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Archive for March 30th, 2014

Interesting Information: Coalition of States for Mandatory GMO Labeling

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Interesting Information:  March 30, 2014

Coalition of States for Mandatory GMO Labeling

The following states have joined together to form the above coalition:

Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii Idaho, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.

Why isn’t Maine part of this Coalition?  

Probably because we have a very strange governor in Paul LePage–who stated publicly that the worst BPA could do was to make women have mustaches…

Why isn’t YOUR state–especially since

90 percent of the American people want a national GMO labeling law.  

We have a right to know what’s in our food!

Why don’t we have a national GMO labeling law?

Why did the FDA just rule that they thought it would be ok for industry to CHOOSE to label GMOs?

Follow the money…

* * *


MoveOn.org has a petition you can sign…



State list taken from the Well Being Journal, January/February 2013, 10.


Written by louisaenright

March 30, 2014 at 3:43 pm

Interesting Information: Scientific Studies Validate Sustainable Organic Agriculture

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Interesting Information:  March 28, 2014

“Scientific Studies Validate Sustainable Organic Agriculture”

Andre Leu


One of the big news stories of 2013 was the appearance in the media of the results of the 12-year study out of Iowa State University (ISU) showing that “organic systems can have equal to higher yields than conventional systems” (30).   This article , by Andre Leu, in Wellbeing Journal, January/February 2013, 27-34, lists and discusses many of the studies, including the 12-year ISU study, that show that organic systems are superior to commercial systems that deploy chemicals for both plant growth and weed control.  The studies Leu lists are both national and international–which forestalls the argument that commercial agriculture might be ok in the developing world.

Leu begins with studies from the mid-90s, and the reader begins to realize that the science for organic systems has been there for years, but that we aren’t reading about that science in our media in any sustained way.  For instance, the Iowa study ended in, I believe, 2011, but the story didn’t break in any major way until 2013.

Here’s Leu’s synopsis of the ISU study:

The results from the Long Term Agroecological Research (LTAR), a 12-year collaborative effort between producers and researchers led by Kathleen Delate of Iowa State University, shows that organic systems can have equal to higher yields than conventional systems

Consistent with several other studies, the data showed that while the organic systems had lower yields in the beginning, by the fourth year they started to exceed the conventional crops.

Across all rotations, organic corn harvests averaged 130 bu/ac while conventional corn yield was 112 bu/ac.  Similarly, organic soybean yield was 45 bu/ac compared to the conventional yield of 40 bu/ac in the fourth year.

On average, the organic crop revenue was twice that of conventional crops due to the savings from non-utilization of chemical fertilizers and pesticides (30).

Here’s another assessment of the Iowa Trials from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture:

LTAR’s findings concur with recently published results from the Rodale Institute’s 30-year Farming Systems Trial in Pennsylvania. The Rodale Institute also concluded that organic systems can provide similar yields and greater profits. In addition, they calculated that organic crops required 45 percent less energy, and contributed significantly less to greenhouse gas emissions. Organic corn proved especially profitable during drought years, when its yields jumped up to 31 percent higher than conventional.


So, the next time you read that, or someone says that, organic agriculture cannot “feed the world,” challenge that statement.  Here’s a quote from Leu:

Reputable studies by major universities are finding organic agriculture can feed the world.  A recent study by Badgley et al from the University of Michigan showed that organic farming can yield up to three times more food on individual farms in developing countries, as compared to conventional farms.  These findings refute the long-standing claim that organic farming methods cannot produce enough food to feed the global population (27).  (This study was done in 1995.)

Here’s another Leu quote:

Rick Welsh, PhD, of the Henry A. Wallace Institute reviewed numerous academic publications comparing organic production with conventional production systems in the U.S.  The data showed that the organic systems were more profitable.  This profit was not always due to premium prices but also due to lower production and input costs as well as more consistent yields.  Welsh’s study also showed that organic agriculture produced better yields than conventional agriculture in adverse weather events, such as droughts or higher than average rainfall.  (This assessment was done in 1996.)

Nicolas Parrott of Cardiff University, U.K., authored a report titled “The Real Green Revolution.”  He gives case studies that confirm the success of organic and agroecological farming techniques in the developing world.  (This report was done in 2002).

Leu’s article contains a valuable list of studies and an additional reading list.


Why is our food still swamped with deadly chemicals that are not needed and that are making way too many of us sick?

Follow the money…

Industry has a choke hold on our farmers.  Industry is selling them expensive patented seeds every year, selling them the tons of chemicals needed to grow these expensive seeds in the conventional system–more chemicals each year as the efficacy of these chemicals grows less effective–and selling the giant machinery needed in the conventional system.  Industry also funds most of the agricultural programs at the universities, and those folks, in turn, tell farmers how to farm with conventional methods. Farmers are caught in what I’m now calling a “kool aid loop” as the only information they are getting is from the agricultural university system (now also an industry) and from the chemical salesmen.  Plus, the government is incentivizing them to grow crops (soy and corn) for a food industry that is selling us tasty fake food that is also killing us.  THIS IS HOW UNFETTERED CAPITALISM COLONIZES A SECTOR OF THE ECONOMY and how all these colonized sectors become webbed together so that we are all caught in a giant spider web of trouble.

