"We need to wean the American food system off its heavy 20th-century diet of fossil fuel and put it back on a diet of contemporary sunshine."
- Michael Pollan
Clicking on a heading takes you to a description printed below.
• Bean Information Online
• The Meatrix II: Revolting
• Cornell University’s "Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners" Web site
• Organic Dairy Farming Guide
• Safe Disposal of Dead Poultry
• Smart Water Use on Your Farm or Ranch
• Farm Stays in Maine New Hampshire and Vermont
• Shaker Your Plate: Of Shaker Cooks and Cooking
• Northeast Recycling Council
• "TreeHugger" Electronic Newsletter
• State-by-State Picture of Agriculture
• Guidebook For Special Event-Generated Waste in Rural Communities
• Environmental Tipping Points
• 2006/07 SARE Highlights
Bean Information Online
The National Agricultural Library (NAL) has added annual reports and conference proceedings of the Bean Improvement Cooperative (BIC) to the NAL Digital Repository (http://naldr.nal.usda.gov/). This addition includes significant information about the improvement of bean varieties, production and processing. The BIC (http://www.css.msu.edu/bic/) is a voluntary organization established to exchange information and materials for the improvement of bean production worldwide. The full set of BIC annual reports and conference proceedings added to the NALDR dates to Volume 1, published in 1957. Information in these reports is not readily available elsewhere.
Dry beans are an economical source of protein, fiber, iron and other essential nutrients, yet are low in total fat, so they can be an important component of a healthy diet. The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the USDA MyPyramid Food Guidance System recommend that adults eat about three cups of beans or legumes each week.
Source: Agricultural Research Service News Service, USDA, Sept. 6, 2006, www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr
The Meatrix II: Revolting
The Meatrix II: Revolting, at www.themeatrix2.com, is the sequel to the original smash hit The Meatrix – the critically acclaimed exposé of industrial farming. Simultaneously spoofing the popular Matrix films while educating consumers about the evils of factory farming, the first Meatrix brought the concept of sustainability to over 10 million viewers worldwide.
The Meatrix II: Revolting introduces consumers to the realities of today's dairy production and is being watched by thousands of people every day. The movie also contains a comprehensive Web site that includes an animated 360 Interactive feature and a state-by-state list of dairy products produced by cows that are not treated with artificial growth hormones.
Site Helps Gardeners Choose Vegetable Varieties
More than 800 gardeners contribute to Cornell University’s Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners Web site, http://vegvariety.cce.cornell.edu, profiling more than 4,100 varieties. Gardeners who visit the site can rate and review varieties as well.
The burgeoning database details more than 560 tomato varieties, for instance, and visitors can trim the list to view such specific types of tomatoes as paste, cherry or heirlooms. They can also sort lists by how quickly varieties ripen, how other gardeners rate their taste, by yield and ease of growth, by state or by regions with similar growing seasons. Varieties are linked to companies that sell the seeds.
Adapted from Summer/Fall 2005 Cornell Plantations Magazine, www.plantations.cornell.edu. Cornell Univ. Chronicle Online, April 5, 2006. www.news.cornell.edu/stories/April06/veggies.web.site.cc.html
Organic Dairy Farming Guide
A guide to organic dairy farming has been published by Community Conservation in Wisconsin, edited by Jody Padgham. Written for the transitioning and new organic farmer, Organic Dairy Farming brings together for the first time in a single volume the information to explain everything from organic soil management, calf care and mastitis control, to the certification process and marketing for the organic premium. Combining up-to-date advice from farmers, veterinarians, researchers and consultants in the organic community, it presents organic concepts and practices in a readable form. The book includes interviews demonstrating how farmers have successfully applied organic practices on their own farms.
The Organic Farming Research Foundation provided partial funding for the guide. It costs $19, which includes postage. To order, call 608-735-4717.
Dealing With Dead Poultry
The University of Maine Cooperative Extension (UMCE), in partnership with the Maine Department of Agriculture, has published “Safe Disposal of Backyard Poultry Mortalities,” a bulletin with instructions for composting dead poultry safely.
The University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s companion bulletin, “What Small Flock Owners in Maine Need to Know About Avian Influenza,” explains how people with backyard poultry flocks can keep their birds healthy, lists symptoms of AI in birds, and provides instructions for having mortalities tested by the University Maine Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.
“Safe Disposal of Backyard Poultry Mortalities” was developed by Associate Extension Professor Mark Hutchinson and the Maine Department of Agriculture’s Management Resource Coordinator, Bill Seekins. Free copies are available from email@example.com, (800) 287-0274 or at www.umext.maine.edu.
Conservation Approaches to Agricultural Water Use
A free resource highlights new approaches to water use, including promising conservation measures. “Smart Water Use on Your Farm or Ranch,” a 16-page bulletin by the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN), features ways to manage soil to improve infiltration, select drought-tolerant crops and native forages, and design innovative runoff collection systems.
