The Independence Farmers Market is pleased to announce our
Market Days and Christmas Tree Fund Raiser
at McKnight Park Friday,
Saturday, December 7 from 10am-4pm.
In addition to a
regular Farmers Market, the public is invited to visit Santa, enjoy
free hot chocolate and participate in Kids' Activities: make fern
Christmas cards, build marshmallow snowmen or decorate cookies.
Trees, wreaths and holly will be offered for sale.
Thanks to a generous donation by Don and Lana Call, the Market is
able to offer pesticide-free Christmas trees for the same price as
conventionally-grown trees. The trees are raised by Jason and Felicia
Joyce of Brookgreen Farm in Grassy Creek. Jason loved working at his
uncle's Christmas tree farm as a kid and always wanted his own tree
farm. After graduating from NC State University with a degree in
agricultural engineering and a minor in soil science, he moved to the
area and planted his first trees in 1995.
All their trees are grown following IPM (integrated pest management)
practices. Their home is surrounded by beautiful trees and it's the
perfect place to raise and home-school their five children. The
Joyces grow much of their own food, have a few chickens, Nubian dairy
goats and like to hunt. Brookgreen Farm markets most of their trees
directly to customers in Iredell and Forsyth counties & has a
fundraiser wreath sale program. You can contact the Joyces at
email@example.com or 276-579-3075
The Farmers Market is pleased to offer their trees again this year.
Proceeds from the tree and wreath sales will fund an expanded kids'
program at the Independence Farmers Market in 2014.
instructions to create an account and browse all the locally produced
items for sale.
SAVE GREEN EXPO 2013
“Prepared Today = Ready Tomorrow.”
What a wonderful day we had on Saturday, September 14th!
The Fourth Annual Save Green Expo was a rousing success, with 32 vendors/exhibitors, 10 mini-workshops, and an estimated 400 people participating. With the theme of "Prepared Today = Ready Tomorrow," attendees came away with specific information that will help them prepare for power outages, weather emergencies, or other disruptions of daily life. First responders were happy to have this opportunity to educate the public, and many of our own members shared their skills and tips for being more prepared and self-sufficient.
Grayson County caterers Kickin' Chicken' provided healthy lunches to volunteers, vendors, and participants who visited at least 12 exhibits or workshops. This kept people at Crossroads through lunch and encouraged them to interact with the exhibitors. We are grateful for a wonderful team, the Save Green Committee chaired by Loren Webster, for our generous sponsors and donors and our tireless volunteers who made this all possible.
Grayson Land Care is now an independent distributor for Shaklee products!
We now have a Grayson LandCare distributorship for Shaklee products! Ordering vitamins, supplements or non-toxic cleaning supplies from this 57-year-old company with an outstanding reputation for environmental sensitivity and good health will also raise funds for Grayson LandCare.
Our webmaster is working to make this as easy and seamless as possible, so stay tuned! You will be notified as soon as everything is ready to go. In the meantime, browse http://graysonlandcare.myshaklee.com/us/en/ to learn about this esteemed company and plan your order for yourself and for holiday gifts!
Encore.org announced that Jerry Moles, the founder of GraysonLandCare, was chosen as a 2012 Purpose Prize fellow.
The Purpose Prize is the nation’s only large-scale investment in social entrepreneurs and other creative problem solvers in the second-half of life.
Jerry was named a fellow because of his introduction of Landcare into Southwestern Virginia. Through Landcare, a collaboration of farmers, landowners, and residents from Grayson, Carroll, Floyd and Ashe counties are working to develop sustainable, local, agricultural businesses.
“Purpose Prize fellows are using their passion and experience to help solve some of society’s steepest challenges,” said Marc Freedman, founder and CEO of Encore.org and author of The Big Shift. “They represent a growing wave of people in their 60s and beyond who are using their knowhow to change the world, while shifting perceptions of what is possible in this stage of life.”
The Purpose Prize program is funded by the John Templeton Foundation and The Atlantic Philanthropies. The Prize is awarded by Encore.org (the new name for Civic Ventures), a nonprofit that promotes encore careers – work that is both personally meaningful and serves the greater good.
