Are Wal Mart and Big Food Lobbying the FDA for a GMO Labeling Law? | Alternet

Are Wal Mart and Big Food Lobbying the FDA for a GMO Labeling Law? | Alternet.

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Greenhouse Update

Arlette has news from the greenhouse:

Finally! The tomatoes and peppers are coming along pretty well.  They all have fruit on them and are starting to ripen.  The tomato plants are huge!  I’m afraid to feed them. Check out the size of this one tomato plant. I believe it’s a crimsom cushion.    I lost control  of their size and had to do a lot of tying up of branches.   :   )    Maybe in a couple weeks they’ll be ready for harvest.  I’ve seen a couple of ripe ones so far. There are several different varieties of tomatoes in the greenhouse. The names are somewhere under the masses of leaves on popsicle sticks.  There are also a couple swiss chard plants and collard greens.  David has a merlot grapevine in the first bed that has gone wild.  

I’ve recently planted onions, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, carrots, cilantro, and basil seeds.  I planted an artichoke plant that came from my gardens.  Maybe it will produce in the greenhouse.  Let me know if there’s something in particular you want planted.

The number of grasshoppers has been greatly reduced but now I have to tackle the aphids on the pepper plants.  Insecticidal soap and some blasts of water should do the trick.  As usual, there are some leaky soaker hoses so I’ve been replacing those with hoses I don’t need from my gardens.

If you get food from the greenhouse DO NOT PICK from “Ruby’s Garden” where the cucumbers are.  She also has tomatoes and squash planted in her area.  Anything else is up for grabs.  Thanks.

 

Grasshopper Invasion!

The greenhouse has been overrun with grasshoppers.  We sent out a message to members asking for help on how to control them.  Here are some of the remedies we got:

Catch them and eat them. Cats like to catch grasshoppers. They are a great protein source, and people all over the world eat them. I have eaten them in China and mexico. A 1/4″ mesh net is good for catching hundreds at a time. Stretch it out horizontally 1 foot off the ground in a “target zone” at one end of the green house. Next, “drive” the grasshoppers (like herding cattle or tuna) into the net. Their legs get caught in the netting, they can’t escape. By brushing the plants with smaller nets, you can catch/drive them. This is done by the insect vendors in mexico and china to supply their street stands selling toasted bugs. Pull their heads and wings off, (guts come out with heads), toast in an iron skillet, wok, or dutch oven, toss in garlic butter and a little salt, or curry, hot chili paste or oil, and enjoy!–Paul Hartshorn

I use NOLO bate. You can pick it up at Brady’s. Doesn’t hurt animals or plants. They say to use 5 teaspoons per 100 sq. feet but if you are overrun, use more. After watering, apply some more or take a can and open both ends, put can on its side and sprinkle NOLO bate inside it. Grasshoppers will hop in and eat it.
Happy plants!–Beth Hart (NOTE: We have since be told that NOLO shouldn’t be used on edible plants)

Chickens or hot pepper wax repellant.–Becky Starling

catch them and go fishing… eat the fish.–Marvin & Paula

Another option would be diatonatous earth.–Lynne Sage

http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/insect/05536.html is the Colorado State extension office discussion on grasshoppers. I didn’t read through all of it but they are hard to control.  Might try Safer insecticidal soap (if the Master Gardeners say it’s OK for organically grown veggies), you can try cheesecloth (but they chew through it), chickens (yeah, right) but they also eat the new leaves, etc.  There are some nasty things like Sevin dust (ick!) also suggested.    –Helene Blake

Golden Harvest Organics website has some good info for grasshopper control as far as garlic oil spray; plants which repel grasshoppers, etc.

Keep those ideas coming!!

Just Label It!

More Greenhouse News

News from Arlette & Donna:

This is when we first put in the pipes.  Corky said two beds should be finished.  We are going to leave soaker hoses in the first bed (by the door) where we’ve already planted.  This week I’ll do some final work on the pipes and thin out some of the seedlings. We plan to put in more seedlings/seeds in the other beds around the 24th of March.  Should stay warm enough in there at night.
Kudos to Corky for putting the system together and troubleshooting it.   Donna and I did do a little more than lean on shovels.    :   )

 

Greenhouse Update

Arlette

Arlette & Donna have been volunteering in the greenhouse lately and look at all the great things that are taking place.  Here’s news from them:    We got quite a bit done today (Saturday).  We removed the dead plants in the greenhouse and cleaned up most of the debris.  We’ll go back later and sweep up and remove more.  We also seeded a lot of different greens, broccoli, and basil.  I put string up around some of the areas and we put in plant markers.

Corky is still working on the water situation.

BEFORE

There’s a lot of parsley still left in there and some kale that’s regrowing.  Please let people know so they can come harvest some if they want.  Otherwise, we are going to dig up most of the parsley since it’s taking up a lot of room.
 

AFTER with Donna


Things noted that need to be done
1) water for beds!!
2) soil amendment ( Mike had great alpaca manure)
3) remove rest of debris
4) get all the material in there organized. 
5) plan crop rotation for next planting so things are not all in the same spots this year
6) someone with a bobcat to turn the compost pile to the left of the greenhouse

Holiday Happenings

The past few months have been very busy for Co-op members.  November started with a class on Poultry Processing.  Alex VanAcker showed us how to process our Thanksgiving Turkeys and a few chickens provided by Richard.

The November meeting included a great demonstration on Dutch Oven Cooking by Phyllis Swenson.    Members held a holiday sale of goods and crafts.  All items from herbal crafts, natural laundry soap, artwork, and healthy foods, were displayed and sold.  The sale was held again at the December meeting along with wine tasting.

Dave Fuselier from Spring Creek Winery gave us a class and following the meeting, we had a great potluck full of appetizers.

The next meeting will be Sunday, January 15.  Please join us at the Van Acker house (1636 Elm Ave, Canon City) at 4 pm for a poluck meeting.   A Meatless Monday presentation by Harriet Balhiser will follow the co-op meeting.

We will be having a class before the meeting: Tonya Lewis, a Wellness Consultant, will be conducting a one hour class on the health risks from the chemicals in common cleaning and personal care products, and the connection between these products and illnesses such as Asthma, Allergies, ADD/ADHD, Digestive disorders, Respiratory illness, even cancer. Location of class is 1636 Elm Ave Canon City.   Class is free for Co-op members, $5 for non-members.

The Co-op is starting a movie night this year, first movie showing on January 28th from 4-7 pm.  Location is Van Acker home (1636 Elm Ave., Canon City).   A movie will be chosen from the Co-op Library and discussion will follow the movie.  Please bring a healthy snack since the event flows over into the dinner hour.

Occupy Canon & Pueblo

October News

The summer is winding down and the Co-op is wrapping up the summer season and getting ready for the holiday season and winter.  This Sunday is our October meeting and Class on Making Apple Cider.  If you are interested in making apple cider, bring your own apron, apples and containers and join in the fun—chopping, crushing and bottling your own cider!  Class is free to Co-op members and $5 for non-members.

After the class we will be having the October meeting at 4 pm.  Donia will be giving a demonstration on Making Kombucha Tea (important pro-biotic).  If you would like to take home a starter to make your own, bring a clean pint-sized jar.  After the meeting we will be having our usual “pot-luck.”  No theme this time, but we do promote local/homemade foods.

The farmers markets had a successful season this year thanks to much help from Sandy Sigmund and Cori Quevillon.  We appreciate all the help we received this year from all members that worked the booth, brought us produce/crafts to sell and supported us by coming by and buying our wares.  We don’t make a huge amount of profit from the market, but it helped recruit about 20 new member households this year.  Thanks again!

Gloria Stultz’ Kitchen Pantry is now up and running.  She would like to make the Pantry an extension of the Farmers Market and is looking for persons interested in utilizing the Pantry to produce “groceries” to sell–and she has space available in the Pantry to display and sell your items.  The Co-op is exploring ways to use the Pantry for repackaging/selling our bulk purchases and also selling our greenhouse “produce.”  If any members are interested in becoming involved in this project and have knowledge or hands that can help, please let us know.

We are still looking for new members to serve on the Board.  The election is coming up and if you would like to be a part of our future direction, please let us know so we can get your nomination rolling.  Or if you know someone who would be great for the position, nominate them.  Nominations must be in by October 15th.  We have many ideas for our future direction and would love to have more members become involved.

We are preparing to make our annual run to the San Luis Valley for organic potatoes, quinoa and freshly milled flour.  If anyone if planning a trip to that area within the next 3 weeks and would like to pick up these things for us, let us know—we will gladly pay your fuel expenses (you will probably need a truck, though).  We will have 50# bags of #2 russet potatoes for $10.00, fingerling potatoes @ $1.20/lb., 25 & 50 lb bags of freshly milled organic hard red wheat flour for $14 & $21 respectively.  “White” whole wheat pastry flour is also available for a slightly higher price.   We don’t have a price on the white and black quinoa yet, but it should be similar to last years’ prices.  All of these items are grown organically.  These prices are for members that order in advance, so get your order in ASAP.  If you are not a member and would like to take advantage of these great prices, let us know and we will send you a membership application.  Membership dues are $25/year.

