Hell No, We Won’t Go!

rubinJerry Rubin, the First Millennial Revolution leader at the 1968 Democratic Convention

Millennials, today are defined as those ages 1834 in 2015. The 2016 Presidential Election is being compared to 1968 where 18-34 year-old’s were born between 1934 to 1950. Jerry, Bernie Sanders and I were Pre-K Baby Boomers and like today’s Millennials we were pissed-off. Although JFK started the Vietnam War, LBJ, being from Texas, had to draft all the 18-26 guys he could find. Jerry was too old, Bernie filed for Conscientious Objector and I dragged my S-2 Deferment Card through seven years getting a BS of Architecture at the University of Cincinnati.

USMCFortunately for my father, I graduated in May 1968, unfortunately for me, I got drafted into the Army. Because ‘fools rush in where architects have already been’ I joined the Marine Corps. My prescience was validated at Quantico, as I was the only architect in our 265 man USMC Officer Basic School class in December ’68. We did have another weirdo from Harvard. Don’t remember his name, just recall asking him multiple times, “what in the hell happened to you? Why are you here?”

whhsRubin attended Cincinnati’s Walnut Hills High School, co-editing the school newspaper, The Chatterbox and graduating in 1956. I was an ‘Effie” no an ‘E-Flat,’ an 8th grader at WHHS in 1956 and avid reader of the Chatterbox but Jerry Rubin was just one of many Rubin’s at the ‘Free’ Municipal College Prep 7-12 high school. U.S. News & World Report[2] ranked WHHS 36th in the nation in 2008.

While in high school Rubin began to write for The Cincinnati Post, compiling sports scores from high school games. He attended Oberlin College, and Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and later went on to graduate from the University of Cincinnati, receiving a degree in History. Rubin attended the University of California, Berkeley in 1964 but dropped out to focus on social activism.[1]

JerryRubinEdgedJuly FOURTEENTH the day of the CONVINCING STORYTELLER: July 14 people are convincing-and how! What confidence they don’t gain by a forthright, trustworthy image they magically induce through an assuming charm. Some born on this day boldly inspire confidence from the first meeting. Others win hearts through precisely the opposite; a low-key, even self-deprecatory approach. Those July 14 people who impress one as conservative or even colorless can nonetheless be very credible due to their objectivity and professional image.

Soon Rubin was leading protests of his own. Rubin organized the Vietnam Day Committee, that led some of the first large numbered protests against the war in Vietnam.  Vietnam Day Committee was a unique early antiwar organization in that it enjoyed large local participation and is believed to be a forerunner to the national movement against the war in Vietnam.[7]

Rubin was one of the founding members of the Youth International Party (YIP) or Yippies, along with social and political activist Abbie Hoffman and satirist Paul Krassner.[8] The Yippies  were influenced by Marshall McLuhan’s ideas on the importance of electronic communication, and believed that if radical events were made more entertaining the media, especially television would give them greater coverage.

As Rubin recollected:

… [T]he more visual and surreal the stunts we could cook up, the easier it would be to get on the news, and the more weird and whimsical and provocative the theater, the better it would play.[9]

Rubin’s appearance before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) hearings is a good example of the Yippies emphasis on conducting political protest as theater, and creating as much attention as possible to their dissent by turning it into a spectacle. Rubin was subpoenaed by HUAC in Washington but instead of pleading the Fifth Amendment as was common, he entered the room dressed in a rented 18th-century American Revolutionary War uniform, proudly claiming to be a descendant of Jefferson and Paine. “Nothing is more American than revolution,” he told the committee.[10] Rubin showing total lack of concern or worries, lightheartedly blew soap bubbles as members of Congress questioned his Communist affiliations. He subsequently appeared before the HUAC as a bare-chested guerrilla in Viet Cong pajamas, with war paint and carrying a toy M-16 rifle, and later as Santa Claus.[11][12]

As Martin A. Lee and Bruce Shlain remark in their book Acid Dreams:

It was a political ploy designed to make a mockery of the HUAC proceedings; the congressmen were caught off guard, and Rubin’s stunt became page-one news throughout the country.[13]

Another media stunt that gave the Yippies free publicity, not only in United States but all over of the world, was when Rubin, Hoffman and others brought the New York Stock Exchange to halt by tossing money into the air and watched gleefully as the stockbrokers scrambled vehemently for the bills.[9] Yet another successful act in Yippies “guerrilla theater” was when during the Presidential elections of 1968 the Youth International Party nominated their own candidate for the U.S. Presidency.

