Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Agrarian Arendt

"The blessing of labor is that effort and gratification follow each other as closely as producing and consuming the means of subsistence, so that happiness is a concomitant of the process itself, just as pleasure is a concomitant of the functioning of a healthy body….The right to the pursuit of this happiness is indeed as undeniable as the right to life; it is even identical with it….There is no lasting happiness outside the prescribed cycle of painful exhaustion and pleasurable regeneration, and whatever throws this cycle out of balance – poverty and misery where exhaustion is followed by wretchedness instead of regeneration, or great riches and an entirely effortless life where boredom takes the place of exhaustion and where the mills of necessity, of consumption and digestion, grind an impotent human body mercilessly and barrenly to death – ruins the elemental happiness that comes from being alive."
Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition

Sunday, November 25, 2012

SSAWG Workshop: Growing Farm Profits

Do you need to know how to increase profits? Growing great crops is just not enough to make your farm economically sustainable. 

December 1-2, 2012, Mills River, North Carolina
January 23-24, 2013, Little Rock, Arkansas

This course will cover:
Managing for Profitability
Critical Decisions
Product Pricing
Records that Matter
Enterprise Evaluation
Actual Expense Tracking
True Cost Discovery
Market Channel Evaluation
Profitability Calculating
Real Farm Examples 
Useful Tools

Real-farm data will be used to demonstrate practical ways to improve profitability. Participants will take home farmer-friendly business tools for keeping records and making decisions that affect profitability.

Register Now! To learn more about and to register for the North Carolina training, contact Bridget Kennedy at (828) 236-1282, bridget@asapconnections.org.

To learn more about and to register for the Arkansas training, which is being held just before Southern SAWG annual conference. These risk management trainings are brought to you by Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group. Support is provided by the USDA Southern Risk Management Education Center.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Autumnal Lamb

This morning I walked out into the pasture and was surprised by the arrival of a new baby lamb to the flock at Ecotone! This is the first lamb from Red (AKA Red Ram from Riddy Road), and I must say she's beautiful! Several other ewes look like they may be near lambing too, and we'll post photos as they do.

Tennessee Local Food Summit

Come join local farmers, chefs, and community food activists at the 2nd Annual Tennessee Local Food Summit on November 30 and December 1 in Nashville! There will be a panel discussion and local foods dinner at the Sunflower Cafe on Friday night, and a barn dance at Green Door Gourmet after the workshops on Saturday. I'll be participating in the panel discussion, and will be around for most of the day on Saturday as well. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Morning's News

To moralize the state, they drag out a man,
and bind his hands, and darken his eyes
with a black rag to be free of the light in them,
and tie him to a post, and kill him.
And I am sickened by complicity in my race.
To kill in hot savagery like a beast
is understandable. It is forgivable and curable.
But to kill by design, deliberately, and without wrath,
that is the sullen labor that perfects Hell.
The serpent is gentle, compared to man.
It is man, the inventor of cold violence,
death as waste, who has made himself lonely
among the creatures, and set himself aside
from creation, so that he cannot labor
in the light of the sun with hope,
or sit at peace in the shade of any tree.
The morning's news drives sleep out of the head
at night. Uselessness and horror hold the eyes
open to the dark. Weary, we lie awake
in the agony of the old giving birth to the new
without assurance that the new will be better.
I look at my son, whose eyes are like a young god's,
they are so open to the world.
I look at my sloping fields now turning
green with the young grass of April. What must I do
to go free? I think I must put on
a deathlier knowledge, and prepare to die
rather than enter into the design of man's hate.
I will purge my mind of the airy claims
of church and state, and observe the ancient wisdom
of tribesman and peasant, who understood
they labored on the earth only to lie down in it
in peace, and were content. I will serve the earth
and not pretend my life could be better served.
My life is only the earth risen up
a little way into the light, among the leaves.
Another morning comes with its strange cure.
The earth is news. Though the river floods
and the spring is cold, my heart goes on,
faithful to a mystery in a cloud,
and the summer's garden continues its decent
through me, toward the ground.

-Wendell Berry, from Farming: A Handbook

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Time and Images 3

 Two Quatrains for First Frost

Hot summer has exhausted her intent
To the last rose and roundelay and seed.
No leaf has changed, and yet these leaves now read
like a love-letter that's no longer meant.

Now on all things is the dull restive mood
Of some rich gambler who in quick disdain
Plumps all on zero, hoping so to gain
Fresh air, light pockets, and his solitude.

-- Richard Wilbur