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homunculus (3)
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Standing around, chewing mouthfuls of cud, gazing at nothing.

Physically, intellectually and emotionally, cows are far more complex than we give them credit for.
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Sep 13, 2014 - 42 comments

Farm Tools for Women

Farming and gardening tools that are actually useful for women.Women play a critical role in producing food,” she says. “Our philosophy is to build on the strengths of women.”
posted by what's her name on Jul 12, 2014 - 32 comments

killing them with kindness

Farm Confessional: I Raise Livestock and I Think It May Be Wrong - "[Bob] Comis talked to Modern Farmer about the self-doubt he feels while raising animals for slaughter and his desire to see humanity evolve into a species that does not kill to eat." [more inside]
posted by flex on Jul 5, 2014 - 100 comments

The Abstinence Method: Dutch farmers just say no to antibiotics

“We decided that animal health, and human health, would be our priority,” Oosterlaken told me last fall in his barn, surrounded by warm plastic-lined pens where sows snoozed and new piglets squealed. “I don’t need to take antibiotics every day. There’s no reason my pigs should either.”
posted by Michele in California on Jun 18, 2014 - 34 comments

The Brewstorian

"With over 200 breweries, Oregon is often considered the craft beer capital of America. Beer geeks and casual drinkers across the country can also thank the state’s farmers for their brews: hops, the essential ingredient that gives beer its bitter flavor, is a rare crop throughout the U.S. but not in Oregon. Last year, Oregon State University established the Oregon Hops & Brewing Archives (OHBA), the first archive in the U.S., dedicated to preserving and telling the intertwined story of hop and beer production and the craft brewing movement. They're posting materials from their collection to Tumblr, Flickr and Zotero.
posted by zarq on May 20, 2014 - 31 comments

plant sex in silico

Monsanto Is Going Organic in a Quest for the Perfect Veggie - "The lettuce, peppers, and broccoli—plus a melon and an onion, with a watermelon soon to follow—aren't genetically modified at all. Monsanto created all these veggies using good old-fashioned crossbreeding, the same technology that farmers have been using to optimize crops for millennia. That doesn't mean they are low tech, exactly. Stark's division is drawing on Monsanto's accumulated scientific know-how to create vegetables that have all the advantages of genetically modified organisms without any of the Frankenfoods ick factor." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 8, 2014 - 52 comments

The illustrated farmer

The Great Maple Syrup Heist - in cartoon form!  ...and other illustrated stories by Lucas Adams in Modern Farmer, including The Legend of the Goat Man and The Pleasant Valley Sheep War. [more inside]
posted by moonmilk on Jan 16, 2014 - 23 comments

Razing and burning: the costs of rapid urbanization in China

With 53 self-immolations since 2009, these Chinese villagers might bring to mind the self-immolation by Tibetans, but the Chinese villagers are highlighting a different issue. The rapid urbanization of China is having a number of impacts across the country, with rural communities being demolished to build new urban centers. While many people are moving from rural farms to cities to find more lucrative jobs, some are fighting back to keep their rural communities intact, or to retain their family farms. When other options are gone, desperate villagers turn to self-immolation (NPR). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Oct 28, 2013 - 4 comments

"Certified humane raised."

This Is What Humane Slaughter Looks Like. Is It Good Enough? [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Oct 17, 2013 - 99 comments

Cockroach husbandry in China

Cockroaches being raised for cosmetics, medicine and food. "The 43-year-old businessman is the largest cockroach producer in China (and thus probably in the world), with six farms populated by an estimated 10 million cockroaches. He sells them to producers of Asian medicine and to cosmetic companies that value the insects as a cheap source of protein as well as for the cellulose-like substance on their wings."
posted by ChuckRamone on Oct 15, 2013 - 85 comments

Not just another freak snowstorm

"...Winter Storm Atlas took a huge toll on folks in Western South Dakota earlier this month. With reports of up to 58″ of snow and almost hurricane-force winds, South Dakotans were struck hard with an early season blizzard of historic proportions...Estimates are that upwards of 70,000 cattle, horses, and livestock perished in the storm. That means many ranchers lost all of this year’s calf crop and a good majority of their cow herds...I’ve encountered many losses in ranching, having several cattle at once struck dead by lightning, but I cannot imagine what it must be like to see dead cattle and horses strung out for more than 100 miles." [more inside]
posted by bakerina on Oct 12, 2013 - 35 comments

