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Ben and Taryn Marcus work on a small farm in Maine.

They farm a piece of land that had long been neglected but is protected by an agricultural easement, meaning it can't be sold off to developers.


It's taken them years (not to mention endless blood, sweat, and tears), but they've managed to revitalize the land into a "thriving community food hub."

The two have faced challenges, for sure, but what they've managed to do for the land and the community is very impressive.

"Growing Local," a Seedlight Pictures film directed by Bridget Besaw, tells their story — and two others about folks who have committed to local farming despite (or even because of) its challenges.

"We're at the cusp of something great."

Ben Slayton is the focus of another of the "Growing Local" stories. He's a butcher and an entrepreneur determined to give consumers direct access to healthy, sustainably raised meat.

"We're at the cusp of something great," explains Slayton. "The local food movement is taking off, and we are part of building that infrastructure and support to sustain it."

"The local food movement is taking off, and we are part of building that infrastructure and support to sustain it."

Slayton is pursuing his model at great risk because his success depends almost entirely on regular ol' consumers like you and me. He says, "It comes down to consumers believing that what they eat is a statement. It's more important than just filling their bellies."

Take a look at the numbers — you'll see just how important these stories are.

Hearing from folks like Slayton and the Marcuses kind of makes working on a small farm seem pretty glamorous, doesn't it? Well, farm life can be tough — and the statistics show just that.

The number of farms in the U.S. has been in a steady decline since it peaked 80 years ago. Just between 2007 and 2012, the farm count fell by 4.3%. At the same time, the average farmer is getting older, and new, younger farmers are having a hard time taking over.

Not to mention, in 2012, 75% of farms had sales of less than $50,000.

That's why people who are committed to local growing are so crucial to the changing agriculture landscape. These stories of folks defying the larger trends are the most important of all.

They're not the only ones taking a chance — and a stand.

Slayton and the Marcus couple are brave and determined. They've worked hard to create the change they want to see.

And despite what the agricultural census says, they're not the only ones committed to creating a local-based, sustainable food system. Stories of farmers like these can be found all over the country. "Growing Local" is the beautiful film that highlights three such stories — check out the trailer below.

The farming landscape is shifting. It's up to us to shift it in the right direction.

A breastfeeding mother's experience at Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo is touching people's hearts—but not without a fair amount of controversy.

Gemma Copeland shared her story on Facebook, which was then picked up by the Facebook page Boobie Babies. Photos show the mom breastfeeding her baby next to the window of the zoo's orangutan habitat, with a female orangutan sitting close to the glass, gazing at them.

"Today I got feeding support from the most unlikely of places, the most surreal moment of my life that had me in tears," Copeland wrote.

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People have clearly missed their free treats.

The COVID-19 pandemic had us waving a sad farewell to many of life’s modern conveniences. And where it certainly hasn’t been the worst loss, not having free samples at grocery stores has undoubtedly been a buzzkill. Sure, one can shop around without the enticing scent of hot, fresh artisan pizza cut into tiny slices or testing out the latest fancy ice cream … but is it as joyful? Not so much.

Trader Joe’s, famous for its prepandemic sampling stations, has recently brought the tradition back to life, and customers are practically dancing through the aisles.


On the big comeback weekend, people flocked to social media to share images and videos of their free treats, including festive Halloween cookies (because who doesn’t love TJ’s holiday themed items?) along with hopeful messages for the future.
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via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


Dr. Daniel Mansfield and his team at the University of New South Wales in Australia have just made an incredible discovery. While studying a 3,700-year-old tablet from the ancient civilization of Babylon, they found evidence that the Babylonians were doing something astounding: trigonometry!

Most historians have credited the Greeks with creating the study of triangles' sides and angles, but this tablet presents indisputable evidence that the Babylonians were using the technique 1,500 years before the Greeks ever were.


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