Tag Archives: joel salatin

Young Couple Turns to Crowdfunding for Farm Expansion

(I’ve written about Dustin and Ali several times before in this blog. They are truly role models for young people entering farming. I wrote this piece to highlight their plight as they face regulatory barriers to achieving the American dream of being successful, sustainable small farmers in a world of agri-giants. Please feel free to repost it, share it, retweet it, whatever. They could use a little help. Thanks, Jim)
STARKVILLE, Miss. — By all outside measures, young farmers Dustin Pinion and Ali Fratesi are the picture of success. They’ve grown their Beaverdam Farm operation from nothing to now having about 350 laying hens and 800 meat birds a few miles from here in Clay County. 
Dustin Pinion (center) and Ali Fratesi (left) explain the basics of their pastured poultry/cattle operation at High Hope Farm in Clay County, MS. The couple has been hit by regulations aimed at larger industrial agricultural operations threatening to shut them down and have turned to crowd funding to build a processing center that meets state and federal approval. (Photo by Jim Ewing, ShooFlyFarmBlog)

Dustin Pinion (center) and Ali Fratesi (left) explain the basics of their pastured poultry/cattle operation at High Hope Farm in Clay County, MS. The couple has been hit by regulations aimed at larger industrial agricultural operations threatening to shut them down and have turned to crowd funding to build a processing center that meets state and federal approval.   (Photo by Jim Ewing, ShooFlyFarmBlog)

But the couple, in their 20s, are now what some might say are “victims of their own success.”
Dustin, 27, worked hard to get where he is, apprenticing under now-famous author, speaker and Virginia farmer Joel Salatin, to learn the ways of pastured poultry.
He has been a managing partner of High Hope Farm, a combined pastured poultry, swine and grass-fed beef farm, to try to save enough money to someday buy his own farm.
Fratesi, 26, his partner, works from before first light to well after dark, doing farm chores and tending to their buying club – which has more than 700 members – and carrying their dressed, all natural, chemical-free chickens 140 miles to sell at the Jackson Farmers Market on High Street. These are “better than organic!” they proclaim.
Every day, they monitor or move the netted and open bottom enclosures they have built from scrap tin and old cotton trailers so that the chickens are allowed to free range over the pasture. They follow the cattle that are constantly herded using temporary electric fencing so they might intensively feed on lush, green grass. They follow the swine that have been turned loose into scrub wood land that they are rooting and clearing for food, again herded by temporary electric wire to do the job a bulldozer would otherwise do, but is now done in a natural and sustainable way.
It’s a 7-day-a-week, 24-hour-a-day job. And, yes, Ali admitted recently over her farmers market stall with fresh grown vegetables from their garden, it’s a hard life. But it’s one they relish – as countless other young couples have done in building a farm business from a few eggs and a lot of hard work.
Now, though, they’ve met a barrier to their dreams. They have reached the “1,000-bird limit” for small direct market poultry farmers and must build an on-site processing facility.The good part: it will allow them to process up to 20,000 birds a year. They hard part: they have to raise $30,000 to help them meet that goal.
Like a lot of young couples, Dustin and Ali don’t have a lot of money, certainly not $30,000 – and being young people with few tangible assets, they don’t qualify for much in the way of loans. So, they have turned to the public in trying to reach their goal. Called “crowdfunding,” they have turned to friends to help them launch a “kickstarter” campaign to raise the funds. (See: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1682257709/growing-the-farm-feeding-mississippi)
At this writing, they are about halfway toward their goal — a testament to the support they have from the community and their customers. But the goal is still elusive.
To lure donors, they are offering a lot of gifts that people might find enticing: from a mention on their website ($15) to naming a pig after you ($50) to really cool-looking T-shirts ($75), all the way up to $1,200 for a three-day farm stay weekend.
“The biggest problem we are facing is we are charting unknown waters,” they say. “Regulations and recommendations are in place for large scale chicken processing plants in Mississippi, but not for small farms like us.”
While the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce and the state Health Department are helping guide them in designing an on-site facility that should pass inspection, they don’t know what further fees and expenses they may face.
They believe that small, direct market growers like themselves are the future of agriculture in Mississippi and the nation.
It would be a shame if the ability to help make that dream a reality fell short because of state and federal regulations.
Take a look at their kickstarter page, buy a t-shirt, or a day on the farm! Helping young people achieve their dreams is a lasting gift in itself.

