2001 - 2018
Spring Salad, locally harvested, red bud  blossoms, kale,cleavers, dandelion greens
Locally Harvested Apples - Local Food Bloomington,
Redbud Blossoms Local Food Bloomington
Garden Sage, dried and ready  for storage in glass jar.
Baking Tools - Local Food Bloomington
Sour Dough Sponge Local Food Bloomington

FALL 2018

*Two Bloomington, Indiana businesses became members of Indiana Grown, Quilter's Comfort blending certified organic nightshade free seasonings and herbal teas; and Wilderlove Farm, a family farm organically growing local vegetables on approximately 1/4 of an acre.

Indiana Grown is a state initiative that promotes growers of all types, food and beverage producers, sellers and agritourism. Its members include a wide variety of farmers, farmers markets, distributors, producers, processors, wineries, breweries, artisans, as well as retailers, grocers, hospitals, restaurants and more.

Quilter's Comfort is also a new member of Equity at the Table (EATT) - an easy-to-navigate database for food industry professionals featuring only women/gender non-conforming individuals and focusing primarily on POC and the LGBTQ community.



*Indiana Food Freedom Legislation being considered

Let us settle ourselves, and work and wedge our feet downward through the mud and slush of opinion, and prejudice, and tradition, and delusion, and appearance, that alluvion which covers the globe…till we come to a hard bottom and rocks in place, which we can call reality, and say, This is...
Henry David Thoreau, Walden
Bee on Dandelion - GJ Breeden 2017 copywrite
Bee on Dandelion - Owen County IN

Local Food Editors Note

Hello and thank you for being here.

I am pleased to update food news and resources. As I began looking at information I'd gathered toward a new update, at first look back, I became sad regarding the fragilness of our food system, local, regional, national. Sad, because it has been clear that without clean water systems, regenerative seeds and healthy soil in cooperative realtionships, that we are in a serious food crisis. If you have been here before, you are aware that our USDA Food Bank resources in 1981 were less than 3% of that recorded in our bank at the turn of the century. So I had to step back and look and as I asked questions found some positive hints like Seed Libraries in public libraries!

It seems, when looking at local food systems on a global scale, we can find many communities and some nations that have plans in action or have already initiated plans to secure healthy food and water systems for humans and animals. All this spell quality of life. There is a glimmer of that here, even in the States.

In this Food News you will find that States and Counties Can Ban GMO Crops, The Difference between Open Pollinated Seeds, Hybrids and GMO's, What is a Seed Bank and How you can star one, Children's Wellbeing, Food security, Regeneration of Local Food Systems, Largest Urban Organic Fruit Orchard In US, Groundwater Buy in Indiana, Fraking, Cuba's Organic Honey Exports, Indian Traders Boycott Coca-Cola for 'Straining Water Resources, Lemongrass, Chef Chris Swartzenruber, Cauliflower, Texas School Triples Recess Time, Solving Attention Deficit Disorder, Food EducationHarmful High Fructose Corn Syrup Hidden, Salvadoran Peasant Farmers Clash With U.S. Over Seeds, grow your own chia, Food Chain Workers Alliance, Small Country With A Large Food Cluster, Tribal Groundwater Rights, Coyotes, Eggs Within a Hen, Onion, Organic Food France, Baking information, Recipes Shout Outs to Locals, connections to sustainable seed and plant resources and more.

May that which is necessary to sustain health and well being of all creatures on Turtle Island be nurtured into a great wave of regeneration.

May we work together to create a fruitful today and tomorrow.

Thank you and may you create an enjoyable, sustainable, regenerative food journey!

Blessings of good food,

P.C.C. Local Food
Bloomington, IN

Organic food is pure food. It's safer, more nutritious and free of chemical additives. Organic crops are grown without chemical pesticides or fertilizers and organic livestock are raised without antibiotics, growth hormones or other drugs. Organic food isn't genetically modified or irradiated. Organic

“Seeds have been referred to as a commons that belong to all of us – not just one person or one company that can privatize or profit from them,” Niel Thapar (an attorney at the Sustainable Economies Law Center) “We all have a responsibility to preserve them, and we all have the opportunity to benefit from them as well.”
Seed Germination -
What is a seed bank?
A community seed bank is a network of seed saving and exchange, a site for exercising Seed Freedom. Seeds are collected, saved, grown out, multiplied, selected, distributed …and the cycle continues, the circles of freedom keep expanding.

Seed banks are also called seed Libraries, where you can borrow seed like you borrow a book, and return on reading (growing and multiplying).Some communities, especially in Europe and USA, also have heritage seed savers who grow and distribute heritage seeds at a cost. In Navdanya, we promote community Seed Banks to recover Seed as a commons. So far 80 community seed banks have been set up by Navdanya.

How does it help
A seed bank will provide a refuge for local seed varieties in your region. This is a crucial step towards seed sovereignty at a time when patented seeds conquering the markets leading to great scarcity for regional seed varieties. Moreover, your seed back also can be a sanctuary for wild or traditional plant varieties which are important for its particular properties (like medicinal value, nutrition content) but are not considered as a crop for cultivation.
How do I set up my own?

First, start collecting the seeds in your region. If you are saving seeds in pots, keep it in a cool and dry environment to prevent any damage. Similarly it is important to label the pots with the details of the seed variety contained in it (like the name of the variety, particulars of the variety-for eg, drought tolerance etc). If you are planting the seeds, make sure you are able to identify the varieties cultivated (for instance, by labeling the plants). Similarly, save a portion of the seed before replanting the variety.

If you are a school, start saving seeds by setting up a “garden of life” to save seeds of freedom. If you are in a community, start a “garden of hope” as a community seed bank. If you are associated with a temple, church, mosque, gurudwara, start a seed sanctuary or distribute seeds as a blessing.
Download Navdanya Guide to Seed Saving - Learn more

Community Seed Libraries, YES!
Expect to see more of them, as they are sprouting up everywhere!

Sooner or later, we will have to recognise that the Earth has rights, too, to live without pollution. What mankind must know is that human beings cannot live without Mother Earth, but the planet can live without humans. Evo Morales
Read more


Location: Public Libraries, Pima County, AZ - includes Tucson
Started: 2012
Organizers: Librarians - initiated by Justine Hernandez
Partners: Native Seeds/SEARCH, Community Food Bank of So. AZ & Pima County Master Gardeners, community volunteers
Special Notes: Has 8 seed library branches throughout the county with inter-library loans of seeds throughout all county branch libraries. Seeds are searchable on the library database. Circulation data shows that about 60% of seeds are from locally saved and shared seeds. Website

For many years, Wylie House Museum has been a community resource for history and heirloom seeds in the Bloomington, Indiana Community.

Wylie House is pleased to announce its new venture: a seed library! We have had a succesful heirloom seed-saving program for more than twenty years. The Seed Library Program is an ideal progression for the museum, "growing" our educational mission as part of I.U. Libraries.Our seed-saving efforts have enhanced our living history practice and provided not only our own gardens with healthy heirloom seeds, but also provided the community with a resource for these unique and genetically diverse seeds through our annual seed sale.
Wylie House Museum is located at 307 E. 2nd St., Bloomington, IN 47401

Seed Library Brown County, Indiana

Brown County Seed Project

Green Conserve Community Seed Banks (CSBs) are places of storage where indigenous seed varieties are conserved and managed by community members. These ex-situ conservation sites provide farmers with free and easy access to traditional seeds under the condition that a farmer returns twice the amount of seeds he or she borrowed. They not only reduce farmers’ dependence on seed companies but also help conserve the agro-biodiversity of their villages. These seed banks form the cornerstone of GREEN’s efforts for biodiversity conservation through community empowerment.
Managed mostly by women, CSBs have successfully harnessed the role of women in Indian agriculture as custodians of biodiversity. Traditionally, it has been women who select and store seeds after every harvest. In CSBs their understanding as resource persons is used to good effect, empowering them with a sense of pride and accomplishment that raises their footing in the community. We facilitate the set up of these seed banks by building a strong relationship with the community. Members are trained on seed selection, storage, record keeping and other aspects of seed bank management.
Green Conserve Seed Banks


The Importance of Seed Saving- Mid-region Council of Governments, New Mexico
40 Reasons to Save Seed
Vegetable Seed Saving Handbook– complete free seed saving information
DIY: How to start a community seed bank
Seed-Saving 101: How to harvest and store...
Seed Diversity and Saving Seeds
The Difference Between Open Pollinated Seeds, Hybrids and GMOs
It is common for people who support or defend genetically modified foods (GMOs) to argue something along the lines of, "What's the big deal? Humans have been genetically modifying plants for thousands of years."

Unfortunately, this claim can only be made by someone who either doesn't understand seed breeding, or who is outright trying to deceive you. Here's why…
Today, seeds are bred in only one of three ways: 1) in an open pollinated environment, 2) through a hybrid cross, and 3) through genetic modification. Let's look at each, one at a time. Click here to read entire article
Dawn Gifford SmFootprintFam
Message from Marrakesh: Don’t Mourn, Regenerate!
Restore climate stability and regenerate-soil, health, economies-rather than merely maintain the status quo? Environment & Climate, Politics & Globalization

Interview with Upland's Chef Chris Swartzenruber

Chris Swartzenruber, Upland's Executive Chef, Local Food Interview, 2017
Image from Upland Brewery

Chris Swartzenruber is Upland's Executive Chef and in the kitchen handling every task as necessary as wells managing the day to day. From personal observations, his manner with his crew is very relaxed, even when they are hustling during very busy times. The only loud thing I have every heard in the kitchen is the music. Yes, the very danceable music that keeps the energy moving forward. I appreciate his taking time to answer these questions and take the pictures of him preparing Coconut Curry. Congratulations on being a runner-up in the 2017 Golden Noodle Award!

LOCAL FOOD - Are you originally from Bloomington?

CHEF - No, I'm from Columbus Indiana. I've been in Bloomington for about 10 years now.

LOCAL FOOD - How did you come to UPLAND and how long have you been with this company?

CHEF - I originally came to upland as a dishwasher because I needed a job to get by for a couple of months until I hit the road again. Needless to say I ended up moving back a year later and have been here ever since.

LOCAL FOOD - Did you work in other food establishments before coming to UPLAND? What positions in the kitchen have you previously held?

CHEF - I've been in food service since I was able to get my first job. I worked at a retirement home as a server and a dishwasher until I was able to move on to my first restaurant job. I was working at a Italian restaurant as a host until I turned 18 and was able to handle a knife. I started off on salad and pizza station and worked my way all the way up the line within a year to Sautee. I ended up moving from Columbus to Bloomington and worked at red bud hills as the night cook. 4 months went by and the sous chef was fired and I was promoted and held that position for the next 3 years working under the same chef for all three years. It was the perfect environment for me as I was able to build my skills with that company. I was still young and needed to travel so I took a couple year hiatus and went to figure out who I really was. I've pretty much worked every position possible in the upland kitchen. When the offer came up to be the chef I felt that it was the perfect opportunity for me to grow as a cook even more.

LOCAL FOOD - When you were growing up, did you spend time in the kitchen?

CHEF - Not a whole lot. My mom cooked a lot and showed my brother and I a few things to get us by when she wasn't home to cook for us. Like I said, I've been in the food industry since I was 15. It is what I know and what I love to do.

LOCAL FOOD - Did your family and community play any significant role in developing your interest in cooking?

CHEF - Not really, my high school had a culinary arts program but I was more interested in the shop side of those elective classes. Like welding, printing and multimedia. Once I graduated high school I just fell right in to the service industry and stayed.

LOCAL FOOD - Have you been inspired by other cooks and chefs? If yes, who are they and what about the food do you appreciate?

CHEF - For sure, My stepfather always said to surround yourself with people that are smarter than you and you will learn a lot. Seth Elgar from noco reserve is one that has inspired me a lot. His food is always on point and he likes to do it proper. I'm inspired by so many different cooking styles. Technique is everything when it comes to cooking. You could give two people the same ingredients and get two totally different dishes.

LOCAL FOOD - There is a diverse lot of media programming around cooking today. Do you find the time to watch any of these programs and if yes, what and any comments?

CHEF - I try to but at the end I just can't sit down and watch Television all that often. You still need to have interest outside of work to keep you from going insane. The industry can take a lot out of you. I like to go home and skate or play music take my dog out. Usually when I find the time to watch TV it's with my lady and I end up falling asleep about 10 minutes in. I think those shows could be beneficial as far as ideals go but it seems like it's still just a step down from reality TV. I do like documentaries about chefs and their lifestyles. Mind of a chef is one that I enjoy watching. Instead of it being a competition it's about their life and how they became who they are today.

LOCAL FOOD - When originally hired on, did you see yourself becoming lead Chef; and how long have you held your current position?

CHEF - No that was not my intention. I was just doing what I knew how to do. I've been here for five years now and through the years I've moved up through every position. In the end it came down to it and I thought it would be good for me to learn and keep challenging myself. If you're siting stagnant you tend to get bored. If you're able to try new thing and create then the possibilities are endless. That is what kept me going.

LOCAL FOOD - There seems to be a lot of creative energy amongst your team. What is the thing that gives you the greatest pleasure working with this group?

CHEF - The fact that they are able to bring so much to the table. I couldn't create everything on my own. I rely a lot on my team and I couldn't do it without them. They are there when hard work arrives and plow through it without complaint, and try to win the never ending battle of foodservice. They are humble and open for suggestions.

LOCAL FOOD - What is your management style?

CHEF - I try to be easygoing, have an open mind. In the end, we are all people and we all should be treated equally. I treat my staff as I would like to be treated.

LOCAL FOOD - How do you de-stress on the job?

CHEF - I take 5 and step outside. Sometimes it's hard to de-stress until you are away from your job. I simply step away and take a minute to reflect on the situation and go back in and figure it out.

LOCAL FOOD - Describe the relationship between back-of-the-house and front-of-the-house operations.

CHEF - It is often an amazing dance, even when there are problems that either side may be unaware of. So communication is very important. In the end we all work to get along because that makes everything a lot smoother.

LOCAL FOOD - Since you've come into this chef position, there have been a few changes to the menu. And I hear that more are on the way. Can you say something about that and do you foresee seasonal changes?

CHEF - Yes we always try to plan accordingly to what the farmers have to offer. We try to keep our menu fresh with what is in season. The last menu change we changed 15 items. Basically we changed all of the entrees and a couple of sandwiches. We also spiced up some other things on the menu to make a little more authentic.

LOCAL FOOD - I know that the Upland is working on offering a locally sourced menu. Has it been very challenging to develop key menu items from what is available in the community at large?

CHEF - It can be challenging, instead of doing what you planned you have to incorporate what ingredient you have and plan around that. We try to do as much with the local farmers and creators as we can. Luckily we have great farmers in this area that have a wide variety of product for us to play around with.

