Categories Agriculture

Majestic Eagles Play a Part in Zuni Agriculture


To many Native Americans, the eagle is a sacred messenger that carries their prayers to the Creator. Feathers from these magnificent creatures are used in religious and cultural ceremonies. The soft, white feathers found near the base
of the tail often are used to represent rain clouds in crop planting ceremonies.

 

Traditionally, shed eagle feathers were collected from the wild. However, years of habitat loss and poaching have
reduced the number of golden and bald eagles in the United States. Today, only Native Americans can own eagles or
eagle parts, according to the National Eagle Repository in Denver, Colo.

“For New Mexico’s Zunis, who use a lot of feathers in their ceremonies, the problem is that there are no active eagle nests on their
reservation,” says Steve Albert, director of the Zuni Fish and Wildlife Department (FWD). “For the past few years, up
to 40 percent of requests from this region to the National Eagle Repository in Denver were from members of the Zuni
tribe.”

Four years ago, Albert began working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to provide more feathers for the Zunis. “We discovered that there is a shortage of
homes for non-releasable eagles,” he says. “These can be eagles with permanent injuries, or ones that were born in captivity and have imprinted on humans.”

With funding from the Zuni tribe, five private foundations and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Zuni FWD planned a captive eagle flight center. New Mexico
architects Donna Cohen and Claude Armstrong were familiar with pueblo-style architecture and built a full-scale model of dry-laid sandstone with no visible mortar.

Foot injuries are a common problem in captive birds. “Any sharp surfaces can lead to cuts and infections,” Albert says. “The architects studied and followed patterns
of existing eagle flight cages, incorporating vertical wooden slats to prohibit perching on the sides of the cage.”

The Zuni Eagle Flight Center also has pea gravel along the floor and artificial turf on the perches. Construction took approximately one year.

Then the only thing missing was the eagles. “We began collecting birds this year,” he says.

Three golden eagles have made their home at the Zuni Eagle Flight Center since early summer. “We have three males, all 2 to 4 …

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Categories Agriculture

African Women and the Evergreen Agriculture

Woman farmer in the fields with sleeping child on her back – Milton Grant/UN

To increase agricultural production in Africa, women need rights to land, access to quality seed and policy support to scale up existing farming practice

Declining Food Production

It is not surprising that the current trends in Africa point to a hunger and food shortage crisis. This is because of the unpredictable rainfall, ever-expanding human population and declining soil fertility levels. If these current trends continue, projections indicate that by the year 2020, 25% of Africa’s children will suffer from hunger and malnutrition that will lead to over a third of mortality of children aged under five years.

Total food production in the African continent continues to decline. To revitalize agricultural production, a new movement known as Evergreen Agriculture has been started and is now being promoted by scientists as a way to increase food security. Evergreen Agriculture is being touted as a hybrid of conservation farming and agroforestry. Conservation farming aims to conserve soil and water by minimizing soil disturbance thus improving conditions for crop growth. On the other hand, Agroforestry involves planting trees/shrubs with crops and/or livestock…combining agricultural and forestry techniques on farmland to create a productive, profitable, diverse and sustainable land use system. Thus from an agroforestry system, farmers can harvest crop food, meat and milk, fodder, timber, firewood, fruits and other products such as resins.

The key question is…what is the rationale of promoting a “new” agricultural movement, which is based on principles of an already existing system? Furthermore, is there an added “advantage” of this new movement to African women who provide over 80% of farming labor?

 

The African Woman Farmer

The rural women of Africa are constantly looking for better and easier ways to farm and increase food in the homes while reducing the demand for their labor. As the rainfall patterns are changing and becoming more variable each year, women have started to pay attention to agricultural technologies that can increase food supply and create healthy and resilient soils, generate other products such as fruits and timber, household income and reduce labor demands, in other words, multiple benefits. In rural Africa where farm sizes are rather small, and intensive farming is done throughout the …

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Categories Agriculture

Community Supported Agriculture: A Share of the Harvest Means Fresh Produce Every Week

Community Supported Agriculture (commonly called CSA) is a marketing tool by which consumers can subscribe to a farm. In return for the price they pay for a share in the late winter or early spring, they receive a weekly allotment of the produce that is harvested from the farm.

