Spring Hill Farms

  (Newark, Ohio)
Heritage Breed Pastured Pork, Chickens, Grass Fed Beef
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Buy Local - The Fast Track to Change

Picture I have long been a proponent of voicing your opinion to government any chance you get. But for this issue there is a fast track to change.

Vote with your dollars.

According to a USA Today article, three plants producing pink slime have permanently shut down. While I feel sorry for the folks who lost their source of income, I rejoice that the demand for pink slime has fallen like a stone since it first went public a few weeks ago.

This is a prime example of what can be done to change the way food is grown, processed, labeled etc.

It's very simple: Companies don't produce what they can't sell.

I found it typical that the company producing pink slime has adopted the stance that they have got an unfair rap and people are misinformed about pink slime.

My opinion -Folks were informed of what is going on and said "no thanks" with their dollars.

This could happen to any company, good or bad.

The key to stopping it from happening- Transparency. Let people see behind the curtain and judge for themselves if they want to do business with you.

We saw behind the pink slime curtain and opted out.

You can bet other companies have been watching nervously as the pink slime story has unfolded wondering if they are next.

You will see more dollars spent on public relations as big agriculture and food companies work to convince the public they are on "our side."

Stop out and see your local farmers. Buy as much of your food from them as you can. 

Until next time....

Spring Hill Farms

PS - Help force the issue on labeling genetically modified organisms in our foods. How? Go to the Institute for Responsible Technology and learn how you can vote with your dollars.



 
 

If There Was Ever a Time in America to Plant a Garden

Picture The cost of food continues to rise. If you didn't realize it, you either don't do the grocery shopping, or you haven't ask the person who does!

You can do a search on the 'net and find all kinds of numbers indicating how much food products have gone up and what others believe they will do in the future.

  The viewpoint I liked was from Lynn Carpenter she believes "We have been enjoying a 60-year trend of low food prices that is crashing to an abrupt end this very year."

Lynn says (and I agree) the government numbers released, and what I see at the grocery store never seem to match up. She recommends figuring out how many hours you must work each week to pay for food.

She did some serious research and came up with some very interesting numbers! You can read it all here.

But all that aside if you go to the store a few times you get an idea of what it costs to eat and you suddenly feel a bit of gnawing worry. Now the mistake you might make is to leave the grocery store, get the groceries put away, and dismiss the gnawing worry telling yourself "it'll all work out somehow."

Don't fall into that mindset!

Nothing just "works itself out" and if it does, it is seldom in your favor.

Planting a garden is a proactive way to cut your food bill and improve your overall health.

Feeling overwhelmed when you think of  gardening?

Start Small

One of the best ways to get started growing your own food is to start small. Plant a few tomato plants and some bell peppers along the house.  Make a garden four feet by eight feet. Make raised beds etc.

I love High Density Gardening by Ric Wiley. Gardening is work no matter how you cut it but you can reduce the workload and space needed by using Ric's methods.

He covers everything from A to Z in this ebook.
  • How to plan your High Density Garden in order that you can maximize the quantity of crops you can grow
  • How to build a High Density Gardening bed
  • How to propagate seeds
  • Home made compost. How to make it quickly.
  • Much more

I'm a lover of ebooks because you can be reading them five minutes after you decide to purchase them! Which might be why I spend so much at Amazon on my Kindle.

Take a look at High Density Gardening and download a copy and get started planning now. It takes some planning, money and effort to harvest a successful garden.

But it is worth it!

Imagine your very own lush, green, vibrant garden this spring. Can't you taste the garden fresh tomato's, beans, onions, peppers, cucumbers, water melons, peas, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, sweet corn, cabbage, you get the point……

until next time!


 

 
 

Judge Says You Do Not Have the Right to Consume Foods of Your Choice

A Wisconsin judge has ruled that owners of cows do not have the right to consume milk from their own cow.

The Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund reported on this in detail and you can find the link at the end of this blog.

Among other things, Dane county Judge Circuit Court Judge Patrick J. Fiedler clarified his rulings by stating Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to produce and consume the foods of their choice.

 I want to use this crazy ruling in Wisconsin to once again say if you are a farmer that values the right to produce and direct market your goods, you need to join the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund.

If you are a consumer who believes you have the right to consume foods of your choosing, you need to support the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund.

