The End of the Line
By Bryan Walsh, Time Magazine, July 07, 2011
Josh Goldman runs a fish farm, but the hangar-size facility in the western Massachusetts town of Turners Falls looks a lot less like a farm than a factory. Thousands of one-third-pound barramundi — an omnivorous fish native to Southeast Asia and Australia — swim in a 36-ft.-diameter tank that resembles a supersize kiddie pool. They spend their days fattening up on feed pellets under the watchful eyes of factory workers — farmers, if you must — who grade them for size. After several weeks of careful feeding, the fish are moved via an industrial waterslide — the pescalator, Goldman calls it — to a larger tank in the plant's next cavernous room. The assembly line runs until the barramundi have been raised to market weight, about 2 lb., after which they're sent off to white-tablecloth seafood restaurants and sustainability-minded retail outlets across the U.S. Read more...
4.) Conservative think tank proposes radical change in 2012 Farm Bill
The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, a conservative think tank, has released a series of twelve papers proposing radical changes for the 2012 Farm Bill. The papers, collectively titled American Boondoggle: Fixing the 2012 Farm Bill, by Barry K. Goodwin, Vincent H. Smith, and Daniel A. Sumner, critique current agriculture policy and propose solutions, many of which are in alignment with the sustainable agriculture movement.
Excerpt from Overview:
Most farm subsidies go to substantial and successful operations and provide little support for the farms they were once intended to benefit. Many of the programs create barriers to more efficient agriculture in the United States, interfere with international trade, and have adverse effects on farmers in developing countries. Read more...
5.) Will immigration policy hurt the Northeast apple harvest?
Slaughter, farmers will meet with DOL on labor
By Tom Rivers, thedailynewsonline.com, July 14, 2011
New York Representative Louise Slaughter’s office has arranged a meeting with the Department of Labor, including Deputy Secretary of Labor Seth Harris. Farmers this year have been subject to numerous delays and rejected work orders in the H2A program, which allows seasonal farm laborers to help plant and harvest crops. New York apple growers have about 50,000 acres of orchards, and will need about 8,500 workers to pick apples, said James Allen, president of the NY Apple Association. The H2A program covers a small fraction of those workers, but they are critical for farmers because those workers are here without the threat of immigration enforcement. Read more...
6.) Cut flowers yield more cash per acre than corn
From cover crop to cash crop in Pennsylvania
By John Luciew, The Patriot-News (Harrisburg) via Associated Press, July 11, 2011
Gratz, PA — Call it an agricultural anomaly. Amid the fields of amber wheat and rows of leafy, knee-high corn rise tall, gawky stalks peeking with yellow. But, before these sunflowers can bloom and burst with color, men with machetes comb the rows and hand-harvest the flowers just as they're beginning to open. This is because these sunflowers, planted on a 50-acre patch by Crissinger Dairy Farms, aren't meant for food or birdseed. Within days of their harvest, the signature, colorful blooms are destined for supermarkets and other stores to be sold at a premium as fresh-cut flowers. The venture into fresh-cut sunflowers has opened a whole new market for Crissinger Dairy Farms and its newly launched subsidiary, New Covenant Farm, which focuses on the sunflower business. Read more...
7.) Two stories on quantifying the value of "natural capital"
Report to the President
Sustaining Environmental Capital: Protecting Society and the Economy
By President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, July 2011
Excerpt from Introduction:
Read more/download the full report
The root causes of the degradation of environmental capital are the combined pressures of population growth, rising affluence, and frequent reliance on environmentally disruptive technologies to meet the associated material demands. All of these factors are compounded by bad management, traceable in part to underappreciation of the importance of environmental capital for human wellbeing and to the exclusion of the value of its services from the economic balance sheets of producers and consumers. The proximate causes of the degradation include: widespread conversion of natural ecosystems to high intensity human uses; exploitation, beyond sustainable yield, of commercially valuable wild plants and animals; introduction of invasive organisms that crowd out or otherwise kill off indigenous ones; emissions and spillovers of ecologically harmful substances from industry and agriculture; and, most recently, the growing impacts of global climate change resulting from heattrapping gases and particles added to the atmosphere by human activities.