CSAs began in Japan nearly 40 years ago and spread to the US in the 1980s. Today there is an estimated 1400 CSAs in the United States.

There is no common governing body for CSAs: each works differently and each may have a different focus.

Common Advantages to CSAs

  • It is a partnership between consumer and producer, supplying cash for operating expenses to the farmer and a shared risk of unforeseen circumstances, for example, crop damage due to hail.
  • Consumers and farmers develop a relationship: consumers know where their food comes from and farmers know the people they are feeding.
  • Food is harvested when it is ripe and delivered within hours for freshness, better flavor and less deterioration than conventionally farmed produce found in grocery stores.
  • Because the food is produced locally, less fossil fuel is spent in its transport and only minimal packaging is needed.
  • Most CSAs have organic certification or they employ organic methods.
  • CSAs practice biodiversity, growing a variety of crops for their clients rather than concentrating on a single crop or monoculture.
  • CSA farmers receive 100% of the client’s dollar, whereas conventional farmers receive only 25%.

CSAs diverge in what they offer to their customers.

Differences Among CSAs:

  • Products offered. Some CSAs provide only vegetables while others may provide fruit, meat, eggs, dairy, honey, or winter roots and tubers.
  • Weekly newsletters to update customers on crop health as well as what they can expect in future deliveries. Often recipes and tips for cooking produce are included.
  • Heirloom varieties grown for their tastiness rather than their ability to withstand long distance transport. CSAs also may grow specialty vegetables such as sunchokes and French breakfast radishes.
  • Besides charging a share price, some CSAs ask clients to volunteer time at the farm. Chores range from pulling weeds to sorting and packing produce for delivery.
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Categories Farming

Women in Horticulture Conference Fosters Success: Garden Expert Melinda Myers on Professional Women Cultivating Skills

In 2007, Melinda Myers brought together professional women who work in the field of horticulture for a day of networking, called The Power of Possibility Thinking. Three years later the organizers have regrouped and are preparing for the 2010 gathering. Recently, We talked with Melinda Myers about the conference, its purpose and plans for the future.

Networking in the Horticultural Industry

“I never found a fit anywhere at school but now I have my own business,” said Melinda Myers, referring to the creation of a horticulture conference just for women. The plan was to have a creative environment where women with similar workplace challenges in the horticultural industry could share experiences.

It is a male-dominated environment, even in the 21st century. When first developing the conference, “We wanted women to feel safe to express themselves,” stressed Myers, while reminding us that the horticulture industry is a close-knit community where what people say can easily get repeated. “We did not exclude men but they were not asked either, “ said Myers.

Feedback from attendees after the first conferences gave organizers ideas on how to make it better and yielded some positive results, too. Input from industry businesses and professional organizations have invited sponsorship of the Women in Horticulture by male-owned companies.

2010 Horticultural Conference for Women

In preparing for the 2010 Women in Horticulture conference, Myers and her organizers took suggestions from previous events to streamline the up coming program. Myers admitted she has a tendency to pack in too much into too little time and that speakers spoke too long leaving less time for networking.

 

Myers said, “We want to find a time that fits with the horticultural industry’s slow season, sometime after the maintenance season and before the holiday décor rush starts. We will be offering a discount rate for students and scholarships, as well.”

“We will share safety tips on how to plant by adapting equipment originally designed for a 6’ tall man, for instance. The conference shows women in their finest sense, lending a hand by sharing tricks of the horticultural trade and leaving energized. It will be another amazing day of women sharing,” stated Myers.

Horticultural Instructors Mentor Students

Roxanne Rusch, instructor at Fox Valley Technical College in the Horticulture …

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Categories Agriculture

Top Agriculture Colleges in the United States

Agricultural teaching colleges offer professional training and academic courses in the agriculture science field. Technical, community and junior colleges offer both two year Associates Degrees and professional certificates relating to agriculture. Four year universities routinely offer Bachelors Degree program in agriculture business and management. Students must have proof of a high school diploma or GED for admission. Accredited agricultural colleges accept federal financial aid waivers and offer monthly tuition payment plans.

