local food production


But food poisoning is pretty common. Just think of the energy use on the farm. Huge machines powered by diesel gasoline, and huge energy consumption in fertilizers. We then transport the food huge distances. We sell them in huge stores oh keep the lights on at the local utility companies. Finally those of us in the first world drive it home in our and put it in our always on refrigerator.  So the fact that we let this thing called food sicken us but also kills us is just inexcusable. This on top of what some of us throw away. Well here is a site thate has on the facts. Unfortunately it is done mostly in photographs and this blog has problems with pictures so go there and look.

http://www.health-science-degree.com/food-poisioning/

Health-Science-Degree.com

The need to feed billions of people efficiently (and make billions of dollars off it) has given rise to large-scale animal farming operations. But are these mega-operations helping feed us or making us all sick?

The Rise of the Factory Farm

Factory farms, more accurately called concentrated animal feed operations (CAFOs), are large-scale industrial agricultural facilities that raise animals (usually at high density and kept in confined spaces) for human consumption.
5%
Proportion of CAFOs among all U.S. animal farming operations
50%
Food animals that come from CAFOs
Due in part to these massive factory farms, since 1960 …
… milk production has doubled
… meat production has tripled
… egg production has quadrupled
Such operations also have introduced means to make animals grow heavier more quickly; chickens, for instance, grow twice as large in about half the time:
Decade Growth time Weight
1920 16 weeks 2.2 pounds
2013 7 weeks 5 pounds

The Filthy Truth

In addition to the moral and ethical problems with keeping animals in tiny pens where their natural behaviors are stunted, there’s the very real problem of what to do with all the waste they produce.
These operations can house upwards of …
1,000+ beef cows
10,000+ chickens
10,000+ hogs
That adds up to tons and tons of — well, poop.
300 million tons
Annual manure production of animals from CAFOs; that’s 65% of the waste from all animal operations in the U.S. And it’s more than double the amount of waste produced by the entire U.S. human population.
This manure contains a variety of potential contaminants, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, E. coli, growth hormone, antibiotics, animal blood, copper sulfate and more. These contaminants find their way to the groundwater and even pollute the air.
In addition to the manure concern is the possibility that keeping animals in such close quarters encourages infections that are then passed to consumers.

The Risks of Factory Meat

CAFOs are susceptible primarily to three pathogens that also make people sick.
E. coli
Introduction of a grain-based diet, rather than a grass-based diet, has raised E. coli rates among cows. While E. coli is always present in cows’ stomachs, grain-based diets have given rise to more harmful strains, such as O157:H7, which has found its way into water, produce and meat in recent years.
16%
Percentage of foodborne illnesses caused by strains of E. coli
MRSA
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus can be spread by human and animal carriers and has become abundant in our environment. European studies have shown a link between MRSA and factory pig farms.
80,000
Annual MRSA infections in humans, though many cases occur in hospital settings
Campylobacter and salmonella
Campylobacter and salmonella are most commonly found in eggs and poultry, and both pathogens have recently shown signs of drug resistance.
Positive tests for salmonella
Farms with caged hens 23.4%
Organic flocks 4.4%
Free-range flocks 6.5%
62%
Chicken sold in supermarkets contaminated with campylobacter

The Environmental Effects

Potential damage to the environment from mismanagement of the tons of waste produced by these massive operations extends to both the air and water.

  • Excess nitrogen and phosphorus in water
  • Fish kills
  • Toxic algal blooms
  • Waste and pathogens in drinking water
  • Respiratory problems from dust and odors

Factory-Farms-FB

SOURCES:
http://www.ucsusa.org
http://www.cdc.gov
http://www.organicconsumers.org
http://news.yahoo.com
http://www.epa.gov

 

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I do not normally post anything that is purely environmental. I don’t have to. The energy business destroys the Earth everyday. But Honey Bee Colony Collapse is dangerous. Our food supply is under enough pressure as it is.

http://saveourenvironment.org/

Ask the EPA to ban the pesticide that’s killing our honey bees NOW.

Doug,Honey bee populations are plummeting – this is your last chance to help.

