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Column: My 4-H journey led me to learn responsibility, start a business, work to educate others

BY REAGAN VAUGHAN VIRGINIA BEACH — The idea of a 10 year old taking care of a 740-pound animal would seem bizarre to an outsider’s eye – especially with the amount of responsibility and accountability a child would have to… Continue Reading

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Farmer John: Searching for balance in our world, systems that produce our food

BY J.D. WILSON SIGMA — We experienced the fall equinox on Monday, Sept. 23. The Earth was poised between light and dark, day and night. Now, on our side of the planet, we are heading more toward night, toward dark.  We… Continue Reading

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Farmer John: An agriculture economy on our scale

BY J.D. WILSON VIRGINIA BEACH — Pop quiz: Which of the following terms does not fit with the others? GDP, trade wars, tariffs, short-term profit calculations, quarterly reports, soil stewardship, derivatives, the Gaussian copula formula. The what? That last one is real,… Continue Reading

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Farmer John: Benefits of a beloved fowl mean it might just be time for a chicken in every Virginia Beach yard

BY J.D. WILSON VIRGINIA BEACH — Why did the chicken cross the road?  To rule the world, of course.  There are some 20 billion chickens in the world, plus or minus a few. This dwarfs any other bird species. Next in… Continue Reading

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Farmer John: I learned to love the land, what it gives us — and sustaining it

BY J.D. WILSON SIGMA — I can still remember the smells of my first garden back home in small town Indiana. I walked into the garden, saltshaker in hand. I was heading to the big boy tomatoes. My bare feet remember the… Continue Reading

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Farmer John: Sustainable farming practices help prevent erosion

“A nation that destroys its soil destroys itself” — Franklin D. Roosevelt “Civilization itself rests upon the soil” — Thomas Jefferson. BY J.D. WILSON SIGMA — Providence Canyon State Park near Lumpkin, Ga., is called Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon. It takes… Continue Reading

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Farmer John: With biochar, looking at past practices for better soil today

BY J.D. WILSON SIGMA — Imagine being in the paradise state, inside a condo on a beautiful day. I was there, in Hawaii, back when I was blond-haired. Now I still have three or four blond hairs left. My dermatologist told… Continue Reading

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Farmer John: Here’s the dirt about soil, a key to sustainable agriculture

BY J.D. WILSON SIGMA — Please don’t call the soil “dirt.” Dirt is what you sweep off the kitchen floor. Soil is a glorious life-filled layer that sustains us. Soil is, as the subtitle of a great book by William Bryant… Continue Reading

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Farmer John: Farmers and consumers reap benefits from local food systems

“‘Ere long, the most valuable of all arts will be the art of deriving a comfortable subsistence from the smallest area of soil. No community whose every member possesses this art can ever be the victim of oppression in any… Continue Reading