Top Leaderboard, Site wide
September 1, 2014
Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines
Help us grow by sharing
and liking Truthdig:
Sign up for Truthdig's Email NewsletterLike Truthdig on FacebookFollow Truthdig on TwitterSubscribe to Truthdig's RSS Feed

Newsletter

sign up to get updates


Satellite Mapping Shows Ice Caps’ Faster Melt Rate






Truthdig Bazaar more items

 
Report

Food Is Power and the Powerful Are Poisoning Us

Email this item Email    Print this item Print    Share this item... Share

Posted on Sep 6, 2009
AP / Rick Rycroft

A waist-eye view of one problem: Poor people—and that’s more of us every day—can’t shop at Whole Foods (although no one can, now). Instead they often turn to less nutritious and more dangerous alternatives, such as fast food.

By Chris Hedges

Our most potent political weapon is food. If we take back our agriculture, if we buy and raise produce locally, we can begin to break the grip of corporations that control a food system as fragile, unsafe and destined for collapse as our financial system. If we continue to allow corporations to determine what we eat, as well as how food is harvested and distributed, then we will become captive to rising prices and shortages and increasingly dependent on cheap, mass-produced food filled with sugar and fat. Food, along with energy, will be the most pressing issue of our age. And if we do not build alternative food networks soon, the social and political ramifications of shortages and hunger will be devastating.

The effects of climate change, especially with widespread droughts in Australia, Africa, California and the Midwest, coupled with the rising cost of fossil fuels, have already blighted the environments of millions. The poor can often no longer afford a balanced diet. Global food prices increased an average of 43 percent since 2007, according to the International Monetary Fund. These increases have been horrific for the approximately 1 billion people—one-sixth of the world’s population—who subsist on less than $1 per day. And 162 million of these people survive on less than 50 cents per day. The global poor spend as much as 60 percent of their income on food, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute.

There have been food riots in many parts of the world, including Austria, Hungary, Mexico, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Morocco, Yemen, Mauritania, Senegal and Uzbekistan. Russia and Pakistan have introduced food rationing. Pakistani troops guard imported wheat. India has banned the export of rice, except for high-end basmati. And the shortages and price increases are being felt in the industrialized world as we continue to shed hundreds of thousands of jobs and food prices climb. There are 33.2 million Americans, or one in nine, who depend on food stamps. And in 20 states as many as one in eight are on the food stamp program, according to the Food Research Center. The average monthly benefit was $113.87 per person, leaving many, even with government assistance, without adequate food. The USDA says 36.2 million Americans, or 11 percent of households, struggle to get enough food, and one-third of them have to sometimes skip or cut back on meals. Congress allocated some $54 billion for food stamps this fiscal year, up from $39 billion last year. In the new fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, costs will be $60 billion, according to estimates.

Food shortages have been tinder for social upheaval throughout history. But this time around, because we have lost the skills to feed and clothe ourselves, it will be much harder for most of us to become self-sustaining. The large agro-businesses have largely wiped out small farmers. They have poisoned our soil with pesticides and contaminated animals in filthy and overcrowded stockyards with high doses of antibiotics and steroids. They have pumped nutrients and phosphorus into water systems, causing algae bloom and fish die-off in our rivers and streams. Crop yields, under the onslaught of changing weather patterns and chemical pollution, are declining in the Northeast, where a blight has nearly wiped out the tomato crop. The draconian Food Modernization Safety Act, another gift from our governing elite to corporations, means small farms will only continue to dwindle in number. Sites such as La Via Campesina do a good job of tracking these disturbing global trends.

“The entire economy built around food is unsafe and unethical,” activist Henry Harris of the Food Security Roundtable told me. The group builds distribution systems between independent farmers and city residents.

Advertisement

Square, Site wide
“Food is the greatest place for communities to start taking back power,” he said. “The national food system is collapsing by degrees. More than 50 percent of what we eat comes from the Central Valley of California. What happens when gasoline becomes $5 a gallon or drought sweeps across the cropland? The monolithic system of food production is highly unstable. It has to be replaced very soon with small, diverse sources that provide greater food security.”

Cornell University recently did a study to determine whether New York state could feed itself. The research is described in two articles published in 2006 and 2008 by the journal Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems. If all agricultural land were in use, and food distribution were optimized to minimize the total distance that food travels, New York state could, the researchers found, have 34 percent of its food needs met from within its boundaries. This is not encouraging news to those who live in New York City. New York once relied on New Jersey, still known as the Garden State, instead of having food shipped from across the country. But New Jersey farms have largely given way to soulless housing developments. Farming communities upstate, their downtowns boarded up and desolate, have been gutted by industrial farming.


New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, September 16, 2009 at 11:49 am Link to this comment

Actually Cenef such chemical intensive ways of monoculture will work for awhile but we have passed that point. Yields are going down, dangerous pesticides and fungicides for GMO’s only,  the soils are wrung dry of the needed minerals, nitrogen runoff is poisoning whole areas of the oceans (11 dead zones), we increased population by over 4.7 billion during that short span of time (89 years), climate change has produced less in growing seasons and so we are hitting even greater food shortages now than ever before. Fresh water is in short supply and wars will be fought over it. We have never fed everyone fully anyway. So much goes to feed cattle, pigs and chickens too—inedible fodder by humans and is a wasteful process. The whole system is going to collapse because it isn’t sustainable anyway. All hydrocarbon intensive and that too is causing all kinds of problems with it!

Our food isn’t even it except in name. Too much manipulation by the corporations to get profit. More fat, sugar and salt to get us to eat more and very little nutrition as is natural. Because the natural part is mostly gone. We have many problems and we are to blame for them. If we don’t fix it, then Nature will take its course and many billions will die. Needlessly, sadly and we can not stop it if we don’t change right now.

At this rate only the richest will survive and they are the main cause of it. Irony in the making with a bloody punchline.

Report this

By ceanf, September 16, 2009 at 10:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

$114 per person per month in food stamps is more then enough to get adequate food.  they may not be eating steaks and lobster every night, but they are not, by any means, going hungry or not getting enough to eat.

the fact is ‘corporate farming’ has driven the ability to produce more food per acre of land through the roof.  countries like india, pakistan and china were able to become self sufficient when it comes to supplying their own cereal grains, all because of corporate farming and the green revolution.  the author has this intense hatred of all things corporate, in this case farming.  but because of it, the world has never produced more food, and less and less people are no longer starving.

So what do you suggest in its place? Organic? Small scale? Farmers co-ops? All of those things will cause people to starve and die, reversing the trend that ‘corporate farming’ has started and sustained.

Report this

By stcfarms, September 13, 2009 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment

I am hoping that others are working on these problems. A geosyncrous orbit
solar furnace with a fresnel lens at the focal point could separate the
wavelengths and use individual wavelengths to knock these molecules out of
the atmosphere but it would be very expensive.

By Night-Gaunt, September 13 at 3:42 pm #

We also have problems not just CO2 but methane (269 times CO2) and Nitrous
Oxide (300 times) the potency and they need to be factored in. We can best
control the CO2 and N2O but methane is being released as a factor of the
heating of the general atmosphere which will become self actuating soon if it
hasn’t already.* Once the feedback loop is established we are cooked. That
will be when we really will be deep in problems.

It has been shown that with more CO2 and hotter temperatures helps corn to
grow smaller. But it is good for ragweed and the like to grow very well. Too
bad most of us are allergic to them.

There are other GHG’s from manufacturing of big screen tv’s and such with
thousands of times the effects of the same amount of CO2 out there too. Every
time we launch the space shuttle the fuel used destroys O3’s in the upper
atmosphere. Not good either. A big problem and mostly the people of the
earth are either not contributing to it or just milling around or doing
everything they can to pollute more and stop anyone from curtailing how they
live. Glenn Beck is one of them.

Report this

By stcfarms, September 13, 2009 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment

The islands are low tech and most components have been tested for millennia.
The factory island and my homestead will be a small island that produces
more island as materials become available. The navigation methods have been
used for centuries. The trials will be on the Mississippi river and open to the
public. My one experience with the media was a disaster. We were fighting a
barn fire and I was 10’ from a burning combine and a propane tank. The
channel 4 reporter came up and wanted to ask questions, fortunately they did
not air my response…

lisalouisa, September 13 at 3:42 pm #

stcfarms:Wouldn’t you want to have a trial run with a smaller floating island to
check everything out? Something like what a test pilot does to a plane. You
would
want to make certain your navigation methods could see you through.  Having
a
trial run would also allow coverage from the news media thus spreading the
word
to other interested participants.

Report this
Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, September 13, 2009 at 12:42 pm Link to this comment

We also have problems not just CO2 but methane (269 times CO2) and Nitrous Oxide (300 times) the potency and they need to be factored in. We can best control the CO2 and N2O but methane is being released as a factor of the heating of the general atmosphere which will become self actuating soon if it hasn’t already.* Once the feedback loop is established we are cooked. That will be when we really will be deep in problems.

It has been shown that with more CO2 and hotter temperatures helps corn to grow smaller. But it is good for ragweed and the like to grow very well. Too bad most of us are allergic to them.

There are other GHG’s from manufacturing of big screen tv’s and such with thousands of times the effects of the same amount of CO2 out there too. Every time we launch the space shuttle the fuel used destroys O3’s in the upper atmosphere. Not good either. A big problem and mostly the people of the earth are either not contributing to it or just milling around or doing everything they can to pollute more and stop anyone from curtailing how they live. Glenn Beck is one of them.

Report this

By elisalouisa, September 13, 2009 at 12:42 pm Link to this comment

stcfarms:Wouldn’t you want to have a trial run with a smaller floating island to
check everything out? Something like what a test pilot does to a plane. You would
want to make certain your navigation methods could see you through.  Having a
trial run would also allow coverage from the news media thus spreading the word
to other interested participants.