“While being back in Virginia was a change in scenery, I’ve simply continued what I’ve done for much of my life in Sri Lanka, Northern California, Guatemala, and elsewhere. Returning home and discovering the gifted and energetic rural leadership along the Blue Ridge Plateau (Grayson, Carroll, and Floyd counties), the task was simply sitting with people and discovering consensus about shared needs and how these needs could be best met. Many have contributed to the realization of dreams including SustainFloyd, Virginia Tech Colleges of Natural Resources & Environment and Agriculture & Life Sciences, Virginia Farm Bureau, USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, Appalachian Regional Commission, Virginia Tobacco Commission, National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, Virginia Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, the Claire B. and James M. Matthews Foundation, and many, many others who have given time and money.”
A panel of 23 judges – leaders in business, politics, journalism and the nonprofit sector – chose the five winners from a pool of more than 800 nominees. This year’s 35 fellows are finalists for The Prize. An awards ceremony will be held in February in San Francisco. For more information about The Purpose Prize, visit: www.encore.org/prize.
About Encore.org (www.encore.org)
Encore.org is a nonprofit organization building a movement to make it easier for millions of people to pursue “encore careers” – second acts for the greater good. The Purpose Prize, funded by the John Templeton Foundation and The Atlantic Philanthropies, is a program of Encore.org.
About Grayson LandCare, Inc. (www.graysonlandcare.org)
Grayson LandCare is a locally organized group of farmers, landowners, and residents concerned about economic and environmental challenges in Grayson County and southwest Virginia. Grayson County has historically been a rural agricultural community based on small town values and the unique cultural identity of our beautiful Appalachian landscape but rising land prices, higher property taxes, and competition from corporate farming threaten to overcome family farms, fragment landscapes, and destroy our rural way of life.
Orchards of Hope:
High School Students Plant Trees
on Food Day
Orchards of Hope brings fruit trees into public spaces, school grounds, county parks and wellness centers in Alleghany County, NC. This project enables residents of the community to pick and consume fresh fruit. In honor of National Food Day, the Appalachian Agriculture Coalition led high school students in planting fruit trees at the Moxley Road Community Garden site.
This year, nearly 8,000 farmers markets have connected farmers to consumers across the United States. That’s double the number from a decade ago, and it’s a number that depends on an increasing nationwide preference for fresh food. In fact, 68 per cent of Americans say they eat more fresh food than they did five years ago, according to a study from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. For many, the source of much of that food—and perhaps the source of that shift in habits—is a local farmers market.
The Virginia Tech College of Natural Resources and Grayson LandCare: Discovery/Creation of Sustainable Ways of Life and Leadership for the Future
The question “what shall we do about it?”
is only asked by those who do not
If a problem can be solved at all,
to understand it and to know what to do about it
are the same thing.
I. The Challenge
In the face of unprecedented environmental, economic, and social changes, too frequently our understandings and responses fail to achieve desired and necessary results. A lack of clarity about how to keep up with the dynamic of the present, much less step confidently into the future, has left communities, commercial enterprises, states, and nations confused. Often they are badly divided as to the nature of the forces contributing to their distresses and about potential remedies that might offer relief.
Discovering what must be done in each locale to achieve sustainable, resilient landscapes, watersheds, communities, businesses, and governments is only half the challenge. Finding ways to implement necessary and beneficial change at sufficient scale and to sustain it through time is work that must engage all present and future generations. Virginia Tech has an important and exciting opportunity/responsibility for leadership in exploration of existing and emergent needs and the means to meet them.
For a major land grant university like Virginia Tech, the challenge is complicated. Institutions of higher learning have specific momentum as a result of having succeeded in devising improved understandings, technologies, and management systems with tight focus on a limited number of interests. Investment in research and development by discipline has been rewarded as a result of success in expanding our understandings of new worlds unanticipated and unimagined just a few short years ago. Genetic engineering, nanotechnology, information technology, sub-atomic physics, and marketing have increased human capacity to manipulate the physical world, living biomass, and behavior. Recognition and financial rewards have followed. More of the same is anticipated.
Yet out beyond these successes remains a larger world where other pressing problems are not being resolved or even addressed. Water is becoming an increasingly scarce resource. Soil losses in some places have dramatically reduced the potential for food, fiber, fuel, and forage production. Where people and opportunities don’t meet in the same time and place, standards of living have fallen or remained stagnant. Financial returns to agriculture and forestry minimally support a majority of those living on the land, if at all. The growth of human populations and the restless migrations away from scarcity mean that the global community is becoming “unsettled” on a scale unimaginable fifty years ago.