 The FTCLDF is on the forefront of helping small farms keep, and take back, our rights to produce and consume foods of our choosing.

Take some time and read the article here and then either join or donate to the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund.

Until next time...



 

 
 

Joel Salatin - Folk's This Ain't Normal

Love him or hate him, Joel Salatin is leading the charge when it comes to small farms.

 I can't wait to read his new book coming out in October. I love the fact that Joel has got the ear of a portion of America that is big enough to help bring about change. 

 Watch the video to get a glimpse into what he'll be covering. While you're at it if you don't know about the Farm to Consumer Legal defense Fund check them out!

 until next time...


 

 


 
 

More Land - More Grain

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More Acres
Source: Congressman Devin Nunes


Congressman Devin Nunes (R-CA) and 25 of his House colleagues called on President Barack Obama to release willing farmers from their Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contracts in order to produce additional grain. With Americans facing rising food prices and government officials predicting the possibility of grain shortages, immediate action is necessary to enhance U.S. production. (see letter here)   “Americans deserve a government that plans for the future. That means responding to threats of grain shortages, not just predicting them. Releasing some land from CRP contract will provide an infusion of additional production that is desperately needed. It’s a decision the President can make and one he should act upon as quickly as possible,” said Rep. Devin Nunes.  

Record Production / Falling Stocks In 2011, grain production in the United States is expected to cover 92 million acres – one of the largest plantings in more than 50 years. Yet despite this enormous production, domestic supplies of grains are falling at the fastest rate ever recorded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).   Meanwhile, U.S. consumer food prices (for proteins) have risen by 6.8% in the past year, more than triple inflation. The costs of staple commodities are rising at an alarming rate, threatening the weakened U.S. economy but also pushing struggling families beyond their limits.  

Real Shortages Global demand for grains has soared and various national and international agencies are predicting that shortages are likely. As a result, many nations are stockpiling reserves. Throughout Asia and the developing world, governments are working to establish significant reserves. It is time for the U.S. government to recognize the crisis and take action.   Action Congressman Nunes and his colleagues believe it is essential for the President to act. The USDA can promote increased grain production by releasing willing farmers of arable land from the Conservation Reserve Program. There are 32 million acres currently out of production under CRP contracts. A significant amount of this land could be used to produce crops.


Thanks to Agweb for this article.


 

 
 

Can GM Crops Feed the World?

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One of the justifications for the use of genetically engineered crops is that it can eradicate world hunger. Clearly, the production of adequate food supply is a noble goal, but the supposition that we can achieve this goal through the use of GM crops is seriously flawed.

"The largest study in the world that dealt with this, which included about 400 scientists, was assembled by the United Nations and the World Bank into something called the IAASTD (International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development). After a long set of studies that were peer-reviewed, portions were sent around and I received elements of the final report," Dr. Bereano says.

"The IAASTD found little evidence to support a conclusion that genetic engineering or modern biotech are well suited to meet the needs of small scale and subsistence farmers who were of course feeding huge numbers of people, especially in the Third World where hunger is so evident."

He also accurately points out that we have hunger right here in the US, despite our grain surpluses and despite the fact that we use genetic engineering more than any other country. Food production and hunger is not necessarily a simple one-to-one equation. There's also the issue of not having enough money to buy the food that is readily available!

Additionally, GM crops sure aren't less expensive than conventional!

On the contrary, GM seeds are getting increasingly expensive, as are the prerequisite pesticides—not to mention the fact that farmers are forced to buy new GM seeds every year, opposed to saving the best seeds for the next planting, which has been done since the beginning of agriculture. The increased expense of farming with GM seeds has likely already caused more than 180,000 Indian farmers to commit suicide when faced with insurmountable debt, failed crops, and no money to buy new seed.

Not surprisingly, Monsanto and the United States, along with a couple of other countries refused to sign off on the final report that was ultimately issued by the UN…

On the other hand, studies have repeatedly confirmed that farming methods that promote healthy soils and biodiversity can dramatically increase production and yield. For example, as recently as March 8, the United Nations issued a press release with the headline: Eco-Farming Can Double Food Production in 10 Years.

