Tag Archives: NCAT

Come See Me in Kissimmee

I’ll be moderating a panel discussion on soil health at a small farms conference in Florida Aug. 2.

Rachel (right), daughter of longtime friends Nick and Margie Pikarsky, and her friend (and now my friend) Nicole Fiori, were great to be around at the Florida Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Conference in Kissimmee, Fla, Aug. 2-4.

Rachel (right), daughter of longtime friends Nick and Margie Pikarsky, and her friend (and now my friend) Nicole Fiori, were great to be around at the Florida Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Conference in Kissimmee, Fla, Aug. 2-4, 2013. While it may appear all fun and games, I’ll be back again this year working hard – operating the booth for the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SSARE) program, promoting and educating about sustainable agriculture for ATTRA, the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, and moderating a panel discussion on cover crops and soil health featuring experts in the field from the University of Florida and other organizations.

Here’s the who, what, where, why, when:

Conference: Florida Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Conference
Topic: Soil Health in the Subtropics and Tropics
Presenter: Jim Ewing, Moderator
Location: Kissimmee, Florida
Date: 2014-08-02
Registration Info: Learn more about farming as well as alternative enterprises, through farm tours, a trade show, networking opportunities, live animal exhibits, and hands-on workshops.
Registration Link: http://www.conference.ifas.ufl.edu/smallfarms/registration.html

I went to the conference last year, operating a booth for NCAT’s ATTRA (National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service) program. If you are an organic grower or interested in sustainable agriculture in Florida and the region, it’s definitely the place to be! I wrote about it on this blog, outlining some of the offerings, including detailed information about aquaponics.

Already, the talk I’ll be moderating is quickly filling up. If you are interested in cover crops and soil health, it should be quite informative, with experts and farmers who are actively growing cover crops available to share their knowledge.

I’ll also be operating a booth for the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SSARE) program. I’ll be handing out lots of free information about sustainable agriculture.

Come see me!

I’ll be on Twitter @OrganicWriter

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Let’s Update Mississippi’s Local Food Laws!

A few months ago, I wrote a blog about a really great small farm operation in Clay County that produces pasture-raised poultry, and grass-fed beef and swine. See: “Farm Field Day Draws Lots of Moms, Kids” – https://shooflyfarmblog.wordpress.com/tag/grazing/

Operated by Dustin Pinion and his partner Ali Fratesi, it’s truly a model farm for sustainability – and was showcased as a good example for other farmers by both the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) which partnered with Gaining Ground – Sustainability Institute to hold a field day there. It was also promoted as a premier example of small farming by the Mississippi Sustainable Ag Network.

But farms like this are in danger of going bust – or never getting started – because of the way food laws are skewed to protect large industrial operations and punish or deter small, sustainable family farms.

Local Food

For many visitors to High Hope Farm, Beaverdam Farm, and other local farm producers that have customer lists and farmers market presence, their operations are often the first and perhaps only time to see a real non-corporate family farm in operation. (Photo by Jim Ewing, ShooFlyFarmBlog)

Mike and Alison Buehler, founders of GGSIM, are promoting a petition to update Mississippi’s local food laws to allow mom-and-pop farmers like High Hope Farm and Beaverdam Farms to sell poultry at farmers markets. It’s long overdue.

Farmers across the South, I’ve found, have similar issues regarding on-site processing of the food they grow. Joe Salatin is perhaps the best known proponent of the “idiocy” of local food laws. See his book: “Everything I want to do is Illegal: War Stories from the Local Food Front.”

Here in Mississippi, though, it appears that a very simple change in the law could help rectify the situation, at least as far as selling sustainably grown chicken is concerned.

Alison and Michael write:

The federal poultry regulations provide an exemption for small farmers processing less than 20,000 birds a year in an approved facility. However, only in Mississippi do the regulations say all poultry sold off the farm premises must bear a mark of inspection:

b. All poultry products offered for sale by a vendor at a farmers market must be sold by a vendor who holds a retail mobile food establishment license from the Department. The poultry products must bear marks of inspection from a poultry inspection program administered by the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce or the United States Department of Agriculture.

 There is no inspection facility located in Mississippi. This significantly cuts off farmers from their customers, and only allows them to sell from the farm.

Every other state allows for farmers under the 20,000 bird exemption to sell off site. Here is an example from Pennsylvania:

Producers who raise and slaughter no more than 20,000 poultry on their premises in a calendar year may, under PDA inspection, sell within Pennsylvania to customers through the following venues:

§  farmers markets

§  farm stands

§  CSA members

§  buying clubs

§  hotels and restaurants

§  schools

§  hospitals

§  wholesale distributors (sales within the state),retail stores

Small farmers are finally on the resurgence in Mississippi. In order to foster their success so we can continue to access healthy food, our regulations need to be updated to reflect this change. They simply haven’t been addressed because there were no small poultry producers in the state. We now have dozens of young farmers coming into the market.

The Mississippi Department of Agriculture wants to support small farmers. They simply haven’t had it brought to the table up until now. After long emails and discussions with them, they encouraged us to create a petition that would show them where public will fell on this issue. They want to hear from us. While the regulations they have dealt with in the past were designed to keep people safe in the face of super-large poultry operations, they also want to know how to create realistic and safe regulations for small farmers.