II. The Academic Community
In order to study a phenomenon, there must be some degree of control over the subject of inquiry or else cause and effect will not be understood and findings will be open to question. In the physical sciences, control within laboratories and in the world of sticks and stones is relatively easy to achieve. On the other hand, when the inquiry concerns complex and dynamic living systems responding to a wide range of stimuli, control is progressively difficult for practical and often ethical reasons. While the cell on a glass slide under the microscope can do little other than be observed, understanding the impact of climate change on different tropic levels in a temperate forest is quite a different matter. Do we investigate soil microorganisms exchanging minerals for sugars with trees, precipitation in relation to changes in temperatures, biodiversity in response to changes in vegetation cover, the management practices of landowners, changes in the availability of forest products, melting ice in the Arctic, or all of the above? Even if we study all of the above, how is the information to be packaged into some comprehensible whole?
In science, we often read that some finding is true, ceteris paribus, or said another way, all other things being equal or held constant. As complexity increases, as questions are asked about cause and effect beyond the laboratory, the physical world, and simple life forms, all other things are less likely to be equal or even to be known.
When there is less control, the ability to predict or anticipate consequence is reduced because there are unaccounted variables that influence outcomes. For the economist, these are the externalities that exist beyond the focus of classical theories and methods of inquiry. For the ecologist, such variables are beyond the systems of interest that have been carefully delineated. As consideration is further expanded to include the fields and forests, the streams and rivers, and the human beings that manage the land and influence what is grown, harvested, processed, and delivered, each discipline has a stake in any proposed action with only a partial view of the whole. The various disciplinary practitioners may speak different technical languages, and use different information collection techniques, and their focuses often don’t overlap or correlate even though they may investigate phenomena that are interrelated and mutually influential if not mutually dependent.
The British philosopher Alfred North Whitehead (1920) commented that nature is infinitely divisible, i.e., there are an infinite number of ways of seeing nature. Any “complete” description is beyond our capacities, as the ecologist Frank Egler noted: "Ecosystems not only are more complex than we think, but more complex than we can think" (Noss, O'Connell, and Murphy: 1997:76). As a consequence, while many discipline-oriented researchers are raising questions concerning the long-term viability of existing biodiversity, water quality, and supplies of food, fuel, fiber, and forage, too frequently their conclusions are difficult to apply to the findings produced by other disciplinarians or to new technologies and management techniques. If problems are identified and solutions offered separately -- one at a time -- to improve water quality, increase forage yields, improve timber management, increase income to landowners...
April 11, 2012 - PotomacLocal.com
By Ashley McLeod
Capital News Service
RICHMOND, Va. – Beekeepers across Virginia soon will be able to get government money for creating new beehives – a move legislators hope will resurrect the state’s dying bee population.
During this year’s regular session, the General Assembly passed legislation to establish a $175,000 fund and award beekeepers as much as $200 for every new beehive, up to $2,400. Gov. Bob McDonnell recently signed the two bills, SB 354 and HB 300, into law.
Sen. Creigh Deeds, D-Charlottesville, sponsored the Senate bill. He hopes the money will encourage beekeepers to create more beehives.
“We’ve seen declining bee populations throughout Virginia, and they are the foundation of agriculture,” Deeds said. “If they’re not pollinating flowers and plants, crop production begins to lag.”
State apiarist Keith Tignor is responsible for educating and training beekeepers in Virginia. Tignor said his office has received numerous phone calls from Virginia beekeepers interested in the grant program.
“We estimate that there are between 20,000 and 30,000 beehives in Virginia, around 2,000 to 3,000 beekeepers, and most maintain an average of between 10 and 12 hives,” Tignor said. “Beekeeping is a very important part of Virginia, in many different aspects.”
Delegate Ed Scott, R-Culpeper, agreed. He proposed the House bill creating the grant program.
“There are a wide range of benefits to having a healthy bee population – not just for honey production,” Scott said.
“When bees pollinate other crops, they are stimulating agricultural production in a wide range of areas, anywhere from apple and peach orchards, to grapes and alfalfa hay crops. If we didn’t have beekeeping, we wouldn’t have other crops being as successful as they are.”