Jim PathFinder Ewing is a journalist, author, and former organic farmer now teaching natural, sustainable and organic agricultural practices. His latest book is Conscious Food: Sustainable Growing, Spiritual Eating (Findhorn Press). Find Jim on Facebook, follow him @EdiblePrayers or @OrganicWriter or visit blueskywaters.com.

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Farm Field Day Draws Lots of Moms, Kids

Sept. 16, 2013

A sunny, cool farm day greeted about 70 people who visited the farm owned by Johnny Wray, former president of Gaining Ground – Sustainability Institute of Mississippi, during the field day held Sunday, Sept. 15. He and Elton Dean are partners in a grassfed beef operation, with Dustin Pinion and his partner Ali Fratesi.

Dustin Pinion (center) and Ali Fratesi (left) explain the basics of their pastured poultry/cattle operation at High Hope Farm in Clay County, MS, on Sunday, Sept. 15. The Field Day was sponsored by the National Center for Appropriate Technology, which operates ATTRA, the Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, and by Gaining Ground - Sustainability Institute of Mississippi.

Dustin Pinion (center) and Ali Fratesi (left) explain the basics of their pastured poultry/cattle operation at High Hope Farm in Clay County, MS, on Sunday, Sept. 15. The Field Day was sponsored by the National Center for Appropriate Technology, which operates ATTRA, the Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, and by Gaining Ground – Sustainability Institute of Mississippi.

You may recognize Ali if you frequent the Jackson (Miss.) Farmers Market on High Street. The couple now has about 350 laying hens and 800 meat birds at Wray’s High Hope Farm, said Fratesi, who sells their eggs and pesticide-free produce on Saturdays at the market. They have more than 700 members in their buying club.

The couple has operated Beaverdam Farm in Indianola for about four years. Pinion, 27, came to High Hope Farm to show off what he learned while apprenticing with farmer/author Joel Salatin for six months in 2011.

Visitors at the Field Day at High Hope Farm look at the chicken tractors that follow the cattle across the pasture. The cages allow protection for the young chickens from predators like hawks and coyotes as they are moved incrementally to new pasture. (Photo by Jim Ewing)

Visitors at the Field Day at High Hope Farm look at the chicken tractors that follow the cattle across the pasture. The cages allow protection for the young chickens from predators like hawks and coyotes as they are moved incrementally to new pasture. (Photo by Jim Ewing)

The Gulf States office of the National Center for Appropriate Technology (which operates the Sustainable Agriculture Information Service) and Gaining Ground – Sustainability Institute of Mississippi sponsored the field day to draw attention to the combined cattle/poultry/swine operation for its sustainable practices.

The farm has recently added pastured swine to the mix, clearing out previously overgrown scrub and sapling forested areas while producing sellable meat. GGSIM and NCAT operated booths to provide more information. (For more info on growing sustainabily, see: ncat.org and ggsim.org)

Margaret Thomas (left) of Hattiesburg and Alison Buehler, president of Gaining Ground - Sustainability Institute of Mississippi, of Starkville, enjoy a discussion on sustainable farming. (Photo by Jim Ewing)

Margaret Thomas (left) of Hattiesburg and Alison Buehler, president of Gaining Ground – Sustainability Institute of Mississippi, of Starkville, enjoy a discussion on sustainable farming. (Photo by Jim Ewing)

For a lot of folks, it appeared that coming to the farm was a first taste, perhaps, of ever seeing a working farm in operation.

For many visitors to High Hope Farm, it appeared to be the first time to see a real farm in operation. (Photo by Jim Ewing)

For many visitors to High Hope Farm, it appeared to be the first time to see a real farm in operation. (Photo by Jim Ewing)

A number of people chose to walk across the 35-acre farm, but many (including lots of moms with small children, and even a few adults) enjoyed taking a “hay ride” on Johnny’s tractor, sitting on hay bales piled on a trailer.

Kids and moms enjoyed a hay ride at High Hope Farm in Clay County, MS, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013. (Photo by Jim Ewing)

Kids and moms enjoyed a hay ride at High Hope Farm in Clay County, MS, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013. (Photo by Jim Ewing)

Everyone seemed to have a good time. So much so, this might turn out to be a “first annual” event – with another one next year!

