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Special Opportunity

Ohio Urban Farmer Workshop
Fall 2015 in Toledo
Click HERE for brochure

What is Eco-Agriculture?
    Agricultural Justice Issues

Joel Salatin, A Visionary
    The Family Friendly Farm
    Balance - Stability for Your Life & Farm  
    'Sound Science' is Killing Us    

Sustainable Agriculture Resources 
    What is Sustainable Agriculture?

    Promoting Sustainable Ag (another list)
       Union of Concerned Scientists (another list)  
    Acres U.S.A.  
    Ag Consultants     
    Alternative Farming Systems Information Center   
    Bee Keeping   
    Beginning Farmers   
    Biodynamic Agriculture
    Certification Programs,
    Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)  
    Crossroad Resource Center  

    Don't Panic, Eat Organic - the organic grower's homepage  
    Grow Biointensive    
    Holistic Management of rangelands  
    Midwestern Bio-Ag (Wisconsin) 
    Mini Farms   
    Non-Toxic Farming
    NutriTech Solutions (Australian site - lots of info)    
    Organic Agriculture  
    Poultry Farming    
        Minerals & Animal Health   
    Regenerative Agriculture  
    SARE program
Sea Energy Agriculture
    Soil Foodweb - Compost Tea     
        Microbe Tea  
    Soil Testing
         Brix Testing  
    Spin Farming   
    Sustainable Ag Primer  
    The Organic Center  
    Website design - Small Farm Central 
Sustainable Farming Organizations  
(overseas development)   
    Innovative Farmers of Ohio    
    Leopold Center for Sustainable Ag (Iowa)      
Michael Fields Agricultural Institute (Wisconsin - research)  
    Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association (OEFFA)    
    Sustainable Farming Connection
    The New Farm  
    Wild Farm Alliance   
    WWOOF USA - Organic Farm Volunteeer Opportunities  


What is Eco-Agriculture?

    " The science called eco-agriculture is not complicated. But it is infinitely more sophisticated than the current “chemical amateurism” running rampant across our land. Eco-agriculture simply holds that to be economical, agriculture most be ecological. By contrast, for the last 50 years farmers should have been paid depletion allowances as they mined their soil — all to satisfy an international cheap food policy.
      But there is another way...

This article is from the Web site of a remarkable magazine, Acres U.S.A. Check them out:

Acres U.S.A. - Their blog EcoFarmingDaily

The Acres U.S.A. Philosophy

" "Toxic technology is sunset technology," announced the lead editorial in our first issue. The years since then, almost three decades worth, have only amplified the validity of that simple argument. Fifty years of soil mining, intensive monoculture, and industrial animal practice have resulted in food many educated consumers here, and much of the developed world beyond our shores, regard with suspicion. Citizens all over the world are in open revolt against bizarre — and astonishingly misguided genetic alterations of the global food supply by U.S. corporations — bent on twisting the basis of life to keep the high-input intensive monoculture show on the road...."

What is Sustainable Agriculture? 

Towards a Sustainable Agriculture
by Steve Diver

John Ikerd on Sustainable Agriculture

Organic Agriculture - a sector of sustainable agriculture, with emphasis on organic certification

The Quest for Nutrient-Dense Food: High-Brix Farming and Gardening
An Interview with Rex Harrill by Suze Fisher

Here's a source of other noteworthy articles: http://ecofarmingdaily.com/

The Family Farm is the basic unit for sustainable farming - eco-agriculture, if you like. Joel Salatin is a visionary and powerful spokesman for eco-farming. For a remarkable picture of his highly productive eco-farm read:
Family Friendly Farming — Creating a Farm Life Your Children Will Treasure
by Joel Salatin, owner of Polyface Farm
June 2000


Acres U.S.A. has provided a free pdf e-book on Joel Salatins's writings   
The Acres blog with more good articles - EcoFarmingDaily 

This is an Acrobat file. Download free Adobe Acrobat Reader if you need it.

More words of wisdom from Joel Salatin, for those who argue that bigger is better, that eco-ag can't feed the world.
Balance - Stability for you Life & Farm  
by Joel Salatin, April 2002

'Sound Science' is Killing Us
by Joel Salatin, April 2004

More on why soil health is so important  

Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Program (SARE) - University of California
http://www.sarep.ucdavis.edu/concept.htm - answers the question "What is Sustainable Agriculture?" and gives lots of other basic information.

"Sustainable agriculture integrates three main goals--environmental health, economic profitability, and social and economic equity. A variety of philosophies, policies and practices have contributed to these goals... 

"Sustainability rests on the principle that we must meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Therefore, stewardship of both natural and human resources is of prime importance."

Alternative Farming Systems Information Center
Welcome to the Alternative Farming Systems Information Center (AFSIC) at the National Agricultural Library (NAL). We specialize in identifying and accessing information related to alternative agricultural enterprises and crops as well as alternative cropping systems.

