Plovgh is a cooperative of farmers, growers, and ranchers that sell directly to their customers.
Today is Food Day. Across the country people are organizing and sponsoring events that encourage Americans to eat Real Food. You can get involved simply by tweeting why you support Food Day or by hosting an event in your community.
We think one of the best ways to live out your Food Day commitment is by buying directly from farmers. Putting your food dollars towards the people that grow, raise, and produce food that is good for the land and good for you is one of the strongest statements you can make. Voting for change in policy and farm regulations is necessary, but today, the most immediate way you can make a difference in the food system is by buying directly from the farm, and supporting a shift away from industrial, non-transparent, processed food in favor of eating real.
When you register on Plovgh, use the FOODDAY discount code to get an extra $10 toward your next farmers market, CSA, or other direct-from-farm purchase.
In the past week there have been eight new reports of late blight in NY and the New England States, several in counties where late blight had not yet been reported this season. A common theme in these reports is that plants looked fine one day and were heavily infected 2-3 days later. This could mean that the early stages of infection were missed, or that there were a large number of spores in the air that were deposited on leaves while they were wet from rain or dew.
Late blight is a plant disease that mainly attacks potatoes and tomatoes, although it can sometimes be found on other crops. It is caused by an oomycete pathogen that survives from one season to the next in infected tubers and when in the presence of wet weather conditions the organism produces spores that infect plants. The disease can be introduced early in the season by infected seed potatoes, plants that grew from diseased potatoes and were not harvest last season, compost piles, or infected tomato transplants. The spores can be carried through air and in rainy, wet conditions can penetrate the soil.
For farmers, NOFA recommends that they “scout tomatoes and potatoes regularly and thoroughly, focusing on parts of the field that are shaded or poorly drained.” It has been found that the most effective form of prevention for farmers adhering to certified organic production is the use of copper fungicides.
NOFA has multiple resources for growers that offer information on preventive measures that impede the late blight pathogen from over wintering on the farm. There are also additional materials available that outline prevention techniques and identifiable symptoms of late blight from other organizations such as the Cornell Cooperative Extension.
If you are shopping at your local farmers market or receive a weekly CSA share there are some simple things to take note of:
-Unaffected parts of blighted tomatoes and potatoes are safe to eat. The pathogen does not produce a toxin that can make people sick.
-Deterioration of produce can occur quickly after infection; therefore, affected tomatoes and potatoes should be consumed right away. This also implies that shelf life of these crops may be shortened.
-Consumers and growers alike, are instructed to put affected produce into the trash rather than the compost to prevent the spread of the pathogen.
To learn more about late blight you can find resources from your local agricultural association or extension agent, or next time you’re at your neighborhood farmers market ask your farmer.
Infographic source: Visual.ly
Late Blight resource from The University of Vermont
This organic nonsense has to stop. I’d like to politely request that those who don’t know agriculture cease writing about it as though they do, stoking an already divisive debate that misses the heart of the problem we face: We’re not sure how we should be growing food, and thus we’re not sure how to eat.
Anyone who suggests that a crop can be raised without the provision of nutrients and pest management should not opine on agriculture. Roger Cohen, I’m talking to you.
Saturday’s opinion piece, shows me just how far off course the discussion of agricultural production has gotten because it spreads misinformation and focuses squarely on the wrong problem. If we continue to debate organic versus conventional, continue to view food choices as an emblem of class, and continue to use the nine billion future people of the world as a gauntlet that the human race must run, we are in trouble because the question is not first about production. It’s about distribution.
We produce enough to feed 1.3 billion more people than we actually do. And that’s in American proportions. In 2000, the USDA reported that Americans consumed almost 2,000 pounds of food per person per year. Meanwhile, 1.3 billion tons of global food production goes to waste each year. Production by any method, standard, or label is not our most pressing problem.
Getting production where it is needed and wanted is another story. We’ve got a billion or so people on this planet consuming too much of the wrong kinds of calories and another approximate billion getting too few of the right nutrients. Most food production happens far from population centers, and timing is everything whether you’re moving kale to market or wheat to a mill, so properly matching supply with demand is tricky. Here we are in 2012, endowed with information and technology that together can make just about any transaction instantaneous. Yet we rely on supply chains that emerged in the 19th century to connect us with our food.
The diversity that agricultural products present complicates matters too. Because of weather, seed variety, origin, soil conditions, and a host of other factors, not every tomato tastes the same and sweet corn from my home state of Minnesota is like corn from nowhere else. I value that distinction in my food.
On the whole, our economy does not.
We produce and consume food within a structure that was built for undifferentiated, commodity products. The processes that move vast amounts of crops from harvest, to processing, to wholesale, to retail, to you keep the producer and the consumer conveniently separated – by about $0.84 for every dollar you spend. The anonymous middle of merchants, distributors, sellers, and superstores has driven consumers to rely on certifications like organic to tell them more about the products they’re buying than anyone else will. Producers, in turn, seek that certification as a way to distinguish their products in the marketplace.