The nominee was Pigasus the Immortal, a 145-pound (66-kg) pig that they felt was a realistic alternative to Richard Nixon or his presidential opponent, Hubert Humphrey. At the official introductions at Pigasus’ first press conference, Rubin, while holding the candidate in his arms, demanded he be given Secret Service protection and be brought to the White House for a foreign policy briefing. He also promised, on behalf of Pigasus, a fair election campaign and if Pigasus won the election he would be eaten. This would, maintained Rubin, reverse the usual democratic process in which the pig is elected “and proceeds to eat the people.”[14]

In his book DO IT!: Scenarios of the Revolution Rubin says “media does not report “news” it creates it. An event happens when it goes on TV and becomes a myth.”[15] He goes on to say:

TV time goes to those with the most guts and imagination. I never understood the radical who comes on TV in a suit and tie. Turn off the sound and he could be the mayor! The words may be radical, but the television is a non-verbal instrument! The way to understand TV is to shut off the sound. No one remembers any words they hear; the mind is a technicolor movie of images, not words. I’ve never seen “bad” coverage of a demonstration. It makes no difference what they say about us. The picture is the story.[16]

In October 1967, David Dellinger of the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam asked Rubin to help mobilize and direct a March on the Pentagon.[17] The protesters gathered at the Lincoln Memorial as Dellinger and Dr. Benjamin Spock gave speeches to the mass of people.[18]

From there, the group marched towards the Pentagon. As the protesters neared the Pentagon, they were met by soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Division.[18] who formed a human barricade blocking the Pentagon steps.[17] Not to be dissuaded, Abbie Hoffman, co-founder of the Yippies, vowed to levitate the Pentagon[18] while Allen Ginsberg led Tibetan chants to assist.[18] Eventually, things turned ugly. By the time the group’s 48-hour permit expired, approximately 680 protesters had been jailed and 50 hospitalized.[18]

As one member of the march recalled:

Then someone in authority decided that the Pentagon steps had to cleared. Rifle butts came down on people’s heads with dull ugly wet sounding thumps. Blood splashed on to the steps. There were shouts of “Link arms! Link arms!”, mixed with screams of pain and curses. People were dragged off and arrested. The brutality was appalling and the people standing on the steps began throwing debris at the soldiers. I saw a garbage can sail over my head. I feared people might be trampled in panic as they tried to escape from the clubs and rifle butts.[19]

In spite of the brutality of the police the spirits of the demonstrators was not dampened. Many were exhilarated by what had transpired and some felt it was an event that would mark a turning point. “It made me see we could build a movement by knocking off American symbols,” said Jerry Rubin.[20] He added:

We had symbolically destroyed Pentagon, the symbol of the war machine, by throwing blood on it, by pissing on it, dancing on it … painting ‘Che lives’ on it. It was a total cultural attack on the Pentagon. The media had communicated this all over the country and lots of people identified with us, the besiegers.[20]

Rubin later played an instrumental role in the anti-war demonstration that accompanied the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago by helping to organize the Yippie “Festival of Life” in Lincoln Park. He spoke along with Hoffman at an anti-war rally at the Grant Park bandshell on August 28, 1968 and instructed demonstrators to resist if riot broke out. However, the extent of violence between Chicago police and demonstrators (which an official government report called a “police riot“) was not anticipated by the Yippie leaders. Some 1,500 people including civilians and police were injured.[6]:11 The arrest and trial of the Yippie leaders (known later as the Chicago Conspiracy Trial) which began on September 24, 1969 eventually led to the conviction of Rubin and seven others on charges of incitement to riot,[6]:10 including Abbie HoffmanRennie DavisJohn Froines,David DellingerLee WeinerTom Hayden, and Bobby Seale.[21]

The defendants were commonly referred to as the “Chicago Eight“. Seale’s trial, however, was severed from the others after he demanded the right to serve as his own lawyer and was sentenced to four years in prison for contempt of court, making the Chicago Eight the Chicago Seven. The trial developed into a quite spectacle, or “hippie-guerillas theater” as Rubin described it. Rubin, Hoffman and other defendants intentionally and successfully made a mockery of the court, widely covered by the press, with reporters fromNew York Times and Washington Post reporting on it.

Rubin who famously declared the trial to be “the Academy Award of protest”[22] at one point paraded back and forth in front of Judge Julius Hoffman (no relation to defendant Hoffman), thrusting his arm in a Nazi salute and shouting “Heil Hitler!”[23] On another occasion he and Hoffman showed up at the trial wearing judge’s robes, and when asked to disrobe, it became apparent they were wearing a blue Chicago police shirt underneath the judicial gown.[1] “The day Abbie and I came in wearing judges’ robes was a stoned idea,” he later said. “It was a turning point in the trial in terms of theatrics, and it just went on from there.”[24]

In spite of the danger of being busted Rubin was determined to smoke as much marijuana before the trial as possible. “I got stoned a lot for the trial because it was such complete theater – a front-row seat to history – and marijuana intensifies every experience.”[25]

Judge Julius Hoffman‘s own behavior during the trial did not exactly reduce the spectacle of the trial either. At one point he had Black Panther leader Bobby Seale chained and gagged in full view of the jury.[26]

Rubin, along with the six other defendants, was found not guilty on the charge of conspiracy but guilty (with four other defendants) on the charge of incitement. He was also sentenced by the judge to more than three years in prison for contempt of court. All the convictions for incitement were later overturned by an appeals court, who cited judicial and prosecutorial misconduct. Most of the contempt of court citations were also overturned on appeal.[27] The retrial was held in 1972.[6]:12

 

Hang in There Bernie!

