What is Agroecology? | Is It a Science, a Movement, or a Practice?


University of Vermont, October 3, 2012: Steve Gliessman, chair of the Board of Directors of Community Agroecology Network and an internationally recognized leader in the field of agroecology and Robbie Jaffe, Executive Director of Community Agroecology Network have been invited to participate in a panel discussion with V. Ernesto Méndez, Associate Professor of Agroecology at the University of Vermont. These three pioneers from the field of agroecology will examine the evolution of the field its potential to support the transformation of our current agro-food system. Steve, Robbie, and Ernesto will compare perspectives on agroecology and its connection to the University of Vermont and the wider world.

The panel will conclude with a discussion moderated by current Agroecology and Rural Livelihoods Group graduate students, focusing on the opportunities and limitations of this approach.

University of Vermont, Davis Center
October 3, 2012, 3-5 pm
Coffee, tea, hot cider and cider donuts will be served

UPDATED Info! AgroEco® Coffee Tour With Steve Gliessman and Robbie Jaffe | February 2013

Posted in: News   Topics: About CAN, Coffee,


SAVE THE DATE! FEBRUARY 17-25, 2013

Highlights:

  • Meet the people behind your morning cup of coffee
  • Become part of a coffee community in Nicaragua
  • Meet the farmers and their families
  • Take in the gorgeous ecosystem
  • Go birding
  • Hike to waterfalls
  • and LOTS more!

More details to come SOON! Check back.

Early bird registration due November 15, 2012.

Cost (does not include international airfare): $1,900. (early bird) | $2,100. regular

For more information, contact Daniel Hermstad or call 831/459-3619

Danish aid makes agro-forestry commercially interesting for Vietnamese farmers – ScandAsia.com


ScandAsia.com

Danish aid makes agro-forestry commercially interesting for Vietnamese farmers
ScandAsia.com
By using innovative tissue culture technology Thuy Son JSC, a private processor and exporter of wood chips, wants to promote faster afforestation and making agro-forestry commercially interesting for the small farmers. A project supported by the

Dear Congress, we the people want a Farm Bill

The Farm Bill expired on Monday (here's a roundup of what that means). So while we still have no Farm Bill, I'm here to tell you that Congress is feeling the heat. From all around the country — from farmers and mothers, environmentalists and faith communities — people are calling on Congress to pass a Farm Bill this year. While it won’t happen before the November elections it can happen during the short lame duck session that follows.

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What would Rachel write: The top 4 untold pesticide stories

Silent Spring turns 50 next week, giving occasion for all manner of reflection on Rachel Carson's legacy as the author who catalyzed the U.S. environmental movement. The small, but vocal rightwing fringe continues in its campaign to paint Carson as the devil "responsible for more deaths than Hitler." But most mainstream reflections thus far have sought to contemporize Carson by drawing links between the issues she outlined in Silent Spring and the concerns we still face today. 

Claiming no special insight other than working daily in Carson's wake, I speculate that she'd be reporting in her way on one of these still-untold and/or under-reported pesticide stories: 

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Permaculture: a more defined concept of responsible farming? – The Packer (blog)

Permaculture: a more defined concept of responsible farming?
The Packer (blog)
National Editor Tom Karst I previously noted the response by California Citrus Mutual to my column about the idea for a USDA certification and/or standard for sustainability. I also received a friendly and informative e-mail from Woody Johnson of Green

and more »

Thank you Mark Bittman for supporting Prop 37

If you know good food, you know Mark Bittman of the New York Times. He recently wrote an informative column on California’s Proposition 37 that is worth reading. I’m a scientist and I’m glad he mentions one of my pet peeves about  research on the effects of genetically engineered foods:

You cannot, for example, analyze or research genetically modified seeds without express permission from their creator.

Food and Food Systems | Mark Bittman | CAN


Food can be explored from so many different angles. For CAN, transforming food systems is at the heart of our work. Understanding and supporting cultural food practices are critical to this work. For others, the interest may be driven by taste and authenticity. Both came together earlier this year in Quintana Roo during a site visit for one of our projects, Diagnostic Study on Food Sovereignty and Water Use in 13 Municipalities in Yucatán Peninsula.

With funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, CAN is working in partnership with Intercultural Maya University of Quintana Roo (UIMQRoo) to address food security problems at three communities in Yucatan and Quintana Roo states. While we were there working with our colleagues, Mark Bittman of The New York Times arrived on a quest to find “real” Mayan cuisine. Bittman joined us on a field trip to one of the communities we’re working with — you can read about his experience online (“Food of the Ancients”). Susanne Kissmann, who is mentioned in the article is our project coordinator based at UIMQROO.  

To view videos about our food security work, click here

Poised for global action on chemicals?

This week, PAN International is gathered with governments from across the globe in Nairobi, Kenya, pushing assertive and fair action on chemicals. Our goal: protect the health and well-being of our families and ecosystems the world over.

The auspices for the gathering: it's time to check progress on the Strategic Approach to Integrated Chemicals Management (better known as SAICM), an agreed-upon global plan of action to reduce to a minimum the harm chemicals wreak on health and ecosystems by 2020.

