Sunday, September 25, 2011

Down on the Farm

A while ago my sister discovered a farm where my niece and nephew can go say hi to the pigs and other animals - in Vegas! Not one to be out done, I now have proof for Pudding Cup and Butter Bean that there are also farms in Michigan. These are from a farm in Kalkaska, Michigan.

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Butter Bean has a favorite pig named Violet (out in Vegas). I don't think these pigs have names (and I don't think Butter Bean knows they become his morning bacon...)

In this next clip, I was so far off base. Only two of the calves are actually boys, and the one that I was SURE was a bull...heffer. I never claimed to be an expert.

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There's nothing quite like that dairy air.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Censorship in Northern Michigan

I've never been a big fan of the Traverse City Record-Eagle. It's a great place to find ads, but it's not so much a newspaper as it is the organization's chance to give your its opinion on things. I've thought about pitching a few story ideas there, but let's be honest - a conservative viewpoint stands a snowball's chance in hell of getting an accurate portrayal in the R-E. Even the more liberal minded folks can't get published, especially if they disagree.

My friend Samantha is a writer/editor and permaculturalist (in a nutshell - sustainable agriculture). She knows newspapers (she worked as a newspaper editor), and she knows gardening. The recent R-E coverage of Little Artshram day camp and CSA bothered her. She wrote a letter to the editor about the issue and submitted it. They told her they wouldn't run it.

If you've never read or written a letter to the editor, here are some general guidelines. The most common topics include:

  • Supporting or opposing an editorial stance, or to responding another writer's letter to the editor.
  • Commenting on a current issue being debated by a governing body – local, regional or national depending on the publication's circulation. Often, the writer will urge elected officials to make their decision based on his/her viewpoint.
  • Remarking on materials (such as a news story) that have appeared in a previous edition. Such letters may either be critical or praising.
  • Correcting a perceived error or misrepresentation.

  • Yeah...not so much for the R-E. Samantha didn't agree with them, so they didn't publish her letter. I trust Samantha, though, and if she says Little Artshram's practices are being sensationalized, I tend to believe her. Since the R-E wouldn't publish Samantha's letter, I'm going to. If you have questions about what's going on, I encourage you to contact Little Artshram directly. 

    Letter to the editor, by Samantha:

    Regarding Little Artshram, as a farmer and Permaculturalist, I have
    taught alongside Penny Krebiehl (Little Artshram) at NMC and at the
    Commons. Having taken the time to review all that has transpired in
    the past few months, I’m convinced the coverage of this story is being
    sensationalized to sell newspapers. The use of a composting toilet
    resulted in articles that continue to imply humanure was used on food
    crops. It was not.

    This is a small, grass-roots organization under fire by a very few
    interested in moving Little Artshram off of the property. Mistakes
    were made, but when these errors were brought to the attention of the
    Little Artshram director, the Board was notified and steps were taken
    immediately to correct them.

    As a small-scale farmer, the severity of the attacks on Little
    Artshram concern me. Conventional farmers spray their crops with known
    carcinogens and yet the one-time use of a composting toilet is forcing
    the closure of a farm that focuses on community, health and well
    being, and the environment. The closure of the CSA would represent a
    huge loss to our community.

    Record Eagle, way to bite the hand that feeds.