Sustainable Agriculture

Just another weblog

Leave a comment

Greenhorns host THE LAND

Good news for farmers in the US who miss the old ZINE information culture for radical farmers. The Greenhorns will now be the distributors of England’s, farmer-made, ‘The Land’ Magazine in the US.

Demands to “make poverty history”, and the responses from those in power, revolve around money: less debt, freer and fairer trade, more aid. Rarely will you hear someone with access to a microphone mouth the word “land”.

That is because economists define wealth and justice in terms of access to the market. Politicians echo the economists because the more dependent that people become upon the market, the more securely they can be roped into the fiscal and political hierarchy. Access to land is not simply a threat to land-owning élites — it is a threat to the religion of unlimited economic growth and the power structure that depends upon it.

The market (however attractive it may appear) is built on promises: the only source of wealth is the earth. Anyone who has land has access to energy, water, nourishment, shelter, healing, wisdom, ancestors and a grave. Ivan Illich spoke of “a society of convivial tools that allows men to achieve purposes with energy fully under their control”. The ultimate convivial tool, the mother of all the others, is the earth.

Yet the earth is more than a tool cupboard, for although the earth gives, it dictates its terms; and its terms alter from place to place. So it is that agriculture begets human culture; and cultural diversity, like biological diversity, flowers in obedience to the conditions that the earth imposes. The first and inevitable effect of the global market is to uproot and destroy land-based human cultures. The final and inevitable achievement of a rootless global market will be to destroy itself.

In a shrunken world, taxed to keep the wheels of industry accelerating, land and its resources are increasingly contested. Six billion people compete to acquire land for a variety of conflicting uses: land for food, for water, for energy, for timber, for carbon sinks, for housing, for wildlife, for recreation, for investment. The politics of land — who owns it, who controls it and who has access to it — are more important than ever, though you might not think so from a superficial reading of government policy and the media. The purpose of this magazine is to focus attention back onto the politics of land.

Rome fell; the Soviet Empire collapsed; the stars and stripes are fading in the west. Nothing is forever in history, except geography. Capitalism is a confidence trick, a dazzling edifice built on paper promises. It may stand longer than some of us anticipate, but when it crumbles, the land will remain.


1 Comment

Indigenous healers that protect nature: Hmong ethnobotany in Laos

Hmong womanThis recent publication on participatory ethnobotany explorations with indigenous Hmong elders describes the relationship between the spiritual-cultural practices and livelihood uses of plants and their conservation. The study suggests that the traditional Hmong cultural uses for plants may be a mechanism for the conservation of biodiversity in the rapidly deteriorating forests of Luang Prabang in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.

Hmong ethnobotany and conservation in Laos

Tshawb nrhiav nroj tsuag tau muaj kev koom tes nrog cov kws tshuaj ntsuab Hmoob nyob rau zos Long Lan, Xeev Luang prabang, Los Tsuas Teb chaws tau pib tshawb los rau ntawm lub xyoo 2012 thiab 2013. Nrhiav txog lub laj lim thiab tswv yim ntawm cov laus neeg nyob zos Long Lan thiab cov zos nyob ib puag ncig twb yog ib qhov sij hawm muaj txiaj ntsig tau paub txog txoj kev cai coj siv nroj tsuag thiab pov hwm nyob nrog lub neej. Tau paub txog ntawm 74 hom tau muaj 49 yam (nroj tsuag) twb tau muab sau zoo, qhov nov muaj 25 yam tshuaj ntsuab (17 yam yog cov muaj hnub nyooj ntev thiab 8 yam yog cov muaj hnub nyooj luv), 20 yam yog cov ua ntoo, 17 yam yog cov nroj, 10 yam yog cov hmab, thiab 2 yam yog suab. Muab xam tau pom txog nroj tsuag muaj txiaj ntsig zoo heev rau ntawm txoj kev siv yoom thiab pov hwm nyob nrog lub neej. Qhov tshawb rhiav no tau ceeb toom txog tias txoj kev siv yoom nroj tsuag raws li
txoj cai Hmoob coj yog ib txoj cai zoo rau ntawm kev pov hwm hav zoov hav tsuag rau qhov hav zoov niaj hnub no raug luaj ntov nyob rau xeev Luang prabang, los Tsuas Teb.

1 Comment

Unplug 2014

celebrating life and honoring the interdependency of all things!
2_w338_h303_s1_PL15_PCffffff.jpgUNPLUG 2014 is an invitation to all people to show our commitment to and respect for Mother Earth by challenging unhealthy patterns of consumption and the continued production of poisons that destroy our environment. It is a day to recognize our over-consumption and address our unhealthy lifestyles – a day to challenge ourselves and our communities to make better choices.

UNPLUG was originally introduced by Indigenous Peoples in 1992 in response to the 500 year anniversary of the arrival of Columbus to the Americas. October 13, 1992 was designated as a starting point to look forward to the next 500 years and work to make a sustainable and just world, starting by giving Mother Earth a rest!

October 13th is a day to UNPLUG by turning off the TV, computer, and radio, shut off the taps, and leave the fossil-fuel burning vehicle at home!

The “UNPLUG To Give Mother Earth a Day of Rest” is one element of the Earth Rights Days of Action Campaign. During our collective UNPLUG To Give Mother Earth a Day of Rest, take a walk with friends and family, tell stories, do something artistic, and say a prayer for Mother Earth and our communities. Honor the recognition that all members of our Earth Community have the right to a healthy environment and we have a responsibility to all.