Alarming – there’s no other way to describe what’s happening to honey bees. Up to 1/3 of our food supply is pollinated by honey bees. Without them, the health of our food supply is in serious danger. The widespread use of clothiandin is likely to blame, as this pesticide, which is highly toxic to bees, has yet to be conclusively proven safe for our crops. But still, clothiandin has been used on corn – our country’s largest crop source – since 2003!

The EPA is refusing to review the safety of this dangerous pesticide until 2018. Our honey bees and our food supply cannot wait another day. Please, take action TODAY to urge the EPA to save our honey bees before it’s too late.

–Mike

Action Alert
Doug,

Honey Bees In Peril!Pesticides like clothianidin may be killing our honey bees by the billion.

Take action today!

The EPA wants to wait until 2018 to finish reviewing its safety but our honey bees can’t wait 6 more years. And every bee colony that collapses threatens the future of our food supply…

Contact the EPA to help save our honey bees today.

Since 2006, our honey bees have been dying off in droves. Billions of bees have disappeared in the U.S. with losses estimated at 30% per year.1

And if the destruction of a species is disturbing enough on its own, the collapse of honey bee populations also threatens the security of our food supply since honey bee pollination is crucial to the cultivation of a full 1/3 of our food here in the U.S.

Urge the EPA to stop dragging its feet and take steps NOW to stem the collapse of honey bee colonies across the country.

Scientists have been scrambling to figure out what is behind this crisis – termed Colony Collapse Disorder – and believe it is probably the result of many interacting factors, including one widely used class of pesticides called neonicotinoids.

One such chemical, called clothianidin, is produced by the German corporation Bayer CropScience. It is used as a treatment on crop seeds, including corn and canola which happen to be among honey bees’ favorite foods.

Unfortunately, the EPA is refusing to make any changes until it completes its review of the safety of clothianidin in 2018 – but our honey bees (and bee keepers, rural communities and farmers) can’t wait that long.

Tell the EPA: Ban the use of this pesticide that may be wiping out our honey bees before it’s too late.

Shockingly, no major independent study has verified the safety of this pesticide. While clothianidin has been used on corn – the largest crop in the U.S. – since 2003, it was officially approved by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2010 on the basis of a single study, conducted by Bayer.

But leaked EPA documents2 expose a more sordid story. Agency scientists who reviewed Bayer’s study determined that the evidence was unsound and should not have been allowed as the basis for an unconditional approval of the pesticide.

Additional independent studies have shown that neonicotinoid pesticides like clothianidin are highly toxic to honey bees, providing compelling evidence that they should not continue to be approved by the EPA.

France, Italy, Slovenia, and Germany have already banned clothianidin over concerns of its role in Colony Collapse Disorder.

The stakes are far too high to continue the use of this chemical without independent science verifying that it is safe to use.

Ask the EPA to ban the use of clothianidin NOW, not in 2018.

Thanks for helping to protect our bees.

Mike Town
Director, SaveOurEnvironment.org
info@saveourenvironment.org

1. http://www.panna.org/sites/default/files/Bees&Pesticides_SOS_FINAL_May2012.pdf

2. http://grist.org/article/food-2010-12-10-leaked-documents-show-epa-allowed-bee-toxic-pesticide/

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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This is just a fun little site for kids. We are on summer vacation after all.

http://green.thefuntimesguide.com/2012/03/living-green.php

Americans Are Becoming More Environmentally Aware & Conscious Of Their Behaviors

A new national survey of more than 1,000 Americans found that ‘being green’ is becoming more mainstream and has less of a stigma tied to it than it once did.

According to the survey, getting caught littering is more embarrassing to Americans than getting caught cheating on taxes.

Other behaviors that people admit to being socially aware that they’re doing include:

  • not recycling plastic bottles
  • driving a vehicles that gets only a few miles per gallon
  • letting the water run while brushing teeth

It’s clear that it is no longer just a highly motivated ‘few’ who are conscious about their own environmentally friendly actions these days.

It’s The Little Things

For most, it’s important to start small in order to stay committed to living green.

In  my case, I set a few simple actions as my New Year’s Resolutions a few years ago.

