Beyond the Gardens: The Millennium Seed Bank Partnership

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!

Because Everyone Needs a Goat

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

Bonnaroo Gardens….

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.

Prepping for Bonnaroo

June 8, 2010 Comments Off on Prepping for Bonnaroo

How do you prep for a huge music festival that you won tickets to last minute and eat sustainably? Well frankly you cheat a little, or I cheated rather. I bought a ton of out of season fruit in anticipation for not being able to cook. However I did do one semi good thing, I bought bulk organic grains and beans. Which comparatively were pretty cheap(around $35)for the products being organic and while the products themselves weren’t local I made sure to support a local business by buying from a smaller local health food store. As always its the lines we have to draw in the sand, mine were organic by a local vendor instead of non local and non organic, non local and organic. Now bear with me as I try to figure how to take interesting pictures with a point and shoot camera.

Micro Celery!!

June 5, 2010 § 1 Comment

Eating local makes you  realize pretty fast that you and pretty much everybody else are pretty food spoiled. Meaning that we are used to getting whatever we want(food wise) at the blink of an eye. it takes a LOT of getting used too, and I am still struggling with finding certain things that I need. I have recently gotten into soups, which means  I need lots of carrots, celery and onions.  Carrots and onions i can find either local or as as a substitute organic. However I could never find celery, which is pretty key to making the backbone of any soup.  I couldn’t even find ant organic celery, but as luck would have it I discovered something  way cooler than  normal celery, micro celery!

What exactly is microcelery?  Well its exactly what is sounds like a mini plant. It grows an inch or so they  cut it off at that point. I was a little bit hesitant  at first, but it is just as strong a full stock celery(if not stronger.) It also taste pretty much the same, but be sure not to use too much, i got a little overzealous with it and it made my soup very celery-ey

The best part is that this micro celery is much easier to find organic. I got mine from Hardy Farms, right here in Keswick Virginia.

VT Vegetable Share-Screamin’ Ridge Farm

May 27, 2010 Comments Off on VT Vegetable Share-Screamin’ Ridge Farm

I got to go with my Vermont friends  to Screamin’ Ridge  Farm to pick up their first share  from their CSA share, they are super lucky because the drive to the farm 10 minutes away to get their share!   My friends on blogging on their first year  getting a CSA ,to see exactly what  they got   go to their  blog Cookin’ Our Way Through a CSA

Sorry Monsanto et al. You Can’t Play in My Sandbox

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?

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