Ag News: Two books coming out about Fannie Lou Hamer
The Enduring Influence of Fannie Lou Hamer, Civil Rights Advocate - NYTimes
There are not one but two books coming out about Fannie Lou Hamer, and I’m certain both will be worth reading. Few people were more influential in the South than Fannie Lou Hamer. She was determination personified. As a poor, Black woman in the South, there were few people better positioned to question America’s integrity. In keeping with American tradition, she rarely received an answer, let alone a dignified one.
Read more Weekly Ag News here.
Ag News: How A Pecan Milk Co-op Is Tackling Wealth Inequality
Not Just Another Nut Milk: How One Brand Is Tackling Wealth Inequality - Bon Appetit
Alright, so you’ve probably heard of almond milk. Oat milk is pretty popular, too. Pea milk is also a thing. But what you might not be aware of is pecan milk, made right here in Georgia. This story gives a great look into how the Pecan Milk Cooperative was formed and what it’s like running a black-owned food business that’s centered around health and inclusivity -- a very different journey than what many other “milk” businesses take.
I was fortunate enough to try their pecan milk when they were selling it in large mason jars, now it’s available in a cute little bottle at select stores in the Atlanta area. Their product is made at Leaven Kitchen, another black-owned institution focused on inclusivity. When we talk about building a new and improved food system, this is a great example of how to do it. Great story, great company.
Read more Ag News here.
Weekly Update: 10-14-21
This week’s update is a bit different for a couple of reasons. First, the only thing I can really update you on is the annual war between the white oak tree in my backyard and my house. Despite the assault of acorns pelting my roof and the deck at all hours of the day and night, both are holding strong.
Second, rather than talk about Farmers Jam, I wanted to share two important campaigns from some good friends of mine.
The first is for J.R. Murphy, aka King Bee, the Atlanta Bee Man, founder of Joy and Reflect Gardens and Beez in the Trap. His infectious spirit has lifted many in the City of Atlanta, but now he needs our support. After suffering a debilitating stroke, he needs financial assistance to receive treatment and rehabilitation. Please consider donating to his campaign here.
The second is for Kirsten Simmons of Ecosystem Farm. She’s transformed a kudzu jungle in South Atlanta into an organic urban farm. After working with the FSA -- an agency designed to help farmers access capital when there’s nowhere else to turn -- for several months, they told her to come back next year with better credit. If only life were so simple. Kirsten needs additional funding by the end of the year to stay on her property. If you can, donate to her campaign here. There’s a few nice perks you might be interested in, but mainly, creating a food oasis in a food desert is a worthy cause.
Weekly Ag News: Farmers Jam is this week!
It’s finally here! Farmers Jam Peach Party is this Friday. It’s gonna be our last show of the year and we’re gonna make it count. Here’s why it’s gonna be our best Farmers Jam event yet:
We’re on pace to set a record for funding of fruit trees. This is partly because of a new partnership that I look forward to sharing more about, and partly because y’all are awesome and crushed it at our last event.
The Farmers Jam Band has never jammed this hard before. It’s not always easy for farmers and growers to meet consistently for practice, but the band has been locked in the last few weeks. It’s really been amazing to witness. If you’ve seen them before, get ready to for a whole new level of jamming out.
We’re joined by some serious talent. Aja Embry is near and dear to our hearts. Although we don’t always get to jam out with her, we’re always grateful when we do. Check out her cover of “Man’s World” from our virtual concert in 2020. We’ll also be joined by Selema Was Here, who also has an amazing voice. Check out her highlights on Instagram.
If you haven’t got your tickets yet, be sure to do so ahead of time! Our last event sold out on Thursday night so be sure to save your spot.
In the meantime, you can check out an interview with another one of our performers, DJ Fifth Wurld, aka Tenisio Seanima, the Urban Agriculture Manager for East Point. You may have sensed that I was rather irked by an article about misleading food labels in our last email, and it pushed me to be more proactive in talking about food labels. We had a great conversation on Instagram about things to look for on food labels, rather than what to avoid, because there are so many fakers out there who want you to pay more for less.
And, of course, links from the world of agriculture. We've got two great local stories plus a couple of devastating pieces about the meat industry, which is getting harder and harder to defend.
Read more here.
Weekly Ag News: Are we really feeding ourselves?
Did you realize it's mid September already? I demand to know where the last two weeks went! Feels like just last week I was counting up the record amount of rainfall we've had this summer. Low and behold, the Fall Equinox is tomorrow.
Mostly, this is good news, other than the impending doom of another winter. The morning cool is delightful. Fall gardens are underway. Backyard fires have been lit.
And, most importantly, it means we are only TEN DAYS away from the Farmers Jam Peach Party! It's on Sept 24 at the Heck.house in celebration of the Georgia Peach. If you haven't already, grab your tickets for a fun evening of live music and local food -- we've got a limited number of tickets available, so snag them while you can!