Nor are our small farmers who are trying to change getting government support to help back out of this industrial seed/chemical/big equipment/low prices madness.  No, in the recent Farm Bill, BIG, conventional farmers are getting almost all of the helpful money because the SYSTEM IS RIGGED in their favor.  Money begats money.

It’s a broken system…

And only we can change it…

Start by eating local, clean, nutrient-dense whole foods grown by farmers you know.

You aren’t going to find this food in your local grocery store chains.


Turkey Tracks: Household Dramas

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Turkey Tracks:  March 30, 2014

Household Dramas



The smoke alarm outside my bedroom went off last night about 3:30 a.m.  LOW BATTERY.  That alarm talks to you in a voice that can raise even a deaf person like me from a dead sleep.  Rey Rey jumped off the very high bed (I hope she used the nearby chair) and followed me through the house-check I made to make sure there wasn’t smoke anywhere, etc.  And to get the ladder downstairs so I could reach the alarm upstairs on the third floor. Rey Rey ducked into her bed downstairs–a laundry basket with soft old blankets under the table in my office–and had to be retrieved when the drama was all solved and the offending alarm removed from the ceiling for the night–which meant another trip up and down three flights of stairs.

It took me forever this morning to figure out how to open the battery door… Went online for the manual to figure it out, but couldn’t find a clue–which means most anyone with any brains should know how to open the darn thing.  Only, I didn’t want to break anything by forcing plastic parts.   The little door pulls and kind of swings out.  The online ad said one could change the batteries without removing the device from the ceiling.  Ha!  I’d like to see someone do that.  And it’s easy enough to unscrew it anyway.


Now I suppose I should check the other alarms as I suppose they might all have low batteries.   But, that will be a task for another day…

Meanwhile, Rey Rey is still a total wreck–made more so when the new batteries went in and the device “talked” again in the piercing, scary voice.

She retreated to the rug in front of the sink–the next best thing to my lap as it is “my” spot in the kitchen–where she sat shaking with terror and refusing to look at the camera.




See those beautiful daffodils on the kitchen counter?

A wonderful friend brought them to me this week–along with a big bunch on the dining room table.

And I have had swollen lymph nodes under one arm, other swellings, an allergy runny nose in spurts off and on ever since.  It took me a few days to figure it out–but it’s those flowers.

I started washing my hands really good to get rid of whatever pesticides I had gotten on my hands from the flowers–and gathered up those beautiful, gorgeous, sunny flowers and threw them on a snow bank.

And my nose has stopped and the swellings are going away…

But I will miss the daffodils and will be so happy to see my own bloom in the meadow this year.

Again, maybe this is a lesson in “slow” flowers/food and staying in the seasons…



So, today is the day that the documentary TOXIC HOT SEAT is being shown at THE STRAND in Rockland, Maine.  I had a leisurely breakfast, dressed with care (the pretty blue sweater I save for “good”), and went to the garage to leave.  At the last moment, as it was pouring rain, I changed my pretty shoes for sturdy rain shoes.

There was at least four inches of water in the garage.

The drains were plugged.

Water, water everywhere and threatening the bottoms of the refrigerator and the freezer.

I went back to the house, changed into LL Bean tall boots, took off my pretty green scarf (a present from DIL Corinne during her pre-wedding parties) that matched my pretty green raincoat that I treasure but that is at least 15 years old, got a toilet plunger and tried to open the drains.

No luck.

I called my wonderful neighbor Chris Richmond, who came down with adorable and growing-fast son Carleton in about 30 seconds.   What a great feeling that was.

Chris had no luck with the plunger either.

Chris determined that the drains were iced up and tried to find their outside outlet–and set about redirecting water flowing down the hillsides into the drainage ditches along the driveway–which had become plugged with too many leaves.  (Next year I’ll do a better job of blowing leaves out of those drains–and maybe get Tom Jackson to deepen them again.  After ten years, they’ve silted up quite a bit.

Meanwhile, Carleton and I “broomed” water out of the garage doors so that it flowed down the hill.  As I only had one big broom, Carleton worked with a snow shovel while I followed him him with the big broom.  (I will be buying another broom forthwith.)

Chris had brought some de-icer pellets and put those down the drains, but it may take some time for them to “work.”

And I went to Renys and bought one of their last de-icer bags and put more down the drains.  And I will go back in a bit to see if I need to put in more.

Now my mind is busily turning over what kind of treats I might be able to proffer to thank Chris and Carleton!

I am a lucky woman to have such nice neighbors.