Let's take a day to talk about why organic farming is critical as the American people have decades of only hearing and learning about agriculture technology and less and less about natural agriculture science. The 1% Wall Street corporate pols are very good at teaching the working class and poor not to want to learn about subjects outside their vocations---that is what global corporate neo-liberal K-career college is about. A car mechanic has to eat----he/she has to have water, shelter, and employment stability and to do that he/she needs to know all subjects broadly. Otherwise we are simply doing what we are told----AS IS TODAY'S CAPTURED US POLITICS.
The article yesterday had a rural Indian farmer saying his soil is dead----it will no longer grow crops WITHOUT fertilizer. He knows there is a natural soil cycle just as there is a natural carbon cycle in our atmosphere. THE FARMER'S ALMANAC was the latest source of information for America's farmers brought to the US from thousands of years of old world farming. It tells farmers annual weather patterns----insect cycles necessary for farm plants---what crops will grow best under those condition. We know there are good insects and bad insects in farming and the almanac provided information in helping good insects and fighting the harm of bad insects. This was not perfect for annual yield but it developed a stable, steady supply of food and allowed farmers to know when one crop would do better than another. GREEN REVOLUTION says ---we don't want crop loss and we want cash crops that will bring more money. This started the monoculture planting with fertilizer/insecticide ----giving us a mid-west growing nothing but corn and soy bean---or India growing nothing but rice. YES, THIS HAS KILLED THE SOIL.
We learned a little about the carbon cycle in the atmosphere---let's learn a little about the soil cycles for our food plants.
The best book that most people don't read is CHARLES DARWIN'S life of the earthworm. This research was the backbone of farmer's almanac knowledge for thousands of years but Darwin let us know the science of why it is important. There are two things most important happening in our soil all work by insects and animals quite small. One, tunneling through the soil by earthworms and grubs loosens the soil to allow roots to grow more easily and allows water to seep from surface down to roots. As these critters live they POOP and when they die their bodies decay creating lots of natural food sources for our food plants. As more and more fertilizers were used year after year----those chemicals have killed those vital animals helping our food plants to live. No one knew better these Darwin plant cycles then the industrial engineers designing farming around all the things that kill this natural cycle.
THAT'S OK SAY INDUSTRIAL GREEN REVOLUTION---WE WILL SIMPLY USE MORE AND MORE IRRIGATION AND WATER TO REACH THOSE ROOTS AND THE FERTILIZERS WILL REPLACE THAT POOP AND DECAY.
While REAL agriculturalists were shouting YOU ARE KILLING NATURAL SOIL CYCLES-----Wall Street was teaching people about the value of maximized crop production and cash crops.
STEM CLASSES ARE NOT TEACHING NATURAL FARMING---THEY ARE TEACHING ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY APPROACHES ONLY.
Darwin's Earthworm Experiments Broke New Ground
February 12, 200911:44 AM ET
Heard on All Things Considered
iAlun Anderson looks over the field at Down House where Darwin conducted his earthworm experiments.
Joe Palca/NPR Digging In Darwin's GardenBy doing experiments in his yard, Darwin proved that earthworms were turning the soil and making it more fertile. This was a surprising finding to 19th-century gardeners, who thought the worms were pests.
Joe Palca speaks with science journalist Alun Anderson about why he dug up Darwin's garden.
Sir Arthur Keith/Nature Many people know about Darwin's famous voyage aboard the Beagle — of his observations of the birds on the Galapagos Islands. Less well known is that Darwin spent quite a bit of time studying earthworms.
Initially, his earthworm work drew as much, or more, attention as his evolution work. His book, The Formation of Vegetable Mould Through the Action of Worms, With Observations on Their Habits, published in 1881, sold even better than On the Origin of Species during Darwin's lifetime.
Darwin began his observations on earthworms as a young man, but abandoned them to fiddle around with revolutionizing biology. It was only late in life that he returned to his worm pursuits.
He did most of research at Down House, his country estate outside London.
"At the time when Darwin started looking at the worms, no one appreciated the role they had in agriculture," says Alun Anderson, a journalist who became interested in Darwin's worm work.
In fact, Anderson says, in the mid 19th century, most people thought earthworms were pests.
But Darwin was convinced they were valuable for turning over the soil, in part by chewing it up and pooping it out, thereby making it more fertile.
To find out how fast the worms were turning the soil, Darwin did experiments. He spread small coal stones across a field behind his house and left them for 20 or 30 years. Then, he dug a trench across the land and looked in the walls of the trench to see how far down the stones had sunk through the action of the worms.
It's true that Darwin's earthworm work probably is not as important as his work on natural selection. But it does provide an insight into his genius.
"Only Darwin would go out there and start to do experiments and start to come up with a whole theory as to what earthworms did and why they were beneficial," says Anderson. "Everyone else just took them as part of life and didn't think hard like he did."
We are giving a very short summary but take time to learn about what is our vital resource of food to know when 1% Wall Street corporate policies are killing our food access.
While the worms and grubs are tunneling, pooping, and decaying there are smaller animals living and eating from those processes. Bacteria connect themselves to certain kinds of food plant because each plants releases different chemicals. Some bacteria like what potato plants emit-----some what a cucumber plant emits---some like what a lemon tree emits. It takes millions of years for all the animals in the soil to join in living from one another being helpful to our food plants while they simply live. Soil bacteria are vital for our food plants both in making them strong and stable. Fertilizing year after year after year has killed those vital soil bacteria.
THIS IS WHY A RURAL FARMERS SAYS----MY SOIL IS DEAD. We have gone from being able to drop seed in the soil and having natural nutrients and animals making that plant thrive----to not being able to grow our food plants without fertilizer. KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? The price of fertilizer goes higher and higher making it impossible for a small farmer to buy what is now necessary. KNOW WHO KNEW THIS WOULD HAPPEN?
THE GREEN REVOLUTION AGRICULTURE TECHNOLOGY FOLKS.