Here is how you help.

1.    We need an individual present at EVERY farmers market in the state this week, beginning May 17th collecting electronic signatures. All you have to say is, “Do you think farmers markets should be allowed to sell chicken? Let the MS Dept of Ag know!” If you are interested in being one of these coordinators, please let me know.alison.buehler@ggsim.org

I already have covered: 2 Oxford Markets, Starkville, Brookhaven, Jackson, Hernando, and Meridian

2.    Sign up for our 20 Calls for 20 Days campaign to tell 5 people at the MS Department of Agriculture Thank You for aligning our regulations on small poultry producers with the surrounding states. Thank You for supporting small farmers. We appreciate you efforts to increase our access to fresh, local foods. If you sign up, get your spouse to sign up. You will receive a script and a reminder email the day before you make your calls. We need to fill this asap because calls begin the day the petition is delivered.  http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0844ADA829A75-mississippi

3.    Sign the petition. Get your spouse, your mother and father, you kids over 18 to sign it. Share it with your churches, your co-ops, your organizations. We have one week to get as many signatures as possible. Our lawyer is drafting this today. It will be on the FB page tomorrow to start sharing.

This is doable! Don’t sit back and wait for someone else to make this happen for you. Don’t lament that other state have better food options. Make this a reality here!

Me again: If you truly are concerned about promoting local food, take action. This is a simple way to do it!

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

Growing Organic – and Vegan – Tomatoes

 

I’ve been out of town during a lot of April, so I didn’t get my garden in as early as I normally would (usually the week after Easter). But, given the crazy weather – from frost to tornadoes and torrential rains – maybe that’s not a bad thing.

Annette, my ex wife who lives in North Carolina, planted early and got hit by the frost.

Here’s a little garden update.

I'm not unhappy about the wild white clover growing in my backyard. In fact, I'm happy for the bees! It's like a little nature preserve. (Photo: Jim Ewing, ShooFlyFarmBlog)

I’m not unhappy about the wild white clover growing in my backyard. In fact, I’m happy for the bees! It’s like a little nature preserve. (Photo: Jim Ewing, ShooFlyFarmBlog)

As you can see, the wild white clover is running amok in the back yard; but I’m not concerned about it. In fact, I’ve been happy for the bees! (Next, I’ll add supers to the hives on the right.) Sadly, I’ve had to mow the clover in the front yard, so the house will look nice from the street (don’t want anybody to complain!). But the backyard looks like a little nature preserve, somewhat. 🙂

Earlier, I had planted red clover in the plot. You can see how it has started to take root. If you were standing there, you would also see bare spots where pooling from heavy rains pushed some of the seeds together. I came back over it today, seeding the bare spots. I didn’t use the seeder; but sowed by hand.

This is not meant to be a pretty garden. The major goal of this garden is to put nitrogen in the soil so I can plant greens in fall; adding tomato plants is a lagniappe.

Also, notice the mulch paper. I prefer paper over plastic, as plastic is not good for the environment and has to be removed and thrown away. In the past, when I was farming and had big fields, I used WeedGuardPlus, which can be bought in long rolls for open fields. It’s 100 percent biodegradable. I recommend it because I’ve used it and I know it works; I’m not paid anything to endorse it. (Read more: https://www.weedguardplus.com)

This time, because I’m only using a few feet in a small garden, I’m using another paper mulch: Planters Planter. It does the same thing; it’s available from http://www.groworganic.com

With either product, at the end of the season, just till it under and it will biodegrade. I also on this garden put bricks to hold it down, just because I had a lot of them. Normally, you would cover the edges with soil. I put this down a few weeks ago when I put down compost and planted the clover. When it was put down, it was darker; but the sun has lightened it.

Today, we’ll focus on growing tomatoes.

To plant, dip you started tomato plant into a root starter or planting mix. You can buy starters or mix your own, including vegan recipes. (Photo: Jim Ewing, ShooFlyFarmBlog)

To plant, dip you started tomato plant into a root starter or planting mix. You can buy starters or mix your own, including vegan recipes. (Photo: Jim Ewing, ShooFlyFarmBlog)

The process is simple. Tear a hole in the mulch; dig a trench about 4 inches deep and eight inches long; dip your plant in starter or planting mix; and cover it up about two-thirds of its length. Viola! Planted. Now for the details.

First, you need to create a planting mix. I’ve written about this before, so I’ll quote:

“The general rule is that if a product or ingredient is listed by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI), then it’s OK for certified organic use. Root Tone product, for example, is not listed on the OMRI site, nor is its active ingredient: idole-3 butyric acid, or indolebutyric acid; neither is the other most popular ingredient on the market: napthalacetic acid. Both are synthetics.
However, there are a number of organic root stimulators that are approved; including products such as Hygrozyme and Biorhizotonic. For more, see:
http://www.omri.org/simple-opl-search/results/root — or look up the name of the product. OMRI does not list synthetic products.