 

Agriculture production technology Associates Degrees instruct students on the science of soil types and plant growth. Students learn both inside a traditional classroom and in a rural environment on a farm. Common courses include operating farm equipment, agricultural tools and machines, livestock care and business operations. Although the courses covered comprise an Associates Degree, they may also be accepted by students who choose to pursue a Bachelors Degree in the future. Colleges in the United States who offer this type of degree include Dixie College, Houston Community College, Northern Virginia Community College and American River College.

Agriculture business management occupational degrees at two year college educate students on related service, sales and management aspects of farming. Instructors teach courses which include plant science, basic economics, soil sampling, accounting and vegetable production. Although students will complete hands-on components related to agriculture, this degree is geared to primarily the business management aspects of farming. Students will learn how to budget expenses, supervise an agricultural company and the plant growth process. Degree candidates will discover how environmental aspects affect plant production and how to identify various plant species. Colleges which offer this type of degree include Valencia Community College, Ashford University and the Tarrant County College District.

Vegetable production occupational degrees prepare the student for agricultural related careers and the workforce. Commercial vegetable production techniques, farming technology and management courses comprise the typical coursework required for degree completion. Common classes include vegetable crop production, soil labs, oxycetylene cutting and biology. Colleges offering this type of degree include Arizona Western College, Broward Community College, Southern Main Community College and Southeastern Illinois College.

Plant science degrees focus on the germination and reproduction process of plants. Students will learn how and when to plant seeds, environmental impact factors and safe uses of pesticides. Typical classes include vegetable crop …

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Categories Agriculture

Community Shared Agriculture in Relation to American Food Culture

There are many significant events in human history. Inventions made from human hands that have made everyday tasks easy, such as the wheel, cars, planes, the internet, and the list goes on. Approximately ten thousand years ago, the beginning of agriculture was an event that changed the way humans would live. Such event has rapidly taken over the way humans eat, and therefore, the way they live. Since then, the foodscapes of local communities, regions, and nations have undergone transformations, one after another. Nearly everyone in our modern world relies on agriculture to sustain them, and each time one lifts their fork to their mouth, they are participating in agriculture. Food is essential to every human life, so humans have come up with methods to distribute food throughout villages, communities, cities, and countries. On a global level humans have become skilled at distributing food around the world and back, but is that really what should continue to sustain lives?

The United States of America is beginning to see many food movements arising that have to do with environmentally friendly ways of eating, such as local and organic food. This progressive thought just may be the answer to a lot of the issues that may concern the average American. One may ask how they may accomplish this? Though agriculture is hardly a new concept since it arose roughly ten thousand years ago, the idea of community shared agriculture as a new form of obtaining produce groceries, is. In discussing the topic of Community Shared Agriculture, it is important to look at the concept as a whole (where it originated, why, when), its impact on the economy in a local, regional and global sense, and the influence it has on the way we look at food as a culture.

 

CSA in Lake Oswego, Oregon, is included.

Community shared agriculture, or, CSA as it has come to be known, is a fairly new concept of food distribution in which a farmer and consumer(s) interact directly with each other and assume the risks and benefits of food production together. Beginning in the early 1960’s in areas such as Germany, Switzerland, and Japan, the ideas and displays of CSA are now rapidly spreading throughout our industrialized world (DeMuth, 1993). …

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Categories Agriculture

The Influence of Historical Agriculture

A recent edition of “National Geographic” magazine contained an article about the archeological excavations at Gobekli Tepe, a religious site in the Fertile Crescent. The article suggests that as a result of the end of the Ice Age about 9600 B.C.E. and the resulting climate change, the population felt a sense of “wonderment” over the evolution of new plants and animals. This sense of wonderment then gave rise to early religion. And populations began to cluster together near the religious sites in communities founded for the purpose of worship. This trend of forming communities then may have given rise to the nascent development of agriculture. At this time in human history, the Neolithic Revolution, religion tended to be matriarchal even in patriarchal societies. (Examples of matriarchal religion are the Minoan Snake Goddess and, perhaps, the Venus of Willendorf.) The National Geographic article suggests that religion was the prime mover for settlement, cooperation and the birth of agriculture near these sacred sites.

