Posts Tagged ‘Food Sovereignty’

Garden Update ~ “Just the Right Amount of Too Much”

Today’s garden post comes to you courtesy of 86°F and 68% humidity Kalamazoo. Pretty sticky, but plants love it even if the gardener doesn’t!

I’ll let the photos speak for themselves, noting only that the backyard spontaneous trellising continues. I have beans and cucumbers coiling around everything from trellises to sunflowers to amaranth to tomato cages. It’s messy, but somehow works.

I feel guilty pleasure watching all those white cabbage moths trying soooo hard to get inside that mesh cage and decimate my Garden Tower’s brassicas with eggs and caterpillars. For some reason, this makes me smile as much as having so much produce growing in a tiny footprint.

The front yard looks equally lush and crazy:

This purple kale dwarfs some of our shrubs:

Looking towards the garage …

… and towards the house:

I’m also happy these black eyed Susan’s by the mailbox bloomed in their first year. I didn’t expect flowers until next year.

You can see how dry the grass is due to these hot and humid days. We don’t worry too much about that, as grass is a totally unproductive crop unless you farm sheep and cattle. 🙂

For anyone who feels sad that they missed the boat on this year’s garden: you still have time to plant for Fall in the Northern Hemisphere. I seeded some Giant Noble Spinach yesterday and plan to do so again in a couple weeks. I’ve also got new edamame plants sprouting up from a week or so ago. Come mid-August, I plan to seed more arugula, some super-cold-hardy lettuce varieties, and sugar snap peas. I’ve got several heads of purple cabbage trying to deal with the heat because I seeded those a few weeks too soon.

Oops! Even longer term gardeners make mistakes. That’s the beauty of gardening. If you mess up, you can start again. Not everything produces or even lives, but if you seed and plant a wide variety of crops, SOMETHING will thrive. If you’re a lazy gardener like me (yes, really, I am!), you’ll never need to start cilantro, miner’s lettuce, or parsley again. Just allow them to re-seed. Add in a bunch of perennial herbs, bulbs and flowers, and you can have a full garden year after year without anywhere near the effort it looks like you made. 🙂

Garden Update: Purples, Whites, Yellows and Magenta

Each day brings subtle and vibrant changes in the garden. This week shifted the purple spotlight from chives, sage, irises, and giant alliums to salvia and clematis. The backyard garden’s gone a bit nuts in its abundance:

That trough bed is overstuffed but looks like it will produce well. I’ve got a dwarf tomato plant, basil, two different types of amaranth, purple mustard, radishes, carrots, peppers, zucchini, some unknown squash, sugar snap peas, yard long beans, cucumbers, sunflowers, various greens, radish, nasturtium, celery, zinnias and soybeans in there. I’m sure I’ve forgotten something. Some of these are nearing the end of their lives, while I succession sowed other seeds that are just tiny sprouts right now.

The lilies, echinacea and hyssop next to the trough will flower when summer gets going. Right now, dianthus and clematis wow with pops of color amidst the edibles:

For once, I’m glad to have part of the garden tucked behind the shed. I goofed! I bought plant starts for personal sized butternut squash, and for some reason, I thought the plants would also be “personal sized.” Joke’s on me: those squash plants are on the move! It doesn’t look good, but you can only see when you get close. I added makeshift trellis extenders to catch the vines trying to spread all over the lawn. In another week or so, that crate and those extenders will be covered in green.

Behind the first bed, you can see the white trellis has not gotten any sweet potato vine action. They’re not too happy back there, but the garlic, mustard, sunflowers, and lettuce are thriving. I keep telling those sweet potatoes, “Hey, if you grow UP, you’ll get more light. Stretch, baby, stretch. You can DO it!” But so far they haven’t. We’re supposed to have some 97(!) degree days soon. Maybe those sweet potatoes will console me for all the lettuce that wants to bolt.

Up front, I’m loving pops of white throughout the garden. These don’t show up well in photographs, but the arugula flowers, spirea blossoms, and chamomile make me so happy! The daisies give an idea of how bright the whites can get. I think these look like sunny side up eggs:

The “yolks” should match the lilies behind them once they bloom. The chamomile showed up a little against the evergreen and salvia. I’m not sure the mini evergreen to the left is supposed to be that color, but it complements the yellow centers.

