Archive for July, 2009

Spicy Summer Salad

This is one of our favorite summer salads. We always loosely follow the recipe depending on what we have on hand. In the one pictured, everything was from our garden except the red onion. I used zucchini, cucumber, three kinds of tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, jalapeno and green pepper.  Yum!  It’s even better the next day.

Serve with a grilled burger or chicken. You can prepare this recipe up to two days in advance. The longer the vegetables marinate, the more flavor they acquire. Remove the seeds from the pepper if you prefer mild heat.

4 cups halved red, yellow, or orange cherry tomatoes  (use tomatoes and whatever fresh summer veggies  you have on hand – see above)

¼  cup thinly sliced green onions or chopped red onion

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Why our family eats organically grown food

We had a very dear friend visiting over the Christmas holiday and she was surprised at the number of organic food items we have around here.  “Organic Coffee!” she said, surprised.

It got me thinking about why we eat organic foods.  I’ve been eating natural and healthy food since college.  I was ill in my freshman year and the school doctor suggested I eat a bit more carefully.  So, I started researching diet, food, and various methods of alternative healing.  I learned a lot about how the food you eat can effect your health.

When my kids were little the news started discussing pesticides being sprayed on apples and how it was potentially unsafe for kids.  Then I heard the same about grapes and raisins.  I started looking for organic foods.  At that time (late 1980s) it wasn’t always easy or affordable!  Organic farming was still relatively new and you could only get organic produce and products at the local health food store, but I got what I could and found that even if the produce sometimes looked a little funny (organic used to be less perfect most of the time) it tasted great.

As the kids got older there were more important reasons to look for organic alternatives.

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HR 2749: Food Safety’s Scorched Earth Policy

HR 2749: Food Safety’s Scorched Earth Policy

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GM Crops are the Highway to Genetic Holocaust

by Sailendra Nath Ghosh

According to a report in The Hindu of April 13 last, the Supreme Court headed by the Chief Justice issued three welcome directives to the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee while giving a verdict on a PIL petition filed by the Convenor of Gene Campaign, Ms Suman Sahai, an internationally famous Indian geneticist. The directives to the GEAC are that it must (i) consider the toxicity and allergencity of the proposed GM crop; (ii) study the requirement of isolation distance of the experimental field from other fields to prevent contamination; and (iii) post the relevant data on the web so that independent experts could examine the data obtained from the experiments. Pursued in letter and spirit, these could be safeguards against the misuses that the GMO producers are now indulging in, in large parts of the world.

The hon’ble Chief Justice, again, in his speech at the seminar at Chandigarh on “Law and Environment” organized by the Asia-Pacific Jurists Association, warned against corporates “making a fast buck at the cost of nature” and advised the shelving of projects which appeared suspicious from the ecology angle. These were wise sayings indeed and were in accord with the “precautionary principle’ which is basic to good science.

Genetic modification is variously known. It is called “transgenic engineering”, “horizontal gene transfer technology”, and also “recombinant DNA technology”. To call it a “suspicious” project, in 2009, is, however, a gross underestimate. It is the most dangerous technology that mankind has ever known. It is more lethal than nuclear bomb manufacturing technology. Man, even after manufacturing nuclear weapons, can keep these bottled up. But once the products of transgenic genetic engineering are released, their chain reactions are unstoppable.

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Earth Democracy Author, Vandana Shiva, Speaks at WMU

I got to hear and meet Vandana Shiva last March. She’s an amazing women and is doing a lot to help the farmers in India get away from GMO’s.  Here’s a recent interview with her.

Activist Vandana Shiva Recently Spoke at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo

Indian activist and author Vandana Shiva spoke at Western Michigan University last Thursday on the theme of sustainability, the topic of one of her most recent books,Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace.

Shiva began her talk by saying that we live in extremely important times, because the paradigm of fossil fuels consumption is killing us. She also used a comment from the founder of the Indian Satyagraha movement, Mohandas Gandhi. Gandhi, when writing about the Western World, said that it “only promotes consumerism and comfort.” But, this model, according to Gandhi, is one that is self-destructive.

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Interview with Joel Salatin

Joel Salatin is a hero to those of us want to eat real food, raised by real farmers. Here’s a great interview Joel gave recently.

Sustainable Farmer Joel Salatin Goes Beyond Organics

By Jedd Ferris

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Why Eat Local & Organic

It’s turned into list week, this week. Found this great list about why we should eat local and organic.

Reasons to Support Local Food:

   1. Produce Ripens Longer – Because of the relative ease of bringing produce to market, fruits and vegetables can be allowed to ripen until the last possible minute, giving you extremely juicy and tender fruit and veggies ready to eat.

   2. Produce is Very Fresh and Nutritious – When ripe produce is picked it naturally starts to lose taste and nutritional value. Farmers market produce is usually picked the same day or the day before. The fresher the produce, the tastier and more nutritious it is!

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10 Reasons to Avoid GMOs

These are the reasons so many of us are worried about GMO’s. This is a good list to pass along to everyone you know. It’s time to put an end to GMO’s!

Environmental Threat

GMOs are, hands down, the greatest environmental threat to our planet. GM crops cross-contaminate. This is also one of the big reasons that gmos are such an environmental threat. They can invade and mutate regular crops, which will be a world-wide disaster. We would lose our seed independence and seed purity. All our soy, canola, sugar beet and cotton crops would be transformed into sterile GMO crops.

No Testing

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Animal, Vegetable, Miracle Review

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is the story of author Barbara Kingsolver and her family and their quest to eat locally and in season for one year.

She packed up with her husband and two daughters and moved from Arizona to their farm in VA where they’d been spending their summer for many years. This time they were planning on staying and spending a year eating what they could find locally and grow for themselves.

The book reminded me of how much we take for granted with our mass produced food.  Winter tomatoes are not a local food – and you can tell by the taste!  Having to wait for the fruits and vegetables of summer was both an adventure and a challenge to the author and her family, and it’s one she shares with us.  The book is full of funny and touching stories of their trials along the way.  Daughter Lily’s plans, and how they changed, about going into the egg business, the first tomatoes and cherries of the season, the abundance of tomatoes and what to do with them. 

There are also mouthwatering recipes throughout the book, many of which have already been added to my own.  This book is chock full of information about farming, food and cooking too.

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