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Hang in There Bernie! Abe Ran Against the Slave-owners (Hillary) and Stephen Douglas (Trump) to Win the 1860 Election with 40% of the Vote. Let Abe be with “Not Me, Us.”

“LET US HAVE FAITH THAT RIGHT MAKES MIGHT, AND IN THAT FAITH, LET US, TO THE END, DARE TO DO OUR DUTY AS WE UNDERSTAND IT,” Abe Lincoln’s Cooper Union Address, New York, New York, February 27, 1860

In October 1859 Abraham Lincoln accepted an invitation to lecture at Henry Ward Beecher’s church in Brooklyn, New York, and chose a political topic which required months of painstaking research. His law partner William Herndon observed, “No former effort in the line of speech-making had cost Lincoln so much time and thought as this one,” a remarkable comment considering the previous year’s debates with Stephen Douglas.

An eyewitness that evening said, “When Lincoln rose to speak, I was greatly disappointed. He was tall, tall, – oh, how tall! and so angular and awkward that I had, for an instant, a feeling of pity for so ungainly a man.” However, once Lincoln warmed up, “his face lighted up as with an inward fire; the whole man was transfigured. I forgot his clothes, his personal appearance, and his individual peculiarities. Presently, forgetting myself, I was on my feet like the rest, yelling like a wild Indian, cheering this wonderful man.”

With a deft touch, Lincoln exposed the roots of sectional strife and the inconsistent positions of Senator Stephen Douglas and Chief Justice Roger Taney. He urged fellow Republicans not to capitulate to Southern demands to recognize slavery as being right, but to “stand by our duty, fearlessly and effectively.”

MAP+ELECTION+PRIMARYNew York State in the 2016 Primary Election is Abe Lincoln’s 1860 Election battle. Sometime ago we divided the country into Red States and Blue States based on their vote in presidential election years. Red’s for the Republicans and Blue Democrats. These are further color coded by county, zip code and electoral vote count.

Trump is my Stephen Douglas character representing the roots of sectional strife: racism, religion, and above all income inequality. Hillary is the poster child for the slave owners, today known as Crony Capitalists. Bernie is the second coming of Lincoln who shouts across the river, to “stand by our duty, fearlessly and effectively,” end the corporate oligarchy that enslaves Americans regardless of race, creed or sexual orientation.

Feeling the Bern Up on the Farm

ny state bernie

Bernie won New York in all the rural counties. Teachout a shinning star preaching the organic farming breakup Big Ag philosophy did well against Cuomo in 2014 and is running for Congress in 2016.

howard b

Howard Graham Buffett serving meals in Sierra Leone in 2007. He spends up to 200 days a year on the road, doing foundation work. (Jeannie O’Donnell / The Howard G. Buffett Foundation)

Howard, Warren Buffett’s farmer son, is one man, a rich one man, working in all 54 African countries developing sustainable farming on the continent with the biggest problems in hunger, poverty, soil, infrastructure, economics and politics. Howard’s dad is bridge buddies with Bill Gates who is also saving Africa. There is hope in 2016 that the Bern fires up the base like Teddy Roosevelt and FDR, while the well informed Buffett Gates partnership puts their money where it’s needed – like not in Panama.

“USAID and others have been at this for decades,” he said. “By now, according to projections, we should have ended hunger. So my point is, what we’re doing isn’t working.”

“Don’t get me wrong,” Buffett told me. “I’m a farmer. I know what I can get from improved seed. I know what I get from fertilizer. They’re huge. But technology can’t build organic matter. It can’t create topsoil. It can’t magically protect water quality. It’s a quick fix, and Africa needs a long-term solution.”

Instead of a green revolution for Africa, Buffett favors what he calls a “brown revolution,” or, to quote the distinguished agricultural ecologist Sir Gordon Conway, a “doubly green revolution”—a focus on environmentally sustainable agriculture that minimizes erosion, preserves and regenerates soil, and makes the land more resilient, while also increasing yields. In contrast to the green revolution, the brown revolution is a tortoise-like approach: Its impact is gradual. Over the past decade, patiently, the Howard G. Buffett Foundation has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to identify and promote practical, low-cost methods of conservation farming—cover crops, no-till farming, locally bred seed varieties—that improve African soil quality and crop yields without chemical fertilizers and costly imported seeds. “If you take a place like Africa,” Buffett told me, “where they have the most degraded soils in the world, very limited nutrients, ground that is farmed to death—literally to the point where you have to move on and farm another piece of ground—and all you’re doing is throwing on synthetic fertilizer, it’s like trying to put an oxygen mask on a cadaver and expecting it’s going to start breathing again.”