It states:

"Small-scale farmers can double food production within 10 years in critical regions by using ecological methods,a new U.N. report shows. Based on an extensive review of the recent scientific literature, the study calls for a fundamental shift towards agroecology as a way to boost food production and improve the situation of the poorest.

"To feed 9 billion people in 2050, we urgently need to adopt the most efficient farming techniques available," says Olivier De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food and author of the report. "Today's scientific evidence demonstrates that agroecological methods outperform the use of chemical fertilizers in boosting food production where the hungry live -- especially in unfavorable environments."

Agroecology applies ecological science to the design of agricultural systems that can help put an end to food crises and address climate-change and poverty challenges. It enhances soils productivity and protects the crops against pests by relying on the natural environment such as beneficial trees, plants, animals and insects.

"To date, agroecological projects have shown an average crop yield increase of 80% in 57 developing countries, with an average increase of 116% for all African projects," De Schutter says…

"We won't solve hunger and stop climate change with industrial farming on large plantations. The solution lies in supporting small-scale farmers' knowledge and experimentation, and in raising incomes of smallholders so as to contribute to rural development."

Best of all, these agro-ecological approaches do not pose any danger to the environment or to human health whatsoever—quite the contrary!

So, wouldn't it make sense to focus on the safest, most beneficial, and most effective methods of food production instead of dabbling around with unproven high-risk technology that may or may not provide any benefit whatsoever to anyone besides the patent holders?

Unfortunately, the fact this isn't happening is a testament to the immense power of the biotech industry, led by Monsanto, whose corporate officials rotate in and out of the White House administration, the FDA and other regulatory agencies. Read the full article here.


Comments: Here at Spring Hill Farms we have never bought into the theory that genetically modified foods can be the answer to feeding the world. 400 scientists came to the same conclusion. A huge thanks to Dr Mercola for sharing this information.


 

 
 

How To Opt Out of a Food Shortage

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I posted back in January What does 2011 Hold and Five Steps You Should Take.

Since then fuel prices have continued to go up. Grain prices are up, and food prices continue to rise.




Fuel (diesel) has just now reached $4 a gal here in my part of Ohio. $4.05 to be exact.

The world's best real estate investor, Sam Zell, told CNBC last week: "My single biggest financial concern is the loss of the dollar as the reserve currency... I think you could see a 25% reduction in the standard of living in this country if the U.S. dollar was no longer the world's reserve currency."

Folks don't bury your head in the sand.

"A prudent person sees trouble coming and ducks; a simpleton walks in blindly and is clobbered." - Proverbs 27:12 The Message


Of the five steps I outlined previously, I want to focus on one that I feel is so important that I'm going to say this:

There is absolutely no reason why anyone should not do this.

If you only take action on one tip, do this:

PLANT A GARDEN.

The most basic, fundamental, insurance policy for your family is to provide food for them. Start planning now.

If you think about it there is no downside to planting a garden. If I'm crazy (along with some the most informed, wealthy people in this country) then the worst thing that happens is you have some good, fresh, food to feed your family.

But if things continue to decline - not just in our economy, but worldwide unrest seems to be getting more prevalent.

Then throw in some natural disasters.

Can you imagine a disruption in our oil imports? If we think $4 -$5 a gallon is expensive for fuel....

And the real question is how much of your monthly budget can you spend for fuel and food while still meeting your current obligations?

My friend it is time to wake up! Get out your pen and paper and figure out where, when, and how you're going to plant a garden!

I recently went on the hunt for some good solid information on small garden "how to." I wanted to see if I could point you in the right direction while you were reading this and take all the excuses away!


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High Density Gardening
I'm a big believer in intense gardening. I grew up with the typical huge garden that you see on most farms of that time.

We spent hours weeding, hoeing, having a roto-tiller beat us to death, hilling up potatoes, and generally working the garden.


With my schedule I don't have much time to spend in a garden. I bet your schedule is like mine. Ric, the author of High Density Gardening has got it figured out.

He covers everything from A to Z in this ebook.

  • How to plan your High Density Garden in order that you can maximize the quantity of crops you can grow
  • How to build a High Density Gardening bed
  • How to propagate seeds
  • Home made compost. How to make it quickly.
  • Much more

And the best part- You can download it and be reading it within the next 5 minutes.

I'm no stranger to gardening and I was impressed with this book. His writing style is refreshing and he knows his stuff. I'm already planning some changes to my gardening and I'm excited!