For my friends who are committed to non-organics think about this----ending BIG AG and bringing back only small farming is critical to all food production. If fertilizers are used SPARINGLY---and rotated from one area of farmland to another each year giving the soil relief from annual doses of chemicals----these natural animals may be able to tolerate this.
The Role of Soil Bacteria
James J. Hoorman
Cover Crops and Water Quality
Assistant Professor and Extension Educator
Ohio State University Extension
Microbes in the soil are the key to carbon and nitrogen recycling. A teaspoon of productive soil generally contains between 100 million and 1 billion individual bacteria. That is as much mass as two cows per acre. A ton of microscopic bacteria may be active per acre and there may be over one million species of bacteria present. Bacteria are tiny, one-celled organisms about 4/100,000 of an inch wide (1 μm, range from 0.2 to 2 μm) and somewhat longer in length (1–10 μm). Bacteria are similar in size to clay soil particles (<2 μm) to silt soil particles (2–50 μm). They grow and live in thin water films around soil particles and near roots in an area called the rhizosphere. The small bacteria size enables these microbes to grow and adapt to changing environmental conditions more rapidly than larger, more complex microorganisms.
Most soils are simply a graveyard for dead bacteria cells. Since most bacteria live under starvation conditions or water stress in the soil, they have adapted to quickly reproduce when water, food, and the environmental conditions are abundant. Bacteria populations can easily double in 30 minutes. Bacteria are so simple in structure that they have been called a bag of enzymes.
These industrial farming policies were aimed at yield and crop maximization but then they needed to get rid of bad insects. We have read from early times of storms of locusts, grasshoppers, beetles that love our food crops and indeed that is what a farmer's almanac addressed-----the insect cycles of these bad insects. The almanac also gave natural remedies to reject those pesky insects. So farmers planted different crops if they knew CICADA were going to rise from their nests----when extreme heat cause insects to swarm and come for our crops because these pesky insects will only eat certain kinds of plants. If a farmer knew the conditions were right for swarms of bad insects---they planted different crops. Another natural approach by small farmers was to over-plant a crop knowing some would be lost to insects. They still were able to harvest enough for their families and sell for profit.
IT IS ONLY THE IDEA OF CASH CROP AND CROP MAXIMIZATION THAT KEEPS THE SAME CROP YEAR AFTER YEAR THAT OFTEN IS VERY SUSCEPTIBLE TO THESE INSECT CYCLES.
That's OK say GREEN REVOLUTION TECHNOLOGISTS----we will spray more pesticides and even genetically engineer pesticides into our GM SEEDS.
There were many natural ways to combat pest insects when they swarm for small farmers having limited land to protect. When BIG AG comes along there is no way to protect miles and miles of monoculture crops so they start the chemical battle against insects. KNOW WHAT?
THIS CHEMICAL BATTLE KILLS MORE THAN JUST PESKY INSECTS---IT KILLED ALL THE GOOD PLANT POLLINATORS NECESSARY FOR OUR FOOD PLANTS TO PRODUCE.
These decades of GM and pesticide have seen our honey bees, butterflies, and other GOOD insects a plant needs for pollination become endangered and heading for extinction.
THAT'S OK SAY THE GREEN REVOLUTION TECHNOLOGY----WE WILL NOW PRODUCE DOMESTIC BEES AND A FARMER CAN NOW BUY BEES FOR POLLINATION OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN.
Cicada 2016: Control of Periodical Cicada Insect
Cicada bugs are present in many areas of the country. In areas where a limited number of these insects are present, they pose only a minor nuisance. However, in areas where they emerge all at once by the millions, they can do serious damage to a the young trees and shrubs in your yard. In addition, their high pitched, shrill noise is very irritating. While Cicadas are fascinating to some, their presence in big numbers, is un-nerving to many people.
Other names: Cicadas are also called 17 year Locust, Cicada insects and Periodical Cicada.
Large spring hatches, called "broods", emerge in 13 year and 17 year cycles.
The 2016 Cicada emergence will have one brood emerging.
When a Cicada emergence hits an area, the best protection for your trees and shrub is pest netting with a 1/4" mesh. Buy Pest Netting
Most, but not all years, a Cicada brood hatches, affecting anywhere from a small area, to several states. When a particular brood matures and emerges, it is usually in many millions of insects. Fortunately, their adult life span above ground is very brief, lasting about four to six weeks.
Cicada are a flying, plant sucking insect that emerges in periodic cycles. Cicada nymphs suck juices from roots of plants. Egg laying females cause significant damage to trees, bushes and shrubs, during their brief adult stage. They are not harmful to humans. Counter to some rumors, they do not bite, nor do they often land on a human or animal.
An important distinction: Cicada are present in many areas of the country in small numbers. In the summer, many of us can hear an occasional loud, shrill Cicada somewhere in a tree. When a large cicada brood hatches, it is an entirely different event. They emerge by the thousands, or even by the millions. During their brief emergence, they are a major nuisance.
Types of Cicada:
There are two basic types of Cicadas:
Periodic, 2-8 year cycle- These insects "seem" to appear every year in some areas, because their life cycle is staggered. Actually, a different brood is hatching each year to make it seem like they are annual.
13 to 17 year cycle- This group does not appear every year. When they do emerge, it is in huge numbers. They are sometimes called "17 Year Locusts". Although, they are not related to locusts.
The Life Cycle of a Cicada
While the Cicada's life span may be as long as 17 years, they spend almost all of their lives underground. Cicada nymphs emerge from the ground in periodic cycles. These nymphs climb up trees and quickly shed their skins(molt). Adult flying cicada emerge from the skin. The adult Cicadas' entire purpose in life is to mate and produce offspring. You can hear the males' mating "song", from early morning to nightfall. In heavily infested areas, the noise can be quite disturbing. About five to ten days after mating, the female lands on twigs of deciduous trees, cuts slits in them, and lays her eggs in the slit.
Adults do not eat. Damage to trees is caused by the adult female, as she cuts slits into twigs and small diameter branches, to lay her eggs. Shortly after mating, the male Cicada dies.
The eggs hatch, producing tiny nymphs that fall to the ground. The nymphs burrow into the soil and feast on underground tree roots. They remain there for years, slowly growing, until their periodic cycle calls them to emerge again as adults.
