In Organic We Trust

July 8, 2013

In Organic We Trust creates a conversation about where we want our food system to go…is all that “Organic Food” in the big box stores offering good nutrition and taking us in the direction we want to go?

IOWT_Flyer_SM

What about local CSA or Farmer Market Food compared to Safeway? Is it worth the time to build community grown food systems? Let’s take a look.

moovillebarn

Starting a discussion about organic food and our food system can be a powerful way to get your friends and family more involved with the growing food movement. These “Facts ‘n’ Stats” are great conversation-starters that will get people thinking (and talking!) about the important issues:

Organic FoodBiochar_Answer

  • The U.S. organic industry grew by nearly 8% in 2010, to reach $28.6 billion in sales (Organic Trade Association, 2011 Organic Industry Survey)
  • 78% of U.S. families purchase at least some organic foods (Organic Trade Association, 2011 U.S. Families’ Organic Attitudes and Beliefs Study)
  • Less than 1% of U.S. farmland is certified organic (USDA Economic Research Service)
Food & Health
  • Annual health care costs associated with obesity total about $147 billion (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • 2 out of 3 U.S. adults are overweight or obese (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • 1 out of 3 U.S. children are overweight or obese (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • 78% of poll respondents said making nutritious and healthy foods more affordable and more accessible should be a top priority in the next farm bill (David & Lucile Packard Foundation)
Local Food & Healthy Food Access
  • The number of farmers markets in the U.S. increased 17% between 2010 and 2011 alone, up to 7,175 (USDA, National Directory of Farmers Markets)
  • Marketing of local foods grossed $4.8 billion in 2008 (USDA Economic Research Service)
  • In 2010, 14.5% of households were “food insecure” at least some time during that year, meaning occupants do not always have enough food to meet basic needs (USDA Economic Research Service)
  • Over 46 million Americans currently receive SNAP benefits (formerly known as “food stamps”) (USDA Food and Nutrition Service)
  • Less than 20% of farmers markets have EBT terminals (USDA Agricultural Marketing Service)
  • SNAP transactions at farmers markets accounted for a mere 0.008% of total SNAP transactions nationwide in 2009 (Community Food Security Coalition)
  • 77% of Americans want more information about the food they buy (IBM)
Factory Farms & Food Industry Consolidation
  • The total number of animals on factory farms grew by 5 million, or more than 20%, between 2002 and 2007 (Food & Water Watch)
  • Slaughterhouses can process up to 400 cattle per hour (Fast Food Nation)
  • There are 5 times as many hogs as people in Iowa, the #1 pork producing state in the U.S. (Iowa Pork Producers Association)
  • More than 80% of U.S. beef cattle are slaughtered by just 4 companies (Mary Hendrickson & William Heffernan, Concentration of Agricultural Markets, 2007)
  • The top 5 food retailers capture half of all grocery sales, double the share they held in 1997 (Grist.org)

~~~~~oil_dependenceb8b30cTaking it all in – what do you want to do to help our Food Systems evolve? it is up to us! The pocket book speaks loudly, so does

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fingers in the soil. Enjoy and give thanks for our daily food.

THE GLOBAL SUN OVEN COOKS WHEN YOU CAN’T

May 7, 2013

sun oven
THE GLOBAL SUN OVEN COOKS WHEN YOU CAN’T

food bowl

Can’t find time to watch that pot on the stove?  Want to save money on fuel or electricity?  Solar cooking season is here and it is time to take advantage of that free sunshine hitting the porch or pavement.  Get yourself a solar oven…or you can make one.

My favorite oven is a Global Sun Oven®, the best one for pots of food, canning, making tea water, broiling a chicken, and most crock pot type foods.

When the Global Sun Oven is focused in the sun, the interior
of the oven is heated by the sun’s energy.

Panels of polished metal flare out above the oven and direct
the suns rays into the oven chamber where the heat is trapped,
much like the heat captured when windows of a car are closed.

The black surfaces on the inside of the oven capture and
transform the sun’s energy into a radiant energy wave length
that cannot escape the oven chamber.

Direct and reflected sunlight enters the oven chamber through
the glass door. It then turns to heat energy when it is absorbed
by the black inner-shell and the levelator device.* The Global Sun Oven® will quickly reach temperatures of  360 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit!!!