Deeds and Scott introduced their bills after judging a student competition conducted last summer at the Sorensen Institute’s College Leaders Program at the University of Virginia. The lawmakers were inspired by a group of college students who had drafted mock legislation aimed at addressing the state’s declining bee population.
Similar bills failed in previous years. The legislation, which will go into effect July 1, was initially introduced as a tax credit but was changed to a grant program by a legislative committee.
Beekeepers must apply for the grants, which will be administered by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
A Day at the Farm: Stories
On Saturday, October 19th, folks gathered at the Matthews Living Historic Farm Museum for its annual Apple Harvest Day. Though slightly on the chilly side, with a bit of sprinkles thrown in, we hosted a steady stream of people of all ages from infants to geezers coming and going throughout the day. Musicians positioned themselves on the porch of the log cabin, and played traditional mountain tunes while people visited and caught up on neighborly news and gossip.
What an impressive array of projects and young people!
Seven judges each visited 18 projects, created by a total of 45 high school students. All students received a GLC Frisbee, and three teams who just missed honorable mention were given copies of Providence, VA, a novel about sustainability set in Grayson County.
First Place ($1000)
Ty Cannaday, Lucas Rudy, Aaron Smith (11th & 12th): Grayson County Community Orchard Grayson County High
Second Place ($500)
Whatley Ozer (grade 9): Gardening your way to better health! Galax High
Third Place ($250)
Kattie Isom, Chelsea Horton, Elizabeth Fritz (10th grade): Creation of the Elk Creek Community Center Grayson County High
Honorable Mentions ($50 each)
Cassidy Williams (grade 12): How Can We Make a Profitable Business Selling Organic Fertilizer? Homeschooled
Jensyn Stoots: Prison Farming Program (grade 10) Galax High
Yasenia Turcios, Lindsey Nale, Maggie Turbyfill, Alexis Sutherland (grade 10): Methanol from Saw Dust Galax High
Autumn Halsey and Karly Morris (10th grade): Bring Organic Eggs to the Farmers’ Market Grayson County High
Hardin Halsey, Nick Brewer, Smith Hart, Will Circle (10th & 12th): Sustainable Sheep Farming in Grayson County Grayson County High
Next Runners Up (Received Book Prizes)
Kendall Spangler, Brandon Zapata, Gustavo Gomez, Tyler Burnette (grade 10): Gravity Light--Free Electricity (Sustainable Energy Using Gravity) Galax High
Alison Funk and Danielle Jones (11th grade): Reduce, Replenish, and Raise (Recycling and Re-using Old Lumber) Grayson County High
Natalie Ruiz, Allison Smith, Shelby Watson (11th grade): Converting Mount Rogers School to a Community Center Grayson County High
Breaking our modern consumerist behaviour
Victorian Landcare and Catchment Management Magazine - Latest Issue #57
Planning revegetation projects:
Overthe past five years 400 members
and groups associated with EGLN have
planted 300,000 indigenous seedlings,
creating more than 330 hectares of
revegetation. It’s not hard to understand
why revegetation is such a focus for the
network – an estimated 70 per cent of
private land has been cleared of indigenous
vegetation within the region, with the red
gum plains particularly affected. (Read the entire issue...)
Inspired by and building upon Heifer International's 65 years of community development experience, the Seeds of Change Initiative is a campaign to grow jobs, improve health, and end American poverty through the extraordinary potential of locally grown food.
This is possible thanks to the potential of capable people who want to work--to start or rejuvenate small farms, create innovative food-based businesses, and connect to existing viable markets while also developing new ones.
Capitalizing on the current local food movement, Seeds of Change will help low-income Americans become fully engaged participants in the momentum of these increasingly popular initiatives -- both as qualified providers of high quality food and knowledgeable consumers of it.
The USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program awards $26,488 to Grayson LandCare, Inc., Independence, VA, to professionalize
the Independence Farmers Market with a permanent market
manager and Board of Directors and to promote it as a viable,
self‐sustaining retail outlet for local growers and a venue for
consumers to buy
local fresh produce, meats, and eggs.
We were one of only five markets in Virginia to receive an award. Thank-you Grayson LandCare for all you did to make this possible!
Independence Farmers’ Market Manager
This is a must watch!