How Cicadas Harm Trees and Shrubs:
It's the female that harms trees. Choosing deciduous trees, she cuts two slits in small pencil sized (or smaller) branches and twigs, and lays about 24 eggs. She then goes on to another twig and repeats the process. A female cicada can deposit up to 600 eggs.
Where infestations are heavy, the egg laying process is repeated on a tremendous number of twigs. This causes the twigs(or ends of the tree) to die, and often break off. With a heavy infestation, it often destroys young trees and bushes. While the damage may look bad on large trees, a mature tree usually survives the damage. Although damaged trees may look unsightly, for a year of two.
See Pictures of damaged trees
Affected Trees, Bushes and Shrubs:
Female cicadas seek woody stalks, 1/2 inch or less in diameter. Pines are not bothered, because of the sap. Any trees from soft gum trees to medium beech, apple, etc to harder woods such as maples, oaks, hickory. The real key is branches that are 1/2" to 1" in diameter or less, with long open sections where they can "stitch" (lay) eggs.
Don't Need Protection:
Black Eyed Susan
Fruit Trees in general
Rose of Sharon
Pine and Firs
Cicada and Locust Protection and Control:
Insecticides are ineffective on these large insects.
Many animals eat Cicadas, including birds, dogs and cats. Humans eat Cicadas, too. If you are so inclined, there are recipes online! Cicadas emerge for a very brief period of time in huge numbers. The feast is short lived. Natural predators don't make a big dent in their populations.
Insect Netting is the most effective way to provide protection for young trees and shrubs, which are most susceptible. Because Cicada are large insects, a 1/4" mesh netting is effective. Wrap pest netting completely around the tree and tie or seal it off, to keep any insects from finding an entryway.
Important Note: Even if the Cicadas have emerged in your area, you have 5-10 days to cover young trees before the female begins to cause damage, as she lays her eggs.
Below you see the natural approaches used for thousands of years----it tells a farmer weather, pests, nutrient, plant rotation science that allowed our small farmers to produce the best crop yields from year to year.
'In fact, studies show that ecological farming, especially in developing countries, can produce up to 80% more food than the chemical agriculture while at the same time avoiding the chemical dangers to human life and the environment'.
It has been this growing need for fertilizers, insecticides, and water scarcity that has prices for each rising and rising and rising. This has put our small farmers out of business while folding more land into BIG AG with growing industrial practices. The soil is dead and people cannot afford the AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS to plant even if they could access land.
THESE LARGER FARMERS -----MAYBE NOT THE GREAT BIG AG BUT THE REGIONAL AG BETTER WAKE UP-----YOU MAY BE THE WINNERS OVER THE SMALL FARMERS BUT YOU ARE NEXT TO BE PUSHED OUT OF BUSINESS.
Farmers have known for thousands of years how good insects eat bad ones and the value of planting decoy plants to attract good insects and distract bad ones away from our food crops. When you have small farms this is easier to do but BIG AG says that just won't do it. So they place poisons to kill rodents eating crops and kill good animals right along with them.
THAT'S OK SAY THE GREEN REVOLUTION TECHNOLOGISTS----WE NEED TO CULL ANIMAL POPULATIONS ANYWAY.
Natural Pest Control for Healthy Plants in your Vegetable Garden
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<a href="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Ulc2bQ52BuM?rel=0&amp;wmode=opaque&amp;showinfo=0&amp;autohide=1">Embedded video for Natural Pest Control for Healthy Plants in your Vegetable Garden</a>Watching as your plants are being destroyed by pests like slugs, aphids or cabbage worm can be very frustrating.
However, there are many ways to use nature's own organic pest controls to avoid your crops being damaged in this way. This video demonstrates simple pest control techniques which can help you to reduce harmful pests and stop them from damaging your fruit and vegetables. We explain which methods work best for different types of pests, as well as how to use natural habitats and barriers for future protection.
'Do not rely on repellants alone'.
Here is a farmer's almanac sharing all kinds of ways to get rid of bigger animal pests. These really do work all without using poisons. The key is knowing what that pest eats and create diversions. I have a wonderful friend working to take a food plant pest heavy piece of land to pest neutral all using these natural farming tools. So, we have the time people must take to do the organics vs the time savings of chemical farming. We are at the point in chemical farming where land is dead----water is gone----and our ability to have crop variety is disappearing.
LET'S GO BACK TO PUTTING OUR TIME TO FOOD PRODUCTION AND NOT ALLOW A SMALL GROUP OF GLOBAL BIG AG KILL OUR WORLD AGRICULTURE.
If you plant plants predators do not like around plants they do-----you are building a natural repellant but children will not learn this in STEM K-career college----they will learn only GREEN REVOLUTION TECHNOLOGY.
How to Identify and Get Rid of Rabbit
Learn how to get rid of rabbits and keep them out of your garden with these tips.
Why Would You Keep Rabbits Away?
Anyone who tills the soil regards the rabbit as more than a cute threat to the carrot patch. This long-eared animal possesses a voracious appetite for all kinds of fresh vegetation—woody plants, perennials, annuals, vegetables, and berries. In fact, a menu of rabbit favorites is so ridiculously long that it’s easier to list the few plants they don’t enjoy.
Rabbits also have an extremely high reproductive potential, which is why keeping them around might quickly cause a total garden infestation. They reach up to three litters of six babies each per year in the north, and up to six litters of three babies each per year in the south. The first litter appears in March in the north, year-round elsewhere. The gestation period is 29 days.
Your backyard bunny’s primary concern is to eat without being eaten, a difficult task given that rabbits are relished by more than two dozen species of predators. Nibbling your petunias is therefore not a carefree picnic but a danger-fraught mission. However, if your neighborhood bunny can squeeze through a hole in your garden fence, it will be able to munch in safety.
You can check our tips for keeping your plants safe from rabbits, but try to regard rabbits as Beatrix Potter did—part of a peaceful, pastoral landscape. Then protect the plants that you and the bunnies really love, and don’t worry about the rest.
