Monday, February 28, 2011

Americans don't want GMO's but are not involved in food policy

The New York Times did a blog poll (see the articles below) that show 83% of US consumers don't like GMO's in their foods; 89% want to see labeling of such; about 85% would like to see stricter Regulations and nearly 75% would buy less Salmon if the GMO Salmon get's approved.

So why then are GMO in our food, are not labeled and there are no strict regulations over GMO's?

Answer: Because we let them and because the General American Public is so uninvolved in their food politics, they (Monsanto & Co) can get away with it!

If people would just concern themselves with what is happening in the food supply as much they concern themselves with the newest Oscar Movie Winners, the latest Reality Show or the Super Bowl game, we would not be in the situation we find ourselves in.
As it is, the majority of people are not even asking questions how their food is grown, who is behind the food they are eating, who grows it, who makes it, how they grow it, what they put in it?
Who is in Control of our Food supply?
And who gives money to the politicians to influence what happens to our Food?

All the average American knows, the food sits in their grocers shelf, in the vegetable bin or meat counters waiting to be purchased. And because nobody is asking the right questions, and no-one seems to be interested in getting informed about what they shove into their mouths, the News-Media hardly even reports about our food supply, about GMO's.......aside it is about glorifying the low-fat food lobby.
So no-one even ever hears anything aside it is after the fact. After decisions have been made.

Welcome to America, where the control of the food supply is wholly in the hands of a few.

These are exactly not the people we should let control our food supply, because behind them is the large food lobby of food-processors, the soy bean and corn monarchy, CAFO meat corporations (I refuse to call these farmers and ranchers) and the people that give us High Fructose Corn syrup, Transfat and GMO's.

So you want labeled food and no funky stuff in what you eat?
It is not that hard!
You need to ask questions, inform yourself, read, make some noise, tell others what you learn, rouse some feathers, ask your paper to cover these issues! Vote with your dollars and call the right people!
Refuse to eat what they "call food" and spend your dollars where it counts.
Support your local, small organic farmer, the one that let's their animals live a healthy life and doesn't feed them crap. Sure it costs more, so what?
Just eat less meat, eat what is in season - it is cheaper that way, cook at home instead buy processed food or if you have to buy short cut meals make it organic. Grow your own as much you can. If you are not much of a gardener, find a nice spot in your yard and throw some lettuce and arugula seeds out in spring and fall and watch what happens. I bet you will be eating some lettuce and then let it seed out and never replant again.
Plant some berry bushes, a few fruit trees, they are easy food to grow.

Take control of your food!

What more important is there, then what nourishes our bodies?

Here are the articles of the New York Times "Why Aren't GMO Food labeled?"
"GMO Poll Results (and more)" including the blog poll

Friday, February 25, 2011

Path to Freedom - Lost Urban Homestead Hero status!

It came to my knowledge today February 24th 2011, that the Dervaes Family of Path to Freedom website have trademarked the names "Urban Homestead" and "Urban Homesteading" and many other terms, some of which are commonly used by gardeners and like-minded people and now are going after people using these now trademarked terms on their Blogs, Websites, Facebook pages or in company names. Several businesses and organizations with the terms "Urban Homesteading" have received legal notifications, some sites already have been shut down.They even sent a cease and desist letter to the Santa Monica "public library" for running an urban homesteading class. Are these people Nuts?!

I feel very strongly about this, these are terms that have been used for a long time, much longer then the Dervaes Family has been working their land or gardened. These terms do not belong to them any more then others. In googling the term "Urban Homestead" I quickly came across a “Urban Homestead” program for HUD in 1974, a book published in 1975 with exact title, Articles in Mother Earth News from 1976 and 1980 and many more references before that. 
In fact in Europe they traditionally have done Urban homesteading for centuries. The traditional small family farm in Europe is not far out from the communities, no it is smack in the middle of town, with the larger fields around the town in close proximity. What you think most city people in the 1800 and before did? 
Right, they had gardens and chickens, meat rabbits, they grew their own food, they had "Urban Homesteads"!
Most people around the World did Urban Homesteading before the Americans used this term to describe something that has been done for millenniums. It is wrong to trademark something used in common they invented it. They didn't! It is like trade-marking the word "Farming". 
What kind of "Path to Freedom" is this anyway. 
One where you prevent others to enjoy what you stole from all? 

