Community Supported Agriculture
We are facing increasing toxicity in the environment and our food supply is not exempt. PCB in salmon, lead and mercury in seafood, pesticide residues in grains (don't worry), rocket fuel in salad, genetically modified growth hormone in cow's milk, chemical treatment for seeds that kills the bees and fast food masquerading as "nutritious".
The problems seem to be immanent in our system, in the "chemical" way we chose to increase yields in agriculture. Nitrogen-based fertilizers are preventing plants from attaining a properly balanced mineral content. Pesticides kill not only pests - they have other unintended victims, often including the pests' natural enemies. Herbicides leach into our drinking water. Antibiotics given as a "preventive" to livestock breed resistant strains of bacteria, and just recently, the UN has been suggesting in all earnest that we vaccinate chickens to eliminate another problem: bird flu. The problems we are facing stem directly from our chemical and pharmaceutical approach to agriculture, food and health.
What are the alternatives? One of them is called Community Supported Agriculture.
The overall philosophy ... evolved from some of Steiner's ideas spelled out in his anthroposophical writings. Some of the farm’s key ideas are:
New forms of property ownership—The land is held in a common by a community through a legal trust. The trust then leases its property long-term to farmers who use the land to grow food for the community.
New forms of cooperation—A network of human relations replaces old systems of employers and employees as well as replacing the practice of pledging material security (land, buildings, etc.) to banks.
New forms of economy – (associative economy). The guiding question is not "how do we increase profits?" but rather "what are the actual needs of the land and of the people involved in this enterprise?"
See this article by Steven McFadden, forwarded through (thank you!) Jennie Gorman:
Clean, Healthy Food in a Time of Concern: The Essential Story of Community Farms (CSA)
Copyright Feb., 2004 -- by Steven McFadden
We are in the early stages of what may turn out to be a global food crisis -- a crisis initially about quality and safety, but a crisis that may eventually come to bear on quantity.
In the context of recent news about Mad Cow Disease, toxic farm-raised salmon, and the Avian flu that is causing the destruction of millions of chickens, it is a good time to consider the quality and safety of your food.
Where does your food come from? Who are the people who raised the food? In what ways have chemicals been used to grow, process and preserve the food? Has the food been exposed to irradiation as it passed through industrial-scale processing? Has the food been handled industrially, or genetically engineered? Most people have no idea about the true nature of the meat, vegetables, fruit and grain they are putting in their mouths.
I have just finished researching and writing a two-part magazine article about Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) for "The New Farm," an online publication of The Rodale Institute in Pennsylvania.
Community Farms (CSAs) are one viable alternative for people everywhere in the world to insure the safety and quality of their food. Now, as the corporate and industrial models of agriculture continue to dominate and to falter badly, its an excellent time for farmers and communities to explore the creative and sustainable possibilities of CSA in depth.
When I interviewed Lincoln Geiger of the Temple-Wilton Community Farm in New Hampshire, he summed the entire issue up in one sentence: "Much is at stake, and we are the keepers of the Earth."
I agree wholeheartedly with Lincoln’s observation. Agriculture is the foundation of our modern civilization. It will remain so in whatever ages are yet to come. Without a steady supply of clean, life-giving food, we have neither the leisure nor the energy to develop other aspects of life, such as industry, science and art.
Through two books Trauger Groh and I have sought to emphasize the fundamental importance of farming, and to explore some of the sustainable possibilities in theory and in practical detail. Here are links to two essays on these themes:
Spring is around the corner, and soon planting will begin. May all that is cultivated this season bring forth goodness.
Copyright Feb., 2004 -- by Steven McFadden
Organic Consumers Association - CSA - Community Supported Agriculture organic farming, permaculture, biodynamic farming
Based on a book by Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute, the ISIS Institute warns that water is running low and that grain production has already dropped. The solution: sustainable agriculture. See "The Food Bubble Economy".
The Independent: Rock dust grows extra-big vegetables (and might save us from global warming)
By Paul Kelbie, Scotland Correspondent - 21 March 2005
For years scientists have been warning of an apocalyptic future facing the world. With the prospect of an earth made infertile from over-production and mass reliance on chemicals, coupled with an atmosphere polluted by greenhouse gases there seems little to celebrate. But belief is growing that an answer to some of the earth's problems are not only at hand, but under our feet. Specialists have just met in Perth to discuss the secrets of rock dust, a quarrying by-product that is at the heart of government-sponsored scientific trials and which, it is claimed, could revitalise barren soil and reverse climate change. The recognition of the healing powers of rock dust comes after a 20-year campaign by two former schoolteachers, Cameron and Moira Thomson. They have been battling to prove that rock dust can replace the minerals that have been lost to the earth over the past 10,000 years and, as a result, rejuvenate the land and halt climate change. To prove their point, the couple have converted six acres of open, infertile land in the Grampian foothills near Pitlochry into a modern Eden. Using little more than rock dust mixed with compost, they have created rich, deep soils capable of producing cabbages the size of footballs, onions bigger than coconuts and gooseberries as big as plums...
