How small-scale farming can help reduce the effects of climate change

How small-scale farming can help reduce the effects of climate change

This past summer was terrible for my crops. I eagerly started the process of sowing seeds and transferring seedlings and cuttings into their permanent homes and looked forward to the day I could begin harvesting the results of my hard labor. I was also in the process of renovating my home for sale and purchasing another, so working in the garden was a welcome relief from the stress and uncertainty of that process. At least it was supposed to be…

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7 things you’re doing wrong in your garden (and how to fix them)

7 things you’re doing wrong in your garden (and how to fix them)

If you have been gardening for a while, you’ve probably realized that making mistakes is a big part of the process of learning. Even the most experienced gardeners make errors of judgment that can lead to a failing or otherwise unsuccessful harvest. Some problems are inevitable when it comes to growing your own food: weather changes can ruin a harvest in a single day, so if you are not prepared (or available) to act fast in case of unexpected frost, heat wave, extended periods of rain or humidity, or sudden insect infestation, all of your hard work can be ruined very quickly…

Whether you’re a neophyte, a seasoned grower, or a business owner looking to make a profit from your harvest (or just earn a little extra cash on the side from your farm), you may be making some of these common mistakes that growers make, all of which affect the health, productivity, and viability of your garden in a major way.

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Farm Aid – the best event you’ve barely heard about

Farm Aid – the best event you’ve barely heard about

When Willie Nelson, Neil Young, and John Mellencamp founded Farm Aid back in 1985, sponsoring its first concert in Champaign Illinois, American farmers were in crisis. A series of droughts had devastated farms in the Midwest, Ohio Valley, and Great Lakes regions, with Kentucky and Ohio suffering their driest spells of the 20th century. Family farms were struggling to stay afloat, with many of them deeply in debt. Although the drought conditions would continue (and in some places, worsen) throughout the 1980s, Farm Aid brought the troubles faced by American family farmers to public consciousness for the first time. It also raised money to help struggling farm families to stay on their land and pay off crushing debt.

Thirty-one years later, people sometimes wonder if Farm Aid is still around and if so, why.

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Urban gardening: plant cover crops this fall for a better, faster, and more abundant harvest

Urban gardening: plant cover crops this fall for a better, faster, and more abundant harvest

As more and more people around the world have become aware of the ongoing problems with industrial, large scale farming, we’ve seen a rise in urban and peri-urban farming. This is ultimately a good thing, but it can also present some problems that exacerbate existing problems.

Whether urban farming can solve any of the current global agricultural crises (food waste, food deserts, soil erosion, overuse of pesticides, increased use of GMOs, monocropping) is debatable, but done efficiently, it can address some of these problems on a small scale.

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10 Eco-Friendly Ways to Celebrate this Memorial Day

10 Eco-Friendly Ways to Celebrate this Memorial Day

Memorial Day is coming in a little more than a week from now. if you’re preparing to fire up the grill, attend a parade, visit a cemetery or memorial, or get out and say welcome to the unofficial start of summer (here’s hoping you’ll have plenty of sunshine to enjoy), you’ll be joining the majority of over 300 million Americans who will be observing the holiday this year.

Memorial Day wouldn’t be quite complete without the usual round of recommendations and suggestions for how to enjoy the long weekend. This year, we’re joining the chorus and adding our voices with 10 fun, eco-friendly, and off-the-beaten track ways to celebrate this Memorial Day.

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The (grim? hopeful?) future of small-scale farming in 2015

The (grim? hopeful?) future of small-scale farming in 2015

This year’s news for small farmers is a sobering reminder that there is still a long way to go to achieving a real, sustainable “movement” that could also help small-scale farmers. According to a report released last month by the US Department of Agriculture, farmers’ incomes are projected to drop by as much as 34% in 2015 as compared to the 2014 forecast. In this grim scenario, the Northern Crescent region of the U.S. is expected to be hardest hit. Some of the reasons for this decline are lower crop yields, lower crop prices and higher costs of doing business.

Despite the ongoing challenges small-scale farmers face, there are some encouraging reasons to pay attention to small-scale farming in 2015, and to understand its importance for the (local and global) economy, the environment, and for reducing your exposure to toxins in the food you and your children consume, whether or not you patronize your local farms.

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