LOCAL FOOD - When you develop new menu ideas, do you first begin at home or in the Upland kitchen?
When working these details out, are you in a constant dialog with your other chefs?

CHEF - It can be something that you have prepared for friends and family or an idea that you have wanted to try out for a while. A lot of things come from something as simple as a sauce for a side trail burger or a lunch special that was off the charts. Yes, all avenues are welcome to bring ideas to the table. We also encourage other team members to develop specials so it keeps thing different.

LOCAL FOOD - What can you say about the UPLAND Specials? Is that your test kitchen?

CHEF - Defiantly, our specials are the main way we come up with new menu items. We run them weekly Thursday-Saturday. This is a way for us to see how it flows with everything else and a good way to rule out what doesn't work and what does. Not only are we able to make new things for people to enjoy, we also get to see what we also get to make improvements on what we are putting out.

LOCAL FOOD - Do you have a personal culinary vision and if yes, can you offer some ideas as to what that might be?

CHEF - Yes, It is good to keep things traditional but also make them your own. I don't want to use premade items if not necessary. That is one thing is creating something that someone loves but also making it your own without lowering the food quality. Quality over quantity any day.

LOCAL FOOD - There is resurgence in the use of fermented foods. Have you begun exploring making and or using them at home or the restaurant?

CHEF - Not a lot, I've made sauerkraut and pickles/ pickled goodies. As far as our menu goes we have house made pickles and pickled onions

LOCAL FOOD - What type of food do you most like to cook?

CHEF - I enjoy cooking southern style dishes and desserts. I've cooked all different styles of food. I was never been classically trained under any certain chef or style. It's all things that I've picked up along the way. I try to take a certain style or dish and put my own twist on it, also while exploring the traditional way to prepare or cook what we are putting out there.

LOCAL FOOD - Do you have a favorite dish to prepare? Favorite food(s) to cook with?

CHEF - I love making desserts and southern style dishes at home. I think the good old fried chicken and pot roast are probably some of my favorites. I also like making soups.

LOCAL FOOD - Do you have a favorite kitchen gadget or piece of equipment?

CHEF - I would have to say my knives. Sometimes that is the most important piece of equipment you could have. Other equipment isn't necessary all of the time. Although a nice stand mixer or emulsion blender are great things to have around as well. A smoker/grill in a kitchen is a must have. I've worked a couple places that didn't have a grill and all you have is your oven and a flat top stove. The grill can add so many flavors.

LOCAL FOOD - What do you enjoy most in your job?

CHEF - The people that I work with and the people that we get to make feel good by the food that we serve. It may sound weird but ever since I first started cooking, I like seeing people's facial expressions when they are eating the food that you have prepared. That is a sure sign that you have done your job right. Food brings people together and I enjoy that. I also appreciate that when the unexpected falls into the mix, people show up doing their very best to keep things working smoothly.

LOCAL FOOD - What inspires you about food?

CHEF - If you think, where did this meat or veggies come from? What is the story behind the dish or ingredients that you are eating. The plate is like a blank canvas that you are painting with food. You can tell a lot about someone by the way they work or prepare food. If you always put your all into what you are doing then it will show in the end product.

LOCAL FOOD - When home, do you enjoy cooking much?

CHEF - Yes, when I have time. I love to cook for families and friends. When you're able to get a group together to enjoy good food and good company it's never a bad time.

LOCAL FOOD - How do you navigate your private life since you are often in the kitchen and possibly on call for when the restaurant is very busy.

CHEF - I've adjusted my personal life around my job basically. It's funny how your weeks end up lining up the same every week so you can have a life and a job. I've been trying to take off and do more things that I would like to do but in this industry weekends are our big days and it's hard to get them off sometimes to do things that you'd want to do. Needless to say I make it happen so I don't go crazy.

LOCAL FOOD - How do you relax and have fun?

CHEF - I love to be outside in the nice weather. I've been skateboarding since I was a kid and still do it to stay active. It's also something I'm very passionate about. I like playing music with friends. I also love hanging out with my beautiful, kind and supportive girlfriend Sarah, and enjoying the company of her and our puppy Eleonore.

LOCAL FOOD - Is there a favorite individual food or dish that you like to teach others how to make?

CHEF - It mainly comes down to training people on techniques that I enjoy. I like teaching and explaining the right ways to cook certain meats and why you need to prepare them a certain way. Desserts as well, explaining the proper way to bake a cake or make a cannoli or finding the traditional and proper way to create certain recipes.

LOCAL FOOD - Do you participate in any food events out in the larger community or world?

CHEF - We do the local food events. Like, taste of Bloomington, and Bloomington beer fest. Also some fundraisers like, Soup bowl, Farmers market soup tasting.

LOCAL FOOD - Upland has a growing number of local food vendors. How did you learn to navigate all the people and food details?

CHEF - It can be tough sometimes. All of the vendors circle up weekly to see what products we need. We usually know what to keep an eye out for as far as seasonal items are concerned. Most of the time we plan recipes/ specials around what the local vendors will be bringing us.

LOCAL FOOD - Are there any favorite places you enjoy traveling to experience the food for personal pleasure or with a desire to pick up a few tips?

CHEF - I've been to Copenhagen, Demark and that was probably one of my most favorite places as far as skateboarding and food are concerned. Such a beautiful city with so much to offer.

LOCAL FOOD - If you were cut off because of a major natural event like a tornado or earth quake what would be the six food items you would want most to have with you?

CHEF - Rice, salt, dried meats or veggies, oil, dried chilies, garlic

LOCAL FOOD - What cooking or prep tip can you offer the reader?

CHEF - When using a chef's knife be sure to keep your fingers tucked back behind the blade. Ideally the side of the blade should be rested on all 4 fingers. On the part in between your two bottom knuckles.

LOCAL FOOD - Music - There is always music playing in the kitchen. Do you have a favorite genre to listen to and how does this music inspire your culinary arts?

CHEF - Yes, without music pumping the beat to our work pace it could get pretty ugly back there. You need something to keep you going. One of my favorite genres is country and bluegrass. I love all types of music though. I think it inspires the culinary arts by giving you a good feeling while you are creating something for someone to eat.

Click here for more on Chef Chris and his making of his Mac and Cheese. For the Golden Noodle Competition.


States and Counties Can Ban GMO Crops Despite Federal Laws
By Tami Canal On April 8, 2017

by S.D. Wells Thanks to the Ninth Circuit US Court of Appeals and their recent interpretation of the Plant Protection Act, all U.S. states, counties, and local communities can actually ban (or regulate) the planting of any and all commercially-grown genetically engineered crops, no matter what the feds or Monsanto claims about GMO.

Thanks to the Ninth Circuit US Court of Appeals recent interpretation of the Plant Protection Act, all U.S. states, counties, and local communities can actually ban (or regulate) the planting of any and all commercially-grown genetically engineered crops, no matter what the feds or Monsanto claims about GMO. Read More

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finally approved over-the-top use of Monsanto's dicamba-based herbicide XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology on dicamba-tolerant cotton and soybeans that have already been on the market for several growing seasons.

This means that farmers will no longer have to illegally spray their genetically modified (GMO) cotton and soy with older versions of an extremely volatile and drift-prone herbicide. Over the summer, such activities caused 10 states to report widespread damage on thousands of acres of non-target crops such as peaches, tomatoes, cantaloupes, watermelons, rice, cotton, peas, peanuts, alfalfa and soybeans. And last month, a dicamba drift dispute between Arkansas farmers resulted in one farmer being shot to death.

Although Monsanto said it warned farmers against illegal dicamba spraying, the company was sharply criticized for selling its latest batch of GMO seeds before securing EPA approval for the herbicide designed to go along with it. Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton was introduced in 2015 and Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans was introduced earlier this year.

"We need to go after Monsanto. These farmers are being hung out to dry," said Bill Bader, owner of Bader Peaches, Missouri's largest peach producer, who estimated a loss of 30,000 trees.

University of Arkansas weed specialist Bob Scott said in an interview with National Public Radio, "This is a unique situation that Monsanto created."

Salvadoran Peasant Farmers Clash With U.S. Over Seeds

By Edgardo Ayalad

Cruz Esmeralda Mejía, Maybelyne Palacios and Rosa María Rivera growing plants from improved maize seed in the La Maroma cooperative, in the Bajo Lempa region of El Salvador. Credit: Edgardo Ayala/IPS

JIQUILISCO, El Salvador, Jul 5 2014 (IPS) - Under a searing sun, surrounded by a sea of young maize plants, Gladys Cortez expresses her fears that her employment in the cooperative that produces seed for the Salvadoran government may be at risk, if United States companies achieve participation in seed procurement.

"This is our source of income to support our children," Cortez told IPS as she continued her regular farming tasks at the La Maroma cooperative, one of the seed producing establishments located in La Noria, in the municipality of Jiquilisco, in the eastern department of Usulután.
The U.S. government, through its ambassador in El Salvador, Mari Carmen Aponte, has set conditions on the delivery of a development aid package worth 277 million dollars from the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a U.S. foreign aid agency. It wants the country to open its seed procurement process to U.S. companies.

Aponte told local media that excluding U.S. companies violates the Free Trade Agreement between the United States and Central America- Dominican Republic (DR-CAFTA), which was signed by El Salvador in 2004.

Since 2011, the Salvadoran government has bought 88,000 quintals of maize seed annually from 18 producers, for distribution to 400,000 small farmers as part of its Family Agriculture Plan. Each farmer receives 10 kilos of improved seed and 45 kilos of fertilisers a year.

Among the 18 producers are the La Maroma cooperative and four others in the Bajo Lempa region, in the south of the department of Usulután.

These lands were divided up and distributed to ex-combatants of the former guerrilla organisation, now a political party, the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) after the 1992 peace accords that put an end to 12 years of civil war that cost 75,000 lives.

The first FMLN government, in power since 2009, opened certified seed procurement to local producers. Continue Reading

Congress Members Call Out Trump for Violating War Powers as He Considers Pushing Yemen Into Famine
Monday, April 03, 2017 By Robert Naiman, Truthout | Op-Ed

A woman and children at the Majara camp for displaced Yemenis, north of Abs, in Hajjah Province, Yemen, October 25, 2016. Yemen is mired in conflict, with rebels holding the capital and Saudi Arabia bombing them, with American help. Fighting has displaced more than 2.5 million people, and hunger, malnutrition and diseases like cholera have spread. (Photo: Tyler Hicks / The New York Times)

The White House is scheduled to consider this week a proposal from Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to directly engage the US military in Saudi Arabia's war against the Houthis in Yemen, including a planned United Arab Emirates attack on the port of Hodeida.

On Friday, March 31, the UN special envoy for Yemen warned against a military attack on Hodeida: "We as the United Nations are advocating that no military operations should be undertaken in Hodeidah."
He warned that military action on the port could "tip the country into famine," according to Bloomberg Government.

Former US officials have also warned that this attack could push Yemen into famine:
There was an internal debate over the final year of the Obama administration about whether the United States should support potential future efforts by the coalition to take the Hodeidah port, but ultimately the administration decided against it, said Jeremy Konyndyk, a former top USAID official. "From USAID's perspective, we thought the US should strongly oppose this," Konyndyk, the former director of USAID's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, told Al-Monitor. ... He said, "From our point of view, it would be disastrous in terms of humanitarian impact if the coalition were to disrupt the aid pipeline and commercial pipeline that moves through that port. ... The view that we had at AID -- among AID leadership -- was that if that port were to be lost, it would likely be enough to tip the country into famine," Konyndyk warned.

As Senate Foreign Relations Chair Bob Corker recently affirmed, US participation in this war has never been authorized by Congress: "Certainly engaging in a war against a group outside of ISIS [the Islamic State] is a step beyond the current authorization," Corker told Al-Monitor.
Continue Reading

Want to grow your own chia micro greens? Sprout People have some great instructions. Enjoy! Growing Chia Micro-Greens

Soak no
Rinse / Drain no
Plant Day 1
Harvest 5-14 days
A profoundly slippery (mucilaginous) seed when wet. Most famous thanks to Chia Pets . Chia is the pets "fur". Chia is very nutritious and is easy to grow as a Micro-Green.
Our Chia comes from a source which is certified organic. Note: We sell Chia by the 1/2 pound.
Growing Instructions
Yields approximately three times as many Micro-Greens (by weight) as seed "planted"
We put quotes around Planted because the seeds are spread atop a medium - not planted under.
PLEASE read the contents of Notes Tab
for variations and a whole lot more information on site.

Grow these on the ultimate medium -
Coconut Coir, soil, or a soilless medium like Baby Blanket, in a Compostable Tray - or for bigger crops you can use a 10x20 Tray, or another of our Growing Trays.
Or - grow them upon a flat Hemp Bag, or in our gorgeous Euro-Sprouter.
I know - too many choices. That's our biggest problem here at Sproutpeople. Choices!
So I'm going to tell you the way I (who has every possible option available) grow Micros.
I always use Coconut Coir!
I mix Earthworm Castings into my Coconut Coir for added nitrogen (which is very good for green plant growth), at a rate of 25% Castings to 75% Coconut Coir.
I grow in our Compostable Tray if I am going for Cotyledons (the first leaves), or
a 5x5 Nursery Tray if I want True Leaves.
The Nursery Tray is deeper - which gives the roots more room to grow - so the plants can grow bigger more easily.
Thoroughly moisten the Medium upon which you are going to grow.
Measure your seed
For a thick crop of Cotyledon (first leaf) Micro-Greens plant the larger amount. For bigger, True Leaf Micros plant the smaller amount.
Compostable Tray = 1 tsp. - 2 tsp.
5x5 Nursery Tray = 1 tsp. - 2 tsp.
10x10 Tray = 1 - 2 Tbs.
10x20 Tray = 2 - 4 Tbs.
Hemp Bag = 2 - 4 tsp.
Euro-Sprouter = 1 - 2 tsp.
If you are going for True Leaves you really must use a Growing Tray that is at least 2 inches deep - like our 5x5, 10x10, or 10x20 inch Nursery Trays.
Spread seeds as evenly as you can - all over your thoroughly moistened Medium.
Cover your crop: If you're planting in a 5x5 Tray use another identical tray - up side down. Same thing with other Trays. If using a Compostable Tray snap the clear lid on for the first 2-3 days. If using a Hemp Bag, or another medium - be creative. If it's on a plate then use an identical plate (upside down) as a cover. For the Euro-Sprouter - use the cover that comes with it. It is not mandatory when growing Micro-Greens to cover them at all. Experiment for yourself and see what works best in your climate/location. I cover.
Place your Micro-Garden in a low-light, room temperature location (70° is optimal).
Growing and Greening
You are working with mucilaginous seeds. Every seed will take up water from the thoroughly moistened medium and will surround itself with a gel sack. That sack has all the water the seed needs to germinate. You won't need to water again until germination begins.