How to Identify Rabbits in your Garden
Of the nine species of North American cottontail rabbits, it’s the eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) that is our most abundant and annoying. Ranging from Boston to Boulder and south into Mexico, this bunny-about-town is rarely found in forests; preferring instead brushy fence rows, field edges, brush piles, and—you guessed it—landscaped backyards. Its fondness for flowers, vegetables, bark, and bulbs often results in pruned peppers and clipped cosmos.
Even though its nicknames are adorable (among them bunny, bunny rabbit, and cottontail), and you’ll probably want to befriend it once you see its cute ears, the eastern cottontail can be a bothersome pest. It is gray or brownish, with a short tail and big ears. It can weigh 2 to 4 pounds, be 15 to 19 inches in length, and live for 12 to 15 months. Its vocal call is almost silent, but it will emit a scream when threatened. Its famous features include a short white tail resembling a cotton ball and long tapered ears.
For an eastern cottontail, security is a pile of brush, leaves, or another animal’s abandoned burrow. Unlike their European cousins, these rabbits do not dig intricate burrows or warrens but make due with what they find. Rabbits rarely leave their shelters in broad daylight, preferring instead early morning or evening. Like most animals, they are sensitive to the change in day length as spring approaches. For rabbits, the longer days signal the start of two things: breeding season and spring dining.
Rabbits are voracious eaters and leave clean-cut damage. Check the leaves and stems of your plants for cleanly cut damage; insects and other pests usually leave jagged edges on damaged plants. This clean-cut damage often happens at ground level, as rabbits tend to eat the yummy green shoots of tulips and other plants.
These low mowers graze close to the ground and sniff out the first tender young shoots and crop them short. They love to munch on flowers, clover, peas, lettuce, beans, and more. Many of these plants are also the favorites of woodchucks or groundhogs, so check for burrows before deciding you have rabbit damage. Once your plants have passed the seedling stage, they are usually safe from rabbit damage.
Although bunny nibbling occurs in every season, it’s especially discouraging in the early spring when rabbits mercilessly munch the tender green shoots of plants. As a Connecticut gardener remembers, “My tulips were just poking through the snow when suddenly it looked like they’d been weed-whacked. Cut clean off! I blame the bunnies—their little paw prints were everywhere.”
Control and Prevention
How to Get Rid of Rabbits
Though we’ve mostly been discussing eastern cottontails, keep in mind—these tips should work for any type of rabbit that loves to munch on your plants!
- Get yourself a dog! It’s a bit of an investment and commitment, but it’ll keep the rabbits away.
- As their twitching noses indicate, rabbits sniff a lot. Try sprinkling dried sulfur around or on your plants. Rabbits also dislike the smell of onions, so try planting these around your garden to further deter the furry creatures.
- To discourage pesky rabbits, try dusting your plants with plain talcum powder.
- Since rabbits are great sniffers, powdered red pepper sprinkled around the garden or on targeted plants may keep them out.
- Irish Spring soap shavings placed in little drawstring bags around the garden will also help to keep rabbits away.
- Make a bad-tasting rabbit cocktail by grinding together three hot peppers, three large onions, and one whole bunch of garlic. Add water to cover, and place into a covered container overnight. Strain, and then add enough additional water to make a gallon of the mixture. Spray onto plants, repeating after rainfall. Commercial products using pungent garlic oil are also worth a try.
- Spray your plants with a mixture of 1 teaspoon Lysol and 1 gallon of water.
- Some people protect plants with individual “collars” of tin cans or screening so that the plants may reach a less vulnerable size. Put the collar around each stem for protection.
- Use cylinders of ¼-inch mesh hardware cloth to keep rabbits from nibbling on young fruit and landscape trees. The cylinders should extend higher than a rabbit’s reach while the rabbit is standing on the expected depth of snow, and they should stand one to two inches out from the tree trunk.
- Some of the deer techniques related to odor are also said to work against rabbits. Deter rabbits with commercially-available deer repellents that contain a mixture of dried bovine blood, sulfured eggs and garlic.
- Legend has it that rabbits are terrified of their own reflection, so try an old-time rabbit remedy and place large, clear glass jars of water throughout the garden. Garden centers sell ready-made reflectors, as well as other devices—crouchinc cats, fake snakes, menacing owls—designed to frighten bunnies away from your plants.
- Sometimes, humane traps are the best solution. If you don’t want to buy a trap, consider building one. Place the trap where you’ve seen the rabbits feeding or resting, and cover it with a piece of canvas. Apples, carrots, cabbage, and other fresh green veggies make excellent bait. Check it often, and release bunnies in rural areas several miles away.
How to Prevent Rabbits
The best way to keep rabbits out of the garden is to start early in the spring using the things they don’t like, then be consistent throughout the growing season.
- It’s best to keep rabbits from crossing into the garden to begin with, and many old-time remedies rely on spreading various products around the perimeter of the garden such as dried blood or dried blood meal or human hair. Sprinkle dried blood on the surface around all your plants as early in the season as you can, and repeat after a heavy rain. Note: If you have dogs, don’t try this method because they might be attracted to the scent and start digging up your garden.
- Do not rely on repellants alone. The most effective way of keeping out rabbits is chicken wire fencing. Install a fence that is 4 feet high and bury it 6 inches deep. Bend the top foot of the fence away from the garden like a security fence, so that they can’t climb or jump over it. For new bulbs, try a dome or cage of chicken wire secured over the bed.
- Rabbits don’t like to leave their shelters, so try to reduce the possible rabbit homes around your yard. Brush away piles of brush and leaves, and fill in abandoned burrows. If a rabbit doesn’t have a place to live, hopefully it won’t stay and munch. Rabbits will also breed much more if they have a good habitat available—all the more reason to have no vacancy!
According to bunny experts, rabbits have plant preferences based on taste, nutritive value, the presence of poison or prickles, and ease of availability. Their tastes in food can also vary by region and season, so not all plants work for all rabbits. Be tricky and tend plants that rabbits don’t find very appetizing.