“Farmers themselves often have their own “secret” natural concoctions that may include fish oil, blood meal or other natural fertilizers. (We use a mixture of water, kelp meal and fish emulsion.) Just use your finger or a trowel to poke a hole in the soil, dip the roots of each start in the mixture and plop it in, gently patting the soil around it.”

This time, I didn’t have much time, so I used Earth Juice, which is essentially the same mix I usually use, but premixed and store-bought. Note: If you’re vegan, and object to using any animal products in your garden, you can use Vegan Mix fertilizer, see: http://www.groworganic.com/vegan-mix-3-2-2-6-lb-box.html

It’s possible to have an entirely vegan, organic garden: the only animal life is the pollination by the bees, aeration of the soil by earth worms, and whatever birds come to visit. (Notice in the photos, I also have a plastic owl; that’s to keep birds from pecking my tomatoes!)

If you have lots of compost from leftovers from your vegan meals, you’re simply transferring fertility from wherever those plants were grown to your backyard. Those plants will provide the trace elements your garden will need. If you are having problems with insects or blights, there are organic (and if you look hard enough, frequently vegan) solutions on the NCAT/ATTRA database:  https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/biorationals/

It’s a free, quick way to diagnose problems in the organic garden.

Lay the plant down in the trench so only to top sticks out and cover it up. (Photo: Jim Ewing, ShooFlyFarmBlog)

Lay the plant down in the trench so only to top sticks out and cover it up. (Photo: Jim Ewing, ShooFlyFarmBlog)

Plant your started tomato plant using a small trench. We have heavy soils, so going down, rather than across, would drown the roots. You can plant your plant 5 or 6 inches deep if it’s well drained; otherwise, dig a small trench about four inches deep and 8 inches long, or 2/3rds of the plant’s length and lay it in the trench.

Notice out little friend. Because we had prepped the soil earlier with lots of compost, the garden was full of earthworms. (Photo: Jim Ewing, ShooFlyFarmBlog)

Notice out little friend. Because we had prepped the soil earlier with lots of compost, the garden was full of earthworms. (Photo: Jim Ewing, ShooFlyFarmBlog)

Because we had prepped the soil earlier with lots of compost, the garden was full of earthworms. You couldn’t dig a trowel full without revealing one. This wouldn’t happen if we were using harsh synthetic chemicals or manufactured fertilizers.

Use Earth friendly potting mixes for your tomato starts - no synthetic ingredients! (Photo: Jim Ewing, ShooFlyFarmBlog)

Use Earth friendly potting mixes for your tomato starts – no synthetic ingredients! (Photo: Jim Ewing, ShooFlyFarmBlog)

If you're in a hurry and don't have time to mix starters for your plants, Earth Juice works great. Later on, use with in a sprayer for side dressing and foliar feeding. (Photo: Jim Ewing, ShooFlyFarmBlog)

If you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to mix starters for your plants, Earth Juice works great. Later on, use with a sprayer for side dressing and foliar feeding. (Photo: Jim Ewing, ShooFlyFarmBlog)

Water the plants thoroughly; don’t be alarmed if they are rather wilty to begin with; they’ll pop back up. Be prepared to replace a plant or two; sometimes they can’t withstand the shock of transplant, or an animal or bugs might get them. Keep them watered, but not muddy. The soil needs to drain, but don’t let them dry out either. And you should do fine.

This is a simple garden designed for little maintenance that also puts nitrogen in the soil. (Photo: Jim Ewing, ShooFlyFarmBlog)

This is a simple garden designed for little maintenance that also puts nitrogen in the soil. (Photo: Jim Ewing, ShooFlyFarmBlog)

Most of all, relax! Enjoy! This is your little Garden of Eden. What a wonderful way to start the day!

Then, you enjoy your hammock ….

Enjoy your garden and leisure! (Photo by Jim Ewing, ShooFlyFarmBlog)

Enjoy your garden and leisure! (Photo by Jim Ewing, ShooFlyFarmBlog)

And your kitty cat!

Isis

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

FoodCorps Group Tours Alabama Sustainable Farms

Went to Montgomery, Ala., last week to tour some sustainable farms, as part of our NCAT Gulf States Office mission to promote sustainable agriculture in the 5-state region. It was a bringing together of some real heavyweights when it comes to local food, urban ag and community activism.

Members of the NCAT Gulf States Regional Office, Mississippi Roadmap to Health Equity and FoodCorps service members pose with EAT South Executive Director Edwin Marty (right) in Montgomery, Ala., Oct. 16, 2013. From left: front: FoodCorps Members Mariel Parman, Claire Brown and Rebecca Rosenthal; Roadmap Executive Director Beneta Burt and NCAT Ag Specialist Felicia Bell; back row: FoodCorps Director Willie Nash, FoodCorps Fellow Liz Broussard, NCAT Gulf States Regional Director Rockiell Woods and Marty. (Photo by Jim Ewing)

Members of the NCAT Gulf States Regional Office, Mississippi Roadmap to Health Equity and FoodCorps service members pose with EAT South Executive Director Edwin Marty (right) in Montgomery, Ala., Oct. 16, 2013. From left: front: FoodCorps Members Mariel Parman, Claire Brown and Rebecca Rosenthal; Roadmap Executive Director Beneta Burt and NCAT Ag Specialist Felicia Bell; back row: FoodCorps Director Willie Nash, FoodCorps Fellow Liz Broussard, NCAT Gulf States Regional Director Rockiell Woods and Marty. (Photo by Jim Ewing)

The FoodCorps service members who went on the trip seemed to have a good time and learned a lot. I can’t say enough good things about FoodCorps. Those who are based at Mississippi Roadmap for Health Equity next to our office at the old New Deal Grocery in Jackson are top notch! I see them every day going out to the local schools helping kids and moms appreciate fresh, local food that they grow right there at the inner city schools.