The foundation owns and operates four research farms—4,400 acres in Decatur, 1,000 acres in Nebraska, 3,900 acres in the high desert of southeast Arizona, and the farm in South Africa, spanning 9,200 acres—where scientists from Texas A&M, Penn State, and Purdue are conducting experiments on how best to grow crops in places with little water and poor soil. In South Africa, the foundation is testing 14 different cover crops—among them cowpea, lablab, and pigeon pea—to learn which ones best reduce erosion and improve soil fertility. In Arizona, the foundation replicates the conditions faced by poor African farmers: drought, little or no fertilizer, oxen tilling the land. Tests are under way to measure the precise relationship between water and crop yields. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/05/how-warren-buffetts-son-would-feed-the-world/476385/

lakeview-first

An upstate Penn Yan, New York farm family is mastering the art of growing organic grain. They want to share their knowledge with the world.

For more than 20 years, the Martens family—Klaas, Mary-Howell, and their son Peter—has pioneered organic and sustainable farming on their farms and accompanying feed mill, Lakeview Organic Grain. Customers throughout the Northeast know them for their grains, regional farmers prize their organic feed, and celebrity chef Dan Barber uses their rotating crops in his seasonal risotto. The Martens farm is a living lab where they study how their soil can best support such non-indigenous crops as kiwis. Mary-Howell Martens, Klaas’s wife, promotes their agricultural techniques on a USDA advisory committee.

As they began paying closer attention to their soil, they introduced a greater variety of crops to their fields. The first time they planted organic crops, 10-foot-tall velvetleaf weeds appeared in their fields. But every year after that, the weeds weakened, finally succumbing to a fungal disease that they had cleverly encouraged. While the weeds withered in the Martens’ fields, they still flourished in neighboring farms. According to an agricultural researcher at Cornell, the Martens farm was the only one where conditions were created that favored the crops over the weeds.

 

Their quiet victory over velvetleaf was just one among many successes that helped to wear down their neighbors’ skepticism about sustainable practices. They were the first farm in their area to grow organic crops. Today, they are surrounded by 20 other organic farms.

Free Trade Begins Down On the Farm

whiskey prohibition Prohibition

The prohibition of alcohol lasted only 13 years, while the prohibition of raw milk has been enforced in the United States for more than a century. The ratification of the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution–which banned the manufacture, transportation and sale of intoxicating liquors–ushered in a period in American history known as Prohibition. The result of a widespread temperance movement during the first decade of the 20th century, Prohibition was difficult to enforce, despite the passage of companion legislation known as the Volstead Act. The increase of the illegal production and sale of liquor (known as “bootlegging”), the proliferation of speakeasies (illegal drinking spots) and the accompanying rise in gang violence and other crimes led to waning support for Prohibition by the end of the 1920s. In early 1933, Congress adopted a resolution proposing a 21st Amendment to the Constitution that would repeal the 18th. It was ratified by the end of that year, bringing the Prohibition era to a close.

MtRushmore_TR_close

In the 1890s, Nathan Straus, co-owner of Macy’s department store in New York, was already building a reputation as a philanthropist. In the winter of 1892, he distributed 1.5 million buckets of coal to impoverished New Yorkers so they could heat their homes. The following year, he organized a series of shelters that provided beds and breakfasts to the city’s homeless population. In 1893, he tackled the problem of unsafe milk.

Straus had been reading up on Pasteur’s work and the theoretical benefits of pasteurization. He knew that nearly 10% of all children born in New York City died by the age of five -and despite all the recent improvements in milk quality, he still suspected that milk was to blame for many of the deaths. His reasoning was simple: Milk spoiled quicker in the heat of the summer, and the city’s childhood mortality rate increased at the same time. He figured there had to be a connection between the two. In 1907, the reform-minded president Teddy Roosevelt ordered his Public Health Service to look into the pros and cons of pasteurized milk. In 1908 the Service issued its report: Pasteurization, they found, did not affect the taste, quality, nutrition or digestibility of milk, but it did “prevent much sickness and save many lives.”

roquefort

French Roquefort, a famous blue cheese, which is required by European law to be made from raw sheep’s milk.

According to the regulations in the European Union all raw milk products are “legal” and considered “safe for human consumption”, and can be sold without any price, variety or quantity restrictions. However, raw milk and products made with raw milk must be labeled to indicate this. Also, European countries are free to add certain requirements. Usually special sanitary regulations and frequent quality tests (at least once per month) are mandatory.

