Archive for April, 2009

An Interview with Jon Wood

One thing we’ve done over years, as part of adding healthy nourishing food to our diet is to have a garden.  It’s been a wonderful thing to share with my kids and we’ve grown everything from tomatoes to pumpkins, sweet peas to cooking herbs.  There is nothing more delicious then eating a fresh picked tomato.

I’ve been a member of a wonderful Yahoo group for the past few years called Organic Homesteading and Gardening.  It was started in 2002 by Jon and now has over 7000 members.  If you are looking to learn about anything related to homesteading or gardening, one or more of the member of the group will know the answer. And Jon, who started the group has a wealth of knowledge that he always kindly shares with the group.  For me personally, I learned how to make my own pasta, brew kombucha tea and many other tips that have helped me to have a more prosperous garden and become more self-sufficient. There’s so much more I am learning everyday, thanks to Jon and OHG.

Jon kindly agreed to this interview. Thank you Jon!

When and why did you start the Organic Homesteading & Gardening Group?

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Indian Lentil Stew

This is one of our favorite recipes. The stock can be homemade or store bought. Saffron can be expensive but you only use a pinch. If you have a Trader Joe’s near you they have it at a great price.

Indian Lentil Stew (or Soup)

I found this recipe a few years ago in a vegetarian soup cookbook and we changed it a bit to make it our own. What I love about this recipe, is that you can make it with a little less liquid and have a wonderful rice main or side dish. Or, you can add a little more broth and have a wonderful soup.

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Monsanto’s Harvest of Fear

Monsanto already dominates America’s food chain with its genetically modified seeds. Now it has targeted milk production. Just as frightening as the corporation’s tactics–ruthless legal battles against small farmers–is its decades-long history of toxic contamination.

by Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele May 2008

Gary Rinehart clearly remembers the summer day in 2002 when the stranger walked in and issued his threat. Rinehart was behind the counter of the Square Deal, his “old-time country store,” as he calls it, on the fading town square of Eagleville, Missouri, a tiny farm community 100 miles north of Kansas City.

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Who Owns Life, Not Monsanto?

ISIS Report April 09

Who Owns Life, Not Monsanto?

Percy Schmeiser is a real life hero who played David to Monsanto´s Goliath, and like David, he won.

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Tracked: The NAIS Controversy

By Maria Magaldi

Introduction: My name is Maria Magaldi. I’m a junior in high school from Connecticut. This year my U.S. history teacher gave my class a chance to pick a topic for our research papers as long as we used primary sources. I keep a small farm of Nigerian Dwarf goats and I was curious about a program another goat keeper said she was “forced into” called NAIS. I decided to research it and educate myself as it could potentially affect me and my goats in the future. As I researched and discovered more and more about the National Animal Identification System, I became furious and decided, after I wrote my paper, that I wanted to share what I found with the world.

It is the 21st century and the U.S. is one of the major world powers. Having used Roosevelt’s “big stick” to control Cuba, the Philippines and the surrounding U.S. territories, the government is now turning to its own citizens to wield a new stick—a microchip smaller than a penny. With the approval of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), these microchips—marketed mainly by the Digital Angel Company—are being injected into animals across America. The purpose is to further implement the USDA’s brainchild, the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). This program is being promoted as a way to enable the government to track the movements of animals in order to more quickly eradicate a disease. Although NAIS could potentially help officials contain a widespread livestock epidemic, it is nevertheless unconstitutional as its operation infringes on animal owners’ constitutional rights and its possible mandatory establishment would be medically and ethically harmful.

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Eating a GMO free diet

As I heard more about GE (genetically engineered, or GMO, genetically modified organism) food, over the past 5 – 10 years and got more furious about it as well – (these people have some nerve feeding us and our children frankenfood that is not safe.  It’s not been tested here and in Europe where is has been tested it’s been shown to cause many health problems) – I have tried to figure out how our family can cut out all foods with GE ingredients.

We started by joining a CSA.  A CSA is a community supported agriculture program.  This mean that you are buying, in advance, a share of a local organic farms crops.  We love our CSA and get a wonderful box every week of local, organic and seasonal fruits and veggies.  It’s introduced us to many new vegetables, and to my surprise, even our teens are eating new vegetables like swiss chard and kale. If you’d like to find a CSA near you visit Local Harvest,

Our next step was to look at the meat we were eating.  We try to have our meat, chicken & fish as a condiment to our meals, making sure we have lots of veggies and grains as the base.  As most all the factory-farmed meat is fed GE soy we needed to find an alternate source of meat.  We found a few.  The first was our local health food store.  They have organic grass fed beef, organic free-range chicken and fresh fish.  They are more expensive but as far as I’m concerned, my family is worth is and I’d rather have us eat smaller portions of safer meats.  We also found a wonderful source of bison and have added that to our diets also.  Bison is a free range and very low fat meat that’s high in omega 3’s.  The taste is very similar to beef and even our pickiest eater liked it.

Next up, was grains and beans; actual whole grains and beans were easy.  Many health food stores, have bins full of organic rice, millet, couscous, and more and a wide variety of beans and lentils.  It got trickier when we started looking at processed foods.  I try to cook as much as I can from scratch (which is not as hard as you might think, if you’ve never done it before ;), but there are times we like processed items.  Things like chips, cookies, or the occasional loaf of bread led me to really start reading labels.  The first thing you want to make sure is not in anything you’re buying is high fructose corn syrup, or non-organic soy, and lately even sugar is suspect as many companies are using GE sugar beets.  This is another reason is so important we all call and let them know we will not buy their products until they’re GE free (see What we can do,!.html ).

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Seed Monopolies, Genetic engineering and Farmer suicides

by Vandana Shiva

An epidemic of farmers’ suicides has spread across four states of India over the last decade. According to official data, more than 160,000 farmers have committed suicide in India since 1997.

These four states are Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Punjab. The suicides are most frequent where farmers grow cotton and have been a direct result of the creation of seed monopolies. According to official data, more than 160,000 farmers have committed suicide in India since 1997.

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The Hidden Link Between Factory Farms and Human Illness

By Laura Sayre

You may be familiar with many of the problems associated with concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs. These “factory farm” operations are often criticized for the smell and water pollution caused by all that concentrated manure; the unnatural, grain-heavy diets the animals consume; and the stressful, unhealthy conditions in which the animals live. You may not be aware, however, of the threat such facilities hold for you and your family’s health — even if you never buy any of the meat produced in this manner.

Factory farms are breeding grounds for virulent disease, which can then spread to the wider community via many routes — not just in food, but also in water, the air, and the bodies of farmers, farm workers and their families. Once those microbes become widespread in the environment, it’s very difficult to get rid of them.

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Joel Salatin on Safe Food

Sound Science is Killing Us

By Joel Salatin

At a recent House committee hearing in Richmond, Virginia, the state Commissioner of Agriculture, Carlton Courter–seated next to me at the polished oval table that only government buildings

contain–proclaimed that “raw milk is just as dangerous as moonshine.”

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