September Meeting/Class

Composting by Richard Hubler

 
 
 

Judy's compost pile

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Stir it up . . .and add water.

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 4,400 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 7 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Cool Things the Co-op is Doing . . .

Cori & Sandy at CCFA Market

 I’m not sure if anyone reads this, but if you do, thank you for not complaining when I haven’t posted here for the past 3 months.  I have been kicking myself for that.  As I tried to think of something to post and the time to do it, I started thinking about all the “cool” things that the Co-op has been doing and wondered why more members are not taking advantage.  We have been signing up lots of new members lately and some of them are not actively involved.  So I thought I would try and make a few posts on those things we do, and see if it will encourage more involvement or more “cool things” getting started.

Saturday Farmers Market

The main “cool thing” that is going on now is the Farmers Markets.  The Co-op is participating in the Wednesday afternoon/evening market sponsored by the CCFA (www.ccfa.coop) and the Saturday morning market next to the library and arts center (www.canoncityfarmersmarket.com).  We currently have some women volunteering (Cori on Wednesdays and Sandy on Saturdays) to be there every week and bring things to sell, but not enough other volunteers to help with the sales, and visiting with prospective members that also goes on at the market.  Any member is welcome to sell their own products.  You can bring in your extra garden produce (zucchini anyone?), flower bouquets, plants, crafts, anything handmade, or just bring your business cards to leave on the table.  Cori sells her goat’s milk lotions and soaps, Sandy sells the extra produce from her garden (currently raspberries and tomatoes) and Donia sells her herbs, herbal soaks, dream pillows and hearbal heating pads.  What do you have to sell?  Come and work (or visit) with us for just an hour or two.  We have lots of fun and are always meeting new people.  And the produce that doesn’t sell at the end of the day, you can take home.

Honey & Raspberries!

Along with the farmers markets goes the greenhouse.  The Fuselier’s were generous enough to let us use their greenhouse and we are getting better every year at keeping the plants alive.  We are currently harvesting lots of chard and kale, along with some beans, cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, peppers, turnips, beets and herbs.  Any member is welcome to join in and plant seeds or starts, and help with weeding and harvesting.  If we are successful in our vision, we will have fresh greens available for our members all during the winter.  We had a community garden on our vision board when we started, but this greenhouse could turn into something bigger and better with everyone’s help.

Corky has been working on the greenhouse keeping the automatic watering system going and doing repairs on the swamp cooler and automatic vents and fans.  He has some other ideas to help with keeping it running and growing.  He goes over there and catches grashoppers for his fishing trips and just spends time in the peaceful lush environment.  It is especially peaceful and warm and inviting during the winter.  Volunteers are still needed to pick on Saturday mornings to help supply the market with produce.  If you would like to help, let us know.

Greenhouse in early spring

I have been reading books on eating local and the “100 mile diet” and I realize that it is difficult to get everything we use in the kitchen locally, but when we have this opportunity to grow our own and know that it is organic and local, how can we not take advantage of this.  We need to support the local economy and keep our neighbors in business.  Buy at the local farmers markets, buy Colorado, buy Made in the USA, stop supporting fuel based big business and learn to eat what’s in season and what is grown locally.  I recently made a trip to Oregon and was amazed to see menus in most restaurants serving local, organic and natural dishes–you don’t even have to ask there–it is just assumed that the patrons care what they are eating. 

Organically grown local produce

Come join the Co-op and help us do more “cool things.”  What would you like to see in our community?  Come to a meeting and let us know.  I will be blogging about some of the other “cool things”  the Co-op does on here such as educational classes, Co-op lending library, lending tool library and bulk/wholesale buying.  By the way, if anyone is going to the western slope and would like to bring back some organic fruit for our members, let us know.  And until next time “Grow Your Local Community!”

More April News

The April meeting of the Co-op was Sunday and we had a great time.  Prior to the meeting, Richard Hubler gave a class on Cheese Making.  He showed us how he makes cheese from his goats’ milk and also showed us how to make a slightly different kind of cheese from cows’ milk.  A great time was had and we all got to make our own little tub of flavored soft cheese (using garlic, jalapenos and the various seasonings Richard brought) to take home with us.  Crackers were also provided so we could taste test our recipes.  Thank you Richard!

The greenhouse continues to produce lots of green food.  Some of us have been eating the spinach, lettuce, turnips, beets, lamb’s quarter, kohlrabi leaves, kale and various herbs growing there.  If anyone is interested in getting some of these fresh greens—let us know by emailing Donia at canoncoop@gmail.com .  We also have a new batch of local honey available, have organic brown basmati rice & millet on order, and we are currently taking orders for sharing a grass-fed, nitrate/nitrite-free pig.  If you are interested in any of these, email Donia.   We also have members that have eggs and hay for sale.  Just let us know what you are looking for or what you have for sale and we will get the word out.

The next Co-op “day” will be May 15th at Judy’s house (1636 Elm Ave).  Richard will be giving another class, this time on Making Compost.  The meeting will be held after the class at 4 pm.  Pot luck theme next month will be “Maypole Magic.”  Bring food that reminds you of spring.

The Co-op continues to grow and welcome new members.  We have had 23 new members join since the beginning of the year and currently have almost 60 member households.   We are planning to participate in both Farmer’s Markets in Canon City this summer and hope to see everyone there at some point helping out.

April News

Our new drip system!

Wow!  Spring came on fast and things are really going and growing.  The greenhouse now has a drip system on a timer.  Whooopeeee!  It looked great when I was in there this afternoon.  Everything was wet and happy!  Thank you Lynn and T—we are so appreciative and we know it took a lot of time.  We now have enough greens (beet, turnip, kohlrabi, kale, parsley, spinach, and lettuce) to sell and they are coming fast and furious.

Greens Anyone?

The March meeting went well with 2 classes before the meeting.  Lynn Sage gave a class on fruit tree pruning.  Everyone got to join in pruning the young fruit trees and older peach tree at the Spring Creek Vineyards.  After that class, Dave Fuselier gave a class on grape vine pruning along with a little story on the vines likes and dislikes.  The business meeting was followed by our potluck of “green foods.”  While we ate, Lynn gave a short talk on dormant sprays for fruit trees. 

The Co-op will be participating in the Farmers Market on Saturday mornings in front of the library again this year.  That market runs from June – October from 8am-1pm.  The Co-op will also be participating in the Farmers Market on Wednesday, 4 -7-pm in the Royal Gorge Train Depot parking lot along the river.  That market will run from June 1st thru October 12th.  Come see us, or better yet, come help us.  We are looking for people to help man the Co-op stands.  Its lots of fun and members are free to sell their produce, plants or crafts.  Let us know if you are interested in helping out.

The April meeting will be held at the Green Desert Eco-Farm in Rockvale.  Richard will be giving a class on Goat Cheese Making before the meeting at 2 pm.  As always, classes are free for Co-op members and $5 for others.  The meeting will be held after the class; the potluck theme is “Goes with Cheese,” and the program will be given by me on Companion Planting.  Not sure how I got roped into doing this the day before tax deadline, but I am taking on the challenge.  So, be sure to bring a friend, it is always a good time!

After the grape pruning class, Dave inspired me to go home and prune my 16 year old concord vine that had never been properly pruned.  What a job and I’m still not sure if I did it right; or maybe I just killed it.  So far—no signs of life.  Here are pictures of before and after.

Grapevine Before

Grapevine After

Radioactive Fallout?

We have been receiving some emails concerning the radiation leak in Japan.  Thought we’d share them here:

This info came from a trusted source … and it reasonates with us.  Be safe, be well!
Please share info if you are inclined to do so.   We are in LA this weekend and will miss seeing you at March’s meeting on Sunday.

****Hugs to all from Cynthia and Daniel. 

DanCin Nichols Expanding Horizons LLC
www.NaturalLikeUs.com Natural Skin Care and Healthy Products
Date: Sunday, March 13, 2011, 7:17 AM
Kay,  just to let you know what my group plans to do about the fallout from the nuclear plants in Japan:  use foods with more iodine in them starting today.  It will help the thyroid fill up on iodine and will keep it from absorbing the fallout that has iodine in it.   We plan to start using iodized salt and fixing a miso soup with seaweed in it.  Nef says not to boil the miso (get it a the health food store) but instead boil the water for the soup, add green onions and kelp.  When these are done then remove the pan from the heat and stir in the miso.  We are planning to eat a cup a day at the minimum.  Reg says that the iodine tablets are dangerous and wouldn’t recommend taking them.  We figure it will take maybe 5 days for the winds to arrive from Japan with the fallout in them.  So start now to build up the iodine in your body.  Now the winds will travel around the planet several times:  some say 7 times.  So you want to sustain this diet for awhile. 
 
Be sure to get your miso and kelp today in case there is a “run” on them by others who plan to protect themselves.  

Second I don’t plan to spend time outdoors this week no matter how great the weather.  The structure of our homes will also protect us.  

And third, don’t expect the gov’t to make any announcements about this.   Japan’s gov’t is already giving out the iodine tablets to the people there…………….. 