Today, no one would suggest making the sale of whiskey illegal. Marijuana will soon be legal nationally, sooner if Bernie gets elected. However, milk, “nature’s most perfect product” is the best restraint-of-trade example, for why Free Trade Begins Down On the Farm.  The universal pasteurization requirement industrializes the production of all dairy products manufactured in the US and imported from other countries. European countries especially France treat their citizens’ freedom of food choice with respect and appreciation. The ‘frogs’ wouldn’t think of cooking their wine, their milk and certainly not their cheese.

farmer income

Family farming hasn’t made money since World War One. The individual dairy farmer sells cow’s milk to Big Dairy Inc. for $1/gal. or $1.05/gal. if it’s a Jersey. A report by the Agricultural Credit Association forecasts a $12/cow annual net profit with a 1,500 head dairy operation. Thirty head of cattle is above average for the small farmer. Like Bernie says the individual farmer is an endangered species with barely over two million left down on the farm. Is it any wonder that 56.6% had less than $10,000 in sales, that half had a primary job other than farming?

NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement are big deals for Big Dairy Inc and Monsanto. Factory farms can crank out tons of UHT milk, that has a shelf-life to infinity and beyond. As the world’s biggest ag-exporter Free Trade Agreements force our partners to accepting Monsanto’s GMO patented seeds.

Free Trade Down On the Farm could begin tomorrow with a stroke of Obama’s magic ‘directive’ pen, permitting the sale of labelled raw milk just like they do in gay Paree.

 

Dairy Goat Farming: Experiential Learning

https://youtu.be/wc81FriTWQo

One day we ran out of alfalfa and the milk tasted bitter or ‘goatie.’ What was the meaning of that? Don’t run out of alfalfa. One time I visited a dairy goat cooperative in Dolores Hildalgo, Mexico and their goat’s milk tasted way more better than mine. Why? Their alfalfa was harvested from soil unchanged since Cortez and the Aztecs time. Dairy is like wine; the taste is determined by the soil. This is also true for eggs, meat and poultry. My wife and I moved to Sao Paulo in 1975 only a Jack N Box, no MacDonald’s. Why? The red clay soil of Brazil made the grass fed beef taste un-MacDonald like.

The crime of the 20th century was the pasteurization of dairy in 1912; for over 100 years Americans in particular have not had a drop or curd of nature’s most digestible, assimilate-able, protein food source.

Food Circle

GROUPS Four and Seven were essentially removed from our diet by WWI, while Six and Five fell to the industrialists after WWII. The USDA and Monsanto are busy killing off One, Two and Three.

What I Learned Down On the Farm

  • P&G invented Crisco and Margarine 1905/10
  • Teddy Roosevelt outlawed raw dairy 1912
  • We took the cows off grass in 1950
  • MacDonald’s came along in 1955
  • Fish, chickens, eggs and pigs became manufactured food products 1970-80
  • UHT (Ultra-high temperature processing) 135C (275F) milk, soy milk, juices, even wine, 1970’s.

Most important lesson sustainable family farming is doable, enjoyable and can be very profitable.

“You have to go where the customers are,”

nina8

“The Great Commerce of every Civilized Society is that carried on between the Inhabitants of the Town and those of the Country.– Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, 1776, (pg. 473)

My wife, Shelby Ann Brown and I, discovered, by forsaking our lives as Inhabitants of the Town, to become farmers, goat farmers, but farmers none the less, and live lives, like those of the Country, that everything Adam Smith said about agriculture in his seminal work the “Wealth of Nations,” was just as applicable in 1998 and 2008 as it was in 1776.

As Oogwei said to Shifu, in Kung Fu Panda, “There are no accidents, only reasons,” and God, my higher power and most assuredly Shelby, hadn’t dragged us to the most eastern tip of the Texas Panhandle in the summer of ’98, for no good reason.

Follett, Texas, the home of Shelby’s ancestors, was at the crossroads of history, in the American West. The Spanish conquistador Coronado, in 1500 came north from Mexico, through New Mexico and West Texas, then hung a right at the Canadian River. Two hundred fifty miles later, after enduring 27 mph average daily wind velocities, ambushes by the Native American crowd and not spotting a single solitary bush or tree along the way, Coronado threw up his gauntlet, and declared the Texas-Oklahoma “High Plains” to be the “inland desert of the Americas.” He then turned his expedition around and marched back the same 1,500-mile way he had come.

After the Civil War, Colonel George Custer came to Follett and lost his scalp while trying to massacre those pesky Native Americans, the pioneer cowboy-farmers solved the problem themselves by setting the prairie grass on fire, starving the buffalo and forcing the Native Americans to follow their food chain farther west.