No more excuses! Get your mind made up to plant a garden this year. Don't wait until you discover the economy or food prices have killed your budget. Do something now! When a friend is talking about how much produce has gone up at the store wouldn't you rather be telling them you haven't bought much produce since you started your High Density garden?

Or how about this - you offer them some of your garden produce at a better price than the local grocery store because you have so much!

Until next time!


 

 
 

More Evidence: On the Edge of a Food Shortage.

I recently posted I felt food and grain prices would remain high throughout 2011 and beyond.

Reading Lester Brown's book, WORLD ON THE EDGE he points out some interesting statistics about grain. You can read them in the document posted on my site.

While I'm not doing a book review here, I will say the book has some good points, however some of Brown's ideology about the world cooperating on some of these issues is looking through rose colored glasses.

When reading books or listening to others ideas I try to keep an open mind, at the same time, I try to use the sense of an old cow, eat the hay and spit out the sticks! 

The main point I want to bring out is Brown isn't necessarily against genetically modified seeds, but he doesn't seem to think they are the big magic bullet that many would want you to believe. As far as I can tell his reasons are fairly sound.

Which brings me to my next point. Ray Bowman was recently asked on Consumer Ag connection about the future of agriculture he said "Frightening" he then pointed to our young people as a possible source for answers although he pointed out that there isn't nearly as many young men and women interested in farming today as when he was young.

The segment ended with Pam Fretwell asking him if he thought they would "be allowed to do what was needed" to solve world hunger. Since this radio program focuses on mainstream agriculture I'm sure they are getting ready to talk about bio-tech answers for world hunger.

And so as the debate heats up, you can bet one of the answers coming from mainstream Ag is more and better genetically modified seeds, better chemicals, more bushels per acre etc. 

My thoughts are you better plant a garden this year and find a local small farmer so you can stock up.

Until next time...
 
 

A Story of Holiday Hams and Nice People

Holiday Hams 

 

A couple of days ago I was out delivering holiday hams to customers. Little did I know that someone was watching me [more]

 
 

3 Lies Big Food Wants You to Believe

Is it really cheaper to eat discount food from the grocery? I've always said "no". If you evaluate it strictly form a dollars spent at the 'regular' store, verses with your local farmer, you may erroneously come to that conclusion. 

 However there is many more pieces to the puzzle...[more]

 
 

The Gestapo - Coming to a Farm Near You - Farmageddon

Farmageddon Trailer 1410 from Kristin Canty on Vimeo.

Click the text link above to watch. 

 
 

What's Wrong With Our Food System - Speech by 11 yr old boy.

Excellent speech by Birke Baehr an eleven year old boy.

 

 

 
 

The Food Revolution

Dr Mercola once again encourages "eat local"

 

See it here

 
 

What's for dinner? - Something Quick

I was just talking to my wife about supper.She said I've got to get something planned for dinner. 

 

I replied as I always do..."something quick." I logged on to Andrews site and the post for today...

 

Something quick and pretty good for ya.

 

See his blog here.

 

 

BTW farmers here's something might be of interest to you.

 Selling your farm goods


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Educating Potential Customers

I find a large part of my work as a small farmer is educating folks as to why they should buy local off the farm whenever possible.

 Sure, there is a segment of soceity that is already convinced of that and some of them shop here at local harvest or the local farmers market.

 I find a much larger portion of Americans have only had some form of exposure to these thoughts. They aren't always convinced yet. I'm always on the look out for evidence supporting my belief in local food and/or sustainable farming.

 One of the most prevalent stories right now is one of food safety. Almost daily we see something on the news or Interent about food safety issues. All these things help our cause. Americans are starting to pull all the bits and pieces togther of the whole local farm freash thing thanks to the media.

 I checked my mail today and viola it seemed as though Consumer Reports is seeing that it is a hot topic now too!

 I got a mailer from them trying to sell me the 2010 buying guide. On the front cover in large letters:

 "How safe is that chicken? We'll tell you..." see page 4

 

On page 4 they inform you that they compared 525 chickens from 27 brands and found only 17% were free from salmonella and campylobacter.

 

Thanks Consumer Reports for doing such a study! I'll use it to sell my pastured poultry!

 

Until next time...

 
 
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