In the News: February 2020

Trap or Grow

The #GrowFood movement, started by North Minneapolis youth, has launched its first video, connected to its “Trap or Grow” album. The video asks: are you going to let yourself be trapped by the environment that surrounds you, or are you going to grow your own food, your body, your skills, your career, your life? The music is done in conjunction with Appetite for Change, and is available for download on streaming platforms.


Political Boundaries

Computer files saved on the hard drives of Thomas Hofeller, a North Carolina-based gerrymandering strategist, have been made public. After his death, Hofeller’s adult daughter found the files. Republican lawmakers fought to keep the documents private. They showed evidence of strategy in North Carolina to keep voters pooled in creative districting maps to benefit one political party. Stephanie Hofeller published them online. “These are matters that concern the people and their franchise and their access to resources. This is, therefore, the property of the people,” she said.

Source: NPR


Food Transportation

A woman-led team at the University of Illinois developed a high-resolution map of the U.S. food supply chain, which relies on a complex web of interconnected infrastructure.

The map and a public database offers a snapshot of how all food flows between counties in the U.S. For example, the map shows how a shipment of corn starts at a farm in Illinois, travels to a grain elevator in Iowa, before heading to a feedlot in Kansas, and then travels in animal products being sent to grocery stores in Chicago.

Source: Megan Konar, The Conversation


The 2018 median farm income for U.S. farm households was –$1,533.

Tackling the Farm Crisis

Farmers discussed marketing partnerships at a St. Paul forum. Annelie Livingston-Anderson, co-owner of Good Turn Farm near Stockholm, WI, was an early adopter of the Lake Pepin Local Food Group, an online sales platform that enables people to buy from multiple farmers at one time. Audio of the panel is available at landstewardshipproject.org

Find local farmer’s markets around the state, or sign up for the Minnesota Grown Directory that lists CSA farms, wineries, garden centers, and more at minnesotagrown.com


Finland’s Changing Government

A photo taken in December shows the faces of Finland’s new government: Minister of Education Li Andersson, Minister of Finance Katri Kulmuni, Prime Minister Sanna Marin, and Interior Minister Maria Ohisal. The average age of these leaders is 33.


Emergence Magazine is a quarterly online publication that explores the threads connecting ecology, culture, and spirituality. The current issue is about food, and features this essay by British author Jay Griffiths, who writes about her love of worms, fungi, and the tendency to under value that which is “beneath us,” such as soil and the“lowest of the low.” The following are excerpts from her long-form essay.

Dwelling on Earth

I love the worms in my garden — the wriggly, glistening worms that work the soil that sustains the trees that grow the apples that feed me. They make the soil soft, silky, supple, and moist, and its fresh, fertile earth-scent is heaven-sent.

***

Life moves like this: creating, linking, making, and turning. It is soil that turns the Earth’s barren rock into the riotous life we know. Wheels on wheels of life in this unique planet wheeling its green-blue feast through the starving blackness.

***

Repeatedly, civilizations have died because they did not look after the soil on which they depended.

Agricultural communities settled and fed on the abundance of the earth until populations bloomed, green and thriving like plants from the soil. Then, exhausting the earth, over and over again, cultures withered and died. From ancient Greece to Egypt, the cycle repeats: over-use and depletion, erosion, exhaustion, and loss.

Soil is abused, poisoned with chemical fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides, and pesticides, leading to a collapse of soil health, the killing of microbiota. Intensive farming dims the vibrancy of the underground world; soil loses its organic components. Deforestation leads to soil erosion, and plowing can damage the structure of soil, while the sheer weight of giant tractors compacts the soil and crushes the tiny dwellers within it.

***

Modernity isn’t good at slowness. It demands instant gratification and grabs “right now.” It prefers shallow time to deep time and is impatient with the easy languorous times of nature. All time lies below us in the soil: the deep past is there, the present is fed there, and the future could be nourished there. Time is fed by soil.

Find the full essay at emergencemagazine.org