Report this

By stcfarms, September 13, 2009 at 12:13 pm Link to this comment

You must consider that the gap between the windows is 1/2” and not the 61
miles that the atmosphere extends. Even at 100% concentration it comes
nowhere near the amount of carbon in the 7,729,920 half inch increments to
the edge of space. In any event a warming planet will release the trillions of
tons of methane contained in the permafrost. There is no reason that our two
projects could not work together. The islands would be an excellent place for
poor farmers to make a living and the islands would be isolated from the GM
crops and their pollen. I believe that the monoculture farms are starving the
bees and the great diversity of plants on the islands will give them a better
chance to fight off disease.

When I get my island to the Amazon delta I would be pleased to have you
come and visit as I do have a lot to learn about soil minerals. Growing up in an
area that has fine soil it has never seemed like a problem but we will be
manufacturing soil on the islands and will undoubtedly require the addition of
minerals. The world faces food, water and energy shortages in the very near
future and the islands will enable us to meet the increasing demand. If global
warming is real the islands will reverse it, if it is not at least they will put off
the Malthusian population crisis for another 50 years.

By m_astera, September 13 at 12:14 pm #

As to this experiment with the double pane window and CO2, I would point
out that the atmosphere is around 70% Nitrogen and 20% Oxygen. It is only
around .04% Carbon Dioxide, so your experiment would entail increasing the
CO2 concentration by 2500 times. If one merely doubled the CO2 to .08%,
would there be a measurable difference in the insulating qualities?  I don’t
doubt that CO2 is a better insulator than air, but isn’t methane an even better
one?

IMO, the CO2 hype is a red herring, to take the focus of those concerned
about the environment off toxic chemical pollution, which I see as a much
greater threat to planetary life.  It is also being used to initiate the first
worldwide tax.  Neat, huh?
Not to me.

Your floating island sounds like quite a project.  I live in South America so I’ll
be interested to see if I hear any more about it.  I wish you all the best with it.

Report this

By m_astera, September 13, 2009 at 9:14 am Link to this comment

STCFarms-

What I work with is not “instead of” organic matter, it is “in addition to”.  If you had taken even a few moments to look around soilminerals.com you would know this.  I’ve been an organic gardener since the early 1970s.  I don’t think there’s too much left to teach me about compost and manure.  What organic gardeners don’t know about is minerals, what is needed, in what balance, how to measure them and how to get them into the soil in a natural and available form.

As to this experiment with the double pane window and CO2, I would point out that the atmosphere is around 70% Nitrogen and 20% Oxygen. It is only around .04% Carbon Dioxide, so your experiment would entail increasing the CO2 concentration by 2500 times. If one merely doubled the CO2 to .08%, would there be a measurable difference in the insulating qualities?  I don’t doubt that CO2 is a better insulator than air, but isn’t methane an even better one?

IMO, the CO2 hype is a red herring, to take the focus of those concerned about the environment off toxic chemical pollution, which I see as a much greater threat to planetary life.  It is also being used to initiate the first worldwide tax.  Neat, huh?
Not to me.

Your floating island sounds like quite a project.  I live in South America so I’ll be interested to see if I hear any more about it.  I wish you all the best with it.

Report this

By stcfarms, September 11, 2009 at 11:45 am Link to this comment

There is a simple test of theory experiment that you can do with two identical
double pane windows. Fill the gap between the panes of one window with CO2
and leave the other window just an air gap. Place the windows over two
identical boxes with thermometers inside, 15 minutes later you will know the
truth. Higher ratios of carbon do increase the rate of plant growth but nature
is a balancing act and when the ratio goes up temperature does as well. Most
life forms have narrow temperature ranges for breeding, availability of food et
cetera. Even a two week change in the flowering date of some plants may
eliminate a species as the young are born into a world that has no food for
them. As the temperature rises more and more species will go extinct,
including those that we need.

What you are doing is good for farmland that is exhausted and you will soon
have a lot of work in America. You might want to try making the carbon rich
soil that I spoke of earlier , earthworms and plants love it. Earthworms will
make your poor soil come alive when there is rotting vegetation and minerals
for them to eat (they love coffee grounds and oatmeal). I wish you luck as the
old world farms have certainly been abused for centuries. Too bad the ancient
Romans and Persians are gone, they would have constructed aqueducts and
cisterns that would have supplied water to every arable piece of land by now.

My island will be free floating in a natural doldrum caused by the pressure of
the Amazon River against the equatorial current 250 nautical miles ENE of
Belem Brazil. Natural forces will maintain my position so I will not need a three
mile anchor chain. Even that far out to sea it is still fresh water.

Report this

By m_astera, September 11, 2009 at 9:43 am Link to this comment

Update from the WSJ on what’s happening in California’s Central Valley:  1/3 of the cropland out of production, restrictions on irrigation water, up to 80% of some communities relying on food banks:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125184765024077729.html

STCFarms-

Don’t get me wrong, I like you vision, though I don’t buy the CO2/global warming propaganda.  Higher CO2 levels in the atmosphere greatly increase plant growth.

Not everyone has virgin prairie soil, in fact few do, and no one has hundreds of acres of it for a good-sized farm to feed thousands.  So one starts with what one has, balances the minerals, gets the soil bioactive again.

You are working on a local scale, which I am too, but I’m also working on a global scale, getting the information out.  I work with farmers and gardeners worldwide, from Malaysia to South Africa to New Zealand and just about everywhere else. 

Soil minerals=soil fertility=healthy soil, crops, animals.

Worth noting that earthworms can help make minerals available, but they can’t “make” minerals if the minerals are not in the soil to begin with.  Plants need about 20 elements, humans and higher animals about fifty.  Got cobalt or selenium?  One doesn’t need much, maybe one pound per acre, but they are essential nutrients.

Do you plan on anchoring your island in international waters?

Report this

By nestoffour, September 11, 2009 at 12:32 am Link to this comment

TAO WALKER,

I have been reading your words for a long time.  They have not been in vain.  Thank you.

Report this

By stcfarms, September 10, 2009 at 11:05 pm Link to this comment

Ah but I do understand and my soil is full of the worms that break down these
minerals, why would I dig up worn out dirt and add minerals? Like a terrarium
mine will be a closed system except that on the ocean there are no harmful
insects and no unwanted vegetation. My bees will have a rich diet of hundreds
of vegetable flowers and wildflowers and no immigrant bees that might have
diseases. Our waste will be made into methane, composted and returned to
the soil. When the methane is burned the exhaust will be filtered through the
soil, creating a beneficial carbon sink. It is an ancient method of creating a
super soil where anything will grow.

Inside the outer ring of gardens, shops and living areas will be a seaweed
farm. The seaweed farm would be a marine refuge while it removes carbon
from the atmosphere. My island will be carbon negative, if a thousand other
people build one each then there will be a blip on the carbon level, if a billion
people each build one then global warming will reverse. If you have an island
in the deep ocean you are wealthy beyond belief. You have everything you
need to survive and a tropical island. You can grow bamboo, rubber trees,
tobacco or anything else your little heart desires.

It should be obvious that if we are going to change the course of global
warming we will have to do it ourselves. Katrina should have shown us that no
entity, no man, no god will do it for us. Considering what might be happening
on land the island might not be a bad place to be. It is likely that 4.5 billion to
six billion people may not survive the next ten years. The balance of food and
population will be upset by the sea rising and flooding 15% of the arable land
and the billions of coastal residents moving inland. I would like to think my
fellow man would do the right thing but I would never bet on it.

You can talk of doing things but if you never do things the talk will be empty.
If anyone wants to trade the use of my tools and know how for labor and
materials (plastic barrels, plastic buckets, lumber et cetera) we can build each
others islands. Even river islands would be useful as they can use undershot
water wheels to capture the thousands of horse power flowing under the
island. The bottom deck for machinery and the upper deck for a garden. I have
always been crazy, I have never been stupid.

“A fool’s paradise is a wise man’s hell!” Thomas Fuller

Report this

By m_astera, September 10, 2009 at 9:05 pm Link to this comment

STCFarms wrote:

“Adding minerals (as is done in hydroponics) does make a larger but less tasty crop.”

Sorry, you don’t get what I’m talking about RE minerals.  Minerals are what gives a crop flavor and sweetness. Soil fertility = minerals.  Healthy food = minerals. Calcium and magnesium are minerals, as is phosphorus.  Plants can’t grow without them, nor can people or animals survive without them.  Make sure they are all in the soil in the right ratio and one gets flavorful and nutrient-dense crops that are naturally disease and insect resistant.

Hydroponics is a poor joke that in my experience has never even succeeded in growing a tomato worth eating.  Real food is grown in biologically active soil with a full and balanced complement of all of the minerals that the soil organisms, the plants, and the animals and people need for health.

http://www.soilminerals.com

As for being able to still grow non-GMO corn, good luck.  Everything I have read indicates that cross pollination with GMOs has already affected most of the corn in North America, so-called organic not excepted.  I haven’t seen figures recently for soy, but a few years ago 98% of all soy planted in the US was GMO.

Report this

By stcfarms, September 10, 2009 at 8:42 pm Link to this comment

You can eat any food, from any land that you want, I grew up with real food,
grown in real soil and I can taste the difference. I will still have sweet corn and
soybeans that will not be poison, along with a few hundred other food crops.
Adding minerals (as is done in hydroponics) does make a larger but less tasty
crop. If you want food that has stood the test of time you will want virgin soil,
heirloom or heritage seeds and earthworms in your garden. Have you even
considered where your food will come from in the transition time? Although I
applaud your blind hope in the basic good of mankind I have met too many
people to ever believe it.

“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education” Mark Twain

By m_astera, September 10 at 9:44 pm #
(Unregistered commenter)

I know of no agricultural chemicals that cannot be broken down into harmless
substances by biological activity, e.g. fungi and bacteria, and pretty rapidly
too.  If one is talking about a truly toxic contaminated place such as a former
telephone pole treatment plant, that will take longer but you are not going to
want to grow food there anyway.  Agricultural land is not THAT polluted;
people switch away from chemical farming and return to sustainable methods
every day.

