Tag Archives: farming & gardening

Monday, March 27

Quiet Mostly Cloudy Monday Morning Coffee Muses

Quiet Mostly Cloudy Monday Morning Coffee Muses

It’s quiet on this Monday morning. Almost no traffic sounds, no people sounds, even the birdsong is subdued. Sunshine breaks through the clouds only to be hidden once again. The temperature is in the low 70’s, and as long as the sun is covered it’s cool under the ceiling fans. Blue jays still visit their spot under the cedar. The bluebirds calling in the distance still make me smile. The cardinals clear ringing call still cuts thru all others from multiple sides of the yard.

And… as you can see, green predominates the landscape. The multitude of different shades and hues is amazing. The layers of light and shadow, new green and old, even the pecans trees are turning green.

Last night I discovered the movie Sustainable on Netflix. A really good documentary. Makes me wish I lived in central Illinois… If you have a subscription to Netflix and sustainable agricultural is in any way on your radar, do yourself a favor and check it out.

Subsidy Garden?

Going through my email this morning turned up the latest from farm policy. White House has laid out a graphic there that speaks loads about the disconnect between reality and what should be our Subsidy in this country…

I was really inspired by the diversity and nutritiousness of the crops planted in the Which Garden Model Should We Be Showering with Our Taxdollars? | Kitchen Gardeners International kitchen garden this spring (see above) and thought it would be eye-opening – not to mention jaw-dropping – to see what the White House garden would look like if it were planted to reflect the relative importance of the crops that our taxdollars are actually supporting.

As you’ll see, there’s very little resemblance between America’s Kitchen Garden and our “Which food production model should we be showering with our tax dollars? Garden.” I know that some will say that countries shouldn’t be subsidizing agiculture at all, but the reality is that they are and, as long as they are, citizens should have a voice in how those subsidies are spent.

via What if the U.S.D.A Subsidized Gardens?.

 

Which food production model should we be showering with our tax dollars?

The Mother Earth News

Mother Earth News Cover
Image via Wikipedia

Back in my youth I discovered  The Mother Earth News. It was probably sometime around 1971 that I first came across the magazine. I am sure I first found it at the old Space City News in downtown Houston where I spent a lot of time each weekend wandering the aisles checking out all of the magazines and paperbacks.

Space City was kind of an early precursor to a Barnes & Noble in Houston, without the hardbacks and with a lot more magazines and newspapers…and plain…It was located in an old storefront, it might have been an old auto dealership. Old vinyl floors, plain wood shelves and racks, and no creature comforts…but lots of reading material. If my bump for direction is right it was somewhere around where the Hyatt stands now. It’s been gone for a lot of years from that area.

But this bit was about TMEN (as The Mother Earth News was known on it’s own pages). Like I said I stumbled upon it in either it’s second or third year of publication and felt like I had found kindred spirits. I ended up with a subscription along with all of the back issues to catch me up to date. Even in the years I spent more broke than not I maintained that subscription right into the ’80’s…Then the magazine started changing (and so it seem did I), and I lost track. Occasionally, I would see a issue on a magazine rack and pick it up. But it wasn’t the same…something was different.

It took a long time for me to find out what happened…Don’t you love Google and Wikipedia. One day I was on the computer and TMEN meandered through  my mind so I typed the name into my search box and discovered the changes I saw in the magazine were changes in management and ownership. I had also wondered about the Shuttleworths who founded the magazine and the “Eco-Village they were building in Hendersonville, NC.

Yesterday I finally did a search on John and Jane Shuttleworth and this is what I found…

Posted: 05/08/2009 12:30:00 AM MDT

John Shuttleworth, who co-founded the back-to-earth magazine Mother Earth News, died March 29 at his Evergreen home.

Shuttleworth was found in his hot tub about 10 days later. Shuttleworth, 71, died of natural causes, said Brenda Teasley, chief deputy coroner for Jefferson County.