Agricultural Tool Development

So as agriculture progressed moving populations away from horticultural practices or slash and burn types of food gathering, various tools were developed to raise previously wild crops which were now domesticated. Animals were domesticated and raised as food sources or for reproduction which required settlements to contain and protect the animals. By the 1800’s, Thomas Malthus hypothesized that populations would overtake agricultural technology and that certain populations would starve to death as a result.

Ester Boserup’s Contributions

Ester Boserup, born in Copenhagen in 1910, hypothesized that Malthus was wrong based upon his static view of agricultural technology. Boserup’s theory maintained that agricultural methods were a product of population pressures. She argued that when population is low, land tends to be used intermittently. As an example during the Medieval period when war and plague ravaged the population, agricultural practice dictated that fields remain fallow. Modernly, with ever increasing population, agricultural practices favor rotating crops to replace nutrients lost in the soil through planting a specific crop, such as fodder crops. Modern agriculture uses supplements to replace nutrients although arguably, this practice has not been beneficial to the top soil or riparian corridors.

 

Ester Boserup has been characterized as an “anti- Malthusian” but her theories are not limited to the relationship of …

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Categories Agriculture

Ceres – Roman Goddess of Agriculture on Missouri Capitol Dome

Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture, was selected as the figure on top of the dome of the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City because of the important role agriculture has played throughout Missouri’s history.

Ceres in Roman Mythology

According to Roman mythology, Ceres taught people how to grow crops of grain and corn, and is credited with abundant harvests. Her festival was called the Cerealia and was always celebrated on April 19th. The modern English word cereal is derived from the Latin word Cerealia.

She was one of the 12 Olympian gods; daughter of Saturn and Ops, sister to Jupiter, Pluto, Neptune, Vesta, and Juno. Her temple was on Aventine Hill, one of the Seven Hills of Rome. Her Greek counterpart was Demeter; daughter of Kronos and Rhea, sister to Zeus, Hades, Poseidon, Hestia, and Hera. Ceres married her brother, Jupiter, and they had a daughter, Proserpina. When Pluto, god of the underworld, kidnapped Proserpina, Ceres went looking for her not knowing that Jupiter had given Pluto permission to marry Proserpina. This made Ceres very angry so she disguised herself as an old woman and went to live among humans. She caused all crops and plants to stop growing and brought famine throughout the land.

Jupiter sent for Proserpina to return from the underworld but before she left, Pluto gave her food knowing that once one ate food from the underworld, one could never completely leave. Proserpina returned to Ceres and stayed with her until fall, but was forced to return to the underworld for 4 months. It is during the fall and all through the winter, while Proserpina is in the underworld, that nothing grows; plants do not bear fruit and the ground lies dormant until spring when mother and daughter are reunited.

The Missouri State Capitol Dome Statue

The bronze statue of Ceres was designed by American sculptor, Sherry Edmundson Fry. This statue shows her holding a sheaf of grain with her left hand and cradled in her left arm. Her right arm is slightly extended in front with her palm facing down as if giving a blessing. Her long robes look like they are gently blowing in the breeze.

 

Prior to the 1917 completion of Missouri’s capitol, Fry, who studied …

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Categories Agriculture

Community Supported Agriculture Programs Serving the Boston Area

Want to get involved with a Community Supported Agriculture Program (CSA), but live in Boston? No big deal! Plenty of CSAs are cropping up in the Boston Area, although you’d better sign up quickly because spots are filling up fast (many are already full).

Before we begin, many Community Supported Agriculture Programs use the term “share”. As someone who subscribes to a CSA, you are a “shareholder”, which means you pay for a certain amount of food per week that is grown on the farm. Each CSA charges different amounts for one share, as you’ll see below, and offers different amounts of produce for each share.