As for the GMO crops, those won’t last in production.  Monsanto and Syngenta
will not take over the world with their short-sighted technology dependent
non-solutions.  The modifications they have made may persist, which simply
means that maize and soybeans will no longer be considered food.  Their act
of destroying a mother food like maize, taking it away from the people and
making it poison, will cause their name to live in infamy, but agriculture will
survive just fine.

The days of cheap oil are behind us, and simple economics will dictate wiser
ways of farming.  The concept of the corporation will be abandoned as
repugnant, as will the idea of exploitation and destruction of our only home by
predatory psychopaths, snakes in suits.  Humanity will survive, and this Earth
will become the paradise it is meant to be, with responsible and caring people
as its gardeners and caretakers.

Report this

By m_astera, September 10, 2009 at 6:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I know of no agricultural chemicals that cannot be broken down into harmless substances by biological activity, e.g. fungi and bacteria, and pretty rapidly too.  If one is talking about a truly toxic contaminated place such as a former telephone pole treatment plant, that will take longer but you are not going to want to grow food there anyway.  Agricultural land is not THAT polluted; people switch away from chemical farming and return to sustainable methods every day.

As for the GMO crops, those won’t last in production.  Monsanto and Syngenta will not take over the world with their short-sighted technology dependent non-solutions.  The modifications they have made may persist, which simply means that maize and soybeans will no longer be considered food.  Their act of destroying a mother food like maize, taking it away from the people and making it poison, will cause their name to live in infamy, but agriculture will survive just fine.

The days of cheap oil are behind us, and simple economics will dictate wiser ways of farming.  The concept of the corporation will be abandoned as repugnant, as will the idea of exploitation and destruction of our only home by predatory psychopaths, snakes in suits.  Humanity will survive, and this Earth will become the paradise it is meant to be, with responsible and caring people as its gardeners and caretakers.

Report this

By stcfarms, September 10, 2009 at 11:10 am Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt,

Water spouts are the greatest danger, no way to design against them so they
could damage the outer edge. Hurricanes at sea are not that bad, no flying
debris or storm surge. Oddly enough I will be using both types, wind
generators for electricity and savonius wind machines for milling, pumping
water, compressing air and other low rpm high torque uses.

By Night-Gaunt, September 10 at 12:53 pm #

Building your own island on a small scale is new unlike the larger artificial
islands of the rich. However yours is a floating one but there is the danger of
squalls and water spouts and hurricanes as you well know. But then life is a
risk between every heart beat anyway so? Good for you, better than a boat in
some ways eh? By-the-way don’t you mean wind generators not mills unless
you will be milling grain from them too.

Report this
Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, September 10, 2009 at 9:53 am Link to this comment

I agree with you Blagnarok and though they say otherwise Monsanto does use their termination gene. I have read of farmers who can’t get a second generation out of those seeds which ads another human made, greed induced danger we don’t need or should want. Eventually the combination of the toxic environments and the way the GMO crops are to normal earth life keeps life away or poisons them soon after. They will have to create a GMO bee tailored and modified to only pollinate their plants & survive in doing so. Nothing else could or would do it. Additionally, with the threat of genetic drift only those “weeds” in the area that get the modified genes will grow in those otherwise sterile fields. A nasty addition and ironic wouldn’t you think? (Blab, Ragnarok—-funny!)

KDelphi invest in a BB gun or cats should remove your squirrel problem forthwith. Dogs too can do the job. How about planting bushes with thorns or those that exude chemicals inimical to such animals? Tobacco is one as is poison sumac. Any thoughts? Also planting some trees that produce the kinds of foods squirrels like could also work to protect your own food.

Building your own island on a small scale is new unlike the larger artificial islands of the rich. However yours is a floating one but there is the danger of squalls and water spouts and hurricanes as you well know. But then life is a risk between every heart beat anyway so? Good for you, better than a boat in some ways eh? By-the-way don’t you mean wind generators not mills unless you will be milling grain from them too.

Report this

By stcfarms, September 9, 2009 at 11:21 pm Link to this comment

I used to hire homeless people when I went to the swap meet. They bright
ones would work about three weeks and then they would buy a pickup truck
and set up at the swap meet. The stupid ones would work one weekend and
quit. Old veterans and women did the best and young, single men were hardly
worth the effort. If homeless people knew how to create jobs they would not
need the state or the dumpster. My girlfriend and I lived in a VW camper and
then a 17’ Traveleze until we paid cash for this house in 1992. We camped out
for years and loved it. In the country knowing what wild foods you can eat and
a few simple snares will keep you well fed.

“Better to live one day as a tiger than a thousand years as a sheep” Tipu Sahib

By KDelphi, September 10 at 12:32 am #


stcfarms…Well, I do hope that it works for you. I should not automatically
think Patri Friedman, etc.

I cannot know how I would react to a starving person dependent on me, but I
do know how I have reacted when I was eating out of restaurant dumpsters. I
guess sharing it with the other people around the dumpster kept me human,
in my own mind. Lent some dignity to an unbearable situation.

Peace to you.

Report this

By KDelphi, September 9, 2009 at 9:32 pm Link to this comment

stcfarms…Well, I do hope that it works for you. I should not automatically think Patri Friedman, etc.

I cannot know how I would react to a starving person dependent on me, but I do know how I have reacted when I was eating out of restaurant dumpsters. I guess sharing it with the other people around the dumpster kept me human, in my own mind. Lent some dignity to an unbearable situation.

Peace to you.

Report this

By stcfarms, September 9, 2009 at 9:20 pm Link to this comment

KDelphi,

Try growing marigolds around the edge of your garden, animals hate
marigolds.

I over reacted as well, it is not as if you were the first to present me with a tin
foil hat award. The island idea is nuts and I understand peoples reluctance to
live on a trash island. That being said there are logical reasons for the islands.
Ships are rated for safety by the number of water tight compartments that they
have. A steamer can have as few as two and a warship will have hundreds of
water tight compartments. The more water tight compartments there are the
safer the ship is from sinking. My island will have thousands of water tight
compartments making it the most seaworthy vessel in the world. The island
will offer a low profile to the wind and will ride the waves rather than fight
them (you learn something from 12 years as a sailor).

I am not against altruism, I have offered to help others build their islands and I
have been trying to interest the VA and homeless groups in the idea. Altruism
must stop when the system crashes and those that did not help build the
islands decide that they are somehow entitled to steal the islands from the
builders. Like I have said earlier, I have seen my fellow man at his worst and
you would be shocked at just how violent ordinary people can get when their
kid is starving. When it comes down to my girlfriend starving or their kid
surviving I will fall back on my military training for the solution.

By KDelphi, September 9 at 10:59 pm #

I know how to farm. I started college as an Agriculture major—switched majors
when I saw how “agri-business” it was.

All the agri-business majors there were looking to inherit large agri-business
farms. (My advisor finally asked me waht I was going to to do—“marry a
farmer”?) The cost of health care cost my family about 150 acres, and, finally
our last six acres (with house).

I have grown plenty of veggies etc on this city lot, but city squirrels are so bad
its almost hopeless and I refuse to use chemicals.

stcfarms—I said I was sorry that we got in a pissing contest, ok?(ie tin foil
hats) I do think tht plastic island thing is a little nuts, but what do you care? If
it is still bothering you, I apologize, again.

BYW—I think altruism is MOST important in survival—who wants to be the last
person fighting with the second to last person over the last irradiated potato?

Report this

By KDelphi, September 9, 2009 at 7:59 pm Link to this comment

I know how to farm. I started college as an Agriculture major—switched majors when I saw how “agri-business” it was.

All the agri-business majors there were looking to inherit large agri-business farms. (My advisor finally asked me waht I was going to to do—“marry a farmer”?) The cost of health care cost my family about 150 acres, and, finally our last six acres (with house).

I have grown plenty of veggies etc on this city lot, but city squirrels are so bad its almost hopeless and I refuse to use chemicals.

stcfarms—I said I was sorry that we got in a pissing contest, ok?(ie tin foil hats) I do think tht plastic island thing is a little nuts, but what do you care? If it is still bothering you, I apologize, again.

BYW—I think altruism is MOST important in survival—who wants to be the last person fighting with the second to last person over the last irradiated potato?

Report this

By stcfarms, September 9, 2009 at 2:28 pm Link to this comment

When you buy an old farm house the yard is worth more than the house. The
yard is usually ancient prairie that has not been ruined by chemicals. A simple
test is to bring a shovel and open up the ground to look for worms. If you buy
one of these farm houses you can save the soil from Monsanto. The salted
earth policy will rise up to bite them in the ass. I prefer the preying mantis and
ladybug methods of insect control as they leave no residue.

It is only logical to adapt to changing times, freedom exists only on the
frontier. Yes, they will destroy what they have but they will not destroy it all. I
am taking some of the ‘modern’ world with me to the frontier, tools, books et
cetera so that I can repair anything that is needed. In the final analysis it is in
your best interest to ensure that you and yours have what you need to survive.
Altruism is great but it has no place when your survival is at stake.

I choose to leave because I have seen my fellow man at his worst, and soon,
they will all be at their worst. Between the rising sea and the rising population
the land will be a bad place to be and I do not intend to be there. I get a lot of
people that believe I should be wearing a tin foil hat for wanting to build an
island out of trash and I am proud to be crazy (any deviation from the norm).
In defense of the islands they are cheap, unsinkable and can hold a house, a
garden, solar collectors, windmills, a beach and even a place where you can
make things to use or trade. The islands are perfect for the poor, they can
build a self sufficient homestead that they own. This is how I will do it, I have
no idea what the sane people will do.


lagnarok, September 9 at 1:05 pm #
(Unregistered commenter)
  Once all farmland has been planted with GMO and sprayed with these
pesticides, we will effectively have no farmland left for generations. I have not
seen any person or farmer argue this very obvious fact, or warn of its
impending danger to our sustainable food supply.  This salted earth approach
to food control has the potential to destroy our modern world as we know it.