The sedum surprised me with so many yellow blooms this year. Here you see it in front of button flower that echoes the form and color of flowering chives:

In addition to purples, bright whites and yellows, magenta yarrow and dianthus add so much vibrance to the front yard:

I have multiples of most plants because the eye likes to dance around the garden, seeking repeated colors and forms. It’s hard to choose which shots to share, but these bring a little of my garden to you. I hope some of the joy and relaxation transfer. If you were local, I’d give you lettuce, but virtual visitors get flowers. 🙂

Garden Update: New Critters, Compost and Putting the Crazy Back in CPL

We’ve had some new developments since I posted “Garden Update: The Good, the Bad and the Undetermined.” The big news is that Kalamazoo Kal showed up the next day, apparently to apologize for stealing my kale. He popped out of his old hidey hole and stood on his hind legs as soon as I sent him the mental message, “Not acceptable, Kal!”

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He normally only stands on hind legs when the cat teases him, but this time, he seems to have been responding to my lecture about kale thieving. Soon afterwards, he went right to spots of the yard I had tagged earlier in the day as in need of weeding. He even munched dandelions in the mulched area between our magnolia and purple maple. (Sorry for photo quality. It’s tricky to Continue reading

Garden Update ~ June Blooms and CPL

Well, the roses got the memo: “It’s June!”

Robinhood:

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Continue reading

News Alert ~ Polish Farmers Arrested Defending Farmland

I received this newsletter today from Sir Julian Rose and his partner Jadwiga Lopata. Things are really heating up in Poland! The first country to successfully ban GMO’s, Poland has been on corporate ag’s dirt list for many years now, with aggressively punitive regulation and betrayal of local, organic farmers. The newsletter below details the latest events, including the draconian arrest of peacefully protesting farmers blocking the sale of Polish farmland to foreign speculators and corporations instead of young Polish farmers.

If the Polish government is so concerned about foreign interests, then they shouldn’t mind a bunch of outraged emails from the international scene. Why does this matter to you, even if you don’t live in Poland? With the TPP “free” trade agreement looming for an intended fast track through Congress, the TTIP “free” trade treaty connecting Europe and North America — both giant gifts to Big Ag and Big Pharma — organic, local food has never been more threatened in more places. This bullying of Polish farmers no doubt means to send a message across the globe: “Resistance is futile. The corporations will swallow you whole and spit you out in pieces.”

Well, not on my watch, and hopefully not on yours either. If you value your right to eat real food, to support real farmers and a local economy, ironically, supporting the small, local, organic farmers in Poland might be one of the more important things you do for your own city and your own plate. Thanks and blessings to anyone who takes action on this.

News Alert – Polish Farmers Arrested Defending Farmland

URGENT! The Polish farmers are calling for other farming and consumer groups in Europe and beyond to show solidarity with their actions. As one farmer said “To day we are arrested – tomorrow you could be.”
Please do send letters of support!

On 6th October 2015 the police arrested 11 farmers from Pyrzyce (Western Pomerania Province) where 60% of farmland has already been sold off to foreign buyers. The arrested farmers are accused of participating in an organized group whose aim is to prevent the actioning of tenders for the sale of Polish farmland by WRSP (land owned by the state). The farmers were arrested on their own farms and handcuffed with their families watching.

The prosecutor stated that “they will all have to answer for impeding the tenders for the sale of land… The farmers are blocking a dozen tenders connected with the foreign sale of farming estates worth at least 6 million zloty.”

The arrested farmers had actively participated in protests in Szczecin and the surrounding region as well as Warsaw, their aim is to introduce changes into the law applicable to farmland management and to put a stop to Polish land sale transactions to speculative foreigners and corporations.

“These changes would stop the out-of-control and reckless sale of Polish farmland which is causing economic and social degradation of the countryside and the building of colonial relations in these territories…” – said Edward Kosmal – the leader of the KPRWZ (Western Pomerania Farmers Protesting Committee).

Two days after the farmers were arrested (8th October) five of them were sentenced to two months of provisional detention. Others were released on bail with the financial guarantees of 30 to 60 thousand zloty. The farmers could be sentenced to five years imprisonment.

“Is this an attempt to intimidate other farmers participating in protests? A revenge for fighting with companies with foreign capital that want to buy-up Polish farmland? – asked Sir Julian Rose, the President of ICPPC.

“The farmers blocked tenders connected with the sale of Polish farmland in which foreign companies participated (for example, Danish companies and their agents). They also sowed the land which was supposed to be grabbed by foreign capital with their own grains and kept watch on the area, thus blocking other entities from entering. Their protest is against the sale of Polish land into foreign hands instead of to aspiring young Polish farmers.” – commented Jadwiga Lopata, vice president of ICPPC.