An Economist for Nature Calculates the Need for More Protection
By John Moir, Nytimes.com, August 8, 2011
“Right now, the way a forest is worth money is by cutting it down,” Mr. Davis said. “We measure that value in board-feet of lumber or tons of pulp sold to a paper mill.” What has been missing, he says, is a countervailing economic force that measures the value of leaving a forest or other ecosystem intact.
Early on, Dr. Daily recognized that new tools were needed to quantify nature’s value. “We began by developing a software program called InVEST (Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Trade-offs) to map and value nature’s goods and services that are essential for humans,” she said. The software, which is available as a free download, enables the comparison of various environmental scenarios. What is the real cost of draining a wetland or clearing a coastline of mangroves? InVEST models the trade-offs and helps decision makers better understand the implications of their choices. Read more...
8.) New Jersey appropriates $157M to protect farmland and watersheds
Open space preservation gets Christie's signature
By Angela Delli Santi, Thedailyjournal.com/Associated Press, August 4, 2011
Gov. Chris Christie signed bills appropriating $157 million for land preservation on Wednesday, completing a trip to a central New Jersey farm that he abandoned last week to seek emergency treatment for an asthma attack. The bills allow the state's Green Acres program to fund dozens of open space projects.
9.) New York copes with a new invasive species — feral swine
Wild pigs proliferating in the region
Feral swine established in upstate, threatening ecology
By Alyson Martin, theithacajournal.com, August 2, 2011
Feral swine, with their ecologically destructive dining habits, have been confirmed in central New York, according to a 2010 United States Department of Agriculture report. Specifically, the wild pigs have established breeding populations in Cortland, Onondaga and Tioga counties. The study, funded by the New York State Invasive Species Council, shows that 27 feral swine were captured and killed in those three counties, and two tested positive for pseudorabies virus, which can spread to and kill livestock and pets. Feral pigs, with the scientific name "sus scrofa," are omnivores, said Gordon Batcheller, a wildlife biologist with the state Department of Environmental Conservation. They have a gastrointestinal system that's evolved to consume literally anything, from the eggs of nesting birds and acorns to edible roots they've found after grubbing through the earth. Read more...
10.) EPA seeks your comments on use of nanotech pesticides
Racing Ahead: U.S. Agri-Nanotechnology in the Absence of Regulation
Report by Dr. Steve Suppan, Institute for Agriculture and Trace Policy, June 2011
Excerpt from Executive Summary:
Research and development for agricultural and food applications of nanotechnology has expanded rapidly in recent years, with over $50 billion in global public investment and at least as much in privately funded research. At least 1,300 products with Engineered Nanotechnology Materials (ENMs) have been commercialized, despite myriad uncertainties about the public health and environmental effects of ENMs.
EPA is seeking comments on a proposed rule called Pesticides: Policies Concerning Products Containing Nanoscale Materials. (
Document ID EPA-HQ-OPP-2010-0197-0031) Comments must be received before August 15, 2011. Comment now.
11.) Calculating the value of natural gas in the Marcellus shale
"Game Changer" episode of This American Life, PRI radio program, July 8, 2011
Host Ira Glass tells the stories of two professors, each making a calculation that no one had made before. One gets acclaim. One ends up out of a job. The first, Terry Engelder, a geologist at Penn State, was estimating the amount of natural gas that's recoverable from the Marcellus shale, a giant rock formation that's under Pennsylvania and several other Eastern states. The second, Conrad "Dan" Volz, at the University of Pittsburgh, estimated how much toxic crap — chemicals and pollution from gas exploration — might be getting into water supplies. Read or listen to more...
12.) University of Vermont launches Agriculture Land Access Database
The University of Vermont (UVM) Extension’s New Farmer Project recently launched the Vermont Agriculture Land Access Database to help connect farmers seeking land and business opportunities with land and farm owners with available resources. The database was created to provide a means for new, expanding, or relocating farmers to search for land or farms for lease or sale at agricultural or fair market value, partnerships, farm transition arrangements, work exchanges and farm employment opportunities throughout and within 50 miles of Vermont.
Established farmers interested in providing access to land or transitioning their operations can list their information in the database. So can landowners not currently farming who wish to develop tenure arrangements such as lease-to-own, farm management or owner-financed farm sales.
