Industrial Harvest


Links, links and more links!

I have been working on this list of links and resources for just about forever, and there is so much out there that I’ve been intimidated to post this.  But, incompleteness be damned, here it is!  Send links that you think might fit in; I’ll gladly post them.

Going on now in Chicago:
Every Tuesday, the Jane Addams Hull House Museum presents Rethinking Soup, with soup, bread and discussions about food & other timely topics.

Going on now in your town:
Art Work:  A National Conversation about Art, Labor and Economics.

How wheat works: the best overview on all things related to wheat that I’ve seen, from howstuffworks.com
History via Wheat Prices:  A demonstration of web-based data display and succinct graphical summary of the history of the US, through the lens of wheat data.

FUTURES / COMMODITIES TRADING
– A short lesson on the history of futures trading
– Markets such as the CME / CBOT are not pointless – they can perform a real service by stabilizing supply and demand and creating a predicatable marketplace.  This article from the Billings Gazette explains this in plain english.
Wheat futures on the CME / CBOT (this link is to the “mini” 1000 bushel contract, which is what I’ll be buying)
Monthly wheat futures data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. I can’t really understand a lot of this, but I’m trying.
Wheat in brief, courtesy the USDA. Also see the USDA’s Wheat Yearbook and Wheat Outlook for more detail about trends and global markets; this page has links to a number of documents that dig into all of this stuff (it’s all from a dry, government perspective, so be prepared to read between the lines and stay caffeinated during the experience).
– Those of who need to brush up on our futures trading vocabulary can check out the CFTC’s glossary.
This article gives a little bit more in-depth (but still intelligible) explanation about how wheat futures trading works and, the article here and discusses how futures trading has evolved over time, and this article discusses how speculation in the futures market can affect global food prices.

MARKET MADNESS in 2008
In 2008, the wheat market basically went crazy – record-high prices for wheat raised food prices, caused riots in other parts of the world, and ironically, bankrupt farmers and grain elevators.  I can’t say I know much about the reportage over at bakeryandsnacks.com, but I found this article about the situation to be quite well-written and helpful. This one too, from the Billings Gazette.

WHEAT GROWING & AGRONOMY
What types of wheat grow where
Illinois Agronomy Handbook, a crazy thorough resource
– The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University
Gene Logsdon, a small farmer and writer who’s been fighting the good fight for years now from my home state of Ohio (my parents remember him from their back to the land heyday). His book, Small Scale Grain Raising, is a classic that will tell you how to grow wheat (and other grains) in your backyard garden using traditional or mechanized sowing and harvesting methods.
The Land Institute is another sustainable agronomy institute working on growing perennial varieties of common grain crops, including wheat.
– Those of us who can’t grow real wheat can plant a virtual wheat field, courtesy of the Wheat Foods Council (disclaimer:  I have not actually tried this).

BIG AG
This report, from the conservative CATO institute, is cleverly disguised as a great piece of investigative reporting on how agricultural corporations use money and political influence to benefit from USDA subsidies.

GOOD PEOPLE (just a few of the many folks ’round Chicago making art and change around this topic and others)
Claire Pentecost> public amateur and agribusiness documentarian
Great essay on complex financial mechanisms and beautiful art about them, by cultural critic Brian Holmes.
Bonnie Fortune> student of the possible future
Anne E. Moore> rad journalist
Nance Klehm> radical ecologist
Cathi Bouzide> beautiful art about corn
Mike Wolf> art of domestic and perambulatory experience
Dan S. Wang> printer, writer, activist and one of the forces (with Mike Wolf, Claire Pentecost and others) behind the book A Call to Farms:  Continental Drift through the Midwest Radical Culture Corridor.
Mary Bao> bakes bread in bulk and gives it away at the bar that she and her husband run in Rogers Park, Duke’s.  She gave me a fabulous tutorial on sourdough baking back in December.
Debbie Hillman & Jim Braun> the dynamic duo behind Illinois’ groundbreaking Food Farms & Jobs act, y’all are lucky to have these two busy people working for local agriculture and small farmers.

GOOD ORGANIZATIONS
American Corn Growers Association> national association for progressive, independent corn growers.
GRAIN> international organization supporting small-scale, independent farmers and food sovereignty
The Land Connection> helping IL farmers continue to be good stewards of the land
AREAChicago> Chicago area art, history and activism
Adventure School for Ladies> another of Anne E. Moore’s bazillion amazing projects, this one brings a group of women together in persuit of intellectual, emotional and physical adventure.
Temporary Services> collusions between public space, activism, journalism and everything else good.
Mess Hall> art is messy.
InCUBATE> INstitute for Community Understanding Between Art And The Everyday.  It takes some smart people to come up with an acronym that good.
Experimental Station
The Stockyard Institute

BUSINESS MODELS
The Backstory Cafe> small business as art
Midwest Organic Farmers’ Cooperative> your source in the Midwest for organic, identity-preserved grains
Shepherds’ Grain> an alliance of wheat growers in Washington dedicated to sustainable farming practices.

URBAN AG in & around Chicago…this barely scratches the surface of all that’s going on; I’ll try to add more links as time goes by…
Advocates for Urban Agriculture – this exhaustive, informative resource takes the pressure off of me to make this list exhaustive.
Angelic Organics Learning Center and Angelic Organics, the farm.
Growing Power
Growing Home
CityFarm
Neighborspace> help to establish and protect community gardens in Chicago.
Chicago Honey Coop>  nothing to do with wheat, except for the beautiful coincidence that honey tastes great on bread…
-The rooftop garden at Uncommon Ground restaurant
Altgelt-Sawyer Community Garden in Logan Square
Prairie Crossing> one of the pioneers of what is now known as agri-burbia, Prairie Crossing is a suburban community integrated with agriculture and the preservation of agricultural land within the Chicago metro area.
– The community gardening programs at the Chicago Botanic Garden


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