P.S. For those who missed it, you can also tour High Hope farm Sept. 29, 2013, with a farm tour by the Mississippi Sustainable Agriculture Network. For more info, see: http://www.mssagnet.net/ Or follow MSAN on Facebook.

Jim PathFinder Ewing is a journalist, author, writer, editor, organic farmer and blogger. His latest book titled Conscious Food: Sustainable Growing, Spiritual Eating (Findhorn Press) is in bookstores now. Find Jim on Facebook: http://bit.ly/cuxUdc or follow him @edibleprayers or @organicwriter or visit blueskywaters.com.

A Local Sustainable Beef and Poultry Operation

I’m way behind on keeping up with this blog on all the new things I’ve been seeing, learning and doing. I’ve been traveling so much – hardly two days in a row at home during the entire month of August – and September seems just as busy.

So, I’m just going to throw random thoughts and observations in here, and they might not be in chronological order.

To start, here’s photo of me taken Sunday speaking at the Farm Field Day that NCAT sponsored in Clay County, where I was speaking about the importance of sustainability in local food.

NCAT Outreach Coordinator Jim Ewing explains the importance of growing food sustainably and locally during a farm field day in Clay County, MS., Sept. 15, 2013.

NCAT Outreach Coordinator Jim Ewing explains the importance of growing food sustainably and locally during a farm field day in Clay County, MS., Sept. 15, 2013.

To cut to the chase, our Gulf States office of the National Center for Appropriate Technology (which operates the Sustainable Agriculture Information Service) and Gaining Ground – Sustainability Institute of Mississippi sponsored the field day to draw attention to a combined cattle/poultry/swine operation for its sustainable practices.

About 70 people attended — lots of them young moms and dads with small children who are interested in buying locally grown food. It was my honor to be asked to explain to them how and why sustainably grown food is as important as it being locally grown food – to the environment, to the consumer, to the farmer.

In this particular operation, the Clay County, Miss., farm of Johnny Wray, cattle, poultry and swine are used to improve the habitat and their own health by allowing each animal to do what it does best.

Patterned on the model made popular by Virginia farmer/author Joel Salatin, their hogs are cleaning out overgrown areas of the farm by rooting through underbrush and uprooting saplings. The chickens are housed in chicken tractors which are flat cages that allow the chickens to range through grass after the steers have moved through.

The cattle are “mob grazed” – kept in a bunch in approximately one acre paddocks, where they eat most of the grass offered. The chickens follow, eating the vegetation  that the cattle don’t like and eating the bugs that are there, along with those drawn to the cow patties.

What results is a flat, extremely fertile field that appears mowed like a golf course.

From that, by naturally eradicating weeds, indigenous prairie grasses are exposed to sunlight and allowed to come forward in the pasture. So that, next time, after the field has been rested, the cows and chickens will have even denser forage that is even more nutritious.

Instead of depleting natural resources, as “conventional” farming and grazing does, the rotational grazing of combined cattle and poultry improves the soil and forage as well as the health of the animals. That’s what is meant by a “sustainable” system.

As owner Wray notes, he no longer has to apply fertilizer to his fields or cut hay from them to artificially supplement his cattle. He grows them grassfed and finishes them himself without having to send them to a feeder lot. Though he keeps the cattle longer, they sell for much higher than otherwise. Plus, since they are grassfed and not fed corn or treated with chemicals, he fetches a higher price from consumers who are don’t trust chemically or artificially raised animals. He says he has more orders for his grassfed beef than he has cattle.

Wray is partnering in the cattle business with Elton Dean, a neighbor who is also a member of GGSIM’s Food Systems Committee. The operation is managed by Dustin Pinion and Ali Fratesi, who live in Starkville.  Dustin apprenticed under Salatin in 2011 and is showcasing his talents in partnership with Wray and Dean.

More on this later….

Jim PathFinder Ewing is a journalist, author, writer, editor, organic farmer and blogger. His latest book titled Conscious Food: Sustainable Growing, Spiritual Eating (Findhorn Press) is in bookstores now. Find Jim on Facebook: http://bit.ly/cuxUdc or follow him @edibleprayers or @organicwriter or visit blueskywaters.com.