Here's some more good news. The City of Atlanta passed an ordinance that allows urban farmers to sell food on-site even in residential areas. Previously, farmers had to take their food elsewhere to a properly established market outside of residential areas. This ordinance means you can sell produce you've grown on your property, with the right approval. Pretty cool.
This is a very small but important step in creating hyper-local food systems. Although we talk a lot about "local food" there are few generally agreed definitions of what local means, with even less agreement about the level of impact "local food" actually has.
Earlier this week, Farmer Jules shared snippets of an excellent essay called “Are We Really Feeding Ourselves?” written by Atlanta grower Gabriel Eisen in the Earthbound Farmers Almanac. Though it’s hard to read the essay and respond with anything other than a resounding “no,” actions like the one Atlanta took last week that will help make up the difference. I feel more and more that the best solution to hunger is at the source rather than hundreds of miles away.
Of course, Gabriel ends his essay by stating we need to grow more staple crops, including potatoes, nuts, and fruit trees. Cheers to that.
If you’d like to read Gabriel’s essay, you can check out a PDF version of the Almanac here. The essay is on page 58.
Get the full links here.
Weekly Ag News: There’s no labor like farm labor
I hope you enjoyed the long weekend. Labor Day is a reminder of the hard fought gains -- like the weekend -- that were earned through organized labor. There is no better day to put your feet up and enjoy something hot off the grill. So here’s a belated cheers to a Monday of rest and to those who allowed us the space to enjoy it.
And let’s have another for the farmers and farm workers, because many of them are exempt from labor laws altogether. They’re out in the fields breaking their backs with little to no protection so that we can enjoy our weekends without harvesting fruit in the sun or stuffing our own sausage. You can learn more about some of the disparities for farm workers in our labor laws here.
At any rate, this seems like a good time to mention that we’re hosting an event that supports farmers! The Farmers Jam Peach Party will help us plant fruit trees on local farms that have the potential to generate thousands of dollars in revenue every year for the next 50+ years. They are the plants that keep on giving.
The Farmers Jam Peach Party is on September 24. We are so excited! You can buy tickets here, or you can get a free ticket plus discounted tickets for all your friends by joining the Jam Fam here.
Now, on to the links.
I spent a good bit of last week traveling and spending time with family for birthdays, Labor Day and Rosh Hashana, and while I found some great articles to share, I didn’t have time to give them all a good read and make any notes. Instead, I’ve just shared the headlines and sub headers below.
However, I did find time to read a short book of essays called Springer Mountain: Meditations on Killing and Eating, so I wrote a few thoughts below. Also, be sure to check out our drummer and arborist Robby Astrove in Atlanta Magazine!
Read the full blog and check out the links here.
Weekly Ag News: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back.
This week, we’re back with lots of great articles about food and agriculture. Below, you can get to know Chef Matthew Raiford, who recently released a new cookbook, meet Georgia State Senator Kim Jackson, a farmer who represents the Stone Mountain area, and learn about a program touted as having a big impact on climate change that may not be doing all that much. There’s also an update about the on-going plight of Black farmers in securing debt relief, and two articles related to climate change: one about planting one trillion trees as a potential solution, another about where crops will be grown in the future.
In general, there's a feeling of one step forward and taking two back. While it's great there are more Black representatives with connections to farming, Black farmers are still at higher risk of losing their land. While the intention of planting 1,000,000 trees sounds noble, a major program thought to be helping with climate change may not be doing much at all. Building a local food system is great, until we can't grow food here any longer. It's a complicated world.
Read the full article here.
USDA permanently boosts food stamp benefits by 25 percent
Big news from the USDA, who announced this week that SNAP benefits will be permanently increased by 25%.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, USDA increased SNAP benefits by 15% as part of the relief package due to the massive increase in SNAP users. Those benefits were set to expire on September 30. However, this new ruling from USDA will not only maintain but increase SNAP benefits, beginning on October 1.
Read more about the USDA boosting SNAP benefits here.
News: The Hidden Costs of Food
A new study from the Rockefeller Foundation that shows for every $1 we spend on food, we must also spend an additional $2 on public health and mitigating environmental disaster is certainly troubling, but also not surprising. We have known for years that the true cost of food is not reflected on the prices seen at the grocery store or the drive-thru window. Thanks to this study, there are now some hard facts to bring to the table.
Read more about the Hidden Costs of Food
Weekly Ag News: The True Cost of Food
This week, the Rockefeller Foundation published a critical report about the true cost of food. For many local food advocates, this is welcome news. For years, small-scale, organic farmers have had to justify the "expensive" cost of their produce. With this report, there is finally some concrete data to answer the question. The truth is, food at a farmers market is not more expensive, it's just priced correctly.
Additionally, learn more about the new "regenerative" label that may become the new "organic", how climate change is hurting wine country, new medical marijuana license in Georgia, as well as where the Olympic grass came from.
Read this week in Agriculture News here