The database may be accessed at www.uvm.edu/newfarmer. Depending on how the landowner chooses to list the information, individuals may contact the owner directly or work with UVM Extension land access specialists to learn more. In addition, these Extension consultants are available to help farmers assess their needs and explore various types of farm tenure arrangements. They also serve as a third-party facilitator for negotiations between incoming farmers and landowners. For more information, contact Ben Waterman at (802) 656-9142 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
13.) Vermont's new Meat Processing Capacity Expansion Grant Program
The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) is now accepting applications for the new Meat Processing Capacity Expansion Grant Program. This program was created by the Vermont Legislature to provide matching grants for capital investments that will result in increased capacity at meat and poultry slaughter and processing facilities in Vermont.
The goals of the Program are to support meat and poultry processors and producers, create jobs, and enhance Vermont’s livestock industry. In order to qualify for funding consideration a business must: be primarily involved in the processing of meat or poultry products; be providing services to more than five farm businesses; be located
(preferably headquartered) in Vermont; and be licensed for either commercial or custom use. To be eligible for funding, the participant must be in good standing with the Agency of Agriculture regarding regulatory requirements and resulting penalties.
A total of $50,000 is available. The eligible use of this funding is capital improvements including, but not limited to: construction costs, materials and equipment, and wastewater system improvements. Applications are due on Monday, August 22 at 5pm. Please contact Chelsea Bardot Lewis at email@example.com or 802-828-3360 for the full application package.
Community Health Specialist
Bowdoin Street Health Center
The CHS will work on initiatives including, but not limited to managing the health center’s community farmers’ market, research and develop the health center’s healthy corner store initiative, oversee community group geared towards healthy foods in the neighborhood,improving community infrastructure to support healthy lifestyles and other community identified food access issues. This is a challenging and exciting position for a seasoned organizer in a multi-cultural community. See job posting.
On-farm Maintenance/Livestock Position
Park and Conservation Technician
South Shore Management Unit
The Trustees’ South Shore Management Unit (SSMU) includes six properties which total some 1,300 acres. These properties include a working farm, a 19th century landscape designed by Fredrick Law Olmsted, and numerous woodlands. The properties also include five residences, a barn, and several other structures. These properties welcome approximately 130,000 visitors each year. The Park and Conservation Technician (PCT) is a full time, non-exempt position reporting to the Superintendent of the SSMU. The PCT works closely with the unit’s other property management staff. The PCT works a Wednesday through Sunday schedule. As a condition of employment, the PCT is required to live in housing at Weir River Farm to provide adequate livestock care. To apply, send cover letter (include salary requirements) and resume to: Ben Neumann, firstname.lastname@example.org, The Trustees of Reservations, 396 Moose Hill Street, Sharon, MA 02067. No Phone Calls Please.
Rockville Market Farm
An established diverisfied CSA and market farm. In addition to twenty-five acres of certified organic vegetables, we raise pastured pigs, meat birds and eggs from our flock of 1500 laying hens. We are looking to significantly expand our CSA presense in the Boston area in the year 2012. We are interested in hiring a part-time CSA coordinator who can help us lay the ground work for a strong marketing campaign. If interested contact Eric at email@example.com or visit the web site at www.rockvillemarketfarm.com
Dismas House of Massachusetts, Inc.
Seeking a full-time, exempt Farm Steward to manage and coordinate all farming and vocational activities at the Dismas Family Farm, a 12-acre, rehabilitative, residential farm for former prisoners. Ideal candidate will have 5-7 years of farm management experience, including vegetable farming and animal husbandry. Hours may include weekday and weekend evening hours. Must have a valid driver’s license. Dismas House offers competitive pay, paid vacation leave, and health and dental benefits. Interested applicants are encouraged to submit a cover letter and resume to the address below. Applicants with substance abuse and/or criminal histories are encouraged to apply. www.dismashouse.org
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monadnock Community Market Cooperative, Inc.
