We are all getting a taste for what it might feel like to inhabit a science fiction novel. Or, as one meme said, maybe this is what life would look like it if was written by a 4th grader: “There was this virus, and the whole world ran out of toilet paper. Yeah, and there … More Local Food Isn’t a Privilege; It’s a Necessity
The US is in love with speed and productivity. Amazon Prime can get a package to your door in less than a day. Increasing speed of data transfer is the holy grail of technology developers. We even want our food to hurry up, so our country spawned fast food restaurants spreading like tumors around the … More Slow Food: What Matters More than Efficiency?
It’s the time of year when our lambs are coming off pasture and heading to “freezer camp.” It’s a terrible euphemism, I know. But farmers–like cops, coroners, and other professionals who deal with the nastier parts of life–have our own brand of gallows humor. We’ve been raising animals for meat for 12 years now, starting … More Little Packages of Meat
There are a lot of factors that have contributed to the death of the family farm—most of them financial—but I believe a lack of social sustainability played a role too. By “social sustainability” I mean working conditions that can be sustained in the long term for a farmer. It’s common knowledge that farm work is … More Getting Away from the Farm
“Plant beans and squash when the lilacs are in full bloom,” or “plant peas when you hear the Spring peepers” are based on animal and plant behavior related to the accumulated warmth of the season. In the era when everyone farmed, at least on a subsistence level, such observations were once commonplace and widely used, … More Wisdom From Nature
What do you picture when you hear the word “farmer”? The image we are presented with in commercials and children’s books is of an older white male, perhaps wearing a plaid shirt and a mesh cap, often perched atop an old John Deere or Case tractor. And for the past 6 decades or so, this … More Farming While Female
Our culture has always had a fascination with group performances. There is synergy—even magic—in the collective movement of a dance troupe, or an orchestra playing music together. When it’s done well, it is a visual and auditory feast. But if someone is having a bad day and gets off rhythm or misses a cue, the … More Farm Choreography
If you have a desire to put your food dollars toward products that are good for the planet and also for your health, you are not alone. The organic, natural, and “clean” food industries have been growing explosively. The problem with such rapid growth is that the sophisticated marketing departments at major corporations have noticed, … More Natural, Grass-fed, Organic…Label Confusion!
Loving Animals, Eating Animals Recently at Shelterbelt Farm, we harvested our first beef. The two steers were shot on-farm, which avoided all the stresses of transport. They lived the high life until the very last minute, content to graze with their herd, free to do as they pleased. But I have had several people express … More Loving Animals, Eating Animals
My 9-year-old daughter Rowan sparked an interesting discussion recently by asking, “Why do we use money for everything?” Kids are great examiners of things we adults take for granted. As always, her question got me thinking. Before the advent of money, humans got what they needed by trading with each other, exchanging goods or services … More The Barter Economy