The farmers from the Western Pomerania Province are outraged and are demanding that the arrested farmers should immediately be released from custody. They have announced a large scale protest in front of the Prosecutor’s Office in Szczecin on Monday (12th October). 100 tractors will participate in this action.
International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside-ICPPC is fully supporting the farmers’ actions!

URGENT! The Polish farmers are calling for other farming and consumer groups in Europe and beyond to show solidarity with their actions. As one farmer said “To day we are arrested – tomorrow you could be.”
This includes TTIP attempts to prevent the sovereign protection of internal food chains.

Please do send letters of support to the farmers – through us – and we will forward them to the Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopasz and other ministers as well as to the prosecutor. [Here is Jadwiga’s email: jadwiga @ icppc.pl Please remove the spaces before sending your letter. Thank you!]

You can donate to ICPPC’s activities here
http://icppc.pl/index.php/en/support-us.html
Many thanks!

Jadwiga Lopata and Julian Rose
==========================
ICPPC – International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside,
34-146 Stryszow 156, Poland tel./fax +48 33 8797114 biuro@icppc.pl
www.icppc.pl www.gmo.icppc.pl www.eko-cel.pl
Julian’s website ABOUT BOOK: www.julianrose.info
==========================
Sources:
http://protestrolnikow.pl/aktualnosci/
http://www.radiostargard.fm/news.php?readmore=33
http://www.rmf24.pl/fakty/polska/news-grupa-ustawiala-przetargi-na-sprzedaz-ziemi-zatrzymano-12-os,nId,1899633

Two Great Articles

These are long pieces, but too important and informative not to share:

Monsanto’s Sealed Documents Reveal the Truth behind Roundup’s Toxicological Dangers

and

CENSORED: The Atlantic buried this interview with the Health Ranger after realizing his answers made too much sense.

Baker Creek Seeds ~ Defeat the DARK Act

Today’s post comes from Baker Creek Seeds’ newsletter. The video offers an old fashioned style educational tool that explains what’s really happening. I have to admit to a real “duh” moment while reading the newsletter and watching the video. I had been thinking of the DARK Act as affecting food labeling in stores but figured I’d continue to grow my own food, so it would have minimal impact on me. Bizarrely enough, it never occurred to me how that would affect heirloom seed suppliers like Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co, where I have bought many of my more ornamental food seeds. As always, please do what you can on whatever levels you feel called.

Clearly, petitions don’t change everything, but sometimes they slow things down. In the long run, it’s much easier to call your Representative and Senator than to learn how to grow all your own food and save all your own heirloom, non-GMO seed, especially if you live in a predominantly GMO polluted area. Just putting things into perspective: I love my garden(s), but the learning curve and time investment towards food sovereignty and self-reliance are steep. Best to shove the DARK Act back where the Sun don’t shine and far, far away from our gardens and organic farms!

Defeat the DARK Act!

Watch our special message featuring Dave here!

To no one’s surprise, the US House of Representatives Agriculture Committee, with no debate, on July 14, 2015 voted to send the DARK Act on, for consideration by the full House of Representatives. More properly known as the HR1599, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, this insidious piece of legislation has been dubbed Deny Americans the Right to Know – or DARK – Act, because of its draconian implications. Not only would this Act deny consumers the right to know what is in their food, it is a flagrant attack on our democratic institutions.

Introduced by Representatives Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) and G. K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), developed by food companies including the Grocery Manufacturers Association to further their own agenda, the Act would:

prohibit the states from enacting mandatory GMO labeling laws
prevent states from regulating genetically modified crops, including measures that are designed to protect communities from exposure to pesticide drift from spraying GMO
weaken the FDA’s regulatory framework
create a GMO safety review system based on industry “science”
block all non-GMO claims that have not approved by a new USDA certification program that could take years to establish (so that foods could not even be labeled as “non-GMO” until and unless the new system is implemented)
would allow the regulated term “natural” to be applied to products that include GMO ingredients

If approved by the House, the bill will then move to the Senate for consideration.