I also can’t say enough good about Roadmap Executive Director Beneta Burt, who has created a food oasis in the inner city of Jackson. Roadmap is located in Ward 3, the poorest of the city’s wards. She started a farmers market, providing a place where people in the neighborhood can come buy fresh, healthy, nutritious food locally.

She put in a fitness center so that neighborhood moms and elders can stay in shape. She started a summer school program that teaches kids good health habits and the importance of fitness and nutrition. She sponsors the FoodCorps volunteers for the local public schools.

She muscled through a rule with the capital city’s school board that food service personnel in the public schools can actually get paid to take fitness classes (which, in turn, make them more fitness aware in creating the food in the public schools). She’s a pillar of the state food policy council. And more than I can ennummerate here. Suffice it to say, she’s a real powerhouse.

Now, with this visit to Montgomery, Ala., she’s seen how E.A.T. South Executive Director Edwin Marty has created an urban ag program in the inner city there. E.A.T. stands for Education, Act, Transform! The organization encourages healthy lifestyles through education and sustainable food production in urban areas throughout the Southeast.

Burt had already started such a program; she was able to see how an established program works. E.A.T. South ushers some 5,000 school kids through its site annually, offering a demonstration for local folks there on how to grow their own food.

I can’t say enough good about Edwin, either. He literally wrote the book on urban agriculture, called Breaking Through Concrete, published by the University of California Press in 2012. See: www.breakingthroughconcrete.com.

I’m honored to know and be friends with both people. They certainly are incredible role models. If every city had a Beneta Burt and an Edwin Marty this would be a much healthier, happier planet!

E.A.T. South Executive Director Edwin Marty (left) of Montgomery, Ala., is shown with Beneta Burt, of Jackson, Miss., executive director of Mississippi Roadmap to Health Equity Inc. , and Jim Ewing, outreach coordinator for the National Center for Appropriate Technology Gulf States Region. (NCAT photo)

E.A.T. South Executive Director Edwin Marty (left) of Montgomery, Ala., is shown with Beneta Burt, of Jackson, Miss., executive director of Mississippi Roadmap to Health Equity Inc., and Jim Ewing, outreach coordinator for the National Center for Appropriate Technology Gulf States Region. (NCAT photo)

For more, see:
NCAT blog: https://www.ncat.org/gulf-states-office-tours-sustainable-farms-in-alabama/
Mississippi Roadmap to Health Equity: http://mississippiroadmap.org/
E.A.T South: http://www.eatsouth.org

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, follow him @edibleprayers or visit blueskywaters.com.

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.

Great Talk at Alabama A&M Workshop

August 23, 2013

Just got back from Mobile, Ala., giving a talk for NCAT at the Agricultural Risk Management and Business Development Workshop.

photo

National Center for Appropriate Technology Gulf States Outreach Coordinator Jim Ewing speaks about sustainable agriculture at a workshop in Mobile, Ala., Aug. 22, 2013. The Agricultural Risk Management and Business Development Workshop was sponsored by the Small Farms Research Center of Alabama A&M University and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

Held at the Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s Jon Archer Agricultural Center, the workshop was sponsored by Alabama A&M University’s Small Farms Research Center and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

I don’t think there could have been a more active, thoughtful, engaging audience. Although I was scheduled to give a PowerPoint presentation, which I did, we ended up having a discussion back and forth about sustainable agriculture, organics, and traditional methods of planting (which many in the audience remembered from their parents’ and grandparents’ times).

The speaking time period actually was extended as we engaged in a dialogue that, I think, was informative and positive for everyone. It was like talking with neighbors across the back fence. There were good questions from the audience and a lot of sharing of personal stories and recollections.

What a wonderful time. What wonderful people. I hope I get to speak there again!

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, follow him @edibleprayers or visit blueskywaters.com.

Montana Fly Fishing Trip

Aug. 19, 2013

Just got back from visiting the National Center for Appropriate Technology headquarters in Butte, MT, where members of our NCAT Gulf States Region office met with the board of directors to give an update on what we’re doing.

Had a GREAT time, visiting with other like-minded sustainable ag folk. But a big highlight of the trip was going fly fishing.

I started fly fishing about 30 years ago (am I giving away my age here?!). But since I was living in the Mississippi Delta, there wasn’t a whole lot of diversity in fishing – either bream or small bass or occasional crappie. I fly fished during the 1980s and early 1990s, but sort of fell out of it.

But when I was in Butte in June and looked around, I saw that this place is the fly fishing capital of the world. People come from all over to fish the Montana mountain streams. While I was “self taught” in fly fishing, and certainly no model when it comes to casting, fishing for trout on a mountain stream was one of those “bucket list” items. When I found out that they wanted me to come back in August, I was ecstatic!

