Independence from the Corporate Global Economy by Ethan Miller

Yes! magazine has their Winter 2007 Issue online. The first paragraph of the first article starts this way… 

Call it “globalization,” or the “free market,” or “capitalism.” Whatever its name, people across the United States and throughout the world are experiencing the devastating effects of an economy that places profit above all else.

I haven’t had the chance yet to read the issue, but, I will over the next few days. If you are interested in local economies, sustainable living or local energy go read the mag. If you like it try a trial issue…What have you got to lose?

Source: Independence from the Corporate Global Economy by Ethan Miller

Independence from the Corporate Global Economy by Ethan Miller

Yes! magazine has their Winter 2007 Issue online. The first paragraph of the first article starts this way… 

Call it “globalization,” or the “free market,” or “capitalism.” Whatever its name, people across the United States and throughout the world are experiencing the devastating effects of an economy that places profit above all else.

I haven’t had the chance yet to read the issue, but, I will over the next few days. If you are interested in local economies, sustainable living or local energy go read the mag. If you like it try a trial issue…What have you got to lose?

Source: Independence from the Corporate Global Economy by Ethan Miller

Green Shopping Bags

Kate up at Cider Press Hill posted about these today…

My new shopping bags

My grocery store is trying out a new product. Last night when I approached the check out counter (I think I was the only shopper in the store at 10:30 PM), there was a display of reusable shopping bags. Like these:

I like the idea and the way Kate describes them they look like a very good deal.

Source: My New Shopping Bags

Memphis Commercial Appeal – Green Thumb

 Now here’s a gardening ~ living concept to write home about. Slow Gardening from Slow Cooking, very Zen…

Leave it to Felder Rushing to come up with a concept that will get us thinking about our gardens in new ways.

Slow Gardening, which gets it cues from the Slow Food movement, is gardening according to your climate and with your own personal philosophy.

“It’s gardening in a way that has more people growing more stuff through more seasons while expending less energy and resources,” said Rushing…

From the article it seems this is a concept just starting to be fleshed out by Mr. Rushing. Keep an eye out for more on this in the future.

Source: Memphis Commercial Appeal – Green Thumb

Building Communities

For some reason, it always amazes me to stumble across someone who understands the internet (or at least the way I think it should work). Dick Eastman, who writes online genealogy articles, pointed the way to Burr Morris of Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks and deserves the thanks for this find. After reading Dick’s post I wandered on over and discovered another online writer of place. Burr is a descendant of the pioneers of his part of Vermont and writes eloquently about the people and the place he calls home. Like many of the folks I have discovered of late, he too has a book out. He also publishes a newsletter (to which I now have subscribed). The following is from his newsletter archive…

Hello again maple people,
Things are starting to green up here in Vermont in spite of a chilly,
rainy post sugar season. We’ve finally gotten the fences fixed and today a
stock trailer backed up to our acreage out front. A guy got out, critically
scanned the electric fence and lowered the trailer’s tailgate. Inside, a
small herd of mixed bovines stood, dirty from winter stalls and confused
about their future. With a little prodding, they slowly sniffed their way
down the tailgate and onto the green grass. The cow guy and I watched,
knowing contact with the grass would trigger a ritual of spring I love to
watch. Sure enough, those critters didn’t let me down. They blatted and
bellowed and kicked their hooves high, drunk for a short time with
freedom. We watched until they settled down and began a summer of grazing.
The cow guy and I shook hands and he drove off, down the road, beyond the
land that my ancestors had cleared for cows.
We sold our herd years ago. This place stayed “cowless” for one season,
which about drove me crazy. All summer long I sensed unrest from those
ancestors who shouted from every ragged clump, “Graze this land!” I knew I
needed to honor them for their hard work so long ago. They cleared the best
of Vermont for the cows and the worst of it for the sheep. My old friend,
Ernest Gould, used to say, “The devil’s apron strings broke over Vermont.”
He meant, of course, that we can thank the devil for the rocks and boulders
that curse these Vermont hills and valleys–hellish for man, but pure
paradise for sheep. Our sheep industry thrived for a long time. It built
our villages and fortified our economy; then that same economy, fickle
like the weather in Vermont, took the sheep away.

Mr. Morris seems to make a portion of his income from selling local Vermont products in his online store. He offers Maple Syrup and assorted Maple products along with Vermont Cheeses. He is also building quite a community among his customers (and evidently non-customers alike) with his “News from Vermont”. To read the latest newsletter from Burr visit Dick Eastman’s EOGN. While you are there you might want to check out Dick’s blog on Genealogy, he’s been writing on-line now for over a decade.