The light energy absorbed by both the dark surface, and thick steel walls of the The Global Sun Oven Roasting Pot or other dark pots you use –  and the oven’s dark interior is converted into longer wavelengths of radiant heat energy.

Most of this longer-wavelength radiant energy cannot pass back
out through the glass, ensuring more efficient cooking.

Bake, boil, or steam
the natural way, plus… create all your favorite
slow-cook recipes just like using a conventional crock pot while you’re
busy or away at work!  Anything you can cook in a conventional gas
or electric oven can be cooked in a Sun Oven.

Food tastes better!
Solar oven cooking will trap and retain all the natural flavors of food,
plus all those wonderful juices which get baked out using conventional
dry heat style ovens.

Superior Cooking!!!
The slow, even rise in temperature in a Sun Oven gives the complex
carbohydrates time to break down into simple sugars allowing those incredible, subtle natural flavor to emerge!!!
Sun baked foods stay moist; the natural internal juices do not bake
out, resulting in a superior, moist taste with much less shrinkage.
[See detailed cooking and operational info below].

The Global Sun Oven is so versatile, so brilliantly designed, so
easy to use, you’ll wonder why you didn’t purchase one years ago!

Here is one of my favorite Solar ovens…and you can buy one from me!  Call 800-726-8032 or go to EBay and get a great price, well below the $399 retail.

Simply set it in direct sunlight, point it the proper direction, place your meal inside the oven chamber, and The Global Sun Oven will provide a superior tasting repast – for FREE!!!

Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation – finally!

May 7, 2013

Have you read it, are you too far ahead in the Good Food movement to get anything new from “Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation”? cookedbook

I know it is long and at times giving us the same information we already know- but a breakthrough in book giving for those of us who have not already written this book, or one almost like it.

Anniegreenjeans is happy to see that we are in good company with Mr. Pollan offering insights using ancient cooking origins, from gathering to growing and – yes – the Elemental relationships of fire, water,

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air, and earth to our food – be still my Pagan heart!

“Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation” speaks for itself, maybe in too much depth for everyone…so my suggestion is read the parts you like! If you don’t want to read about roasting a pig, skip the

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first 100 pages, there is plenty else to entertain and delight, especially the much inspired fermentation bits. As usual- Mr. Pollan offers simple insights with great detail and humor, crafting new words and making a sweeping new movement for learning how to cook, and then asking us to actually spend time doing it…together!

What else could this “Fast, Fresh and Frugal” cooking teacher ask for?

A handbook for my next year of classes, written up and bound.

Oh, well- one big critique – yet another author has neglected to offer a way out of this food justice predicament we are in. A $9 roast pig sandwich is not going to work out for most families. So- yes, I am still in the business of promoting beans for the Proletariat.

Winter Foods for Warmth and Enjoyment

December 5, 2012

 

Winter Foods for Warmth and Enjoyment

“Winter is the time to rest and enjoy the fruits of our labor.”

Winter foods are warming & full of the needed calories to give us health in cold weather. Many are vegetables harvested in fall, and stored throughout winter. In California we are lucky that kale and collards will keep growing in the garden all winter.

Richard and I began this chilly and rainy December day with our favorite winter breakfast- Green Eggs and Ham (Bacon I mean) I cut a handful of greens- kale and tatsoi from our kitchen garden, just a few feet from the front door. Quickly rinsed, stripped from the stalks, chopped with scissors right over the pan, I steamed the greens for a few minutes in a base of coconut oil, then added fresh beaten eggs mixed with garlic – another warming food. In a few minutes we had a Local nutrient dense meal for just pennies. Richard added toast, and I ate the Local Bacon – thus avoiding the Carbs, so it worked out well for both if us! What could be simpler and hardier? “Eat Real Food your grandmother would recognize and love.”