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I tried to post about the Transition Movement in Milwaukee last year or the year before and got slammed for it by some editor/publisher woman there for using “too much” copyrighted text. She also dissed my unorthodox style. So I took the post down and replaced it with one about transition groups in Boston or Los Angeles. Maybe even the mothership in England. Let us see how this goes this time around.

http://onmilwaukee.com/living/articles/transitionmilwaukee.html?viewall=1

Transition Milwaukee: “we’re all in this together”

By Royal Brevväxling RSS Feed
Special to OnMilwaukee.com

E-mail author | Author bio
More articles by Royal Brevväxlin

Published May 30, 2012 at 5:31 a.m.

Transition Milwaukee (TM) is part of an international movement formed, in part, in response to the peak oil crisis and more generally around issues of climate change, economic security and permaculture principles.

Peak oil is a non-controversial acknowledgement from government, academic and industry experts that fossil fuels, a finite resource, reach a peak moment of production and necessarily begin to decline.

Any controversy that peak oil generates is from determining when this peak production will occur, from a few decades into the future to it already peaking in 2007. Bigger questions about what a society that can’t rely on fossil fuels looks like also stir up debate – and emotions.

Permaculture principles are those that inform design and systems theories about how to develop not only sustainable but self-maintained and regenerative ecological systems. Modern agriculture and societies based on oil consumption are not regarded as sustainable.

TM’s goals involve a “whole-systems” approach toward making our economies sustainable and regenerative for seven generations into the future.

“Right now, Transition Milwaukee acts as a network of concerned activists who are working toward reducing the radius in which we get our goods and services, food, water and shelter,” says Jessica Cohodes, TM steering committee leader, press contact and “big-picture synthesizer.”

Members of TM don’t really have official titles. Although it has a steering committee, TM is organized non-hierarchically.

“Transition Milwaukee has always been a group, grass-roots endeavor about the community, from the ground up. Part of its founding philosophy is that it isn’t someone else’s job to get us off oil, but our job,” says Erik Lindberg, a former TM steering committee member who regularly gives presentations on energy and the environment.

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In fact, some are so radical as to imply that our yards should be filled with food plants and locally indigenous plants. I personally believe that is food overkill but at least there would be no hunger in America. Here is more on lawns if you like them.

http://www.organiclawncare101.com/

The Grass is Greener … and Safer!

Lawns may have been invented in Europe, but they’ve reached their apotheosis in North America. For those in the U.S. of A, that green, green grass ranks right up there with apple pie, backyard barbecues and softball. For Canadians it’s proof of place, both a responsibility and a privilege, like wearing decent clothes when you leave the house. Keep your teeth clean and your grass green. In the lower 48 states and much of southern Canada, grass is practically an obsession.

The problem with the perfect lawn is that it wreaks havoc on both your wallet and the environment. Between 30 and 40 million acres of land in the U.S. are devoted to turfgrass (see Curbing the Lawn), and Americans collectively spend big bucks — about $40 billion annually — on seed, sod and chemicals. In Canada, which has around one tenth the population of the U.S., sales from all lawn and garden products have risen steadily over the past five years, to over $2 billion by 2007. Click on “Canadian lawns and gardens: Where are they the ‘greenest’?” for more on this.

Much of that money goes to products that “help” grass only in the most superficial ways and that degrade the soil, pollute any water they reach, and pose serious health threats to humans, their pets, and any wildlife in the area, including birds. As people become aware of these facts, attitudes towards conventional fertilizers and pesticides are beginning to change. In Canada, over 130 communities and two entire provinces have passed laws severely restricting pesticide use, so homeowners and city park services are going organic perforce. In the U.S., where municipalities in many states lack the power to pass such comprehensive laws, a number of cities and towns have restricted the use of pesticides on school grounds or in parks. Furthermore, while many pesticides remain legal in the States, more and more people are becoming aware of the strain that they place on the eco-system. All across North America, people are not only considering going green, but whether the perfect lawn is worth the long-term environmental price we’re paying for it.

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We were having a great weird spring with temperatures consistently above 60 degrees. Then last night we got 4 hours of freezing and tonight we get 5 more. Coral Bells, Pawpaws and some bushes took a hit. Still, here are more Spring tips.