Wild Farm Alliance - www.wildfarmalliance.org 
To protect biological diversity, we need to diversify our farms, 
food, and the wider landscape. Wild Farm Alliance works to empower farmers, connect consumers, and protect wild nature.

See also
Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre, by Brett Markham  

Crossroads Resource Center  works with communities and their allies to foster democracy and local self-determination

Small Farm Central - build a beautiful farm website in one week. Call 412-567-3864 or email leslie@smallfarmcentral.com 

Urban Homestead - a delightful example of an ecological, sustainable urban farm. Check out their blogs.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) - supporting and benefiting from smaller local farms.
     CSA Farms: Awakening Community Intelligence (YouTube) - see also here   
     One informative CSA website
* see also here and here * Local CSA's  

Charter for CSAs in USA and Canada http://csaday.info/csa-charter/ 
See also CSA Day - a whole day dedicated to the celebration of community-supported agriculture and getting lots of people to sign up.

Finding local farms 

Spin Farming
SPIN stands for S-mall P-lot IN-tensive
SPIN is a non-technical, easy-to-learn and inexpensive-to-implement farming system that makes it possible to earn significant income from land bases under an acre in size. Whether you are new to farming, or want to farm in a new way, SPIN can work for you because:

Main Street Project - another approach to getting started in farming.

Grow Biointensive - www.growbiointensive.org  
Teaching people worldwide to better feed themselves while building and preserving the soil and conserving resources.  
Teach yourself the basics.  

Federal Sustainable Agriculture Program Primer
http://www.sustainableagriculture.net/ , the Web site of the National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture. Look under "Our Issues" for the Primer

"As a service to our partners, we are pleased to offer the first draft of a Federal Sustainable Agriculture Program Primer. This resource compiles basic information on a wide range of the programs and policies that the National Campaign and its partner organizations have helped to conceive, develop, promote and/or get funded over the years."

ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Beginning Farmers http://beginningfarmers.org/ 
Online resource for farmers, researchers and policy makers

Organic Agriculture

IFOAM - International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements
Information and resources for Developing Sustainable Organic Sectors  

The Organic Center http://organic-center.org/ 
"The Organic Center is is your trusted, go-to source of information for scientific research about organic food and farming."

Organic Connections http://organicconnectmag.com/

Organic Ag and productivity

Don't Panic, Eat Organic - the Organic Grower's homepage 

Beyond organic - Eco-Ag

Organic Certification & other certifiers

The Non-Toxic Farming Handbook, 1998
by Philip A. Wheeler, Ph.D. & Ron Ward

It is not an overstatement to say that this handbook represents the future of farming. Farmers, growers and serious gardeners around the world are discovering that the toxic methods taught for the past 50 years do not work. By sledge-hammering nature into submission, every problem solved brings new problems. Attacking these with another toxic treatment further stresses the balance of nature bringing on a new set of difficulties. But the answer for modern growers is not to turn back the hands of time, but to move forward to a higher level of understanding. Ward and Wheeler understanding.

In this readable, easy to understand handbook the authors explain:
• What's wrong with conventional agriculture.
• Weeds - their role in nature.
• Insects - why they attack crops and how to stop them.
• Soil Testing and analysis - and acting upon the results.
• On-farm methods of soil and plant tissue testing.
• Soil fertility and fertilizers.
• pH, lime, N, P & K, and major and minor nutrients.
• Use of refractometer
•Working with foliar feeds to maximize crop health and production.

The authors successfully integrate the diverse techniques and technologies of classical organic farming.

Other useful gardening/farming books

More books on Eco-Agriculture at Acres U.S.A. website

The Soil Foodweb: It's Importance in Ecosystem Health 

A shortcoming of the above book, The Non-Toxic Farming Handbook, it that it does not discuss the recent work of Dr. Elaine Ingham on compost and compost teas, and their use in inoculating the soil and plants with beneficial microorganisms.

http://www.soilfoodweb.com/  is the Web site of her company, Soil Foodweb, Inc., that she has formed to make these complex new techniques available to farmers and gardeners.

"To grow healthy, productive plants you need healthy, productive soil. It is the organisms in the soil that provide the food plants need, in the form they need, when they need it.
At Soil Foodweb, we measure the quality and quantity of these vital organisms and provide guidance in how to build your soil so your soil can build your plants."

Other Web sites dealing with compost tea:

The International Compost Tea Council  
The ICTC is a non-profit organization dedicated to the science and integrity of compost tea.”

