Category Archives: ecology

Community Sponsored Farming Outside Knoxville

From the journal n+1:
The farm sits on a hill an hour northeast of Knoxville. It encompasses sixty acres, but only one and a half are devoted to garden produce—beans, kale, corn, squash, carrots, onions, garlic, basil, et cetera. Another six are pasture for the two cows, three pigs, six sheep, and fifty or so chickens. The rest is woods. The farm is owned by a couple in their mid-thirties who live there with their 4-year-old son and a beagle named Barney. They sell most of their produce through a CSA, and the rest at a weekly farmer’s market, along with meat, eggs, and baked goods. At the moment I’m the only intern.

CSA stands for Community Sponsored Agriculture. For a lump sum, members of a CSA buy a subscription to the farmer’s harvest season. Once a week, each member gets a portion of what the farm produces: a typical share might include three pounds of potatoes, a bunch of carrots, an eggplant, two heads of garlic, and so on, depending on what’s been picked that week. The farmers get payment up front, and don’t have to spend all their time pushing vegetables at markets; the members, barring catastrophe, get a reliable source of fresh, local produce. In the case of my farm, members sign up for a 25-week season, and can buy either a $700 “full share,” meant to feed a family of four, or a $500 “half share,” for an adult couple.

Read the rest of this article by Anver Davis…

Link: http://www.nplusonemag.com/organic-farming

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Weather isn’t Climate: UK Blizzard

I’ll get back to South Carolina-centric things in a moment, after a word or two about the UK blizzard.

Back in the 1980’s, new computer climate modeling suggested that the lessening of the differences in temperature between the equator and the poles would result in a weakening of the Gulf Stream and other deep ocean currents, leading to the cooling of areas like the UK. The Gulf Stream brings warm tropical water to the shores of the UK, making its local climate more tolerable than the similarly situated Labrador. The science has been out there for a while. I did a Science Fair project on this very topic in 1987. Anyway, these are long term trends and climate isn’t the same as weather, short attention spans notwithstanding.

There is evidence to suggest that the overall trend in the UK is actually getting warmer due to the effects of cyclical weather patterns like El Niño. The BBC has a fairly in-depth article on how “Arctic Oscillation” or the “opposing atmospheric pressure patterns in northern middle and high latitudes” works to produce abnormally cold regional weather. The January 5 article is called “The Arctic roots of upside down weather“. It ought to give anyone pause about their understanding of these complex systems. Climate change doubters should especially consider their nonchalance regarding humanity’s impact on such the dynamics of weather.

References:

Nasa: What’s the Difference Between Weather and Climate? http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/noaa-n/climate/climate_weather.html

American Institute of Physics: Ocean Currents and Climate: http://www.aip.org/history/climate/oceans.htm,

UK Guardian Comment: Britain’s cold snap does not prove climate science wrong: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/jan/06/cold-snap-climate-sceptics

BBC on new oceanographic climate change research: ‘Scary’ climate message from past : http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8299426.stm

BBC Earthwatch: Arctic roots of ‘upside-down’ weather http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/01/arctic_conditions_arctic_cause.html

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