Rabbits tend to avoid some of the same plants as deer and Japanese beetles. If you’d like to control all these pests, check our list of deer-resistant plants and best and worst plants for Japanese beetles to know which plants might do best. Choose plants such as forsythia, lilac bush, marigolds, zinnias, daffodils, lavender, and snapdragons for rabbits. This might help to reduce your rabbit population. This is not a guaranteed solution, as hungry rabbits will eat almost anything, but filling your garden with these plants might make your garden less appetizing than another one.
Here are more plants that rabbits dislike:
WOODY PLANTSAzalea (Rhododendron sp.)
Boxwood (Buxus sp.)
Bush cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa)
Butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii)
Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster sp.)
Japanese maple (Acer palmatum)
Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia)
Rhododendron (Rhododendron sp.)
Tatarian dogwood (Cornus alba)
Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera)
PERENNIALSAdam’s needle (Yucca filamentosa)
Creeping phlox (Phlox subulata)
Foam flower (Tiarella cordifolia)
Lamb’s ear (Stachys byzantina)
Meadow rue (Thalictrum rochebrunianum)
Peony (Paeonia hybrids)
Perennial salvia ‘East Friesland’ (Salvia x superba)
Primrose (Primula x polyantha)
Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)
Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Sedum)
Speedwell (Veronica sp.)
Spring cinquefoil (Potentilla verna)
Stokes’ aster (Stokesia laevis)
ANNUALSFour o’clock flower (Mirabilis jalapa)
Geranium, zonal and bedding (Pelargonium x hortorum)
Mexican ageratum (Ageratum houstonianum)
Pot marigold (Calendula officinalis)
Spiderflower (Cleome hasslerana)
Vinca (Catharanthus roseus)
Wax begonia (Begonia x semperflorens-cultorum)
BULBSDaffodil (Narcissus sp.)
Hyacinth (Hyacinth orientalis)
Persian onion (Allium giganteum)
Here is where REAL fresh food citizens wanting to grow organics need to watch because 1% Wall Street global pols do not want a fresh food local movement ---they are working hard to control all food with GLOBAL BIG AG-----so they are busy redirecting all funding designated to growing local food sources to GREEN REVOLUTION TECHNOLOGY. As always---they will throw a few million at a US city but absolutely no real fresh food infrastructure is being built outside of a few community gardens. If you know the land inside US cities deemed International Economic Zones under Trans Pacific Trade Pact are slated to become global corporate campuses and global factories that will devastate the air and soil---we know there is no REAL SMALL FARMING POLICIES being funded. If we are not rebuilding each community in our cities as local small business economies with a grand central, permanent public space for fresh food----they are POSING PROGRESSIVE ON THIS FOOD ISSUE and will leave WE THE PEOPLE with no food source.
Even Whole Foods----which was always a global food chain control of our organic food market ----putting most small organic farmers out of business is now well known to be slipping on the actual status of organic foods. We see product consolidation on shelves and there is no mechanism at Federal, state, or local level to assure these foods are actually organic. What they have done is created a food distribution in the US where much of those food products come from overseas. If we are not producing our own food and selling here in the US----we have no food security.
The modern community garden movement in the United States: Its roots, its current condition and its prospects for the future
Joshua Birky, University of South Florida
Degree Granting DepartmentGeography
Major ProfessorElizabeth Strom, Ph.D.
KeywordsUrban, Agriculture, History, Social, Impacts
Numerous researchers have shown that community gardens have the potential to eliminate social, communal, health, agricultural and economic problems that many in the United States and the rest of the world are facing. Yet, throughout history allotment and community gardens have been seen as improper elements of urban landscapes and used predominately for crisis mitigation and not as sustainable solutions. This thesis shows that the current U.S. community garden movement is inherently different than past unsustainable movements and may establish community gardens as sustainable features of many municipalities in the U.S. This is because the modern U.S. movement is supported by more research and infrastructure than in the past; it is composed of many more social and financial groups; it is sponsored by multiple groups (private, public and non-profit); it incorporates multiple uses; and it was spurred by many unconnected catalysts rather than by a single major crisis. The histories of, and connections between, past movements in the U.S. and the U.K. are validated by extensive documentation and records. Additionally, surveys and interviews were conducted with community gardens in Kansas, New York and Texas and the results of these surveys and interviews indicate the current movement is indeed strong, diverse and expanding.
“We’re trying to flood a group of kids with an awareness of STEM careers, and empower them to work with each other,” Peterson said.
IS THE NEXT GENERATION READY FOR STEM TECHNOLOGY???
So now students are being told they need robotics and computer skills to be a good farmer---because that is what GLOBAL BIG AG hires as employees. One cannot be a farmer without technology degrees. OH, REALLY?????
Who can afford all these new technology costs----from fertilizers, pesticides, GM seeds, computerized tractors that drive themselves, drones looking for animal pests, and robotics that harvest fields? ONLY GLOBAL BIG AG. How many citizens are hired to do all that? The few people needed to watch computer screens.
IT'S ALL ABOUT GIVING OUR WORKING CLASS AND POOR CHILDREN OPPORTUNITY? PROGRESSIVE POSING ALWAYS BRINGS IN THE POOR.
Thursday 4, August 2016
From farm to future: Getting small-town kids into tech
by Jaclyn Zubrzycki
Credit: San José Library
For Tyler Thornton, pears, apples and jetliners aren’t so far apart.
Thornton, now 22, grew up as a fourth-generation orchardist in the remote Okanogan Valley, where his great-grandfather settled in 1904. Now he’s finishing up a summer internship at Boeing and is one semester away from his Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering at Washington State University in Pullman.
“Growing up on a farm is all about problem-solving. You move from one chaos or catastrophe to another,” Thornton said. “I’ve been working through problems my whole life, being around machinery, thinking of innovative solutions to stay in business.”
Thornton said that his teachers in the 1,080-student Tonasket School District, noticing this set of skills, pointed him to engineering as a possible career.