2013 Next Big Thing in Books

Jan. 28, 2013

2013 The Next Big Thing in Books

Thanks to Grace Walsh, a Boston author, whose new book is Divine Arrows. Check it out at www.earthenspirit.org – and her book blog: http://www.earthenspirit.org/mybookblog/

Grace invited me to join a blog chain 2013 THE NEXT BIG THING – a series of self-interviews by/with authors about what they’ve been working on.
So, here are 10 questions concerning my newest book:

What is the title of your book?
Conscious Food: Sustainable Growing, Spiritual Eating

Where did the idea come from for the book?
My wife Annette and I own a small organic farm and I was out working in the fields one day and it really struck me how beautiful it was to be out there under the blues skies, the puffy white clouds, the gentle breezes. The plants were gently waving in the breeze and I was going about my chores, just thankful to be alive. Thankful in the moment, that Annette and I, essentially, were living a “walking prayer.” We were growing food for people — good, healthful food — and being a part of this great cycle of life. It was spiritual. It was sacred. It was holy. I was in bliss.

Then, I came inside the house and checked the messages on the computer and there was an alert that some food we had bought at a local grocery store might be contaminated, affecting people in six states. I looked in the news and there was a report that this generation could be the first in modern history that would have shorter lifespans than their parents due to the epidemic of obesity among children. And there was a report on “food deserts” — areas of cities where no fresh fruits and vegetables are available.

And I thought: How did we get like this? How did our food become unhealthy? Where did the sacredness of our food go? Or, was it ever sacred. I knew intuitively, and from my own experience, that it WAS sacred, and had to have been so. So, the question was, how did it get this way? That was the basis for the book.
What genre does your book fall under?
Inexplicably, on Amazon, it falls under organic cooking; I thought that odd until I saw the other offerings listed that way, including books by Eliot Coleman (one of the founders of the organic movement) and Michael Pollan (a journalist who writes about food and farming). So, I guess I’m in good company. I would say the book falls under: Food, Farming, Organic, Environment, Spirit.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Hmmm. I would say the current hunk du jour to play me, of course. But that wouldn’t be very accurate. My wife would be any Marilyn Monroe lookalike.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Over the past 2,000 years, we have lost our spiritual connection with food in Western society; here’s how to get it back, and create healthy families, communities and a healthful world while we’re at it.

Who is the publisher?
Findhorn Press (Scotland); distributed in the United States by IPG.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
About six months. A lot of it was already written through my newspaper columns on organics and my blog about food, farming and agriculture. And, of course, through notes scribbled to myself.
A little explanation: I always carry a small notepad with me and whenever I think of something I might want to write about, I make a note of it. As a consequence, I have these pocket-sized notebooks everywhere, as well as torn out scraps of paper with scribbling on them – on my desk, in the car, in the pockets of my clothes, by my bed. I also have three blogs:
On organics: Shooflyfarmblog – https://shooflyfarmblog.wordpress.com/
On philosophy, etc.: Postcards From A Green Planet – http://jimpathfinder.tumblr.com/
On daily life: http://coinkyinc.wordpress.com/

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
It’s something of a personal journey, with a bit of explanation/how-tos on growing your own food, but with a message overall that we need to change ourselves and our planet. So, I guess, I’d say it’s closest to Maria Rodale’s Organic Manifesto: How Organic Food Can Heal Our Planet, Feed the World, and Keep Us Safe, but with a more spiritual aspect to it.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I have greatly enjoyed the books of Michael Pollan, Eliot Coleman and Barbara Kingsolver. Oh, and “lunatic” farmer Joel Salatin, not so “lunatic” farmer Gene Logsdon, and, of course, Wendell Berry and Thomas Berry. Someone who may or may not be as well known but who writes thoughtfully about spiritual ecology, as what I write about is often called, is Norman Wirzba, a professor at Duke Divinity School. And, of course, there’s the continuing example of eco-spirituality at Findhorn in Scotland, now recognized by the United Nations as an eco village.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I’m a firm believer in the spiritual principle that when one heart is changed the world changes. That is why I point to the words of Buckminster Fuller in my book regarding the way atrophy can be reversed and new paradigms can be started by the simple acts of individuals. When done unconsciously, it’s evolution. When done consciously, it’s revolution. Now, as perhaps never before in human history, with the Internet, social networking, etc., we can accelerate consciousness and the place of humanity in history through what I call biocultural revolution. It starts with being conscious about our food.