Land of milk and honey

These aerial shots of factory farms look like bloody zombie wounds
posted by Sebmojo on Sep 15, 2013 - 40 comments

A Niche at the Edge of the Crop Circle

How do farmers deal with wasted acreage at the corners of their crop circles? Some add corner systems, so water sprayers can reach the otherwise untouched land at the edges of the sprayers' reach. But as Edible Geography points out, "ecologists are preaching the potential of pivot corners. In a simplified landscape of monoculture crop circles, the corners can restore complexity: left as native perennial grassland or managed as early successional habitat, these concave triangles can provide valuable habitat for bees, birds, and predatory insects to support crop pollination and natural pest control." A short look at the costs and benefits of pivot discards.
posted by MonkeyToes on Sep 9, 2013 - 25 comments

Combat Farming

"Through my business, I worked in Afghanistan on agriculture projects designed to assist with stabilization efforts in the region. I want to share with you some of the lessons learned along with some photos. I hope these are beneficial to those of you looking into or already working on low tech, sustainable farming/gardening projects here in the states." A first-person account of working with the locals to reconnect them with the land. [more inside]
posted by MonkeyToes on Aug 9, 2013 - 12 comments

"You know, you have a very musical voice."

You've probably never heard anything quite like the musical documentary More About Henry. Remixing interviews with musical interpretation, composer Adam Goddard has woven a unique work of art from the stories of his grandfather, Henry Robert Tindale Haws, who spent a half-century farming in rural Ontario. More About Henry first aired on CBC Radio's Ideas. [more inside]
posted by oulipian on May 26, 2013 - 1 comment

Commence whey puns... NOW!

Whey Too Much: Greek Yogurt’s Dark Side For every three or four ounces of milk, Chobani and other companies can produce only one ounce of creamy Greek yogurt. The rest becomes acid whey. It’s a thin, runny waste product that can’t simply be dumped. Not only would that be illegal, but whey decomposition is toxic to the natural environment, robbing oxygen from streams and rivers.... And as the nation’s hunger grows for strained yogurt, which produces more byproduct than traditional varieties, the issue of its acid runoff becomes more pressing. Greek yogurt companies, food scientists, and state government officials are scrambling not just to figure out uses for whey, but how to make a profit off of it.
posted by Cash4Lead on May 22, 2013 - 228 comments

MOOO!

Key to slowing/stalling/reversal of desertification and climate change? More cows (sort of). Holistic Management advocate and biologist Allan Savory, co-founder of the Savory Institute, discusses the counterintuitive tactic of allowing large herds of animals to free-roam marginal lands. [more inside]
posted by lonefrontranger on Mar 15, 2013 - 23 comments

"once having given a pig an enema there is no turning back,"

Death Of A Pig, E.B. White.
I spent several days and nights in mid-September with an ailing pig and I feel driven to account for this stretch of time, more particularly since the pig died at last, and I lived, and things might easily have gone the other way round and none left to do the accounting. Even now, so close to the event, I cannot recall the hours sharply and am not ready to say whether death came on the third night or the fourth night. This uncertainty afflicts me with a sense of personal deterioration; if I were in decent health I would know how many nights I had sat up with a pig.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Feb 26, 2013 - 32 comments

Grow More GM, says former anti-GMO activist

Mark Lynas, author of several books on climate change and once a leading figurehead of the anti-GMO movement, has made an about turn on his opinions regarding GM crops. In an address to the Oxford Farming Conference, he stated: "For the record, here and upfront, I apologise for having spent several years ripping up GM crops. I am also sorry that I helped to start the anti-GM movement back in the mid 1990s, and that I thereby assisted in demonising an important technological option which can be used to benefit the environment. As an environmentalist, and someone who believes that everyone in this world has a right to a healthy and nutritious diet of their choosing, I could not have chosen a more counter-productive path. I now regret it completely. So I guess you’ll be wondering—what happened between 1995 and now that made me not only change my mind but come here and admit it? Well, the answer is fairly simple: I discovered science, and in the process I hope I became a better environmentalist." [more inside]
posted by rattleandhum on Jan 4, 2013 - 82 comments