Because so far they are all we’ve had to rely on to see something, anything, through the haze of the modern food system, labels have an inflated value. But don’t let that fool you into thinking that only spoiled rich folks, as Cohen would have it, feel strongly about the short- and long-term effects their food has on themselves, their families, and their environments.
Look at Growing Power, where Will Allen has built an urban farming empire-of-everyman. Look at the Bed-Stuy CSA of Brooklyn, where middle income families subsidize shares so their lower income neighbors can participate in getting food directly from farms. Look at the verdant farmers market culture in northern Iowa. Look at the efforts of farmers in Tchula, Mississippi, to grow food – not corn, not soy, not cotton – to feed their county first, and everyone else they can thereafter.
If anything, the debate surrounding how we produce and move food should unite us. Articles like Cohen’s are a soap box, and soak up our energy with debate when they should instead focus on shared principles: sufficient food to feed our people, production technology and innovation (from nutrient-rich composting techniques and drip irrigation, to GPS systems in John Deere tractors) that facilitate efficient and sufficient food production, soil and water systems that promise years and years of sustained agricultural production, and access for every single person to the abundance that we now know, but that our great-grandparents did not.
The science should focus on how we get there. I’d like to see, for example, a comparison of per-acre nutrient yields and revenue for six different production systems: conventional and certified organic commodity, conventional and certified organic fruit and vegetable under mass production, conventional but diversified fruit and vegetable production, and fruit and vegetable production under what we might call “beyond organic”, “practical”, “sustainable”, or whatever term most effectively conveys the rational approach of a growing number of farmers to use the best means they have to produce a crop that is healthy, high-yielding, and good to eat. Personal experience suggests that the last of these, which takes place right now on small- and mid-sized enterprises, is our greatest hope.
The future may not be organic but it is also not conventional. We should set aside the debate about organics and start identifying at a large scale an alternative path for the production, distribution, purchase, and consumption of the food that we all rely on for sustenance.
We’ve heard a lot of interpretive pronunciations of Plovgh in recent months: “plov-gah”, “ploe”, “plahv”. Our favorite questions so far have been: Does the “L-O-V” stand for “love”? And, is Plovgh Russian for…(we’re not sure what)?
Nope, none of the above. In fact, the spelling was originally a function of the great URL conundrum that many startups face (see Svpply and Svbtle for prime examples). But the concept behind the name is a bit more meaningful than that.
Plovgh, which is pronounced “plow”, refers to a tool, an innovation that fueled a technological revolution in farming in the ancient world. We aim to apply technology in a way that has an equally transformative effect for the current and future generation of farmers, not on their production but on the economics of their markets. By eliminating the middleman, Plovgh producers and customers can both do better.
For the non-agrarians among you, the plough is an agricultural tool that is thought to have emerged in the 6th millennium B.C. when people began using draft animal power. It was not until 1837 that the first steel plough was introduced by a blacksmith and manufacturer named John Deere. Its arrow-shaped head is used to this day to cultivate the soil in preparation for sowing seeds or planting. Thus, the “v” in our name reflects the shape of the tool itself and calls on a rich history of humans working the land and forging new ground.
Last but not least, the plough had an impact on agriculture around the world, over the course of millennia. That it is also a constellation and a yoga pose speaks to its universality, cultural significance, and enduring quality. Our hope is that Plovgh too reaches hundreds of millions of farmers globally and has wide-reaching effect in reinventing markets for producers and people.
So, for historical, technical, and pragmatic reasons, we are Plovgh.
Microgreens - 1/4, 1/2, and 1 lb bags: $8.00-$26.00
what to do with this?
Organic sunflower, radish, broccoli, arugula, and watercress greens
Late Bloomer Farm - Campbell Hall, NY
Greenhouse and field vegetables from Orange County
10 oz bags of frozen vegetables: $5.00
2011 harvest from Taliaferro Farm, Evolutionary Organics, Amba Farms, Gill’s Farm, Hepworth Farm, Veritas Farms and Bradley Farm, all practicing certified organic or Certified Naturally Grown
Butternut squash puree
Steak and ground beef: $9.00-$24.00
Pasture raised at Sugar Hill Farm
Pork, bacon, and sausage: $9.00-$11.00 what to do with this?
Pasture raised at Sir William Berkshire Farm
Whole chicken (approximately 3 lbs): $15.00
Raised free-range at North Wind Farm
Maple syrup and honey: $6.00-20.00
Yellow popping corn: $3.00/2 lb bag
Fitkin Farm - Cedar Falls, IA
Family farm growing sweet and popping corn
Place your order for pickup at:
Long Island City YMCA
Friday, January 27
1pm - 3pm
Friday, January 27
2:30pm - 4:30pm
Veronica People’s Club
Saturday, January 28
11am - 1pm
365 Bridge Street
Downtown Brooklyn (map)
Saturday, January 28
11am - 1pm