Winter veggies such as carrots, beets, potatoes and squash can provide vitamins and minerals to sustain us until the spring. Nourishing soups, stir fries, and baked or roasted – these naturally sweet vegetables can satisfy our cravings for desserts. Preserved foods from the yearlong harvest also bring lots of variety and interest to a winter meal. Sauerkraut, pickles, jelly and dried fruits are our beloved winter treats. I sometimes make gifts of traditional holiday cakes using dried fruits and nuts saved in the pantry since harvest. We make them from the fresh harvest of several months ago.

Winter Medicine Foods

Onions and garlic are a perfect combination addition to almost all meals. I add them to my soups, sauces, and begin almost every any sauté with the onions.

Healthy reason to indulge: Both of these are antimicrobial meaning they will help your immune system be strong and fight off any germ – bacterial or viral – from forming a cold. An added plus, both benefit the heart and may help lower cholesterol.

I suggest that we all start using Ginger root in soups and hot tea to help our digestion and warm our lungs and heart against chill & flu. Children love Ginger Ale, and it is easy to make. Boil chopped fresh ginger for 10-20 minutes, add honey and mix with sparkling water to serve. Adding a squeeze of lemon increases its helpfulness for a cough or cold. The

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roots keep well in my kitchen for weeks without refrigeration.

Soup Warms the Soul

Soup is just about the most frugal way to cook fresh or leftover vegetables & grains – you get more servings and satisfaction for your time and money. Soup is warming & relaxes the body, satisfying the soul, calming the spirit – and is a natural for winter vegetable cooking.

In winter, I make several soups in a week and we have them almost every night as our main supper course. Soup transcends all borders & cultures. Surely the ancient innovation of cooking vessels was a beginning point. The discovery of the rich broth left in the clay pot or other vessel after boiled meat was removed must have been a great moment. The peasants probably discovered soup, as they should be credited with most cooking discoveries. With or without a broth – the simple addition of grains, legumes and vegetables to boiling water is a soup. If you save the cooking water from your steamed foods, you can use it as the basis of a soup.

Some favorite soups in our house start with chicken.

Stock or bone broth – made from simmering the bones of your roasted Sunday bird in water – is a classic way to get your bone strengthening Calcium, joint healthy compounds, and good quality fats. Easy to make and much better than the canned stuff, you will be surprised at how easy soup is to put together. Last month I used the Turkey broth from Thanksgiving, along with leftover mashed potatoes, string beans, and some fresh carrots. Bits of the turkey added near the end provided us with 2 nights of nourishing & delicious soup.

I like to use a slow cooker for these soups, you set it up and walk away. A few hours later you have returned home to a delicious meal, pennies to make, and ready to eat. I steam and add light weight vegetables separately near the end so they don’t mush.

Ask me for some recipes for my favorite Slow Cooker dishes such as:

Chicken Noodle or Rice Soup, Slow-Cooker Roasted Root Vegetables, Slow Cooker Black Bean Chili. Pennies per serving, they will serve you well!

Holiday Eating

The holidays are here and with them come a multitude of parties. All of them, no doubt, will have a buffet table packed with delicious holiday treats.

The number one Buffet Rule is>>

#1 – take a portioned plate and walk away! Standing next to the dip can only bring heartbreak. Maybe this is followed by #2 – eat a good meal before you leave the house. OK, now you are in front of a groaning board, what to do?

Party Foods that pack on fat…Take Fewer or Avoid:

1 – Mixed Nuts - Just a half cup has nearly 450 calories – eat only a few; serve them in the shell to make it more interactive, traditional and slow the sampling down.

2 – Vegetable Tray – Veggies- Good! Dip- Bad! Just stay away from the ranch (or blue cheese) dressing, which delivers a devastating 150 calories and 16 grams of unhealthy fat per two tablespoons. Yes, I said only two tablespoons. (Once I start, that amount seems miniscule) Eat those crunchy vegetables unadorned, choose the hummus, bean dip, or make your own buttermilk or yogurt dip for a real healthy dipping treat. (need I mention – stay away from the chips?)

3- Cheese and Crackers - Beware: If you grab five of those little 1-inch

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cubes, you’ve just housed 345 calories. Add a small handful of crackers to that and you’re easily at 500 calories. Spread with goat cheese instead, and stop at 5 crackers or reach for the celery. Satisfying and good.