2 BZY 4 TROOF

PixelJam's new platformer, Potatoman Seeks the Troof, has a charmingly incomprehensible trailer. (PREVIOUSLY: Gamma Bros., Ratmaze 2, Dino Run, Mountain Maniac, Dino Run: Marathon of Doom, Snowball Pinball)
posted by JHarris on Dec 23, 2012 - 5 comments

HOLLA HOLLA GET [big agro subsidy] DOLLA

And you thought Farming Simulator 2011 was boring! [NSFW (or whack posers) SLYT]
posted by cthuljew on Oct 26, 2012 - 46 comments

Inspiring and amazing urban farming geek, Eric Maundu

Eric Maundu - who comes from Kenya, now lives in West Oakland and is trained in industrial robotics- transforms unused spaces into productive, small aquaponic farms. He has taken the agricultural craft one step further and made his gardens smart. He explores new frontiers of computer-controlled gardening. More information about this story. His company, Kijani Grows. Via faircompanies.com.
posted by nickyskye on Oct 24, 2012 - 21 comments

Roundup all the farmers

"Farmer Bowman began purchasing Monsanto’s patented seeds in 1999 and, because of the licensing agreement, did not save any of the seed for future planting. But he also bought so-called “commodity” seed from a local grain elevator, which acts as a clearinghouse for farmers to buy and sell seed. But given that more than 90 percent of the soybeans planted in the area were Roundup Ready crops, the elevator’s seed was contaminated with Monsanto’s patented seed. Farmer Bowman planted that commodity seed, which was substantially cheaper to purchase, to produce a second, late-season crop, which is generally more risky and lower yielding. He then used seeds generated in one late-season harvest to help produce subsequent late-season crops. Monsanto sued him for patent infringement, and he lost." [more inside]
posted by sio42 on Oct 11, 2012 - 105 comments

Go Pro Grain Farming

Go Pro Grain Farming Good, watchable videos of grain farming are hard to find, but using a Go Pro camera to document 2012 crop production on the Canadian prairies was a great idea.
posted by bluebelle on Sep 30, 2012 - 18 comments

Corn and Drought

July 2012 was the hottest month ever recorded in the continental United States. 70% of Iowa - the nation's largest corn producer - is experiencing extreme or exceptional drought. The U.S. Department of Agriculture rates 50% of the nation's corn crop as poor or very poor. Today U.S. corn prices reached an all-time high. The impact will be global. Wired looks at "Why King Corn Wasn't Ready For The Drought".
posted by Egg Shen on Aug 9, 2012 - 149 comments

Travel on your stomach

The Perennial Plate: An American Food Trip is an online documentary series of short videos featuring "adventurous and sustainable eating" beginning in Minnesota and continuing around the US.
posted by Miko on Jul 22, 2012 - 3 comments

Canada is facing a potato shortage

Poor potato crop leaves processors short of spuds Canada is facing a potato shortage, mainly because of poor growing conditions last summer. That has sent wholesale prices for some spuds soaring and forced processors such as Toronto-based McCain Foods Ltd. to temporarily close some plants.
posted by Blake on Jun 11, 2012 - 23 comments

Agricola Lite

Flash Friday: Written for Ludlum Dare 23, Super Strict Farmer is a flash game that plays like a light version of the popular Eurogame Agricola. If you have trouble figuring out how to play, the rules are in the comment thread. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jun 1, 2012 - 27 comments

"It All Turns On Affection"

Last night, author and farmer Wendell Berry delivered a powerful lecture [video; full text here includes portions not delivered verbally] to a full house on the occasion of his accepting the National Endowment of the Humanities' Jefferson Award. The famous PC holdout has appeared previously in the blue, but this lecture is not to be missed. Here is soul nourishment for the long-time Berry follower, and for the newcomer a superb introduction to one of our time's greatest intellects. [more inside]
posted by maniabug on Apr 25, 2012 - 27 comments

Joel Salatin responds to New York Times' "Myth of Sustainable Meat"

Joel Salatin, proprietor of Polyface Farm, rebuts a NYT Op-Ed by James E. McWilliams.
posted by beukeboom on Apr 23, 2012 - 81 comments

They Shoot Pigs, Don't They?