Source: News from Vermont # 82 – ‘Possum Possibilities

10 Reasons to Buy Local Food

 This morning’s email brought the latest issue of Ladybug Letter from Mariquita Farm. A little exploring on their site led me to this article. I was going to extract the list headlines but it made more sense to just publish the list entirely…

  1. Locally grown food tastes better. Food grown in your own community was probably picked within the past day or two. It’s crisp, sweet and loaded with flavor. Produce flown or trucked in from Florida, Chile, Mexico, or Holland is, quite understandably, much older. Several studies have shown that the average distance food travels from farm to plate is 1,500 miles. In a week-long (or more) delay from harvest to dinner table, sugars turn to starches, plant cells shrink, and produce loses its vitality.
  2. Local produce is better for you. A recent study showed that fresh produce loses nutrients quickly. Food that is frozen or canned soon after harvest is actually more nutritious than some “fresh” produce that has been on the truck or supermarket shelf for a week. Locally grown food, purchased soon after harvest, retains its nutrients.
  3. Local food preserves genetic diversity. In the modern industrial agricultural system, varieties are chosen for their ability to ripen simultaneously and withstand harvesting equipment; for a tough skin that can survive packing and shipping; and for an ability to have a long shelf life in the store. Only a handful of hybrid varieties of each fruit and vegetable meet those rigorous demands, so there is little genetic diversity in the plants grown. Local farms, in contrast, grow a huge number of varieties to provide a long season of harvest, an array of eye-catching colors, and the best flavors. Many varieties are heirlooms, passed down from generation to generation, because they taste good. These old varieties contain genetic material from hundreds or even thousands of years of human selection; they may someday provide the genes needed to create varieties that will thrive in a changing climate.
  4. Local food is GMO-free. Although biotechnology companies have been trying to commercialize genetically modified fruits and vegetables, they are currently licensing them only to large factory-style farms. Local farmers don’t have access to genetically modified seed, and most of them wouldn’t use it even if they could. A June 2001 survey by ABC News showed that 93% of Americans want labels on genetically modified food – most so that they can avoid it. If you are opposed to eating bioengineered food, you can rest assured that locally grown produce was bred the old-fashioned way, as nature intended.
  5. Local food supports local farm families. With fewer than 1 million Americans now claiming farming as their primary occupation, farmers are a vanishing breed. And no wonder – commodity prices are at historic lows, often below the cost of production. The farmer now gets less than 10 cents of the retail food dollar. Local farmers who sell direct to consumers cut out the middleman and get full retail price for their food – which means farm families can afford to stay on the farm, doing the work they love.
  6. Local food builds community. When you buy direct from the farmer, you are re-establishing a time-honored connection between the eater and the grower. Knowing the farmers gives you insight into the seasons, the weather, and the miracle of raising food. In many cases, it gives you access to a farm where your children and grandchildren can go to learn about nature and agriculture. Relationships built on understanding and trust can thrive.
  7. Local food preserves open space. As the value of direct-marketed fruits and vegetables increases, selling farmland for development becomes less likely. You have probably enjoyed driving out into the country and appreciated the lush fields of crops, the meadows full of wildflowers, the picturesque red barns. That landscape will survive only as long as farms are financially viable. When you buy locally grown food, you are doing something proactive about preserving the agricultural landscape.
  8. Local food keeps your taxes in check. Farms contribute more in taxes than they require in services, whereas suburban development costs more than it generates in taxes, according to several studies. On average, for every $1 in revenue raised by residential development, governments must spend $1.17 on services, thus requiring higher taxes of all taxpayers. For each dollar of revenue raised by farm, forest, or open space, governments spend 34 cents on services.
  9. Local food supports a clean environment and benefits wildlife. A well-managed family farm is a place where the resources of fertile soil and clean water are valued. Good stewards of the land grow cover crops to prevent erosion and replace nutrients used by their crops. Cover crops also capture carbon emissions and help combat global warming. According to some estimates, farmers who practice conservation tillage could sequester 12-14% of the carbon emitted by vehicles and industry. In addition, the habitat of a farm – the patchwork of fields, meadows, woods, ponds and buildings – is the perfect environment for many beloved species of wildlife, including bluebirds, killdeer, herons, bats, and rabbits.
  10. Local food is about the future. By supporting local farmers today, you can help ensure that there will be farms in your community tomorrow, and that future generations will have access to nourishing, flavorful, and abundant food. Buy local food. Sustain local farms.

©2001 Growing for Market. Permission to print and photocopy is granted.

If you haven’t discovered this site take a run on over and read some of Andy’s articles, It’s worth the time.

Source: 10 Reasons to Buy Local from Growing for Market

Kitchen Gardeners International

If you’ve never tried the site, check out Kitchen Gardens International… 

Wendell Berry on the “industrial eater”

The industrial eater is, in fact, one who does not know that eating is an agricultural act, who no longer knows or imagines the connections between eating and the land, and who is therefore necessarily passive and uncritical… We still (sometimes) remember that we cannot be free if our minds and voices are controlled by someone else. But we have neglected to understand that we cannot be free if our food and its sources are controlled by someone else. The condition of the passive consumer of food is not a democratic condition. One reason to eat responsibly is to live free.” – Wendell Berry

Source: Kitchen Gardeners International

Industrial Food – Good enough to kill you?