4- Desserts - Of course this ends the list – all those cookies & special pies, who can resist? Of all the foods – these high carb wonders take the cake! News from the nutrition know-it-alls now says that pastured animal fats are good, vegetable oils & sugar are bad for our heart, veins and fat cells. I eat them of course, just keep it

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portioned, and eat a bite of cheese afterwards to reset your mouth bacteria and taste buds.

Little side note: One of my favorite books is Staying Healthy with the Seasons. Staying Healthy with the Seasons: 21st-Century EditionThe author mentions that the element of water is associated with the season of Winter. The cold damp weather of California certainly fits this image. The bladder and the kidneys are areas needing a little extra TLC during the winter months. Keep your waist area covered and warm with a longer coat or sweater…just as the Japanese do with their traditional Obi Sash. All of the foods mentioned above, will sooth, support and nourish these organs.

 

 

MOO-VILLE CREAMERY produces “Milk that is allowed to be Milk”

August 13, 2012

MOO-VILLE CREAMERY produces “Milk that is allowed to be Milk”

Why MOO-ville Milk?

MOO-VILLE CREAMERY sells wonderful “Milk that is Allowed to be Milk”!

Sited on a hill overlooking the crossroads of rolling country roads in Nashville, Michigan is the popular West-vale Vu Dairy  or Moo-ville Creamery, a good place for cows. 

The Westendorp Family visited over 30 creameries before they planned their dairy strategy.  The 80 Holsteins spend their days outside to lay and graze in pastures most of the summer, with cozy cover and barns available for winter.  They are milked 3 times a day for comfort. This milk comes from happy cows who are kept so clean that the SCC (bacteria) count is about 10% of the national allowable limit.

Many details I have never considered come into play in the processing their milk.  Gravity flow into bottles keeps the milk and cream from stress, as does a cold cream separation. Although the dairy is not organic there is no rBST present, the cows are never fed any animal products and quality milk is their goal.  You can even buy “Creamline milk” that is not homogenized.

The cream is thus in its original natural state and so the fat is healthier, easier to absorb, and it’s presence helps the digestion of the proteins.  This “fresh from the farm” product has many of the original health benefits of milk, and is about as healthy as you can find in Michigan unless you belong to an organic herd share or can find clean raw milk somewhere. 

So many thoughtful factors give this milk such good taste that people drive across Michigan to buy a gallon of milk and get some of their ice cream!

I stopped in today for a little taste, and could find parking only in the over-flow lot. Inside they were lined up 5 deep at the ice cream counter, so I spent my money at the dairy cases – a tasty yogurt shake, some raw milk cheddar cheese, butter and buttermilk dressing – all labeled with simple, healthful ingredients, priced below average big-box store cost.

This may sound for an ad for the West-vale Vu Dairy, but it is really a delighted post by Anniegreenjeans!   I spent the 1970’s in search of organic or raw milk, and was mostly a vegan for the lack of it.  In 2012 it seems that everywhere I go, I find more and more good quality food being grown by people who care about their gardens, farms, animals and local eaters.  It is – I hope – a turning point for US Agriculture towards clean and healthy food.  I am a girl that grew up with the story of the closure of my own family’s farm, lived through the disappearance of most of the small family farms across our Midwest, and the introduction of more and more Mono-cropping and GMO seeds.  Perhaps this MOO-ville parking lot is crowded with average American folks who are discovering that “Real Food” not only tastes better but also is healthier for their families.  Maybe we just will get that Agriculture renaissance we so desperately need right now!

The view from here is hopeful…and now for that market stand salad with buttermilk dressing, a gazpacho soup made with local tomatoes, garlic and cukes…and maybe I’ll splurge with Amish red popcorn drizzled with MOO-ville butter!  Sounds like a perfect supper to honor the day’s discovery of fresh foods.  Won’t even miss the ice cream.

BIOCHAR! Save the soil, grow soil…

June 21, 2012

Why Biochar?— Soil’s Best Friend— Because of biochar’s physical and chemical nature, it has a unique ability for attracting and holding moisture, nutrients, and agrochemicals even retaining difficult to hold nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous.

