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Champions of the Land Ethic

When I heard that Land Stewardship Project board member Loretta Jaus was being recognized by the White House this week as a “Champion of Change for Sustainable and Climate-Smart Agriculture,” I couldn’t think of a more deserving recipient. From the first time almost a decade ago that I visited the western Minnesota dairy operation she…  Read More

Soil Health: Numbers vs. Knowing

Sometimes it takes a bit of an evangelist to remind us that praying at the altar of facts and figures can blind one to how they all connect in the bigger picture. In the case of production systems that build soil health, that preacher is Ray Archuleta. “The soil is naked, hungry, thirsty and running…  Read More

Cussing Over Creeks & Cattle

The sign of a truly sustainable farming technique, indeed of a sustainable idea in general, is its staying power. Something might not catch on widely at first, especially if it goes against conventional wisdom. But if it’s just a tiny bit viable and enough innovators keep it alive, its time will eventually come. I was…  Read More

Corn Planting Sends Tremors Through Bee Country

Sometimes laboratory science and the reality of what’s happening on the ground intersect in a graphic way. That’s what struck me this morning as I was watching a video shot by Minnesota beekeeper Steve Ellis on May 7. Ellis has documented the die-off of bees on the very day that neighboring fields were planted with…  Read More

How Farmworker Wage Theft Bankrupts Our Rural Communities

A few years ago LSP organizer Doug Nopar was told of a southeast Minnesota farm operation that was withholding wages from a worker after he had accidentally damaged a door with a skid steer loader. Nopar called the farm owner and let him know this action was quite illegal. The farmer’s response? “You know, I…  Read More

Dust-to-Dust: Don’t Blame the Drought

I recently phoned members of my geographically far-flung family to give them Thanksgiving greetings and was struck by a common element of our ensuing conversations. From Iowa and Nebraska to Kentucky and Texas, the report was the same: drought, drought and more drought. I thought about that recently while watching the  new documentary, The Dust…  Read More

Bud Markhart’s Sustainable Legacy

The sustainable agriculture community lost a true friend this week when Bud Markhart passed away after a courageous battle with cancer. I had the opportunity to interview Markhart last fall for an LSP podcast. He was a professor of horticultural science at the U of M, and so it’s no surprise that he made his…  Read More

Battling Diabetes on the Street & in the Garden

One can almost detect the longing in Denise Crews’ voice when she describes what foods she misses the most since she was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. “The hardest thing to give up was the fried chicken—Popeyes, Kentucky Fried Chicken. Their biscuits. The grease,” Crews told me during a recent LSP podcast interview at a…  Read More