This is taken from their cease and desist letter:

 "If your use of one of these phrases is not to specifically identify products or services from the Dervaes Institute, then it would be proper to use generic terms to replace the registered trademark you are using. For example, when discussing general homesteading or other people’s projects, they should be referred to using terms such as ‘modern homesteading,’ ‘urban sustainability projects,’ or similar  descriptions."  

So it is "proper" for everyone to mince words, just so nobody risks suggesting they are doing urban homesteading?????                        

What is so special they are doing anyway, nobody else has done before them? Do they use a special kind of gardening, they came up with? No! They say on their website they use the "Squarefoot gardening method", so to them it seems to be perfectly okay for them to use other's ideas. What is so special of using animals to fertilize your soil, the Chinese have done that for a long time. 
I really want to know, what is so different what they are doing? 
What this world needs most is to grow food where most of the people the cities. What they are doing is undermining this effort of others by telling them to cease and desist. They are undermining a movement. Their claims 'to be getting away from corporate control of their subsistence' are laughable if they then enact those practices on ordinary people making the same attempt. They deserve all the bad publicity they get when getting caught with this sleazy behavior.

this is from their website taken from their lame excuse they posted on there

"as the popularity of Urban Homestead and Urban Homesteading increased and began to label everything from television productions to big agriculture products, we couldn't shake the warning bells in our minds. You tell us... who would you rather own the trademarks? Us or a big business corporation?"

My answer is: "No-one, not you, not me, not my neighbor, not a corporation should own these terms as trademarks." 

I am very disappointed by these developments, gardeners stabbing other gardeners in the back. How pitiful! They lost all credibility and support from me and therefore I have decided to remove all references and links pointing to their site from my blog pages. And I hope you'll do the same!

Gardeners are about sharing, sharing knowledge, planting seeds in the next gardener generations. Urban Homesteading is about making the cities a more livable, more sustainable place.
This is against my core beliefs what they have done!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Seed organizer and planner

Every year, once the seeding planning starts, I get to a point where I wished there would be a easier way to do my seed planning, when to plant certain seeds. Since I always try new seed varieties each year because I still try to find the ones that will do best in my new garden climate, I keep adding more and more packs of seeds as time goes on. Now I started even saving many of my own seeds, and anyway there are always so many neat new Heirloom varieties each year who could pass them all on.
Definitely not me.
I have tried all different ways over the years, I made paper charts, then excel planning charts, then I started trying out various garden software. They all work to a certain extend in telling you when to plant, but it always takes to much time to set it up. Another thing that that was missing was that you just can't take that computer out into the garden. Whatever paper you take out into the vegetable garden with you, soon will be smudged by dirt, wet and unreadable or gets lost including the pens you take out with you to write down your notes.
There had to a easier way and I think I came up with a better solution.

                                                            Super Satchel Box: Double Deep 6996AB Translucent Purple

    A pre-sorted seed pack box.

I actually had been thinking of a seed sorting box for quite a while, but most boxes I found where either too small for my use or had not enough compartments (I had been keeping my vegetable seeds in 3 metal boxes I got at Ikea) then I came across this box when I was looking for sewing notions. It is just perfect for sorting the seeds. It comes with 8 variable compartments and is high enough for most seed packs to fit upright inside. The box also is close-able, so the seeds are protected and keep fresh.

This is how I sorted my seeds to make my planning easier. Since I have so many seeds I actually got two boxes to make my seed sorting system easier manageable.