We see this legislation as a desperate and blatant bid by Big Food to circumvent growing public opposition to genetically modified foods, and to the movement to require labeling of such foods so that those who wish can avoid purchasing them. It also attempts to preempt states’ rights, which has long been a cornerstone of American democracy and governance. (Several states including Vermont, Connecticut and Maine have already enacted labeling requirements for food products containing genetically-modified ingredients, and many other states are considering such legislation. )

But the underlying implications are more sinister, and are truly frightening. Combined with pressure to fast-track TPP (the so-called Trans-Pacific Partnership), and the recent removal of “country of origin” labeling (allowing US-grown livestock to be exported to countries like China for processing, and be re-exported to this country with no labeling requirement informing consumers of the food’s history), we see the DARK Act as the next move in an unprecedented consolidation of corporate power world-wide. We wonder: what’s next?

If we’re looking at the end-game of a corporate power-grab, then we need everyone to play, and fast! It is vital that you contact your Congressman immediately and go on record with your opposition to the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act. Any of the following links makes it easy:

Go here to contact your congressman directly: http://www.house.gov/representatives/

Or visit these links to help spread the word.

http://salsa3.salsalabs.com/o/1881/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=14356

http://signforgood.com/stopthedarkact/
http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/tell-congress-to-protect-2

http://act.credoaction.com/sign/stop_dark_act/

Taking Back Our Food: Establishing a Food Co-Op in the Community

Whether you hope to bring a new food co-op to your own community, or if — like many natural foods co-ops — your local co-op is currently struggling to redefine what it is, why it exists, whom it serves and how it stays in business, Willowcrow provides her usual astute analysis and exploration of the issues. Many thanks to Willowcrow for continuing a discussion that’s at the top of so many established co-ops’ radar. If you live somewhere without a food co-op, see if you can find some like minded locals at least interested in starting a bulk buying club for difficult to find organic foods. Empowerment begins with individuals addressing areas that need attention.

The Druid's Garden

Just one of the many delights at a local co-op- organic, heirloom lettuce Just one of the many delights at a local co-op- organic, heirloom lettuce

I remember the first time I visited a food co-op.  It was in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a wonderful, progressive town, and the co-op was incredible.  From products made or grown locally in South-East Michigan (non-GMO and organic tortilla chips, fresh salsa, all kinds of fruits and vegetables, raw chocolates, kale chips, soaps, baked goods and so much more) to regionally available products (like tofu, organic candy bars, raw milk cheeses, and even miso). It was an exciting place to be. All of the food I could have wanted to buy in one place, and that food was better, healthier, and fresher.  That food also paid a living wage to its creators.  The prices were fair, the atmosphere pleasant, the workers in the store friendly and helpful–and most important–happy to be at work.  I made it a…

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TPP, the Pope’s Encyclical, Mama Earth and You

Where to start with this one? I don’t normally post WikiLeaks or Jesse Ventura, but this video gives a lot of succinct information about the TPP and international trade agreements in general — definitely worth six minutes of your life in order to have a clearer understanding of the ramifications.

Whenever something like this comes along that’s so huge, so secret and so (Jesse calls it correctly) fascist, we would do wise to prevent rather than try to wriggle out of it once the shackles are on. The TPP takes NAFTA, CAFTA, Codex Alimentarius, Agenda 21, the Monsanto Protection Act, and the Bankers Manifesto of 1892 and puts all of these on GMO steroids to become the Frankenstein equivalent of Mommie Dearest.

Combine this with the Pope’s recent call for depopulating 6 billion people — when, let’s be honest, the Catholic Church has certainly played a direct role in overpopulating and impoverishing the planet — and it doesn’t take too much to see how these globalist treaties could work hand in glove with such “responsible,” religiously sanctioned depopulation efforts by removing environmental protections, food standards, national sovereignty, and replacing those with forced compliance to any and every toxic thing “sustainable” Monsanto, “healing” BigPharma and “energizing” Big Oil produce. Will there be genocide and thought police with this “new” encyclical? You betcha. Exactly how does an institution eliminate 6 billion people without some sort of “official-representative-of-God-sanctioned” genocide? That’s 6/7 of the population on the chopping block with a self-appointed spiritual hierarchy determining who lives and who dies. The same institution that brutally demonized and destroyed indigenous, Nature loving cultures across the world now wants us to recognize and honor its Pope as Father of a One World “Earth-based” religion?!

This “populist Pope” calling for an end to income inequality isn’t offering up the vast land and resources confiscated and appropriated by the Catholic Church? He just wants income redistribution from little guy to smaller guy so we can “save the planet”? Excuse me while I vomit in my compost pile. At least that has real potential to regenerate something.

