What’s at stake when we pave over, fragment and otherwise fail to protect Texas farmland from the disruptions of development?

What’s at stake when we pave over, fragment and otherwise fail to protect Texas farmland from the disruptions of development?

Millions of acres of America’s agricultural land were developed or converted to uses that threaten farming between 2001 and 2016, according to “Farms Under Threat: The State of the States,” a new report by American Farmland Trust. The report’s Agricultural Land Protection Scorecard is the first-ever state-by-state analysis of policies that respond to the development threats to farmland and ranchland, showing that every state can, and must, do more to protect their irreplaceable agricultural resources… The report found that Texas was the most threatened state in the nation due to…

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7.7 million young people are unemployed. We need a new ‘Tree Army.’

7.7 million young people are unemployed. We need a new ‘Tree Army.’

Nearly 7.7 million American workers younger than 30 are now unemployed and three million dropped out of the labor force in the past month. Combined that’s nearly one in three young workers, by far the highest rate since the country started tracking unemployment by age in 1948… As our country’s leaders consider a range of solutions to address this crisis, there’s one fix that will put millions of young Americans directly to work: a 21st-century version of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Read more from Collin O’Mara,…

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Resources for new landowners: Aldo Leopold’s five tools of wildlife management

Resources for new landowners: Aldo Leopold’s five tools of wildlife management

Aldo Leopold – author, philosopher, conservationist, and so-called “Father of Wildlife Ecology” –  is a pillar of the modern-day wildlife conservation and management movement. His revolutionary musings on the value of land and wildlife and his intentional management techniques often appear in the discourse on wildlife management. In Game Management, Leopold wrote, “Are we too poor in purse or spirit to apply some of it to keep the land pleasant to see, and good to live in?” This conveys a…

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The credible case for a resilient water supply in Texas

The credible case for a resilient water supply in Texas

In this time of crisis and deep uncertainty, one thing we must be able to depend on is our water supply. Access to water is critical to public health, fragile local economies, and food production. And the benefits are also intangible. Confined to our homes, many of us are realizing that time spent along the banks of a lake or clear flowing creek offers much-needed respite. Now, more than ever, we must protect our water resources. The world is a…

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Farms that sell directly to consumers are thriving amid Coronavirus downturn

Farms that sell directly to consumers are thriving amid Coronavirus downturn

“We feel pretty lucky,” Chris Newman admits. Newman is the owner and operator of Sylvanaqua Farms, a small permaculture operation that sells and delivers directly to consumers. Meat may be running low in grocery stores as farmers across the country face dire decisions about their animals but, in the midst of the coronavirus downturn, farms like Sylvanaqua are managing to thrive. Sylvanaqua delivers meat across a pretty wide area beyond the farm—surrounding areas in Virginia as well as north to…

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Conservation and reuse of reclaimed wastewater: A marriage of necessity

Conservation and reuse of reclaimed wastewater: A marriage of necessity

As the population of Texas increases and requires a more abundant water supply, big decisions loom regarding new water sources, growing volumes of wastewater effluent, and the impacts on our land, environment, and other species in which we coexist. A new way of thinking is taking root since traditional approaches to water management are generally viewed as deficient in the face of current water-related challenges. It promises a more viable, alternative approach. One Water is not an entirely new concept,…

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As food supply chain breaks down, farm-to-door CSAs take off

As food supply chain breaks down, farm-to-door CSAs take off

From California to Maine, the movement known as community supported agriculture (CSA) is booming. Members buy a share of a farm’s often organic harvest that gets delivered weekly in a box. CSA programs almost everywhere report a surge in memberships and growing waiting lists. “The interest in getting local, fresh, organic produce just has skyrocketed during this crisis,” Redmond said. Read more from Eric Westervelt with NPR here. 

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Agriculture science looking downward for the future of feeding the world

Agriculture science looking downward for the future of feeding the world

Healthy fertile soil. It makes the grass and plants grow, which feeds people as well as livestock, which in turn are eaten by people. Dr. Nicole Wagner, assistant professor in the Department of Agriculture at Texas State University, doesn’t mince words when it comes to soil. “We really need to be focused on soil regeneration,” she says. Wagner, who teaches soil science courses, explains that soil regeneration could be the solution to increasing harvests, reducing chemicals and pesticides in agriculture,…

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Food supply anxiety brings back Victory Gardens

Food supply anxiety brings back Victory Gardens

“Small things count,” read a headline in the tiny, insistent pamphlet published by the National War Garden Commission in 1919. The pitch made gardening a civic duty. The victory garden movement began during World War I and called on Americans to grow food in whatever spaces they could — rooftops, fire escapes, empty lots, backyards. It maintained that there was nothing more valuable than self-sufficiency, than working a little land, no matter how small, and harvesting your own eggplant and…

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Central Texas Gardener: PBS show producer offers tips

Central Texas Gardener: PBS show producer offers tips

Your garden need not be cancelled! Central Texas Gardener producer Linda Lehmusvirta offers pandemic-proof advice for growing food and sprucing up your yard. Spring and early summer are always a good time to get out in the garden—but of course, our notion of “getting out” this spring has changed, and how. Yet gardening and staying safe aren’t mutually exclusive. Read more from Andrew Keys with The Texas Wildflower here. 

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