Clearing up nuclear questionsNBC’s Robert Bazell on the nuclear crisis.
By Alan Boyle
Three days after a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, the situation at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex has turned into the biggest uncertainty of the crisis. Recovering from the seismic event will take tens of billions of dollars and years of work — but if the nuclear situation goes the wrong way, that would add dramatically to the disaster’s cost.
How did all this happen, and how could it end? Different folks have different answers, depending on how they feel about nuclear power. Here’s a roundup of the best answers I’ve been able to put together — accompanied by an invitation to add your own sources and perspectives as comments below:
Has there been a nuclear meltdown?
Authorities say partial meltdowns have probably occurred at three of the Fukushima Dai-ichi plants. But that doesn’t mean we’re in a “China Syndrome” situation.
To understand what a “partial meltdown” means, we need to discuss how the reactors are constructed. Under normal conditions, the plants produce power by sustaining a controlled nuclear reaction inside a pressure vessel. Chain reactions in the nuclear core’s uranium-filled fuel rods heat up water, generating steam that turns turbines to generate electricity. That steam is circulated through a cooling system and returned to the pressure vessel as water to keep the cycle going. The uranium oxide fuel is contained inside sheaths of zirconium metal that can withstand temperatures of 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit (1,200 degrees Celsius).
Control rods can be inserted between the fuel rods to shut down the main chain reaction in the uranium. But the water-circulating cooling system is needed as well to bring the temperature down while the radioactive decay subsides.

Isotype.com / Reuters / Source: Deutsches Atomforum
The problem is that the power for the cooling system was cut off when the earthquake hit. Then the backup diesel generators were knocked out of commission by the tsunami. Backup batteries could keep the cooling system going for only about eight hours more. The plant’s operator tried to bring in mobile generators to restore power, but the connections reportedly didn’t match up.
Meanwhile, residual heat from radioactive decay continued to build up, and water continued to turn to steam. Eventually, the fuel rods became exposed. The temperatures apparently reached the melting point for the fuel rods’ zirconium sheaths. That can result in uranium oxide fuel falling to the bottom of the pressure vessel — which is what some experts mean when they talk about a partial meltdown. Other experts, however, would reserve that term for a situation in which the nuclear fuel makes its way out of the pressure vessel but stays within a steel-and-concrete containment shell that surrounds the reactor.

February News

Biointensive Gardening Class

The Canon Co-op February meeting will be held on Sunday the 20th at 4 pm.  It will be at Aardwolf Alpacas (www.aardwolfalpacas.com) located at 167 Cactus Drive W., Canon City (8 miles west of Canon City and 2 miles up Highway 9).  Harriet Balhiser will give the program on the new Ethical Vegan Society she has started in Canon City.  She will provide vegan food samples.  We will also have a dessert/cookie exchange for our potluck.  Please email us or call Donia (275-3140) to arrange carpooling.  No need to waste gas these days.

There is much going on this month with the Co-op.  Some of our members attended a Weston A. Price Foundation meeting in Colorado Springs and learned how to make kefir, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods.  Look for a program on making kefir later in the year.

The Ethical Vegan Society will be meeting on Monday, February 14 at 2 PM at Momo’s Japanese Restaurant (located at 1540 Royal Gorge Blvd. – across the driveway from Canon Coffee Café).

Richard & Kerry are doing their earthbag barn building blitz next weekend (Feb. 18-20) and they need help.  See the article in the Daily Record (http://www.canoncitydailyrecord.com/Top-story.asp?ID=15860).  And here is a note from Richard:

We need some help getting folks to come out, particularly to help with people management, food, etc. We keep getting more and more folks calling to help with the manual labor, especially since today’s paper had us on the front page! We were hoping for lots of folks and it seems like that might happen. Not many people are calling to say they’ll come just to hang out and help with all the ancillary stuff though. So I am hoping you can help get the word around and maybe let friends know they can come out to help and won’t have to lift shovels or do manual labor or anything of that sort.

Lynne Sage will be conducting a garden prep class on Thursday Feb. 24th from 6:30 – 8 pm.  It will be held at the Canon City Fine Arts Center.  The cost of the class is $20, Co-op members are free.

The Co-op will have a fresh supply of organic pasta, organic whole wheat spaghetti and organic raw sugar for sale at the meeting.  The pasta is $1.50/package and the sugar is $1/lb.

GMO Review

If you haven’t seen Richard’s blog yet, check it out.  His latest post explains the GMO issue.  http://greendesertecofarm.com/blog/

A Food Manifesto for the Future

From Mark Bittman at the New York Times

view the source article here:

For decades, Americans believed that we had the world’s healthiest and safest diet. We worried little about this diet’s effect on the environment or on the lives of the animals (or even the workers) it relies upon. Nor did we worry about its ability to endure — that is, its sustainability.

That didn’t mean all was well. And we’ve come to recognize that our diet is unhealthful and unsafe. Many food production workers labor in difficult, even deplorable, conditions, and animals are produced as if they were widgets. It would be hard to devise a more wasteful, damaging, unsustainable system.

 

Here are some ideas — frequently discussed, but sadly not yet implemented — that would make the growing, preparation and consumption of food healthier, saner, more productive, less damaging and more enduring. In no particular order:

  • End government subsidies to processed food. We grow more corn for livestock and cars than for humans, and it’s subsidized by more than $3 billion annually; most of it is processed beyond recognition. The story is similar for other crops, including soy: 98 percent of soybean meal becomes livestock feed, while most soybean oil is used in processed foods. Meanwhile, the marketers of the junk food made from these crops receive tax write-offs for the costs of promoting their wares. Total agricultural subsidies in 2009 were around $16 billion, which would pay for a great many of the ideas that follow.
  • Begin subsidies to those who produce and sell actual food for direct consumption. Small farmers and their employees need to make living wages. Markets — from super- to farmers’ — should be supported when they open in so-called food deserts and when they focus on real food rather than junk food. And, of course, we should immediately increase subsidies for school lunches so we can feed our youth more real food.
  • Break up the U.S. Department of Agriculture and empower the Food and Drug Administration. Currently, the U.S.D.A. counts among its missions both expanding markets for agricultural products (like corn and soy!) and providing nutrition education. These goals are at odds with each other; you can’t sell garbage while telling people not to eat it, and we need an agency devoted to encouraging sane eating. Meanwhile, the F.D.A. must be given expanded powers to ensure the safety of our food supply. (Food-related deaths are far more common than those resulting from terrorism, yet the F.D.A.’s budget is about one-fifteenth that of Homeland Security.)
  • Outlaw concentrated animal feeding operations and encourage the development of sustainable animal husbandry. The concentrated system degrades the environment, directly and indirectly, while torturing animals and producing tainted meat, poultry, eggs, and, more recently, fish. Sustainable methods of producing meat for consumption exist. At the same time, we must educate and encourage Americans to eat differently. It’s difficult to find a principled nutrition and health expert who doesn’t believe that a largely plant-based diet is the way to promote health and attack chronic diseases, which are now bigger killers, worldwide, than communicable ones. Furthermore, plant-based diets ease environmental stress, including global warming.
  • Encourage and subsidize home cooking. (Someday soon, I’ll write about my idea for a new Civilian Cooking Corps.) When people cook their own food, they make better choices. When families eat together, they’re more stable. We should provide food education for children (a new form of home ec, anyone?), cooking classes for anyone who wants them and even cooking assistance for those unable to cook for themselves.
  • Tax the marketing and sale of unhealthful foods. Another budget booster. This isn’t nanny-state paternalism but an accepted role of government: public health. If you support seat-belt, tobacco and alcohol laws, sewer systems and traffic lights, you should support legislation curbing the relentless marketing of soda and other foods that are hazardous to our health — including the sacred cheeseburger and fries.
  • Reduce waste and encourage recycling. The environmental stress incurred by unabsorbed fertilizer cannot be overestimated, and has caused, for example, a 6,000-square-mile dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico that is probably more damaging than the BP oil spill. And some estimates indicate that we waste half the food that’s grown. A careful look at ways to reduce waste and promote recycling is in order.
  • Mandate truth in labeling. Nearly everything labeled “healthy” or “natural” is not. It’s probably too much to ask that “vitamin water” be called “sugar water with vitamins,” but that’s precisely what real truth in labeling would mean.
  • Reinvest in research geared toward leading a global movement in sustainable agriculture, combining technology and tradition to create a new and meaningful Green Revolution.

I’ll expand on these issues (and more) in the future, but the essential message is this: food and everything surrounding it is a crucial matter of personal and public health, of national and global security. At stake is not only the health of humans but that of the earth.

This column appeared in print on February 2, 2011. It will appear in Opinionator regularly.

Urgent news on GMO Alfalfa

UPDATE – WE LOST THIS ONE…..

The US Dept of Agriculture (otherwise known as the Washington DC office of BioTech Ag) decided to approve GMO alfalfa. The entire press release can be found here but basically it is full of bollocks about how they tried to work hard to include the concerns of everyone. No explanation is given on how they managed to end up on the side where the money is, but Secretary Vilsak is apparently confident enough of his future paycheck to say “Roundup-Ready alfalfa is as safe as traditionally bred alfalfa.”

