Mark Keating's picture

Farm Bill Update

Basketball legend John Wooden cautioned not to confuse activity for achievement and his advice certainly applies to the “Farm Bill” passed last Thursday by the House of Representatives.  I use quotes here because the House bill contained only the agricultural provisions of the Farm Bill while voiding its single largest section, the nutrition programs.  Not simply ignoring, but voiding; should this House bill become law, the entire slate of USDA nutrition assistance programs would disappear.

While that outcome might please some members of the House, it’s not going to happen and that’s where the distinction between activity and achievement comes into play. The House leadership was badly damaged by the defeat of its first attempt to pass a Farm Bill back in June. That defeat highlighted underlying concerns about the House leadership’s competency and even called into question its future viability. 

Karen Adler's picture

Freedom’s Just Another Word for Organic

photo of farmer in the fieldOrganic agriculture provides real independence for farmers, for consumers, for communities, and for the world. As we know, organic farmers and ranchers use production methods that are independent of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, and free of antibiotics and growth hormones. The avoidance of these substances, coupled with holistic approaches that foster the cycling and conservation of resources through composting, cover-cropping, and other soil and nutrient-management practices, spells independence from the costly and toxic chemical agriculture treadmill.

Karen Adler's picture

Knowledge is Power: The Natural Farmer Shares Its Bounty

A wealth of practical organic farming information has been gathered over the years by farmers and researchers all over the country, and is shared through a variety of methods. One storehouse of knowledge is The Natural Farmer (TNF), which is the quarterly journal of the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA), a 5,000-strong membership organization with chapters in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, and New Hampshire.

photo of Jack KittredgeThe Natural Farmer, edited since 1988 by Jack Kittredge, a Massachusetts organic farmer, has published hundreds of useful articles since 1988, with each issue focused on specific production and marketing topics ranging from crops such as cucurbits, potatoes, and minor fruit, to explorations of climate change, internet marketing, and manure. And now, with the support of a grant from Organic Farming Research Foundation, 101 of these articles, from twelve issues, are available in a searchable archive by topic and key phrases, such as “organic potatoes,” or “forages for swine.”

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