”Smart Water Use” showcases innovative research, much of it funded by the USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, such as Texas Tech University’s alternative cotton rotation that pairs cotton with cattle and drought-tolerant forages – and reduced water use by 23% in university trials. In Nebraska, University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers are testing cool-season oil crops such as brown mustard and camelina during the fallow period in wheat systems, producing biofuel while retaining water for the next grain crop. University of Arizona researchers have designed water-saving systems pairing olive production with shrimp farming to grow two products from one water source.
The bulletin also features farmers and ranchers who work hard to conserve water. Minnesota farmer Tim Gieseke designed a contour capture system to divert hillside runoff to valuable walnut tree roots. Milford Denetclaw of Shiprock, N.M., built a new irrigation system with a gated pipe that regulates water flow and improves a native grass pasture for his beef herd.
”Smart Water Use” can be downloaded free at www.sare.org/publications/water.htm. Free print copies are available from www.sare.org/Webstore, 301/504-5411 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Farm Stays: Your Guide to an Unforgettable Farm Vacation in Maine New Hampshire and Vermont
This 125-page electronic book includes tips on what to expect during a farm stay, what kind of farm to select, farm safety advice, and profiles of 23 farm stays in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.
The e-book can be downloaded for $12.95 at www.booklocker.com/books/2514.html or through www.TheHeartofNewEngland.com/Farm-Stays.html
Shaker Your Plate: Of Shaker Cooks and Cooking
by Sr. Frances A. Carr
The Shaker Society, 707 Shaker Road, New Gloucester, ME 04260
2nd, revised edition, 2002; 162 pages
$12.95 from the Shaker Museum gift store, $16.95 (includes shipping) from 207-926-4597 or www.maineshakers.com. (Other books, and beautiful yarn from the Shakers’ sheep, are also available here.)
The cookbook Shaker Your Plate: Of Shaker Cooks and Cooking features old and new recipes and recollections of Shaker cooks and Community life, as well as descriptions of the Shakers and of herbs. Pen and ink drawings add to the book’s appearance. Bake the beautiful and delicious Mother Ann's Birthday Cake; a yummy Shaker apple pie; Jumble Cookies; Pumpkin Bread; and Sister Ethel's Chocolate Cake, along with a host of others. Not all recipes are for desserts. A favorite is the summer squash casserole.
Environmental Resource for Businesses
Northeast Recycling Council’s mission is to advance an environmentally sustainable economy by promoting recycling, source and toxicity reduction and purchase of environmentally preferable products and services. To explore an environmentally preferable purchasing plan for your business, contact Northeast Recycling Council, Inc. at www.nerc.org; Tel: 802-254-3636; Fax: 802-254-5870; MaryAnn@nerc.org or 139 Main Street, Suite 401, Brattleboro, VT 05301.
TreeHugger: A Great Green Resource
Looking for the latest on compostable plastic bottles, organic beauty products, electric cyclery and more? Sign up for the free daily or weekly TreeHugger electronic newsletter at www.treehugger.com. You’ll even get links to TreeHuggerTV, which you can watch on your laptop. You’ll love it!
Report Offers State-by-State Picture of Agriculture
A new report from the Center for Food Safety offers a state-by-state portrait of agriculture in the United States. “A New View of U.S. Agriculture” includes a list of the top five agricultural commodities for each state by percentage and value, the value of total organic sales in the state and the state's organic sales ranking, and a description of state legislation or regulations regarding genetically modified organisms. The report is available at www.centerforfoodsafety.org.
Guidebook Helps Event Organizers Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Waste
The Northeast Recycling Council, Inc. (NERC) has released Best Management Practices Guidebook For Special Event-Generated Waste in Rural Communities. Managing waste at special events incurs significant cost, requires many staff and volunteer hours, and detracts from attendees’ experience through unsightly litter and odor. Much of the waste can be recycled, composted – or avoided. Recycling at special events shows attendees they can save the environment anywhere, anytime – even away from home and work. This guidebook is for event organizers and people responsible for waste management at events. Information came from data collection and strategy testing at six events in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. It includes simple, effective ways to drastically reduce the amount of waste that ends up as trash. Recycling also sends a positive message to event participants and vendors. The Guidebook is available free at www.nerc.org/adobe/Special_Event_BMPs_FINAL.pdf.
The Northeast Recycling Council can be reached at 802-254-3636; email@example.com; and www.nerc.org.
Environmental Tipping Points
Environmental tipping points are levers for restoring sustainability to our imperiled environment. They are small actions that can make a big difference, because they create feedback loops that magnify their effects. Examples, including seed banks, urban gardens, school gardens and more – are detailed at ecotippingpoints.org. This site helps citizens identify potential tipping points at home and publicizes stories and lessons through many media. MOFGA members have probably had a hand in many such catalytic actions. Check www.ecotippingpoints.org to see if you can learn more, or to offer your story.
2006/07 SARE Highlights features the most creative research funded by SARE. See www.sare.org/publications/highlights.htm or order free print copies from www.sare.org/Webstore, 301/504-5411 or firstname.lastname@example.org.