Once germination takes place - keep the medium moist by watering gently or misting with a Spray Bottle every day or three. The deal with watering is that the deeper your medium, the less you need to water, and the plants won't require a lot of water until they get growing big - at which point you may need to drench the medium every day.
When using our Compostable Tray (which has no drainage) you can pour off excess water by tipping it.

Note: These amazing little plants have a unique root structure. They may show microscopic roots starting on day 2 or 3 or 4. They are called root hairs and are most visible just before watering - when the plants are at their driest. These root hairs impress many people as mold - but they are not. When you water your crop the root hairs collapse back against the tap root. Viola! No root hairs! Now you know. Isn't learning fun?!
When your plants grow up and begin to shed their hulls they are ready for light so move them (if necessary) to a well lighted location. If you go with sunlight - water more frequently. Room light will usually do quite nicely - and will not dry out your medium as quickly. One consideration here - if you are going for True Leaves you should definitely use sunlight in a warm place.

The most beautiful Micro-Greens we have ever seen were grown in a greenhouse in Burlington, Vermont (in summer) by our friends Spencer and Mara at Half-Pint Farm. Just had to mention that. They taught me and Lori a lot!

Keep the medium moist by watering regularly. Water from the side if possible to prevent injuring the tiny plants.
When your plants have open leaves which are green, they are done - unless you're going for True Leaves, in which case you need to keep watering and tending for another week or more.
Cut the plants just above the medium upon which they have grown. During the final 8-12 hours minimize the surface moisture of your plants - they will store best in your refrigerator if they are dry to the touch. So if you water try to keep the water off the plants - just water the medium.

When you are ready to store them (I'll remind you that these degrade fairly quickly, so eat them instead of storing them if you can), if they are still damp - lay them between some paper towels or anything you prefer, and dry them very gently. Transfer your crop to a plastic bag or the sealed container of your choice - glass is good. We sell an amazing Produce Storage Bag that actually extends the shelf life of produce, if you're interested in the best of the best =;-) Whatever you store them in; put them in your refrigerator - if you must.
Great Job Sprout farmer!

Sprouting time is 4 to 7 days, depending on the heat in your room
When sprouts are ¼ inch long, leave in direct sunlight to green them up
No need to soak the seed first
You will need:
The seed (of course) 1 Tablespoon of seeds = 2 cups of sprouts
A recycled clamshell container or glass baking dish with a lid (to create a greenhouse)
Shallow terra cotta dish to fit inside your chosen “greenhouse”
Spray bottle with filtered water
Sprinkle chia seed into a terra cotta dish
Place the terra cotta dish into your “greenhouse”
Add ¼ inch of filtered water to the bottom so the terra cotta will become wet.
Lightly spritz the seed
There should be no standing water IN the terra cotta dish or your seeds will turn to gel
Cover the clamshell to trap in moisture
Place it on a dark part of the kitchen counter
I did not have to add any more water or spritz the seeds after this
There is another method to sprout using a glass baking dish without the terra cotta plate. I tried this method too, and while it did work, it does require more attention. You must spritz the seeds several times a day to make sure they are moist. Here’s a link to the video I watched, in case you’re interested. Eat your Healthy Chia Sprouts
In their article, Why Everyone Should Try Sprouting Chia Seeds, Mind Body Green reminds us “once sprouted, you also get the added benefit of chlorophyll (the source of the “green” of the leaf). Chlorophyll is a powerful blood cleanser and blood builder. It replenishes and increases our red blood cell count and increases the ability of red blood cells to carry oxygen and deliver us increased levels of oxygen.” Chia sprouts have a tangy taste and add variety and spice to salads, soups, spreads, dips, sandwiches and appetizers. They are best used raw or added to soups just before serving.

USDA researchers recently published a study on microgreens and reported that they possess significantly higher nutrient densities than mature leaves. In fact, microgreens can have 4-6 times the nutrients than the mature leaves of the same plant!

Chia seeds actually got their name from the Mayan word for “strength,” and for good reason! Chia seeds are extremely healthy, which is why they're known as a superfood! Here are just some of the benefits of chia seeds:
They have maximum nutrients with minimal calories.
They contain high levels of ALA omega-3 fatty acids (higher than flaxseeds and even salmon).
They're a good source of fiber and antioxidants (which neutralize free radicals).
They're high in calcium
They're high in manganese (good for bones and helps our body use other essential nutrients).
Have plenty of phosphorus to maintain healthy bones and teeth.
They are a great protein source.
Once sprouted, you also get the added benefit of chlorophyll (the source of the “green” of the leaf). Chlorophyll is a powerful blood cleanser and blood builder. It replenishes and increases our red blood cell count and increases the ability of red blood cells to carry oxygen and deliver us increased levels of oxygen. Sprout People.

(Photo: Sin Fronteras Farm & Food/Facebook)

Sarah McColl has written for Yahoo Food, Bon Appétit, and other publications.
She's based in Brooklyn, New York.

Eduardo Rivera has not mastered the millennial art of shameless self-promotion. Instead, he has the sort of charming, salt-of-the-earth temperament one would expect from a man whose work is dictated by the soil and the seasons.
“I feel like I’m publishing a selfie, which I’m not a fan of,” Rivera wrote on Facebook when he linked to a news story written about his farm, Sin Fronteras. “But, oh well.”

In Stillwater, Minnesota, Rivera farms three-and-a-half leased acres seeded with jalapeño and serrano peppers, tomatillos, kale, lettuces, and more—enough veggies to fulfill a CSA, farmers markets, and 12 wholesale clients. The wholesale customers help Rivera meet another goal: providing organic produce to the Hispanic community.
“I felt like I needed to be the example to show that it is possible to own your farm here in the states and have a sustainable and productive business,” he said.
It might seem impossible to some. A U.S. Department of Agriculture 2012 census reported that half of all agricultural workers in the U.S. were Latino, but only 3 percent of farms were operated or owned by Latinos. In Minnesota, only 339 farmers out of the 74,542 in the state identified as Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino, the Pioneer Press reported.

Rivera’s wholesale clients include three natural food co-ops in the Twin Cities, which serve some food-desert neighborhoods, but the prices are high. It’s through his CSA that he is able to have a direct impact, working with customers to negotiate terms of payment. Accessibility isn’t a matter of slashing prices or setting up a sliding scale so much as being a flexible, open communicator who is willing to meet people where they are—and who wants the value of the service he provides recognize
I’m very thoughtful of it,” Rivera said. “I know that what I do should be valued as work too, you know. It shouldn’t be cheap. That’s not the point of it. I’m here as an option when people are ready to make that life decision of maybe having a better diet.” Continue Reading

Lemon Grass

Lemon Grass Dried - Local Food Image, Copywrite 2017
Dried Lemon Grass from a Brown County Garden

Lemon Grass is a tropical herb used in Asian cooking that is also known for its medicinal properties. While it has no association with lemons, it does have a citrus smell and taste. Its long, thin blades of grass are aromatic and contain a multitude of health-supporting properties.
Lemon grass is packed with essential vitamins and minerals like A, C, calcium, magnesium, folate, iron, zinc, potassium, copper, phosphorus, manganese, and traces of B vitamins. Citronella oil and candles is made from lemon grass; however, it can also be steeped and brewed into a very healthy tea.

The following are nine of the top benefits of drinking lemon grass tea:
1. Detoxification
Drinking lemon grass tea can help to flush out toxins and waste products from the body. This in turn supports kidney, bladder and liver health.
2. Lowers cholesterol
Lemon grass also contains compounds that support healthy cholesterol levels, reducing LDL and raising the HDL component.
3. Anti-microbial and anti-fungal
Drinking lemon grass tea regularly can assist with fighting pathogens that could otherwise lead to infections, gastrointestinal issues, and other microbial health problems. Some of the infections that can be fought by drinking lemon grass tea include candida, ringworm, scabies, urinary tract infections, and infections from cuts or sores.
4. Reduces fever
Lemon grass has been called “fever grass” due to its ability to soothe and lower fevers.
5. Cuts down cold and flu symptoms
Lemon grass tea also eases respiratory disorders like colds, coughs, flu, sinus issues and bronchial asthma.
6. Anti-inflammatory
Inflammation is one of the main factors in numerous diseases, and it can also exacerbate aches, pains and headaches. Drinking lemon grass tea eases chronic inflammation and the pain that can often accompany it.
7. Soothes insomnia and nervous system disorders
A cup of lemon grass tea can calm the nerves and muscles to aid in more peaceful sleep. It also promotes a healthier nervous system and can assist in the fight against anxiety, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and chronic fatigue.
8. Regulates blood sugar and type 2 diabetes
Lemon grass tea contains the compound citral, which has been shown to help maintain optimal insulin levels and support better glucose tolerance in the body. This can in turn fight blood sugar imbalances and type 2 diabetes.
9. Helps to defeat cancer
Studies have shown that lemon grass can help fight cancer while leaving healthy cells intact. This is due to the compound citral and its effectiveness as an anti-inflammatory. It effectively blocks cancer cell growth while inducing apoptosis, or cell death, in cancer cells.
Lemon grass tea is packed with healing properties and can support health in many areas. It seems to work at a cellular level, protecting you from free radical damage, rapidly expelling toxins, and stimulating the production and regeneration of cells.
From healing infections, inflammation and cancer to supporting overall immune system health, drinking this potent tea can help keep you healthy.

Texas School Triples Recess Time, Solving Attention Deficit Disorder

Vic Bishop, Staff Writer
Waking Times

Public education is more stressful than ever for our children, as standardized testing requirements increase and programs like art, music and physical education are being phased out. The result of this type of environment is predictable, and the medical establishment and big pharma are making a killing by drugging active children with ADHD medications and other psychotropic drugs in order to ensure conformity.

There are better solutions. Meditation in schools is highly effective at reducing school violence and increasing concentration for learning. Higher quality nutritious and organic foods, rather than processed snack foods and fast foods, when served in school cafeterias are another part of creating an environment more conducive to the needs of children.

The most common sense, natural solution to inattentive behavior in school children, however, may be the basic idea of giving children more time to free play and to engage their bodies in physical activity. It’s such a simple notion in such unusual times that it actually sounds revolutionary, and several schools in Texas are being hailed for trying a new program which solves behavioral problems by doing nothing more than allowing children to play outside more often during the school day.

Simple ideas like this have been proven to work well in places like Finland, where students’ test scores improved along with increased play time, a case which serves as the inspiration for a program in Texas schools which have quadrupled the amount of outdoor recreational time, seeing amazing results in terms of overall increase in focus and decreases in distraction and behavioral interruptions.

“According to Today, the Eagle Mountain Elementary in Fort Worth, Texas, has been giving kindergarten and first-grade students two 15-minute recess breaks every morning and two 15-minute breaks every afternoon to go play outside. At first teachers were worried about losing the classroom time and being able to cover all the material they needed with what was left, but now that the experiment has been going on for about five months, teachers say the kids are actually learning more because they’re better able to focus in class and pay attention without fidgeting.” [Source]

The key to the success of the program is ‘unstructured play’ four times a day to break up the physical and mental monotony of the classroom, allowing developing minds and bodies to constructively use their energies, so that their may be more effectively applied in learning.

While administrators in schools trying the program initially thought it would negatively affect testing results, the results have proven that the opposite is in fact true, which is in line with how the American Academy of Pediatrics sees playtime.

“The American Academy of Pediatrics agrees, calling recess “a crucial and necessary component of a child’s development.” Studies show it offers important cognitive, social, emotional, and physical benefits, yet many schools are cutting down on breaks to squeeze in more lessons, which may be counterproductive, it warns.” [Source]

Medicating restless children for them to better fit in to a dumbed down education system is a grave mistake, criminal even. Programs like these desperately need to be implemented nation wide.

“You start putting 15 minutes of what I call ‘reboot’ into these kids every so often and… it gives the platform for them to be able to function at their best level.” ~ Dr. Debbie Rhea, creator and director of the Liink Program

About the Author

Vic Bishop is a staff writer for and Survival Tips blog. He is an observer of people, animals, nature, and he loves to ponder the connection and relationship between them all. A believer in always striving to becoming self-sufficient and free from the matrix, please track him down on Facebook.

Indian Traders Boycott Coca-Cola for 'Straining Water Resources'

Campaigners in drought-hit Tamil Nadu say it is unsustainable to use 400 litres of water to make a bottle of fizzy drink

A drinks delivery driver in the suburbs of New Delhi. Water usage by Coca-Cola and
PepsiCo in India was highlighted after low rainfall in the last monsoon. Photograph:
Tengku Bahar/AFP/Getty Images

Vidhi Doshi in Mumbai

Wednesday 1 March 2017 09.57 EST
Last modified on Wednesday 1 March 2017 10.03 EST

More than a million traders in India are boycotting fizzy drinks including Coca-Cola and Pepsi after claims from from two Indian trade associations that foreign firms are exploiting the country’s water resources.

Traders in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, which has a population bigger than the UK, will replace big brands with locally produced soft drinks.

“These foreign companies are using up scarce water resources of the state,” said K Mohan, secretary of the Vanigar Sangam, one of the associations supporting the boycott.

Concerns about excessive water usage by companies such as Coca-Cola and PepsiCo were heightened after low rainfall during the last monsoon.

In January, Tamil Nadu’s interim chief minister O Panneerselvam declared the state “drought-hit” and asked the central government for funds to help farmers.

Vikram Raja, president of the Vanigar Sangam trade association, said: “[Foreign companies] are exploiting the state’s water bodies to manufacture aerated drinks while farmers were facing severe drought.”

Amit Srivastava, who works at NGO India Resource Centre, estimates that it takes 1.9 litres of water to make one bottle of Coca-Cola. He says demand for sugar from fizzy drinks companies is also hugely problematic in India. “Sugarcane is a water-guzzling crop. It is the wrong crop for India,” he said.

“According to our research Coca-Cola is the number one buyer of sugarcane in India and Pepsi is number three. If you take into account the water used for sugarcane, then we’re using 400 litres of water to make a bottle of Cola.”

Speaking to the BBC’s Tamil service, the Indian Beverage Association (IBA), which represents many soft drinks manufacturers, said it was disappointed with the boycott.

“Coca-Cola and PepsiCo India together provide direct employment to 2,000 families in Tamil Nadu and more than 5,000 families indirectly … IBA hopes that good sense will prevail and that consumers will continue to have the right to exercise their choice in Tamil Nadu,” it said.
City of burning lakes: experts fear Bangalore will be uninhabitable by 2025
Read more

Pepsi and Coca-Cola have not directly commented on the ban.

The anti-fizzy drinks movement in Tamil Nadu gathered momentum in January, during protests against the supreme court’s decision to ban jallikattu, an Indian version of bullfighting.