~~~

Biochar is a solid material obtained from the carbonisation of biomass. Biochar may be added to soils with the intention to improve soil functions and to reduce emissions from biomass that would otherwise naturally degrade to greenhouse gases. Biochar also has appreciable carbon sequestration value. These properties are measurable and verifiable in a characterisation scheme, or in a carbon emission offset protocol.

This 2,000 year-old practice converts agricultural waste into a soil enhancer that can hold carbon, boost food security and discourage deforestation. The process creates a fine-grained, highly porous charcoal that helps soils retain nutrients and water.

Biochar is found in soils around the world as a result of vegetation fires and historic soil management practices. Intensive study of biochar-rich dark earths in the Amazon (terra preta), has led to a wider appreciation of biochar’s unique properties as a soil enhancer.

Biochar can be an important tool to increase food security and cropland diversity in areas with severely depleted soils, scarce organic resources, and inadequate water and chemical fertilizer supplies.

Biochar also improves water quality and quantity by increasing soil retention of nutrients and agrochemicals for plant and crop utilization. More nutrients stay in the soil instead of leaching into groundwater and causing pollution.

(taken from Bio Char International)

Amending Soil with biochar is modeled after a process begun thousands of years ago in the Amazon Basin, where islands of rich, fertile soils called terra preta (dark earth) were created by indigenous people. Anthropologists speculate that cooking fires and kitchen debris along with deliberate placing of charcoal in the ground resulted in soils with high fertility and carbon content. These soils continue to “hold” carbon today and remain so nutrient rich that they have been dug up and sold as potting soil in Brazilian markets.

Soil’s Best Friend— Because of biochar’s physical and chemical nature, it has a unique ability for attracting and holding moisture, nutrients, and agrochemicals even retaining difficult to hold nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous. Nitrogen tends to run-off regular soils, upsetting ecosystem balance in streams and riparian areas. Biochar also holds gasses; recent research has proven biochar-enriched soils reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide (NO2) emissions by 50-80%. NO2 is a significant greenhouse gas, 310 times more potent than CO2.

Biochar’s immense surface area and complex pore structure (a single gram can have a surface area of over 1000 square yards) provides a secure habitat for micro-organisms and fungi. Certain fungi form a symbiotic relationship with plant root fibers and this allows for greater nutrient uptake by plants. There is speculation

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that this fungi may play a part in terra preta’s ability to regenerate itself.

Persistency in Soil— It is undisputed that biochar is more persistent than any form of organic matter commonly applied to soil. Because of biochar’s long-term persistence in soil (more than 2,500 years and counting), all the associated benefits of nutrient retention, water retention and overall soil fertility are longer lasting than with common fertilizers alone. Biochar, comparitively inert, doesn’t break down like other organic soil amendments and resists chemical and microbial degradation, especially when buried.

Biochar reduces soil acidity decreasing liming needs but does not actually add nutrients. Biochar made from manure is the exception; it retains a significant amount of nutrients from its source. Because biochar attracts and holds soil nutrients, it reduces fertilizer requirements – something common organic matter cannot do. As a result, fertilization costs are minimized and fertilizer (organic or chemical) is retained in the soil for far longer. Chemical fertilizers are typically fossil-fuel based, thus biochar provides additional indirect climate change benefits by reducing fertilizer needs.

Enhanced Crop Yields— When added to soil, biochar improves plant growth and enhances crop yields, increasing food production and sustainability in areas with depleted soils, limited organic resources, insufficient water and/or access to agrochemical fertilizers. Not all soils react the same to biochar and it frequently can take up to a year to see results. On poor soils with low carbon content, many studies have shown biochar can increase crop yields up to four times.

Research presented at a recent American Chemical Society annual meeting suggests that biochar plus chemical fertilizer yields increased growth of winter wheat and several vegetables by 25-50% compared to chemical fertilization alone. Soil Science Society of America experiments found that biochar supplemented with fertilizer outperformed fertilizer alone by 60%.

It is important to note that not all biochar is the same. The key chemical and physical properties of biochar are greatly affected by the type of feed stock being heated and the conditions of the pyrolysis process. For example, biochar made from manure will have a higher nutrient content than biochar made from wood cuttings. However, the biochar from the wood cuttings is likely to have a greater degree of persistence over a longer period of time. The two different chars will look the same but will behave quite differently.

[Taken from U.S. Biochar Initiative’s web site (a non-for-profit organization promoting the sustainable production and use of biochar through research, policy, technology and “doing it”).

You can make Biochar at home – there are many videos that demonstrate the methods…some of which are linked here…

MAKING BIOCHAR: with Peter Hirst of New England Biochar

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXMUmby8PpU

 

Making Biochar For Small Farms

WITH JOHN ROGERS

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXMUmby8PpU

 

Does Biochar Deliver Carbon-Negative Energy?

STANFORD ENERGY SEMINAR

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pX3zhZ6ETWI

 

BIOCHAR DONE SUSTAINABLY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FJlo4VC4to

 

Field Test Biochar with Corn and Sunflowers – Mark Sisson

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWF8PqE9tsY&feature=related

 

 

 

 

Biochar - agrichar - Terra Preta

Australia

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzmpWR6JUZQhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Os-ujelkgw

 

MENDOCINO COUNTY CONSIDERS BIOCHAR!

http://mendocinotv.com/2012/06/06/biochar-production-comes-to-mendocino-county/

 

CHANGING WOMAN – THE GODDESS OF FERMENTATION

June 17, 2012

I am living a life touched every day by fermentation.  I consciously practice this through my daily ritual of making and drinking kefir – raw milk Goat kefir with its inherent zing of slightly sour & “micro-bubbly essence.  Yummy & addictive, sometimes it is the only food I want!  I use it for a morning wake-up, mid-meal snack, & nighttime calmer too.  My special and famous “Ginger Bubbly” is a “water kefir” made with apple juice and strong ginger tea.  No need to add sugar, as it is perfectly sweetened by Pomona – Goddess of the apple.  These products are made with a strain of ancestral kefir grains that bring my body the enormous benefits of complex probiotics, absorbability and enhancement of actual the vitamin content of the food.

