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Small Farmer's Journal
PO Box 1627
Sisters, Oregon 97759
800-876-2893
541-549-2064
agrarian@smallfarmersjournal.com
Mon - Thu, 8am - 4pm PDT

At no time in recent history have so many young people expressed an interest in becoming farmers, and not just any kind of farmer. They want a hands-on life amidst biological diversity, health and splendor. If you haven’t anything to offer them in their pursuit of this dream best get out of the way because they are coming through!

 

PLOWING ON CAMPUS

Lise Hubbe of Scio, Oregon travelled to Evergreen State College and did a couple of days worth of demonstrations with her Belgian team. Many people were enthralled to hear her speak and watch her work. The Sustainable Farming at Evergreen features the oldest organic farm existing on a college campus. Photo by Paul Hunter

AQUAPONICS RESEARCH

On August 1st Lynn Miller went to Evergreen State College in Olympia and visited the aquaponics research project of Jessica Schilke. The experiment entails recycling water through fish tanks and into a long tank featuring floating plant trays. Yellow Perch will be used. Miller is expecting to use parts of the interview in an upcoming installment of Farm Drum Radio as well as a transcription in an upcoming issue of SFJ. Photo by Paul Hunter. For more information visit Jessica Schilke’s website at www.greenaquaponics.org

WE ARE THE LANDSCAPE

To say we are small farmers is to say something very important. We are not miners. We are stewards. We are not users. We are husbands. We practise farming methods which retain water and build soils. We embrace low impact approaches to working because of the smaller ‘footprint’ but also because it suits our economy. We don’t poison. We refresh. We harvest with hand and eye and we distribute the same way. We walk our fields and gardens and ‘look’ at them and into them because we want to know them. And we want to know that land because from the knowledge come the right answers to problems and opportunities. We are not factory workers. We are shepherds. We are not tacticians or economists or efficiency experts. We are parents, lovers, artists, and gardeners. We are not landscape architects. We are the landscape. We are not theologians. We are the religion. We are not destroying the planet we are healing her. We are small farmers. – LM

BREATHERS:

Diversified small farming offers breathing spaces, days and weeks that may serve to set the blossoms and sweeten the rhythms of the year. Waiting times between one crop and another, one planting, tilling or harvest and the next. Times you might depend on to get the mower lubed and sharpened, times when you’ll find the leisure to do a good job on that head gasket or those brakes. Times you might remember to scout that other path which is why you craved to be your own boss in the first place. Time to bang out that next chapter on the novel, or locate a source for those calves you’ll want to feed in the fall, or find a few odd moments to work out the harmonies to that new tune on the fiddle. Every life needs such quiet interludes, such way stations at intervals that may expand or contract, yet help keep us afloat, complete and at ease with our larger fuller selves. Farming is not in competition with those other impulses, and allows us to mingle meaningful work and occasional play without worrying the process overmuch. Paul Hunter

PULLING SPLINTERS:

Remove a splinter easily (especially on small kids) by applying a paste of baking soda and water to the spot, then waiting ten to twenty minutes for the splinter to begin pushing its way out of the skin. Till you can grab its “handle” with your tweezers. With kids you can use a bandaid to help them leave it alone while the baking soda works. Often this will do the trick without undue digging and pain. — PH

“If farming were to be organised like the stock market, a farmer would sell his farm in the morning when it was raining, only to buy it back in the afternoon when the sun came out.” –John Maynard Keynes

 

PLEASE have a look at our many books and products and see if there’s something there to suit you. When you shop on this site you help to keep this publication and community vital and alive. Thanks. LM

Spotlight On: Farming Systems & Approaches

Traditional Agriculture in Siberia

Traditional Agriculture in Siberia

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The agricultural system of the Old Believers has long been one of hand labor. Their homesteads (hozyastvas) were not intended for tractors or horses, with the possible exception of their larger potato fields. Traditionally the small peasant hozyastva has its roots in hand labor, and this has helped maintain the health of the land. Understanding the natural systems is easier when one’s hands are in the soil every day as opposed to seeing the land from the seat of a tractor.

Birth of a Farm

Birth of a Farm

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“Isn’t it nice?” I offer to my supper companions, “to see our beautiful horses right while we’re eating? I feel like I’m on a Kentucky horse farm, with rolling bluegrass vistas.” I sweep my arm dramatically towards the view, the rigged up electric fence, the lawn straggling down to the pond, the three horses, one of whom is relieving herself at the moment. “Oh, huh,” he answers. “I was thinking it was more like a cheesy bed and breakfast.”

Russian Dacha Gardening

Russian Dacha Gardens

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Russian household agriculture – dacha gardening – is likely the most extensive system of successful food production of any industrialized nation. This shows that highly decentralized, small-scale food production is not only possible, but practical on a national scale and in a geographically large and diverse country with a challenging climate for growing. Most of the USA has far more than the 110 days average growing season that Russia has.

