Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design / Angela Moreno-Long / 24 October 2016
Local food systems in rural communities can provide much more than just access to high quality food, food systems are linked to the economic vitality, sustainability and health of communities. The Iowa State University Community Design Lab produced an “Agricultural Urbanism” toolkit for revitalizing local food systems in order to create resilient communities, promote social equity and build financial sustainability. Don’t let the “urbanism” title fool you, agricultural urbanism is a process which can be used in cities and towns of any size across America–the key idea is integrating food systems and agriculture into the planning, design, and social fabric of communities. The Agricultural Urbanism Toolkit highlights pilot projects at multiple scales that use creative design solutions for local food systems.
Mother Earth News / Shelley Stonebrook / December 2015/January 2016
Growing your own seedlings indoors can save you big bucks, as well as open up a whole new world of crop variety options. When you start seeds at home, you aren’t limited to the, well, “garden variety” plants available at most garden centers. You can order seeds of anything you desire to try — such as disease-resistant, organically bred, regionally adapted or rare heirloom varieties — from the many mail-order seed companies across the United States, and then sprout them yourself.
The range of setups you can use to start your seeds is nearly as diverse as the plants you can grow. We reached out to our readers to find out what seed-starting setups work well for them, and this is a roundup of their ideas.
Mother Earth News / Joel Salatin / October/November 2016
Over the years, our tribe has developed a vocabulary to promote and explain our views on the environment, self-reliance, and sustainability. We’ve fought for 100 percent grass-fed beef, free-range chickens, pasture-raised pork, USDA Organic veggies, and so much more. But today, powerful interests threaten to change the meaning of our language. Well, folks, our communication depends on preserving these vibrant words. Just like our land, our language needs to be fostered.
Pay attention to any food recall, and you’ll see a dozen brand names coming out of the same processing plant. As the food industry continues to centralize, this product and brand-name homogeneity only escalates. Finding and using a vocabulary of specificity will become more and more important for our tribe. We need to know our terms, own our terms, define our terms, and defend our terms.
The FAO/PAHO report points out that one of the main factors contributing to the rise of obesity and overweight has been the change in dietary patterns. Economic growth, increased urbanization, higher average incomes and the integration of the region into international markets have reduced the consumption of traditional preparations and increased consumption of ultra-processed products, a problem that has had greater impact on areas and countries that are net food importers.
To address this situation, FAO and PAHO call for the promotion of healthy and sustainable food systems that link agriculture, food, nutrition and health.
Dave Murphy, executive director of Food Democracy Now!, joins us this week to explain the finding of this new report on the world’s most-used herbicide (more commonly known by its retail brand: Roundup). As happened in past decades with the alcohol and tobacco industries, there’s compelling evidence that profits have taken a priority over consumer safety — and as public health concerns are being raised, Big Ag is circling its wagons and attacking the questioners rather than embracing open scrutiny.
Recorder & Times / Wayne Lowrie / 12 December 2016
Mayor Joe Baptista wants residents to be allowed to keep such small farm animals as goats and chickens in the backyard of their homes in his Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands.
Baptista notes that the township is a rural one, yet an existing bylaw prohibits landowners on fewer than five acres from keeping farm animals.
He has asked council members to debate his idea of asking staff to come up with zoning changes to allow residents on small residential lots to keep pigs, goats and chickens, among others. The new rules could regulate the size, number and types of animals depending on the lot size he said.
Baptista said township staff should have no problem finding sample zoning rules from other municipalities because backyard animals have become a trend in North America.
The Transition Towns movement aims toward veering away from excessive consumption – to deal with the conjoined problems of peak oil and climate change – but also in the belief that we may create an essentially more contented society, through building strong and resilient local communities. We will get to know our neighbours better, because we shall all need one another in the time to come.