Here is a compilation of 5 of the best Community Supported Agriculture Programs in the Boston Area:

Brookfield FarmCSA

Overview

1 Share: $490, includes 14lbs

Pickup Locations: At the farm, Boston Areas: Arlington, Cambridge, Lexington, Jamaica Plain, Newton

Delivers: Weekly

Season: June-Thanksgiving

Website:

What’s Special: Brookfield Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) offers shareholders the opportunity to purchase Brookfield raised beef and pork, as well as pick-your-own fruits and flowers!

Growing Practices: While not certified organic, Brookfield does not use any of the following: synthetically produced chemicals; petroleum based fertilizers; antibiotics; artificial hormones.

Parker Farm CSA

Overview

Small Share: $325, 7-8 items

Large Share: $500, 15-16 items

Pickup Locations: Boston Areas: Davis Square, Central Square, Cambridge, Porter Square,

Deliveries: Weekly

Season: June-November

Website

Growing Practices: Most crops are grown chemical free, no GMO crops.

Bay End Farm CSA

Overview

1 Share: $500.00 ($25/week), 11-15 items

Pickup Locations: at the farm, Boston Areas: Cambridge, Plymouth areas

Deliveries: Weekly

Season: June-November, 20 weeks

Website

What’s Special: Want to learn about where your food comes from? Volunteers are welcome and encouraged at Bay End Farm.

Growing Practices: Certified Organic

Drumlin Farm CSA

Overview:

1 Share: $575.00

Pickup Locations: at the farm, Boston Areas: Cambridge (Central & Porter Sq), Dorchester, Quincy

Deliveries: Weekly

Season: June-October

Website

What’s Special: We have to eat in winter too, right? Drumlin Farm has a CSA that runs during the winter season too. If you volunteer 8 hours from Drumlin, they’ll give you a $50 discount.

Growing Practices: unspecified

Red Fire Farm CSA

Overview:

Main Share: $575.00, 10lbs (discounts available for low income …

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Categories Farming

Visit Woodland Zoo in Farmington, PA

Woodland Zoo is a beautiful Zoo located in the heart of the Laurel Highlands in Pennsylvania. They have many activities and programs that kids and adults of all ages will enjoy. The zoo is located on 120 acres, and is home to many animals. Come see the Bison, Tigers, Cows, and the White Buffalo, to name a few! Woodland Zoo also offers many activities:

You can take a Guided Tour through the zoo. School groups, church groups, or just any group are invited to have a great time! Tours can be tailored to fit your certain parties’ needs!

Try being a Zookeeper for a Day. You’ll enjoy a behind-the-scenes experience if you’re willing to participate in some work, such as feeding, grooming, and general care of the animals. The price for this event is just $30 per person, and runs from 9am until 3pm.

Or ,Spend a night at the Zoo! This wonderful new program will give both kids and adults the chance to experience a whole night of learning about the animals in the zoo. Your night will include a nighttime walk through the Zoo, a pizza party, a sleepover in the park, and a continental breakfast. The cost is only $35 per person and runs from 7pm to 9am.

Having a birthday? Try one of Woodland Zoo’s Birthday Packages. You can either do one that is planned on your own, or planned by the Zoo itself. Check the website for details, prices, and more.

Woodland Zoo does not receive any state or federal funding. So all admission fees and adoption fees will provide upkeep, feeding and veterinary care for the many animals in the park. Woodland Zoo has an Adopt an Animal program, which is a $25.00 per year donation designed to keep the animals healthy and happy.

The Herald-Standard newspaper joined up with the Woodland Zoo to host many events at the 1500 seat Herald-Standard Pavilion. Festivals, music, and plays are available for the public’s enjoyment at the Pavilion. Animal acts are also enjoyed here. Dates and events are to be announced shortly, check the website for updates.

The Woodland Zoo is located just 2 miles east of Chalk Hill, on US Route 40 in Farmington, PA. Many other attractions are …

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