The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Who's Your Farmer?
A bright blue bicycle zips down Ohio 343 just outside Yellow Springs. A compost bucket strapped on back is filled with scraps from a local restaurant. This is my farmer, off to work in the early hours of a spring morning on a three-acre parcel on which he spends nearly 4,000 hours each year.
Last year with his work, the help of friends and Mother Nature, my farmer, Andrew Manieri, owner of Heartbeat Community Farm, fed me and my husband as well as 45 other local families.
Each week from late May through mid-October, we pick up a heavy paper bag lovingly filled with all our favorite vegetables—crisp kale, sweet beets, hearty potatoes—and some exciting new ones—edamame, kohlrabi and daikon radishes. In all, there are 300 varieties of 40 kinds of vegetables.
“I want to grow food for people, not make a profit,” said the 33-year-old Manieri, a former philosophy student at Oxford in England.
This new way of procuring food, by direct connection with a local farmer, is called “Community Supported Agriculture,” CSA for short, a movement which sprouted in Europe and Japan in the 1960s, and took root in the U.S. in the early 90s. It’s also an old way of procuring food, that is, from neighbors who you know and trust.
It works like this: Pay your farmer a set price at the beginning of the season (usually between $300 and $600) and for the next 20 weeks you will be provided with a variety of fresh vegetables, either right at your doorstep or for you to pick up at the farm.
By paying ahead of time you’re sharing the risk, and the bounty, with the farmer. “It keeps farmers farming,” said Manieri, who counts on this direct support from his community rather than sell his products at market. “It’s potentially a reversal of what happened during the industrialization of agriculture where farmers were going out-of-business,” he said.
With 90 percent of food purchased in supermarkets, knowing your farmer is rare these days. But it is more important than ever.
In a CSA, farmers can focus on providing the best quality food using the most sustainable practices, rather than producing the largest quantities of food as cheaply as possible.
It’s not surprising then, that most CSAs grow food organically, with minimal chemical pesticides and fertilizers, and, because they are smaller farms, are less mechanized requiring fewer fossil fuels. Adding in the reduced transportation energy, CSAs are a powerful solution to climate change and oil depletion.
Plus CSA members develop a healthier and more nutritious diet. “One of the beautiful things about CSAs is also one of its greatest inconveniences—it changes how you eat,” said Manieri, who encourages his CSA members to eat more and a greater variety of vegetables.
While there were 3,320 CSAs listed on Local Harvest, an online farm database, as of last January, it’s unclear exactly how many are operating in the U.S. Estimates range from 4,000 to 12,000, the number reported by the U.S. Agricultural Census in 2007. There are 144 registered CSAs in Ohio, according to Local Harvest.
But there is a trend toward larger CSAs, which tend to be more mechanized and fossil-fuel dependent with farmers and members less acquainted. Nevertheless, Local Harvest reports that the median number of shares for a CSA is 47, testifying to the overall smallness of these farms. Almost 80 percent of CSAs have fewer than 100 members, while just 2 percent have more than 500. Working just three acres, my farmer can focus on creating the healthiest and most sustainable farm ecosystem, with an emphasis on living soil. “We’re dedicated to being as fossil fuel free as possible,” Manieri said. “We’re not mechanized so we must replace that energy with our intelligence and labor.”
In addition, he doesn’t till the land, a radical but imperative way to protect soil fertility. “Tilling is devastating to the soil ecology and causes soil erosion and degradation,” he explained.
My farmer’s views are shared by University of Washington Professor David Montgomery, author of Dirt: The Erosion of Civilization, who argues that the plow is the most destructive device ever invented and that we are depleting soil 10 to 20 times faster than it is being produced by nature.
If we continue our modern agricultural practices, Montgomery said, we are in danger of repeating the experience of past societies, such as the Mesopotamians, who created a desert in the fertile crescent. The difference is that this time, we have nowhere else to go.
“We need to take care of the land so it takes care of us,” Montgomery said.