As a couple, my husband and I were naturals to become part of the green movement: We already used mass transportation, spent considerable time camping in national parks and recycled obsessively (rinsing foil and all). But it was the birth of our daughter that deepened our commitment to making easy household changes — the idea of leaving the world better for her and her generation.

Here’s how we created a greener home:

1. To Market, to Market
Our vast collection of reusable market bags started with two cute canvas totes I’d purchased at a thrift store. Now we have about 14 totes, which we grab as readily as we grab our keys on our way out the door for groceries. We’re keeping plastic bags out of landfills, and as a bonus, the totes’ sturdy shoulder straps make schlepping goods up the stairs to our front door less back-breaking.

2. What Good Things Grow
Through my husband’s involvement with the local community garden, we learned about a massive composting initiative, which takes neighborhood compostable waste and transforms it into dark, nutrient-rich dirt. Now, after dinner, we take a bowl of our unwanted onionskins, carrot peels and eggshells and leave them in the bin at the garden gate. Less waste in our kitchen means that our garbage bags go further too.

 

3. Seeing the Light
When compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFL) first became available (and the U.S. government announced that if every home replaced one regular bulb with a CFL bulb, we could prevent 9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year), it was a no-brainer. We made the switch, socket by socket. But we were concerned when we learned that the mercury in these bulbs made proper disposal an imperative. Fortunately, Home Depot has signed on as a nationwide recycler, so all we have to do is to bring our used bulbs there and look for the big orange bin just for CFLs.

4. Second Lives
Living on a tight budget through college is probably what ratcheted up my resourcefulness. As a result, I’m always looking for the next use of an item before throwing it away. The pink sheets that are now too scratchy for sleeping? With a little time and effort, they became a doll, with eyes made from old buttons and hair from my abandoned knitting-project yarn. The old album covers collecting dust on the shelves? A couple of ready-made frames transformed them into instant wall art.

5. Off With It!
Hot out? Line dry your clothes instead of using the dryer. Not actively on the computer? Power down and unplug it. Bored? Reach for that huge pile of been-meaning-to-read books instead of grabbing the remote. There are hundreds of alternatives to the old electronic habits. And once you’re committed to changing your habits, it’s easy not to look bac

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More tomorrow.

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I find gardening to be very spiritual in a way. Nothing like getting back to mother nature where there are no media devices and the birds are singing. The sun is warm and there is a breeze. It feels like life can go on forever.

http://www.planetnatural.com/site/vegetable-gardening.html

Growing Organic Vegetables

By Eric Vinje, Planet Natural

If the thought of a ripe, juicy tomato makes your mouth water, or imagining snapping a crisp pea makes your fingers itch, then growing organic vegetables is for you. Everyone knows that home grown veggies and fruits taste a million times better than the varieties purchased at the grocery store. So, go ahead, grow your own — it’s easy to do.

Planning Your Garden
Whether you are starting a new garden or improving an existing one, it’s best to start with a plan. A well-planned garden will not only be more successful, it will be better organized and easier to manage. Consider the following:

Face South
Make sure your garden site gets plenty of sun by situating it facing south. 6 hours of sunlight is the minimum your garden will need. Also, be sure there aren’t any trees, hedges or other obstacles (like your house) shading your potential plot.

Avoid Weeds
If the area you’d like to garden is full of weeds, be sure to get rid of them before you start preparing your garden site.

Start small — or don’t
Most experts recommend starting small so that you don’t become overwhelmed. On the other hand who wants to do more prep work each year enlarging their garden? If you feel pretty certain you’ll want a lot of beds one day, go ahead and go big right from the start.

Water
Of course, you’ll need access to water.

Slope
Try to find a spot with 1.5% or less slope. Otherwise, plan to terrace your garden to prevent the soil from washing away with the rain.

Garden Design
There are countless ways to design your garden — from the practical to the fanciful. Consider the following to determine your design.

Row Gardens
Row gardens are what most people picture when they think of a garden. Crops are planted in parallel lines, with space between each row. Easily organized, row gardens can have lower yield than bed gardens and can sprout more weeds.

Raised Bed Gardens
Raised beds are just what they sound like — plots that are higher than the surrounding land. In these gardens, all plants are grown together without rows. The bed must be small enough that you can reach into it to pull weeds and harvest your veggies.