Thornton and Tonasket aren’t alone in making the connection between rural and agricultural skills and jobs in science, technology, engineering and math, often referred to as the STEM fields. A number of school districts and nonprofits throughout the state are increasingly focused on creating stronger STEM education programs and making connections between existing industries and STEM skills in rural Washington.
Many emphasize the natural connection between rural skills and STEM fields. But there’s also an urgency behind the efforts: Rural Washington schools are undergoing a longer-term demographic transformation as many family farms have been consolidated, more migrant farmworkers have arrived, and populations in many towns are aging. Many schools are also short on resources, funds, and even teachers.
That’s left educators to figure out how to prevent their students from being left behind in a changing economy. While jobs connected to STEM subjects have become increasingly common in the state, rural students are often isolated from those opportunities, according to Barbara Peterson, the director of the Northwest Learning and Achievement Group, a nonprofit focused on young people in Washington’s rural school districts.
Strengths and challenges in rural schools
For the 10 percent of Washington’s public school students who are growing up in rural parts of the state, geography can be a blessing and a curse.
In Washington, rural schools have a higher on-time graduation rate for students than the state as a whole — 70.3 percent, compared to 59.8 percent overall. But some rural schools lack the teachers, students, or facilities to support advanced coursework and technology that’s present in larger school districts. If a senior class has six students, it may not make sense to offer AP Calculus AB and BC. Many rural districts are facing a crisis-level teacher shortage; some don’t have wireless internet.
Still, rural students in Washington have access to some of the most fascinating geology and astronomy in the state. They live near some of the biggest engineering projects, like dams and nuclear facilities. And Peterson argues that rural students have often learned problem-solving skills that could lend themselves naturally to careers in STEM fields, if anyone helped them make the connection.
There’s some research to back her up: The results of the first-ever national assessment of technology and engineering skills in the U.S. found rural students earning comparable scores to their suburban peers, and significantly outscoring urban students. A survey that accompanied the test, known as the NAEP, found that many rural students reported learning problem-solving skills outside of the classroom.
For Peterson, this situation poses a question: “If students have had unequal preparation but they could do well in these fields, how do we provide the additional support we need to help them make up for that deficit?”
Her approach: Catch students young, offer extracurricular and afterschool opportunities that might get them interested in STEM, and help them see the connections between the problem-solving skills they already possess and fields like engineering. Organizations affiliated with the Northwest Learning and Achievement Group run camps and offer in-school sessions on topics like engineering and robotics.
“We’re trying to flood a group of kids with an awareness of STEM careers, and empower them to work with each other,” Peterson said.
Still, Peterson said it’s important to understand the nuances of rural families’ decisions about education: While there may be more job opportunities outside of rural areas, there is also a fear that encouraging kids to leave for education and career contributes to a rural “brain drain.”
Can STEM careers reverse bran drain?
In 2015, Peterson and a group of colleagues wrote a paper, Rural Students in Washington State: STEM as a Strategy for Building Rigor, Postsecondary Aspirations, and Relevant Career Opportunities. The paper highlights a handful of programs throughout the state that introduce rural students to STEM careers.
Among the other groups reaching out directly to rural students is the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship Program, which offers students scholarships if they are studying high-demand subjects, including STEM, has recruited students from rural districts throughout the state. “Washington is a vast and amazing state,” said Naria Santa Lucia, the executive director of the scholarship program.
Spokesperson Megan Nelson said that for rural schools, an individual counselor who is aware of opportunities like the scholarship program can make a big difference. She said that, as in suburban and urban schools, low-income students face the biggest barriers to higher education and careers in STEM fields.
Lee Lambert, the director of the regional networks for the nonprofit advocacy group Washington STEM, said that his organization is hoping to connect education leaders to businesses and nonprofits throughout the state, including rural areas. He said rural areas are often home to a host of unexpected STEM careers: In Yakima’s apple industry or in old logging towns, there are jobs and opportunities for scientists and engineers and in computer science, he said.
Lambert said Washington STEM hopes that exposing students to these jobs could help inspire them to see new possibilities for themselves, and that connections fostered through the networks might increase educational and career opportunities for rural students.
In her paper on rural students in Washington, Peterson also argues that the growth in freelancing driven by technological changes might also open up opportunities for young people to live in rural areas while participating in high tech fields, thus stemming the brain drain.
Tonasket is one of the districts that has embraced STEM as a path to opportunity for its young people. A federal grant program called GEAR Up, focused on helping low-income students attend college, has supported programs including computer programming and natural resource camps. Several students have participated in a STEM fellowship for high schoolers interested in the sciences. The school has also started a robotics club that has sent several students to a national competition and introduced an engineering class for middle schoolers.
Thornton said that for him, relationships with individual teachers in Tonasket helped guide him toward a career in engineering.
And now, he says, the gap between his rural upbringing and more urban present doesn’t feel like a contradiction. He says he could see himself spending part of his career working at a larger company in a less rural area and part of it in a place like Tonasket.
“I see rural kids as having every advantage,” he said.
As they are telling underserved communities they are being made part of these global technologies 1% Wall Street has every intention of eliminating these same people from having even the most basic of agriculture job. Robotics and technology will have computer-driven tractors, computer-controlled irrigation, computer and robotic operated greenhouses and the fewer jobs available both as manual labor in agriculture and those small percentage of people hired to operate those computers will be 5 billion of the world's global labor pool working for as little as $3 a day.
We all know agriculture jobs have always been enslaving so getting people out of the fields is not bad. What is bad is removing all human touch from our soil, crop, and air management. With drones flying over miles of BIG AG----no one is any longer closely tied to the land---the soil. So, WE THE PEOPLE will have almost no part in growing this food, no ability to affect policy, no ability to afford to buy land or agriculture products and we will be totally disconnected from our food sources. Even community fish farms is a global food ploy as they send all that Federal funding to build offshore industrial fish farms. It will not be coming to our communities.
The poor are being pushed further into this GREEN REVOLUTION that will kill the availability of food to WE THE PEOPLE when they will be harmed by all this the most. Everyone is harmed---but the poor are always the first to feel these authoritarian food famines.