The protests offered many citizens to air their grievances publicly, and galvanised the fizzy drinks boycotts after farmers complained big companies were using up precious resources in the water-stressed state.

Raja says demand for fizzy drinks has dropped significantly since January, and many traders who are not part of the trade association have voluntarily stopped stocking foreign brands.

The boycotts may only be the beginning of Coca-Cola and PepsiCo’s woes as they try to expand in India. The Indian government has dropped hints that it may introduce a “sin tax” on sugary drinks, which could further hit growth figures.

“It is extremely unfair on the part of certain individuals and organisations to propagate misinformation,” said Arvind Varma, secretary general of the IBA. “These actions are detrimental to the image of the country and to the long-term interests of the Indian economy,” he said. - The

Two people plant trees at the organic fruit orchard in Oak Creek.
Milwaukee County Board Submitted Photo

Milwaukee County To Be Home To Largest Urban Organic Fruit Orchard In US
Thousands Of Fruit Trees, Asparagus Plants Planted As Part Of County's SEED Initiative
Monday, October 24, 2016, 10:30am
By Ross Terrell

Milwaukee County will soon be home to the largest urban organic fruit orchard in the United States.

The first of 3,000 fruit trees, 16,250 strawberry plants and 4,000 asparagus plants, were planted over the weekend at the orchard in Oak Creek as part of the county's Sowing, Empowering, and Eliminating Food Deserts Initiative, also known as the SEED Initiative.

Milwaukee County Supervisor Marina Dimitrijevic started the program in 2015 and said the orchard could serve as a learning opportunity about the need for access to healthy food options.

"Food deserts are extremely harmful to our overall public health," Dimitrijevic said. "The more we can eliminate them and supply people with the tools to improve their health, I think, overall, we'll have a healthier community." Continue Reading

Eggs Within A Hen

Eggs within a hen - copywrite, all rights reserved G.J. Breeden
Photo by G. J. Breeden

After one of her hens was accidentally killed, a friend dressed the chicken and was surprised to find these developing eggs within!


U.S. Adds Seven Types of Bees to Endangered Species List for First Time

September 30, 2016
NBC News
by Reuters
Environment & Climate

masked bee 420x280

Seven types of bees once found in abundance in Hawaii but now facing extinction on Friday became the first bees to be added to the federal list of endangered and threatened species, according to U.S. wildlife managers.
The listing decision, published on Friday in the Federal Register, classifies seven varieties of yellow-faced or masked bees as endangered, due to such factors as habitat loss, wildfires and the invasion of nonnative plants and insects.

The bees, so named for yellow-to-white facial markings, once crowded Hawaii and Maui but recent surveys found their populations have plunged in the same fashion as other types of wild bees — and some commercial ones — elsewhere in the United States, federal wildlife managers said.
Pollinators like bees are crucial for the production of fruits, nuts and vegetables and they represent billions of dollars in value each year to the nation's agricultural economy, U.S. officials said. Read Article

INDIANA BEE KEEPERS ORGANIZATION - The Beekeepers of Indiana (TBoI) encourages the development of permissive Urban Beekeeping ordinances within cities and towns in Indiana.
Bee Town Bee Club (Bloomington), Contact: Carolyn Peepall, 812-272-5002??,
10 o'clock Beeline (Nashville), Contact: Mark Partridge?,
White River Bkprs (Spencer), Contact: Jill Curry -
Bedford Beekeepers (Bedford), Contact: Curtis McBride, 812-797-4269??,
Central Indiana Beekeepers Association
Southern Indiana Beekeepers Association
Apiary News From DNR

Cuba's Organic Honey Exports Create Buzz
as Bees Die off Elsewhere

February 14, 2016
by Chris Arsenault
All About Organics
honey bees

SAN ANTONIO DE LOS BANOS, Cuba, Feb 9 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Long known for its cigars and rum, Cuba has added organic honey to its list of key agricultural exports, creating a buzz among farmers as pesticide use has been linked to declining bee populations elsewhere.

Organic honey has become Cuba's fourth most valuable agricultural export behind fish products, tobacco and drinks, but ahead of the Caribbean island's more famous sugar and coffee, said Theodor Friedrich, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) representative for Cuba.

"All of (Cuba's) honey can be certified as organic," Friedrich told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "Its honey has a very specific, typical taste; in monetary value, it's a high ranking product."

After the collapse in 1991 of the Soviet Union, Cuba's main trading partner, the island was unable to afford pesticides due to a lack of foreign currency, coupled with the U.S. trade embargo. By necessity, the government embraced organic agriculture, and the policies have largely stuck.

Now that the United States is easing its embargo following the restoration of diplomatic ties last year, Cuba's organic honey exporters could see significant growth if the government supports the industry, bee keepers said.
Cuba produced more than 7,200 tonnes of organic honey in 2014, worth about $23.3 million, according to government statistics cited by the FAO.
The country's industry is still tiny compared with honey heavyweights such as China, Turkey and Argentina. But with a commodity worth more per liter than oil, Cuban honey producers believe they could be on the cusp of a lucrative era.

With 80 boxes swarming with bees, each producing 45 kg (100 lb) of honey per year, farm manager Javier Alfonso believes Cuba's exports could grow markedly in the coming years.

His apiary, down a dirt track in San Antonio de los Banos, a farming town an hour's drive from the capital Havana, was built from scratch by employees, Alfonso said.

"There is just a bit of production now, but it can get bigger," he said, looking at the rows of colorful wooden boxes.

Like other Cuban bee farmers, he sells honey exclusively to the government, which pays him according to the world market price and then takes responsibility for marketing the product overseas.

Most of Cuba's honey exports go to Europe, he said. He would like to be able to borrow money to expand production, but getting credit is difficult, he said, so for now his team of farmers build their own infrastructure for the bees.
"It's a very natural environment here," said Raul Vasquez, a farm employee. "The government is not allowed to sell us chemicals - this could be the reason why the bees aren't dying here" as they have been in other places.

While Cuba's small, organic honey industry aims to reap the rewards of increased trade with the United States, honey producers in other regions are under threat, industry officials said.

Bee keepers in the United States, Canada and other regions have long complained that pesticides are responsible for killing their bees and hurting the honey industry more broadly.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a study in January indicating that a widely-used insecticide used on cotton plants and citrus groves can harm bee populations.

"I don't think there are any doubts that populations of honey bees (in the United States and Europe) have declined... since the Second World War," Norman Carreck, science director of the U.K.-based International Bee Research Association told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Read Full Article

The Same Pesticides Linked to Bee Declines Might Also Threaten Birds
March 24, 2017 — Neonicotinoids are washing off of their host seeds and into water bodies—threatening not just aquatic insects but the birds that rely on them. Neonicotinoids are washing off of their host seeds and into water bodies—threatening not just aquatic insects but the birds that rely on them.

Click to Read - 'Like It's Been Nuked': Millions of Bees Dead after South Carolina Sprays for Zika Mosquitoes

Neonicotinoid-Contaminated Pollinator Strips Adjacent to Cropland Reduce Honey Bee Nutritional Status Worldwide pollinator declines are attributed to a number of factors, including pesticide exposures. Neonicotinoid insecticides specifically have been detected in surface waters, non-target vegetation, and bee products, but the risks posed by environmental exposures are still not well understood. Pollinator strips were tested for clothianidin contamination in plant tissues, and the risks to honey bees assessed.

Bees to Bimbo: Cut the Pesticides!

September 27, 2016
Organic Consumers Association
by Alexis Baden-Mayer
Food Safety, 
Genetic Engineering, 
Health Issues
Bimbo pesticides 420x280

On Sunday, September 25, OCA activists joined Greenpeace teams in the U.S. and Mexico to participate in Bimbo’s Global Energy Race. We dressed as bees and crossed the finish lines in Long Beach, Calif., Mexico City and Philadelphia with banners that read: “Bimbo, Cut the Pesticides!”

If we had been protesting a Monsanto or Bayer event, people immediately would have understood the bee costumes. Most people who have paid attention to the news about disappearing bees know that pesticides manufactured by these agro-chemical companies are contributing to bee deaths.
But we were targeting Bimbo, the world’s largest baking company. So spectators and fellow runners wondered what was up with the bee outfits. (Our Mexico City team got a lot more than questions. They were tackled to the ground as they crossed the finish line with their banners. You can watch it here.)

We explained that, agro-chemical companies like Monsanto & Bayer aren’t going to stop making bee-killing pesticides unless food companies like Bimbo stop driving their use. If a company like Bimbo were to clean up its supply chain and stop using ingredients from crops raised with bee-killing pesticides, it would go a long way to addressing colony collapse disorder (not to mention environmental pollution and human health problems).

We think Bimbo is the type of company that might (should) take the lead on something like this. The company is already a leader on the climate change issue. Grupo Bimbo has:
• Taken action to minimize the risk of deforestation through its supply change as a signer of the UN Declaration of Forests and through a global policy of buying sustainable palm oil.
• Improved energy efficiency in its plants’ operations and in its distribution.
• Significantly increased the use of renewable energies by using solar and wind power. Its wind-farm is the largest of any food company.
Now, we want Bimbo to look at another piece of its supply chain that impacts the climate: the way its ingredients are grown. Bimbo should:
• Eliminate the use of the pesticides that are banned in other countries but still used in the U.S. (there are 5) and Mexico (30).
• Reduce overall pesticide and chemical fertilizer use.
• Voluntarily label the foods they sell that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs) as “produced with genetic engineering.” Bimbo so far has opposed this, spending more than $1 million to block GMO labels in the U.S.
• Promote ecological farming pilot projects in its supply chains.
• Work with other companies and governments for a more ecological food system. A good first step would be signing onto the Soils for Food Security and Climate Initiative (

Mexico-based Grupo Bimbo is the world’s largest baking company, with operations in 21 countries. Bimbo operates 60 bakeries in the U.S., making it the largest baking company in the U.S., where it markets 29 brands, including Arnolds, Sara Lee, Thomas’ English Muffins, Orowheat, Stroemans. In July (2016), Bimbo bought its first organic brand, Eureka.

Bimbo is huge in Latin America, too, where it’s the Mexican version of Wonder Bread. (In fact, Bimbo bakes Wonder Bread in Mexico, while Flowers Foods is the U.S. manufacturer.)

As we all know, bigger doesn’t always mean better. But the biggest baking company in the world could cause a huge ripple effect through global supply chains if it announced that it would no longer purchase ingredients grown with pesticides. How about it, Bimbo?

In case you missed it, sign our Bimbo petition here.
Alexis Baden-Mayer, political director of the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), participated in the Philadelphia action against Bimbo. Patrick Kerrigan, OCA retail coordinator, participated in the Long Beach, Calif. action. Ercilia Sahores, political director for OCA in Mexico, participated in the Mexico City action.

OCA Mexico Defends Maya Beekeepers from Monsanto

July 19, 2016
Organic Consumers Association
by Ercilia Sahores
Fair Trade & Social Justice, 
Genetic Engineering
cencos press conference 420x280.jpg

Press conference. In the picture: María Colin Greenpeace Mexico, Rodrigo Llanes, Colegio de Antropólogos de Yucatán, Valeria Enríquez, OCA Mexico and Edmundo del Pozo, Fundar.
The art of beekeeping in Maya communities can be traced back centuries. Beekeepers pass the skill down from one generation to the next.
For these indigenous communities in Mexico’s Campeche and Yucatán regions, beekeeping isn’t just a tradition or a hobby. For many, it’s a livelihood. 
And that livelihood is now being threatened by Monsanto.
On July 13, the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) Mexico, Greenpeace Mexico, the Colegio de Antropólogos de Yucatán (School of Anthropology of Yucatán)  and Fundar Research Center held a press conference to expose the ongoing collusion between Monsanto and Mexican government authorities to deprive indigenous communities in Mexico’s Campeche and Yucatán regions of their right to participate in the process, known as consultation, for granting Monsanto permits to grow GMO soy crops.
During the press conference, the Civil Observation Mission, a project formed last year to help document specific violations of the consultation process, presented a report detailing the violations of the right to free, prior and informed consultation in two of the municipalities selected, Holpechén and Tenabo. <br>
At stake in this fight is the livelihood, the health, the legacy and the dignity of these Maya communities and their biodiversity. OCA Mexico, through our participation in the Civil Observation Mission, is working with these communities to create avenues where they can voice their concerns, express their decisions, and expose the damage that is being done to their local environments, their health and their livelihoods. communities. What is at stake, ultimately, is our dignity as human beings, and the imperative of ensuring that human rights prevail over corporate rights.

As we reported last April, over the past decade, the Mexican government has granted Monsanto permits to develop over 253,000 hectares for the experimental planting of GM soy in nearly seven states. The government did this without formally consulting the surrounding indigenous communities, whose livelihoods depend on a rich tradition of organic honey production. 
When Maya authorities and beekeepers from Campeche and the Yucatán saw the impact soy was having on their highly prized organic honey production, they joined scientists and activists in a lawsuit against Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) and Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA), the government agencies responsible for granting the GM soy permits. The lawsuit accused the government of failing to follow the proper process for permitting, for destroying the livelihoods of Maya beekeepers and for violating the rights of indigenous communities through the excessive use of herbicides and related deforestation.
The courts ruled in favor of the Maya authorities in March 2014. The ruling was finalized in November 2015, when the federal government temporarily banned GM soy in Mexico and mandated that indigenous communities be consulted before any GMO soy permits could be granted. 
But Monsanto, which has a long history of violating Mexico’s laws, continues to flaunt the court ruling. And government officials have allowed it. This has resulted in the granting of permits to plant experimental GMO soy crops in Holpechén and Tenabo, despite the fact that the court-ordered rules for consulting with these communities were ignored. 
Shedding light on the violations
As noted above, during the July 13 press conference, the Civil Observation Mission presented a report detailing the violations of the right to free, prior and informed consultation in Holpechén and Tenabo. 
According to the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention No. 169, article 7(1):
The peoples concerned shall have the right to decide their own priorities for the process of development as it affects their lives, beliefs, institutions and spiritual well-being and the lands they occupy or otherwise use, and to exercise control, to the extent possible, over their own economic, social and cultural development’. 
But in the case of this consultation in Mexico, this rule of law is not being followed. 
During the press conference, Valeria Enríquez, advocacy director for OCA Mexico, highlighted the “importance of raising awareness about the irregularities in the consultation process and the importance of identifying and making public those failures.”
María Colin, legal analyst at Greenpeace Mexico said that the planting of GM soy “violates the right to work and the right to a healthy environment of the Maya communities.”
The Civil Observation Mission used the press conference to publicize the following flaws in the current consultation process:
• When representatives of the National Commission for the Development of the Indigenous People (CDI), the Intersecretariat Commission on Biosafety of Genetically Modified Organisms (CIBIOGEM) and the National Service of Health Innocuity and Agro-alimentary Quality (SENASICA) first presented the consultation process to the participating communities, they spent more time providing information about the characteristics of GM soy rather than explaining the consultation process. 
• There was a notable lack of community representatives during the meetings. Community members informed the Civil Observation Mission that they had been invited to attend the meeting the night before it took place. 
• Even with the presence of translators and interpreters, the materials provided at the meetings failed to ensure that the communities fully comprehended the purpose, scope and rules of the consultation process. A significant portion of the communities’ populations cannot read in Spanish or in Mayan. Ignoring this fact, the materials provided by the authorities were not designed to be didactic and to facilitate comprehension by the affected communities, thus reinforcing decades of stigmatization of Maya communities.
•One of the crucial violations highlighted during the conference and one of the key issues to observe in the following meetings is that members of non-participating communities infiltrated the meeting in order to persuade the Holpechén and Tenabo communities about the benefits of GM soy.
Fighting back
Beekeeping in Maya communities is an activity that has been passed on through generations and can be traced back centuries. But beekeepers are now being threatened by the environmental damage caused by GM crops in their communities, damage that includes deforestation, use of herbicides, contamination of their honey, death of pollinators, and the impact on human health.
To draw more international attention to this very important case, representatives of the Maya beekeeping communities affected by the Monsanto planting of GM soy and corn will present their testimonies during the Monsanto Tribunal in October in The Hague.
In the meantime, these communities will not remain silent about the potential threat posed by Monsanto’s GMO soy crops, or the failure of Monsanto and government officials to follow the legal process for granting permits for these crops. Learn more

Jose Oliva and the Food Chain Workers Alliance Are Shaping a More Equitable Food Future

by Kate Johnson

The Food Chain Workers Alliance is a coalition of worker-based organizations whose members plant, harvest, process, pack, transport, prepare, serve, and sell food, organizing to improve wages and working conditions for all workers along the food chain. We chatted with Co-Director Jose Oliva about how he became involved in labor issues within the food industry, some of the biggest challenges the Alliance faces and how the Alliance's work inspires a more sustainable food system at large.