The pioneers then established their own food distribution system by retracing Coronado’s steps with huge cattle drives, from south Texas north to Abilene and Dodge City. The prairie grass had scratched the belly of Coronado’s horse, but after a few trips, the cowboys over grazed the prairie to the nub. The citizens of Dodge were forced to lay off, both Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson, who later moved on to Tucson to make the original, “OK Corral.”

Shelby’s mom, dad, aunts and uncles had long ago abandoned the place, haunted by childhood memories, of being at ground zero, for the 1937 ‘Dust Bowl.’ Therefore, in the summer of ’98, Shelby and I pretty much had the place to ourselves. There was circumstantial evidence, with Christian radio, heard on all FM/AM frequencies, as well as in the grocery store, that not everybody’s higher power had left town.

Our game plan was to raise Black Boer Goat breeding stock and sell the goats for an average price of $500 apiece. This contrasted with the market price of $60 for an ordinary meat goat. The theory was, selling each of the two kids, from 120 adult nanny goats, would get us a $10,000 monthly income and achieve our goal of replacing our former urban professional salaries.

“The inhabitants of the town draw from the country the rude produce which constitutes both the materials of their work and the fund of their subsistence: and they pay for this rude produce by sending back to the country a certain portion of it manufactured and prepared for immediate use.”

After two years, we former inhabitants of the town had received less than a $1,000 portion of it manufactured and prepared for immediate use,” from the sale of our rude produce, Black Boer Goat breeding stock. I therefore dusted off Ted Levitt, the Father of Marketing’s Market Myopia axiom, “know what business you are in,” showed it to Shelby and she moved the goats and us back to Houston. Coronado’s past life regression chant of, “I told you so,” was audibly visible in the extended side mirrors of our, dually-diesel, F-350, crew-cab, truck.

Shelby went back to work to support the 15-acre homestead in Follett, 650 miles from our new 18 acres, farm-to-market, location, 50 miles southwest of Houston. I laid around the ratty old trailer-house all day, reading Adam Smith’s “Wealth of Nations” and rethinking just how farmers were supposed to make money in the food business.

Adopting the philosophy – “if you want to learn something, teach it,” – I taught Goat Farming 101: Urban Income, Rural Lifestyle, six times a year for six years, averaging 25 farmer ‘wannabes’ each session. BUT! It wasn’t until the sixth year, May 2006 to be exact, that I was able to stand in front of the class and honestly say, that yes; it is possible to have a rural lifestyle and earn an urban income of $10,000/month, from only fifty goats on five acres. AND! It took two years in Follett, plus six more years in Houston, Shelby’s $300,000 net worth, another $100,000 on MasterCard to figure out how those of the Country could make money selling rude produce to the inhabitants of the Town.

Architects are trained to use the iterative process (a fancy way to say, try and try again) for problem-solving, and once again I took Shelby’s money, to this time, buy 44 Nubian billy goats, for ‘Eid,’ the Moslem holiday, where traditional ‘Allah fearing’ families sacrifice a lamb or goat. This time was supposed to be different and it was, this time Shelby bought dinner for the entire Palestinian community of Houston. BUT, the silver-lining behind this iteration of “The Great Commerce of every Civilized Society carried on between the Inhabitants of the Town and those of the Country, was the discovery that Mrs. Kettler, the owner of those Nubian bad boys, had been selling raw goat’s milk to David Keresh’s Branch Davidians, in Waco as well as the citizens of Dallas, a two-hour drive away, for $7 a gallon.

The apple had fallen from the tree, the way for those of the Country to make a six figure income was to sell their rude produce to the Inhabitants of the town for at least $12 a gallon. Shelby liked that idea and went all the way to Tennessee to bring back four pregnant Saanen nannies, built a $30,000 dairy, TB tested our 100 ruminants to comply with every Texas Department of Health regulation in order to obtain the Grade ‘A’ raw dairy license, that Mrs.Kettler and others sold their raw milk without. No sooner than we were up and running, we noticed that the Houstonians were not coming to the farm for milk more than three times, at most. Why? Too far. Mother Necessity, made us take our rude produce to the farmers’ markets in Houston and thus, we became farmers, manufacturers and merchants. The parking lot of 2100 Richmond Avenue became our friend because we could sell everything we had to sell in two hours, while educating the public on why they had to pay ten times as much money for our rude produce as the store bought milk.

You can raise six lambs, six goats or one cow; on one acre of good pasture land. You can raise the lambs, the goats, the cow plus 100 chickens on an organically composted acre through the use of multi-species and rotational intensive grazing techniques. That four legged Nubian maiden can produce 2,000 pounds of milk in a years’ worth of ruminating around that little old acre of a pasture. At an average per pound price of say $2.50 a pound, the farmer if he sells direct to the consumer, gets to take $5,000/yr. back home, to his wife and kids.