Please see Ann K’s exploration/compilation of interpretations of the new encyclical. She remains curious, and that’s likely a good place to hover; however, I personally believe that a true reconnection with the planet involves — gasp! — directly reconnecting with Mother Earth without the “Holy Father” Pope or any other person or organization inserting himself or itself in between us and the planet. Whatever happened to direct spiritual experience and primacy? Oh, right! That’s way too threatening to anyone who would maintain mass control, because once people start having primary experiences with the Divine in all His and Her forms, we’ve got no need for organized top-down anything. Once people embrace the Mystery with a capital M, all those dogmas, rules and regulations begin to look silly, controlling and worst yet: optional.

Now perhaps you see why growing your own food, walking in Nature, and hugging trees are so radical (rooting) and empowering. And maybe the military-industrial complex’s insane uptick in the War on Nature (i.e. Olympic Peninsula, the Grand Canyon, and more) makes sense in this  larger context. When humanity aligns with Mother Earth, we can shake off the patriarchal control BS like the parasites and fleas they are, returning to natural harmony and the real Matrix (which comes from “Mother,” not some computer simulated “reality” — talk about a co-optation! “The Matrix” films brilliantly got all the “awake” people actively asserting their desire to “exit” “The Matrix,” when reconnection to the original Mother is the very thing that would give humanity a viable reset. All the “awake” people want to take a different colored pill than the sleeping people, because Goddess forbid you just “be,” without any interference of pills. Oh, yeah, and “reality” is a horrible, grim place unless you escape to “Zion.” Those films were the biggest psyop and limited hangout of our times, but I digress into a flaming Fire Faery fit…. )

In any case, if you want to free yourself and free this planet, don’t let anyone or anything get between you and our planet. That’s your relationship to have with Earth, Sea and Sky — directly, not through a computer screen or your cell phone camera. Get out there and immerse yourself in Nature. Engage your senses, even your Spidey senses, so you can hear, feel, see, taste, touch and spontaneously know the secrets Nature wants to share. If Nature wants to keep them secret, then learn to embrace the Mystery.

Anyone trying to co-opt this primal connection needs some lessons from the Elementals!

Air is the breeze through the trees and the tornado.

Fire can warm your home or burn it to the ground.

Water can quench thirst, or destroy everything in its tsunami path.

Earth can grow food or bury all in an avalanche or volcanic ash.

Respect, Not Control.

Because Nature always bats last, and She doesn’t need Monsanto or the Pope to win.

You are part of Nature, and neither do you.

Honor your Mother and Blessed Be.

Back to Eden Multilingual DVD Indiegogo Campaign

The good folks at Back to Eden (the film that inspired my wood mulch gardening technique that has now spread to many yards in Goshen) contacted me to let me know of a new Indiegogo campaign to raise money for a multilingual DVD teaching organic farming methods to people around the world.

Selections from their email and website:

The Back to Eden Multilingual DVD will be a tool to teach organic gardening, help feed the hungry worldwide, and dramatically reduce the global impact of drought and famine! Back to Eden gardening method can reduce irrigation by 90%! HELP FUND Back to Eden Multilingual DVD TODAY! http://igg.me/at/backtoedendvd

Film Synopsis

After years of back-breaking toil in ground ravaged by the effects of man-made growing systems, Paul Gautschi has discovered a taste of what God intended for mankind in the garden of Eden. Some of the vital issues facing agriculture today include soil preparation, fertilization, irrigation, weed control, pest control, crop rotation, and PH issues. None of these issues exist in the unaltered state of nature or in Paul’s gardens and orchards. “Back to Eden” invites you to take a walk with Paul as he teaches you sustainable organic growing methods that are capable of being implemented in diverse climates around the world.

Featuring 18 languages, the Back to Eden Multilingual DVD will teach you how growing your own food can change your life. HELP FUND Back to Eden Multilingual DVD TODAY! http://igg.me/at/backtoedendvd

If you feel led, please send some love and/or funding their way. If you’ve not seen the film, Back to Eden, I highly recommend it, whatever your faith or gardening ability. Paul Gautschi’s enthusiasm is contagious, and he really has a way of connecting his spirituality with the abundance of the land. I’ve hauled something like 27,000 pounds of wood mulch around our little yard since April 2013, and even I cannot believe the transformation of this once neglected, weedy, unhealthy, broken land. Vitality, beauty and productivity have returned. My heart fills with joy to walk outside now, whereas when we first moved to Goshen, I called it “soul crushing” to leave our house. Miracles do happen, and sometimes they begin with one man sharing an inspired idea. That, and a whole messa wood mulch. 😉