Here is a look at what Permaculture can be:
Additional information: HomeGrown
This, remember, is a love story. This life, this time, it’s a gift. And it’s my prayer that when you are surrounded by mystery and uncertainty, your eyes look up to the bright morning star. It is my prayer that you love your neighborhoods—those not even born yet, by caring for this planet. And if you do, it will be very, very good.—Matthew Sleeth, MD, Blessed Earth
The definition of GMO* foods is that a gene from one species is inserted into another, often unrelated, species. For example, soybeans that have been genetically modified to resist Roundup herbicide are inserted with genes from bacteria, the cauliflower virus, and petunias. This is something that does not occur in nature and is not the same as cross breeding.
After an unfavorable consumer reaction to the introduction of genetically modified foods in our grocery stores, food that contains GM ingredients has been stealthily placed on our grocery shelves for approximately twenty years now. Some of the most common GM foods are corn, soy, canola, sugar beets, and cottonseed oil as well as Hawaiian papaya, alfalfa, some yellow squash and zucchini. Derivatives of these GMOs are found in most packaged foods (Fructose is often derived from GM corn; lecithin is often derived from GM soy; even citric acid and vitamin C are often derived from GM corn). The USDA states that approximately 80% of packaged food contains GMOs.
Since these GM foods have been around for about twenty years, you might think that there is nothing to worry about. However, unlike the strict tests that are required for drugs, the FDA does not require any safety or health tests on GM foods. In fact, no long-term studies have been conducted to determine the safety of these foods.
However, the concerns are many. They include health risk, damage to nature that might not be reversible, food security, farmers in peril, and lack of transparency and independent scientific study.
For more information on each of these concerns, see these posts:
*GMO stands for genetically modified organism (GMO or GM food, also genetically modified or GE foods).
Nature provides us what we need to live. We may come up with all sorts of manmade materials, but we can’t make something out of nothing. Without the inputs from nature, none of our manmade materials can be made. With the development of GMO seeds, biotech companies are patenting and attempting to own nature. We can push nature, but only so far. Nature will only put up with this to a point. Then watch out.
Related post: Health Risks of GMO Foods
Despite biotech companies claims that genetically modified foods (GMOs) are safe, evidence shows that there is room for concern:
“Dr. Don Huber, an internationally recognized plant pathologist and professor emeritus at Purdue University, has discovered an organism, brand new to science, related to GM corn and soy appears to be responsible for plant death, as well as infertility and spontaneous abortion in animals given GM feed. The organism is especially troubling as there’s strong evidence this infectious agent promotes disease in BOTH plants and mammals, which is extremely rare.”
Related post: GMOs and Food Security
Currently, five companies control over seventy-five percent of the world’s commercial seed supply. And these companies have been patenting their GM seeds and making the non-GM seeds less and less available. Domestic and international farmers can no longer save their seeds for replanting without paying a yearly royalty to the biotech seed companies. As one Iowa farmer said, “You know, I held out for years on buying them GE seeds, but now I can’t get conventional seeds anymore. They just don’t carry ‘em.” Is it moral and just that a few companies can patent nature and claim ownership? And how secure can our food supply be when just a few corporations own the rights to the crop seeds?
In spite of all these reasons for concern, you might think that GM crops are needed to feed the world. However, the jury is out on how effective GM crops are at increasing crop yields:
In spite of this (health) risk, the biotechnology industry claims that GM foods can feed the world through production of higher crop yields. However, a recent report by the Union of Concerned Scientists reviewed 12 academic studies and indicates otherwise: ‘The several thousand field trials over the last 20 years for genes aimed at increasing operational or intrinsic yield (of crops) indicate a significant undertaking. Yet none of these field trials have resulted in increased yield in commercialized major food/feed crops, with the exception of Bt corn.’ However, it was further stated that this increase is largely due to traditional breeding improvements.—American Academy of Environmental Medicine
In addition, “we produce 4600 calories per person per day, so there is enough food to feed twice the present population.” These are the words of Hans Herren, Ph.D., president of the Millennium Institute. He also states:
We already produce more food than needed; despite this we have 950 million people hungry. In India food is rotting in warehouses, yet India has the highest childhood malnutrition rate in the world.
The problem is the type of food that is grown (commodities instead of local food staple crops), distribution, corruption, and waste.
A third of the world’s entire food supply could be saved by reducing waste – or enough to feed 3 billion people; and this would still leave enough surplus for countries to provide their populations with 130 per cent of their nutritional requirements. …We can all be part of the solution.–Feeding the 5000
Related post: Food System Based on GMOs puts Farmers in Peril
Genetically modified crops (also known as GMOs, GM, and genetically engineered–GE) are a “new form of slavery.” These are the words of Cardinal Peter Turkson, the head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. He went on to state the negative impacts that GM crops have on the economy and the environment.