Report this

By periwinkle, September 9, 2009 at 11:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Can anyonoe tell me where the photograph was taken?

Report this

By Blagnarok, September 9, 2009 at 10:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Good point Jon,

What’s most disturbing about this issue, is that the biggest danger to our food production has not even been vocalized by the grassroots farming movement or by the independent thinkers.  The fact is, that as Monsanto and other large corporations systematically take over farmland, as a monopoly might absorb competition, they sow those fields with unsustainable genetically modified food that requires the use of certain pesticides.  These pesticide chemicals stay active in the soil for decades, and slowly build up over time year after year.  Eventually the only crops that will grow in such fields will be genetically modified crops which have been engineered to survive the chemical environment.  Natural foods will no longer grow in any Monsanto fields.  It is a slow and systematic approach to the “Salted Earth,” and “Scorched Earth,” techniques of warfare.  Once all farmland has been planted with GMO and sprayed with these pesticides, we will effectively have no farmland left for generations.

I have not seen any person or farmer argue this very obvious fact, or warn of its impending danger to our sustainable food supply.  This salted earth approach to food control has the potential to destroy our modern world as we know it.

Report this

By cmarcusparr, September 9, 2009 at 9:59 am Link to this comment

I live on a small Oregon farm. Fifteen years ago when a corporation offered either dismissal or relocation from San Francisco to the Northwest, I made the Hobson’s choice, but rather than a suburban lifestyle, we bought a farm. In 2001, the same corporation that relocated me was sold to another corporation and I and 2300 of my closest friends were laid off. Since then I’ve learned to simplify, live on about fifteen percent of what I used to earn annually, and to coax food out of the ground.

We have a small vineyard, fruit tree orchard, vegetable garden, chickens, barn, greenhouse, the works. It’s a working farm. What is the difference between ours and the corporate farms? We don’t use pesticides or ammonium sulfate (petroleum-based) fertilizers. We sell our hay but we give away our extra eggs and food to people in our community who have nothing. This is something I strongly encourage others to do, whether you grow your own or buy produce at a farmer’s market.

Food insecurity in Oregon is rampant and getting worse. The solution to the challenges of global climate change, peak oil, the economic depression, is to take back control over our lives through growing what we eat and buying locally. Food is power, as Chris Hedges has said. Also, everything you eat, every dollar you spend, is a political statement! If you buy a Chilean apple, you’re not only contributing to more carbon in the atmosphere, you’re contributing to the loss of local agriculture.

Homo sapiens face a simple choice: To either save the planet or to continue consuming, digging raw materials out of the ground to make toxic substances that we sell to one another and which end up in landfill. It is an either/or situation. No person of conscience has a choice. We face a moral imperative, and there is very little time left before the center no longer holds for the “worst are full of passionate intensity, and the best lack all conviction.”

Report this

By stcfarms, September 9, 2009 at 8:52 am Link to this comment

Hulk,

That is why you form a co-op, the knowledge base of a thousand people far
exceeds that of even an Einstein.

By Hulk2008, September 9 at 10:36 am #

We would all be better off if we grew our own produce and recycled carefully
and used alternative energy and learned to be frugal with water and other
materials. Unfortunately, most of us lack the individual know-how to pull that
off.

Report this
Hulk2008's avatar

By Hulk2008, September 9, 2009 at 7:36 am Link to this comment

We would all be better off if we grew our own produce and recycled carefully and used alternative energy and learned to be frugal with water and other materials. Unfortunately, most of us lack the individual know-how to pull that off.
  Nature has a nasty habit of turning “empires” into wastelands.  The US like all other societies past and present rely on things staying pretty much the same.  But over time, EVERYthing changes.  If, for example, nature chooses to reclaim California by wildfire or earthquake, the rest of the world will be impacted severely.  As long as most of the US population lives in the temperate Zone, agriculture (food) depends on the vageries of weather.
  Ever try to grow tomatoes in December ?

Report this

By ardee, September 9, 2009 at 3:22 am Link to this comment

Nighthawk, September 8 at 5:22 pm #

By ardee, September 7 at 7:55 am #
“The trending away from a primary obligation of our government, regulation,”

Can you show me where the founders covered that?

Is Jefferson good enough for the likes of you?

“I hope that we will crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”

Keeping in mind the oft used lie perpetrated by Liberals to define “Well Regulated” as meaning something other than “Well Trained and Self Equipped”

Keeping in mind that those , like you, who call any who oppose your own unique views liars and such, are worthless and useless to any debate or discussion I doubt I’ll respond so directly to you again, but I reserve the right to point out your obvious distortions and innuendo.

Not that there arent those on the left, or claim to be such, one like the execrable Patrick Henry for example, who links to racist and bigoted websites while claiming to be a progressive.

Report this

By stcfarms, September 8, 2009 at 8:58 pm Link to this comment

Ah but I do have to dig up the prairie unless I can sell it to someone that
would take care of it as I did. For twenty years I have grown wildflowers and
medicinal herbs in this soil but when I leave I will have to sell the land or take
it with me. I doubt that the new owner would protect the land as I have done
so I am taking it with me. The farmer that owns the land surrounding mine
wants this piece of ground so he does not have to make four extra turns with
his massive farm machinery on each pass. His poisons will kill the soil in a
year. He offers far more than the market price because he is afraid that my
wildflowers will spread in to his fields.  Even if I sell it cheap to a regular
person I have no proof that they will not turn around and sell it to the farmer
for a hefty profit. You are preaching to the choir about soil and minerals, I
have been preaching the same message to the local farmers for years. This is
some of the finest soil in the world and I am not about to let some moron kill
it.

By m_astera, September 8 at 7:13 pm #

STCFarms-

You don’t need to dig up that virgin prairie.  You can start with any old worn-
out soil from anywhere and replace the minerals from natural sources.  It has
been and is being done on hundreds of farms around the world.  It is not
difficult; one just needs to ‘get’ the idea that soil fertility comes down to
mineral balance and availability, not simply organic matter.  That’s my mission
and what I do, getting that message out. Here’s the link from my first post
again, in hopes some will read it:

Report this

By m_astera, September 8, 2009 at 8:13 pm Link to this comment

The “days to come” that we were all told about one way or another are here.  That’s obvious to anyone paying attention and not in denial.  I doubt that there’s a person on this planet that hasn’t been given the chance to wake up repeatedly over the last few years.  No one is going to be able to say “I didn’t know, why wasn’t I told?”  You were told, over and over.  And shown, and warned, and given examples.  What person of normal intelligence doesn’t know the difference between good food and crap food?  What person doesn’t know that turning their brain over to TV programming is not a good idea?  What person doesn’t know, in their heart of hearts, that spending their life chasing after material goods, sex, fame, money, and power over others is a waste of what the Creator gave them?

There are damn few victims, despite all the clamoring.  You know.  You made your choices; free will cannot be taken away, even at the point of a gun.

So now the sorting out begins.  And, as I see it, the karma unfolds as well.  Ready to reap what you have sown?

STCFarms-

You don’t need to dig up that virgin prairie.  You can start with any old worn-out soil from anywhere and replace the minerals from natural sources.  It has been and is being done on hundreds of farms around the world.  It is not difficult; one just needs to ‘get’ the idea that soil fertility comes down to mineral balance and availability, not simply organic matter.  That’s my mission and what I do, getting that message out. Here’s the link from my first post again, in hopes some will read it:

http://www.soilminerals.com/AgricolaI.htm

Report this

By richard loosli, September 8, 2009 at 7:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Better to target specific problem areas than go after the entire food processing industry.  Identify main culprits and improve behavior in those areas.  One suggestion: non-diet soft drinks.  Reduce their consumption and you will go along way toward reducing the incidence of obesity in the general population, not to mention improve health.  I think that would accomplish the greatest benefit with a minimum of intervention and disruption.  Individual producers may loose, but the public would benefit more.

Report this

By stcfarms, September 8, 2009 at 7:28 pm Link to this comment

There are opportunities to buy back the land. If you form a co-op and pool
your money you can buy farmland for a few thousand dollars an acre. There is
a ten acre plot in Milan Illinois that a co-op farms and it has great tasting
produce without chemicals being applied.

By Nighthawk, September 8 at 9:13 pm #

“If we take back our agriculture, if we buy and raise produce locally, we can
begin to break the grip of corporations that control a food system as fragile,
unsafe and destined for collapse as our financial system. “

Report this

By stcfarms, September 8, 2009 at 6:49 pm Link to this comment

That was the other old Indian Tao Walker but I am in full agreement with him.

“Better to live one day as a tiger than a thousand years as a sheep” Tipu Sahib

By Ouroborus, September 8 at 9:21 pm #


stcfarms, September 8 at 8:40 pm #
“Odds are that Spark will take-fire in few if any of
the hearts of our tame Sisters
and Brothers….especially after all the abuse they’ve
had in-service to their
wannabe ‘owners.’  Even so, this Old Indian can only
follow
GreatGrandMother’s instructions, and give it a shot. 
What-the-hell, it might
work, and anyway….”
================================================
===
Sadly, the overwhelming evidence supports your
opinion; and I concur as well. Thanks for trying.

Report this

By Nighthawk, September 8, 2009 at 6:30 pm Link to this comment

By stcfarms, September 8 at 6:52 pm #

“It was written for the SOLE
purpose of defining a particular form of government, its organization, its ..................”

Quite correct.  Worth noting that Government has no power that is not specifically codified, while The People get their rights from their Creator.  The Constitution limits Government, it does not limit The People.

Remember Davy Crockett’s “Not yours to give speech”?


Back to the original topic. The tomatoes are canned.  We start on corn tomorrow.

