Monday, December 23, 2013

The Philosopher Is In

I think this may be the answer to supplemental farm income: philosophical therapist.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Southern SAWG 2014 Conference

Well, it's that time of year again! The Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG) is proud to announce its 23rd annual Practical Tools & Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms Conference. This year and next the conference will be in Mobile, Alabama - in part to help the regional economic recovery after the oil spill, but also because it's a chance to go to the beach in the winter! - and will be on January 15-18. 

For nearly a quarter of a century the Southern SAWG Annual Conference has provided the practical tools and solutions you've needed and built the necessary bridges between farmers, marketers, ag professionals and local food system advocates. This year the conference will be at the coast, in Mobile, Alabama, with more great program offerings!

If your interest is commercial vegetable production, specialty crop production, livestock production, farm to school, urban agriculture, marketing, food hubs, farm business management, food and farm policy, or community food systems, and sustainability is important to you, then this is the conference for you! You'll get cutting edge lessons in: 

Sustainable and organic production, in fields and in high tunnels 
Grazing and holistic livestock management 
Direct and cooperative marketing 
Farm and food policy 
Enterprise and business management 
Local food systems 
Check out the program and you'll see you can't miss this one. 


Every year attendees at Southern SAWG's Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms Conference come for the practical information and go home with so much more. While over 90% of past attendees reported they learned something they would use immediately, even higher numbers say meeting so many folks doing so many great things around the South was a highlight. With the high-rated practical sessions and pre-conference offerings and the great networking opportunities, this event attracts over 1,200 farmers and advocates every year.  

The popular pre-conference events begin on Wednesday and include a great line-up of  one-and-a-half day intensive short courses, and on Thursday, several exciting half-day field trips and mini courses. Each of these pre-conference activities requires separate registration. To learn more click here.

The general conference, to be held on Friday and Saturday, offers more than sixty 1.5 hour sessions on a broad range of topics. These sessions will provide organic and sustainable production and marketing information for commercial horticultural and livestock producers, enterprise management and farm profitability lessons, farm policy education and community food systems development information. 

This conference is an absolute must-attend event for those serious about sustainable and organic farming and creating more vibrant community food systems! 

Testimony from someone attending this year's conference:

“My husband and I cannot wait to attend the SAWG conference. We are young farmers, XX is 28, I am 26 with a serious passion for providing our family and our community with fresh, sustainable and organic produce. My husband has been growing food on a small scale for a number of years. Last year we began farming on a larger scale, growing enough to sell at local markets, to a couple restaurants and a small CSA. Our goal is to own a small, family farm where we provide our family and our community with good, whole foods. We are self- taught farmers and we NEED to attend this conference!

XX is the farm manager, head grower, market manager and our “big thinker” rolled into one. He also works a full-time job, off the farm!!!  We need our farm to be profitable enough that he can quit his non-farming job.  When he is not working, XX has his nose in a book. His passion for growing organic produce is boundless. This conference would be beneficial for XX in countless ways. Specifically, he wants to learn how to extend the growing season year-round. He wants to decrease crop failure by knowing more about organic pest control. XX wants to establish a profitable and manageable CSA to foster ties to our community.  He's excited to learn about planning vegetable production to keep his market stand bountiful and beautiful year-round. He wants to learn about keeping livestock, specifically goats. Above all, he wants to provide for our family by doing what he loves.

My job in this operation is to manage the business aspects. My problem is, I have no idea what I'm doing! I was so excited to see that this conference covers all aspects of agriculture, because I need help with marketing, record keeping, budgeting and accounting. I would also like to learn about farm to school programs, as it is important to us for our daughter to have real, nutritious food in her school. I would love to establish a garden at her future school and teach the children how to grow food. I am also in charge of growing flowers, which is just about my favorite thing to do! I can't wait to talk with others in the "Innovations with Cut Flowers" exchange.

We are planning to buy a small farm next year. The "Young and Beginning Farmers" exchange sounds like the answer to our prayers! This conference will literally change our lives! Trial and error has worked okay for us so far, but we need to move forward in a big way. We need the knowledge to make our dreams into reality. We need practical and sustainable solutions to achieve our idealistic goals. We need to attend the Southern SAWG conference!” 

Friday, November 15, 2013


A map of every nuclear explosion in the history of the species: here.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

On writing

"As we understand it, the surest way to make a living by the pen is to raise pigs."

                               - Robert Elliot Gonzales, Poems and Paragraphs 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Gobble Gobble

Well, it's that time again! This year's crop of Ecotone turkeys are ready for Thanksgiving! 
We are now accepting reservations on the fifteen or so turkeys left. Click on the link below to sign-up, or email C.J. at


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Socialized Tree

"Liberty of each bough to seek its own livelihood and happiness according to its needs, by irregularities of action both in its play and its work, either stretching out to get its required nourishment from light and rain, by finding some sufficient breathing-place among the other branches, or knotting and gathering itself up to get strength for any load which its fruitful blossoms may lay upon it, and for any stress of its storm-tossed luxuriance of leaves; or playing hither and thither as the fitful sunshine may tempt its young shoots, in their undecided states of mind about their future life.

Imperative requirement of each bough to stop within certain limits, expressive of its kindly fellowship and fraternity with the boughs in its neighborhood; and to work with them according to its power, magnitude, and state of health, to bring out the general perfectness of the great curve, and circumferent stateliness of the whole tree."

John Ruskin, The Elements of Drawing, Letter III, sec. 215

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Time and Images 4

Haze Gold

Sun, you may send your haze gold
Filling the fall afternoon
With a flimmer of many gold feathers.
Leaves, you may linger in the fall sunset
Like late lingering butterflies before frost.
Treetops, you may sift the sunset cross-lights
Spreading a loose checkerwork of gold and shadow.
Winter comes soon--shall we save all this, lay it by,
Can we keep all of these haze gold yellows?

-- Carl Sandburg