March 27, 2012 Comments Off on Beyond the Gardens: The Millennium Seed Bank Partnership
A glimpse inside the Millenium Seed Bank Partnership in Kew Gardens Surrey. It is home to 10% of the world’s plant diversity. If you like this you should also check out this video on the work mycologist are doing to preserve fungi. Fungi helps plants absorb nutrients so it’s important!
December 3, 2010 Comments Off on Because Everyone Needs a Goat
People are so thankful at Thanksgiving. People fill the interwebs with tweets and updates about how thankful they are for their family and friends, but for some reason the thanks fades pretty quickly and people never fail to realize that something they should be thankful for is in front of them every day.
It is clearly no secret that I am not a fan of the industrial agriculture that controls our food system, and for the most part I choose not to support it. Opting instead for helping establish a healthy community by buying products from local suppliers. So one of the things I am grateful for is that I can CHOOSE not participate and still have access to food. I am not going to starve because farmers are working hard and supporting me and then I, in turn support them, together we create a more financially and environmentally sustainable community. So it shouldn’t surprise you that creating a strong agricultural system can up lift a community in any part of the world. That’s part of what makes Heifer International so great is that they provide areas stricken by poverty with animals or plants, the animals and plant in turn provide them with food and often capital that they can use to trade or sell within their community. I particularly love this organization because in essence it is saying that people are not helpless, that given the right tools. People and communities can work to reduce hunger and poverty in their own community,helping themselves. It is also pretty admirable that they have programs in U.S in addition to communities around the world. The U.S is a powerful country, but we forget that our rapidly changing economic climate has created major holes(some of which were never really filled in the first place. Lastly what is really awesome is that you can give these animal donations as gifts for other people, so you can give a flock of chickens in the name of you aunt who already has everything and really doesn’t need another trinket, or even relatives that you don’t know that well instead of buying then a non committal “hey I don’t know you well gift” I’m looking at you candle or coffee mug. So join me in giving to others this holiday season and don’t think you’re alone, even in the toughest economic climate this country has ever seen individuals gave over 210 BILLION dollars in 2009.
Goat by Hana Muchová
June 16, 2010 Comments Off on Bonnaroo Gardens….
So on my arrival to Bonnaroo, I was excited to find out that Bonnaroo Gardens! They even had their own victory garden. They also teamed up with Gardeners Supply Company to put on workshops on gardening and to get people to support the community gardens act, which would use USDA funds to support community gardens. They even handed out postcards to people who could sign them and Ben and Jerry’s then offered to trade them for free bonnaroo flavored ice cream and send them to washington. I got to have some great conversations about gardening and about our society. Also keep an eye over on J.E.S for more non gardening related bonnaroo photos.
April 14, 2010 Comments Off on Sorry Monsanto et al. You Can’t Play in My Sandbox
I’ve been stuck inside lately because pollen and I are having a rocky relationship, and I feel like crap. The only thing I can muster garden wise are dreams of delicious summer vegetables like tomatoes an cucumbers. The summer didn’t creep up on me like spring did, and summer vegetables will tolerate the roof a little bit better, so I have time to let my conscience dictate my summer plantings down to the seed. How could I be having a moral dilemma over a seed? Well seeds are the beginning of life and the power of our food systems. Seeds are from simple but they are the linchpin of our industrial food system, as seeds and thus plants have been genetically designed by humans, often in the form of hybrids. Now on the surface these genetically modified foods seem pretty great, because they make plants resistant to all kinds of things and can grow in areas that it might not do well in normally. The end product is generally bigger food and more of it, meaning more to feed all the people that are eating the food from pretty much everywhere. People can really go back and forth about organic farming vs regular industrial farming and the role of genetically modified foo just read the comments of this Boston Globe Article and you will get my point. Anyway like all things local food you have to draw your line, and what I really care about is that genetically modified seeds reduce biodiversity and put everyone at risk. For example if 98% of our corn in the same and corn is in so much of the food eaten by Americans, and corn gets a disease we will be up a serious creek with a fractured paddle. It also doesn’t allow evolution to do its thing by weeding out the weak and creating naturally resistant plants, and that just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Just like it doesn’t make any sense that farmer can’t save their seeds , because often genetically modified seeds are owned by the company that makes them and even if the farmer wanted to save seeds many hybrids won’t have the same yield the second year anyway, because like a mule they are workhorses that can’t reproduce.
SO in my own little act of defiance(waves flag) I am getting my plan on for summer and unlike spring I am going to start my summer vegetables from seed. Because I have a worrisome personality that is delightfully paired with a guilty conscience so I am making sure that my seeds are open pollinated and have no genetic engineering juju going on . It’s important to me that I plant diverse species to support the biosphere.I am getting mine from a company called Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and they even encourage seed saving! I am fortunate to have them only 40 minutes away from I live, and a vendor at the market sells them on Saturday. However they sell their products online and have a super awesome catalog (also available online) that has great stories and descriptions of the seeds. There are also tons of resources online for finding places that sell heirloom/heritage and non GMO seeds and techniques of savings seeds. Even if you don’t won’t go out of your way, local food is becoming the hot new thing and many large retailers carry heirloom varieties, just be sure not to be confused by organic seeds in that they may or may not be genetically modified,the guarantee of organic means that they were grown in an organic way.
Buying heirlooms for me is my own little way of telling Monsanto and other giant seed companies (are there any others?) to F*** off, even if do still wear cotton, which apparently Monsanto owns all the seeds to as well, who knew?