Report this
Ouroborus's avatar

By Ouroborus, September 8, 2009 at 6:27 pm Link to this comment

Nighthawk, September 8 at 9:13 pm #

“One TINY detail missing.
Big AGRO is hand in pocket with the Obama
administration.”
================================================

So? Without you they don’t have any power; just find a
new way. There have been a few viable suggestions here
after all.

Report this

By Nighthawk, September 8, 2009 at 6:22 pm Link to this comment

By ardee, September 7 at 7:55 am #
“The trending away from a primary obligation of our government, regulation,”

Can you show me where the founders covered that?

Keeping in mind the oft used lie perpetrated by Liberals to define “Well Regulated” as meaning something other than “Well Trained and Self Equipped”

Well, sure, I know they didn’t.  I just want to see how far folks here will stretch to support a lie.

Report this
Ouroborus's avatar

By Ouroborus, September 8, 2009 at 6:21 pm Link to this comment

stcfarms, September 8 at 8:40 pm #
“Odds are that Spark will take-fire in few if any of
the hearts of our tame Sisters
and Brothers….especially after all the abuse they’ve
had in-service to their
wannabe ‘owners.’  Even so, this Old Indian can only
follow
GreatGrandMother’s instructions, and give it a shot. 
What-the-hell, it might
work, and anyway….”
===================================================
Sadly, the overwhelming evidence supports your
opinion; and I concur as well. Thanks for trying.

Report this

By Nighthawk, September 8, 2009 at 6:13 pm Link to this comment

“If we take back our agriculture, if we buy and raise produce locally, we can begin to break the grip of corporations that control a food system as fragile, unsafe and destined for collapse as our financial system. “

One TINY detail missing.

Big AGRO is hand in pocket with the Obama administration.

Wonder why food is getting more expensive?  Because we’re making it into fuel. 

That and the equipment to harvest and transport it just got much more expensive, courtesy of EPA and ARB.  Yep.  About a 40% price increase over about 6 years. Not including special fuels and infrastructure.


“coupled with the rising cost of fossil fuels, “

What an odd thing to say.  Though the price of fuel hasn’t increased as much as other commodities like orange juice, milk, bread, perfume, etc, etc, etc.

Any respectable “progressive” knows that higher fuel prices are not something to lament, but something to wish for.

Why else would we be so dead set against harvesting some of the several hundred years worth of fuel we have at our disposal?

Ask Chris Dodd.  No one called him a crackpot for increasing the price of gas to $10.00/gallon by adding more tax.  (Well, Conservatives called him a crackpot, and of course they were right.)

C’mon.  You remember Chris Dodd.  He’s the sone of the guy that lifted the language from the Nazi German gun control laws to write the Gun Control Act of 1968.

Report this

By TAO Walker, September 8, 2009 at 6:01 pm Link to this comment

‘stcfarms’ describes clearly the ‘other-side’ of that old “Live-and-learn” provision of Nature’s Law.  The Book of Changes reminds us further that “People soon give up counseling those CONvinced they already know everything better than anyone else.”  Seems like a pretty accurate description of theamericanpeople, unfortunately….in fact, of the domesticated peoples everywhere.

A big part of what ails (and will soon kill) ‘em.

Hokahey!

Report this

By stcfarms, September 8, 2009 at 5:40 pm Link to this comment

The talking is easy, it is the understanding that eludes them. I have only been
able to teach one in 61 years, my girlfriend. I have met a half dozen that knew
instinctively but they are avoided by their own kind and not likely to influence
the others. I believe that the coming troubles will teach them what we cannot.
They will learn, or they will die.

By TAO Walker, September 8 at 7:20 pm #

So when my mother stood quietly by a year later, while this Wild Boy was
hauled kicking and screaming off to BIA boarding-school, it was Old Grandma
who again reminded me of what she’d said about Buffaloes and Human Beings
that Day the other side of the Line.  She said it was important for one of us to
learn how to ‘talk’ to the domesticated people, because the Day was coming
when they would be in even way worse trouble than our People were at that
time.  Maybe, she said, one of us will be able to remind them about their true
Human Nature, and offer them some counsel on how to get back to it.

Odds are that Spark will take-fire in few if any of the hearts of our tame Sisters
and Brothers….especially after all the abuse they’ve had in-service to their
wannabe ‘owners.’  Even so, this Old Indian can only follow
GreatGrandMother’s instructions, and give it a shot.  What-the-hell, it might
work, and anyway….

Report this
Ouroborus's avatar

By Ouroborus, September 8, 2009 at 5:34 pm Link to this comment

Howard Zinn’s book, A Peoples History of The United
States, tells about huge granaries stocked by the
nations of the eastern native peoples. Research by
Douglas J. Kennett, Bruce Winterhalder chronicles the
trinity crops of maize, beans, and squash along with
sunflowers and little barley to name a part of a very
diverse diet. The key point here is that the method
of agriculture practiced by the eastern nations was
sustainable, forever, whereas; as is obvious, our
methods are clearly not. A number of posters here
know what their talking about and soil health cannot
be ignored. Commercial food is nothing more than a
slow, cruel death.

Report this

By TAO Walker, September 8, 2009 at 4:20 pm Link to this comment

The question of lineage posed below by ‘stcfarms’ is, not too surprisingly, not so simple after all this time.  An unlikely early marriage some ten generations past between a Piegan Blackfeet “news carrier” and a Northern Dine woman set the tone, but this old unreCONstructed Savage, whose own mother was Turtle Clan “Canadian Cree,” now has Blood Relations all over Turtle Island, including among the Maya, the “Pueblo” Peoples, Mountain and Coastal Nations, and even (from the last “big” war) some Pacific Islanders.  That doesn’t even begin to cover all the “in-laws,” nor the Children and GrandChildren “intermarried” with probably just about everybody else here….including “imports” from Europe, Asia, Australia, and Africa, of course.  Then there’s our ubiquitous practice of Adoption, innit.

It’s obviously true, as ‘stcfarms’ notes, that the domesticated peoples face real obstacles, here in these latter days, to recovering their essential Human Nature.  They don’t, unfortunately, have hundreds of years to get there, though.  They don’t, in-fact, have even hundreds of weeks.  What encourages this Old Man to try reaching-out to them anyhow is something GreatGrandMother said many years ago.

We were out on the ShortGrass Prairie, north of The Medicine Line, picking up sticks one Day when we came-up on a handful of Buffalo resting in a cut-bank hollow along a creek.  This eager youngster wanted to run back to camp and tell everybody about it, since Buffalo meat was something we hadn’t had for several Winters already by then.  In fact, it was the “delivery” that Day to our Band, by the “agent,” of several scrawny “beeves” that’d got Grandma and her Walking-Boy out scrounging fuel.

She told me to be still and to sit down beside her.  Then she told me we weren’t going to bother our Relatives down there.  Just like us, they were among the last of their Kind on Turtle Island, and just like us their chances of surviving the onslaught of the tormentors and their tamed two-legged tools were slim at-best.

And anyway, she added, they’re the Natural shape of their Kind here on Turtle Island, just like us free wild Human Beings are the Natural kind of Two-leggeds our Mother Earth raises-up here.  And here’s the main part to know and remember.  Every poor abused beef-cow has a little spark of free wild Buffalo Nature in their heart, and every captive Two-legged here has a spark of free wild Human Being in theirs.

So when my mother stood quietly by a year later, while this Wild Boy was hauled kicking and screaming off to BIA boarding-school, it was Old Grandma who again reminded me of what she’d said about Buffaloes and Human Beings that Day the other side of the Line.  She said it was important for one of us to learn how to ‘talk’ to the domesticated people, because the Day was coming when they would be in even way worse trouble than our People were at that time.  Maybe, she said, one of us will be able to remind them about their true Human Nature, and offer them some counsel on how to get back to it.

Odds are that Spark will take-fire in few if any of the hearts of our tame Sisters and Brothers….especially after all the abuse they’ve had in-service to their wannabe ‘owners.’  Even so, this Old Indian can only follow GreatGrandMother’s instructions, and give it a shot.  What-the-hell, it might work, and anyway….

HokaHey!

Report this

By stcfarms, September 8, 2009 at 3:52 pm Link to this comment

Mackey was right, up to a point. “A careful reading of both the Declaration of
Independence and the Constitution will not reveal any intrinsic right to health
care, food or shelter. That’s because there isn’t any. This ‘right’ has never
existed in America.”  The Constitution was written to define a role for
government and not written as a tool to define our rights since we were the
ones granting the government certain rights. It was written to define how 13
participating States would govern themselves. It was written for the SOLE
purpose of defining a particular form of government, its organization, its
roles, its authorities, its jurisdictions and its limitations from doing any and
everything not defined to those roles, authorities and jurisdicitions. Any ‘right’
not given specifically to the government is retained by the people but over the
past 233 years the people have allowed the government to usurp their rights.
Legally every member of the government, past and present (except Ron Paul),
can be hung for treason. The criminals in Washington know this and will do
anything to stay in power to avoid the gallows. Mackey believes that the
government grants us rights, in that he is dead wrong. He is either a fool or a
shill, there is no third option.

Report this

By KDelphi, September 8, 2009 at 2:49 pm Link to this comment

Nope, its not really “food” anymore.

I grew up in a rural area, with abut 70% farm families. They are all gone now and the stuff that is within walking distance to buy tastes like styrofoam.

I have no use for John Mackey and Whole Foods, although I could never afford it anyway. I am glad that he may have alienated Obama supporters, rich neo-liberals. But, probably not. They only talk the talk. Traitor Joe’s came out with some similar crap last year, but neo-libs still shop there—it was a stupid business move on his part, no matter what you think of it.

http://www.thebigmoney.com/articles/money-trail/2009/08/20/has-whole-foods-ceo-gone-completely-bananas

“Whole Foods (WFMI), we thought we knew ye, but oh, boy, it turns out we didn’t. Before last week, Whole Foods was the model of liberal corporate citizenship. With its well-paid, well-insured workers, commitment to healthy eating and organic farming, and slabs of $19.99-a-pound wild salmon, it was a place that the health-conscious, socially conscious, upper-middle-class establishment could call their own.