One of the things I bought in preparation for this trip was a Tenkara rod — because Carl Little, who heads the ATTRA program (National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service) at NCAT suggested it.

Years ago, during the 1990s, I used to carry a portable fishing rod with me wherever I traveled. It telescoped to about 8 feet, but would collapse to about 18 inches. With a lightweight spinning reel, I fished all over with it: from the Northeast and Midwest to the Gulf of Mexico, from the Chesapeake Bay to San Francisco — I carried it everywhere. But, again, that sort of fell by the wayside.

The Tenkara collapses to about 18 inches, but the one I bought (the Amago) extends to about 13 feet. The Tenkara system is somewhat Zen – which I really like! It’s simplicity itself: just a rod and a line, no reel. And there are only three types of flies, small, medium and large. It’s based on the Japanese system of professional mountain fishermen, who used only this simple method to catch fish.

While I also have a 5-weight Orvis Clearwater rod for traditional Western style fly fishing, I only took the Tenkara rod on this trip. Here’s a video:

As you can see, I didn’t catch any fish. I got a couple of bumps and broke the line on one big one that got away, but that’s not the point. Nor is this video meant to be taken as a way to fish; I found that I couldn’t video and fish at the same time, so I just held the rod with one hand (to show what I was doing) and video taped with the other, with my iPhone, to show the scenery.

The real value as the morning. The sky. The water. The breeze. The Spirit of the Place. Just being there. It was a priceless morning spent slowly fishing along about half a mile of a mountain  stream. The video is just a snapshot, for the memory.

I’m hoping for a return trip. Next time, if I’m called in for business, I intend to take a couple of vacation days and perhaps have my son come along for a father-son trip. (He’s 26 and has a new, 8-month-old son, so maybe there are future trips for Dad, Grandad and Grandbaby, too!)

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, follow him @edibleprayers or visit blueskywaters.com.

Great fun at Florida Small Farms Conference

Aug. 5, 2013

OK, let’s get this out front and center: I had a blast at the Florida Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Conference this past week.

It was supposed to be business for me, and it was, in that I had a booth there for the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and was informing people about ATTRA (National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service) info. But, to be honest, I had so much fun talking with people who were small farmers and interested ecofarming that it was hardly “work.”

Here’s a photo essay of the conference, which ran Aug. 2-4 in Kissimmee, Fla.

It was a matter of pride to see fellow NCAT worker Dave Ryan, an energy engineer, fill up one of the conference rooms with his talk “Powering Your Greenhouse with Renewable Energy.” Solar, compost and geothermal options were explored. For more, see ncat.org

Then, there were awards given….

Margie and Nick Pikarsky of Bee Heaven Farm in Homestead, Fla., won the Innovative Farmers Award at the Florida Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Conference in Kissimmee, Fla., Aug. 3, 2013. (Photo by Jim Ewing)

Margie and Nick Pikarsky of Bee Heaven Farm in Homestead, Fla., won the Innovative Farmers Award at the Florida Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Conference in Kissimmee, Fla., Aug. 3, 2013. (Photo by Jim Ewing)

Margie and Nick Pikarsky of Bee Heaven Farm in Homestead, Fla., won the Innovative Farmers Award (third place). They are longtime friends and it was a delight to see them! An organic farmer of many years, Margie is an encyclopedia of wisdom in ways to grow abundantly organically even in the demanding conditions of South Florida. Their farm is located near the Everglades in an area that has lost much of its farmland to residential growth. (See American Farmland Trust for more about that! http://www.farmland.org/)

Bee Heaven Farm, in my opinion, should be a national model for organic growing. The soil conditions there are only about 8 inches of “topsoil” consisting of sand, some vegetative matter, and porous limestone rock is a challenge for consistent growing. Conventional growers essentially are depleting the few nutrients in the soil and collapsing the structure so that it only hold what’s put into it.

Organic growers, like Margie, however, are building up the soil structure, building soil nutrients in the soil, encouraging microbial life and thereby actually adding to the soil medium as they grow, rather than depleting it.

The result is that organic growers like Margie and Nick are seeing positive yields and tasty crops while conventional growers are seeing ever worsening and more expensive growing conditions.

Farmers who are not taking the extra effort to rotate crops, build structure that helps hold moisture that otherwise would pass through the porous sand and limestone are seeing more expensive inputs and having to add biological agents and fight desertification (salt build up and nutrient loss through over use of irrigation).

The Bee Heaven model is one that should be seen as meaningful for sustainable farming as climate change intensifies, in my opinion.

CNG members Joseph Ballard and Paul Speros with SB Farms of Malone, Fla., also won the Innovative Farmers Award at the Florida Small Farmers and Alternative Enterprises Conference in Kissimmee, Fla., Aug. 3, 2013. (Photo by Jim Ewing)

CNG members Joseph Ballard and Paul Speros with SB Farms of Malone, Fla., also won the Innovative Farmers Award at the Florida Small Farmers and Alternative Enterprises Conference in Kissimmee, Fla., Aug. 3, 2013. (Photo by Jim Ewing)

Since I’m a former board member of Certified Naturally Grown (and still an advisor on fruit and vegetable growing using organic methods), I was delighted to see CNG member SB Farms of Malone, Fla., also win the Innovative Farmers Award (second place). Joseph Ballard and Paul Speros offered good advice, as well, for beginning farmers. Congratulations!

