It’s Wednesday and I’ve found a few pieces I hope you’ll enjoy. I’m seeing a lot on social media about the rural-urban divide and some of the comments are thoughtful. I’m seeing more things rural in my feed, generally.

A piece by Ron Rosmann about what rural America needs to thrive is today’s #mustread. A podcast featuring the brilliant and sometimes provocative Tamar Haspel is something I’d strongly suggest listening to. And Civil Eats has a terrific piece about the “doomsday seed vault”…important to know. Also…a quick thought about the farm labor shortage from a Tweet that whizzed by me this morning.


Rural issues transcend party lines in Iowa and rural America

Ron Rosmann, an organic farmer in Iowa, pens an op-ed piece worth reading. It appears in the Des Moines Register. Mr. Rosmann details what he thinks is needed to create thriving agricultural communities. He tackles a number of issues, including the loss of crop biodiversity, farm subsidies, technology, rural depopulation and the need for improved infrastructure. He writes:

“If we are going to make “America great again” in rural areas, then we have to return to our roots of why we came as immigrants to establish farms and rural communities. Our ancestors came so they could make a living and a meaningful life for themselves, but also to be members of a community and to give back. It was so they could practice their faith freely and to pass on that faith to their children. They came because of the promise of hope and opportunity.  We need to renew that hope and opportunity for the common good, regardless of politics.”

Editor’s Note: Our feature image today is credited to Lynn Betts of the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service…it’s a 2011 photo taken in Dallas County, Iowa, depicting new homes encroaching on farmland in the suburb of Waukee, on the west side of Des Moines. 


Farm to Table Talk podcast 

Rodger Wasson of Farm to Table Talk interviews Tamar Haspel, a writer/oyster farmer. Haspel, who writes a food/farming column for the Washington Post, is one of my favorite thought leaders. She’s a thoughtful presence on social media, too; be sure to follow her on Twitter.

I’ve gotten to know Rodger recently and am a huge fan of his podcast. For those who don’t know him, Rodger is a veteran in food and agriculture. He’s from a farming family and has worked in various ag-related enterprises. He launched the Farm to Table Talk podcast about a year ago. His goal? To share his philosophy that “…good farming like good food comes in all shapes and sizes.”

You can learn more about the other podcasts I regularly listen to here.



Doomsday Seed Vault

Seed banks maintain genetic resources that enable nations to adapt to changing conditions, or to respond to catastrophes. With climate change, a loss of crop diversity and political uncertainty, the importance of seed banks has perhaps never been greater. And this is key: the issue of securing seeds is critical and should transcend national interests. Conservationist Cary Fowler led the effort to create the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a *hopefully* fail safe storage facility to safeguard seeds. It’s located on a Norwegian island not too far from the North Pole. Lela Nargi interviews Fowler. Appearing in Civil Eats. #goodread

Want more information about seed banking? Read this UC Food Observer Q&A with John Torgrimson of Seed Savers Exchange. He told our Teresa O’Connor:

“Participatory conservation is very important to our work. It’s not enough for us to have a seed bank and keep these seeds in a Fort Knox-like setting. We want these seeds to grow and be maintained in different gardens around the country and world. The more you grow and save open pollinated seeds in your own garden, the more adaptability those varieties will show in your own growing conditions.” 

Thought for the day from a national sustainable agriculture conference