Then last week, John Mackey, Whole Foods’ founder and rambunctious chief executive, decided to insert himself in the health care debate with an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that attacked not only the Democratic health care plan but the very idea that basic medical care (or for that matter, food) was something that everybody was entitled to. Wait a second. The chief executive of Whole Foods?

This is a man who gives all of his workers health insurance when many of his competitors don’t (and who would benefit if they had to), and whose whole business is about selling to the organic-arugula-munching, enviro-conscious Obama voters. Now liberal commentators are up in arms, a movement to boycott Whole Foods has sprung up overnight, and the mainstream media is left scratching their heads at what Eric Etheridge of the New York Times tactfully calls the “most unexpected” episode in the health care debate.”

I dont support Obama’s “heatlh care plan” (wtf is it anyway?), because I DO believe that health care is a human right. The insurance industry does not. They support Obama’s plan


Michael Pollan’s book, “In Defnense of Food’ is a good read and avoids preaching. I has some info that doesnt cost anything more than doing what you are doing now.

How we get the land back to the people and the farmers (who have all given up or gone into agri-business around here), I dont really know. Here, you would have to tear down alot of McMansions and Malls, which are busy having Earth Day celebrations….

Report this

By stcfarms, September 8, 2009 at 11:59 am Link to this comment

As one old Indian to another I can tell you that it is hard to teach the lessons
of thousands of years in such a short time. Their culture differs from ours in
that they have not yet learned that wealth is not fiat money but rather it is
food, water, energy and freedom. The natural laws appear to have been
suspended in the civilized world but it is an illusion created by their masters to
keep them ignorant of the truth. I am Ojibwe of the red cliff band,
anishinaabeg to another Indian, what is your tribe?

Erus ka da wanke day

“Know your enemy better than you know yourself” Sun Tzu

By TAO Walker, September 8 at 2:25 pm #

This Old Indian has been paying precious attention to it all for much longer
than most here can even imagine.  So when a Savage’s submissions here
consistently recommend to our tame Sisters and Brothers a concerted effort to
recover together the one Way still offering them a chance to Live together
through what is afflicting them all, together, it is from a ‘point-of-view’
substantially broader and deeper than is presently accessible to most of them
….because of the CONtrived and CONstricting limits of their biochemically-
engineered (and fatally inferior) CONdition.

Get together where you actually live and breathe every Day, and help each
other remember your hapless artificial “selfs” as real whole Human Beings. 
You might be surprised at how readily The Tiyoshpaye Way, and all it puts you
back in-touch with, becomes once again First Nature to you.  Otherwise
expect to have to face and perish alone in the worsening toxic and terror-
stricken CONdition described ad nauseum here by the author and others.

Seems like an easy enough “choice,” at least from here in Indian Country.

HokaHey!

Report this

By stcfarms, September 8, 2009 at 11:29 am Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt,

I agree that the process is nearly complete in our cities and suburbs but you
can still get good food in some rural areas. It will be a real culture shock when
the system collapses completely and food, water and energy can no longer be
delivered to the population centers. Never fear, the SS troops are ready, willing
and able to shoot the unruly bastards that might feel that they have the right
to feed their children. I disagree that it is just the reich wingers that support
this form of slavery though, it is supported across the board by the politicians,
bankers and corporate bottom feeders. There are no good leaders in either
party, just a different set of lies.

By Night-Gaunt, September 8 at 1:22 pm #

When they have control of our food and water and money are we still free? No,
I would say slaves by any other name.

Report this

By TAO Walker, September 8, 2009 at 11:25 am Link to this comment

It’s hard to imagine anything that illustrates the presence here of “entities” which are absolutely and ruthlessly and incurably inimical to ALL Native Life, more clearly than this article (and its appended comments) does.  Yet, it’s also a wonder that the domesticated peoples do not see in what’s happening to their “food” (in their “civilized” virtual world) a perfect analog for their own already seriously degraded and still deteriorating CONdition….effected by those alien agencies, through the same processes, and for identical purposes.

The only viable alternative to the already-hard-upon-‘em massive DEAD END pre-figured here is a return by the “civilized” to the form and function of Humanity required of our given place in the Natural Living Arrangement of Our Mother Earth.  English speakers, just like Chris Hedges here, often call that natural organic form “community,” though the same forces systematically rendering Earth Herself uninhabitable have also rendered that word (along with a lot of other language running counter to their aims) virtually meaningless by afixing it to every random collection of ersatz “individuals” around.

The organic function of Humanity is that of a component of Earth’s natural immune system.  That nearly every “member” of the sub-species homo domesticus has been industrially “individuated” to the point of terminal dis-function, possibly irredeemably so, in a ten-thousand-year program of immuno-suppression, is the actual ‘biological’ explanation for why things here today are as they are.  Everything else is spawned in rank ignorance engendered by CONscious strategic ideological/institutional/electro-mechanical mis-direction….mere stabs-in-the-dark, at best. 

This Old Indian has been paying precious attention to it all for much longer than most here can even imagine.  So when a Savage’s submissions here consistently recommend to our tame Sisters and Brothers a concerted effort to recover together the one Way still offering them a chance to Live together through what is afflicting them all, together, it is from a ‘point-of-view’ substantially broader and deeper than is presently accessible to most of them….because of the CONtrived and CONstricting limits of their biochemically-engineered (and fatally inferior) CONdition.

Get together where you actually live and breathe every Day, and help each other remember your hapless artificial “selfs” as real whole Human Beings.  You might be surprised at how readily The Tiyoshpaye Way, and all it puts you back in-touch with, becomes once again First Nature to you.  Otherwise expect to have to face and perish alone in the worsening toxic and terror-stricken CONdition described ad nauseum here by the author and others.

Seems like an easy enough “choice,” at least from here in Indian Country.

HokaHey!

Report this
Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, September 8, 2009 at 10:22 am Link to this comment

Did you know that even now with the over production of milk thereby lowering its real cost is subsidized? So much so that the milk companies wanted to start having cows produce even more milk? They are producing 20% more than normal anyway and that is causing them problems. We really don’t need to drink milk after we are weaned from our mothers in the first place. [The lack of breast feeding in our culture anyway is detrimental to us. That we have switched to the industrial formula which has shown to be at best inadequate and dangerous at worse for human babies.]

The difference between fast carbohydrates and slow carbos are how fast they are processed for the body. You want slow ones so that the body can better assimilate them for use otherwise if they are absorbed too fast they will be stored as fat. Now put them in most of the foods along with sugar, salt and fat (triggers the same reaction in the brain as cocaine and tobacco) and people get their calorie intake up to 3-4X the level of what they need in a day. So inevitably they will be fat. No amount of exercise could fix that. Then the reich wingers who support such business models attack those who succumb to it. “It’s your fault your fat and lazy.” So you can’t win either way.

Dmitry Orolov at http://www.cluborlov.com found that when Russia fell in 1991 their infrastructure allowed the people to survive. He found that the USA doesn’t have such protections and warns against the problems and on how to cope with it and mitigate it. Many have been laid out in this article. It is a fact and we are in deep doodoo over it. One of the spectres in the room.

The only reason why you would find E. Coli (intestinal bacteria) is that you have animals and their waste nearby. The only reason that would happen as has been related earlier in this thread is factory husbandry and slaughter houses. Animal and human waste use to be the natural fertilizer now they are toxic products and only the industrial fungicides, herbicides and nitrogen fertilizers are heavily used. With their own toxic runoff.

Don’t forget that not only chemical prolongation of shelf life but also Genetic Modifications used to do so and also irradiation which changes the chemical structure of the plant or animal tissues. All haven’t been thoroughly tested and studied. We are all lab rats.

The whole idea of nutrition and nutritionists were a waste of time in the past because you ate your food and got what you needed. But now food has been manufactured and processed an genetically engineered and irradiated to the point to where the concept of food has been changed. Now it overlooks anything else including the fact it needs to keep us alive. Now it is near food and pseudo food are offered for our taste and appearance but it will starve our bodies. Our dislocation is complete.

When they have control of our food and water and money are we still free? No, I would say slaves by any other name.

“What a revolt’n development this is.” Dexter Riley (The Life of Riley)

Report this

By stcfarms, September 8, 2009 at 9:35 am Link to this comment

m_astera,

Good article but it will be lost on those that are even one generation removed
from the land. 12,000 years of animal husbandry is just thrown away on the
corporate farms and when we run out of oil the cost will come due. Without
the oil based pesticides, herbicides and fertilizer the soil will produce little for
many years. The population will take a nose dive when we run out of cheap oil,
but at least the Bushs, Obamas and Kennedys of the world will be able to
afford to eat. The Malthusians will rightfully point out that we were warned
over 200 years ago but chose to ignore the warning. I have 1/4 acre of prime,
virgin prairie soil 16’ deep that I will be converting to a 4 acre floating garden,
first on the river and then on the ocean. Sometime the key to survival is just to
leave the herd.


By m_astera, September 8 at 11:09 am #

Commercial crop breeding has not been focused on nutrition or flavor, but
rather on yield, appearance, disease resistance, and shipping and storage
qualities.  There’s no reason it couldn’t be aimed at increased nutrient uptake
and synthesis, it just hasn’t been done.

That said, regardless of the plant’s heritage, the crop grown in a fully
mineralized and balanced soil will have a higher level of nutrients than one
grown in a depleted or deficient soil.  Soil fertility is NOT a function of organic
matter, it is the result of the balance of mineral elements in the soil.  Which is
why we get comments like this:

“I did a test this year and fertilized one of my raised beds with [complete
mineral balanced] fertilizer and worked in some compost. The other bed, I
only used compost. The plants in the bed with the [minerals] are easily three
times the size of the plants in the other bed.”