And that’s how Manieri sees it too. “I’m a servant to my community and providing a valuable service,” he said. “Farmers are the ones living between people and the natural world.”
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
'How Dare You Put Our Lives at Risk': Pennsylvania Democrat Brian Sims Rips GOP Members for 'Coverup' of Positive COVID-19 Tests
Brian Sims, a Democratic representative in the Pennsylvania legislature, ranted in a Facebook Live video that went viral about the hypocrisy of Republican lawmakers who are pushing to reopen the state even though one of their members had a positive COVID-19 test.
- Partisan Differences in Social Distancing during the Coronavirus ... ›
- COVID-19 Is Turning Into a Partisan Battle, Too: The Politics Daily ... ›
- Coronavirus in US: Partisanship is the strongest predictor of public ... ›
- Pennsylvania Republicans Want Prosecutors To Investigate State ... ›
- Philly Democrat Brian Sims sparks firestorm after posting videos of ... ›
In another reversal of Obama-era regulations, the Trump administration is having the National Park Service rescind a 2015 order that protected bears and wolves within protected lands.
- Wildlife Advocates Celebrate: Romania Bans Trophy Hunting ... ›
- Father and Son Charged With Killing Mother Bear and 'Shrieking ... ›
- Trump Admin. Wants to Reinstate 'Cruel' Hunting Tactics in Alaska ... ›
By Linda Lacina
World Health Organization officials today announced the launch of the WHO Foundation, a legally separate body that will help expand the agency's donor base and allow it to take donations from the general public.
<iframe width="100%" height="150" scrolling="no" class="rm-shortcode twitter-embed-1265660879669886976" id="twitter-embed-1265660879669886976" lazy-loadable="true" src="/res/community/twitter_embed/?iframe_id=twitter-embed-1265660879669886976&created_ts=1590592043.0&screen_name=WHO&text=Media+briefing+on+%23COVID19+with+%40DrTedros+https%3A%2F%2Ft.co%2Fj5ZoeBdBvO&id=1265660879669886976&name=World+Health+Organization+%28WHO%29" frameborder="0" data-rm-shortcode-id="16f209220db97fa1572877a1700956f5"></iframe>
Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
By Nicholas Joyce
The coronavirus has resulted in stress, anxiety and fear – symptoms that might motivate a person to see a therapist. Because of social distancing, however, in-person sessions are less possible. For many, this has raised the prospect of online therapy. For clients in need of warmth and reassurance, could this work? Studies and my experience suggests it does.
Telehealth Versus Traditional Therapy<p><a href="https://www.cigna.com/hcpemails/telehealth/telehealth-flyer.pdf" target="_blank">Private insurance companies</a> like Cigna and Aetna, have come around; they now provide coverage for what they see as a "legitimate" service. And <a href="https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/american-wells-2019-consumer-survey-finds-majority-of-consumers-open-to-telehealth-adoption-continues-to-grow-300906438.html" target="_blank">surveys show</a> consumers are receptive to telehealth counseling: no driving to an appointment, no searching for a parking space, no worries about childcare while they're away, no need to switch providers if they move, and no problem if the specialist happens to be far away.</p><p>Online therapy opens doors for clients who wouldn't otherwise seek help, <a href="https://www.worldcat.org/title/empirical-examination-of-the-influence-of-personality-gender-role-conflict-and-self-stigma-on-attitudes-and-intentions-to-seek-online-counseling-in-college-students/oclc/941976505" target="_blank">particularly patients</a> who feel stigmatized by therapy or intimidated by a stranger sitting across the room from them. Often, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1089/1094931041291295" target="_blank">people open up</a> more easily in telehealth sessions. Firsthand accounts have detailed <a href="https://www.romper.com/p/i-tried-online-therapy-for-a-month-this-is-what-happened-13630" target="_blank">positive experiences from consumers</a>.</p>