 

Sourced from the Greenhorns blog and the Institute for Renewable Technology
The USDA is poised to approve (after a lot of controversial insider deals and moratoriums) Roundup Ready Alfalfa.

Roundup is herbicide. Monsanto is a corporation. Alfalfa is a fodder crop, high in protein.
Roundup Ready Alfalfa is tolerant of spray, cannot be killed by spray. It is grown a lot in the mountainous west on irrigation circles, but also in more appropriate places. It is an important feed for the dairy industry.
GMO alfalfa has been shown to drift, it is a major bee-forage when if flowers and there is concern about that as well. Alfalfa is also conventionally removed with spray, so a spray-proof alfalfa has some people worried.
There are all sorts of issues we could talk about… but here is a new one:
This article alleges that glyphosate, the active chemical in Roundup Herbicide, triggers plant diseases. And even that it chemically alters the soil in a plant-harmful way…a way that lasts longer than the intended effect. Imagine, a chemical company selling spray that weakens the immunity of crop plants to disease.

Its an argument I haven’t heard before, but I sure did see the yellow soybeans from train windows all last year and wondered why we didn’t read more about soy diseases. Have a read. This will piss off a lot of farmers.
Monsanto’s Roundup Triggers Over 40 Plant Diseases and Endangers Human and Animal Health
by Jeffrey Smith for the Institute for Responsible Technology

The following article reveals the devastating and unprecedented impact that Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide is having on the health of our soil, plants, animals, and human population. On top of this perfect storm, the USDA now wants to approve Roundup Ready alfalfa, which will exacerbate this calamity. Please tell USDA Secretary Vilsack not to approve Monsanto’s alfalfa today. [Note: typos corrected from Jan 16th, see details]

While visiting a seed corn dealer’s demonstration plots in Iowa last fall, Dr. Don Huber walked passed a soybean field and noticed a distinct line separating severely diseased yellowing soybeans on the right from healthy green plants on the left (see photo). The yellow section was suffering from Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS), a serious plant disease that ravaged the Midwest in 2009 and ’10, driving down yields and profits. Something had caused that area of soybeans to be highly susceptible and Don had a good idea what it was.

continue reading the article HERE

Biointensive Farming Workshop on January 23rd

Grow More Food Than You Ever Thought Possible In Your Own Backyard

Introduction to Biointensive Gardening Workshop

The Canon Food Co-op will be hosting an introduction to Biointensive farming, an organic system that maximizes food production in a minimal amount of space. Biointensive class flyer

Location: Fremont Center for the Arts,

505 Macon Ave across from Canon City Library

9am-3pm Sunday January 23rd.

Cost is $20 at the door (Co-op members get in free)

Bring a dish to share at the potluck lunch.

Class space is limited, so please register early.

Contact the Canon Food Co-op by email at canoncoop@gmail.com

or call Judy Van Acker at 640-5979

GROW BIOINTENSIVE mini-farming techniques make it possible to grow food using:

67% to 88% less water

50% to 100% less fertilizer

99% less energy than commercial agriculture

all while using a fraction of the resources

These techniques can also:

Produce 2 to 6 times more food

Build the soil up to 60 times faster than in nature, if properly used

Reduce by half or more the amount of land needed

Statistics courtesy of Ecology Action

Workshop Description:

The Bio-intensive farm workshop, which takes place on Sunday January 23rd, will cover the methods developed by John Jeavons, a prominent agriculturist whose biointensive techniques have been implemented by Save the Children, UNICEF, and The Peace Corps.

From 9am until noon, we will cover the 8 principles of Biointensive farming in the classroom:

  • Deep Soil Preparation
  • Composting
  • Intensive Planting
  • Companion Planting
  • Carbon Farming
  • Calorie Farming
  • Open Pollinated Seeds
  • Whole System Method

From 1 to 3 pm, the workshop will move to the Co-op’s Greenhouse Space at Spring Creek Vineyards, 1702 Willow St, where we will practice deep soil preparation.

Participants are requested to bring a dish to share at the one hour pot-luck lunch break, designed so community members can meet and connect with each other while sharing a meal.

WikiLeaks Cables Reveal U.S. Sought to Retaliate Against Europe over Refusing to Allow Monsanto GM Crops

By Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, Democracy Now!
Posted on December 28, 2010, Printed on December 28, 2010
http://www.alternet.org/story/149348/

 

JUAN GONZALEZ: U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks reveal the Bush administration drew up ways to retaliate against Europe for refusing to use genetically modified seeds. In 2007, then-US ambassador to France Craig Stapleton was concerned about France’s decision to ban cultivation of genetically modified corn produced by biotech giant Monsanto. He also warned that a new French environmental review standard could spread anti-biotech policy across Europe.

In the leaked cable, Stapleton writes, “Europe is moving backwards not forwards on this issue with France playing a leading role, along with Austria, Italy and even the [European] Commission…Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voice.”

AMY GOODMAN: Ambassador Stapleton goes on to write, “Country team Paris recommends that we calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU since this is a collective responsibility, but that also focuses in part on the worst culprits. The list should be measured rather than vicious and must be sustainable over the long term, since we should not expect an early victory,” he wrote.

Well, for more, we’re going to Iowa City to speak with Jeffrey Smith, executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology, author of two books, Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies about the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You’re Eating and the book Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods.

Jeffrey Smith, talk about the significance of these documents leaked by WikiLeaks.

JEFFREY SMITH: Well, we’ve been saying for years that the United States government is joined at the hip with Monsanto and pushing GMOs as part of Monsanto’s agenda on the rest of the world. This lays bare the mechanics of that effort. We have Craig Stapleton, the former ambassador to France, specifically asking the U.S. government to retaliate and cause some harm throughout the European Union. And then, two years later, in 2009, we have a cable from the ambassador to Spain from the United States asking for intervention there, asking the government to help formulate a biotech strategy and support the government—members of the government in Spain that want to promote GMOs, as well. And here, they specifically indicate that they sat with the director of Monsanto for the region and got briefed by him about the politics of the region and created strategies with him to promote the GMO agenda.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Now, they apparently were especially interested in one Monsanto product, MON 810. Could you talk about that?

JEFFREY SMITH: Yes. This is the first seed that was approved for widespread planting. You see, the biotech industry was concerned initially about the European Union accepting genetically modified foods. Although that had been approved for years by the commission, the food industry had rejected it because consumers were concerned. And so, there hasn’t been a lot of food going to the European Union that’s genetically modified.

However, they had planned to allow the growing of genetically modified seeds. Now that MON 810 has been allowed, individual countries have stepped forward to ban in. And so, in 2007, they were concerned about that, and so they were trying to create a strategy to force these countries to accept the first of the genetically modified seeds. Since then, there’s been more evidence showing that this genetically modified corn damages mice and rats, etc., can cause reductions of fertility, smaller litter sizes, smaller offspring, immune responses, etc. And these have gone largely ignored by both the European Food Safety Authority and the United States FDA.

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about these health effects. Jeffrey Smith, you wrote a fascinating “Anniversary of a Whistleblowing Hero” piece about a British scientist and about the repercussions he suffered. He was one of the biggest GMO advocates. And explain what happened and what he actually learned.

JEFFREY SMITH: Well, Dr. Arpad Pusztai was actually working on a $3 million grant from the U.K. government to figure out how to test for the safety of GMOs. And what he discovered quite accidentally is that genetically modified organisms are inherently unsafe. Within 10 days, his supposedly harmless GMO potatoes caused massive damage to rats—smaller brains, livers and testicles, partial atrophy of the liver, damaged immune system, etc. And what he discovered was it was the process, the generic process of genetic engineering, that was likely the cause of the problem. He went public with his concerns and was a hero.

AMY GOODMAN: Jeffrey Smith, if you could explain this. This is very significant, because he was an expert on the protein that was—it’s this kind of insecticide. And everyone thought, oh, that might be the thing that would hurt people. But he said, actually, it wasn’t that.

JEFFREY SMITH: Exactly. You see, he was testing with rats that were eating the genetically modified potato, engineered to produce an insecticidal protein. But he also tested other groups of rats that were eating natural potatoes that were spiked with that same protein, and then a third group that was just eating natural potatoes without the insecticide. Only the group that ate the genetically engineered potato got these problems, not the group that was eating the potatoes along with the insecticide. So it clearly wasn’t the insecticide; it was somehow the process of genetic engineering.

Now, that process creates massive collateral damage inside the DNA of the plant. Hundreds and thousands of mutations can be formed. There could be hundreds or thousands of genes that are natural genes in the plant that change their levels of expression. For example, with MON 810 corn, they found that there was a gene that is normally silent that is switched on and now creates an allergen in corn. They found 43 different genes that were significantly up-regulated or down-regulated, meaning that there’s massive changes in these crops and they’re not being evaluated by the U.S.—by the FDA or any other regulatory authority around the world before being put onto the market.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Now, was there any indication from the cables or from your research that the pressure that Ambassador Stapleton and other U.S. officials were putting on the E.U. had the desired effect? Because former Ambassador Stapleton, was not just any former ambassador, he was the former co-owner of the Texas Rangers with former President George W. Bush.