They also likely have three times the flavor, nutrients, and keeping qualities.

STCFarms-

I agree with you on the vegan/vegetarian boondoggle. Weston A Price
searched the world in the 1920s and ‘30s and found no people anywhere
whose traditional diet did not include animal products.  You might be
interested in this essay on the role of animals in sustainable agriculture:

http://thenewagriculture.blogspot.com/2009/07/domestic-animals-vs-
vegetarian_12.html

Report this

By m_astera, September 8, 2009 at 8:09 am Link to this comment

Commercial crop breeding has not been focused on nutrition or flavor, but rather on yield, appearance, disease resistance, and shipping and storage qualities.  There’s no reason it couldn’t be aimed at increased nutrient uptake and synthesis, it just hasn’t been done.

That said, regardless of the plant’s heritage, the crop grown in a fully mineralized and balanced soil will have a higher level of nutrients than one grown in a depleted or deficient soil.  Soil fertility is NOT a function of organic matter, it is the result of the balance of mineral elements in the soil.  Which is why we get comments like this:

“I did a test this year and fertilized one of my raised beds with [complete mineral balanced] fertilizer and worked in some compost. The other bed, I only used compost. The plants in the bed with the [minerals] are easily three times the size of the plants in the other bed.”

They also likely have three times the flavor, nutrients, and keeping qualities.

STCFarms-

I agree with you on the vegan/vegetarian boondoggle. Weston A Price searched the world in the 1920s and ‘30s and found no people anywhere whose traditional diet did not include animal products.  You might be interested in this essay on the role of animals in sustainable agriculture:

http://thenewagriculture.blogspot.com/2009/07/domestic-animals-vs-vegetarian_12.html

Report this

By stcfarms, September 8, 2009 at 7:21 am Link to this comment

It will take twenty years to rebuild the soil after fifty years of poisoning it. A
shovel full of soil from my yard contains dozens of worms, nematodes,
nitrogen fixing bacteria and decaying plant matter. A shovel full of the
neighbors farm field has no life what so ever. It takes about three years for the
chemicals to leach out if the field is left fallow before worms and other
beneficial organisms can even survive. If you are concerned about the quality
of your food then buy an old farmhouse built before 1940 and grow your food
in the yard from heirloom seeds. In spite of what vegans think farm animals
are important to maintain soil quality. My family were dairy farmers that ate
mounds of butter, cheese, meat and eggs along with veggies and they lived to
be a hundred years old.

Report this

By jackpine savage, September 8, 2009 at 6:34 am Link to this comment

Different hybrids are developed for different purposes; it does not make all hybridization bad. Native Mexican farmers regularly hybridize domesticated corn with wild corn, and open pollination of anything can produce novel, new traits that are either selected or not. And there’s always a loss. Breeding a flower for specific visual characteristics often leads to losing olfactory characteristics. Meta traits are hard to produce and stabilize…be it in hybridization or transgenic engineering.

Improving how we eat is actually made more difficult by the type who simply rail against things and then act messianically about other things. (And then sing the praises of imported produce that is very much a part of the industrial food chain that Chris Hedges is talking about.) Anger, and it’s justified, should be directed at companies like Monsanto. People should be taught happily and kindly. That is, don’t tell them what they shouldn’t do, but explain what they can do and how.

I explained in my first post how to go about reducing things like late blight: buy starts from local operations or start your own seeds (buy them from smaller distributors…there are lots out there).

And remember the mantra that industrial agriculture has forsaken: it’s about soil health and bio-activity where you can’t see it. Improve soil structure and chemistry and plants respond amazingly. It’s as simple as that.

Good horticultural practice goes a long, long way.

Report this
Fat Freddy's avatar

By Fat Freddy, September 8, 2009 at 6:19 am Link to this comment

Perhaps we need to take a look at the retailers (buyers) as well as the producers.

Here’s a co-op business model that seems to work very well:

http://www.shoprite.com/cnt/ShopRiteToday.html


http://www.shoprite.com/cnt/wakefern/WFC_Aboutus1.html

Most of the individually owned stores stock their produce aisles with a lot of locally grown items. In fact, a couple of the stores are owned by a local farm. Shop-Rite stores have the flexibility to stock their stores with whatever they want, unlike the big supermarket chains. And yes, they are cheaper than the big chains, and more successful.

Report this
Fat Freddy's avatar

By Fat Freddy, September 8, 2009 at 3:49 am Link to this comment

ABC Psych

I didn’t mean to imply that canning is obsolete, just not practiced very much. Although you are right, it is starting to make a comeback. Back in the 80s I worked for a man that was a Mennonite. They are like the Amish but drive cars and use telephones. By the end of the Summer, his wife would have the basement filled with Ball jars with all of the fresh produce from the local farmers (probably more than they needed, but that’s OK). Canning helped many survive the cold winter months of The Depression.


m_astera

Sulfur can be a blessing and a curse. If you are drilling a hole for a well for household drinking water, and you hit a sulfur deposit, you may as well just tear the house down, or move it to another lot.

Report this

By bogi666, September 8, 2009 at 3:24 am Link to this comment

The corporate food of today looks like the food of 40 years ago, but its not the same. It’s not for the purpose of nutrition anymore which requires 30% more calories today than the same food of 40 years ago. This has ushered in the epidemics of obesity and diabetes because more calories must be consumed to realize the same nutritional qualities of food before Monsanto and the chemical companies took control of the world’s food supply. The food of today consists of terminator genes, not germinating genes. Today’s food is all about appearance and shelf life and the need to require 30% higher consumption to achieve the nutrients necessary to sustain existence. Requiring 30% more consumption is a windfall for the corporations. Americans are NARCISSISTIC-CONSUMERIST-GLUTTONS and that’s what the corporations want.

Report this

By C.Curtis.Dillon, September 8, 2009 at 2:48 am Link to this comment

I go back to my original contention: hybrids are, for the most part, designed for the corporate need to pick with machines and ship the product over great distances.  They are picked early (and hard) and then left to ripen in the transports.  Taste, consistency and other “human friendly” attributes are secondary.  In fact, I’m inclined to believe that corporations expect that our pallets will adjust to the degraded quality of the products over time or that younger people will not have a frame of reference to measure the hybrids against.  I would be curious to see how young people react to modern produce.

And, yes, unfortunately, food scientists develop most of the chemicals because that is where the money is.  As food is refined more and more, there is a need to replace at least part of what is lost.  Also, because processed food has to sit on the shelf for years, there is a need for many chemicals to counteract the natural tendency of the food to spoil, separate, discolor ... you get the idea.  And, for some very odd reason, there is this belief that natural food isn’t always beautiful enough.  So other chemicals are needed to improve the color, taste, consistency, etc. to make the food more appealing.  Competition probably drives these choices.

I wonder if there is even a way to go backwards.  Large cities are not conducive to local gardens or even locally grown corporate produce.  And would people forgo fresh produce much of the year should we stop importing from Central and South America?  I fear most Americans would not.  Although they complain about the quality, they want ready access anyway.  Better crap than nothing.

Report this

By C.Curtis.Dillon, September 8, 2009 at 2:26 am Link to this comment

jackpine savage:

You may be right but how do you describe what we see here in Eastern Europe.  We have both native varieties and European hybrid tomatoes here.  They are both grown in the same fields (locally), picked ripe and transported the same distance to the local markets.  The hybrids look much nicer with uniform, red skins while the native versions have bug tracks and deformities (no pesticides are used in either case).  But, once one bites into the tomato, one can immediately tell the difference.  The native tomatoes are juicy with that acidic kick one associates with heritage brands stateside.  The flesh is soft and melts in your mouth.  The Euro hybrids have much less juice, are essentially tasteless and have a chewy (I call it sawdust) consistency.  The only difference is in the seeds they start with.  The same situation can be seen in any other produce we buy here.  Native brands are more tasty and pleasing to the pallet while Euro hybrids are prettier but have less taste and consistency is bad.

Report this

By teadrinker, September 7, 2009 at 11:20 pm Link to this comment

Good journalism! Chris Hedges is not writing safe articles to keep his job like many others. My heartfelt thanks for your contribution to finding the truth and solutions to problems.

Bees are one of the litmus tests of our environment and researchers are looking at CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder), with no clear causes yet; two probable causes are, immune deficiency caused by the chemical cocktails the bees are exposed to, or, as reported in a German university study, “...genetically modified corn may have “altered the surface of the bee’s intestines, sufficiently weakening the bees” to allow parasites. While altering the genetic make-up of seeds to repel destructive insects, we inadvertently may be destroying beneficial insects…”

Alternative food networks are developing. Are there any viable organic food growing coops that can be used as examples for people to emulate and replicate?

Report this

By roman, September 7, 2009 at 11:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I urge everybody on this forum to look up Codex Alimentarius - an arm of World Health Organisation.  Go ahead Google it, and what you read will make your jaw drop.

Report this

By christian96, September 7, 2009 at 7:50 pm Link to this comment

I’m still wondering!  Wonder if President Obama
will assign the little ones a project from the
White House, such as counting the amount of sugar,
salt, etc. of foods on the shelves of their local
groucery store?  Now, there’s a project for you!
That should please the Dems., Reps., media deceivers, along with all those parents concerned
about the tender little ears hearing the words coming from our president!

Report this

By christian96, September 7, 2009 at 7:43 pm Link to this comment

I wonder if President Obama will tell the little
ones tomorrow about the nutritional content of
cafeteria food?  Or should I have said “lack of
nutritional content?”

Report this

By m_astera, September 7, 2009 at 7:36 pm Link to this comment

Fat Freddy-

Sulfur is every bit as important as Nitrogen for growing quality crops, especially to make complete proteins.  Most soils are Sulfur deficient because it leaches out easily, plus every crop grown pulls that much more Sulfur out of the soil to be shipped away.  So if Jersey has Sulfur in the irrigation water and in the subsoil, that right there is one of the reasons for it being the ‘Garden State’.