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Bon Appetit | Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Company | AgroEco® Coffee

Posted in: News   Topics: Coffee,


Look for Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Company (SCCR) and AgroEco® Coffee at the Sunstream Cafe, Santa Clara University! SCCR, serving AgroEco® Coffee, is now one of Santa Clara University Farm to Fork Partners. Farm to Fork is a Bon Appétit initiative that reflects the company’s commitment to buying local produce and to sustainable farming practices.

Godfrey Kasozi and the CETRUD Program

Title: Godfrey Kasozi and the CETRUD Program
Location: Louise Cain Gatehouse, UCSC Farm
Description: On Tuesday, September 25 from 7:30-8:30 pm, CASFS Farm & Garden Apprenticeship graduate Godfrey Kasozi–founder of The Center for Environment Technology and Rural Development (CETRUD) in Uganda– will give a presentation on his organization’s work. For more information about CETRUD please visit the website:
http://www.cetrud.org/
Start Time: 19:30
Date: 2012-09-25
End Time: 20:30

Bringing Fairness to Our Farms

Title: Bringing Fairness to Our Farms
Location: CCOF Office, 2155 Delaware Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Link out: Click here
Description: As a farmer or food business interested in increasing your understanding and implementation of social justice in your operation this is the workshop to attend! On Tuesday, October 9, join Elizabeth Henderson, farmer, NOFA-NY board member, and Management Committee Representative on the Agricultural Justice Project for an engaging evening. See the link for registration information.
Start Time: 18:30
Date: 2012-10-09
End Time: 21:00

Apprenticeship Scholarship Support Available

Thanks to an increase in fundraising efforts, including funds from the recent USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRD) grant, the Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture will be able to offer more scholarship support in the 2013 program for those from socially disadvantaged and limited resources communities.

Also, for the first time the program will be able to accept GI Bill funding for the Apprenticeship tuition.

The application deadline for U.S. residents for the 2013 Apprenticeship training program is September 30. Details about the program, links to application materials (including the scholarship application), and contact information are available at http://casfs.ucsc.edu/apprentice-training. For questions, contact apprenticeship@ucsc.edu, or 831.459-3240. If you have questions about the GI Bill funding, please contact Akiko Minami, aminami@ucsc.edu.

Permaculture a Viable Option as Pharmaceutical Companies struggle to ‘Tackle … – Permaculture Magazine


Permaculture Magazine

Permaculture a Viable Option as Pharmaceutical Companies struggle to 'Tackle
Permaculture Magazine
A US pharmaceutical company is set to introduce a controversial new genetically modified corn to help farmers fight resistant weeds. Dow Agrosciences says its new GM product will use a chemical that was once a component of the Vietnam war defoliant,

and more »

AgroEco® Tour | Nicaragua | February 2013

Posted in: News   Topics: Action Education, Events,


SAVE THE DATE! FEBRUARY 17-25, 2013

Highlights:

  • Meet the people behind your morning cup of coffee
  • Become part of a coffee community in Nicaragua
  • Meet the farmers and their families
  • Take in the gorgeous ecosystem
  • Go birding
  • Hike to waterfalls
  • and LOTS more!

More details to come SOON! Check back.

Reserve your place by October 31, 2012.

For more information, contact Daniel Hermstad or call 831/459-3610

Permaculture, high-density grazing will be featured at Practical Farmers of … – Pilot Tribune

Permaculture, high-density grazing will be featured at Practical Farmers of
Pilot Tribune
Farmers seeking to better steward their land and improve their farm's resiliency often try practices like reducing inputs and tillage, increasing crop diversity, extending rotations, adding livestock and cover crops, getting organic certification and

Agricultural Justice Project Workshop Offered on Tuesday, October 9

A free workshop on Bringing Fairness to our Farms will be offered on Tuesday, October 9, from 6:30-9 pm atajp poster the CCOF Offices, 2155 Delaware Ave in Santa Cruz.

As a farmer or food business interested in increasing your understanding and implementation of social justice in your operation this is the workshop to attend! Come join Elizabeth Henderson, farmer, NOFA-NY board member, and Management Committee Representative on the Agricultural Justice Project for an engaging evening. PLEASE PRE-REGISTER HERE.

The purpose of this workshop is to provide the concrete information and documentation farmers need to live up to the claim of social justice. First a quick review of worker right under U.S. law. Then Elizabeth will explain the Agricultural Justice Project standards for farms and food businesses and we will discuss together how to create a workplace that has a comprehensive approach to justice and equity, including conflict resolution, democratic and cooperative structures, fair labor policies, health and safety.

Please contact Tim Galarneau for any questions or inquires in advance at tgalarne@ucsc.edu or 831-459-3248. This event is sponsored by the Agricultural Justice Project (AJP), California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), & the Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS). You can download the flyer about the workshop here.



Permaculture In The News This Week – Beyond Capitalism – Permaculture Magazine

Permaculture In The News This Week – Beyond Capitalism
Permaculture Magazine
Here are the 5 permaculture news stories that have grabbed our attention this week. Read about alternatives to capitalism or 'a bad economy, natural disaster, or worst-case scenario, zombie apocalypse'(!), view a film of permaculture practitioner and

Bad science makes the news. Again.