Services are pending, according to Mike Beutz, Jefferson County public administrator, who is in charge of arrangements.

Shuttleworth had lived in the Evergreen area since the mid-1980s.

Shuttleworth and his first wife, Jane Shuttleworth, founded Mother Earth News in 1970, promoting family farms, growing your own food, better eating habits and renewable energy.

First based in North Madison, Ohio, it was moved to Hendersonville, N.C., because Shuttleworth wanted to have space for a research area, said Ken Hodges, who worked with Shuttleworth on the magazine.

The Shuttleworths, who later divorced, sold the magazine in 1979. It had reached a circulation of about 1 million readers worldwide, said Hodges, of La Vista, Neb.

via Shuttleworth led Mother Earth News – The Denver Post.

So the serendipity of life strikes again. On the day his obituary was posted I did a search for the founder of TMEN. On any other day prior I would only have found a mention on the magazines sites or the magazines article at wikipedia…John Shuttleworth had a dream back in the late ’60’s that led to TMEN. His dream touched a lot of us that were looking for something at the time. The dream he was espousing probably had a lot to do with the person I became along the way. Even with the detours I have taken along my life’s path, I am still moving in the direction I started on way back then…It’s just taken me half a livetime to get here…Thanks John.

I think I may spend a little time digging through some of those old magazines in the box on the back porch…A decades worth of memories stored for when I needed them…I could be needing them sooner than I thought.

From searching the web, Jane Shuttleworth is still active in the Henderson County Arts and Environmental Communities and still owns the land of the Eco-Village. Though the latest info I can find is dated 2008.

See Also:

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Sissy Farmer? I don’t think so…

Stumbling through my news reader I came across a reference and a video of Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. I have been aware of the work Joel is doing for a while. His success with Polyface is an inspiration that will become more important as we go forward in the coming years.

The following video isn’t the one that started this muse…The one that started the muse can be found here: Wayfaring Wanderer: Brighter Days Ahead.

Here is the biographical info from the Polyface, Inc website…

Joel Salatin, 50, is a fulltime farmer in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. A third generation alternative farmer, he returned to the farm fulltime in 1982 and continued refining and adding to his parents’ ideas.

The farm services more than 1,500 families, 10 retail outlets, and 30 restaurants through on-farm sales and metropolitan buying clubs with salad bar beef, pastured poultry, eggmobile eggs, pigaerator pork, forage-based rabbits, pastured turkey and forestry products using relationship marketing.

He holds a BA degree in English and writes extensively in magazines such as STOCKMAN GRASS FARMER, ACRES USA, and AMERICAN AGRICULTURALIST.

The family’s farm, Polyface Inc. (“The Farm of Many Faces”) has been featured in SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, GOURMET and countless other radio,television and print media. Profiled on the Lives of the 21st Century series with Peter Jennings on ABC World News, his after-broadcast chat room fielded more hits than any other segment to date. It achieved iconic status as the grass farm featured in the NEW YORK TIMES bestseller OMNIVORE’S DILEMMA by food writer guru Michael Pollan.

via Polyface, Inc..

This past fall Fred First was in on a tour of the farm with a group from the Society of Environmental Journalists. His writeup of the trip starts this way…

None its “many faces” are very showy. As a matter of fact, from the ground or the air, nothing seems all that different about this plateaued 550 acres of Central Virginia valley farmland near the community of Middlebrook.

To the casual observer, it may seem just so much pasture and woods and soil and the occasional outbuilding. But Polyface Farm represents an innovative “foodshed” (think watershed) from which food products flow, grown from the ground up–which seems only reasonable for a farm, after all–from earthworms to pastured chickens and rabbits and cattle, as if the earth really mattered.

Every element of the process holds an elevated status there. Soil is more than just dirt there, and as Joel Salatin says, his farm honors the “pigness of the pig.”

via Polyface Part II | Fragments From Floyd.

Take a few minutes and follow the links and find out what real sustainable agriculture can be…

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