Now, I know what you are saying, “tegory, that can’t be true, you are just making that, up.” I know it is difficult, and if I threw in the additional 2,000lbs. of sheep’s milk Greek feta, another 2,100 lbs. of cow’s milk at $1.19/lb and 100 chickens at $4/lb, the total $15,700 per acre, per year, would be just too big a number, for you to swallow, but it’s true.

When I showed my proposal to Prof. Jefferson Wang’s Zhengzhou University MBA class they were more than somewhat skeptical that any Chinese mother would pay a jin more than 2.5RMB (35 cents) for a liter of milk and there wasn’t a snowballs chance in Hainan they were going to pay anywhere near my suggested price of 40RMB ($5.85) per liter. I told them that there wasn’t a snowballs chance, even in Detroit, that Americans were going to pay $30,000 for a fully loaded, Buick sedan (the most popular car in China).

How do you get the Chinese mother to pay 40 RMB/liter for milk, when she currently wouldn’t give you a ‘jin’ more than 2.5 RMB/liter? Easy, repair the link between the dairy and the single child mother. An internet billionaire (Netease) is raising 10,000 hogs on webcam because China consumes 55% of the world’s pork but they don’t trust the local supplier. The mother will buy the milk from New Zealand for her baby and drink made in China for herself.

The Chinese mother will pay, once she sees the quality in what she is buying. 2009 was also the year that China passed up Japan as the world buying leader in the luxury goods market. I experienced the buying power of the Chinese when I offered to buy lunch at the best restaurant in Gong Yi, a small city west of Zhengzhou. I changed my tune when the taxi driver told us that the BEST restaurant in this small burgh would cost 5,000 RMB. I asked my friend, now who would pay $750 for lunch in Beijing or Shanghai, let alone Gong Yi. “Rich Chinese don’t care about money,” was his reply. We don’t need to sell all the mothers in China on the health benefits of raw goat’s milk, only the well-educated 1%. The mother of a newborn, in Houston, who raided our refrigerator at 3am couldn’t afford to buy a $75 lunch, let alone a $750 one, but she left a $10 bill in the fridge door, for a half gallon of milk for her baby.

Exactly as Adam Smith said in 1776, “The Great Commerce of every Civilized Society Is that carried on between the Inhabitants of the Town and those of the Country, and by visiting eight markets a week, holding cheese-making and goat farming classes, that included farm visits, were we able to restore the customer relationship between the farmer and his community.”  America’s agricultural system is a complete failure, fiscally and morally bankrupt. Farming no longer provides revenue and wealth creation for the individual farmer, and he is forced to turn to crime, industrialized agriculture, which depletes soil quality and ends up being complicit in poisoning the nation’s food supply.

So why is our system of agriculture, the sole or the principal source of the revenue and wealth of every country,” broken? Why are we the most malnourished developed nation on earth? Why hasn’t the family farmer made any real money since WWI? Why are two-thirds of Americans obese? Why are Romney’s 47% poor in health and wealth? Because 99% of USA farmers left the country to be merchant-manufacturer-inhabitants of the Town. Actually they took the town with them on their way to the big city.

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Yuppies Loop Foto

Yuppies Exit the Loop

By MARA SOLOWAY
Copyright 2003 Houston Chronicle

Shelby Brown and her husband Teg Gregory admit to being former yuppies who gave up high-income careers — Brown as a systems analyst and Gregory as an architect — for life on the farm. Married for almost nine years, Brown, 48, and Gregory, 59, are owners of Anala Goat Co. in Beasley. The company is named after Brown’s nanny, Anala Hebert. They live without satellite television and cell phones in a trailer on 18 acres.

Boer goat

They have been raising, breeding, and selling dairy and meat goats for five years. They began in 1998 on Brown’s 130-year-old family homestead in the Panhandle town of Follett. “My grandparents spent their whole married life on this (Follett) farm. After they passed away, my mom and her siblings rented the place out for several years. When I found out they were going to sell it, I got so upset that Teg and I bought the place ourselves,” Brown said. She and Gregory moved there, but Brown soon returned to Houston in 1999 for employment. Gregory stayed in the Panhandle to work their fledgling goat herd. In 2000, they bought their Beasley farm, and he rejoined Brown, bringing their 40 goats with him. Their working roles now are reversed, with Brown tending to the goats while Gregory works full time in management at the Richmond/Rosenberg Wal-mart.

