The 2014 Tourne-Sol team
We’ve been running our farm as a workers cooperative for 10 years now. You can find out a little bit more about our experience in the podcast and guidebook mentioned below.
Interview about coops on The Ruminant
Last week I spoke to Jordan Marr of The Ruminant podcast about the cooperative aspects of Tourne-Sol farm. You can listen to the whole episode here: e.51: Building a Farm Cooperative to Thrive .
We spoke about the early Tourne-Sol years & how our systems have evolved to manage conflict, build a diversified businesses, and meet our quality of life goals.
Greenhorns Guidebook on Cooperative Farming
In 2014, the Greenhorns published a guidebook called Cooperative Farming: Frameworks for Farming Together. It is all farming as a coop and covers different coop models and management systems. The book features a number of actual coop farms including Tourne-Sol.
You can download the book from the Greenhorns or from SARE.
I’ve been a bit slow on posts over the last 15 months. (Coincidentally about the same amount of time that Stella has been in our lives!) Nonetheless I’ve been busy with seeds and have thought of many fantastic blog posts I could write. And maybe in 2014, I will write some of those posts.
In the meantime, I’d like to share some of the seedy stuff I’ve been listening and reading.
Recently awaytogarden.com started a podcast series called Seed Smarts in which Margaret Roach interviews some big seed names. There have been 3 interviews to date:
- John Navasio of the Organic Seed Alliance on plant breeding and hybriditis – the tendency “where the predominant number of varieties available for any particular crop, like cabbage, or broccoli, or carrots, are hybrids”
- Lia Babitch of Turtle Tree Seed on running a seed company that grows a large amount of the seed they sell.
- Tom Stearns of High Mowing Seeds on, amongst other topics, why they offer hybrids though they are big proponents of OP seeds.
I’ve also been reading Joseph Lofthouse’s series on Landrace Gardening at motherearthnews.com. Joseph is based in Utah and has been letting varieties of the same species cross up and selecting what does best for his location. In this way he’s developing new landraces full of potential.
Do you have any suggestions of great seedy listening or reading? If you do, please share!
Over the last 10 days I’ve been cleaning the brassica seed we harvested in June from overwintered plants. This is to clear some space for spring planted brassica seed crops that are ready for harvest.
I’ve already written about our brassica seed cleaning techniques. However this year I used some different threshing methods:
Your choice of music is not important for the success of this method, as long as it’s loud.
I always wear gloves when handling dry seed crops. It is very easy to get splinters. Whether working by foot or by hand I’ve also started wearing a dust mask when cleaning dry seed crops.
The chaff pile also has a video on alternative brassica seed cleaning methods.
If you want to know more about the harvesting part of this operation, you can read my 2010 brassica seed harvesting post.
Now, if the thunder storms hold off, we’ll get into some serious garlic harvesting.
If you want to know, you can follow Gigi (Ghislain Jutras) on his blog Agriculture bio et agroécologie across the province of Quebec, and at times throughout the world (most recently California). Gigi went online just before Christmas and regularly posts profiles of farm he’s visited, agricultural news, ressources and references, and more. (Recently, he did write up Going To Seed on his blog. He’s got great taste). As an organic farmer and also a College ag. professor, Gigi blends both a practical and theoretical approach to his topic. Go and check it out!