kitty baker

American Meat: A Film Focused on the Small Farm



Sometimes a film just needs to be seen. It is hard to imagine more important issues that those that involve our food system and amazingly, we have been blessed in this country with all kinds of eye-opening food films and documentaries, from Food Inc. and King Corn to Super Size Me. Now we can add American Meat to the list. 

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Straw Bale Gardening, Part 2: The Plot Thickens

Starting a new project begins with great, lofty imaginings…in this case, the vision is of a perfect garden. Then the unanticipated variables creep in. The straw bale garden has triggered a few surprises, some serendipitous, some not. As a follow up to Part 1 of this series, I’ll share in this report on this planting, watering and watching a straw bale garden grow.


The bale set-up was actually a thrill. Maybe it’s an unfulfilled interest in engineering, but I really enjoyed the challenge of locating and grouping the bales in full sun, amongst a system of north-south lines between posts that I drove into the ground myself with a post pounder. I enjoyed stringing an espalier wire system (trellis) between the posts, as I imagined great climbing cucumbers, beans and tomatoes. 

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Straw Bale Gardening: The Promise of a New Spring

Every spring I imagine my ideal garden: weed free, self-tilling, self-watering, disease-resistant, a garden safe from hungry, pesky bugs and critters. Every spring for the past seven years I set out to my little strip of trucked-in topsoil behind the garage of our Lanesboro farm house, determined to coax the ideal garden out of the ground this time, at last! And every midsummer about the time a good dry spell sets in, I am humbled by the many troubles that have cropped up in my perfect little garden. The weeds have somehow managed to out-strip everything – many as tall as I am (granted, I’m short). Still, it’s sobering to realize how entirely I’ve lost my focus on weeding and watering, how compacted the soil has become, how cabbage moths and tomato blight have taken a harsh toll. 


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Volunteers Keep Cropping Up: Promise for the Future of Good Food. Recipe: Black walnut torte.

Could you work up an appetite to rally around the cause of expanding access to local foods? A rallying of 70 community supporters came together in Fillmore County recently to do just that. Peggy Hanson (hilarious blow-by-blow how-to-use-a-CSA blogger for Featherstone Farm from 2009 to 2011) and Frank Wright (local gardener extraordinaire and rhubarb crop specialist) hosted the event in their home, the former Cady Hayes House bed & breakfast establishment in Lanesboro. But the real engine behind the affair was a cluster of passionate 20-somethings who recruited food donors, planned the menu, signed up cooks and orchestrated all the logistics. The dinner was a gala of volunteers, each sharing his or her authentic specialty, be it food, food prep, or flying through a pile of dishes. 

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Eat for Equity Goes Rural

Eat For Equity goes Rural!

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Up the Ante This Holiday Season: Improvising With Local Foods

Food traditions make the holidays. Hosting a big family gathering has been my pleasure for many years. Whether it’s Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, the event is pretty much a collective effort, with each family member bringing a favorite appetizer, side dish or dessert – or two or three. The host is it for turkey, dressing and potatoes. In addition, my contributions typically include a large citrus salad and cranberry relish. 

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In Search Of A Fool Proof Deep Freeze

19 cubic feet of frozen trouble. My husband just informed me that our voluminous new 19CF, SFA-approved freezer must be empty, defrosted and ready to receive our second round of free-range, organic broilers by a yet-to-be-determined chicken processing date, July, 2012. Nine months...Help! We’ve never owned a separate freezer before and I find myself at the mercy of a ticking clock that will time out 9 months from now, just as this year’s season of harvesting finally winds down and my hunter-gatherer genes settle in for the winter. 

You see, our freezer is a key investment in this year’s maiden run at chicken farming. We set out to raise and freeze enough very large broilers to eat chicken all year long. Good clean protein and superior tastiness. That was our goal.

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