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Food Security Blanket

"What a lot of work these goats are!" say visitors. "I'd hate to have to be in the barn to milk them twice a day, every day." "Yes, it's a committment," I reply. "But we would have goat cheese even if trucks stopped coming to the grocery store." My flippant answer suddenly seems serious during the 2020 coronavirus outbreak. People rush to stock up on supplies as if they were under siege. "It was like Thanksgiving in here," said one grocery store employee. Two of his colleagues were stocking shelves, and told me the canned goods were disappearing twice as fast as usual. This flurry of preparation is a small glimpse into the fragility of our food system. Trucks full of beef and shipping c

Are You Sitting On a Plow Pan?

The moldboard plow is an amazing tool. It slices soil and turns it over, burying the previous crop to make room for the next. As it skims through the soil, the bottom of the plow smear tiny particles under it. Over time, plowing at the same depth, the smeared particles adhere into a solid sheet of clay. Roots can barely penetrate it. Water that used to drain freely now pools on the surface. Tractors drag great gangs of plows through most of North American cropland. How do farmers deal with the resulting plow pan? They can drag long-shanked chisels that slice soil into ribbons. Farmers can plant ferocious-rooted radishes and other determined plants to insinuate themselves through the

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Woodinville, WA 98072, USA

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