Feral swine (aka feral hogs, wild pigs) incur an estimated $1 billion (US) in property damage and control costs, according to the USDA (.pdf). They rip up crops, root up native plans, injure and kill other wildlife and carry disease. As of April 1, 2012, Michigan's Department of Natural Resources has outlawed them, permitting "any licensed hunter [to] shoot feral swine on sight." The relevant Invasive Species Order (.pdf), and its convoluted implementation, has a number of hog farmers up in arms over the state's new ability to slaughter farm-raised pigs that meet the state DNR's description of "feral swine." [more inside]
posted by MonkeyToes on Apr 4, 2012 - 44 comments

OH GOD GRASS YES

Cows being released from winter housing react to being let free in a meadow
posted by The Whelk on Mar 25, 2012 - 169 comments

Get a load of these cuties

Design Decoded, a new blog on Smithsonian.com, kicks off with a seven part series on the century-long process behind creating and marketing the perfect citrus. [more inside]
posted by Horace Rumpole on Mar 17, 2012 - 10 comments

In Distrust Of Movements

Twelve years before Occupy Wall Street Wendell Berry imagined something like it. [more inside]
posted by eustacescrubb on Feb 4, 2012 - 53 comments

Imagine there's no people

So you wake up tomorrow morning to find almost everyone on Earth missing. The Internet will continue to work for a few hours: what information could you download to ensure your survival and rebuild civilization? A few suggestions: The CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics. Third Word Development (18 GB of information on agriculture, livestock, food processing, construction, water, sanitation, health and much more). The Global Village Construction Set (previously). Copies of Gray's Anatomy, Where There Is No Doctor, and The Ship Captain’s Medical Guide.

A few more that might be handy even in ordinary times: all of Wikipedia, or perhaps just a portion. (Ideally, of course, you’d already have a bound, printed copy), Offline Google Mail (Chrome) to save correspondence; SiteSucker to download sites you’d like to keep around while offline.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Jan 5, 2012 - 89 comments

In Japan, they farm like this; in American, they farm like that.

Japan's youth, unable to find jobs in the city, look to life on the farm. [more inside]
posted by asnider on Dec 1, 2011 - 36 comments

"Re-organizing" a Canadian institution.

The government of Canada has decided to end the Canadian Wheat Board's single desk system for the sale and export of wheat and barley. This has been on the Conservative agenda for some time now, despite some claims that farmers support the Wheat Board. Many are suggesting that the repercussions could stretch beyond wheat farmers; including concern for the town of Churchill, known mostly for the local bear population, which does 95% of their port business through the Wheat Board.
A history and primer of the Wheat Board.

Previously

It's co-op week on metafiler?
posted by Stagger Lee on Oct 17, 2011 - 96 comments

(Factory) Farmers, Don't Let Your Piggies Grow Up To Be Tacos

"Attention, industrial farmers. Willie Nelson wants you to stop drugging your pigs and smashing them into compact, easily shippable pork cubes. So does Chipotle." Farm Aid organizer Willie Nelson covers Coldplay's "The Scientist" for a pseudo PSA for burrito chain Chipotle's foundation to support sustainable agriculture, family farming, and culinary education.
posted by Frank Grimes on Aug 30, 2011 - 58 comments

Grape Fields to The Game

The Madness of Cesar Chavez
posted by telstar on Jun 18, 2011 - 44 comments

Heading for the last Roundup?

