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Roundup: Tours, harvests, ag news and more

July 20th, 2009 · 2 Comments · Books about food, Growing food, Roundup

Lots of news to report, from activities to politics to getting informed. Read on for local and larger news and links.

On a local level

ksufield KSU photo

Having a field day. If this amazingly mild weather holds, I just may change my mind about skipping this Saturday’s (July 25) horticulture field day at Kansas State’s Research and Extension Horticulture Center in Olathe. The field day, which runs 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and has a $5 admission fee, includes lectures and tours highlighting flower, fruit and vegetable varieties that work well in these parts. Wonder if they have suggestions for window-box gardens (see item below)?

KC food garden tour. Forgive this belated posting of a report and slide show of the Kansas City Urban Farms and Gardens Tour, from the Pitch.

Bringing in the sheaves. If you’ve never seen a wheat harvest, Kristi Bahrenburg Janzen gives a flavor of the activity and significance of this important Kansas rite. (The [Newton] Kansan)

svatyjoshuasmFarmer to head Kansas agriculture. Josh Svaty, a 29-year-old farmer, state legislator and law student, will set aside his lawmaking and law-student hats to become the state’s next secretary of agriculture. The news report (AP, via Cattle Network) gives hope that Svaty is willing to take a progressive look at agriculture.

Vote for your farmers’ market! Don’t forget to vote for your favorite farmers market! Mine’s the Lawrence Farmers Market, naturally. What’s yours?

On a grander scale

I haven’t been posting much lately on the broader food issues, but allow me now to recommend a few news items for you.

Grow vertical. I love this idea: window-box food gardening. As you may know, my yard is pretty shady, but I think I may just have a window or two with plenty of sunshine. How about you? Read more at Treehugger. The links are all in the UK, but the ideas would work here too. Now, if I can just figure out what to do about those pesky window screens. Anybody reading here who’s done this? Let me know!

Farm StandShare the harvest. For those of you with bountiful gardens but not a garden business, here’s a great idea of what to do with the excess produce: Create your own neighborhood “farm stand.” I’ll bet the neighbors will love it, too. (Civil Eats)

MRSA and factory farms. Tom Philpott, drawing on a Prevention article, spotlights the link between current factory farming practices and superbug MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). If you aren’t already buying pastured or organic poultry, this report might make you consider it. (Grist)

Organic benefits. I don’t really care about organics for my own health, but I do love what organic methods do for our environment. has this nice slide show that neatly summarizes those advantages.

Big food, big money. Naomi Starkman interviews author Robyn O’Brien about what she learned while researching The Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food Is Making Us Sick – And What We Can Do About It. (Civil Eats; warning: long article)

Recipe for America coverMore on food problems. Also on Civil Eats, Paula Crossfield reviews Recipe for America: Why Our Food System is Broken and What We Can Do to Fix It by Jill Richardson of La Vida Locavore.

Bean counting. If you’ve wondered whether it’s greener to use cook your own dried beans or to use canned, The Washington Post attempts to answer the question. If you don’t want read the long discussion, here’s the short version: Clear answers aren’t available, but beans are a good choice either way.

Farm stand photo courtesy Practical Farmers of Iowa

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