I love yogurt and so does everyone else!  I make it monthly from local organic milk for the Grange Pancake Breakfast.  Everyone who orders the “Natural Plate” gets home made yogurt with their multi-grain sourdough pancakes.  It is easy to make in my gas oven warmed by an ancient pilot light.

Seasonally I make sauerkraut and Kim Chee.  These wonderful foods are a way of preserving the harvest and so I make them in the fall from freshly picked cabbage and other fleshy vegetables.  They can be produced year-round, of course – but in summer the heat affects fermentation time & quality, and the veggies aren’t truly farm-fresh.

Occasionally I borrow a bit of sourdough starter from a friend and get involved in the process of baking breads, pancakes, biscuits; but as I am not much of a grain eater, my starter tends to die after awhile and so I usually leave that to my talented daughter – the baker in the family – and enjoy the results of her special brand of kitchen magic.

I have also opted to give away my Kombucha mother, and yet appreciate a taste if & whenever offered.  No reason for this except the kefir has taken her place in my daily probiotics routine.  I can only consume so much of these wonderful tonics in a day!

Vinegar comes naturally when we just let it – I have several “Mothers” that I use for wine or cider vinegar.  I will be happy again to get some more going once I am I need.  The taste of salad dressing made with your own handmade vinegar is like nothing else!  Probably this fall will find me making a batch from grape juice or other pressed fruit.

Changing Woman is my guide, my Goddess of Fermentation.  She lives in my compost pile, my worm bin, the compost tea barrel and all of those lovely foods I look to in my kitchen.  Here is Changing Woman’s chant – sing it while you cut cabbage, make cheese or yogurt, decant kefir or stir your sourdough starter…

She changes everything she touches and
everything she touches, changes
She changes everything she touches and
everything she touches, changes
Change is, touch is; touch is, change is.
Change us, touch us; touch us, change us.
We are changers;
everything we touch can change.
We are changers;
everything we touch can change.

- Starhawk

I urge you to begin today to create more healthy foods at home – ferments that offer nutrient rich value to your meals and begin to fill your body with friendly bacteria to keep the others at bay.

Each of us as the Changer will ferment a new culture too!

Ferment change simply by shopping the Farmer’s Market and eating local foods instead of commercially processed “food like substances”.  Your body will thank you, and your local economy will grow and shift towards a resilient future.

A Navajo Legend

Changing Woman comes closest to being the personification of the Earth and of the natural order of the Universe as to any other brief way of describing her. She represents the cyclical path of the Seasons, Birth (Spring), Maturing (Summer), Growing old (Fall) and Dying (Winter), only to be reborn again in the Spring.

… when not involved in ceremonies, she occupied herself with planning for the future of the Earth. By the end of the ceremony she had made millstones, a whisk broom, pots and stirring sticks. The songs that were sung for Changing Woman as she ran are sung today for young women at their puberty ceremonies.

 

Blessed Bee!

Fermenting a New Culture – Has Begun!

October 3, 2011

The news from Occupy Wall Street is BIG – the country is in ferment, and yes – we are fermenting a new culture in many ways! Slow Food is one way we can all participate even if we can’t drive to Washington, New York…SF…

WE CAN ALL Stop shopping at Corporate stores, stop eating corporate food, it is all owned

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by the same guys & their brothers, the ones that brought us loss of jobs, loss of our homes, loss of our monetary independence. It makes dollars & sense, it puts money back in the local community, it is sustainable.

It-is-all-connected… & the destination for any continuing abuse of the body politic & your body, temple of our spirit – is sickness in community & in health.

What I am saying is we start spending our precious dollars in our own community, buy locally grown food, go to the Farmer’s Market, make a statement with our pocketbooks – we will feel good about it & will feel better physically too!

