Recent Articles About Agroecology

Four New Studies Implore Us to Change the Way We Farm

Crazy weather we’ve been having this year: Monster snowstorms across New England, record-breaking freezes in the Midwest, drought, wildfires (in January!), and weirdly hot days in California. For many farmers across the country, and around the world, all this extreme weather—on top of ever-intensifying environmental and economic stresses—is pushing them to their edge. Read more

Like Sustainable Food? Support Public Plant Breeding

We were sitting in a field of sweet corn in Minnesota in the late summer of 2013. A pile of 200 husked and partially eaten ears of that same corn sat at our feet. After tasting that many ears of sweet corn in one sitting, most people would swear off the traditional flavors of summer for good. But not the two of us: A couple of graduate students studying to become classical plant breeders. Along with our collaborators, we were particularly excited that day. Read more

EcoFarm: 34 Years of Bringing the Organic Farming Community Together

Thirty-four years ago the very first EcoFarm conference took place in Winters, CA. It was called “To Husband, The Earth” and was the brainchild of Amigo Bob Cantisano. At the time, he was running the only organic farm supply company and thought it would be valuable to create an event for farmer friends to gather. So he sent out a mailing and 45 people showed up for a big potluck. Read more

MESA: Multicultural Exchange Program for Farmers

Lauren Augusta realized the need for sustainable agriculture exchange while working at a conventional agriculture training program, where she observed the detrimental effects of agrochemicals on the land and farmers’ health. “I loved the idea of cross-cultural exchange, but I ultimately couldn’t defend the agricultural model my old program promoted,” she says. “I was increasingly alarmed by the unjust and disconnected farming practices I witnessed.” Read more

The History of Coachella’s Iconic Dates

If you drive southeast of Palm Springs through the Eastern Coachella Valley, it’s easy to get a little overwhelmed by the date palm trees. They grow as tall as 70 feet, and they’re everywhere, filling thousands of acres. Dates aren’t native to the Coachella Valley, but they’ve given this region an identity and became a top crop. Read more

Farm Bill Conservation Programs Can Do More to Clean Up California’s Water

Hundreds of millions of conservation dollars in the federal farm bill should be used more effectively to address widespread water pollution problems in California, concludes a new report released today by Environmental Working Group (EWG). Too much money is going to install micro-irrigation systems and build facilities to manage and treat the millions of tons of animal waste generated by dairies and cattle feedlots. Too little is going to support high-impact ecological farming practices such as cover cropping, nutrient management, filter strips and conservation tillage. Read more

Cultivating Awareness: Farming Is Daily Meditation at Green Gulch

Trails of wispy fog cling to the switchback slopes along Highway 1 from Mill Valley to Muir Beach, past a hand-carved wooden sign leading to the Green Gulch Farm Zen Center.

From the road above, the tall eucalyptus trees form an arch over the gentle curve of the fertile valley below, which empties out into the Pacific Ocean. Drive a bit farther in and you’ll catch glimpses of iridescent crops laid out in neat ribbons, forming the heart of Green Gulch Farm: six acres of certified organic vegetable fields, fruit trees and flower gardens. Read more

This Land is Our Land?

Imagine a country where ideologues bent on land reform turn agriculture into the plaything of the world’s richest investors, and poor local farmers are locked out of millions of acres prime agricultural land. Then stop imagining some African country run by a despot and his friends and start picturing the United States. Rural America is on the cusp of one of the greatest transfers of land in its history and no one’s talking about it. Read more