Keene, New Hampshire
MCM Co-op, a start-up food co-op, is seeking its first General Manager for this full-service grocery store scheduled to open a 12,000 SF facility in downtown Keene in July 2012. The MCM Co-op currently has over 700 member-owners from around the Monadnock Region. The General Manager reports to the Board of Directors, and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of Co-op operations, including budgeting, planning, cash management and financing, staff structure and training, facility and systems management, vendor/supplier arrangements, marketing, membership expansion and involvement and community engagement. For more information on the MCM Co-op, visit www.monadnockcommunitymarket.com. Interested candidates should submit a resume along with a cover letter to the Search Committee at email@example.com. Application review begins immediately and closes on August 31st.
TGF Extra Program Leader
Local food initiative, is looking to immediately fill two key positions: TGF Extra Program Leader and Garden Coordinator. A volunteer based community organization, we engage a broad cross section of local residents in growing food, education and community outreach to increase access to healthy fresh food across our urban community. Now in our third growing season, Bountiful Brookline currently gardens at two sites; growing for the Brookline Emergency Food Pantry and for local restaurants. In addition, through TGF, our teen summer farming program we are tending several in-ground and raised beds for residents of a senior/disabled public housing property. Visit our website to learn more www.bountifulbrookline.org
A historic, town-owned farm outside of Boston, small (1/2 acre) of PYO raspberries, however we have recently expanded the vegetable operation to include a diverse mix of certified Organic vegetables which are sold at the local farmers market and upscale local restaurants. I am looking for part time (a flexible 20 hours) but mainly morning help to harvest and maintain the fields from now until the middle of October. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. http://www.wlfarm.org/
The Urban Farm at the Battery
New York City
Located at the tip of Manhattan, the first urban farm created on this site since the Dutch planted theirs in 1625. This one acre farm has more than 100 plots and is engaging elementary, middle, and high school students, as well as many local community groups and individuals in a hands-on experience of organic farming. Several local restaurateurs who primarily feature farm-to-table menus are also planting in the farm. We have planted a range of vegetables and herbs as well as a Three Sisters Garden and a pumpkin patch. The Battery Conservancy is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to revitalizing the 25 acres of public parkland located at the tip of Manhattan. The Battery is at the forefront of sustainable urban park planning, organic horticulture, and intermodal transportation. When the idea emerged to develop an urban farm in partnership with neighboring schools, The Battery Conservancy enthusiastically embraced the opportunity. Send cover letter and resume to Camilla Hammer, Farm Manager, email@example.com.
Washington Youth Garden
U.S. National Arboretum
Part-time (30 hrs/week) professional 3-month position that will support the Washington Youth Garden’s Education Coordinator and other WYG staff in the execution and advancement of WYG’s Garden Science program. Via the Garden Science program, the WYG partners with local elementary schools to provide environmental science and nutrition education. Key components: 1) an interactive eight week garden-based curriculum for third and fourth grade classes; 2) the development, installation, education and management of edible school gardens; 3) a full day field experience to the WYG in May for each school; and 4) teacher trainings and parent orientations. Click here
for additional details and application instructions. WYG is also hiring a Garden Manager. Click here
2011 Fall Policy Interns
Community Food Security Coalition
Washington DC Office
Full-time and part-time positions available. Hours are between 9am and 5:30pm Monday through Friday. Start and end dates are somewhat flexible.
The position will provide the opportunity to learn about legislative and administrative aspects of federal policy through attendance at meetings, briefings, and hearings on Capitol Hill. Duties include research and writing for outreach materials, position papers, and CFSC's monthly policy newsletter. The intern will also manage incoming calls and share other administrative duties with the CFSC staff. The ideal candidate will have interest in community food security issues and policy, good attention to detail, strong research and writing skills, and the ability to meet deadlines and work independently. To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, and writing sample to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Policy Intern Application” in the subject line. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the positions are filled. www.foodsecurity.org
Food and Nutrition Services Director
Baltimore City Public Schools
Baltimore City Public Schools has launched a comprehensive reform of our school meals program to provide our students with healthy and nutritious breakfast, lunch and supper meals. Require Bachelor’s degree in Food & Nutrition, Institutional Management, Business Administration, or related field. Master’s preferred. Degree(s) must be from an accredited college or institution. Seven years related experience. Qualified candidates must submit a resume that clearly demonstrates minimum qualifications. Two (2) official transcripts showing conferred degree. Three (3) professional references. www.baltimoresustainability.org