Community Supported Agriculture

Community Supported Agriculture has gained speed in the United States over the past decade as people have become more concerned about where their food is coming from. Community Supported Agriculture refers to a system where the consumers are directly involved with the purchase of local, usually organically grown produce. Most CSAs work by having the consumer buy a share of food. Each week the individual either picks up their share or it is delivered to their house. CSAs are a good way for small and medium sized farms to presell their products, helping them offset the upfront costs associated with farming. Though CSAs are just gaining momentum in the U.S, other places in the world have been using CSAs for decades with great success. CSAs did not really even come onto the radar in the United States until a man by the name of Jan VanderTuin brought the concept over from Europe in 1984. However, in the mid 1960s, countries such as Japan, Switzerland, and Germany were starting to realize that there were problems with industrially produced food. Consumers came together to work with their local farmers to start the first rudimentary CSAs. This article by Acres USA takes the reader on a tour of several CSA farms in Japan and examines the different practices that they use. Nourish the Planet believes in the power of local producers. Call or click here for more information about our northern Colorado CSA. -written by...

Update on the Black Soldier Fly Project

During the last 5 months, a very exciting and unique project has been underway here at Nourish the Planet/the Center for Sustainable Aquaponics.  When I started my internship, one of the first things I learned about aquaponics is that the feed is one of the most important inputs to the system.  Adding anything to the system costs money, of course, and feed is one of those costs that seems unavoidable, right?  As I began researching different options for feed, one particular method struck me as a brilliant and cost effective, although underdeveloped, way of generating feed, by converting kitchen scraps into fish food using the black soldier flies.  Thus, the black soldier fly (BSF) project was born, and I set forth on a mission to learn everything I could about this new insect and its potential benefits. Soldier fly composting is a relatively new practice in the modern world, however, there is a seriously committed group of people compiling information online in the form of many blogs, websites, forums and videos.  As I scoured the web for information, I quickly found out that raising these little bugs can be a bit tricky. For starters, the BSF is a sub-tropical species.  In areas of the world where they live, composting with these insects is as simple as providing a food source for wild females to lay their eggs nearby.  In other parts of the world however, the system has to support each stage of the life cycle in captivity. Although the odds were not in our favor, we decided to go for it anyway figuring that if all else fails...

Free Webinar Tuesday at 7:00 pm MST

Tune in Tuesday night at 7:00 MST for another free webinar. Mary Anderle, the founder and owner of Malpaca, will be talking to us about her sustainable and healthy pillows. Mary has been featured on sites such as the Daily Gromet, and her products are unsurpassed in quality and sustainability. Click HERE on this link to register to watch the webinar. Denvergreenstreets.com also will be doing a feature on this product and our webinar. Check back for the direct link.  ...

Acres USA Magazine Archives

Acres USA magazine is a great resource for anyone from novice to expert looking to learn more about environmentally friendly farming. Some may think its a little extreme, but in this day and age we really have to learn that the so called “traditional” farming is really the extreme. Just think about it: is it extreme to spend thousands of dollars on fertilization while we are wasting our natural fertilizer by concentrating it so much in cesspools that it is damaging to the land? Is it extreme to genetically engineer crops and then sue farmers for using the wind carried pollen? Is it extreme that our food travels so far that it has lost a majority of its nutritional content by the time we eat it? I think so, and if you agree please take a look at Acres USA magazine. They have a great library with their featured articles here: http://www.acresusa.com/toolbox/articles.htm You can also order a free sample of magazine on their website www.acresusa.com Here’s what Polyface farms says about Acres USA: “The world’s leading forum for ecological food and agriculture. This magazine is not afraid to print the unspeakable, and dares to challenge the most entrenched paradigms of conventional scientific thought. A true masterpiece.” -written by Rachel Burmeister, Internship Coordinator...

Creating a Natural Equine Environment part 2

Last week I talked about caring for your horse in a more natural way. Today I want to talk about what is called the Slow Feeding Movement. This past year I have been really excited to see that this new feeding practice has been gaining popularity all over the equine industry. The Slow Feeding philosophy focuses on feeding horses in a way that is more natural to them by letting them eat in a controlled continuous way. When I say “controlled continuous” it means that the horse has access to food at all times BUT the horse is forced to eat small amounts at a time.  The most common way to do this is by putting hay in a hay net or by making the horse eat the hay through a grate. This way the horse can only take small mouthfuls of a time. Just as human health professionals suggest eating smaller meals throughout the day and taking time to chew each mouthful fully before swallowing, this system forces horses to be less rushed while eating. The health benefits of this are many. Horses have relatively small stomachs compared to other animals because they are supposed to eat throughout the day. When horses are feed 2-3 meals a day, they quickly fill their stomach and then their stomach is empty for a large portion of the time between feedings. During the times that the horse’s stomach is empty, the pH of the stomach can become very acidic and cause stomach ulcers and other disorders. Psychologically, when horses cannot express the natural activity of grazing for most of the day,...