Tag Archives: organic

Agricultural Workshop in Douglas May 29 2014

Agriculture is Georgia’s biggest industry, and USDA is holding a workshop on that in Douglas at the end of May.

On Team Agriculture Georgia‘s blog, Team Ag Georgia is coming to Douglas!

The Spring 2014 TAG workshop will be held at the City of Douglas Central Square Complex in Douglas, GA (click here for directions) on Thursday, May 29, 2014.

Courses being offered during the Spring Workshop include:

  • Google Map
    Organic/Naturally Grown Certification
  • Financing Small Farms – Ag Aware
  • Olive Production
  • Continue reading

VDT and Chamber feuding about which is the most negative

Image courtesy Fir0002/Flagstaffotos under GFDL v1.2

Break out the popcorn! The VDT and the Chamber of Commerce are feuding. About which one is the most negative! Also, the Chamber hates agriculture. And everything good around here is to the Chamber’s credit, but anything bad is not their fault; just ask them.

The VDT editorialized 18 October 2012, Is Valdosta really one of the poorest? mostly criticizing the recent report that ranked Valdosta MSA as the third poorest in the country. The VDT added:

Now that the world wide web has broadcast this story, what can be done locally to combat this image? And what are the various entities involved in job and business recruitment, i.e. the Chamber of Commerce and the Industrial Authority primarily, doing to fix the underlying problem — low household income and the high percentage of individuals living below the poverty line.

Valdosta can attract retailers. But can Valdosta step it up and attract larger industries offering high paying jobs? Has the community turned away from what made this a successful, viable up and comer in the state, namely manufacturing and agriculture? These industries sustained Valdosta for many years and provided good, well paying, solid blue collar and middle income jobs. Educational opportunities are far greater today, there are more high school, tech and college graduates in the area than ever, and blaming the quality of the work force is starting to lose its luster as a viable excuse for not bringing in industry. We have the land, we have the workers, we have the infrastructure and we have a great location with a good quality of life.

Perhaps the community leadership should focus on the assets that are already here and less on what’s not. Then maybe the next time a story like this appears on the Internet, Valdosta won’t be cast in such a poor light.

The Chamber fired back a broadside to its members, which I’ve included below here, since I don’t think you can find it online elsewhere. Here’s the most precious part:

Second, while there is still farmland in Lowndes County, it’s shrinking and when it sells, it’s for uses at prices that rule out agricultural use. Agriculture had begun moving to nearby more rural counties even before the cotton field at the end of Baytree Road was paved over for Valdosta Mall. Our largest tractor and farm implement dealers followed.

That’s right, farmland is good for nothing but paving over, so says the Chamber! Nevermind that knowledge-based workers generally like Continue reading

Local foods, local economy, local community

Local food is more than healthier, it’s even more than tasty. It’s also local economy and local community.

In the U.K., small local shops are being replaced by big-box supermarkets. A widespread argument for this conversion is that consumers get more choice. Peter Wilby wrote in the Guardian 3 May 2011 about why that’s not good enough:

Even the “good for consumers” defence of the big stores requires scrutiny. Supermarkets may offer mangoes and kiwi fruit as a blessed relief to generations who recall the surly greengrocer grunting “no demand for it” when asked for anything out of the ordinary. But the option to buy locally grown produce is increasingly closed off; many varieties of English fruit disappeared long ago. Supermarkets stock food not for its taste, but for its longevity and appearance. Conventional economists count numbers, assuming that a huge increase in toilet roll colours represents an unqualified gain to the consumer. They neglect more subtle dimensions of choice.

The central issue, however, is whether “what the consumer wants” should close down the argument. What people want as consumers may not be what they want as householders, community members, producers, employees or entrepreneurs. The loss of small shops drains a locality’s economic and social capital. Money spent in independent retail outlets tends to stay in the community, providing work for local lawyers and accountants, plumbers and decorators, window cleaners and builders.

He then cites U.S. research that shows local stores promote the local economy. Are we just consumers? Maybe we do other things than just buy stuff? Especially, do we do other things together? Continue reading

Valdosta Downtown Farm Days —Mara Register

Mara Register came to the Lowndes County Commission regular meeting to talk about Downtown Valdosta Farm Days, following up from the Farm Days organizational meeting Monday.

I think her main points were:

  1. Provide additional information about healthy eating with food from local farmers, thus helping solve the epidemic of childhood obesity in Georgia.
  2. Economic development opportunity for small farmers.
  3. Promote downtown district.
When? The Saturday after First Friday and the Saturday after Art After Dark.

Where? The parking spaces around the historic courthouse.

No livestock. Local produce. Here’s video of the first part of what she said.

Regular Meeting, Lowndes County Commission, Lowndes County, Georgia, 12 April 2011
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.

Logistics, such as no cooking, because Continue reading

When the biomass plant is cancelled —John S. Quarterman

What will happen to the spirit of activism when the biomass plant is cancelled?

I applaud the activism of the many and varied biomass opponents! Let me repeat my prediction: the biomass plant will never be built. That’s no reason to stop doing what you’re doing. You know opposition is having an effect when VLCIA repeatedly denies it.

You might be surprised how many other people think this plant will never be built. Ashley Paulk told me Continue reading

It’s an opportunity –John S. Quarterman

“Like a burned-over longleaf pine, we can come back from this recession greener than ever, if we choose wisely.”

Here is my response to James R. Wright’s questions about jobs and priorities. -jsq

It’s an opportunity for those of us who are not currently searching for our next meal to help those who need jobs, and thereby to help ourselves, so they don’t turn to crime. Like a burned-over longleaf pine, we can come back from this recession greener than ever, if we choose wisely.

Switchgrass seemed like a good idea five or ten years ago, but there is still no market for it.

Meanwhile, local and organic agriculture is booming, and continued to boom right through the recession.

Not just strictly organic by Georgia’s ridiculously restrictive standards for that, but also less pesticides for healthier foods, pioneered as nearby as Tifton. That’s two markets: one for farmers, stores, and farmers’ markets in growing and distributing healthy food, and one for local banks in financing farmers converting from their overlarge pesticide spraying machinery to plows and cultivators.

Similarly, biomass may have seemed like a good idea years ago, but with Adage backing out of both of its Florida biomass plants just across the state line, having never built any such plant ever, the biomass boom never happened.

Meanwhile, our own Wesley Langdale has demonstrated to the state that

Continue reading

Organic food market booming

What continued to grow right through the recession? Local and organic foods, especially sold through farmers’ markets and traditional supermarkets.

Carol Hazard wrote in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, March 21, 2011, Organic, natural food catching on:

U.S. sales of organic foods and beverages grew from $1 billion in 1990 to $24.8 billion in 2009, according to the Organic Trade Association.

The sector saw double-digit growth — often more than 20 percent — every year over the past decade except 2009, at the tail-end of the recession. Even then, organic sales rose 5.9 percent from the previous year while total food sales increased only 1.6 percent.

The article didn’t link to the study, but here it is: Industry Statistics and Projected Growth.

Further from the Times-Dispatch article:

National grocers are pumping up their organic and natural food selections. Even Wal-Mart and its Sam’s Club warehouse division are paying attention.
Continue reading

Urban growth boundary –Portland

Prof. Dorfman of UGA already explained to us that in Georgia
Local governments must ensure balanced growth, as sprawling residential growth is a certain ticket to fiscal ruin*
* Or at least big tax increases.
Here’s a place that does something about it: Portland, Oregon.

Thanks to Matthew Richard for pointing out this documentary.

As the documentary says, the key to Portland’s way is: Continue reading