JEFFREY SMITH: Well, we’ve seen a consistent effort by the U.S. to bully Europe. But, you see, the European mind on this is kind of divided. Some countries are clearly in the camp of precautionary principle and protecting interests for health. Others are basically moving in lockstep with the U.S. government and Monsanto. So it’s a fiercely pitched battle on every front in Europe.

A lot of the focus of the State Department has been on developing countries. They try and push GMOs into Africa. They deployed the Secretary of State’s chief advisory—scientific adviser, Nina Fedoroff, to Australia and to India. They tried to engage the Indian government with a contract or a treaty that would allow their scientists to be trained in the U.S. So they’ve been working around the world to try and influence policy on every single continent. And in some cases, they’re actually winning, where they’re overtaking the regulatory authorities and making it quite weak, like it is in the U.S. And in some cases in Europe now, there’s more resistance than ever, now that it’s “not in my backyard” politics, “no planting in my country” type of politics.

AMY GOODMAN: Jeffrey Smith, can you compare the Obama administration on biotechnology with the Bush administration?

JEFFREY SMITH: Unfortunately, we were hoping for a lot more success. President Obama, while he was campaigning here in Iowa, promised that he would require labeling of genetically modified crops. And since most Americans say they would avoid GMOs if labeled, that would have eliminated it from the food supply. But, you see, he and the FDA have been promoting the biotechnology. And unfortunately, the Obama administration has not been better than the Bush administration, possibly worse.

For example, the person who was in charge of FDA policy in 1992, Monsanto’s former attorney, Michael Taylor, he allowed GMOs on the market without any safety studies and without labeling, and the policy claimed that the agency was not aware of any information showing that GMOs were significantly different. Seven years later, because of a lawsuit, 44,000 secret internal FDA memos revealed that that policy was a lie. Not only were the scientists at the FDA aware that GMOs were different, they had warned repeatedly that they might create allergies, toxins, new diseases and nutritional problems. But they were ignored, and their warnings were even denied, and the policy went forth allowing the deployment GMOs into the food supply with virtually no safety studies. That person in charge is now the U.S. food safety czar in the Obama administration.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And what is your general assessment of the sweeping reform that the Obama administration pushed through of the FDA, considered one of the biggest reforms of that agency in decades? Your assessment of it?

JEFFREY SMITH: Well, if the FDA were absolutely dedicated to protecting public health, giving them more power makes sense. But investigation after investigation for years, it turns out that they often serve their “clients,” which is industry. Even one-third of their own surveyed members in September revealed that they believe that corporate and special interests really dictates policy in the area of public health. So, my opinion is, giving them more power without first eliminating that bias towards corporations is a dangerous formula. In fact, they are officially mandated with promoting the biotech industry, which is obviously a conflict of interest.

AMY GOODMAN: I know both Eric Schlosser and also Michael Pollan have hailed the food safety legislation, but on the issue of talking to the State Department and what they’re pushing abroad, I want to just say we did call the State Department and did not get a response. We wanted them to come on today’s broadcast.

Finally, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Jeffrey Smith, your assessment?

JEFFREY SMITH: Well, he was our governor here in Iowa, and he was the biotech governor of the year in 2001. And unfortunately, he’s been following that course of action since he has been put in office. They released today the environmental impact statement for alfalfa, where they ignore their own data regarding the increase of pesticides because of GMOs. They ignore the data of their own scientists and other scientists, which show the use of Roundup, which will be promoted through this Roundup Ready alfalfa, is actually very toxic both for the environment and for human health. And so, he, as well as many others of the Obama administration, have been taken essentially from the biotech ranks and are now calling the shots there. And I’m very disappointed.

There was some indication in the EIS, however, for the alfalfa that he might take into consideration concerns about contamination, which we all know is permanent, where the self-propagating genetic pollution of genetically modified foods can outlast the effects of global warming and nuclear waste. It’s being released now without—with very little concern. Finally, we see some ray of light, where they’re actually paying attention, but it’s not enough. It’s not based really on science.

Amy Goodman is the host of the nationally syndicated radio news program, Democracy Now!.

Update on GMO Beets

 

CENTER FOR FOOD SAFETY UPDATE: WINNING THE BATTLE ON GMOS IN THE UNITED STATES

 

San Francisco, CA – Today Federal District Judge Jeffrey S. White issued a preliminary injunction ordering the immediate destruction of hundreds of acres of genetically engineered (GE) sugar beet seedlings planted in September after finding the seedlings had been planted in violation of federal law.  The ruling comes in a lawsuit filed by Earthjustice and Center for Food Safety on behalf of a coalition of farmers, consumers, and conservation groups.  The lawsuit was filed on September 9, shortly after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) revealed it had allowed the seedlings to be planted.

The court outlined the many ways in which GE sugar beets could harm the environment and consumers, noting that containment efforts were insufficient and past contamination incidents were “too numerous” to allow the illegal crop to remain in the ground. In his court order, Judge White noted, “farmers and consumers would likely suffer harm from cross-contamination” between GE sugar beets and non-GE crops. He continued, “the legality of Defendants’ conduct does not even appear to be a close question,” noting that the government and Monsanto tried to circumvent his prior ruling, which made GE sugar beets illegal.

Paul Achitoff of Earthjustice, lead counsel for the plaintiffs, said, “USDA thumbed its nose at the judicial system and the public by allowing this crop to be grown without any environmental review.  Herbicide resistant crops just like this have been shown to result in more toxic chemicals in our soil and water.  USDA has shown no regard for the environmental laws, and we’re pleased that Judge White ordered the appropriate response.”

Plaintiff Center for Food Safety’s Senior Staff Attorney George Kimbrell said, “Today’s decision is a seminal victory for farmers and the environment and a vindication of the rule of law.  The public interest has prevailed over USDA’s repeated efforts to implement the unlawful demands of the biotech industry.”

The plaintiffs—The Center for Food Safety, Organic Seed Alliance, High Mowing Organic Seeds, and the Sierra Club—had immediately sought a court order to halt the planting.  On September 28 Judge White ruled that USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) had violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by allowing the plantings without analyzing the potential environmental, health, and socioeconomic impacts of growing GE sugar beets.  Judge White heard testimony from the parties during a three-day hearing in November before issuing today’s ruling.

Monsanto created “Roundup Ready” crops to withstand its Roundup herbicide (with the active ingredient  glyphosate), which it then sells to farmers together with its patented seed, for which it charges farmers a substantial “technology fee.”  Earlier this year, the Department of Justice announced it had opened a formal investigation into possible anticompetitive practices in Monsanto’s use of such patented crops.  Growing previous Roundup Ready crops such as soy, cotton, and corn have led to greater use of herbicides.  It also has led to the spread of herbicide resistant weeds on millions of acres throughout the United States and other countries where such crops are grown, and contamination of conventional and organic crops, which has been costly to U.S. farmers.  There is also evidence that such herbicide-resistant crops may be more susceptible to serious plant diseases.

In an earlier case the court ruled that USDA had violated NEPA by allowing the crop to be commercialized without first preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).  In August the court made any future planting and sale unlawful until USDA complies with federal law.  (USDA has said it expects to complete an EIS in spring 2012.)  But almost immediately after the ruling, USDA issued permits allowing companies to plant seedlings to produce seed for future Roundup Ready sugar beet crops, even though the crops are still illegal to grow, and no EIS has been prepared.  The seed growers rushed to plant the seed crop in Oregon and Arizona, apparently hoping to outrun the legal action to stop it.  In this latest case, USDA argued that the seedlings were separate from the rest of the sugar beet crop cycle and had no impact by themselves, but Judge White rejected this.  He found that the law requires USDA to analyze the impacts of not only the seedlings, but the rest of the Roundup Ready sugar beet production process as well, before any part of that process can begin.

Courts have twice rescinded USDA’s approval of biotech crops. The first such crop, Roundup Ready alfalfa, is also illegal to plant, based on the vacating of its deregulation in 2007 pending preparation of an EIS.  Although Monsanto appealed that case all the way to the Supreme Court and the High Court set aside part of the relief granted, the full prohibition on its planting – based on the same initial remedy granted here, the vacatur – remains in place.

This case is Center for Food Safety v. Vilsack, No. C10-04038 JSW (N.D. Cal. 2010). http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/SBII-ORDER-granting-preliminary-inj.pdf

 

Black Quinoa

This is the source of the black quinoa the Co-op recently purchased.  We will have it available at the next meeting if you are interested.  Recipes follow the article.

Colorado Quinoa–Transplanted from the Andes   By Debbie Whittaker

When Ernie New and John McCamant started planting quinoa at their White Mountain Farm in Mosca, Colorado in 1987, they thought they could duplicate the finicky growing conditions similar to its native Andean micro-climate. Quinoa, a pseudo grain rapidly gaining popularity in the United States, requires cool nights and warm days below 90 degrees to set seed. The high San Luis Valley of Colorado is one of the few areas in North America that can support quinoa, but the end result was far different from the original seed that was introduced.