Let's start from the very beginning. Tell us about your background: How did you come into this work? What inspires you the most?

I came to this work because of the intersection between immigration, workers' rights and food.  My story is not unique; it's really the story of millions of economic or "food" refugees from Latin America. My grandfather was a young economist in Guatemala in the 1940s and he was caught up in the post WW II idealism. He joined students, workers, women's organizations and civil society to establish the first democracy in Guatemala in 1944. Read More

Is Organic Food about to Become the Norm in France?

November 9, 2016
Eco Solon
by Emily Monaco
All About Organics
Paris, France

Organic food sales have been rising astronomically in the EU’s largest agricultural producing country, with a 20 percent increase in 2016, the fastest pace in seven years.
This is a huge departure from France’s past with the organic food movement; the nation had been relatively slow to take to the trend in the past decade, particularly when compared to neighbors like Germany or to the U.S. As the top pesticide user in Europe, with 78,000 tons of phytosanitary products in its fields, France’s reluctance to jump on the organic food bandwagon was a real shame.

That said, France had more than enough reasons to temper its enthusiasm for organic. Unlike the U.S., France has forbidden the growth of GMO foods since 2008, making many French people less worried about what’s in their food than Americans tend to be.
Add to this the fact that the French have many other historic quality labels, such as Label Rouge, which ensures that animals are raised according to strict dietary and humane standards including access to the outdoors. Label Rouge beef is grass-fed, and Label Rouge veal and lamb are allowed to consume milk for as long as possible before being weaned. This label also forbids the use of antibiotics and growth hormones, and medical treatments of animals bearing the label are kept to a strict minimum.

Another such quality label in France is the AOC label, or Appellation d’origine controlée. This label is used for certain meats, cheeses, wines, and some fruits and vegetables like lentils, grapes, and walnuts. Each food has strict standards to follow to ensure that quality is coherent, particularly as far as the production location is concerned: AOC Brie must be made in Brie, for example, and AOC Bordeaux in the region around Bordeaux.
Read the Full Article

Maryland Bans Fracking in Huge Win for People Power
Governor Larry Hogan signs bipartisan bill, making Maryland the third state in the country to ban fracking.

03.27.17 - It’s official: today, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed into law a statewide ban on fracking. The bill was passed with bipartisan support in the state legislature, and Maryland is now the third state to ban fracking. This historic achievement is a true testament to the power of grassroots organizing, and believing that even when the odds are stacked against us, we can do extraordinary things. This victory belongs to the thousands of Marylanders who have worked for years to keep fracking out of the state. Thank you! READ

Double Wonder of Worms: Clean compost and animal feed from waste
November 9, 2016
Concordia University
In North America, a whopping 30 to 40 per cent of our residential waste is organic -- biodegradable garbage that could be composted but is often sent to landfills. A new study shows that one method of composting could yield high quality compost and high value by-products. The catch? There are worms involved.

In North America, a whopping 30 to 40 per cent of our residential waste is organic -- biodegradable garbage that could be composted but is often sent to landfills.

With governments like Quebec's looking to ban organic waste from landfills by 2020, we need to act fast to reduce the amount of food scraps we're throwing out.

A study recently published in Waste Management by researchers from Concordia's Faculty of Arts and Science shows that one method of composting could yield high quality compost and high value by-products. The catch? There are worms involved.

The study's lead author, Louise Hénault-Ethier, carried out her research while pursuing a master's from what is now Concordia's Individualized program. She experimented with different methods of vermicomposting to see whether they could sufficiently inactivate certain bacteria for safe public use of the compost. Site

Image by Richard Slinkard
Quilter's Comfort Artisan Teas on shelf at Runcible Spoon, Bloomington, IN

U.S. Appeals Court Affirms Tribal Groundwater Rights
March 7, 2017/in Water Law, Water News, Water Policy & Politics /by Brett Walton

Lawsuit could reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Coachella Valley of Southern California is the site of a legal contest for groundwater rights.
The Agua Caliente tribe won an important courtroom victory on March 7.
Photo courtesy of Flickr/Creative Commons
By Brett Walton, Circle of Blue

In a ruling with substantial importance for water management in the American West, a U.S. appeals court upheld a lower court’s decision that an Indian tribe in California’s Coachella Valley has a right to groundwater beneath its reservation.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit determined on March 7 that when the federal government established a reservation in 1876 for the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians — on arid land without the endowment of significant rivers or streams — water was part of the deal. The existence of the reservation confers to the tribe the right to groundwater, the court concluded.

“The creation of the Agua Caliente Reservation therefore carried with it an implied right to use water from the Coachella Valley aquifer,” Judge Richard Tallman wrote in the 22-page opinion.

The Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15

The nonprofit Environmental working Group's recently released a newly updated Shopper's Guide to Pesticides list of the produce world's "Dirty Dozen" and "The Clean 15"of fruits and vegetables. You should always try to buy organic and the ones to choose first when shopping are onions, avocado, sweet corn pineapple, mango, asparagus, sweet peas, kiwi, cabbage, eggplant, papaya, watermelon, broccoli, tomato, sweet potatoes, members of Clean 15. All tested lowest for pesticide residues.

Peaches, apples, peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, kale, lettuce, grapes, carrots, pears showed the higest levels of pesticide residues.

for more information click here Environmental Working Group

19 Creative Uses for Cauliflower

By: KD Angle-Traegner
January 8, 2017
About KD
Follow KD at @yourdailyvegan
The cruciferous vegetable that was once thought of as somewhat flavorless has been making a comeback. I’m talking about cauliflower and some people are calling it the new kale. No longer relegated to vegetable trays, cauliflower has been steadily increasing its appearance in recipes, and often in unexpected ways. Which is good news because cauliflower is a nutritious addition to any diet. Just one serving of cauliflower contains 91.5 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C!
Cauliflower is also full of the sulfur-containing phytonutrients, glucosinolate and thiocyanate, that cleanse the body of free radicals. Studies have shown that eating three to five servings of cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower each week can lower the risk of several types of cancer.
Beyond the health benefits, cauliflower can be wildly delicious—plus, it’s incredibly versatile. Let’s take a closer look at this nutritional powerhouse.
Buying, Cleaning & Storing Cauliflower
White cauliflower is the most readily available in grocery stores, but there are many different varieties to choose from including green, orange and purple. Each variety has it’s own flavor. For instance, green cauliflower—a cross between cauliflower and broccoli—tastes sweeter than white cauliflower when raw but more like broccoli when steamed. The purple cauliflower has a more mild flavor and cooks much faster than white. Continue reading

Cauliflower - Vegetable is one of several vegetables in the species Brassica oleracea in the genus Brassica, which is in the family Brassicaceae. It is an annual plant that reproduces by seed. Typically, only the head is eaten.
Click Here for Wikipedia Nutrition Facts

Over 30 farmer organizations endorsed this coalition's Farmers' Declaration on Genetic Engineering in Agriculture. The Declaration summarizes why the farmers' groups oppose GM crops and the patenting of GM seeds by biotech companies and calls for more research into the social, environmental and health risks, and mandatory labeling of GM food products.

The contents of Greenpeace's site offers dozens of pages of information on the fears and hazards of GM foods, plus a section on news and taking action against biotech foods, and a GM-free Shopping List with advice on how to avoid biotech food.

This organization seeks a moratorium on GM foods. Its site is a good primer on all the anti-GMO issues and easy to understand for those with non-science backgrounds.

Saving our planet, lifting people out of poverty, advancing economic growth... these are one and the same fight. We must connect the dots between climate change, water scarcity, energy shortages, global health, food security and women's empowerment. Solutions to one problem must be solutions for all.
Ban Ki-moon - Read more

When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself. Tecumseh
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. J. R. R. Tolkien
It's easy for people in an air-conditioned room to continue with the policies of destruction of Mother Earth. We need instead to put ourselves in the shoes of families in Bolivia and worldwide that lack water and food and suffer misery and hunger. Evo Morales


Quilter's Comfort herbal teas, seasonings , craft beer jelly

Check out Water in the News because what's in the water is in every bite of food!

The Difference Between Open Pollinated Seeds, Hybrids and GMO's
States and Counties Can Ban GMO Crops Despite Federal Laws
Franklin Electric Acquires US Groundwater Distribution Companies in Indiana
Cuba's Organic Honey Exports Create Buzz as Bees Die off Elsewhere
Indian Traders Boycott Coca-Cola for 'Straining Water Resources'
19 Creative Uses for Cauliflower
Harmful High Fructose Corn Syrup Hidden under New Name
Salvadoran Peasant Farmers Clash With U.S. Over Seeds
Want to grow your own chia micro greens? Sprout People have some great instructions.
Winter Thaw Springs Hope. March 6, 2017 - Local Harvest Newsletter
Jose Oliva and the Food Chain Workers Alliance Are Shaping a More Equitable Food Future
May 4th is International Respect for Chickens Day
A Small Country With A Large Food Cluster
Fraking News
Mariland Bans Fraking
Bayer and Monsanto Merger
Fleet Farming
US Appeals Court Affirms Tribal Groundwater Rights
Is Organic Food about to Become the Norm in France?
International Workers Day
Eggs Within a Hen
Coyote Nation
Reading GMO Reports
Critique of FDA Regarding GMO Labeling
3 Sweetpotatoes Out of 6,500
Farmers Declaration on Genetic Engineering
Wheat Ale Tidbit
Earth University / Bija Vidyapeeth 2017 - 2018- A - Z of Agrecology & Organic Food Systems 1st - 30th September 2017
Bringing the earth & biodiversity to the heart of agriculture. Gandhi, Globalisation & GNH: 29th Oct.9th November 2017
From violence to non-violence; From Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to Gross National Happiness (GNH) Read More
Eco Report - WFHB Radio
– April 6, 2017

April 6, 2017 Comments Off on Eco Report

Eco Report is a weekly program providing independent media coverage of environmental and ecological issues with a focus on local, state and regional people, issues, and events in order to foster open discussion of human relationships with nature and the Earth and to encourage you to take personal responsibility for the world in which we live. Each program features timely … READ MORE or LISTEN

The 13th International Herb Symposium - June 9th – 11, 2017, Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts
Organic Produce Summit -
July 12 & 13, 2017 Monterey Conference Center - Monterey, CA
Retail buying organizations from across North America will meet with growers, shippers, processors and distributors in this intimate and energetic event devoted exclusively to organic fresh produce.
Second Helpings Free Culinary Job Training
Names of a few Heirloom Legumes - Cherokee Trail of Tears, Marrow, Columbia Lizzard, Tepary, Dragon Tongue, Pigeon Pea, Hidatsa Red Indian, Cannellini, Black Valentine, Sunset Runner, Jacobs Cattle, Great Northern, Tendergreen, Lentils, Brown Eyed Pea, Fordhook Lima, Jade, Soybean. Good Mother, Black Garbanzo Beans, Black Calypso, Lupini, Creamy White-Eyed Pea, Chana Dal, Hutterite Soup, Jacob's Cattle Gold, Snowcap, Giant Kentucky Goose, Mennonite Purple Stripe, Pumpkin Bean, Granny's Shuck Bean, Greasy Fatback, Aunt Dora, South Carolina Red Stick, Missouri Wonder
Radical originates from the Latin word for root.


DID YOU KNOW......that 43% of the agricultural labor force in developing countries is female?
Resources If You Need Food in Bloomington IN Area
What's the FOOD NEWS in the Bloomington Area and Beyond?
SHOUT OUT to............ ~
~Richland Bean Blossom Nursing Home for exceptionally loving care!

~An Organic Conversation radio program Tuesdays 11:00AM on WFHB (91.3FM)

~Mother Hubbard's Cubboard
Building community food security
~Cooking Classes for Everyone
~Noblesville Real Food Market
~Fresh Thyme Market Comes to West Side
~Green Drinks Bloomington
~Heirloom Gardener
~Spring Mill
~Opportunity House
~Nashville Coffee Roasters
~Utne Reader
~YES! Magazine



*View - This Organic Strawberry Farm Is Giving Its Workers The Benefits They Deserve, Like full dental and health care coverage, stock options, and low-cost housing.

At California’s Swanton Berry Farm, healthy farming and healthy living go hand in hand. In 1998, the organic farm became the first to sign a contract with the United Farm Workers, a labor union for farm workers.

*View - How Cooking Can Change Your Life: A Short Animated Film by Michael Pollan
*View - Julia Child Marathon: 201 Episodes of "The French Chef" Streaming ...
Mar 16, 2016 ... is launching a new Food Channel. And it's getting things going with a marathon streaming of all 201 episodes of Julia Child's now ...
View - 53 New York Times Videos Teach Essential Cooking Techniques
View - Meet Four Young Farmers Who Are Rising to the Challenge of Water Scarcity in the Western U.S.
By Chelsey Simpson, Alternet - December 13, 2016
A new short film, Conservation Generation, offers a look into the lives of four young farmers and ranchers in Colorado and New Mexico who are following their passion for agriculture amidst historic drought, climate change, development, and heightened competition for water.
More water info.