Overcoming Prejudices About Online Counseling<p>Now COVID-19 is forcing most traditional psychotherapists to adapt their practice to <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/expressive-trauma-integration/202003/covid-19-etherapy-in-times-isolation" target="_blank">online counseling</a>. After experiencing the medium, they are <a href="https://www.wecounsel.com/blog/why-every-therapist-in-private-practice-needs-a-telehealth-option/" target="_blank">overcoming their prejudices</a>. Many will convert some or all of their caseloads to telehealth after the pandemic ends. Most of our clients seem to be good with it: responding to a satisfaction survey, 85% of USF students strongly or somewhat agreed their telehealth experience was comparable to an in-person visit.</p><p>All this allows a continuity of care for clients that before was impossible; there is, however, a caveat. Because of the coronavirus, some of my clients at USF who live out-of-state have moved back home. That means, legally, I can no longer serve them. Even though they are still USF students, my license is valid only in Florida.</p><p>For telehealth to work effectively, our national system of licensing and regulation law needs to adapt. Although the federal government temporarily halted HIPAA regulations to promote telehealth during this time, not all states are allowing out-of-state practice. The coronavirus may not be here forever, but spring break and Christmas holidays always will. We need seamless telehealth across state lines.</p>
- How to Deal With Cabin Fever - EcoWatch ›
- 75,000 American Deaths Predicted From Overdose and Suicide ... ›
As many parts of the planet continue to open their doors after pandemic closures, a new pest is expected to make its way into the world. After spending more than a decade underground, millions of cicadas are expected to emerge in regions of the southeastern U.S.
Kevin Frayer / Stringer / Getty Images
By Jessica Corbett
Even after the world's largest economies adopted the landmark Paris agreement to tackle the climate crisis in late 2015, governments continued to pour $77 billion a year in public finance into propping up the fossil fuel industry, according to a report released Wednesday.
<iframe width="100%" height="150" scrolling="no" class="rm-shortcode twitter-embed-1265623289118015492" id="twitter-embed-1265623289118015492" lazy-loadable="true" src="/res/community/twitter_embed/?iframe_id=twitter-embed-1265623289118015492&created_ts=1590583080.0&screen_name=envirodefence&text=New+research+from+%40PriceofOil+%26amp%3B+%40foe_us+shows+Canada+has+the+2nd+highest+public+finance+for+fossil+fuels+in+the+G20%E2%80%A6+https%3A%2F%2Ft.co%2FCC21WVmLhZ&id=1265623289118015492&name=EnvironmentalDefence" frameborder="0" data-rm-shortcode-id="3a8dab253abb0ab96502809508dffa35"></iframe>
<iframe width="100%" height="150" scrolling="no" class="rm-shortcode twitter-embed-1265668484349992961" id="twitter-embed-1265668484349992961" lazy-loadable="true" src="/res/community/twitter_embed/?iframe_id=twitter-embed-1265668484349992961&created_ts=1590593856.0&screen_name=PriceofOil&text=%F0%9F%93%96New+Report%F0%9F%93%96%3A+As+%23G20+governments+spend+historic+levels+of+public+finance+on+%23COVID19+stimulus%2C+our+new+report+w%2F%E2%80%A6+https%3A%2F%2Ft.co%2Fbw8awZru86&id=1265668484349992961&name=Oil+Change+International" frameborder="0" data-rm-shortcode-id="4c26ee7a9cd92203449579ca4aa553e7"></iframe>
- Fossil Fuel Firms With Ties to Trump Administration Get Small ... ›
- Taxpayers Charged $7 Billion a Year to Subsidize Fossil Fuels on ... ›
- Government Subsidizes Fossil Fuel Industry With $20+ Billion in ... ›
Twenty-three states and Washington, DC launched a suit Wednesday to stop the Trump administration rollback of Obama-era fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks.
- Trump Dismantles Environmental Protections Under Cover of ... ›
- Trump Admin Goes After States for Protecting the Environment ... ›
- Justice Department Drops Investigation Against Four Automakers ... ›
- Trump Expected to Announce Weakened Fuel Efficiency Rules ... ›