Due to biotech patenting of seeds, which results in the need for farmers to constantly buy new seeds, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides (something not necessarily needed with non-GMO crops), farmers—both domestic and international—have lost the ability to make decisions on their own land. Farmers are catch in a cycle of debt and are dependent on the dictates of the large biotech corporations.
The increased number of farmer suicides in India is an international example. These words of an Indian villager regarding one of the farmers who committed suicide illustrate this: “He was strangled by these magic seeds. They sell us the seeds, saying they will not need expensive pesticides but they do. We have to buy the same seeds from the same company every year. It is killing us. Please tell the world what is happening here.”
Domestically, this quote from Iowa farmer Earl Sime, who describes himself as a Republican who has been with the Farm Bureau for fifty years, gives an idea of what life on the farm has become under this GMO-dominated system of farming: “Corporations will have you from stem to stern, from ship to shore. There will be control, control, control…. The only thing you’re going to be is a tractor jockey. Just a tractor driver. They’ll own the final product.… That’s why you’ve got farmers saying it ain’t fun anymore.”
If you live in California, vote YES on PROP 37. And support the passage of this ballot measure in whatever way you can.
“Perhaps the rebuilding of the body and spirit is the greatest service derivable from our forests, for what worth are material things if we lose the character and quality of people that are the soul of America.” –Arthur Carhart, Forest Service Landscape Architect, 1919
Today, September 29, is National Public Lands Day. Here is a list of some California public lands that you might visit–today or any day.
Cabrillo National Monument
Death Valley National Park
Joshua Tree National Park
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Lava Beds National Monument
Muir Woods National Monument
Pinnacles National Monument
Sequoia National Park
Whiskeytown National Recreation Area
Yosemite National Park
According to gardening expert and O.C. Register columnist Cindy McNatt, it’s time to think about planting cool weather veggies and herbs in your southern California garden. They include the following.
Cool Weather Veggies
Mild Winter Herbs
For a more complete southern California fall planting guide, see “A Fall Planting Guide for Orange County…and Some Other Place.”
Graphics courtesy Renee’s Garden
Big Ag is dropping big money on it’s effort to defeat California’s LabelGMO ballot measure (Prop 37). It’s a David and Goliath battle. Polls show a lot of support for requiring labeling of GMO foods. But a lot of money can get out a lot of false information and has defeated many issues that went into the race with strong polls. Prop 37 will only be successful with a strong grassroots effort. Read the letter from Pamm Larry, the “Initial Instigator & Chief Rabble Rouser” behind the LabelGMO campaign, to see what the Label GMOs campaign is up against. And please help in whatever way you can.
|Dear Wonderful Volunteers-
The Secretary of State site just logged in a huge influx of donations for our opposition. See the new piece on the CRTK site. http://www.carighttoknow.org/10_million We believe this is because they have polled and see they are in trouble. After being at the GOP convention this last weekend, I can personally tell you that when folks hear the opposition’s talking points first, they believe the twists and lies. We only have days before the opposition starts their commercials to confuse the general public. WE MUST GET OUT ON THE STREETS NOW!! It’s time to focus on the streets again…get out there in front of stores, at festivals, street fairs, and farmer’s markets. Reach out to your churches and local groups….get personal endorsements…TONS of them.The time to act is now – don’t wait for somebody else to start an event. YOU can win this campaign. YOU can organize your friends and family as volunteers. YOU can secure votes by simply having conversations with everyday people. So please, put aside an hour or more to go talk to people at your local grocery store, farmer’s market, or coffee shop. It’s simple – just pick a spot and enter the details here http://www.carighttoknow.org/events No event is too small! The downloadable toolkit is here - https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B-DSa37GBvPqc3ZHT0dyOTNyMjQ This has everything you need to print at home and get started.
If you have any questions, you can reach Stacey (Southern CA Coordinator) at email@example.com or Rachel (Northern CA Coordinator) at firstname.lastname@example.org If you’re not connected with a local group, you can always connect here. Most of our groups are listed on the map, just click to get in touch. http://www.carighttoknow.org/leader_directory
Please…it’s now only 8 weeks until absentee votes start. We CANNOT let their deception get to the voters before we do.
Remember that every time you talk to someone it’s a mini commercial with a person behind it…not a corporation.
All hands on deck…it’s time to HIT THE STREETS!
Pamm, Rachel and Stacey
You can find additional information on California’s Label GMO campaign at www.labelGMOs.org.
Vote YES on California’s PROP 37, and spread the word.
July and August are a good time to plant the heat lovers, which means that now is a time to plant peppers. And you have a lot of choices. Bell peppers, probably the best know of the peppers, is a common choice for planting and eating. But so many other choices exist.
The following chart provides some choices for planting in your garden or to include in your next meal. One of my favorites is sweet banana peppers.
Additional information on growing peppers : Growing-peppers.com.
Graphic courtesy Mr. Hot Sauce via My Backyard Garden