While Anala Goat Co. is not quite at the monthly income level they made at the height of their yuppiehood, their calculations show that it is possible. Brown’s sense is that small farms are not a growing trend since they generally are not sustainable. Figures from the Fort Bend Extension Farm Service Agency show no trend toward smaller farms; 65 percent of the farms in the county are at least 50 acres. Brown said “hobby farms” comprising about 10 acres are popular where people can keep a horse and a few cows. “Goats are more profitable than cattle. They give you five times the return that cattle give, partially because goats have a shorter pregnancy of five months – cows have nine months — and often give birth to twins or triplets,” Gregory said. “We think about someday increasing the number of goats we have. But 100 is the most we can care for now.” Because their herd contains both dairy and meat goats, Brown and Gregory have added responsibilities.

Their pasture near the barn is divided into pens. For instance, male dairy goats are separated from females because their scent is picked up in the milk. Meat goats — the breed Anala Goat Co. raises is known as Boer — mingle during breeding season. Dairy goats are milked once a day. For now, Brown uses the milk to feed the farm’s goat kids and calves they buy. When the company receives its Grade A license to retail raw milk from the Texas Department of Health, Milk and Dairy Products Division by September, it will sell goats’ milk. Dairy goats are profitable because they can produce milk for up to six years. A goat farmer can keep the female dairy goat population static and keep milk production up. “The market for natural goat milk and cheese products is tremendous. Customers can’t find what they want in the stores. Certain diets advocate goats’ milk for a healthy intestinal tract,” Brown said. Brown and Gregory are intent on breeding Boer goats that are black in color with proper conformation to compete in the show ring. Nell’s Guy Noir is their male Boer who is sire of most of the farm’s Boer goats. “We’ve always liked the variety of the colored Boers,” Gregory said. “But from a marketing perspective, we believe the competitive black meat goat will bring more money at sale time, in the same way as the Black Angus cattle.”

Saanens Tree Nibbling

In the Houston area, the main customers for goat meat are people from Mexico and the Middle East. Most of the couple’s breeding stock sales are generated from the Web site, www.analagoatcompany.com. Anala meat goats are sold live. “Folks from Ohio and Kentucky are looking at goat farming as a more profitable alternative to traditional crops like tobacco,” said Gregory. “Texas has 80 percent of the goats in the United States. Demand has been up for goat meat since 1996 when government support for mohair lessened.” The federal government for 40 years had price support programs for wool and mohair to ensure an adequate supply to make soldiers’ uniforms. Those programs ended in 1994. However, subsequent legislation has provided reduced levels of support. Students who take Gregory’s goat farming course through Houston’s Leisure Learning Unlimited take a trip to the farm to see it in operation. “Students are typically astounded at seeing all the components of a working farm, and many refer others to the class. But what I have learned and try to share with my students is that goat farming is the most economically viable agricultural family enterprise and only in its infancy,” he said. Goats from Anala won Grand Champion at the last two years at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and have placed in the top 10 with their male goats in performance tests that measure their weight gain and conformation under controlled conditions to select desirable sires.

Anala goats eat local alfalfa and corn, milo and cottonseed meal. They are fed no steroids or antibiotics. Each of the 100 goats on their farm has a name. “The goats that we’ve bottle-fed are very personable. But there is a great deal to learn about caring for any animal. Unfortunately, you get your practice on live animals,” Brown said. “Hopefully, you learn from your mistakes. You learn when to call a vet. We try not to assist during births. We want our animals to be the healthiest and most productive goats possible, because that translates into profitability.” The couple says they do not miss their life inside the Loop. “Our lives in the country let us commune with nature in ways we never knew. In the city, I had a dog and always had to be sure I walked him daily. Now we have six dogs who exercise themselves and are doing what they’re meant to do,” Gregory said. The dogs protect the herd from any predators. One of the livestock guardian dogs is Lady, a rescued Anatolian shepherd. “Lady is shy because she was mistreated early in her life. But I often find her in a pen with several of the goats, and I know she’s bonded with the goats and is always taking care of business,” Brown said.

Black White Boer kids

Brown and Gregory have learned that running a farm is high-maintenance. But they are planning and working toward their economic goals. They are adding a milking parlor and milk room to their barn to meet the Grade A license-requirements and are planning to add chickens. Brown plans to soon sell products like goats milk cheese to local markets under the name Earth Mother Farms. Brown’s friends have been calling her Earth Mother for years. “I’ve wanted to do this since high school. I was raised to believe that farming wasn’t an option for a woman. When we’d visit my grandparents’ farm, my brother and the boys got to help Grandpa in the field, but I was supposed to help Grandma in the house. So I put farming out of my mind. Then, you get to midlife and things surface. I allowed myself to think about it. By the beginning of this year, I was very ready to do this,” Brown said. Brown envisions sustainable agriculture as a way for young people to stay in small towns. “It’s a shame to see young people moving away. Teg and I hope to demonstrate small-scale operations like ours can make a sustainable profit so that there will be work for small farmers,” she said. Brown has two adult children from an earlier marriage, a son and daughter who live in the Houston area.