Posts tagged ‘agriculture’

Immokalee Farm Workers

by , posted on Wednesday, September 12th, 2012 at 11:28 am

from PDA-IL

Leonel Perez and Claire Lomiskey speak on the Immokalee Farm Workers struggle for fair wages and fair treatment. Join them Saturday, September 15, 2012, at Clark and La Salle at the south end of Lincoln Park as they lobby Chipotle corporation to recognize farm workers. For more information, visit or contact


And the designated disaster counties in Illinois are…

by , posted on Wednesday, August 1st, 2012 at 7:28 pm

sadly too numerous to name. Today the number of Illinois counties designated as drought disaster areas rose to 98 of Illinois’ 102 counties. The four counties not named disaster areas (yet) were:
Cook, DuPage, Will, and my home county of Kane.

You can go look at the usda map for the whole country here. It is massive, with more than 50% of U.S. counties declared disaster areas by today.

As to why this cluster of four counties in Illinois are not included, I can only guess that, because we have been getting some rain over the last week, we are in somewhat less dire straits than the rest of the state. But we are still in drought, per the drought monitor map, which may tell a different story after it updates tomorrow morning. The still-brown grass here tells its own story.


Urban Agriculture in Burlington VT

by , posted on Friday, July 27th, 2012 at 7:27 pm

from the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics



by , posted on Thursday, July 19th, 2012 at 8:35 am

It rained last night. According to the rain gauge in my backyard it rained about 1 1/4″ and Tom Skilling said on Facebook that

Heaviest rain in nearly a year has fallen at Midway tonight! 2.02″ fell this evening amid 50 mph wind gusts. 1.50″ of that total came down in just 30 minutes! The last time that much rain fell at Midway was on July 23 last summer when 2.30″ fell.

Huge relief. We were all dancing around the house at midnight calling out to each other when we started to hear the drops fall on the roof (we’d been hearing thunder and seeing lightning for more than an hour prior to the actual rain). You can already see the grass starting to green up, and I’m sure my vegetables are loving this.




by , posted on Thursday, July 12th, 2012 at 6:00 am

The title’s all in caps for a reason – you’ll just have to bear with me to find that reason out. It’s complicated.

My daughter tells this story of moving to North Carolina, inviting friends over for dinner, accepting an offer to help “peel” the corn, watching leaves being literally peeled back one by one, before picking up an ear and rapidly shucking it only to be met with gasps of astonishment and amazed “how did you DO that?” questions.

My son tells this story of being involved in a day-long firefight in Afghanistan in a cornfield and the dissonance caused in his mind by having terrorists fire at him from the cover of high corn that evoked for him happy childhood memories of travelling through miles and miles of cornfields to visit his grandparents on the other side of Illinois.

At the base of both of these stories is a sort of heritage you end up with if you grow up in the cornbelt, even if nobody in your family farms; it’s ever-present enough that you acquire corn stories. And these two definitely grew up in the cornbelt – the only place that can possibly be cornier than their home state of Illinois is Iowa, where I’m headed next if you continue reading.



It’s No Katrina

by , posted on Thursday, July 5th, 2012 at 10:32 am

Nor is it an earthquake, or a series of lethal tornados, or any other sudden disaster. It is rather a natural disaster in slow motion, creeping and steady and relentless, and apparently not photogenic enough to merit your standard-issue disaster-type media coverage. drmon
They’ve got maps – along with a twelve week history rolling history of this drought unfolding – right here.

Along with juicy tidbits like “Looking Ahead: In general, July 4 – 8, 2012 doesn’t look promising in terms of relief, though the intense heat should subside somewhat.”

Here’s what intense heat subsiding somewhat looks like where I’m at:

Today Jul 5
Mostly Sunny
Chance of rain:20%Wind: W at 12 mph

Fri Jul 6
Mostly Sunny
Chance of rain:10%Wind: WSW at 7 mph

Sat Jul 7
Isolated T-Storms
Chance of rain:30%Wind: N at 15 mph

Sun Jul 8
Partly Cloudy
Chance of rain:20%Wind: NNE at 12 mph

Mon Jul 9
Chance of rain:0%Wind: NE at 8 mph

Tue Jul 10
Chance of rain:0%Wind: NE at 8 mph

Wed Jul 11
Chance of rain:0%Wind: SE at 8 mph

Thu Jul 12
Chance of rain:0%Wind: S at 8 mph

Fri Jul 13
Chance of rain:0%Wind: SW at 9 mph

Sat Jul 14
Chance of rain:0%Wind: SSW at 9 mph


The Death of the Family Farm and the Death of Real Capitalism

by , posted on Monday, June 25th, 2012 at 7:00 am

It was 1921. He was a young man with a bunch of hopes and dreams, just barely twenty, and entering this country from Sweden with a trunk as his only possession. He came from the farms of Sweden hoping to some day buy a farm in America. Someone there had told him it might be possible to own a farm here. It was a wild dream really, but one in which he believed.

In Sweden he knew it was an impossible dream. All the farms and all the land was owned by a small group of large moneyed families and rented out in parcels to tenants. Reuben’s family had been tenant farmers for generations and generations, able to eke out a living but never able to build a secure foundation from which a family can grow. As far back as records can document, no one in his family had ever owned any of the land they farmed.

And so for over two decades in America, Reuben toiled the land. Milked the cows. Learned to read and write English. Fell in love. Married a farmer’s daughter named Rose. Had three boys. And did buy that farm.



The Stuff I Bring Home

by , posted on Tuesday, July 20th, 2010 at 7:31 pm

Working at a library I see all sorts of books pass through that I want to read – way more than I am going to be able to read in a normal lifespan – but this doesn’t keep me from checking them out and taking them home with the best of intentions. Some I get to, some I renew them three times (renewal limit at my library) and am forced to return unread. I could pretend that I make a list of this stuff to get back to, because that would be the logical thing to do, no? But I honestly don’t even try, because I have a constant stack of 30-40 library books making me feel guilty at all times.