Monthly Archives: February 2009

MOSES 2009 organic farming conference — day 1

warm and wired

warm and wired

Ed Z and I came up a day early so we could sit in a coffee shop all day, drink coffee and stare at our laptops. Actually, thanks to Grounded Specialty Coffee it’s been a very pleasant day. The snow started about an hour ago. We’re warm and wired. This evening we’ll go register, then look for some farmers with which to hang.

In the mean time I’ve been learning about the brand new Organic Agriculture page on eXtension website. It’s loaded with articles on organic production and certification contributed from Extension and university folks from all over the country. There are lot’s of people contributing to this site on an on-going basis. There’s a good FAQ section, and even some videos.

Check it out!



Filed under events, organic

Upper Midwest Organic Conference

Last year about this time I started this blog. One of the first things I did was try to live-blog from the Upper Midwest Organic Conference. Today, I’m getting ready to head back up to LaCrosse, WI where I plan to attend this year’s conference. I’ll be posting blogs on the spot when I see or hear something interesting, so stay tuned.

Also, in a few weeks I’ll be going to Brazil to stay on a sustainable/organic coffee farm. A friend and I are taking 9 College of ACES students over Spring Break. I’ll post a daily blog from there to keep friends and family up to date on the trip. More on that later. Hoping this will become an annual trip.

Join us!

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Filed under agriculture, environment, events, food, local food, natural, organic

Check out the local beet

get with the beet

get with the beet

I’m adding this site to my blog roll. Looks very well done, a great resource for locavores in the Chicago area.

The Local Beet, dedicated to a practical approach to local eating.

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Filed under food, local food

How organic farming works

How does that work again?

How does that work again?

Gleaned from the “How Stuff Works” website…

How Organic Farming Works

How Farmers Markets Work

…and more,  and some cool videos from the same source.

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US adding farms

stimulate this

stimulate this

Now this is interesting. According to the new Ag Census just released by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), there are more farms in the US than there were five years ago…

The 2007 Census counted 2,204,792 farms in the United States, a net increase of 75,810 farms. Nearly 300,000 new farms have begun operation since the last census in 2002. Compared to all farms nationwide, these new farms tend to have more diversified production, fewer acres, lower sales and younger operators who also work off-farm.

The increase in farm numbers comes from small and large farms, but smaller farms are increasing at a faster rate than larger farms…

Between 2002 and 2007, the number of farms with sales of less than $2,500 increased by 74,000. The number of farms with sales of more than $500,000 grew by 46,000 during the same period.

All this is evidence that local food (and organic) is continuing to increase in popularity and farmers are responding to serve that market…

In addition to looking at farm numbers, operator demographics and economic aspects of farming, the Census of Agriculture delves into numerous other areas, including organic, value-added, and specialty production, all of which are on the rise. [italics added]

Let’s follow this up with some real research and Extension dollars targeting small-scale, local, organic farms. They could use some stimulous too!

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Filed under agriculture, local food, organic, small farms

I’m giving away money

Yup, that’s right. I’m giving money away — $500 to 20 farmers.

it's like money growing on weeds

it's like money growing on weeds

Here’s the deal.

I have a grant to help sustainable and organic farmers struggling with perennial weeds. Typically, these are the toughest type weeds to deal with in an organic system. If you live in Illinois or any state bordering Illinois, and you are a low-chemical or organic farmer fighting Canada thistle or some other perennial weed, click HERE.

This is the second year of this project. To see what we did with eight farmers in 2008, click HERE.

If you were lured to this site out of curiosity or a desire to get free money and you are not a farmer — sorry.

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Filed under agriculture, environment, natural, organic

Sustainable ag standards snagged

Big Brother Ag

Big Brother Ag

The writing of legal standards for sustainable ag, is, in my opinion, doomed to fail. I can’t imagine what the purpose might be, but Big Ag is using it well

In the fall of 2007, SCS selected the Leonardo Academy to administer the process of developing SCS-001 into an ANSI standard. SCS selected Leonardo, in part, for its lack of existing contacts in the agricultural community. This inexperience eliminated many potential conflicts of interest, but also resulted in the failure to directly notify many of the larger agricultural organizations such as the American Farm Bureau and various producer or input-specific groups. This led to several commodity groups filing a formal appeal seeking withdrawal of SCS-001. The USDA also sent Leonardo a letter objecting to the exclusion of commodity agriculture and requested action to bring SCS-001 in line with the 1990 Farm Bill’s definition of sustainability.

That’s Big Ag for you — they don’t want anything to do with sustainable/organic ag unless they can control it completely.

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Filed under agriculture, big ag, policy