WHEN THEY TALK ABOUT AVAILABILITY OF WORKERS GLOBAL BIG AG ARE TALKING ABOUT HOW LOW GLOBAL AGRICULTURAL WORKER'S WAGES HAVE GONE WITH NO ONE WANTING TO WORK FOR THAT WAGE. IT IS SLAVERY.
'Robots to revolutionize farming, ease labor woes
Robots and computers are already replacing workers in factories and offices. Now engineers are developing intelligent machines to do farm work and help ease a worsening labor shortage on American farms. (July 15) AP
AP 2:21 p.m. EDT July 18, 2013
(Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez, AP)
SALINAS, Calif. (AP) -- On a windy morning in California's Salinas Valley, a tractor pulled a wheeled, metal contraption over rows of budding iceberg lettuce plants. Engineers from Silicon Valley tinkered with the software on a laptop to ensure the machine was eliminating the right leafy buds.
The engineers were testing the Lettuce Bot, a machine that can "thin" a field of lettuce in the time it takes about 20 workers to do the job by hand.
The thinner is part of a new generation of machines that target the last frontier of agricultural mechanization - fruits and vegetables destined for the fresh market, not processing, which have thus far resisted mechanization because they're sensitive to bruising.
Researchers are now designing robots for these most delicate crops by integrating advanced sensors, powerful computing, electronics, computer vision, robotic hardware and algorithms, as well as networking and high precision GPS localization technologies. Most ag robots won't be commercially available for at least a few years.
In this region known as America's Salad Bowl, where for a century fruits and vegetables have been planted, thinned and harvested by an army of migrant workers, the machines could prove revolutionary.
Farmers say farm robots could provide relief from recent labor shortages, lessen the unknowns of immigration reform, even reduce costs, increase quality and yield a more consistent product.
"There aren't enough workers to take the available jobs, so the robots can come and alleviate some of that problem," said Ron Yokota, a farming operations manager at Tanimura & Antle, the Salinas-based fresh produce company that owns the field where the Lettuce Bot was being tested.
Many sectors in U.S. agriculture have relied on machines for decades and even the harvesting of fruits and vegetables meant for processing has slowly been mechanized. But nationwide, the vast majority of fresh-market fruit is still harvested by hand.
Research into fresh produce mechanization was dormant for years because of an over-abundance of workers and pressures from farmworker labor unions.
In recent years, as the labor supply has tightened and competition from abroad has increased, growers have sought out machines to reduce labor costs and supplement the nation's unstable agricultural workforce. The federal government, venture capital companies and commodity boards have stepped up with funding.
"We need to increase our efficiency, but nobody wants to work in the fields," said Stavros G. Vougioukas, professor of biological and agricultural engineering at the University of California, Davis.
But farmworker advocates say mechanization would lead to workers losing jobs, growers using more pesticides and the food supply becoming less safe.
"The fundamental question for consumers is who and, now, what do you want picking your food; a machine or a human, who with the proper training and support, can" ... take significant steps to ensure a safer, higher quality product, said Erik Nicholson, national vice president of the United Farm Workers of America.
On the Salinas Valley farm, entrepreneurs with Mountain View-based startup Blue River Technology are trying to show that the Lettuce Bot can not only replace two dozen workers, but also improve production.
"Using Lettuce Bot can produce more lettuce plants than doing it any other way," said Jorge Heraud, the company's co-founder and CEO.
After a lettuce field is planted, growers typically hire a crew of farmworkers who use hoes to remove excess plants to give space for others to grow into full lettuce heads. The Lettuce Bot uses video cameras and visual-recognition software to identify which lettuce plants to eliminate with a squirt of concentrated fertilizer that kills the unwanted buds while enriching the soil.
Blue River, which has raised more than $3 million in venture capital, also plans to develop machines to automate weeding - and eventually harvesting - using many of the same technologies.
Another company, San Diego-based Vision Robotics, is developing a similar lettuce thinner as well as a pruner for wine grapes. The pruner uses robotic arms and cameras to photograph and create a computerized model of the vines, figure out the canes' orientation and the location of buds - all to decide which canes to cut down.
Fresh fruit harvesting remains the biggest challenge.
Machines have proved not only clumsy, but inadequate in selecting ripe produce. In addition to blunders in deciphering color and feel, machines have a hard time distinguishing produce from leaves and branches. And most importantly, matching the dexterity and speed of farmworkers has proved elusive.
"The hand-eye coordination workers have is really amazing, and they can pick incredibly fast. To replicate that in a machine, at the speed humans do and in an economical manner, we're still pretty far away," said Daniel L. Schmoldt at the U.S. Agriculture Department's National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
In southern California, engineers with the Spanish company Agrobot are taking on the challenge by working with local growers to test a strawberry harvester.
The machine is equipped with 24 arms whose movement is directed through an optical sensor; it allows the robot to make a choice based on fruit color, quality and size. The berries are plucked and placed on a conveyor belt, where the fruit is packed by a worker.
Still, the harvester collects only strawberries that are hanging on the sides of the bed, hence California's strawberry fields would have to be reshaped to accommodate the machine, including farming in single rows, raising the beds and even growing varieties with fewer clusters.
Experts say it will take at least 10 years for harvesters to be available commercially for most fresh-market fruit - not a moment too soon for farmers worried about the availability of workers, said Lupe Sandoval, managing director of the California Farm Labor Contractor Association.
"If you can put a man on the moon," Sandoval said, "you can figure out how to pick fruit with a machine."
Below you see where yet another industry is going to be used to deregulate this time our FOOD INDUSTRY as now farmers are pushing this idea of drone use. The jobs created by drones for farming is ONE ----AND THE MILITARY WANTS TO DEREGULATE THE AIR FLIGHT PATHWAYS FOR ITS MILITARIZED DRONE WARFARE POLICIES. Let's use the farmers to do that 1% Wall Street says. All of the technology being used as GREEN in this article is military technology having little practical use to REAL small farmers.
'A recent study by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) predicts that in a matter of years, the drone, or UAV, industry in the U.S. could produce up to 100,000 new jobs and add $82 billion in economic activity between 2015 and 2025.
