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Sustainable Agriculture in El Salvador

Edith Portillo (in the dark jacket) addressed a Unity College organic horticulture class in October, while Cori Ring-Martinez (in the white shirt) translated. Portillo said organic agriculture is “a life or death situation” in El Salvador. English photo. Rosa is a member of the community council in Chilama, La Libertad. Chilama’s sister city has funded

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Phyllosphere

The reproductive conidia of Venturia inaequalis erupting through the cuticle of a crabapple leaf. From the Wikipedia article “Apple Scab,” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_scab. By C. J. Walke As organic farmers and gardeners, we understand the importance of a biologically active soil, where beneficial microbes thrive in the rich organic matter and humus layer, converting mineral nutrients into

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Grow Your Own Sunflowers

Pole beans growing up sunflower stalks. English photo. By Will Bonsall I’m amazed that so many gardeners plant a row of sunflowers along the edge of their garden to feed the birds. What amazes me is that they plant only for the birds (and perhaps for a windbreak on the north side) and that they

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The Slow Flower Movement Grows in Maine

A bouquet of peonies, grown and arranged by the author. Photo by Jude Lamb. By Karen Volckhausen Welcome to the first column in a series about the slow flower movement in the United States and Maine. It is time to start highlighting the great flower growing that is going on here and elsewhere. Like the

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Harvest Kitchen Local Protein

Toki Oshima illustration By Roberta Bailey Maine and Vermont have two of the fastest growing local food movements in the country. That is apparent in the number of new farms and people trying to figure out how to get onto a piece of land; through the health of the seed industry; in local farmers’ markets;

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Tetebatu

A view of Rinjani, Lombok’s highest volcano, from the village below. Neighbors come together to help the first of the rice harvest. A shaded platform at the edge of a rice paddy offers a midday escape from the Indonesian sun. Two farmers carry wild forage for their cows. Rice seedlings bundled to be transplanted into

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Cows and Climate

By Joann S. Grohman I listen to many talks by highly qualified scientists and others deeply concerned about our future, as well they might be. Some are concerned about climate change, others about starvation. In their summary remarks – I wait for it: Their suggestions for how we can mitigate disaster always include a well-meant

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Vegetable Oil

Oil being expressed from black oil sunflower seeds in a Piteba press. Photos by Anita Budhraja. After the oil has been pressed and the sediment and pigment allowed to settle for hours, the product is decanted, giving finished, ready-to-use oil. By Will Bonsall Those of us who seek to be more self-reliant are often content

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Innovative System High Tunnel

Rich Schuler, energy consultant with Practical Farmers of Iowa, by the insulated compost bin. Heat from composting warms water which is stored in tanks and available to heat greenhouse soil when needed. Sally Gran runs TableTop Farm, where the innovative heating system was trialed. The compost is aerated by blowing air through PVC pipes set

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Prototype High Tunnel

This 22- by 49-foot high tunnel at Stutzman’s Farm in Sangerville is made from native white cedar, using an innovative design by Sunny Stutzman. Detail of the structure. Two side vents – one at each end of the house – are gas-powered and can be set to open at a specific temperature. Close-up of a

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