REFORMING GOVERNMENT SUBSIDIES TO BENEFIT SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE JULY: OCA has begun mobilizing its forces to reform the forthcoming 2007-2012 Farm Bill. Currently, 80% of the U.S. Taxpayers' $20 billion annual agriculture subsidies go to large corporate and factory farms. OCA is gathering support from citizens and policymakers on federal, state, and local levels to change the subsidy system to support family farms and transition to organic agriculture. As an example of how to do this, in
July, Woodbury County, Iowa, became the first county in the nation to offer tax incentives to organic farmers. County Supervisors approved up to $50,000 in tax credits for each farmer converting from conventional to organic agriculture.
Study: Organic Farming Can Feed the World
Organic farming can yield up to three times as much food as conventional farming in developing countries, and holds its own against standard methods in rich countries, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday. They said their findings contradict arguments that organic farming -- which excludes the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides -- is not as efficient as conventional techniques.
Organic Cuba without Fossil Fuels
According to Cuba’s Minsitry of Agriculture, some 150 000 acres of land is being cultivated in urban and suburban settings, in thousands of community farms, ranging from modest courtyards to production sites that fill entire city blocks. Organoponicos, as they are called, show how a combination of grassroots effort and official support can result in sweeping change, and how neighbours can come together and feed themselves. When the food crisis hit, the organoponicos were an ad hoc response by local communities to increase the amount of available food.
Community Supported Agriculture: Grist Magazine on Joining a CSA
It costs money to run a farm. Farmers need cash to buy seeds, babies, fertilizer, compost; fix equipment, pay employees, pay the mortgage, etc., long before they will sell a single lettuce leaf or lamb. These investments are risky, in a way, because if there is a crop failure, the farmer can't recoup through sales, and risks going into debt or going broke. Community-supported agriculture is one solution to this inherent problem. In a CSA, consumers provide farmers with operating capital, in essence buying their food ahead of time and taking the risk of crop failure along with the grower.
posted by Sepp Hasslberger on Friday February 6 2004
updated on Wednesday December 15 2010
URL of this article:
Agriculture: Chemicals GMO Failing - Try Organic, Sustainable
A recent discovery presages production of hydrogen - not by electrolysis but by the effects of catalytic action and sunlight on water. In the ensuing discussion on this post, the question turns to what would be needed to afford economically decent conditions to the billions of people in developing countries. It appears that both water and energy will be important, but even more decisive than these factors will be low-input... [read more]
October 09, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger
Independent Science Panel on GM
Dozens of prominent scientists from seven countries, spanning the disciplines of agroecology, agronomy, biomathematics, botany, chemical medicine, ecology, histopathology, microbial ecology, molecular genetics, nutritional biochemistry, physiology, toxicology and virology, joined forces to launch themselves as an Independent Science Panel on GM at a public conference, attended by UK environment minister Michael Meacher and 200 other participants, in London on 10 May 2003. The conference coincided with the publication of a... [read more]
June 08, 2003 - Sepp Hasslberger
London Slow Food Festival
The slow food is intimately related to the organic food movement - Thought I should alert all London Ontario Canada readers about this upcoming festival. Any one interested in nutritional matters should take every opportunity to support these types of activities. Supporting of the local and regional producers of fruits and vegetables, meats, wines, beer and other beverages is the best way to ensure freshness and influence the movement to... [read more]
October 04, 2004 - Chris Gupta
Are superweeds going to kill Monsanto?
After the Killer Tomatoes, now come Superweeds. As a matter of fact, it appears that pollen from genetically modified plants are spreading to the "poor cousins" of the plants being modified, the lowly weeds which were at the origin of all modern agriculture and which have been transformed into productive plants by patient selection and cross-breeding over thousands of years. In a recent article in The Independent, we learn that,... [read more]
June 23, 2003 - Sepp Hasslberger
Free Trade Agenda hits major snag in Cancun
The devoloping countries have formed a block of opposition to the free trade agenda espoused by the major industrial nations including the US and the EU. As reported in the Manila Times, Trade Secretary Manuel A. Roxas II, in a statement today, said the failure of the ministerial meeting in Cancun is a victory for the developing nations. Roxas says "the talks actually underscored the fact that WTO meetings can... [read more]
September 15, 2003 - Sepp Hasslberger
Millions of bees dead - Bayer's Gaucho blamed
Synthetic honey and GMO bees - Part II A French governmental report confirms suspicions of a mass poisoning of bees involving hundreds of thousands of colonies of honey bees. According to the report of the French Scientific and Technical Committee, Bayer's seed treatment GAUCHO pesticide is to blame - at least in part. Earlier this year, I published an article by French journalist Michel Dogna, who had investigated the ecological... [read more]
November 26, 2003 - Sepp Hasslberger