Again, thanks to Grace and her new book, Divine Arrows: http://www.earthenspirit.org/mybookblog/

Thanks to Dale Neal, an Asheville, NC, author whose new book is The Half-Life of Home. Check it out at http://www.dalenealbooks.com

Thanks to Marjo Moore, an Asheville, NC, author, poet, whose new book is Bear Quotes. Check it out at http://marijomoore.blogspot.com

And to keep 2013 THE NEXT BIG THING going, here are some wonderful writers and their recent books:

Denise Low
Natural Theologies: Essays about Literature of the Middle Plains (Omaha: The Backwaters Press). This book is the first critical study of contemporary Mid-Plains literature. Denise Low, former Kansas poet laureate, shows how the region’s writers inherit a Frontier legacy from Indigenous and American settler communities. http://deniselow.blogspot.com http://www.deniselow.com

Trace DeMeyer
Two Worlds: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects, an anthology of first-person narratives by Native adoptees, edited by Trace A. DeMeyer and Patricia Busbee, ISBN: 978-1479318285 (Ebook and Paperback). An important contribution to Native American history! Read more: http://www.splitfeathers.blogpot.com/.
Published by Blue Hand Books (Create Space/Amazon), http://www.bluehandbooks.blogspot.com/

See also: Nan Cuba, author of Body and Bread: http://myfanwycollins.com/2012/12/24/the-next-big-thing-guest-post-by-nan-cuba/
Marjorie Hudson is the author of ACCIDENTAL BIRDS OF THE CAROLINAS, a fine collection of short stories that was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award.

Michael Jarmer is the author of MONSTER LOVE, a contemporary twist on Mary Shelley Wollenstone’s classic “Frankenstein.”

Joe Schuster, whose book, THE MIGHT HAVE BEEN is a terrific baseball novel with a compelling human story.

Finally, see any of the fine authors at Findhorn Press: http://www.findhornpress.com/

Jim PathFinder Ewing is a journalist, author, writer, editor, organic farmer and blogger. His latest book titled Conscious Food: Sustainable Growing, Spiritual Eating (Findhorn Press) is in bookstores now. Find Jim on Facebook: http://bit.ly/cuxUdc or follow him @edibleprayers or @organicwriter or visit blueskywaters.com.

Count me as a ‘Treehugger,’ too!

Treehugger? Author Logsdon one of them and so am I

“We’re all treehuggers.”
So writes farmer, author and journalist Gene Logsdon.
With  his latest book, A Sanctuary of Trees (Chelsea Green, 2012), to be released April 27, Logsdon, who has published more than two dozen books,  has
truly outdone himself.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a  longtime fan. The only book I had some difficulty with was his Holy  Sh–t: Managing Manure To Save Mankind, and that
objection wasn’t due to  the subject matter, but the title: I don’t approve of using swear words  (if I can help it!).
To get the gist of the man, Wes Jackson  (founder of The Land Institute) is probably right in describing Logsdon,  as “one of only three people I know who
are able to make a living  exclusively out of writing what should be common sense.”
Presumably,  the other two are revered Kentucky farmer-philosopher Wendell Berry and  Virginia “grass farmer” Joel Salatin (author, among others, of The  Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer).
To say Logsdon is “down  to earth” is an understatement (with Sh-t!, who else writes a whole book  dedicated to the intricacies of manure?). Hence, the
singular impact of  his calling himself “a treehugger.” Often used in derision,  Logsdon turns it around – exercising that uncommon common sense, again.  How could someone who loves the outdoors, depends on the largess of  farming, and even on the grace of clean air that trees produce, not
be  an unabashed lover/hugger of trees?
Humans have always depended on  trees for food, shelter, livelihood and safety, he notes. But trees are  even more important now, in helping to halt climate change by  sequestering carbon.
A simple fact, he observes: “A tree in its  lifetime produces oxygen and consumes as much carbon dioxide as it will  release when it is burned. Fossil
fuel such as coal or oil releases  carbon dioxide and thermal energy withdrawn from circulation millions of  years ago.” That simple math has profound
implications.
It is his  gift of seeing old things anew and new things in new ways that makes  Logsdon’s books an evergreen delight. Count me in with Gene Logsdson;  I’m very happily a treehugger, too!

Check out Logsdon’s blog: http://thecontraryfarmer.wordpress.com.

