USDA Awards Specialty Products Block Grants

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson  The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has announced $55 million in Specialty Crops Block Grants to support 827 projects in the specialty crop industry – people who produce fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops, including flowers. Block grants go to states to fund projects proposed by local entities [...]

Five Minutes With Bob Reich

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson Bob Reich was secretary of labor in Bill Clinton’s administration.  Do you remember anything about the Clinton Administration beyond the scandals? Perhaps you remember that the world was largely at peace then, and that for most Americans it was the last time we experienced something like prosperity. For all his moral [...]

Really Trying

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson These days I’m finding it unusually hard to stay in touch with one of my core beliefs — that there is something sacred within every living creature. I always have that problem with mosquitoes and black flies — and ants, but only when they get into my kitchen. Outside, I admire [...]

Values Voters: A Day Late and a Dollar Short?

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson The Values Voters summit took place in Washington on Sept. 18. The big news, as the media saw it, is that some congressmember called Mike Pence, a Republican from Indiana’s 6th district, won the straw poll for both president (24% of 723 votes cast) and vice-president (16%).  Since nobody, not even [...]

Attention Modem Users: Try a Homing Pigeon

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson And now for something completely different. (You didn’t guess I was a Monty Python fan, did you.  See?  You never know….) If you’re still stuck with a slow  Internet connection, as about a third of rural U.S. households are, consider buying a homing pigeon instead, at least for uploading family photos [...]

On Reading the News

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson Starting in eighth grade, back in Paleolithic times when I was a student, we were taught to read newspapers analytically — to ask questions about what the words said, not just swallow them whole. I don’t see much evidence that skill is being taught today — nor in the past 40 [...]

FCC Tames Dog in the Manger

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson In my town, we want cell service so bad we can taste it. It’s a matter of convenience, for sure. But more importantly, the issue is safety. There’s no way to get home from any direction without driving up a long and winding road. Houses, thus land line telephones, can be [...]

A Lesson on Tactics and the “Enthusiasm Gap”

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson Will you do me a favor, please? Go read Bill McKibben’s op-ed piece, “My Road Trip With a Solar Rock Star or Notes on the Enthusiasm Gap,” and then come back here and read my reaction to it. I’m asking you for this favor because I want you to tell me [...]

Farm-to-School Shows Up As Campaign Topic

by Miryam Ehrlich Williamson Now that Labor Day 2010 is history and election campaigns have shifted into high gear, evidence is mounting that farm-to-school programs are popular with voters – and not only with rural folks, either. Candidates at various levels are sprucing up their resumes by showing involvement in bringing locally-grown produce to school [...]

Forget Oil, Worry About Phosphorus

Posted by Miryam Ehrlich Williamson This is too important to try to abstract, so I’m cross-posting it from The Daily Yonder. If you grow – or eat – food, read it. Forget Oil, Worry About Phosphorus The world’s agriculture depends on a mineral that is declining in production and is controlled by a cartel of [...]