Several years after planting began, New and McCamant noticed deep-purple seed heads on stalks up to two feet taller than their predecessors. The traditional seed had crossed with its native North American ancestor, lamb’s-quarter, to hybridize into a heartier form. Black quinoa was born, and Colorado became home to one the most unique and nutritive foods of the 20th century.

AN ANCIENT FOOD

Native to Peru, quinoa (pronounced keen wah) was the mother grain of the Incas for centuries. But with the Spanish invasion, quinoa became relegated to the staple of peasants, where it would have remained if not for the demanding palates of American diners–ever hungry for diverse and eclectic foods.

Although most people refer to it as a grain, quinoa is actually a broadleaf plant that bears a dense seed head. Small, flattened, bead-like kernels resemble the head of a pin. Clustered at the top of a tall stalk, the seeds ripen in a rainbow of colors, most vividly orange on Peruvian plants. While the plant is cultivated for use as a grain alternative, spouts, leaves and immature seed heads also are eaten.

A comparison between black and white quinoa is similar to wild and domestic rice. Black quinoa is darker in color, crunchier in texture and has a stronger grain-like flavor. White quinoa is considerably less earthy in all respects. Both varieties exhibit the characteristic crunch unique to quinoa, referred to by my teenage daughter, Jessica, as vegetable caviar. Cooked quickly, quinoa yields its famous texture. Simmered longer with more water, white quinoa softens to a texture more reminiscent of cooked breakfast cereal. Quinoa is often served at breakfast where its bland flavor provides the perfect backdrop to fruit, yogurt and other toppings.

Generally known as a side dish, quinoa’s earthy flavor complements a wide variety of foods from breakfast through dinner, appetizers through deserts. Stirred into soups and stews, stuffed into bell peppers or topped with sauce, quinoa often is used as a substitute in recipes calling for other grains. The nondescript flavor welcomes the addition of a range of ingredients from sweet to savory, including most herbs, flavorful broths, and simply prepared raw or cooked vegetables. In the kitchen, quinoa can be used much like our ubiquitous rice, but it is not as susceptible to overcooking and offers more possibilities than other grains. It is actually fairly indestructible.

HIGH NUTRITION TOUTED

While quinoa’s unique texture and endless versatility have tantalized high-end, innovative chefs, its outstanding nutritional profile is the characteristic that sets it apart from grains. Quinoa garnered a reputation as a high endurance food from Andean natives. Believed to oxygenate the blood, quinoa provides possibly more essential nutrients than any other single food. With superior protein and amino acid balance, quinoa is also high in calcium, phosphorus, iron, most B vitamins, zinc and lysine.

Welcomed by health food aficionados, quinoa is often mixed, tucked, topped and somehow combined with other foods to enhance nutrient density. Try it rolled into cabbage leaves, stuffed into mushrooms or layered with sweet potatoes or traditional lasagna ingredients. Quinoa flour has been extruded into pasta and formed into numerous gluten-free baked goods, which offer strong nutritional benefits but without the coveted crunch. To get the unique bite into baked goods without using the flour, try stirring cooked grain into cookie, muffin and pancake batter made with any flour of your choice.

KEYS TO COOKING

No matter how you cook the grain, rinsing is the key to success. Quinoa seeds are coated with bitter saphonins, which must be removed before cooking. Prepackaged quinoa has usually been polished or pre-rinsed, but relying on preprocessing is risky. Saphonin dust often remains in polished grain and any residue will quickly dampen your enthusiasm.

To remove the saphonins, put the quinoa into a fine strainer and run water through it, or stir it in a bowl of cold water and pour it through a clean kitchen towel. Repeat the process until the water runs clear and is no longer sudsy. The amount of rinsing necessary may vary greatly.

Prepackaged quinoa is currently available in most mainstream grocery stores. Bulk quinoa, which is often considerably less expensive, appears in natural foods stores. As New, McCamant and a handful of others work to refine the process of growing quinoa in North America, virtually all quinoa available commercially in the United States is imported from Bolivia. While quinoa is loaded with nutrition and delicious in any form, Colorado’s black quinoa provides an incomparable taste sensation. Available only on the Internet and at limited farmers markets around the state, black quinoa is truly a unique culinary experience.

RESOURCES:

White Mountain Farm, 8890 Lane 4 North, Mosca, CO 719- 378-2436. www.whitemountainfarm.com.

Sopp and Truscott Bakery, 480 Main St., Silver Plume, Colorado, 80476, 303-589-3395, black and white organic quinoa and quinoa baked goods.

On the internet: Search “quinoa” on the internet for domestic and imported sources. Request seed specifically for growing or sprouts when ordering, if applicable.

 Basic quinoa

  • 1 cup black or white quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Put the quinoa into a fine strainer, and run water through it until the water is clear and no longer sudsy. If you don’t have a fine strainer, rinse the quinoa in a bowl filled with water, and then pour it through a clean dishtowel.

In a 2-quart pot, bring the water to a boil. Stir in the wet quinoa and simmer over low medium heat uncovered until done, about 12 minutes for white, or 15 minutes for black. Quinoa is fully cooked when the germ has separated from the grain. It looks like a small white “C” shape surrounding each grain. If any excess liquid remains, pour it off and raise the heat to quickly boil off the rest. Stir in the salt.

Variations: Substitute canned or homemade stock, or fruit juice for the water; or add Marmite, Vegemite or bouillon. Adjust the salt accordingly.

Quinoa-stuffed Bell Peppers

Serves four as a side dish, two as a main course

  • 2 large sweet red bell peppers
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 Tab. olive oil
  • 1 recipe cooked quinoa, black or white
  • 2 Tabs. fresh, snipped chives
  • 1 tsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • salt and freshly ground pepper (optional)

Heat the grill. Cut peppers in half lengthwise. Core and seed, making sure not to pierce the sides. Set the peppers aside. Sauté the mushrooms and garlic in oil over medium heat for ten minutes. Add the quinoa and heat through. Stir in the chives, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Fill the peppers and place on a hot grill. Cook until the peppers are cooked through but still sturdy enough to hold the filling, about 10 minutes. This makes an excellent vegetarian meal with additional grilled vegetables and accompaniments.

Quinoa Salad

Serves four

  • 1 Tab. lemon juice
  • 1 Tab. cold-pressed olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 2 scallions, 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 recipe basic quinoa, cold or room temperature
  • 2 ripe medium tomatoes, diced and lightly salted, juice reserved
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Whisk together the lemon juice, oil, parsley and scallions in a serving bowl large enough to hold all ingredients. Stir in the quinoa and then the tomatoes. Adjust salt, pepper, lemon juice and oil (which will depend on the temperature and moisture content of the quinoa). Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Quinoa Pancakes

Courtesy White Mountain Farm

30 4-inch pancakes

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cup buttermilk or sour milk
  • 4 Tab. shortening
  • 2 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa

Beat eggs well. Add remaining ingredients and beat. Fry on hot griddle.

Quinoa Shrimp Croquettes

Courtesy White Mountain Farm

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup shrimp, chopped
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger

Combine ingredients. Mix well and form into 1-inch balls. Deep fry until golden brown. You may have to add a little flour to keep balls together. Dipping sauce may be made by combining 1/2 C tamari, 2 TB rice vinegar or cider vinegar and 3/4 C water. These croquettes can be served as an appetizer or side dish.

Why We Need Labels

  • Only 26% of the U.S. public understands that most junk foods and animal products contain GMO ingredients.
  • The FDA is moving fast to approve a brave new world of GMO foods, including genetically engineered animals like Frankenfish, the eel-like-ocean-pout-chinook-Atlantic-salmon mix.
  • Genetically modified foods are less nutritious, more likely to trigger an allergy, and contain higher levels of growth hormones and pesticides. Yet GM foods aren’t required to be rigorously tested for food safety before they end up in grocery stores and restaurants.
  • Common genetically modified food ingredients include corn syrup from GM corn, sugar from GM sugar beets, vegetable oils from GM soy, cotton and canola, and cheese, eggs, milk and meat from animals given GM feed or shot up with GM growth hormones and vaccines.
  • The same foods that are making people fat, sick, and undernourished are the ones that Monsanto has genetically engineered. High fructose corn syrup, trans-fats, fryer grease, chicken nuggets, and bacon cheese burgers all contain GMOs.
  • The industrial-scale mono-crop farms, factory farms and slaughterhouses that are abusing workers and animals, destroying the soil, poisoning the water, polluting the atmosphere with climate-destabilizing greenhouse gases, and creating a breeding ground for mad cow disease, E. coli, salmonella, and swine flu, are the best customers for Monsanto’s RoundUp Ready and Bt-spliced crops. Agribusiness thrives off feeding taxpayer subsidized GMO crops, especially corn, soy and cotton seeds, to the chickens, pigs and cows they keep confined in cesspools of their own waste.
  • Companies like Monsanto and AquaBounty (the Frankenfish inventor), claim that GMOs are “sustainable” because they’re going to feed the world as the global climate crisis accelerates. But genetic engineering companies’ business model – mass-marketing techno-fixes for the industrialized food system – only perpetuates the waste and pollution that have already made agriculture the source of at least one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions.
  • GMOs can’t beat the capacity of organics for restoration, resilience, and abundance. Organic agriculture is the best way to remove billions of tons of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and safely sequester them for centuries in the living soil of organic farms, pastures, and rangelands. If all the world’s cropland were transitioned to organic, it would sequester 40% of current greenhouse gas emissions. Organic systems also produce higher yields than GMOs and are more resistant to droughts, floods, diseases and pests.
  • The organic solution to the climate crisis is threatened by contamination from GMOs. Organic agriculture relies on the diversity and resilience of the thousands of varieties of crops and food animals that humans have cultivated for every soil and climate on Earth. GMOs, also known as “recombinant DNA”, are bizarre combinations of foreign genes forcefully inserted into “host organisms” from different species. Once you insert foreign genes into a food crop or animal, these mutant varieties breed and reproduce. These GE mutations are likely permanent, meaning that it is only a matter of time before natural and organic varieties are contaminated with GMO traits.
  • GMO contamination could lead to the collapse of the industrialized food system. GMOs have the capacity to break the species barrier. Weeds that plague row crops have adopted the RoundUp Ready trait, creating super-weeds that are forcing farmers to turn to greater amounts of super-toxic herbicides and pesticides. The overuse of RoundUp, the most widely-used pesticide in the history of agriculture, enhances the virulence of pathogens such as Fusarium and may have dire consequences for agriculture such as rendering soils infertile, crops non-productive, and plants less nutritious.