Natalie Parkell and Kevin Osburn of Vertical Horizon Farm won the award (first place), also. Parkell gave an excellent talk on hyroponics for backyard or small or beginning farmers. They started out growing in their parents’ backyard, since they lived in a condo with no ground for growing — that is, until their parents told them to move, since they had dug up all the grass! So, they found a local business that would let them operate on a corner of their property. It became a big hit, especially marketing to the neighborhood. A small scale truly local success story!

I was intrigued by the prospects of hydroponics and aquaponics  as potential sustainable growing methods (especially since both are considered “iffy” when it comes to being certified organic – see earlier blog: “Organic Hydroponics: The Future of Farming?”). So, the bulk of my time when not manning the NCAT booth was attending seminars on these topics.

In pursuit of that, I went on the farm tour that included The Land exhibit at Disney World’s Epcot Center. Here are some photos:

When you enter The Land exhibit at Epcot Center, the first thing you see are gigantic fruit grown hydroponically. The growing medium is sand, infused with a fertilizer mixture. (Photo by Jim Ewing)

When you enter The Land exhibit at Epcot Center, the first thing you see are gigantic fruit grown hydroponically. The growing medium is sand, infused with a fertilizer mixture. (Photo by Jim Ewing)

As a demonstration of hydroponics as a growing method, The Land exhibit at Epcot grows small plots of grains, sugar cane and cotton. (Photo by Jim Ewing)

As a demonstration of hydroponics as a growing method, The Land exhibit at Epcot grows small plots of grains, sugar cane and cotton. (Photo by Jim Ewing)

Within The Land pavilion at Epcot, actual plant research is being done to find ways to combat devastating diseases for commercial crops. (Photo by Jim Ewing)

Within The Land pavilion at Epcot, actual plant research is being done to find ways to combat devastating diseases for commercial crops. (Photo by Jim Ewing)

Much of the facility at The Land at Epcot has plants suspended from an automated growing system, whereby plants grown vertically are sprayed with fertilizers and the dripped overspray grows plants in the sand medium below. (Photo by Jim Ewing)

Much of the facility at The Land at Epcot has plants suspended from an automated growing system, whereby plants grown vertically are sprayed with fertilizers and the dripped overspray grows plants in the sand medium below. (Photo by Jim Ewing)

The sunward climb of plants on the spray conveyor allows fruit to be grown vertically rather than horizontally at The Land exhibit at Epcot. (Photo by Jim Ewing)

The sunward climb of plants on the spray conveyor allows fruit to be grown vertically rather than horizontally at The Land exhibit at Epcot. (Photo by Jim Ewing)

The Epcot demonstration is fascinating, but I’m not sure it’s very “sustainable,” at least not commercially as a farming method. The cost of the facilities and mechanical devices seems out of kilter with the potential sales of crops. But that may not be the point of the exhibit. Rather, the center shows how it can be done, and that it can be done. I’m going to have to think more about it before I’m convinced it’s a sustainable growing method. It certainly offers possibilities.

One of the concerns I have with hydroponics is that what you get from the produce is limited to what you give. By that, it’s like so-called “conventional” agriculture, in that the major nutrients are supplied. In such industrial agriculture models, NPK or the ingredients for synthetic fertilizer are present; but missing are the trace elements that a healthy organic soil provides. Better fertilizers would remedy that; ensuring it, of course, is the goal of organic certification. It’s an issue consumers should be aware of in making hydroponic purchases.

Regarding aquaponics, a key issue preventing organic certification, according to the farmers I talked to in Florida who practice it, is that the effluent from the fish is considered a “manure” by the National Organic Program. But, as Orange County Extension Director Richard Tyson explained, that is an inappropriate designation. First, regarding health concerns, neither E coli nor salmonella are — or even can be — present in such effluent because those only occur in warm-blooded animals; secondly, beneficial bacteria convert the ammonia waste into nitrates which are only then absorbed by the plants; so, a more appropriate designation would be classifying the effluent as nutrients, rather than manure.

In my opinion, especially when coupled with other energy saving methods such as using solar and wind for electrical needs, raising fish for animal protein and using the byproduct of that for fruit and vegetable food production in hydroponic vats is the type of sustainable methods that organic supporters should embrace.

We’ll consider more of this later.

But not all of the conference was “work.”

Rachel (right), daughter of longtime friends Nick and Margie Pikarsky, and her friend (and now my friend) Nicole Fiori, were great to be around at the Florida Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Conference in Kissimmee, Fla, Aug. 2-4.

Rachel (right), daughter of longtime friends Nick and Margie Pikarsky, and her friend (and now my friend) Nicole Fiori, were great to be around at the Florida Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Conference in Kissimmee, Fla, Aug. 2-4.