Listen - Water Song: Indigenous Women and Water

By Kate Cave, Shianne McKay, Solutions Journal - December 12, 2016
Water is life and needs to be respected. For the Indigenous people in Canada, there is a reciprocal and unique relationship with water.

World Water Day is held annually on 22 March as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. The 2017 theme is "Wastewater" and 2018 is "Nature-based Solutions for Water" - CLICK FOR MORE WATER NEWS
Celebrate Meatless Monday. Join ECI staff and board and go with totally vegetarian meals and snacks every Monday. Eat less meat, eat ethically- locally raised animal “product”when you do, so more land can be managed and cultivated  healthily to produce mo’ better fresh food for all.
11 Kitchen Staples that make your food so much better
The Great British Bake Off is a great learning experience! Love how the people come to enjoy one another and though each is doing their own best to satisfy the requirements. They compete, each knowing that they are competing with their own best self and having a really lovely celebration with others who enjoy similar interest!

How One Person's Small, Brave Compost Pile Changed New York City

While we work to change the government, we can't forget that we can also make big change ourselves by starting small and local.
Colin Beavan
One thing that has bothered me a lot since the election is the idea in the air that we cannot change things while the current administration is in office. There is a pernicious idea that the government is so strong that nothing can be fixed or changed without first fixing or changing it.
Of course, we must work to change the government, but we must also not lose sight of the fact that we can change things in many ways-at the community, city, and state levels-and that each of us remains capable of making the world a better place, even as the presidential administration works against us.

To remind ourselves of this fact, I wanted to retell a story from my book How To Be Alive: A Guide To The Kind Of Happiness That Helps The World. It is the story of my friend Kate Zidar who, in the early 2000s, was one of many New York City residents who refused to wait for a change of government in order to get what they wanted for their communities-in this instance, a composting program to manage food waste.

Instead of waiting for a change in government policy, Kate started her own community compost pile in a corner of a city park. Compost piles like hers popped up in other communities all around the city. READ

Birds of a Feather - Five Women Poets chapbook.  Crow Dancing Publisher, Bloomington, Indiana

The GMO Emperor Has No Clothes-A Global Citizens Report on the State of GMOs

We have been repeatedly told that genetically engineered (GE) crops will save the world by increasing yields and producing more food. They will save the world by controlling pests and weeds. They will save the world by reducing chemical use in agriculture. They will save the world with GE drought tolerant seeds and other seed traits that will provide resilience in times of climate change.

However, the GE emperor (Monsanto) has no clothes. All of these claims have been established as false over years of experience all across the world. The Global Citizens Report “The Emperor Has No Clothes” brings together evidence from the ground of Monsanto’s and the industry’s false promises and failed technology. Download Book

Harmful High Fructose Corn Syrup Hidden under New Name
Karin Bredenkamp

As consumers are increasingly health conscious, they want to avoid products that contain health-damaging ingredients.

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is one of those substances to avoid when making healthy choices.
Used as a sweetener, HFCS is much cheaper than regular sugar, and extends the shelf life of many processed products. But it has been linked to many health problems such as dementia, cancer and liver failure. For this reason, many consumers scrutinise food labels for harmful HFCS.

New troubling scientific studies reveal how high fructose corn syrup-containing foods are causing yet another unwanted side effect – heart failure.

Many experts conclude that sugar and HFCS are key factors in today’s obesity epidemic. HFCS and sugar are linked to many other serious health issues, including not only heart disease, but metabolic syndrome and high triglyceride levels.
In the past 30 years, the obesity rates in the US, and other fast-food nations, have sky-rocketed. Obesity rates in the United States, home to all the Big Food corporations, are among the highest in the world. Two out of every three Americans are considered to be overweight or obese.
Between 1986 and 2000, the prevalence of severe obesity (BMI = 40 kg/m2) quadrupled from one in two hundred Americans to one in fifty, the LA Times reported.

Known as the Big Food Sugar Switch, a professor for cell biology at ETH Zurich’s Institute for Molecular Health Sciences, Wilhelm Krek summarizes the problem with today’s nutrition. He explains that fructose was a replacement for glucose, which at one point in time, was believed to be better for consumers.

Unfortunately, the assumption that fructose – including high fructose corn syrup – was any better, was dead wrong. Furthermore, mercury is used in the production process of many types of fructose. So products which contain fructose also often contain traces of mercury. Read Article

photos by Phyllis Coulter

Trial run tests train travel for Chicago-bound farm products

Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery in Champaign is looking to revitalize the I-57 corridor by taking farmers’ products to market in Chicago. The Central Illinois farm sent goat cheese to a Chicago restaurant via Amtrak. Read More

At California’s Swanton Berry Farm, healthy farming and healthy living go hand in hand. In 1998, the organic farm became the first to sign a contract with the United Farm Workers, a labor union for farm workers.
~~ Recipe Connections ~~
CHECK OUT - Green Kitchen Stories
The New York Times Makes 17,000 Tasty Recipes Available Online ...
Aug 23, 2015 ... Call up Japanese food, and you get a variety of appealing dishes and sauces from the simple and easy (chicken teriyaki, yakisoba, eggplant ...
The Edible School Yard and Edible Network News
Watch - Michael Pollan Presents an Edible Education, A Free ... - Berkeley
Dec 24, 2012 ... When seized with the desire to learn where their food comes from, many of today's readers turn to Michael Pollan, author of books like The ...
Free Lectures - Take UC Berkeley's Free "Edible Education 101" Lecture Course ...
Jun 20, 2016 ... The public is welcome to sit in on lectures featuring a pantheon of sustainable food superstars, including Waters, author Michael Pollan
Science & Cooking: Harvard's Free Course on Making ... - Harvard

What Are Biodynamic Foods and Why Should You Be Eating Them?

October 28, 2016
by Lauren Mazzo
All About Organics, 

Picture a family farm. You probably see sunshine, green pastures, happy and free-grazing cows, bright red tomatoes, and a cheery old farmer who works day and night to tend to the place. What you probably aren't picturing: the cheery old farmer spraying crops down with pesticides and tilling soil with artificial fertilizers and chemicals, or sprinkling antibiotics into his cows' feed before squishing them into a too-small stall.

The sad truth is that when the world became industrialized, our food system became industrialized too. This might sound like a good thing. (Hey, it means we can get avocados year-round, whatever specific apple hybrid we want, and enough beef to satisfy our burger cravings, right?) But nowadays, most farms look more like factories than like sources of freshly grown nutrition.

And that's where biodynamic farming comes in—it's taking food production back to the roots.
What Is Biodynamic Farming?
Biodynamic farming is a way of viewing a farm as "a living organism, self-contained, self-sustaining, and following the cycles of nature," says Elizabeth Candelario, managing director at Demeter, the world's only certifier of biodynamic farms and products. Think of it as organic—but better.

This all might sound super hippy dippy, but it's really just taking farming back to its basics: no fancy antibiotics, pesticides, or artificial fertilizers. "Pest control, disease control, weed control, fertility—all of these things are addressed through the farming system itself instead of importing the solutions from the outside," says Candelario. For example, instead of using an artificial nitrogen fertilizer, farmers will alternate crop cycles, incorporate the use of animal manure, or plant certain fertilizing plants to maintain the richness of the soil. It's like Little House on the Prairie but in modern times.

In biodynamic farms, farmers strive to maintain a diversified, balanced ecosystem with ecological, social, and economic sustainability. Theoretically, a perfect biodynamic farm could exist inside its own little bubble. Read Article

FOOD CHAIN WORKERS ORGANIZATION CALLS FOR MAY DAY (INTERNATIONAL WORKERS DAY) STRIKE We join The Movement for Black Lives, National Domestic Workers Alliance, HEAL Food Alliance, and several West Coast unions in striking for dignified jobs for all. We strike because we do not accept exclusion based on religion, race, gender identity, class, or immigration status. On May Day, work for no one, buy nothing, and don’t go to school. Come out to the streets to demonstrate our unity and collective power.

To learn more about actions in your area, our rapid response network, resources, and how to grow the strike, visit the May Day General Strike website.

3 Sweet Potato Types of the 6,500

Pictured are Sweet Potatoes grown by a neighbor in the Bloomington area during the 2016 garden season. These are the last remaining in my pantry. Each has a different texture and color and holds up differently when cooked. The one with its orange color, I was told makes the best pies, with really fluffy texture; the redish one behind, I think is a Vardaman (the skin was crazy thick and needed to be removed), makes great home fries, fries, soups and stews (love it with a nutbutter) while the one to the far right, is called O Henry and has a white flesh, is not as sweet and makes a great replacement for a white potato. I have used them in soups, potato salad, pot pies, and hash browns because this one really holds up very well.

World-wide there are about 6,500 sweet potato varieties including wild accessions, farmer varieties, and breeding lines according to the International Potato Center. Sweetpotato is one of the world’s most important food crops in terms of human consumption, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, parts of Asia, and the Pacific Islands. First domesticated more than 5,000 years ago in Latin America, it is grown in more developing countries than any other root crop. Despite its name, sweetpotato is not related to the potato. It is a root, not a tuber, and belongs to the morning-glory family. Many parts of the plant are edible, including leaves, roots, and vines, and varieties exist with a wide range of skin and flesh color, from white to yellow-orange and deep purple.

Last year, I grew out a sweet potato and had the pleasure of seeing it develop a number of tiny morning glory like flowers (they are in the same family) and I saved seed, or what I thought would be the seeds. I am planting them in a pot, unless I find a gardener who would like to see if they are viable and take them on.

Sweetpotatos require fewer inputs and less labor than other crops and tolerate many types of marginal growing conditions.

You can see the effects of the growing condition on these sweet potatoes. It was a wild weather growing season in 2016! The stress was all on the outside and the flesh, even as I write this (March 2017) is in wonderful shape! Local Food

Visit CIP International Potato Center for more on Sweet Potato and other Potato types.

CIP Sweetpotato Collection Supports Cyclone-hit Fiji as part of Global Genebank Network

Preserving genetic resources is important for keeping crops safe and ensuring global food supplies. For that, genebanks and food security groups have created a world wide web of
Center for Pacific Crops and Trees in Fiji
Center for Pacific Crops and Trees in Fiji

support, aiming to lend a hand to those facing crises such as natural disasters or war. Having a wide range of plant varieties can also be essential in meeting the challenges of global climate change.

One example is what took place after tropical cyclone Winston ripped through the south Pacific in February this year, leaving a wide trail of destruction. One of the worst storms ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere, winds reached 230 kms an hour at peak. Photos taken after the storm show flattened buildings and toppled over trees. Another casualty: fields of sweetpotato, a widely grown crop in many parts of the south Pacific.

The genebank at the Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees, or CePaCT in Fiji, run by Pacific Community’s (SPC) Land Resources Division, helps preserve diversity in such staple crops as sweetpotato, taro, yam, and banana. The center also distributes plant materials for growers in the region. The cyclone however meant they weren’t in any position to quickly multiply up their sweetpotato stocks.

The head of CIP’s genebank, Dr. David Ellis, got in contact with Valerie Saena Tuia, Coordinator of the Genetic Resources facility (CePaCT) at SPC, in Fiji. Would they need some help with getting hard-hit farmers back on their feet?

That led to the request to send different varieties of sweetpotato to the Pacific island nation. Genetic materials sent across international borders need to be certified as disease-free, so the scientists at CIP prepared 200 test tubes with plants in each one. That material will be multiplied in Fiji, saving months of growing time and allowing for a much quicker recovery for its agricultural sector.

“The genebank community is family-network and we wanted to know what we could do to help. Genebanks work very closely with each other,” Dr. Ellis said.

“It was an effort from Peru to get material to Fiji so they can get a head start on bulking it up and farmers can start planting as soon as possible. They have five times the material to start with than they would have had otherwise,” he said, adding that the sharing of resources “is part of our mandate.” Read

How communities are taking control of the food revolution, and bypassing supermarkets to reconnect citizens with the food they eat and the people that produce it. With case studies from Italy, the Czech Republic, Germany, Spain and Hungary, it demonstrates the variety and creativity of those working together for a better food future.
The English-language version of this briefing was updated in May 2016 with new case studies from Germany and Hungary. Read

General Mills inks supply contract with Organic Valley - 3rd-largest U.S. organic, natural foods producer invests in U.S. organic dairy industry General Mills, Inc. (GMI), the third-largest U.S. producer of organic and natural foods, has signed an organic milk supply contract with Organic Valley, the largest U.S. organic farmer-owned cooperative with more than $1 billion in sales.

US takes step to boost organic food production
By Tom Polansek, Reuters on Jan 14, 2017 at 4:12 p.m.
Farm workers harvest squash from the Chino Farm in Rancho Santa Fe, California, U.S. on October 3, 2007.
Mike Blake / Reuters

CHICAGO — The U.S. Department of Agriculture took a step toward increasing the production of organic foods — which has not kept pace with demand — by launching a program to certify farmland that growers are in the process of switching to organic.
Obtaining certification under the program will allow farmers to sell products raised in accordance with organic guidelines for higher prices than conventionally-grown goods, according to the Organic Trade Association, an industry group. That should help growers cover the extra costs associated with transitioning to organic farming, the group said.

Demand for organic foods has been strong as consumers are increasingly seeking products considered to be more natural and healthy. In 2015, total organic product sales hit a new high of $43.3 billion, up 11 percent from the previous year's record level, according to the Organic Trade Association.

Wheat Ale Tidbit

A pinnacle of refreshment can be found in Upland's Wheat Ale, a Belgian-style witbier. Subtle complexities of spice and chamomile bring depth to the light citrusy ale. This beer, having been a local favorite dating back to 1998, has grown to be a Midwest staple. Although drinking this ale on its own while basking in sunshine may bring a smile to your face, pairing this beverage with goat cheese, spring vegetables, green curries, egg dishes, or light seafood can gracefully elevate one's experience.

The utility of the Wheat Ale is also showcased at Upland in the form of a house-made beer jam. A reduction of the wheat with additions of sugar and herbs enhances the citrus and adds a subtle freshness to create a spreadable decadence fit for any cheese board.

-Steve Rupp
Upland Brewery beer education and enthusiasm manager.