The U.S. is still the leader of drone technology and production, but it may not be forever,” said Peter Singer, director of the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence said. “There is a rule in technology and war: there is no such thing as a permanent first mover advantage. There are 87 countries that have military robotics programs.”
Well, Darwin and all his earthworms and leaf mould were just LUDDITES. So 1% Wall Street is using GREEN REVOLUTION to build its super-sized energy needs, its weather as militarized weapon, and now deregulating airways to make way for militarized drones. For those thinking all this is about better technology for our food supply----WAKE UP
03.26.13 4:45 AM ET
Unmanned Drones May Have Their Greatest Impact on Agriculture
Unmanned drones have emerged as a controversial tool for the military and national security apparatus. But in a few years, they may become ubiquitous over America’s farms.Talk about beating swords into plowshares. The mention of drones may conjure up images of Star Wars-like spacecraft or hell-fire war machines. But the controversial technology may prove to have its greatest impact in a peaceful endeavor: farming.
“It’s a simple economic equation. The biggest potential for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles is aerial images and data acquisition. You can take a simple UAV and repurpose imagery for a farmer’s field for cents on the dollar compared to using traditional aircraft. That’s the holy grail of aerodynamics,” said Rory Paul, CEO of Volt Aerial Robotics, a St. Louis-based company.
A recent study by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) predicts that in a matter of years, the drone, or UAV, industry in the U.S. could produce up to 100,000 new jobs and add $82 billion in economic activity between 2015 and 2025. A federal law mandates that the Federal Aviation Administration open up the National Airspace System by 2015. As the restrictions that currently prohibit individuals from flying drones for commercial purposes melt away, drone manufacturers could see their fortunes skyrocket.
The change will open new markets for sales. And the agriculture sector is expected to benefit the most. “Every farmer will benefit,” Paul said. Drones “will allow small farmers to [farm] economically and it will allow large farmers to acquire data when they want it.”
The market for agricultural drones lies in the technology’s ability to provide farmers with a bird’s-eye view of their land. Historically, farmers have walked their land to survey it—looking for areas that need more fertilizer or water. More recently many have begun using small passenger planes to look at their lots from the air. But since airplane rental and fuel costs can quickly run into five figures, there’s strong demand for cheaper alternatives.
That’s where drones come in.
Weighing less than 50 pounds and often the size of a child’s toy-plane, agricultural drones can drastically reduce the cost of land surveying. The price of a typical fully capable farming drone is around $9,000, but it’s a onetime purchase that many say will easily pay for itself.
“Eighty percent of the utilization, once we are allowed to have Unmanned Aircraft Systems in the national airspace, in the first 10 years is going to be in precision agriculture,” said Michael Toscano, CEO of AUVSI. “You will have a situation where you can spray crops by a UAS that flies 2 or 3 feet above the plants. You can control the downwash because you can put the pesticides on the plants and not in the ground where it gets to the groundwater.”
“It sounds trivial but those numbers really add up a lot,” said Rory Paul of Volt Aerial Robotics. “If we could save farms 1 percent on inputs like herbicide and pesticide and increase their yields by 1 percent, you are looking at multibillion dollar savings.”
Robert Blair, the owner of a wheat, barley and cattle farm in Idaho that was established in 1903, says he uses his own UAV for multiple purposes, including providing proof for insurance claims.
“In 2008, reintroduction of wolves and a drought year caused elk and deer to congregate on my farm. It was $50,000 in damage and I was able to get reimbursed because I had documentation,” he said. “I had a visual view of what the damage was instead of just dots on the map.”
Blair built his own UAVs, one a small rotor-plane, after purchasing a drone years ago and feeling it wasn’t well equipped for his farm. Nowadays he maintains and flies his own drones without the FAA’s permission, something he has so far gotten away with because of the remoteness of his land. Blair is unwavering in his support of UAV technology for farms and considers himself a national leader in promoting their use, even penning a blog called the Unmanned Farmer, in spite of U.S. regulations.
Despite the potential benefits, UAV use by commercial farmers is currently prohibited under FAA regulations. Although the majority of drones fly under 400 feet, the FAA worries about complications with the national airspace. And there are other obstacles to widespread UAV use. So far 30 states have tried pushing forward legislation limiting drones in fears they may be used for citizen surveillance come 2015. In Virginia, a two-year moratorium on UAVs is sitting on the governor’s desk waiting for a signature.
Such restrictions could change the job numbers set forth by the AUVSI report, which expects that states of California, Washington and Texas to be among the top economic beneficiaries of an open airspace. “Those estimates from the AUVSI are the best case scenario but there are so many kinks to be figured out in the next few years. It’s kind of an area where the law and technology will have to grow together,” says a spokesperson for the Unmanned Systems Caucus, chaired by Congressmen Buck McKeon and Henry Cuellar.
UAV advocates worry that the restrictions will cause the U.S. to fall behind other countries that can openly test and use the technology, and ultimately causing the U.S. to lose its edge and industry potential. “We are ahead and damn well should be given how much more we spend on the military than every other nation in the world. The U.S. is still the leader of drone technology and production, but it may not be forever,” said Peter Singer, director of the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence said. “There is a rule in technology and war: there is no such thing as a permanent first mover advantage. There are 87 countries that have military robotics programs.”
According to the AUVSI study, the US loses $10 billion for every year drone production sales are delayed.
Idaho farmer Robert Blair says farmers are already feeling the competition from other countries that can freely use UAV technology. “Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, and Australia, they are some of our biggest competitors on the agriculture side and now we are playing catch up to them because the government on all levels doesn’t want to open up regulations [for drones],” he said.
Japan is another country where UAVs have found a permanent foothold among the rice paddies. The country has been utilizing UAV-like technology for its crops since 1990.
Proponents of UAVs say now is the time to invest but are cognizant of the challenges drones will face among a population that views them as a threat.
“It’s a game-changing technology on par with the introduction of the horseless carriage or the computer,” Singer said. “It will create huge business opportunities but also huge policy, legal, and ethical questions that we will be wrestling with for decades.”