This box is practically a planting calendar and seed keeper all in one. Each box is for half a growing season.
Purple is for the pre-May planting season. The Green box for the less busy season from May to October. Each compartment is for a specific planting time starting with January and is labeled as such. Since in my area in January there are only a few plants started indoor the label says "January 15th > Indoor" telling me whatever is in this compartment I can seed in pots past Jan 15th. Indoors. February is a very busy month for seeding, so it took several compartments for that month. One for  Indoor early February, two compartments for Indoor after Feb. 15th., then  one for Seeding outside after Feb. 15Th.
Since I also do a lot of succession planting with certain crops, like for example 'carrots' and I have a lot of different varieties I also spread the different varieties over the different planting dates. So I have carrot seed packs in many compartments from End of March until the last planting date possible for them.
Some seeds I don't have enough to spread out like that, so I also have a simple planting calendar taped to the inside of the lid and my plan is to just keep moving the seed pack forward into the compartments each time I plant making the succession of planting easy.

The lid is a perfect place to tape seeding information as vegetable companion charts, spacing charts and fertilizing info.
Now when I go plant my seed, all I need is grab my seed sorting box by the handle, there is no need to bring anything else with me into the garden. I just get the seeds from the proper compartment and plant.
How easy is that?

I don't want to proclaim, it will be a perfect system yet but at least it should lessen the planning time spend. Granted it took time to set up, with sorting all the seeds into it with the help of my Planting chart but if it all works as planned, I never have to do it again, aside add the newest seeds I get.

I'll get back to you later in the garden season how I fared with my new seed planning system.

disclaimer: Not to be shared with the Dervaes Family of Path to Freedom Website. Thank You 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Healthy Food Action

Healthy Food Action

Please add your name to the Charter for a Healthy Farm Bill!
For a Farm Bill that is holistic in nature and includes sections on transparency, fairness and environmental sustainability
and is good for us the consumer, the farmer and out environment.
Make your voices heard, because this administration is not going to act without us getting louder and tell them what is important to us.
Eaters must become more political. We can't just vote with our forks.

You can read the whole charter on the web page of Healthy Food Action

and while you are at it supporting a good Healthy Farm Bill
maybe you like to sign this petition also voice your support for making our food system fair for all of us

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Adventures in Urban Homesteading

Here used to be a post about the Path to Freedom website with a video showing their garden skills, but I removed all links and postings pointing to their site and I here I am explaining why I did that!

Path to Freedom - Lost Urban Homestead Hero status!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Join in the opposition to GE Alfalfa and send a letter to the White House

Maria Rodale, CEO and Chairman of Rodale, Inc. and book author is calling for Unity in the fight against GMO Crops in an open letter.
Maria Rodale: We Stand in Opposition to GE Alfalfa
It is more important then ever for all of us to work together to bring back normalcy to our food system.
We need to stop the deregulation of GE crops and join together against the forces that are seeking to silence hundreds of thousands of Americans.
If you eat food, this decision will effect you. All people, Organic food stores, Farmers and Farming associations, Food producers, Organic Trade organizations, all who are concerned about the food we eat, who want to have the power to decide what they want to put on their table and grow on their fields need to work together to preserve and protect our environment and our health.

Anonymous sources, that are familiar with the USDA negotiations have told that the White House asked Vilsack to drop the proposed regulations. This, so the White House administration will appear more friendly to big business. There also seems to be the appearance that the decision was made long before the voices of the public called in their concerns, over the concerns of citizens and all of the organic world.
Banning GMO Alfalfa was not an option and it looks like it never had been an option, the USDA already decided that GE alfalfa would be approved for sale.

The pressure to stop the proliferation of this contaminating technology must be focused on the White House and Congress because the decision to deregulate this crop was an decisions made in the Obama Administration. You can write a letter to Obama to tell him what you think about these back room dealings if you go to this action alert from the Organic Trade Association. They had more then 6,000 letters sent to Obama by concerned citizens in less then 24 hours. We can put pressure on Obama and let him know that he is selling out our land and food supply, he is selling out our future generations, also his children and grandchildren.
United we can fight GMO crops and Monsanto