How To Make Healthy, Natural Sunflower Seed Butter

Sunflower seed butter is creamy, versatile, delicious, and it’s an awesome substitute for nut butter. This recipe from Oh She Glows is more than just plain ground sunflower seeds—it also features cinnamon, coconut sugar, and coconut oil. It tastes amazing!
As a great source of fiber, essential vitamins, and minerals, sunflower seeds are one of the healthiest seeds. Half a cup provides vitamin E,[1] B6, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, and zinc.[2] Some research suggests sunflower seeds are a heart healthy functional food because they contain phytosterols, phytonutrients that promote normal cholesterol levels.[3]
Sunflower Seed Butter Recipe
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Yield: 16 ounces

Baking sheet
Parchment paper (optional)
Food processor or blender
3 cups of organic, raw, unsalted, shelled sunflower seeds
1/4 cup organic coconut (palm) sugar
1 tbsp organic unrefined coconut oil
Pinch of Himalayan crystal salt
1/2 tsp organic cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Spread sunflower seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet (preferably lined with parchment paper) and place in the oven. Seeds are ready once they have a golden hue, about 10-15 minutes depending on your oven. Watch closely so they don’t burn.
Allow roasted seeds to cool a few minutes, then pour into food processor. Discard any burnt seeds.

Process seeds on high until they have a loose, grainy consistency, about 2 minutes. Use a spatula to push the powder down. Add coconut oil in dollops and process until fully combined, about 2 minutes.

Scrape the bowl down with a spatula. Evenly add remaining ingredients to the food processor. Process for 2-4 minutes. The sunflower seed butter will look chunky at first but will get smoother the longer it’s processed. Process the mixture until you reach the desired consistency.

Use a spatula to scrape butter into an airtight container and refrigerate for about 2 hours before using (it will remain spreadable). The sunflower seed butter will stay fresh for about two months in the refrigerator.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM Published on December 26, 2016 Global Healing Center

Artisan Alley's MADE Gallery

Over the last year you may have heard about a growing maker community at 1607 South Rogers, called Artisan Alley. They have weekly workshops, frequent Art, Music and Performance Exhibitions and regular Arts Markets, including one this weekend March 18th from 10-4. This free and family friendly event will host many local musicians, artists and crafter's while entertainment and food trucks will be present.

Artisan Alley, now Bloomington's largest collection of resident artists, has expanded to 222 W. 2nd Street, just off of the B-Line Trail and wants to celebrate our newest service called 'MADE', a gift-shop geared towards selling gifts, crafts, and goods from local emerging and professional artists. MADE is offering a new co-work environment with a computer lab, print stations and conference rooms for our members.

For info about our activities and services, please visit or stop into MADE Tuesdays-Saturdays from 10am-6pm.

Adopt-A-Native Elder Program (Navajo weavers)
A non-profit organization which enables elder Navajo (Dine') to live in the traditional manner. Financed through yarn donations, an on-line rug gallery and annual Rug Show and Sale. POB 3401, Park City, UT 84060
Phone: (435) 649-0535, e-mail:
Sustainability can only be had by maintaining and improving our natural foundations. Clean water and air are essential to having healthy food supplies.
Most people have heard the statement, “money talks” and it represents the choices we make thereby showing our point of power

Bayer and Monsanto: A Merger of Two Evils

September 20, 2016
Organic Consumers Association
by Katherine Paul
Food Safety, Health Issues

It’s been about a week since Monsanto and Bayer confirmed their intention to say “I do”—ample time for media, lawmakers, consumer and farmer advocacy groups, and of course the happy couple themselves, to weigh in on the pros and cons.
Reactions poured in from all the usual suspects.

Groups like the Farmers Union, Food & Water Watch, Friends of the Earth and others didn’t mince words when it came to condemning the deal. (Organic Consumers Association tagged it a “Marriage Made in Hell” back in May, pre-announcement, when the two mega-corporations were still doing their mating dance).

Predictably, the corporate heads of state last week promoted the proposed $66-billion deal as an altruistic plan to improve “the lives of growers and people around the world.” This week, they told Senate Judiciary Committee members that the merger “is needed to meet a rising food demand.”

Is anyone out there still buying the line that Monsanto and Bayer are in the business of feeding the world? When the evidence says otherwise?

Even if that claim weren’t ludicrous, who thinks it’s a good idea to entrust the job of “feeding the world” to the likes of Bayer, a company that as part of the I.G. Farben cartel in the 1940s produced the poison gas for the Nazi concentration camps, and more recently sold HIV-infected drugs to parents of haemophiliacs in foreign countries, causing thousands of children to die of AIDS?
The sordid, unethical, greedy, monopolizing and downright criminal histories of both Monsanto and Bayer have been well documented.. Does allowing them to merge into the world’s largest seed and pesticide company pose what two former Justice Department officials call "a five-alarm threat to our food supply and to farmers around the world?"

In a press release, Pesticide Action Network senior scientist Marcia Ishii-Eiteman said:
"Just six corporations already dominate worldwide seed and pesticide markets. Additional consolidation will increase prices and further limit choices for farmers, while allowing Monsanto and friends to continue pushing a model of agriculture that has given us superweeds, superbugs and health-harming pesticides. Instead, we need to invest in agroecological, resilient and productive farming.”

Without question, this deal, which strengthens the ties between Big Pharma, Big Food and Big Biotech, will hurt farmers and consumers.
Not to mention an ecosystem already on the brink.

But for those of us committed to ridding the world of toxic pesticides and hideous factory farms, to restoring biodiversity, to cleaning up our waterways, to revitalizing local economies, to helping small farmers thrive, to reclaiming and regenerating the world’s soils so they can do their job—produce nutrient-dense food while drawing down and sequestering carbon—the marriage of Bayer and Monsanto doesn’t change much.

As we wrote last week when the deal was announced, Monsanto will probably pack up its headquarters and head overseas. The much-maligned Monsanto name will be retired.

But a corporate criminal by any other name—or size—is still a corporate criminal.
Merger or no merger, our job remains the same: to expose the crimes and end the toxic tyranny of a failed agricultural experiment. #MillionsAgainstMonsanto will simply morph into #BillionsAgainstBayer.

Feed the world? Or feed the lobbyists?
Bayer and Monsanto had plenty of time to perfect their spin on the merger before the big announcement. Yet even some of the most conservative media outlets saw through it.
A Bloomberg headline read: “Heroin, Nazis, and Agent Orange: Inside the $66 Billion Merger of the Year.” From the article:
Two friends making dyes from coal-tar started Bayer in 1863, and it developed into a chemical and drug company famous for introducing heroin as a cough remedy in 1896, then aspirin in 1899. The company was a Nazi contractor during World War II and used forced labor. Today, the firm based in Leverkusen, Germany, makes drugs and has a crop science unit, which makes weed and bug killers. Its goal is to dominate the chemical and drug markets for people, plants and animals. 

Monsanto, founded in 1901, originally made food additives like saccharin before expanding into industrial chemicals, pharmaceuticals and agriculture products. It’s famous for making some controversial and highly toxic chemicals like polychlorinated biphenyls, now banned and commonly known as PCBs, and the herbicide Agent Orange, which was used by the U.S. military in Vietnam. It commercialized Roundup herbicide in the 1970s and began developing genetically modified corn and soybean seeds in the 1980s. In 2000, a new Monsanto emerged from a series of corporate mergers.

A skeptical Wall Street Journal reporter suggested that the merger, one of three in the works in the ag industry, is a sign of trouble: “The dominance of genetically modified crops is under threat,” wrote Jacob Bunge on September 14. Bunge interviewed Ohio farmer Joe Logan who told him:
 “The price we are paying for biotech seed now, we’re not able to capture the returns,” said Ohio farmer Joe Logan. This spring, Mr. Logan loaded up his planter with soybean seeds costing $85 a bag, nearly five times what he paid two decades ago. Next spring, he says, he plans to sow many of his corn and soybean fields with non-biotech seeds to save money.

Nasdaq took the merger announcement as an opportunity to highlight numbers published by showing that Monsanto and Bayer are not only the two largest agrichemical corporations in the world, they’re also two of the biggest spenders when it comes to lobbying.

Together, according to OpenSecrets, Bayer and Monsanto have spent about $120 million on lobbying in the last decade. Monsanto’s spending has been largely focused on the agricultural industry, while Bayer has spent heavily in the pharmaceutical arena.
Both Monsanto and Bayer forked over millions to keep labels off of foods that contain GMOs, according to OpenSecrets:
A big issue for both companies has been labeling of genetically modified foods, which both companies oppose. That put them in support of the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act (H.R. 1599), which was signed into law this summer. The law permits corporations to identify products made with genetically modified organisms in ways that critics argue will be hard for consumers to interpret, while superseding state laws that are sometimes tougher, like the one in Vermont.

To be clear, the “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling” was just an intentionally misleading description of a bill intended to protect corporations from having to reveal the GMO ingredients in their products.
A criminal by any other name
Last week, the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague made a big announcement of its own. For the first time in history, the ICC will “prioritise crimes that result in the ‘destruction of the environment,’ ‘exploitation of natural resources’ and the ‘illegal dispossession’ of land,” according to a report in the Guardian.
The announcement came within the same two-week period as three new reports on the sad state of our ecosystem, all of which implicate industrial agriculture:
•    Researchers at the University of Virginia University of Virginia reported that widespread adoption of GMO crops has decreased the use of insecticides, but increased the use of weed-killing herbicides as weeds become more resistant, leading to “serious environmental damage.”
•    Mother Jones magazine reported that “A Massive Sinkhole Just Dumped Radioactive Waste Into Florida Water The cause? A fertilizer company deep in the heart of phosphate country.”
•    NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said that when it comes to global warming, “even the records themselves are breaking records now” after reporting that Earth just experienced its hottest August on record. What’s that got to do with Bayer and Monsanto? Industrial, chemical, degenerative agriculture is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Organic regenerative agriculture, by contrast, holds the greatest promise for drawing down and sequestering excess carbon from the atmosphere.

Whether or not regulators approve the Bayer-Monsanto merger, these companies will continue their rampage against nature. Governments and courts have a lousy track record when it comes to holding these, and other, corporations accountable for the damage they’ve inflicted, over decades, on human health and the environment.
The ICC has signaled that this may change. In the meantime, frustrated with the lack of action and fed up with paying the price for making corporations like Bayer and Monsanto filthy rich, the grassroots are fighting back.

On October 15-16, a panel of distinguished international judges will hear testimony from 30 witnesses and scientific and legal experts from five continents who have been injured by Monsanto’s products. This grassroots-led international citizens’ tribunal and People’s Assembly (October 14-16) will culminate in November with the release of advisory opinions prepared by the judges. The tribunal’s work, which includes making the case for corporations to be prosecuted for ecocide, is made all the more relevant by the ICC’s announcement.

The International Monsanto Tribunal is named for Monsanto, the perfect poster child. But the advisory opinions, which will form the basis for future legal action, will be applicable to all agrichemical companies—including Bayer.

In the meantime, we encourage citizens around the world who cannot participate in the official tribunal and People’s Assembly, to show solidarity by organizing their own World Food Day “March Against Monsanto.”
Monsanto. Bayer. The name doesn’t matter, and though size does matter when it comes to throwing weight around, the crimes perpetrated by the companies remain the same. It’s time to stop them.

Katherine Paul is associate director of the Organic Consumers Association.

Pomegranate juice shown to prevent prostate cancer

Among all cancer types, prostate cancer is one of the most common.  It is also the second leading cause of death from cancer among American men. However, there are natural ways to defend against prostate cancer and other cancer types. One of the most powerful preventative measures is proper dietary supplementation with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agents like, pomegranate juice. ... Dena Schmidt, staff writer. Read More

Franklin Electric Acquires US Groundwater Distribution Companies

FORT WAYNE, IN, APRIL 11, 2017 -- Franklin Electric Co. Inc. (NASDAQ:FELE) announced today that it has reached agreement to acquire controlling interests in three distributors in the U.S. professional groundwater market. Franklin Electric will acquire 2M Company Inc. of Billings, Montana; Western Hydro Holding Corporation of Hayward, California and Drillers Service Inc. (DSI) of Hickory, North Carolina for approximately $89 million in the aggregate, which includes assumed debt. The 2M and Western Hydro transactions have closed and the Company expects the DSI acquisition to close before the end of the second quarter 2017.

Gregg Sengstack, Franklin Electric's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented: "The specialized groundwater distribution channel in the U.S. through which we sell our products is an important element in the ultimate sale, support and specification to the installing contractors. Working in partnership with our distributors, Franklin Electric has developed a broad array of products and systems solutions that will only grow as regulatory and efficiency demands increase in North America.
Continue Reading

Health and Nutrition Research
Study: Butter's not so bad

Butter was not associated with chronic disease or mortality in a review of research from Tufts.
Shara Rutberg | Dec 01, 2016
Nope, butter won’t kill you, according to a recent review of research.
Tufts University researchers took data from nine previous studies that included 636,151 people and did a meta-analysis of the relative risk of eating butter. The average butter consumption across the studies ranged from roughly one-third of a tablespoon to 3.2 tablespoons daily.
Related: Non-fat milk, out. Full-fat dairy, in.
The researchers found mostly small or insignificant associations of each daily serving of butter with total mortality, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The results were published in the journal PLOS ONE.

"Even though people who eat more butter generally have worse diets and lifestyles, it seemed to be pretty neutral overall," researcher Laura Pimpin, Ph.D., former postdoctoral fellow at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts in Boston, said in a university release. "This suggests that butter may be a 'middle-of-the-road' food: a more healthful choice than sugar or starch, such as the white bread or potato on which butter is commonly spread and which have been linked to higher risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease; and a worse choice than many margarines and cooking oils—those rich in healthy fats such as soybean, canola, flaxseed and extra virgin olive oils—which would likely lower risk compared with either butter or refined grains, starches, and sugars."

Natural foods consumers have been embracing butter and other full-fat dairy delights. “For years, conventional wisdom was that a diet low in fat was the best way to stay healthy,” Dan Brooks, creative director for Vital Farms, a conscious company with a butter SKU that contains 85 percent fat, told last year. He added that the newest slew of studies suggest that eating whole-milk products may even help stave off obesity. This research, paired with high-profile, fat-focused diets like Bulletproof (which encourages followers to stir butter, ghee or coconut oil into morning coffee), ketogenic and paleo, has contributed to the notion that, fat, well, doesn’t make you fat. Rather, eating fat keeps you full for longer. “The current popularity in high-fat diets is still just the beginning, but hopefully widespread acceptance is not far off,” Brooks continued. READ
Flint lawmaker pushes bill to lower lead levels in drinking water

By Devin Henry - 04/06/17 11:25 AM EDT
WASHINGTON, DC, APRIL 10, 2017 -- A congressman representing Flint, Mich., introduced a bill that would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to lower the acceptable levels of lead in drinking water, expanding sampling and testing procedures.

Last week, Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) said the EPA needs to strengthen its Lead and Copper Rule in light of the water crisis in Flint, according to The Hill.