Leave a comment

Happy Holidays and A Short Year in Review

Indigenous Peoples and the WTO
On the Outcome of the World Trade Organization 9th Ministerial Conference
6_w150_h129_s1_PR15_PCffffff.pngStatement by Tom B.K. Goldtooth, Executive Director, Indigenous Environmental Network

Turtle Island – Even though the WTO and its 159 member countries resurrected itself in its first multilateral trade pact in the WTO’s history,I feel it was a desperate fight by rich developed countries such as the United States to revive an economic and trading system that is all about capitalism.
The WTO is all about free trade for the corporations that are destroying our Mother Earth. Click here to read more.

Click here to read all statements from Indigenous Peoples regarding WTO policies and actions.

Tom Goldtooth at Bioneers 2013
Keynote Speaker Articulates Native Vision
4_w183_h111_s1_PR15_PCffffff.jpgTom B.K. Goldtooth, the executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) seemed taken aback when the packed auditorium of 3,000 rose with resounding applause at his keynote’s conclusion last Saturday at the Bioneers National Conference. At the podium, he remained humbled.

That doesn’t surprise Oren Lyons, a Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan of the Seneca Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy, and an honorary board member of Bioneers. “I’ve known Tom for a long time,” Lyons said. “He comes from a traditional family.”

Click here to read more and watch a portion of Tom’s presentation.

If you like what you are learning, watching and reading please help us with a donation today!

PowerShift 2013
“Kandi Mossett (@mhawea) gave such an incredibly moving speech …”

Kandi Mossett (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara), Native Energy & Climate Campaign Organizer – Kandi was born in North Dakota and grew up in an area known today as the Fort Berthold Reservation.

Behind the backs of the People of California
0_w150_h225_s1_PR15_PCffffff.jpgDespite being awarded, as I speak, for his supposed environmentalism, Governor Brown is moving ahead with a policy that grabs land, clear-cuts forests, destroys biodiversity, abuses Mother Earth, pimps Father Sky and threatens the cultural survival of Indigenous Peoples.

This policy privatizes the air we breathe. Commodifies the clouds. Buy and sells the atmosphere. Corrupts the Sacred. Click here to learn more.

This policy is called carbon trading and REDD. REDD stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation. But REDD really means Reaping profits from Evictions, land grabs, Deforestation and Destruction of biodiversity. REDD does nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at source. And REDD may result in the biggest land grab of the last 500 years.

The State of California is ALREADY using national forests and tree plantations as supposed sponges for its pollution instead of reducing greenhouse gas emissions at source. REDD is bad for the climate, bad for the environment, bad for Californians, bad for human rights and bad for the economy.

Please Help Us Continue the Work!
We Need Your Help – Please Consider Making a Donation Today!
Truth is, we can’t continue to assist Indigenous and traditional frontline communities, who are struggling to protect their lands and resources, without your help.

IEN needs support to do everything from keeping the phones and lights on – to making sure that Indigenous Peoples voices are heard by government and world organizations that are deciding our fates without free, prior and informed consultation.

2_w80_h45_s1_PL15_PCffffff.pngPlease consider making a donation today! You can make your tax deductible (for our U.S. supporters) donation by using our secure link at WePay or you can mail a check or money order to:
Polaris Institute USA for IEN
PO Box 106
2235 Lakeshore Road
Essex, NY 12936

IEN Labeled “Radical”
We must be doing something right…
2_w166_h124_s1_PR15_PCffffff.pngThree grassroots organizations—Rising Tide North America, Oil Change International and the Indigenous Environmental Network—were labeled radicals…
The movement has helped delay President Obama’s decision on the Keystone XL pipeline—designed to funnel Canada’s landlocked oil sands crude to refineries on the Gulf Coast—and has held up another contentious pipeline in Canada, the Northern Gateway to the Pacific Coast.

The Power Point document, titled “Oil Sands Market Campaigns,” was recently made public by WikiLeaks, part of a larger release of hacked files from Stratfo… appears to have been created for Calgary-based petroleum giant Suncor Energy, Canada’s largest oil sands producer. Click here to read more.

Helping IEN with your contributions is the only way we can continue to be “radical” and a force against this destruction fueled by greed!

Regaining Food Sovereignty:
Neyaab Nimamoomin Mewinzha Gaa-inajigeyang
Regaining Food Sovereignty explores the state of food systems in some Northern Minnesota Native communities; examining the relationship between history, health, tradition, culture and food.


By reclaiming and revitalizing knowledge and practices around tradition, local and healthy foods, many communities and Tribal Nations are working toward a new model of community health and well-being for this and future generations. A co-production of Lakeland Public Television & The Indigenous Environmental Network.

Forward on Climate Rally and March
Indigenous Peoples’ Messages Highlighted
On February 17, 2013, an estimated 35,000 people gathered and braved the bitter temperatures, in Washington D.C., to join the Indigenous Environmental Network, the Sierra Club,, HipHop Caucus, and an estimated 160-plus environmental student groups from across Turtle Island, to overwhelmingly voice their opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline and the expansion of the Canadian Tar Sands. Read more.

The collective message of constructive support for the President was clearly evident in the rally’s title, “Forward on Climate,” which co-opted the president’s 2012 campaign slogan and carried over to the inclusion of messages brought by Indigenous Peoples from both the United States and Canada. Read more.

Leave a comment

LD 718 for GMO Labels in Maine

Maine’s GMO Labeling Law

Maine’s Right to Know GMO Labeling Campaign has been doing great work.

Last week, Maine’s House and Senate passed a law requiring mandatory labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Thousands of Mainers helped make LD 718, Maine’s GMO labeling bill, the most talked about issue at the Maine State House this session. Responding to consumers and the public, both the House and Senate voted to pass LD 718. The Maine House of Representatives voted 141– 4 in favor of the bill. The Maine Senate passed the bill with a unanimous vote of 35-0.

Now we are banding together to ask Governor LePage to sign LD 718 into law to label GMO’s.