The Way To The Farm

Lise Hubbe stops mid-furrow at plowing demonstration for Evergreen State College students. She explains that the plow was going too deep…

Congo Farm Project

Congo Farm Project

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I was at day one, standing outside an old burnt-out Belgian plantation house, donated to us by the progressive young chief of the village of Luvungi. My Congolese friend and I had told him that we would need to hire some workers to help clear the land around the compound, and to put a new roof on the building. I thought we should be able to attract at least 20 workers. Then, I looked out to see a crowd of about 800 eager villagers, each one with their own hoe.

Cane Grinding

Cane Grinding: An Age-Old Georgia Tradition

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Most sugar cane is processed in refineries to give us molasses, brown sugar, and various kinds of white sugar. However, some South Georgia farms that raise sugar cane still process it the old way to produce the special tasting sweetener for their own food. One such farm is the Rocking R Ranch in Kibbee, Georgia. It is owned by Charles and Patricia Roberts and their sons. The process they use has not changed in the past 100 years. This is how it is done.

Sustainable

Sustainable

Sustainable is a documentary film that weaves together expert analysis of America’s food system with a powerful narrative of one extraordinary farmer who is determined to create a sustainable future for his community. In a region dominated by commodity crops, Marty Travis has managed to maintain a farming model that is both economically viable and environmentally safe.

Farm Manure

Farm Manure

Naturally there is great variation in manure according to the animals it is made by, the feeding and bedding material, and the manner in which it is kept. Different analyses naturally shows different results and the tables here given serve only as a guide or index to the various kinds. The manure heap, by the way, is no place for old tin cans, bottles, glass, and other similar waste material.

Cayuse Vineyards

Small Farm, USA: Cayuse Vineyards

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How did the grape find itself here on the outskirts of Milton? If you ask one man, Christophe Baron, the answer is simple. “It’s the cobblestone. (The ground) reminds me of home”. For Christophe, home refers to France and the stone littered earth from which many famous French wines grow. Hailing from a family of vigneron champenois, Mr. Baron came upon this corner of the state by chance, saw its signature geology, and decided to establish his domaine right here in northeast Oregon.

Starting Your Farm

Starting Your Farm: Chapter 3

What goes with the sale? What does not? Do not assume the irrigation pipe and portable hen houses are selling. Find out if they go with the deal, and in writing.

LittleField Notes Prodigal Sun & Food Ethics

LittleField Notes: Prodigal Sun & Food Ethics

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To my great delight a sizable portion of the general eating public has over the past few years decided to begin to care a great deal about where their food comes from. This is good for small farmers. It bodes well for the future of the planet and leaves me hopeful. People seem to be taking Wendell Berry’s words to heart that “eating is an agricultural act;” that with every forkful we are participating in the act of farming.

Useful Birds

Useful Birds

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Whether a bird is beneficial or injurious depends almost entirely upon what it eats. Birds are often accused of eating this or that product of cultivation, when an examination of the stomachs shows the accusation to be unfounded. Accordingly, the Biological Survey has conducted for some years past a systematic investigation of the food of those species which are most common about the farm and garden.

Farm To School Programs Take Root

All aim to re-connect school kids with healthy local food.

An Introduction To Farm Woodlands

The farm woodland is that portion of the farm which either never was cleared for tillage or pasture, or was later given back to woods growth. Thus it occupies land that never was considered suitable, or later proved unsuitable, for farm enterprises.

The Farmer and the Horse

The Farmer & The Horse

In New Jersey — land of The Sopranos, Jersey Shore, and the Turnpike — farmland is more expensive than anywhere else. It’s not an easy place to try to start a career as a farmer. But for a new generation of farmers inspired by sustainability, everything seems possible. Even a farm powered by draft horses.

Wild Potatoes and Calcium

Wild potatoes bring increased calcium for better tubers.Have you ever cut into a potato to find a dark spot or hollow part? Early research shows that these defects are likely the result of calcium deficiencies in the potato — and that tuber calcium is genetically linked to tuber quality.

Mayfield Farm

Mayfield Farm, New South Wales, Australia

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Mayfield Farm is a small family owned and operated mixed farm situated at 1150 m above sea level on the eastern edge of the Great Dividing Range in northern New South Wales, Australia. Siblings, Sandra and Ian Bannerman, purchased the 350 acre property in October, 2013, and have converted it from a conventionally operated farm to one that is run on organic principles. Additional workers on the farm include Janette, Ian’s wife, and Jessica, Ian’s daughter.

LittleField Notes Farm Log

LittleField Notes: Farm Log

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My starting every column with a discussion of the weather set me to thinking about that old clichéd idea of talking about the weather; how it is all old men talk about downtown at the local coffee shop; how they sit for hours telling endless lies about how the snow was deeper, the nights colder and the hills steeper when they were young. However, clichés have basis in truth, and it is true that weather is a wonderful conversation opener.

Small Farmer's Journal

Small Farmer's Journal
PO Box 1627
Sisters, Oregon 97759
800-876-2893
541-549-2064
agrarian@smallfarmersjournal.com
Mon - Thu, 8am - 4pm PDT