"Every time you sit down to a meal, you're voting on what kind of agriculture you want."
Watch this 5-minute film on Nebraska meat producers who put the needs of the soil and the animals first--and are finding that consumers respond, making their techniques MORE profitable while they feel good about what they are doing.
World's first online radio station dedicated to music with an environmental message
Hi Friends from Joyce Rouse,
The New Year began with a dream come true for some dear friends of mine with MUSE (Musicians United to Sustain the Environment). We started the world's first online radio station dedicated to music with an environmental message. I'm sending out this news blast especially to share some updates about this project and invite you to tune in to Earthday.fm.
Earthday.fm features a full-spectrum of music spanning six decades and many genres. Imagine my surprise to have Earth Mama songs programmed alongside the music of Tracy Chapman, John Hall, and George Harrison. The playlist draws from 5,000 songs with environmental and indigenous lyrics. The diversity is truly inspiring. Already, this station has attracted more than 300 listeners from 25 countries. You can help by becoming a listener and also inviting your friends to listen.
To tune in, go to: http://www.live365.com/stations/earthdayfm. The radio stream is free and will work with any audio player on your computer. And, more big news is coming. In March, MUSE will be launching weboflife.fm, dedicated to music specially programed for children and families.
Here are some more simple ways that you can be involved:
For station updates, please sign up for Earth Song eNews by clicking here.
If you have a website and would like to simulcast this station on your website (for free), please let us know and we will send you the instructions to do so.
Be a song angel and help the station by purchasing more songs (from hard to reach recording artists) for the playlist. To gift a song to Earthday Radio, click here to see our Amazon wish list. Click on the song that you want to contribute, then select Give Song As a Gift.
The Claire B. and James M. Matthews Foundation has awarded $47,080 per year for five years to Virginia Tech's College of Agriculture & Life Sciences and Cooperative Extension. This grant will fund an experiment in whole-farm planning in Grayson County. Danny Boyer, local farmer and President of Grayson LandCare, is the Principal Investigator working with three farms in Spring Valley. Virginia Tech will offer assessment and planning expertise and measurement of results.
Whole farm planning, first developed in Australia through the LandCare movement, enables farmers to balance farm profitability, community benefits, and environmental health. With the support of agriculture and forestry specialists, farmers and other landowners learn to integrate their management approaches recognizing their financial, community, and environmental goals. Given needs of their families (health, education, retirement), existing farm resources are evaluated – soils, water, lay of the land, livestock, buildings, equipment, labor availability, etc. – to determine options given the availability of markets, technical advice, investment capital, collaborative community ventures, e.g., Grayson Natural Foods, and other resources and services. From this evaluation, a farm plan is developed. At this stage, it becomes possible to identify the missing elements in what the farmer would like to achieve on the farm. Focusing on the farmers, people from Tech Cooperative Extension and the Colleges of Natural Resources & Environment and of Agriculture & Life Sciences, Farm Bureau, and the Virginia Departments of Agriculture & Consumer Services and of Forestry supporting the whole farm planning effort work together to create and implement plans that will improve farm incomes, protect water supplies, and contribute to a healthy community and environment. As plans are put into action, progress is periodically monitored to adapt the plan to changing circumstances, both on the farm. in markets, and with collaborating neighbors and other partners.
From the broader landscape and watershed perspective, whole farm planning is sensitive to the holdings of individual farmers and other land owners and the flows of energy, water, wildlife, information, capital, etc. From the perspectives of the community, universities, and other cooperating agencies and organizations interested in environmental services, endangered species, stream quality, etc., each individual farm can be located in relation to these flows. Management regimes can be designed to take financial advantage of specific locations while protecting environmental services and native biodiversity. This requires landscape and watershed evaluation for the design and later for the evaluation of the whole farm planning effort.
In Short Supply:
Small Farmers and the Struggle to Deliver Healthy Food
To Your Plate
The American food system doesn't make it easy for small farmers to get their healthy food to your home, but meet two farmers in Scott County, VA who are trying: Ricky Horton and Sherilyn Shepard. They're siblings who grow tomatoes, cucumbers, and other vegetables in southwestern Virginia. Their livelihood is filled with uncertainties ranging from unpredictable weather to changing immigration laws. This is their story.
"With appreciation of our past and awareness of our present, we can create a safe, sane future."