Those Letters Do Help!

FRESH activists win again! We have yet another victory for the good movement; this time, it’s over drugged milk. With your help, we sent nearly 3,000 letters to Gov. Strickland demanding that he cancel the absurd law which banned the use of the “rBGH free” label. Just last week, a federal judge struck down the law, ruling that milk from cows treated with rBGH is compositionally different from untreated milk, and consumers have the right to know if they’re buying milk with synthetic hormones in it. This is a major victory, and will hopefully set a serious precedent for labeling, especially in light of the battle against genetically modified salmon. We will keep fighting!

Grow Your Local Community

I just returned from a trip to Austin, TX where I visited the downtown Farmers Market on Saturday.  It was quite a bit bigger than our farmers market, which is to be expected, but not a lot different.  Prices were a bit higher, but not as high as the ones I saw in San Francisco last year.  They did have a few more choices, such as fresh Gulf fish and shrimp, grass-fed lamb, and many different kinds of cheese.  They also had a landscaped area where volunteers were spreading bark mulch around.  There were quite a few people running around hauling mulch in wheelbarrows from a big pile near the alley to the garden area where others were spreading it around with shovels and rakes.  What a great idea—put up a sign that says “Volunteer Here.” 

Austin has a slogan that I saw everywhere—“Keep Austin Weird—Support Local Businesses.”  It made sense to me, but I wasn’t quite sure what they meant by keeping Austin weird, so I asked around and got lots of different explanations—not sure anyone really knows.  But it seems that Austin lumps “green folks” and “hippies” in the same category—and since the “tie-dye” attire seems to be weird to them, they call us folks that want to support local economies “weird.”  That’s ok, I’ve always considered myself to be “weirder” than most.   I just hope it catches on everywhere before it’s too late.  Well, here is Canon Co-op’s new slogan—“Grow Your Local Community.”

The new Federal Health Care Reform Act creates a new interagency council to promote healthy policies and to establish a national prevention and health promotion strategy by raising awareness of activities to promote health and prevent disease.  In my opinion, this would include shopping at farmer’s markets and local businesses, buying organic and getting out and being active, such as volunteering in community gardens.  As Adelle Davis said—“As I see it, every day you do one of two things: build health or produce disease in yourself “ and “If this country is to survive, the best-fed-nation myth had better be recognized for what it is: propaganda designed to produce wealth but not health.”  For more of Adelle Davis’ quotes click here http://adelledavis.org/quotations

Just remember it is so important to support the building of a deep local economy using local food as the driver.  Think about it:

When you hand the Starbucks clerk a $5 bill, say good-bye.  It’s on its way to Seattle.  When you hand a locally owned coffee shop your money, a much higher portion of that re-circulates into the Canon City economy.

When you choose the big brands, you are enriching corporations and their shareholders.  When you select local products—especially at locally owned food stores, you are creating local jobs.

When you purchase directly from the farmers market or farm stand, you are reducing our dependence on foreign oil and chemically addicted industrial agricultural corporations . . . and you are building community as you meet and establish ongoing relationships with those local vendors.

When you dine at one of our many independent restaurants—especially those who source local food—you are supporting the entire local food and supply chain.  When you dine at chain restaurants, you are likely sending your dollars to some remote location for food and supplies that have traveled back and forth around the globe.

Canon City Farmers Market

 

GROW YOUR LOCAL COMMUNITY

Come visit us at the Farmers Market on Saturday mornings 8am-1pm.  6th and Macon Ave.  Only 4 more markets left this season.

Why We Need Organic

Eight Reasons Why We Need Organic

1. Personal Health

Eating organic prevents exposure to agricultural pesticides known to disrupt neurological development in infants and children, increase the risk of prostate cancer, and double the incidence of childhood lymphoma.

The President’s 2010 Cancer Panel Report urges consumers to choose “food grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers” and to limit “exposure to antibiotics, growth hormones, and toxic run-off from livestock feed lots” “by eating free-range meat raised without these medications.”

2. Nutrition

An organic diet increases exposure to health-promoting CLAs, flavinoids, antioxidants.

3. Water Quality

Organic cropping systems can prevent nitrogen losses to groundwater and the atmosphere and keep drinking water from being contaminated with nitrates, which can cause blue baby syndrome and other negative health impacts.

4. No Genetic Engineering

Genetically engineered Bt corn harms aquatic insects and disrupts stream ecosystems.

Genetically modified plants have already established themselves in the wild. One study found 86 percent of plants collected outside of agriculture fields in North Dakota tested positive for genetically engineered herbicide tolerance, including combinations of transgenes that are unique to the feral varieties.

 5. Soil Quality

Organics are shown to increase soil organic matter, enhance microbial activity and reduce soil acidity, all of which are linked to greater yields.

6. Biodiversity

Organic farming increases biodiversity at every level of the food chain, from bacteria to mammals.

7. Climate Change

The UN-WTO’s International Trade Center found, “organic agriculture has much to offer in mitigation of climate change through its emphasis on closed nutrient cycles and is a particularly resilient and productive system for adaptation strategies.”

8. Feeding the World

Research summarizing 293 published comparisons found a 30% increase in world-wide yields using organic methods. (Source: “What is Organic Food and Why Should I Care?” by Jim Riddle and Bud Markhart for the University of Minnesota)

Are You a Vegan?

According to a national Vegetarian Resource Group Poll conducted by Harris Interactive, nearly 15 percent of Americans say they never eat fish or seafood.

The pacific sardine lives along the coasts of North America from Alaska to southern California. Sardines, once a major part of the California fishing industry, are now considered to be “commercially extinct.” Another species classified as “commercially extinct” is the New England haddock. Ecologists have also been concerned about the significant reduction in finfish, the Atlantic bluefin tuna, Lake Erie cisco, and blackfins that inhabit Lakes Huron and Michigan.

Over 200,000 porpoises are killed every year by fishermen seeking tuna in the Pacific. Sea turtles are similarly killed in Caribbean shrimp operations.

Half of all fresh water worldwide is used for thirsty livestock. Producing eight ounces of beef requires an unimaginable 25,000 liters of water, or the water necessary for one pound of steak equals the water consumption of the average household for a year.

Factory farm pollution is the primary source of damage to coastal waters in North and South America, Europe, and Asia. Scientists report that over sixty percent of the coastal waters in the United States are moderately to severely degraded from factory farm nutrient pollution. This pollution creates oxygen-depleted dead zones, which are huge areas of ocean devoid of aquatic life.

The World Conservation Union lists over 1,000 different fish species that are threatened or endangered. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimate, over 60 percent of the world’s fish species are either fully exploited or depleted. Commercial fish populations of cod, hake, haddock, and flounder have fallen by as much as 95 percent in the north Atlantic.

It makes sense to eat lower on the food chain!

Nor can fish provide any help in alleviating global hunger. There are signs that the fishing industry (which is quite energy-intensive) has already overfished the oceans in several areas. And fish could never play a major role in the worlds diet anyway: the entire global fish catch of the world, if divided among all the world’s inhabitants would amount to only a few ounces of fish per person per week.

The American Dietetic Association reports that throughout history, the human race has lived on “vegetarian or near vegetarian diets,” and meat has traditionally been a luxury. Studies show the healthiest human populations on the globe live almost entirely on plant foods–useful data, given our skyrocketing healthcare costs. Nathan Pritikin, author of The Pritikin Plan, recommended not more than three ounces of animal protein per day; three ounces per week for his patients who had already suffered a heart attack.

