Saturday, July 12

No-Till Farming

Farmers around the world are beginning to reconsider the age-old practice of tilling their land before planting new crops, instead hoping to increase their sustainability by letting old plant matter remain on the fields. Reducing soil erosion is a major concern, considering that on average, it takes 700-1000 years for just an inch of new soil to be created, and most farmland only has 12-36 inches of topsoil to begin with. Unfortunately, no-till farming is expensive and requires the increased use of pesticides to maintain crop yields, but organic farming, particularly its use of crop rotation, can serve as a model. There is an article about no-till farming in the July issue of Scientific American, which you can find here.

Thursday, July 10

CSAs, Work Party, and Take Back the Tap

Saturday there will be a work party at 10:30am! Come help stake tomatoes, spread mulch, weed, set up signs, thin seedlings, and clean up the garden.

Also check out this recent article about the rise in CSAs (community supported agriculture) across the country, which quotes Paula Lukats of NYC nonprofit Just Food. Paula helped CUFSP set up the Morningside Heights CSA, which will proudly deliver pre-sold shares of Norwich Meadows Farm produce for eight weeks in the fall. Thanks to Barnard junior Megan McNally for organizing the Morningside Heights CSA and for Columbia Dining Services for making the deliveries possible!

Lastly, if you're interested in water issues such as the preponderance of bottled water and what that means for the millions of people without access to clean water, read below for information on how to get involved with the Food & Water Watch 'Take Back the Tap' campaign:

We are looking for activists and students who are interested in organizing around the issue of of WATER ACCESS, which is a critical issue right now globally and nationally. We'd love some of your skills, energy, and participation in this campaign! I think it will be lots of fun, and a good learning experience for any organizer because we will be working with the press,the community, local officials.

If this campaign sounds like something you might want to get involved in, I would love to work with you! Also, if you know anyone else in the New York area who is around and might be interested, please forward them this email or give me their contact information and I will get in touch with them myself.

Best, Rachael
Take Back the Tap NYC Organizer
Food and Water Watch
Phone: 415.279.2138

Wednesday, July 9

Science Barge

The Science Barge has been sighted at Pier 1 in Riverside Park! The barge is a completely sustainable urban farm and education center that runs on solar, wind, and biofuel power and gets its water by purifying rain and river water. It uses hydroponics to grow peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce, and the engineers and scientists who work there are hoping to use the same technology to get vegetable gardens onto the rooftops of schools in the city that will feed students and teach them about sustainable agriculture.

The barge will be located at W 70th St. for the months of July and August. Nearby entrances to the park are at 72nd St. and 68th St. Free public tours are Tuesday-Friday at 4, and Saturday and Sunday at 12, 1, 3, and 4, and they last about 45 minutes. You can check out some more information about the barge by going to their website at, or just head down to Riverside Park!

Sunday, July 6

Wal-Mart Jumping on the Local Food Bandwagon

What advocacy and persuasion can't accomplish, pure economics can. Wal-Mart stores are aggressively seeking to increase local food purchases to lower food miles as rising fuel costs augment the price of food. Though consumer preference for local foods factors in their decision, Wal-Mart sees the true benefit in their bottom line.

Read more here.