Developing the Syllabus for an Agroecology Course

Bob St Peter, activist and farmer in northern Maine, is working on developing a syllabus for an agroecology course.  Miguel Altieri sends these two sources to help. What else can Bob look at to develop his own curriculum? Please share your ideas in the comments and if you want to join the school, more details are below, and you can contact Bob  at

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Ask Not What Refugees Can Do For Us…

Co-written with Eric Tang, and published by Reuters on World Refugee Day, 2016. 

Today is World Refugee Day, the most contentious one in recent memory. Refugee resettlement once enjoyed bipartisan support in the United States, but in the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris and Orlando there are few issues more polarizing in this election year. At the center of the storm are Syrian refugees fleeing persecution, many of them making the deadly passage across the Mediterranean. Fear-mongering conservatives demand that all Syrians be kept out of the United States. Liberals call for granting entry to a select few, albeit under strict guidelines.

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The Secret Ingredient!

The_Secret_Ingredient_0901115_3000x (1)If it seems like I’ve been awfully quiet on this website, I’ve more than made up for it by being moderately loud with Tom Philpott and Rebecca McInroy at our new podcast. The full press release is below. At some point, I’ll figure out how to make the audio available right here but meantime, do have a listen. We’re particularly pleased to have had one of the last interviews with Sidney Mintz before his death, and to have covered everything from prison food to salmon. Coming soon: breastmilk, soylent, quinoa and, always, capitalism, colonialism and death. It’s a riot.

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Ida B Wells, Science Fiction Writer

Ida B Wells deserves her place in the canon of journalism and social change. In the science fiction, not so much. I found her “A Story of 1900”, written in 1886, while digging for other things. It may not be a classic, but not only was it written two years before Edward Bellamy’s epochal Looking Backward, but the story lives and breathes Octavia Butler’s thoughts on the use of science fiction for black people.

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A Window in the Cathedral of the Green Revolution

When the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations announced it was going to take agroecology sufficiently seriously to hold a conference on it, reasonable people were pleased, and sceptical. Pleased because the FAO has been agnostic about agroecology’s scientific developments in addressing problems that the FAO itself is charged with tackling. Sceptical because the reason’s for the FAO’s historical reticence are hardly going to be fixed by a conference. Nonetheless, the great and the good from agroecology made the case in front of a bevvy of senior officials. After the event, José Graziano da Silva, Director General of the FAO, proclaimed that “today a window was opened in what for 50 years has been the cathedral of the Green Revolution.”

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