Compost Tea Industry Association
Created to provide a unified voice and information exchange for this rapidly growing industry

More articles on soil food web and compost tea from Acres U.S.A. (and many other articles)

T&J Enterprises
‘Microbe’ Tea
- http://www.tandjenterprises.com
Affordable organic gardening products, and lots of info

Sea Energy Agriculture by Maynard Murray, M.D.
- a remarkable idea using the nutrients of the sea, that is being developed by OceanGrown™ in Florida. Click here for a story from the book.

Sustainable Farming Organizations

The New Farm
Farmer to Farmer Know-How from the Rodale Institute
Lots of interesting articles, stories, and news here in the world of sustainable agriculture.

The Biodynamic Farming & Gardening Association
Based on a series of lectures given by Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner in 1924, Biodynamics is a method of agriculture which seeks to actively work with the health-giving forces of nature. It is the oldest non-chemical agricultural movement, predating the organic agriculture movement by some twenty years and has now spread throughout the world.

Sustainable Farming Connection
Where farmer find and share information

The Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association (OEFFA)
A grassroots coalition of food producers and consumers formed in 1979 to support and promote a healthful, ecological, accountable and permanent agriculture in Ohio and elsewhere.

Innovative Farmers of Ohio - dedicated to the advancement of sustainable agriculture in the State of Ohio

The New Agriculture Network - Farmers, researchers, and educators teeming up for sustainable and organic ag solutions in the Great Lakes Region.

Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture in Iowa

Michael Fields Agricultural Institute - www.michaelfieldsaginst.org 
devoted to developing an agriculture that can sustain the land and its resources. As a public, non-profit learning center, we seek to revitalize farming with research, education, technical assistance and public policy.

Certification Programs
The USDA Organic certification program is expensive for the small farmer who markets locally, and does not cover all aspects of sustainable eco-agriculture that consumers are looking for, so other certification programs have sprung up. Here are some alternatives:

Certified Naturally Grown, a non-profit alternative eco-labeling program for small farms that grow using USDA Organic methods but are NOT a part of the USDA Certified Organic program. Commentary

Certified Humane Raised & Handled
The Certified Humane Raised & Handled Label is a consumer certification and labeling program for farm animals. The farms are not necessarily organic or pasture based.

More on Food Labels

See also "Evaluating Eco-Labels," which includes information and links for other certification programs

Food Quality is an issues that is not addressed by the Organic Certification program. To learn more click here

TheModernHomestead.US  www.themodernhomestead.us
Website of Ellen and Harvey Ussery - dedicated to the skills and philosophy for more self-reliant living.

www.grit.com/   and sister magazine: www.motherearthnews.com/   

Backwoods Home Magazine www.backwoodshome.com/ 

See Simple Living

Poultry Farming:  
Feeding the Homestead Flock
 - a wealth of excellent info on raising a healthy flock of chickens.

U.S. City Dwellers Flock to Raising Chickens - WorldWatch Institute
Note the link to the Eglu chicken house 

Raising Chickens in Your Backyard! http://www.citychickens.com/ 

More Resources:

Local Chicken Coop Source: www.poultrypods.com  

Bee Keeping

The Barefoot Beekeeper - http://www.biobees.com/ 


Will Winter's website www.WillWinter.com - resource for livestock producers

Volunteer Opportunities:

WWOOF-USA Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, USA, is part of a world-wide effort to link volunteers with organic farmers, promote an educational exchange, and build a global community conscious of ecological farming practices.

See also Organic Volunteers - http://www.organicvolunteers.com/index.asp

Permaculture is a creative and artful way of living, where people and nature are all preserved and enhanced by thoughtful planning, the careful use of resources and a reverent approach to life. Thus embraced, these attributes create an environment where all may thrive for untold generations"  
                                                  Bill Wilson of Midwest Permaculture

What is Permaculture?  

Midwest Permaculture 
Leaving the Planet in Better Condition Than We Found It
Permaculture education and training
             for the beginning student, and the experienced permaculturist

Permaculture Research Institutehttp://permaculturenews.org/
Permaculture Forums, Courses, Information & News

More on Permaculture

Plants For A Future http://www.pfaf.org/
A resource centre for rare and unusual plants, particularly those which have edible, medicinal or other uses. Lots of links to permaculture sites.

More on edible wild greens


Greenfire Farm - a permaculture community in southern Ohio

See Simple Living

Food Not Lawns, How To Turn Your Yard into a Garden and Your Neighborhood into a Community, by Heather Coburn Flores
Her website http://www.foodnotlawns.com/

Holistic Management International - works with people around the world to heal damaged land and increase productivity of working lands

See Savory Institute: http://www.savoryinstitute.com/  
and Allan Savory's TED talk on healing desertification  
as usual the scientists claim there's no scientific proof this works, but I suspect that merely means they were convinced it wouldn't work, so they didn't do it right, 

More here

ECHO - This web portal contains a wealth of information on small farm tropical agriculture. http://www.echotech.org/mambo/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1