I hate bad science. It’s hard to do good science, but science is only effective when it is good science. This isn’t a rant about the bad science of genetically engineered foods (which certainly deserves a post of its own) but about a recent study published by Stanford scientists about organic food. You’ve probably read about it in the news, but if you haven’t you can do so here. The main point of the study was to test organic foods to see if they were more nutritious and safer to eat than non-organic foods. They found that organic foods were not more nutritious than non-organic foods and not any safer regarding E. coli contamination. Lower levels of chemical pesticides were found.

Why is this bad science? One of the points made to my cohort of graduate students was that getting results, even statistically significant results, is irrelevant if the questions being asked aren’t relevant. A corollary was that you need the right measures to test the questions you are asking. In this case, asking about nutrients is irrelevant because the organic standards aren’t about nutrition. They are standards for producing food without using artificial pesticides and herbicides. So, studying the nutritional value of organic foods is simply the wrong question. The correct question is whether organic foods have lower level of chemical pesticides and herbicides on them. This question was asked, and the researchers found that organic foods did have lower levels of these chemicals. But, this was not the emphasis of the study. Instead, they focused on nutrients and on E. coli levels. The latter was one of their metrics of healthy food, and they found no significant difference in organic vs. non-organic foods. Such results make for great headlines and lots of food industry punditry, but they are irrelevant and therefore bad science.

For further information and commentary on this topic, read this post by Marion Nestle (always a good source of scientific information on food issues), and a fuller commentary with multiple viewpoints here. Of the six commentators at the second link, I think Marion Nestle is the most succinct and accurate, based on what I know about organic foods from my many years following food issues.

Permaculture: It’s not just for hippies and homesteaders anymore – Charleston City Paper


Charleston City Paper

Permaculture: It's not just for hippies and homesteaders anymore
Charleston City Paper
Permaculture may conjure up images of drum circles and people of the patchouli persuasion, but it's much more than a hippie lifestyle handbook. In fact, many people are practicing its principles without even realizing it. If you've recycled, composted

Focus on the Right Kind of Organic Farming

New York Times Opinion, September 10, 2012
By Raj Patel, a fellow at Food First/the Institute for Food and Development Policy, is the author of “The Value of Nothing” and “Stuffed and Starved.”

The countries worst hit by high food prices are food importers. Anything that can keep costs down will help feed the hungry. And the right kind of organic farming can help.

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Permaculture Research Institute workshop educates on plants and soil – Twin Cities Planet


Twin Cities Planet

Permaculture Research Institute workshop educates on plants and soil
Twin Cities Planet
While some of the University of Minnesota population donned maroon and gold gear to head to TCF Bank Stadium for the first home football game of the season, a small group gathered at Cornercopia Student Organic Farm in St. Paul to learn about soil.

Vrihi: Seed Bank Protecting Rice Biodiversity in Eastern India

By Katherine Lupo

When the Green Revolution hit Eastern India, many rice farmers abandoned their local varieties in favor of “Roundup Ready” rice and chemically intensive agriculture methods. This abandonment led to a catastrophic loss in rice biodiversity in India, and around the world. Before the late 1960’s there were over 100,000 different types of rice grown in India, today, that number is only around 6,000.

Why is rice biodiversity important?

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Initial Reflections on the Annals of Internal Medicine Paper “Are Organic Foods Safer and Healthier Than Conventional Alternatives? A Systematic Review”

September 4, 2012

By: Charles Benbrook, Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources
Washington State University

In a comprehensive paper published in the September 4, 2012 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine (Smith-­‐Spangler et al., Vol. 157, Number 5: pages 349–369), a Stanford University Medical School team surveys the global literature for evidence of differences between the nutritional quality and safety of organic and conventional foods.

[The attached pdf is Benbrook’s initial reflections on this Stanford paper].

Follow the Fruit Trees September Workshop

Title: Follow the Fruit Trees September Workshop
Location: Alan Chadwick Garden
Description: Join us on Sunday, September 16 from 10 am – 4 pm for a day-long lecture and hands-on workshop on late summer tree care and preparing for winter.
Cost of the class is $100 general public, $90 for Friends of the Farm & Garden.
Please call 831.459-3240 or email casfs@ucsc.edu for registration details.
Topics and activities for the workshop will include:
Cover cropping
Summer pruning
Apple tasting
Using and processing fruit
Preparation for winter planting
Start Time: 10:00
Date: 2012-09-16
End Time: 16:00

Notes from México -Development, Crisis, and Movement Building

By Eric Holt-Giménez, executive director, Food First
Spanish version below.

I was invited to give a talk on Food Crises, Food Sovereignty and Rural Development at the IV International Congress on Rural Development in Villahermosa, capital of the torrid state of Tabasco, Mexico. Between the plenary presentations and work sessions what struck me was how much the idea of rural development has changed since the 1970s when I worked as a rural development volunteer in Mexico.

Basically, few people believe in Development anymore.

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