Gleanings

Stereotypes of technophobe, straw-chewing farmers abound, but the truth is our food system is highly industrialized, mechanized, and computerized—overly so if you ask me. It’s also a largely closed, proprietary system that’s designed to keep the pesky public out.

In June, officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture alerted the Joseph T. Simpson Public Library in Mechanicsburg that their seed library was in violation of the Pennsylvania Seed Act of 2004. According to officials, the library would have to follow the prohibitively expensive procedures of large-scale commercial seed companies or only offer commercial seed.

The Combat Paper Project is an initiative created by veteran Drew Cameron, who explains, “Coming home from war is a difficult thing. … A new language must be developed in order to express the magnitude and variety of the [experience]. Hand papermaking is the language of Combat Paper.

A documentary on the work of the Women's Awareness Center, Nepal (WACN).

Watch more videos from the International Development Exchange (IDEX) on Youtube

 

Go to the GEO front page

 

Since the first community supported agriculture program was established in western Massachusetts in the 1980s, the concept of buying food directly from local farms has taken off. There are now thousands of CSAs across the country.

Over the past decade, the Riverwest neighborhood has incubated a handful of small but exemplary cooperatives. People's Books (804 E. Center St.) converted from a sole proprietorship to a consumer-owned cooperative in 2007. In addition to selling books, it is home to an after-school program for neighborhood kids. The Riverwest Co-op & Cafe (801 E.

Earlier this month, the small city of Somerset, Kentucky drew national attention when it opened a municipally-owned and -operated fuel center in an effort to drive down gas prices for local residents.

Whatever its form, worker ownership should appeal to both liberals and conservatives for very different reasons. For liberals, worker ownership is a way for workers to increase their earnings while dispersing ownership in companies and possibly inch toward some semblance of economic democracy.

The village shop is a cornerstone of rural communities – but they are closing at the rate of 400 a year. Thankfully, the co-op movement is filling the gap, in the form of the village-owned store. There are now more than 300  in operation, compared to 27 just 20 years ago – but how do these small community co-ops engage such a small membership?

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