No, I wasn’t looking for beautiful young women to hang out with while in Florida, but I found them! It was most enjoyable visiting with Nick and Margie’s daughter Rachel Pikarsky (right) and her friend (and now my friend) Nicole Fiori. They were a total delight!

The fifth annual event was hosted by the University of Florida and Florida A&M.

I can’t wait to attend again next year!

For a good example of a successful, local hydroponics operation, see the Farmweek episode on St. Bethany Fresh Tomatoes on Pontotoc, MS:

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, follow him @edibleprayers or visit blueskywaters.com.

Wonderful Time at Holmes #SustainableAg Field Day

June 23, 2013

By Jim PathFinder Ewing

I had a wonderful time Friday at the Alliance for Sustainable Agricultural Production Field Day in Holmes County, MS.

The field day brought in people from all walks — farmers, extension agents, colleges’ staff, state dept. of ag folks, nutrition educators and from the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.

And, of course, there was a representative from the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and ATTRA – National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service – me!

Each month, the Alliance brings in experts to discuss various aspects of sustainable agriculture. This month, it featured Elizabeth Myles from Alcorn State University, who gave a presentation on farm marketing, and Gail Kavanaugh, child nutrition director of the Vicksburg Warren School District, who spoke on selling produce farm-to-school. (I gave a brief talk, too.)

Mattie Coleman makes a point as Keith Benson looks on at her demonstration farm during the Alliance for Sustainable Production Field Day in Holmes County near Goodman, MS, Friday, June 21, 2013. Photo by Jim Ewing

Mattie Coleman makes a point as Keith Benson looks on at her demonstration farm during the Alliance for Sustainable Agricultural Production Field Day in Holmes County near Goodman, MS, Friday, June 21, 2013. Photo by Jim Ewing

The field day is held each month at the Alliance’s demonstration farm owned by Mattie Coleman (pictured) in Goodman and is conducted by Keith Benson (also shown). The next one is July 19. I’ll probably be there.

For more information, or if interested in attending, contact Keith, at: 601-988-4999 or keithmdp@yahoo.com.

Jim Ewing is the Outreach Coordinator for the Gulf States Region for the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT.org), a nonprofit offering technical assistance for sustainable living — farming, energy, and information — to reduce poverty, promote healthy communities, and protect natural resources. An award-winning journalist, editor and author, he has served in a variety of executive leadership positions, mostly in the food, farming and environmental sector. He has been called “a pioneer in sustainability” and “a tireless champion for farmers and food” by Gaining Ground – Sustainability Institute of Mississippi. He is a 2013 winner of GGSIM’s Sustainable Works Award for his leadership and achievements in promoting organics, environmental stewardship and sustainable living over the past 30 years. He is the author of six books (Findhorn Press). His latest is Conscious Food: Sustainable Growing, Spiritual Eating- in bookstores now.

 For more information, see:

His website: www.blueskywaters.com

Or, LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jimpathfinderewing

Chill Bumps in Butte, MT

I just got back from a week of training in Butte, Montana, for my new job as outreach coordinator for the Gulf States Region with the National Center for Appropriate Technology. The whole experience gave me chill bumps — literally and figuratively.

First was the incredible ride over the Rocky Mountains, looking down on snow-capped peaks.

Flying over the Rocky Mountains to the Butte, MT, headquarters of the National Center for Appropriate Technology (ncat.org) was breath-taking. Photo by Jim Ewing, c. blueskywaters.com

Flying over the Rocky Mountains to the Butte, MT, headquarters of the National Center for Appropriate Technology (ncat.org) was breath-taking. Photo by Jim Ewing, c. blueskywaters.com

To say the view was breathtaking would be an understatement.

But, once we landed, the view remained stunning — maybe even moreso!  Behind the headquarters building is the Continental Divide. That’s right. The actual backbone of the North American continent is in NCAT’s backyard, so to speak.

The east flank of the Continental Divide is literally at the back door of the National Center for Appropriate Technology. The face of the mountain is a living presence in the city of Butte. Photo by Jim Ewing

The east flank of the Continental Divide is literally at the back door of the National Center for Appropriate Technology. The face of the mountain is a living presence in the city of Butte. Photo by Jim Ewing

I could (and did!) spend hours watching the mountain as clouds drifted over the peaks, and the sun dappled shadows across the tree-covered flanks. Its face always changing, the mountain is a living presence in the town of Butte.

One of the highlights of our trip was learning more about hoop house farming — a technique to extend growing seasons at an affordable cost. Carl Little, NCAT Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Communities Program Manager Carl Little (center), gave us some tips about SIFT farming. The Small-Scale Intensive Farm Training program was created to help every community increase their food security by producing their own healthy food. SIFT, with NCAT, is developing a working, sustainably managed, demonstration farm on five acres. Pictured (left), Felicia Bell, Gulf States farming specialist, and (right) Gulf States Regional Director Rockiell Woods. For more, see: http://sift.ncat.org/ Photo by Jim Ewing.