Industry regulators have known for years that Monsanto's Roundup herbicide causes birth defects according to a newly released report by Earth Open Source. Regulators knew as long ago as 1980 that glyphosate, the chemical on which Roundup is based, can cause birth defects in laboratory animals... Although the European Commission has known that glyphosate causes malformations since at least 2002, the information was not made public. (Previously) [more inside]
posted by Twang on Jun 7, 2011 - 56 comments

The Lego Set of Civilization

Let's say just for a moment that you were ready to cash out. Quit your job. Sell your house. Take you and yours out of the rat race with a few hundred of your friends and family and relocate onto arable land. What tools would you need to sustain a livable—maybe even comfortable—lifestyle? Open Source Ecology suggests you start with ~2.6 million dollars and these | fifty | machines (← watch this first), collectively referred to as the Global Village Construction Set.
posted by carsonb on Mar 28, 2011 - 48 comments

the future of food and farming

How to feed 9 billion people: The global food supply is starting to get tight, with increasing sensitivity to droughts and floods causing price spikes and food shortages. The UK commissioned a report to examine how to feed a planet with a population that is set to increase to 9 billion by 2050. [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 22, 2011 - 50 comments

Farmville, but for real.

Now that winter is officially here, maybe you're thinking about warmer times, and your vegetable garden. Here are some online tools and resources to help you plan your next bumper crop. Mother Earth News Garden Planner is an online app that can help you layout your garden, and once you've done that, it'll tell you when you should start planting, based on your location. It even takes into account things like successive sowing and crop rotation, all with an eye towards organic farming practices. (Don't like associating with the Mother Earthers? The same app is available via GrowVeg.com.) Considering more unusual varieties this year? How about heirloom varieties? Seed Savers Exchange | Victory Seeds | Seeds of Change. And of course, there's always Burpee for your more garden variety seeds. And be sure to check out these composting tips. Or if all of this is just too much work, you can always sign up for a share in a nearby CSA.
posted by crunchland on Dec 22, 2010 - 22 comments

Serious Eats explains...

Why Foie Gras is not Unethical (via The Browser)
posted by lucia__is__dada on Dec 17, 2010 - 105 comments

Bootiful

Millionaire Norfolk farmer Bernard Matthews became an unlikely minor celebrity in the UK, after appearing in his own adverts. He specialised in turkey production and ironically died yesterday on Thanksgiving. [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Nov 26, 2010 - 44 comments

The Organic Egg Scorecard from the Cornucopia Institute

The Cornucopia Institute's Organic Egg Scorecard ranks egg producers on a scale from 1 to 5 eggs, using criteria like outdoor access, indoor space per bird, ownership structure, beak trimming and other factors [pdf]. The scorecard is part of the Institute's new report, Scrambled Eggs: Separating Factory Farm Egg Production from Authentic Organic Agriculture. The executive summary [pdf] provides some political context.

"Whole Foods, Walmart, A&P, Costco, Meijer, Safeway, and Trader Joe's store-brand eggs all received the lowest possible rating in Cornucopia's study."
posted by mediareport on Oct 5, 2010 - 69 comments

Another Development in the Immigration Debate

Hawaiian leaders speak out over farmers convicted of human trafficking.
posted by parmanparman on Sep 5, 2010 - 34 comments

'Priceless collection' in Russia was never registered so is therefore worthless and does not officially exist, say developers

In 1926, Nikolai Vavilov founded the world's first modern seedbank, and amassed a collection which today contains over 90% unique varieties of plant, contained in no other collection in existence. For his opposition to Lysenkoism he died in prison, and several of his colleagues famously starved to death instead of eating their specimens during the Siege of Leningrad. Now the Pavlovsk seedbank facility has been seized by the Federal Agency for Public Estate Management, and pending a court ruling will be demolished - contents and all - to build a housing development. The collection cannot be moved in time because it is a working seedbank of living plants.
posted by mek on Aug 9, 2010 - 40 comments

Tower Defence

Last year, Yang Youde learned that his land had been requisitioned. Since the compensation terms for breaking the contract had not been settled, he has refused to move out. "The evictors said many times that they will move on me." Earlier this year, Yang took measures to protect himself. He took a hand-truck and removed the front. Then he put in a set of rockets for use as an artillery battery.
posted by Artw on Jun 8, 2010 - 34 comments

"Lingerie comes with soil, rice seedlings and gardening gloves."

The latest fun, gimmicky bra from Japanese lingerie maker Triumph International grows rice. Promo Videos (SFW, YT) [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 17, 2010 - 29 comments

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