Last column: This is my final column with The Clarion-Ledger.
I am among those longtime employees given a buyout.
Not near retirement age, I am eagerly investigating new projects and employment.
I have a contract with Findhorn Press for a book on organic food, farming and gardening. Look for it Sept. 1.
You can follow me on Facebook at http://bit.ly/cuxUdc – or on Twitter @edibleprayers.
Thank  you, dear readers, for 22 years with The Clarion-Ledger and before that  with the Jackson Daily News. I can’t thank you enough for all the kind  words and support over all these years.
It’s been fun!

(Note: I intend to continue this blog.)

Jim PathFinder Ewing is a journalist, author, writer, editor, organic farmer and blogger. His latest book titled Conscious Food: Sustainable Growing, Spiritual Eating (Findhorn Press) is in bookstores now. Find Jim on Facebook: http://bit.ly/cuxUdc or follow him @edibleprayers or @organicwriter or visit blueskywaters.com.

Fertility leaks and edible yards

January 14, 2011

Organic growers can find hidden, fertile spaces in the edible yards.

Last week, we explored the idea of expanding our 4×8-foot “Jim’s plot” this new year into a more intensive organic garden, but there are other ways to produce more with less, as well.

Even if someone doesn’t want to turn one’s backyard into 30-inch-wide rows of produce the length of it, with plants carefully placed 2.5 inches apart (as some “intensive” plans go), there are ways to look at gardening with greater efficiency.

Three concepts come to mind:

Fertility Leaks

The Hidden Garden

The Edible Yard

Fertility Leaks is a concept popularized by self-described “lunatic” farmer Joel Salatin, who practices some rather innovative farming practices on his cattle ranch in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

He writes that he constantly is looking for ways to better harness energy or resources that most “normal” people ignore. For example, instead of buying a new pickup truck or tractor when he gets ahead financially, he says, he uses the money to build more ponds, even if they are only 20 feet wide.

That way, in drought, he can just tap the water wherever it’s needed, instead of selling off his cattle, taking out government disaster loans, etc. Also, he keeps his pastures from being eroded that way, adding topsoil year after year. He makes “sustainability” more than a catchy buzzword. He lives it. (For more, see his book, The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer, Polyface, $25. He also has choice words about Big Ag and government subsidies!).

Fertility Leaks are everywhere. For example, most people around where we live burn their leaves every year. We compost it. Why not? It’s free soil-building material. If you look around your place, you might find lots more efficiencies, as well.

The Hidden Garden is a concept advanced by intensive organic market garden pioneer Eliot Coleman. His entire operation, Four Season Farm in Maine, which is internationally known for its quality of greens grown throughout the year, is only six acres. (He actually has more, but it’s hilly, rocky or otherwise unsuitable for cultivation.)

He says that over the years he has taught himself to look at unlikely or rejected spaces for growing. For example:

He plants parsley on the corners of this plots because it grows prolifically and nothing else can be easily harvested in those spots. Every inch of his available space is utilized for growing.

He put his 90-foot-long greenhouses on sled runners so that by moving them after each season, he can rotate his soil with rejuvenating cover crops and still provide produce year round.

He says that some of the practices he employs derive from what’s called “The French Method” from the 19th century, when all of Paris was fed by 2-acre market gardens.

Any space that can be but is not used, he calls “The Hidden Garden,” just waiting to be discovered by someone who has the creativity or vision to see it.

Finally, there is The Edible Yard, or swapping your lawn for an edible landscape. Pioneered by Rosalind Creasy, with The Complete Book of Edible Landscaping: Home Landscaping with Food-Bearing Plants and Resource-Saving Techniques (Sierra Club Books, 1982, and several other books since then), and boosted by other such popular books as The Edible Landscape by Tom MacCubbin (1998), shifting yards to make them into foodscapes has become a national movement.

Why not make your yard provide more than grass clippings?

If, on one of these cold, winter nights, you find you have nothing to do, any of these books can provide plenty of ideas for the coming year!

Annette and I are at the Mississippi Fruit and Vegetable Growers trade show in Natchez today (Jan. 14). Stop by. We’ll be manning the Gaining Ground: Sustainability Institute of Mississippi booth.

<a href=”https://plus.google.com/u/0/110084553581698391906?rel=author”>Jim PathFinder Ewing</a> is a journalist, author, writer, editor, organic farmer and  blogger. His latest book titled Conscious Food: Sustainable Growing, Spiritual Eating (Findhorn Press) is in bookstores now. Find Jim on Facebook: http://bit.ly/cuxUdc or follow him @edibleprayers or @organicwriter or visit blueskywaters.com.