I spent the last few days creating and presenting a workshop on Fermentation, the live food chemistry kind. It fits in with my political rant here as you have let me say – Fermentation of simple, garden grown, local food gives many health benefits & helps stretch inexpensive food dollars, as well as using produce from field & garden. It keeps us out of the stores & helps us gather some “stores” of REAL FOOD.

We all loved

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the experience of making sauerkraut together, finding tastes that are new yet delightful & generally getting more deeply informed around the topics of yogurt, cheese, sauerkraut, vinegar, kombucha & sourdough. You can buy all these things or you can make them at a fraction of the cost, finding many ingredients in your locally owned farm stand or market. I encourage you to find such a class in your area or make one happen, it is about LIVE Food, Bio-available nutrients, Happy enzymes & intestines…all good stuff. I give thanks to my students who trusted me to guide them into the shallow waters of Live Fermentation…simple cottage ferments, political ferments… may we all find our way to the middle of the river, where deeper information resides, and a lifetime of experimentation brings new thoughts to the mix!

Certainly discovering the vast stores of knowledge at Sandor Katz’s website will be a beginning no Fermenter will regret.

And, oh yes – it is very political to grow & eat your own food, or get raw milk from a farmer down the road, let’s take that to the streets too!

SUMMER COTTAGE CHICKEN BROTH & SOUP

August 22, 2011

Rainy Day – the day after an August Family Gathering with lots of leftovers in the fridge…what to do with it all? I am still trying to eat my way through this food before it is time to close the cottage & go back to California…it will be so sad to leave this beautiful place – Michigan has the kind of puffy white clouds that romantic dreams are made of!!! I could lie on a float & look up at them for hours… That is – except that there are so many good books to read while laying in a deck chair & drinking sun tea made from our waterside mint patch.

It is a bit of heaven here…so much wildlife…there are even two swans that cruise the lake at all times looking Fairy Tale-ish. They come around our shore & into our water lilies at about 9am to feed…so beautiful! Sometimes I hear a loon in the early morning & we saw it yesterday too; lots of Canadian Geese honking &

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flying past. As to edible fowl, I am rooted in the modern agricultural 21st Century & will leave the wild birds to themselves as we eat chickens raised for the purpose.

I have eaten really well this trip. A far cry from the days when I brought a lot of my own food from California – raw sunflower seeds, brown rice & such as it was very difficult to make a trip into Kalamazoo where there was a great Coop. The local market seemed to have only browning heads of iceburg lettuce, some soft red delicious apples, and bananas. Nowadays , it seems that every small town market has rice crackers, organic butter, fruit & lettuce.

Truth is – Great fresh & seasonal local foods have always been available during a Michigan summer – my childhood memories include heaps of corn on the cob & fresh tomatoes in August, peas by the bowlful & lots of squash. August was always a healthy food month for us. We tired ourselves out with canning many quarts of peaches, tomatoes, grape juice, and made jams and pickles. I learned to make sauerkraut with my neighbor too. The root cellar was packed by the time I started school, and could take a break from being my mom’s “peeler & cutter-upper”

So – back to the barbeque leftovers of yesterday… let’s make some bone broth & soup!

Got your leftover chicken bits?

Making soup stock from those old bones & skin…so good for you too! The vinegar breaks down the bones into Calcium, releases the nutrient in the marrow. And, all of that “gristle” is also melted & becomes liquid in the hot broth. Bone Broth is medicine food – a healthy builder of bones & ligament for all of us.

Take the edible meat off of that ole chicken whether baked or BBQ’ed,

Add all the bones, skin & gristle into a pot of water & boil for several hours with any herbs you have – thyme, bay leaf, sage, rosemary. If you have a bit of wine or vinegar or even some Italian Dressing, add a big spoonful of that too.

Strain out the bones & bits, then add cut up vegetables to the broth…

We still had sliced onion & ripe red tomatoes from the hamburger fixin’s, so they went in.

I also had 4 ears of boiled fresh corn on the cob waiting to be used up, as well as a heap of baked potatoes, sliced summer squash, cut up yellow peppers, and some other crudités that didn’t make it into anyone’s salad or sandwich. Add a handful of celery, carrots, garlic, if you have it. Cook it all until tender & add your meat back in. Salt & pepper to taste. This soup is so fresh & good! Mine came out very much like a stew from so many veggies added. Yours

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will be a unique reminder of the party you just had. Toasted Hamburger or Hot Dog Buns are almost as good as French bread with this Summer Cottage soup of the day.