In a statement, Kildee said: "After what happened to my hometown of Flint, we must strengthen and update the Lead and Copper Rule to provide greater transparency for families. Updating this outdated rule will not only protect public health, it will restore public confidence in their water systems. We must learn from the failures of government that lead to the Flint water crisis to prevent a similar man-made emergency from happening elsewhere." Read more here.

Neonicotinoids Detected in Drinking Water in Agricultural Area
Apr. 5, 2017 — Concern over the use of neonicotinoid pesticides is growing as studies find them in rivers and streams, and link them with declining bee populations and health effects in other animals. Now ... READ
The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) represents a half million people, like you, working together to support family farms, sustainable agriculture, safe food, and a healthy environment. Without you, there is no OCA. Together we are bringing about positive change!
Very important to recognize the brillance of our ancestors in saving seed and plants to ensure a strong sustainable food heritage. Each in our own way can do something to assist in developing a regenerative food and environmental system. We have the opportunity to preserve much of what remains. May we be inspired to learn how to save a seed for a beloved food that comes out of the garden or even to care for a fruitng plant or tree. A.O.M.

Coyote Nation
Once restricted to the continent's midsection, this adaptable predator now roams from coast to coast

A coyote crosses a street at dawn in San Francisco (above), one of many cities where the predator thrives. In Illinois, another Canis latrans (right) devours a vole it caught beneath the snow.

IN APRIL 2015, A COYOTE MADE HEADLINES when it was spotted on the rooftop of a bar in Queens. It was hardly the first such sighting in the local news. That spring alone, coyotes were reported in the Bronx, suburban New Jersey and a tony neighborhood on Manhattan's Upper West Side. The latter set off a three-hour police chase that shut down the city's Riverside Park. One resident told The New York Times she had not seen so much commotion since a man was caught running naked through the park.

City coyotes such as these are frequently in the public spotlight, but it's not just urban areas that have been colonized in recent decades by this uniquely North American predator. Historically confined to the deserts and prairies of Mexico and the central United States, coyotes today inhabit nearly every part of the continent, from tundra, grasslands and forests to city parks and suburban backyards.

Scientists cite several reasons for this remarkable range expansion, including the coyote's intelligence, adaptability and rapid reproduction. In addition, humans have helped the animals spread by converting forests to more hospitable open lands and by killing off cougars, wolves and other large predators that once competed with or preyed on coyotes.

Medium-sized carnivores that weigh in at about 25 to 45 pounds, coyotes also "occupy a sweet spot in terms of size," says Brent Patterson, a research scientist with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry who has studied the predators since the 1990s. Unlike gray wolves, which top the scale at 60 to 140 pounds or more, coyotes can survive on a diet of small prey like mice and voles. Because of their lower energetic requirements and diet flexibility, the predators can live in small habitat patches, a clear advantage in human-dominated landscapes.

Biologists with Chicago's Urban Coyote Research Program measure a 4-week-old coyote pup. Among other findings, the scientists have discovered that city coyotes prefer natural foods such as mice over garbage or pet cats.

Good Wildlife Neighbors
While the impact of coyote expansion is complex, there is evidence the carnivores can benefit some wildlife, especially birds, by keeping other predators at bay. In a landmark 1999 study published in Nature, scientists in southeastern California found that patches of sage-scrub habitat with resident coyotes had a higher diversity of native birds, including California quail, spotted towhee and Bewick's and cactus wrens, than patches without coyotes. The likely reason, the researchers said, is that more coyotes mean fewer small predators such as opossums, raccoons and, especially, domestic cats. Each year free-ranging cats kill billions of birds and mammals nationwide.

In more recent work, Roland Kays, head of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences' Biodiversity Lab, enlisted hundreds of citizen scientists in six eastern states to survey cats, coyotes and other mammals using camera traps at 2,117 sites, including protected wild lands, city parks and residential backyards. Their results, published in 2015 in the Journal of Mammalogy, showed that in protected areas, coyotes were abundant while cats were rare. The opposite was true in suburban yards, where coyotes were rare and cats were 300 times more abundant than in protected areas. Cats appear to be avoiding habitats where coyotes roam, Kays says. Native to North America, coyotes rarely prey on the songbirds killed by cats, which are nonnative. Thus coyotes "restore a balance of nature by controlling invasive predators," Kays says.

At the same time, coyotes prey on domestic cats far less frequently than pet owners fear. In Chicago, biologists with the Urban Coyote Research Program analyzed more than 1,400 coyote scat samples to determine what the predators eat. The most common foods were small rodents (42 percent of samples), fruit (23 percent), deer (22 percent) and rabbit (18 percent). Less than 2 percent contained signs of either garbage or cats.

"There's not as much predation on domestic animals as most people think," says David Drake, a wildlife ecologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who recently launched a long-term study of coyotes in and around that city. Drake says preliminary analysis of his scat data suggests that Madison coyotes also prefer natural foods such as mice over garbage and pets.

Sometimes, coyotes have a negative impact on wildlife, including endangered species. When 137 black-footed ferrets were released in Arizona, Montana and South Dakota in the 1990s, for example, coyotes killed at least 37 of the 55 ferrets that died within the first 14 days after release. Coyote predation also "has been an issue for an endangered caribou population on the Gaspé Peninsula" in Canada, says Patterson. "Coyotes occupy just about every niche on the continent, so it makes sense that their role varies across space and time."

Rarely, coyotes do go after cats, dogs and even people, particularly when they have grown accustomed to viewing humans as providers of food. To some authorities, killing the predators is the answer to such incidents, but these efforts inevitably fail to reduce coyote numbers.

Indeed, for much of the 20th century, the U.S. government invested tens of millions of dollars killing millions of coyotes-a program that continues on a smaller scale today. (A little known federal agency, Wildlife Services, shoots some 80,000 coyotes annually in response to concerns from the livestock industry.) Unlike wolves, which succumbed quickly to such "predator control" measures, "decades of intensive persecution ... did not eradicate coyotes," writes Dan Flores in his 2016 book Coyote America. "Yet the unrelenting pressure on them did invoke an ancient coyote biological imperative: It triggered larger litters of pups and colonization behavior that pushed them into new settings everywhere"-the species' stunning range expansion that Flores calls "coyote Manifest Destiny."

Model City
In Southern California, the City of Calabasas is seen as a model for human-coyote coexistence. After abandoning lethal control in 2011, authorities now encourage human behavioral changes, from scaring coyotes with loud noises to keeping food from them, so the predators do not become habituated and create a potential danger. "Most people are unaware they are unintentionally attracting coyotes to their yards," says Randi Feilich, a Calabasas resident and representative of the conservation group Project Coyote. Pet bowls, bird feeders that attract rodents, accessible trash cans and even fallen fruit can lure coyotes. Pets also can draw unwanted attention. "In my neighborhood," says Feilich, "people have taken measures to protect their pets-mostly bringing them in at night" when coyotes tend to hunt.

Feilich says people move to Calabasas to be surrounded by beautiful, open space. Most of them also realize they are moving into coyote country. But whether we move into their space or they move into ours, these adaptable predators are here to stay. Fortunately, humans also are an adaptable species. We might even learn to be good neighbors ourselves.

Coexistence Tips
In San Francisco, a coyote seems ready to play or pounce as a pet dog pauses with its owner. Coyotes that become habituated to people or pets pose a potential threat and may become labeled as nuisance animals, which are often killed. Here are some ways to prevent such coyote conflicts:
Do not feed coyotes: Feeding coyotes-even unintentionally-may cause them to lose their fear of humans and ultimately consider people or their pets as possible prey. Avoid leaving out pet food or garbage at night. Coyotes also may be drawn to the squirrels and other rodents that gather spilled seed from bird feeders.

Do not let pets run loose: Cats and dogs left outside, even in yards with fences, may be at risk for coyote predation. While electric fences can keep pets in, they do not keep coyotes out. When walking dogs in parks, keep the animals on leashes.

Do not run from coyotes: Most coyotes try to avoid people, but may not if they have become accustomed to humans. If you are approached by a coyote, try yelling, waving your arms or throwing something. Do not run away, a behavior that might make you appear to be potential prey.

Clara MacCarald is a writer in Ithaca, New York. For more from the National Wildlife Federation visit them here -

ONION - Botanical names: Allium cepa

Parts Used & Where Grown
Like its close cousins garlic , chives, scallions, and leeks, onion is a member of the lily family (Liliaceae). It is native to Eurasia but now grows all over the world, due mostly to people bringing it with them as a staple food wherever they migrated. The French explorer Pere Marquette was saved from starvation in 1624 by eating wild onions near the present site of Chicagoµthe name of the city is derived from a Native American word for the odor of onions.1 The bulb of the plant is used medicinally.

Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)
Onion has been used as food for many centuries.2 Onion was also a popular folk remedy, being applied to tumors, made into a syrup for relieving coughs , or prepared in a tincture (using gin) to relieve dropsy (heart failurerelated edema).3 It was considered a weaker version of garlic by many herbal practitioners. Like garlic, onion has a longstanding but unsubstantiated reputation as an aphrodisiac.
Health Libray Blue Shield of California

Identification of Chemicals That Mimic Transcriptional Changes Associated With Autism, Brain Aging and Neurodegeneration
July 18, 2016
- Nature Communications - Scientific Study

Researchers find that rotenone, a pesticide associated with Parkinson's disease risk, and certain fungicides including pyraclostrobin, trifloxystrobin, famoxadone and fenamidone, produce transcriptional changes in vitro that are similar to those seen in brain samples from humans with autism, advanced age and neurodegeneration (Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington’s disease) Read More...

Organic produce for sale at a supermarket in Quincy, Mass. By Stephan Savoia/AP

Dan Charles, NPR

Let's say you're a farmer in the Midwest, growing conventional corn and soybeans. Times are tough right now. Prices are in the toilet.
If only you were selling organic soybeans and corn. They're worth almost twice as much, per bushel, as your conventional crops.

So why not grow organic crops instead? There's a catch. You'd have to follow the organic rules, renouncing synthetic pesticides and fertilizer, for three entire years before any of your crops could be sold as organic. For those three "transition" years, you'd have the worst of all worlds: Low organic yields and low conventional prices.

The Organic Trade Association, which represents America's biggest organic food companies, wants to make it easier for farmers to get over this hurdle. And its proposal has just been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It's a new certification for food grown during this transition period. This certification, the OTA hopes, will put money in farmers' pockets and encourage them to take the leap into organic certification.

"This is all about creating more organic farms here in America," says George Kalogridis, who works for the Clarkson Grain Company in Cerro Gordo, Ill. Clarkson Grain buys and sells both organic and non-GMO corn and soybeans.
"What's driven this is the organic animal-feed market," says Kalogridis. There's been a chronic shortage of organic grain in the United States in recent years, and without more organic grain to feed chickens and cows, it's hard to satisfy consumers' hunger for organic meat, milk and eggs.

Kalogridis says that many farmers are ready to go organic, and this new certification will make it feasible. "We've identified 150,000 to 250,000 acres that could be transitioned," he says, "and that could be ramped up rather quickly."

Clarkson Grain, he says, expects to offer farmers higher prices for transitional crops, about halfway between the prices of organic and conventional grain. The company will pass that increased price along to buyers, such as poultry farmers, who also are moving into organic production.

It's not clear, however, whether "transitional" food will fetch higher prices in a supermarket. One problem is the wording of a label for such food. The word "transitional" isn't exactly catchy marketing, and food companies may not be allowed to say much more than that.

"On-package labeling [of transitional food] is going to be a challenge for retailers, says Nate Lewis, OTA's director of farm policy. According to Nate Lewis, food companies can't imply that "transitional" food is organic. In fact, the label on this food can't even mention the word organic. "The O-word is clearly regulated by the National Organic Program," he says.

The value of this certification, Lewis say, may lie not in the supermarket but farther back the supply chain. Many egg producers or dairies also are interested in getting into organic production, and they're looking for new suppliers. They may pay extra for certified transitional grain, if it helps them lock in a reliable supply of organic animal feed for the future.

Study Finds 6,600 Spills From Fracking in Just Four States
February 21, 2017

A screengrab from the study's interactive map shows a decade's worth of spills of more than 5,000 gallons of pollutants from pipeline leaks at North Dakota hydraulic fracturing sites. Source: Science for Nature and People Partnership Credit: Science for Nature and People Partnership
Each year, 2 to 16 percent of hydraulically fractured oil and gas wells spill hydrocarbons, chemical-laden water, hydraulic fracturing fluids and other substances, according to a new study.The analysis, which appears Feb. 21 in Environmental Science & Technology, identified 6,648 spills reported across Colorado, New Mexico, North Dakota and Pennsylvania during a 10-year period.
"This study provides important insights into the frequency, volume, and cause of spills," said Lauren Patterson, policy associate at Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and the study's lead author.

Researchers examined state-level spill data to characterize spills associated with unconventional oil and gas development at 31,481 wells hydraulically fractured or "fracked" in the four states between 2005 and 2014.

"State spill data holds great promise for risk identification and mitigation," Patterson said. "However, reporting requirements differ across states, requiring considerable effort to make the data usable for analysis."
North Dakota reported the highest spill rate, with 4,453 incidents, followed by Pennsylvania at 1,293, Colorado at 476 and New Mexico at 426. The number of spills reported is partly a reflection of the reporting requirements set by each state. For example, North Dakota required reporting smaller spills (42 gallons or more) than Colorado and New Mexico (210 gallons or more).

"As this form of energy production increases, state efforts to reduce spill risk could benefit from making data more uniform and accessible to better provide stakeholders with important information on where to target efforts for locating and preventing future spills," Patterson added. Continue Reading

A Small Country With a Large Food Cluster
09/27/2016 03:20 pm ET | Updated Sep 27, 2016

Karen Haekkerup CEO of the Danish trade association Danish Agriculture & Food Council

Thomas Bustrup Deputy Director General of Confederation of Danish industry
Located in Northern Europe, the Danish landscape is ideal for agriculture. In fact, out of our total area of 10.6 million acres more than 60 percent is cultivated. In the growth season, we have many hours of daylight which help us produce strong, healthy plants and animals. And today, all hours all year round, Danish companies are hard at work producing Danish favorites for the world market—from the classic Danish butter cookies to trendy organic treats.
How did a small country become a major exporter of value products? This story started more than a century ago when grain prices dropped. At that time, Danish farmers found that they could make a better living by exporting animal products. However, animal products are more risky than crops and mean more organization and cooperation.

Danish farmers have always worked together and shared the latest advances in agricultural technique. Today, farmers as well as the food industry works closely with universities to develop innovative solutions for better and more efficient, environmentally friendly production. Thus, research and innovation has been an important parameter for corporate competitiveness and the success of the Danish food industry.  Read More

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