 If it teaches  us nothing else, the problems with illness from fresh produce, will teach us the truth to the old saw about “putting all of your eggs in one basket”.

First it was spinach. Then tomatoes. Now possibly green onions.

Over the past three months, fresh produce has been the culprit in one episode of food-borne illness after another, the latest an E. coli outbreak that appears to be linked to green onions served at Taco Bell restaurants in the Northeast. More than 60 people have been sickened in that outbreak.

As some one said in an article recently, “it’s like we’re all washing our vegetables in the same tub of water”. That tub is located at the central processing plants.

Several factors have contributed to the rise in outbreaks: greater consumption of fresh produce, especially cut fruits and vegetables; wider distribution; improved electronic reporting of outbreaks; and an aging population more susceptible to food-borne illness. Produce presents a special food safety challenge because, unlike meat, which can be rid of bacteria through proper cooking, it is meant to be consumed raw. There is no “kill step,” as food safety experts put it.

From the reporting on the problems involved, our fresh produce is regulated by the same agency that is in charge of the safety of our drugs…Do you feel safer? The FDA’s budget is strapped and their inspection resources are low. So as more and more of the American food supply passes through fewer and fewer processors, we have fewer inspectors with no power to really regulate what they are charged with inspecting. Sounds like the perfect plan for disaster doesn’t it.

If nothing else, this should make everyone a little more interested in just where their food comes from. If you can find a local source of quality grown produce, patronize that grower if for no other reason than to insure diversity in your food supply. If you have a local farmer’s market, get to know the growers. Put a face on the person who supplies your lettuce and tomatoes. Visit their farms and have a look at how your food is being grown. Take responsibility for being your own inspector. That way you will develop a trust in your food supply that you can no longer have the government insure.

Source: Outbreaks Reveal Food Safety Net’s Holes – washingtonpost.com

Industrial Food – Good enough to kill you?

 If it teaches  us nothing else, the problems with illness from fresh produce, will teach us the truth to the old saw about “putting all of your eggs in one basket”.

First it was spinach. Then tomatoes. Now possibly green onions.

Over the past three months, fresh produce has been the culprit in one episode of food-borne illness after another, the latest an E. coli outbreak that appears to be linked to green onions served at Taco Bell restaurants in the Northeast. More than 60 people have been sickened in that outbreak.

As some one said in an article recently, “it’s like we’re all washing our vegetables in the same tub of water”. That tub is located at the central processing plants.

Several factors have contributed to the rise in outbreaks: greater consumption of fresh produce, especially cut fruits and vegetables; wider distribution; improved electronic reporting of outbreaks; and an aging population more susceptible to food-borne illness. Produce presents a special food safety challenge because, unlike meat, which can be rid of bacteria through proper cooking, it is meant to be consumed raw. There is no “kill step,” as food safety experts put it.

From the reporting on the problems involved, our fresh produce is regulated by the same agency that is in charge of the safety of our drugs…Do you feel safer? The FDA’s budget is strapped and their inspection resources are low. So as more and more of the American food supply passes through fewer and fewer processors, we have fewer inspectors with no power to really regulate what they are charged with inspecting. Sounds like the perfect plan for disaster doesn’t it.

If nothing else, this should make everyone a little more interested in just where their food comes from. If you can find a local source of quality grown produce, patronize that grower if for no other reason than to insure diversity in your food supply. If you have a local farmer’s market, get to know the growers. Put a face on the person who supplies your lettuce and tomatoes. Visit their farms and have a look at how your food is being grown. Take responsibility for being your own inspector. That way you will develop a trust in your food supply that you can no longer have the government insure.

Source: Outbreaks Reveal Food Safety Net’s Holes – washingtonpost.com

The Ladybug Letter

Andy Griffin wrote an essay in 2002 entitled “Somewhere Near Salinas”. It is about George Harrison, gardening, and farming, but, mostly it’s about life. I found this paragraph touched me.

George Harrison didn’t spend much time on stage after The Concert for Bangladesh. He focused instead on his interest in religion and gardening. He even dedicated his autobiography to “gardeners everywhere.” As a former and future gardener I could appreciate that nod of recognition. Gardening is love, art and a meditation. Farming has to be a business. George Harrison could afford to maintain lush ornamental gardens in both England and Hawaii because as a musician he’d been bought and sold like a sowbelly. His music is admirable to me because he managed so often to slide a touch of soul into even the most commercial product he performed on.

Go read the entire essay. It is worth the time. If you like what you read subscribe to their newsletter.

Source: The Ladybug Letter