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This is a huge site. Go there and read and read and read. More next week.

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I love their use of compost. I hate their use of fertilizer. I can not attest to this approach because I have never tried it, but it seemed interesting.

http://www.no-dig-vegetablegarden.com/build-a-garden.html

Building a Vegetable Garden
Your Complete Instructions for Natural Gardening Success

The No Dig Garden is built on top of the ground, so you can start building a vegetable garden anywhere. This is natural organic gardening at its simplest and best.

Preparing a vegetable garden of this sort is extremely attractive for those sites that have poor soil or invasive weeds.

It’s also a great way to build a garden for those that can’t, or don’t want to, dig a good size vegetable garden!

Follow the natural gardening no dig diagram below, but first thing of course is to choose the site. Make sure it is roughly level and ideally most of the area gets at least 5 hours of sun a day.

If it’s not as level as you’d like it, roughly smooth out the humps and bumps, then fill the gaps and any lower edges with soil, sand or whatever organic material is at hand, such as bark, leaves, twigs, washed seaweed, paper, jute, wool carpet or similar. As this rots down, you will need to add more compost to these low areas and gradually build them up.

If the ground is on too much of a slope, build some terraces for easy maintenance. Get your creative juices flowing… you can make a grand affair with formal retaining walls or just shore levels up with branches, bricks, rocks, planks, corrugated iron or other obtainable materials.

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They say it is an easier way to garden and more efficient as well. I actually thought it was a little more work. Well anyway more work initially what with creating the raised beds and stuff. Not sure I like it for sweet corn or vining squash or even tomatoes but for the small stuff it is definitely worth it.

http://www.squarefootgardening.com/

Welcome to Square Foot Gardening

 

The Square Foot Gardening Foundation

We are a nonprofit, so every single dollar spent on our products funds our nonprofit foundation, the Square Foot Gardening Foundation, so we can teach this method to as many families and communities as possible. On our Foundation website you can find educational material as well as information about our humanitarian projects around the globe.

Mel’s Blog

Our Founder, Mel Bartholomew, has just launched his own website. He’ll be sharing blog posts, videos, pictures and humorous colums, along with a special column called Mel’s Soap Box! He would love it if you would visit and leave him a comment!

The Forum

We also have one of the most active and popular gardening forums filled with plenty of helpful members.

The Store

We have put together some great products that will help you kick start your Square Foot Garden. Whether you want to learn more about the SFG method or buy boxes and get started right away, we have what you need!

Upcoming Engagements

You Can Make a Difference
You Can Make A Change

Join SFGF in changing the world one square foot at a time by hosting a certification study group or a three day symposium!

And don’t forget to tweet and share on Facebook, or even “pin” your favorite product with pinterest!

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So it could be a net wash for the environment.

http://www.vegetablegardener.com/item/12003/help-the-environment-and-yourself-recycle-your-food-waste

Help the Environment and yourself, Recycle your Food Waste

March 26th, 2012

MikeTheGardener MikeTheGardener, member

Billions upon billions of pounds of food waste every year are thrown away with the regular garbage pick up. This puts a tremendous strain on not only our environment but our wallets to pay people to come pick it up and hail it off to a local landfill.

All is not lost though. You can do your part and solve this problem by recycling your food waste. By recycling your food waste you are create what is called compost. Compost is the end result of organic matter that decomposes.

Your food waste doesn’t simply sit in your kitchen and rot away, which wouldn’t be too pleasant, you actually do something with it and that is you bury it. I will get to more on that in a moment.

The first step is to get yourself a giant Tupperware bowl that, from now on, you can put your food scraps into. Everytime you have leftovers that would normally go into the garbage you redirect that food waste to your Tupperware bowl.

When the Tupperware bowl gets full you will bury it in your backyard. Dig a hole about one to two feet deep and empty the contents of the Tupperware bowl into the hole. Now cover the hole with the dirt. That is it you are now done. You have just recycled food waste.

Now comes the exciting part that you don’t actually see, but trust me it is happening. There is an entire ecosystem that lives underneath that top layer of soil. When you bury food they work hard decomposing that food and give back to you compost.

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