One of the highlights of our trip was learning more about hoop house farming — a technique to extend growing seasons at an affordable cost. Carl Little, NCAT
Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Communities Program Manager Carl Little (center), gave us some tips about SIFT farming. The Small-Scale Intensive Farm Training program was created to help every community increase their food security by producing their own healthy food. SIFT, with NCAT, is developing a working, sustainably managed, demonstration farm on five acres. Pictured (left), Felicia Bell, Gulf States farming specialist, and (right) Gulf States Regional Director Rockiell Woods. For more, see: http://sift.ncat.org/ Photo by Jim Ewing.

Of, course, we were there to learn a few farming techniques, among other things (hoophouse growing is pictured; something Butte needs even this time of year in midsummer for some crops like tomatoes).

While we were in Butte, we were treated to the unique experience of watching green grass grow while it was snowing in the background. Green grass and snow? The week before Summer Solstice? Photo by Jim Ewing

While we were in Butte, we were treated to the unique experience of watching green grass grow while it was snowing in the background. Green grass and snow? The week before Summer Solstice? Photo by Jim Ewing

While we were in Butte, on June 13, as the temperature was 93 degrees with high humidity back home in Mississippi, it was misty at its numerical opposite 39 degrees in Butte; I could see it snowing in the mountains overlooking the city.

I have to admit, it was an usual experience. The last day I was there, I got up at sunup and went outside with a cup of coffee. There was heavy frost everywhere, temps in the 30s, but since I was standing in the sunshine, it didn’t “feel” cold! Just wearing a t-shirt and a jacket. The city is a mile high and the humidity hovered around 20 percent, with highs in the low 70s.

The StoneFly Fly Shop in Butte, MT, is a very cool place. If you are a fly fisherman, it's a center of the universe! Photo by Jim Ewing.

The StoneFly Fly Shop in Butte, MT, is a very cool place. If you are a fly fisherman, it’s a center of the universe! Photo by Jim Ewing.

Of course, while in Montana, I had to do a little personal scouting, and found this incredible fishing shop — The StoneFly Fly Shop (https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-StoneFly-Fly-Shop/116061955126376). Had a great time talking with Chris, co-owner and outfitter. Check out their Facebook page, with tips on what’s biting.

If a fly fisherperson, come to either spend or drool at Butte's shops (display pictured in The Stonefly Fly Shop). I did both! Photo by Jim Ewing

If a fly fisherperson, come to either spend or drool at Butte’s shops (display pictured in The Stonefly Fly Shop). I did both! Photo by Jim Ewing

I also hung out some at Bob Ward & Sons Sporting Goods and Fran Johnson’s Sport Shop. Both have tons of fishing equipment and supplies, too.

It was a great time, but I’m a bit pooped — arrived home after midnight last night.

I plan to return with my fly rod!

Read more about NCAT, where I now work, at: http://www.ncat.org/

A lot of what I do helps the ATTRA program – the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service. Farmers and ranchers can call in toll free for information about sustainable agriculture. NCAT has specialists who will answer questions, for free. Call 1-800-346-9140; or en Espanol, 1-800-411-3222.

Mall Adds ‘Roadmap’ to Healthful Food

photoBeneta Burt of Mississippi Roadmap to Health Equity Inc. and David Watkins Jr. of Jackson share a happy moment at Roadmap’s Grand Reopening of its Farmers Market at the Jackson Medical Mall in Jackson, MS, Saturday, June 8, 2013. Photo: Jim Ewing, c. blueskywaters.com

By Jim PathFinder Ewing

Had a wonderful time today at the Farmers Market at the Jackson (Miss.) Medical Mall.
It was the grand re-opening of the market, which is sponsored by the Mississippi Roadmap to Health Equity.
While there are several farmers markets in the Jackson metro area, Roadmap is noteworthy for its location. Nestled in an area that at one time was considered  blighted, the old crumbling Jackson Mall was repurposed to a sparkling community center and health care hub. Now a vibrant part of the community, the Medical Mall features state-of-the-art health care and a wide array of community services provided by University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson State University and the City of Jackson.
Roadmap is part of that burgeoning push toward revitalization that now characterizes the neighborhood with local people helping themselves toward a healthier, happier, brighter future. Part of the allure is the summer camp being held for local schoolkids five days a week, sponsored by Roadmap — as well as the farmers market.
The market ensures that while the mall neighborhood may be low income it’s not a “food desert,” with local farmers and providers offering locally grown as well as fresh imported produce.
I’m thrilled to also note that the National Center of Appropriate Technology has opened an office in the mall that will serve the Gulf States region. NCAT (NCAT.org) will be working with minority, distressed and underserved farmers to more profitably produce wholesome, sustainable food. I’ve accepted a job working as NCAT’s Gulf South Outreach Coordinator (More on that later.)
Meanwhile, folks in Jackson can find healthful, convenient and affordable fare at the Jackson Medical Mall. If you’re in the neighborhood, come see!
Hours: Tues & Fri 10 am – 6 pm; Sat 8 am – 3:30 pm.
For more information, see Roadmap’s Facebook page: http://ow.ly/lQhhG

Jim PathFinder Ewing is a journalist, author, writer, editor, and blogger. His latest book titled Conscious Food: Sustainable Growing, Spiritual Eating (Findhorn Press) is in bookstores now. For more, see: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jimpathfinderewing/, Facebook or his webpage, blueskywaters.com