Sowing the Vine

From In Good Tilth magazine (July/August 2011)
Photos (on this website) by the Staff and Volunteers of the Homeless Garden Project, Santa Cruz, Calif.

A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit. (Matthew 7:18; King James Version)

Janet O’Brien did what she was supposed to do—what any loving, desperate mother would do—and in less than 21 days will be homeless.

Simple, yet convoluted. It’s not supposed to be that way, of course. It’s an unspoken rule that narratives about the chaos that ultimately lands a person on the street must open with a list of moral breaches, self-destructive acts, tearful confessions … and conclude with a… Read More »

Preparation 500

Preparation 500
From The Bear Deluxe magazine (June 2011)
1912 words

To our modern way of thinking, this all sounds quite insane.
– Rudolf Steiner, Lectures on Agriculture, 1924

Allan Balliett got sick in 1980. It came on as a flurry of symptoms, all of which seemed to take roost at once, and no one knew what was wrong or how to fix it. A systems analyst for the U.S. Department of the Treasury in Washington, D.C., Balliet suddenly found himself fatigued, his hair falling out “by the handfuls,” too weak and unfocused to adequately unravel the federal computer network. He says he “serial napped” on weekends 40 hours or more at a… Read More »

Are biofuels fueling hunger?

From Sound Consumer magazine (Sept. 2010)

The U.S. Navy celebrated Earth Day this year by running a biofuels test on a supersonic F/A 18 Green Hornet fighter jet powered by a mixture of traditional jet fuel, and oil pressed from Camelina sativa, a relative of the mustard plant.

U.S. Navy celebrates Earth Day

The test underscores two trends in U.S. energy policy: an almost fanatical reliance on biofuels as a substitute for oil, and the misconception that anything ‘green’ is good—even if it sports Sidewinder missiles and makes the Hummer look fossil-fuel efficient.

Some experts on food security claim otherwise. Once touted as a panacea for America’s energy ills,… Read More »

Asparagus Now

From In Good Tilth magazine: March/April 2010

“Thank you for taking the time to produce this film. I pray that it will spread like modified canola seed to all parts of our culture and open some eyse [sic].”

  — Email, from ‘Tyler’, to Deborah Koons Garcia, writer, producer and director of The Future of Food

“I was the East Coast distributor of ‘involved.’ I ate it, drank it, and breathed it … Then they killed Martin, Bobby, and they elected Tricky Dick twice, and people like you must think I’m miserable because I’m not involved anymore. Well, I’ve got news for you ... I have no more pain for anything. I gave at the office.”

 … Read More »

Hardscrabble Salvation

From Utne magazine (originally published in In Good Tilth) Nov./Dec. 2010

In 1974 my mother, my father, and I moved from a trailer park in Cleveland to a 97-acre farm in Liberty, West Virginia. I was 13, a city brat, an only child, and I thought I’d died and gone to hell. The world I left was coated in concrete, which led to shopping centers and movie theaters. The world to which I was banished was covered in corn, beans, potatoes, and squash, which led to blisters.

A wise child would have been grateful. He would have seen that so much land, so much freedom, is worth a little blood. He would have thanked his mother for this second… Read More »

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