In A Vegetarian Sourcebook (1983), author Keith Akers observes:

“Much has been made over the virtues of chicken and fish in comparison to red meats such as beef and pork. It has been said that eating chicken and fish will aid in the prevention of heart disease, because these meats are relatively lower in fat and contain more unsaturated than saturated fat, thus helping to lower cholesterol levels. Unfortunately, these claims are not supported by the evidence. Studies in which human volunteers switched from diets including beef and eggs, to one including fish and chicken showed that serum cholesterol levels were not appreciably lowered by switching to chicken and fish.

“And an examination of the nutritional data suggests an explanation: while it is true that chicken and fish contain less fat than beef, it is also true that chicken and fish contain about twice as much cholesterol per calorie as does beef. Indeed, some seafoods (such as crab, shrimp, and lobster) are exceptionally high in cholesterol content.

“All of these diverse theories have roughly the same dietary implications. Meat is high in cholesterol, saturated fat, and total fat. Plant foods, by contrast, are usually low in saturated fat and total fat, and contain zero cholesterol. Vegetarians have lower levels of serum cholesterol than do meat-eaters, with total vegetarians (vegans) having the lowest levels of all.”

Obviously, then, the idea of providing the entire world with a Western diet is quite absurd. But what about satisfying today’s demand for meat–which provides only a fraction of the population with a Western-style diet? If the world population triples in the next 100 years, and meat consumption continues, then meat production would have to triple as well. Instead of 3.7 billion acres of cropland and 7.5 billion acres of grazing land, we would require 11.1 billion acres of cropland and 22.5 billion acres of grazing land.

But this is slightly larger than the total land area of the six inhabited continents! We are desperately short of forests, water and energy already. Even if we resort to extreme methods of population control: abortion, infanticide, genocide, etc…modest increases in the world population during the next generation would make it impossible to maintain current levels of meat consumption. On a vegetarian diet, however, the world could easily support a population several times its present size. The world’s cattle alone consume enough to feed over 8.7 billion humans.

Les Brown of the Overseas Development Council calculates that if Americans reduced their meat consumption by only 10 percent per year, it would free at least 12 million tons of grain for human consumption–or enough to feed 60 million people.

Gardening

GARDENING—Why do we do it?  I just read the last entry in Kevin’s blog (www.caffeinatedcalm.blogspot.com) and although I agree with most of what he writes about our nation, it certainly was a depressing read.  Kinda gives you the feeling of why bother.   But we still do bother to grow our own gardens, and what a difficult (and exhausting) thing it is to do sometimes.  Gardening outside is natural—you have the sun, rain, clouds, air, soil—what else do you need?  Well, you also have the bugs, marauding mammals, birds, slugs & snails, and don’t forget the boyfriend trying to help who doesn’t know a weed from a pepper plant.  So move inside to the greenhouse—you can grow during the winter when nothing edible would grow outside.  But how do you keep it warm enough at night and cool enough during the heat of the summer; and where is the natural bug control–birds can’t get in.  Why not just give it up and go down to the Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings and get all you need for the week?  It couldn’t cost that much!
 

Notice the "cute" ones behind the fence eating the grapes & garden. How do we get them out of the city?

 People tell us we need to get a different “hobby.”  Is that what it is—a hobby??  I thought it was a lifestyle.   Would I then put too much time and effort into that new “hobby?”  I tried sailing for awhile (bought a 21’ sailboat), but although I loved spending weekends “on the water” it was fairly expensive–not to mention lonely.  With gardening, at least I feel I’m saving money by growing my own food—even though I think it might actually cost me more in seeds and soil additives; and you can always make friends giving away your excess produce and giant zucchinis—and believe me, you will have that.  But can you put a price on the Sunday mornings that I sit on my back porch and enjoy the beautiful scenery and wildlife happening right in my back yard.  Not sure I could be happy sitting on the deck of a 16th floor apartment looking into my pots of tomatoes, peppers and basil.

Gardener's Pest Control: Plant extra for the bugs!

Gardening takes special people (Garden Divas)—those who marvel at the size of a cucumber after seeing it the day before too small to pick.  Those who don’t mind braving mosquitoes to go pick the beans, or squishing brightly-colored bugs between their fingers to avoid spraying their precious plants with chemicals.  Those willing to share their harvest with the birds, deer, skunk & raccoon—reluctantly of course.  And those who think about getting goats or chickens to eat the excess, just so they don’t have to throw it out—and some who actually do.

There are thousands of blogs out there in “webland” blogging about the joys and frustrations of gardening and living that lifestyle.  A few are listed below and you could spend all day reading those things—instead I would suggest that you start gardening—plant some vegetable seeds in your flower beds or find a Community Garden to get involved in.  Maybe if everyone was involved in a garden, maybe that would be some hope that our nation is heading in the right direction.

The birds like to help themselves

http://lettucepatchgardens.com/blog/pages/

http://nicholsgardennursery.wordpress.com/

http://tenthingsfarm.blogspot.com/

http://citysown.org/

http://thegreenhorns.wordpress.com/

http://organicgardening.com/blogs/overthefence/

http://desertcanyonfarmgreenthoughts.wordpress.com/

The Co-op will again try next spring to get a Community/Co-op Garden going–we have a space and could look for more if the need is there.  Please think about what you are putting into your mouth and ultimately your body, and make sure you know where your food comes from.  Get involved– with the Co-op, with your local church, with Loaves & Fishes, whatever you can do to support the local economy and help our nation promote healthy lifestyles.

As I see it, everyday you do one of two things: Build health or produce disease in yourself. ~Adelle Davis

Come see us at the Farmer’s Market–we’re there every week.  Come to one of our meetings–we have some great ones planned; farm tour of Javernick’s CSA Farm, salsa making, cider making, jam making.  Maybe you have some interest or talent we can learn from you.  You can pick and choose your cause with us–we have many.  Become a Garden Diva!

 

Long Overdue Update!

Wow! You really have to admire people who volunteer their time for good causes.  I always thought I’d wait until I retire to do some volunteer work and now I know why.  That extra 8 hours a day would be nice when it comes to scheduling your time.  There are many people in the Canon Co-op that deserve our recognition—they have all gone above and beyond for the Co-op and we wouldn’t be where we are today without all their hard work and time.  Thanks everyone—you know who you are!

The greenhouse is pluggin’ along.  As long as we keep it watered, it looks like things are ok.  The plants seem to be handling the heat well and we have gotten rid of most of the earlier crops that were dying in the heat and also attracting many pests.  There is a melon hiding among the tomato cages and the tomatoes are starting to ripen enough for us to pick.  The cucumbers are being harvested and the peppers and eggplants are making flowers.  We need to have another meeting with the Greenhouse Crew and discuss how we will keep it going through the winter.  We would like to get the solar heat working and need to figure out what and when to plant the fall and winter crops.  Any ideas?

The Farmer’s Market has been going well.  Marvin and Paula are keeping us supplied with all the organically grown produce we can sell and our honey, organic pasta and flower arrangements are very popular.  We recently had organic apricots from the western slope and sales were good.  We hope to have organic peaches soon!  Marvin and Paula planted their huge garden this year to try and supply the market with produce, but it is way too much work for them and the few people that have showed up to help this summer.  We need to step up and think about next year because they may not be able to take care of all our produce needs and wants.  Let’s make our community garden idea a reality for next year.  Smaller communities have done it—why not us?

Susan Levy with dried apricots

The last meeting of the Canon Co-op was great!  We had a program on dehydrating foods.  Donia told how she makes jerky and dries herbs and then Dr. Susan Levy talked about everything and anything else on drying foods.  Lots of samples were passed around and Suzanne Fox gave samples of her dehydrated crackers (see recipe below).  “Cool foods” were enjoyed at the pot luck and excess produce from the Farmer’s Market was distributed to members.  New members were welcomed into the group and Judy informed us on all the classes and workshops coming up in the next few months.  Next month’s meeting we will be having a tour of Javernick’s Farm—meeting will be August 15th at 4 pm at the Farm.  The pot luck theme is “What’s in Season (Locally).”  Please bring your own chairs.

Non Gluten fiesta Crackers for dehydrators

I use the Excalibur Dehydrator

 1 cup each

Walnuts

Sunflower seeds

Almonds

1 large tomato

1 cup chopped onion

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp sea salt

1 jalapeno

4 tablespoons sesame seed or flax seed (to help bind)

Place tomatoes onion and jalapeno in food processor

Blend together.  Add nuts one cup at a time until blended.  If it seems too dry add a bit of water.  Fold in sesame seeds or flax seeds or a combination of both, the cumin and sea salt.  The batter should be a pancake consistency but not loose.  Pour into a dehydrator tray lined with Teflon sheets, score into squares, place sheets in dehydrator and allow to dry at a temp no more than 115 degrees.   Drying time should be at least 12 to 24 hours.  Check crackers after 7 to 10 hours.  See if they’re looking a bit dry.  Do this by pulling at one end of sheet.  If so, the crackers are ready to be turned over.  .  Place another dehydrator tray with just the screen (not the Teflon sheet) on top of the crackers and turn over. pull the Teflon sheet away from the crackers allow to finish drying .

Let them cool and put in air tight containers.  If you don’t gobble them up quickly, they can be stored in the fridge for a few months

This recipe adapts easily to any taste.  I sometime use zucchini, and tamari and no jalapeno.  Enjoy