than recent grads with bachelors and sometime masters degrees, Green jobs pay “family wages” and provide opportunities for advancement along a career tract of career tract of increasing skills and wages.

It’s time to begin moving away from the model that to live well, one HAS to have a college degree and live in the middle of a crowded city.

With the high cost of tuition and other fees continually rising, college for many has already reached a point of diminishing returns.

The bottom line is that we’re going to have to start doing things differently. As the old saying goes, “The only constant is change.”

Click on the link to view your FREE copy of “The Green Jobs Guidebook.