Friday, June 29, 2012

Cinema Verde Award

Mad City Chickens has been awarded Cinema Verde’s Most Engaging for 2012. Thanks! Environmental films can be depressing, so it's a welcome change to have a more -light-hearted approach.

Deep Green won Best in Show at Cinema Verde Environmental Film and Arts Festival; Confessions of an EcoTerrorist took the Audience Choice award. I loved it.

The Cinema Verde Film and Arts Festival has released the list of names and award winners for films included in the 2012 film festival, with Deep Green receiving the Best in Show award.

During the eight day festival, hundreds of attendees participated in an eco-fair, art walk, art exhibits, premiere Vintage Verde fashion show, and a multitude of films presented at Villa East, thanks to Cinema Verde’s generous sponsors, Celebrations Catering and Sound Ideas, which provided a state-of-the-art audio system.  

Directed, produced, and written by Matt Briggs, Deep Green is a 57-minute solutions oriented documentary exhibiting the best worldwide applications in energy efficiency, green building, de-carbonizing transportation, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, smart grids, and forest restoration. Mr. Briggs joined us in Gainesville for the screening of Deep Green on the final night of Cinema Verde 2012, and while in town he visited with several classes at area middle schools. “I impacted more than 500 people through the schools,” Briggs said, very pleased. “I gave each student a copy of my film and asked them to make sure to pass it along to another person when they’ve watched it.” 

Peter Brown, Director of Audience Choice award winner Confessionsof an Eco-Terrorist, also visited Cinema Verde, on hand for the VIP Reception Opening Night and staying for three days so he could speak with audiences following the film’s screening. He also visited the student group Gators Going Green at the University of Florida. “These college guys are my biggest fans,” said the star of Whale Wars, a television series much like the film, documenting the escapades of the Sea Shepherd vessels that troll the seas protecting wildlife from greedy poachers. 

A complete list of the Cinema Verde Award winners follows and trailers of the awarded films can be viewed at our website.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

4th of July events

Pat Foreman will be at Monticello for the 50th Naturalization ceremonies held annually on 4th of July,. What a treat that must be for the participants, who become United States citizens in this historic location! One of the members of the first group to enjoy that honor will be a guest at this year's ceremonies.

Jefferson kept chickens, ducks, Guinea fowl, peacocks, pigeons, geese, and turkeys at Monticello. There's an interesting exchange posted from letters Jefferson sent to his grand daughter, Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge, about the bantams he sent her. Their correspondence documents her saga in raising them:

"By Davy I send you a pair of Bantam fowls; quite young: so that I am in hopes you will now be enabled to raise some. I propose on their subject a question of natural history for your enquiry: that is whether this sis the Gallina Adrianica, or Adria, the Adsatck cock of Aristotle? For this you must examine Buffon etc."

The bantams in question were probably some kind of Old English Games, very frequently found on Colonial farms.

Monday, June 25, 2012

4th of July with the Chicken Whisperer

I plan to talk about Frank Reese receiving the American Treasures Award for his work with heritage breeds on Andy Schneider's Chicken Whisperer radio program tomorrow, June 26. The Culinary Experience will be held on the 4th of July and the award will be officially presented that evening.

Thinking of Independence Day brings up the subject of American chicken breeds, such as the Dominique, the Rhode Island Red and the Plymouth Rock. Other species are distinctively American: the turkey and the Muscovy duck. Both still exist in the wild as well as being raised as domestic birds.

Join us on Blog Talk Radio June 26, noon Eastern, 9 am Pacific.

Friday, June 22, 2012

International Homesteading Education Month

Celebrate International Homesteading Education Month in September by sharing your skills! Mother Earth News and Grit have ways to participate.

The Internet allows us to connect around the world, but it also can help us discover like-minded homesteaders living only a few blocks or miles away from us. With that goal in mind, MOTHER EARTH NEWS and our sister magazine, GRIT, invite you to participate this September as we host International Homesteading Education Month. We can learn a lot from books and magazines, but as the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIRS have shown us, there is simply no substitute for the kind of excitement that firsthand, face-to-face interactions can generate.

If you have skills or experiences to share about how to maintain a homestead, please schedule an event this September and post it here so that others in your community may attend. Together, MOTHER EARTH NEWS and GRIT reach over 5 million readers and throughout the summer we will encourage everyone to visit these Homesteading Education pages to find events near them. These pages allow anyone to search the event listings by state or province, so interested neighbors will be able to find your event. You also can choose to register as a potential speaker with our new Speaker Finder.

There are so many ways to connect those who have knowledge to share with those who want to learn: simple open houses, workshops, demonstrations, or even local weekend Homesteading Education fairs. We know that many of you have DIY projects you are proud of; seeds or livestock or skills to share; even books or small businesses to promote.