LOCAL FOOD AT RISK! Raw Milk shut down

July 5, 2011

…right here in teeny Willits, it has happened >> the eye of Sauron has turned in our direction & the yummiest raw goat milk filled with goodness, love & really potent nutrition has been made illegal. Now, who is going to tell those goats that they cannot produce anymore?

You have a right to know what is in your food, and further – you have a right to eat what you think is healthy & good for you. it is a matter of Freedom to choose. Why cry over spilt milk?

Here are the facts…

Green Uprising Farm has received notice of violation from the California Department of Food and Agriculture demanding that they “cease and desist” the sale or giving away of milk produced at their small dairy. Green Uprising has been providing wholesome, fresh milk to shareholders who have purchased an ownership interest

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in their herd for some time.

They are going to be supported by the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund.

The long story is posted on my friend Dave Smith’s blog, and here’s the short version…

As Sara Grusky, who manages the dairy herd, says:

“According to the Calif Dept. of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) this is a threat to the public health. Our children, our grandchildren, friends, family, neighbors and shareholders all drink raw milk directly from the teats of goats boarded at our farm (my goodness!) and we are all alive and well, happy and healthy. In fact, if you go back three or four generations most everyone who consumed milk drank it raw from a family farm in their community. But, according to CDFA, our shareholders don’t have the right to drink raw milk from a goat herd they have purchased an ownership interest in. According to CDFA, they know better than you what’s good for you. And, they think that pasteurized milk from a feedlot dairy where large amounts of antibiotics are used (due to the unhealthy conditions) and Bovine Growth Hormone (a genetically engineered artificial growth hormone) may be given to stimulate milk production, is healthier than the milk I hand milk into glass jars from my ten precious goats. You have got to be kidding…”

Friends…this is a frontal assault on our right to choose our food.
Action Alert- GET INVOLVED! This is not a test!.. or a meeting to plan
for an idealized future – this is action needed …on the ground… right
now - a need for all of us who love local food to show up & create our future of food, keep our ancient human food rights!

What can you do???

1- Come to the movie showing & community discussion on July 15th at the Willits Grange -7pm

FARMAGEDDON – The Film

Link to Trailer >>see it & click here…

Americans’ right to access fresh, healthy foods of their choice is under
attack. Farmageddon highlights the urgency of food freedom, encouraging
farmers and consumers alike to take action to preserve individuals’ rights
to access food of their choice and farmers’ rights to produce these foods
safely and free from unreasonably burdensome regulations. The film serves
to put policymakers and regulators on notice that there is a growing
movement of people aware that their freedom to choose the foods they want
is in danger, a movement that is taking action with its dollars and its
voting power to protect and preserve the dwindling number of family farms that are struggling to survive.

2- Come on the 15th & hear what Sara, her husband, and their shareholders plan to do in the face of CDFA’s demands and how you can help.
3- ALSO READ MORE ABOUT RAW MILK & YOUR RIGHTS:
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/06/15/ron-paul-vs-the-fda-milk-police.aspx

4- To take action on National Milk issues, send a Fax to Your Legislators – Ask Them to Co-Sponsor & Pass HR 1830

112th U.S. Congress – House Bill HR 1830

(Go to http://www.farmtoconsumer.org/petitions/pnum1079.php)

Congressman Ron Paul has once again introduced a bill that would allow the
interstate shipment of raw milk and raw milk products for human
consumption, HR 1830.

* We believe that there is a fundamental right to produce and consume the
foods of our choice including raw milk, contrary to FDA’s claim that there
is no such right in its response to a lawsuit over this same matter.

* We believe the federal ban against transporting raw milk for human
consumption across state lines is a violation of our rights, despite FDA’s
assertion that any transaction that involves crossing state lines with
such milk is illegal.
http://www.farmtoconsumer.org/petitions/pnum1079.php

ALSO READ MORE ABOUT RAW MILK & YOUR RIGHTS:
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/06/15/ron-paul-vs-the-fda-milk-police.aspx

Annie Brigit Waters

Thus does the public evil come home to each of us:
Straining, the courtyard gates no longer hold fast,
The evil leaps o’er the high walls; it finds everyone,
Even him fleeing to the inmost chamber.

— Solon

“The survival of the fittest is the ageless law of nature, but the fittest
are rarely the strong. The fittest are those endowed with the
qualifications for adaptation, the ability to accept the inevitable and
conform to the unavoidable, to harmonize with existing or changing
conditions.”

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