Others are eager to connect with local experts and learn how to grow and preserve food, keep bees, raise chickens, make artisan cheeses and breads, or acquire dozens of other homesteading skills.
If you are one of them, use our links below to get started, and help us celebrate International Homesteading Education Month, September 2012.

Register an Event

We invite you to plan an event for September 2012, and we’ll help you publicize it. If you’ve learned a homesteading skill, you could offer a workshop or demonstration. Or, if you have a food garden you’re proud of, you could schedule an open house to help local gardeners get acquainted and share tips. Raise prize-winning pigs or heritage chickens? Why not show them off and explain how and why you keep them? If you’ve installed solar or wind power, there are probably lots of folks in your community who’d love a chance to see your system.

Hopefully, International Homesteading Education Month will open the door to a wonderful array of educational DIY and community-building possibilities. It would be great if several of you could join together and organize a full day or weekend of events at a single location to create local or even regional Homesteading Fairs. Some of you may even want to create Facebook pages to promote your local activities.
Register an Event

Event Listings

We have set up an events listing where you can see the International Homesteading Education Month events in your area. If you’re hosting an event, others will be able to search here and find your event.
Event Listings

Speaker Finder

If you are interested in bringing in a speaker for an event, check out our Speaker Finder, searchable by category, location and honorarium fees.
Speaker Finder

Speaker Registration

If you have a skill to share and would like to present for others, register yourself to be a part of our Speaker Finder.
Speaker Registration

Event Hosting Resources

We have a How to Host an Event packet, plus we’ve designed a catchy logo that you can use on flyers and posters, or embed in emails, e-newsletters, blog posts and websites.
Event Hosting Resources
We hope you can join us in a great international celebration about living wisely and living well!

Homesteaders of the Year

We have collected nominations for inspiring, self-sufficient homesteaders who are living wisely in either urban or rural settings. We have received an incredible number of entries, each one a unique profile of one of the many ways to live a satisfyingly simple lifestyle. We've heard from rural, farming families to off-grid, suburban couples to individuals raising chickens and gardens in the inner city. While it will be hard to choose, we'll feature our favorite entries in the 2012 August/September issue of MOTHER EARTH NEWS. You won't want to miss it!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Radical Homemakers

Shannon Hayes, author of Radical Homemakers, has updated her web site. She raises chickens and turkeys and sells them locally. She includes advice on cooking pasture-raised poultry. Her focus is on living sustainably, and she includes poultry in her plans.

Her take on comparing costs of pasture-raised chicken with industrial chicken:

Pardon the pun, but the one cut of meat I am most likely to see a new customer “bawk” at is a whole chicken. Our price for whole birds last year was $4.95/lb, 35% less than a pound of grassfed ground beef. Poultry is the cheapest meat at our farmers’ market booth. Interestingly, it is also the most expensive for us farmers to bring to market, owing to the cost of grain and the amount of labor required to produce and process a healthy pasture-raised chicken. Paying $25-30 for a whole chicken may feel like a stretch for someone who is accustomed to cheap* factory chicken from a grocery store, but truthfully, it is the best bargain at the market. A single 4 ½-5 pound chicken can usually generate 3 different meals for a family of four, making a total of 12 servings. Thus, a 4.75 pound chicken winds up costing $1.96 per serving, a modest sum when you figure that a side serving of fresh local swiss chard costs $1.13 per serving, or that a side portion of decent quality potato chips costs $1.25 per serving.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Heritage poultry are an American Treasure

Frank Reese of Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch in Kansas has been recognized as an American Treasure: Made in America Award for his heritage poultry. He will bring his Barred Rocks and White Jersey Giants to Washington DC to be cooked for the American Treasures Culinary Experience on the Fourth of July Take Price in America Celebration at the Capitol.

The award honors  "your leadership and dedication to your heritage preservation work which represents a singular and unique contribution to our Nation."

The award letter states: The American Treasures Award is one of many initiatives undertaken by MADE: In America to fulfill our mission: to foster a business climate conducive to the free exchange of ideas and information for the purpose of revitalizing and sustaining the competitiveness of American commerce and industry in a global economy.  

Frank's chickens, ducks and turkeys are well known in the culinary world. His New Hampshire, White Jersey Giant and Barred Rock chickens, Rouen Ducks, Toulouse and African Geese and Bronze turkeys are sold through local grocery stores and online through his site.

“If you grow them to look like the Standard, in weight and body shape, you will have a marketable bird,” he said. “The old guys who wrote the standards didn’t write them to win shows. They wrote them so the birds would be productive.”

The award is not supported with funding, so Frank welcomes donations to help him make the three-day trip to Washington. Contact him at