Phosphorus and Calcium are the keys to sweetness and flavor, but phosphate is expensive, and who fertilizes with Calcium?  Not many. 

Nope, it’s all Nitrogen and Potassium, cheap and with a big growth response.  All California commercial agriculture has going for it at this point is climate. I won’t even bother to eat California strawberries.  Or melons.

Report this

By ABC Psych, September 7, 2009 at 6:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Fat Freddie:
  Canning is not obsolete.  I am a Master Food Preserver of the Whatcom Cty. extension from Washington State University.  We teach all forms of food preservation and, believe me, this year have had a lot of interest in our free classes. Washington State isn’t the only state keeping the flame burning; look around.
  I am a big fan of CSA (community sustainable agriculture).  It supports our small farmers.

Report this
Fat Freddy's avatar

By Fat Freddy, September 7, 2009 at 5:49 pm Link to this comment

m_astera

I can tell you NJ ground water is very “hard”. A ton of sulfur and iron. Where do you think The Great Egg Harbour got its name? Sulfur can smell like rotten eggs. Just kidding. But you can definitely smell the sulfur in the air down the shore.

Report this
Fat Freddy's avatar

By Fat Freddy, September 7, 2009 at 5:41 pm Link to this comment

That comes from produce being picked long before ripe and then “ripened” in shipment. But that process is really just controlled rotting. The taste and nutrition are not there because the plant hasn’t finished it’s biochemical cycle.

I can’t believe you are making that old, lame excuse. If that is the case, then why does it not happen with Australian apples, Chilean grapes or Portuguese clementines? I’ll tell you why. Because left coast farmers are only concerned with sales and marketing.

No corporations here:

http://www.moodsfarmmarket.com/

Best fucking apple cider in the world. No preservatives, and no heat pasteurization. Pennsylvania can’t even say that.

http://www.moodsfarmmarket.com/In_the_Market/Cider/cider.html

Not only do we know how to grow it here, we know how to sell it:

http://www.vineland.org/history/block/history/history.htm

http://www.nytimes.com/1997/08/03/nyregion/in-vineland-a-marketplace-run-by-farmers-for-farmers.html


...but i’m not real big on eating fungicide

And farmers aren’t real big on the added expense of having to spray so early in the season.

Moreover, the infected tomatoes may well have been sprayed before shipment, but the nature of shipping plant matter in trucks is a wonderful incubator for fungus problems of all sorts.

No. If that were the case only a small percentage of plants would have been infected. Face it, their hot houses (Alabama based Bonnie Plants) were contaminated. It’s already been proven by the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture. I wish I still had the link. Cool, found it:

http://www.eagletribune.com/punewsnh/local_story_189012838.html

and here

http://extension.unh.edu/Agric/lateblight.htm

and here

http://www.citizen.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090701/GJNEWS02/707019890/-1/CITIZEN

Report this

By Kesey Seven, September 7, 2009 at 4:53 pm Link to this comment

Inherit the Wind mentioned Monsanto.  There’s a good documentary that touches on this subject called The Corporation. Monsanto is not the sole focus of the movie, just an example of how corporations control what you see on television news: 

http://www.thecorporation.com/

Report this
JimBob's avatar

By JimBob, September 7, 2009 at 4:19 pm Link to this comment

If you haven’t seen “King Corn,” it’s now available for instant play on Netflix.  Worth every minute, very watchable and informative.

Report this

By m_astera, September 7, 2009 at 3:54 pm Link to this comment

Minerals in the soil are the source of flavor, sweetness, and nutrition in the crop.  Period, end of story.  Have you noticed that most organically grown fruit and vegies have no flavor either?  That’s because they are fertilized with composts and manures that are mostly sources of Nitrogen and Potassium.  Lots of production, no flavor or nutrition.

How about Calcium, Magnesium, Sulfur, Phosphorus, Copper, Zinc, Iron, and about forty more essential minerals?  Any growers checking for them or fertilizing with them?  Not many. So it goes.  No minerals, no flavor, no nutrition.  This is not difficult.  One more time and I’ll leave it alone:

<a>http://www.soilminerals.com/</a>

Report this

By Kesey Seven, September 7, 2009 at 3:53 pm Link to this comment

When I go to the zoo, I take pictures of the people.  Seriously. 

The bipedal hominids, particularly the American variety, are truly freaks of nature these days.

During the twentieth century we took part in a great agricultural and economic experiment. The results are in. It ain’t good, Sheriff. 

Asides:

ChaoticGood and Ouroborus mentioned apartame being connected to epilepsy. Have not heard that, but I have heard and read a lot about it causing cravings for more sweets and the fact that it is terrible for your innards. 

Have you tried Stevia?  I like the tincture myself. Great for cooking. Put two drops in mineral water, and you got yourself a sweet soft drink.   


Fat Freddy, Jackpine Savage, enjoying your exchange. You both know a helluvalot more than me. It’s all good. 

G.Anderson: Enjoyed your post very much. Thank you for submitting it. And here’s a bumper sticker for ya: Regulate for the sake of your prostate! 

I’m with ardee: 

We need more responsible regulations.  Not just of what businesses produce, but how big businesses get.  This idea of “too big to fail” is total bullshit. The maxim should be: Too big to merge. 

Small businesses and small farms are where it’s at. 

If you’re ever in Austin, Texas, visit Wheatsville Co-op north of the University of Texas on Guadalupe. There’s lots of good people there supporting local farmers and selling good wholesome food.

Kesey Seven

Report this
politicky's avatar

By politicky, September 7, 2009 at 3:23 pm Link to this comment

Thank you Mr. Hedges.  I was hoping you would do your homework on this subject and it looks like you did.  I have a friend who does daycare, and trying to feed the daycare kids, and her kids healthy food when she does not get her check on time from the government for watching the kids is heartbreaking to watch.

Why does the govt subsidize poisonous food?

Perhaps we should make corporate lobbyists pay more taxes. Or make the garbage food producers actually pay their taxes, eh?  That might cover the cost of a national health care system.

Report this

By Inherit The Wind, September 7, 2009 at 1:25 pm Link to this comment

Hedges in one of his usual rants misses a major point:

Should we be more concerned about McDonald’s or Monsanto?  Me: I’m FAR more concerned about Monsanto. I don’t have to eat at Micky-D’s, but I NEVER know if the milk my kid is drinking has pasteurized pus in it from one of Monsanto’s infected cow udders.

If you know what’s in it, you can choose to eat it or not.  But if you don’t know what’s in it, and the corporation has successfully sued to PREVENT you knowing what’s in it (like Monsanto) then you are really up the creek.

Report this

By jackpine savage, September 7, 2009 at 1:18 pm Link to this comment

Oh, Fat Freddy, i spend 40hrs/week working with plants to earn my daily bread. I know a thing or two. Sure, blight can be controlled with fungicide, but i’m not real big on eating fungicide if i can help it and blights require consistent applications. They’re also most effective when the fungus is spotted very early, something that the people at Lowe’s or the average home gardener isn’t very good at. Moreover, the infected tomatoes may well have been sprayed before shipment, but the nature of shipping plant matter in trucks is a wonderful incubator for fungus problems of all sorts.

I didn’t do anything because there hasn’t been any late blight in my area of the country, nor have i had any people ask questions of me that suggested late blight, nor has the extension agent mentioned it, nor have any of the farmers/market gardeners i know mentioned it…and it certainly wasn’t in the starters we sold or i’d know about it. (starters which we grow from seed, both hybrid and heirloom)

Hybridization is not responsible for produce tasting like crap (which much grocery store produce does). That comes from produce being picked long before ripe and then “ripened” in shipment. But that process is really just controlled rotting. The taste and nutrition are not there because the plant hasn’t finished it’s biochemical cycle.

Whoever talked about soil health is absolutely correct, and soil health is what’s most missing from industrial agriculture where in many cases the soil is just a substrate and the feeding of the plants is provided by fertilizers.

Look, without hybridization we wouldn’t have most of our food crops. You don’t see anyone serving teosinte at the Labor Day BBQ, do you?

Report this

By Dan, September 7, 2009 at 1:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This article fails to address on key piece to the
industrila food puzzle we kind ourselves in.

MEAT. Americans eat way too much of it. A vegetarian
diet is so much more efficient and less wasteful than
an omnivorous diet, it is remarkable how
“progressive’s” fail to argue this piece of the
puzzle.

MOST OF OUR GRAIN GOES TO FEED ANIMALS (including
fish) BRED FOR THEIR FLESH

Eating vegetarian saves more land, energy, and water
than any other choice you can make—(and I must
mention that veganism saves even more).

I KNOW MOST OF YOU WILL NOT GO VEGETARIAN (Let alone
vegan) but do make an effort to decrease the amount
of flesh you decide to eat.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-
dyn/content/article/2009/07/28/AR2009072800390.html

Report this

By christian96, September 7, 2009 at 1:01 pm Link to this comment

I live now in Florida.  A few months ago I bought
some tomatoes at a local small family owned business.
I let one of the tomatoes remain untouched.  A month
later, the tomato hadn’t even started to rot.  It
was evident that some sort of chemical was sprayed
on the tomato to prevent decay.  I wondered what
effect that chemical was having on my bodies ability
to assimilate the nutrients.  Perhaps their exists
a correlation between chemicals on fruits and
vegetables and our weakened immune system.  Who came
up with the idea to develop that chemical to prolong
the life of the tomato?  Must have been a chemist
educated in our institutions of higher learning. What
could have been their motivation?  Fame and fortune.
The two motivations that have destroyed many empires.
When I visited Cairo, Egypt several years ago I
noticed even though the population was financally
poor they ate plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Ironically, their children are much healthier than
our obese children exposed to fast foods loaded
with salt, sugar and numerous chemicals.  Who developed those chemicals?  You got it?  Those highly
educated chemists.  However, American fast foods
are rapidly moving worldwide.  The problem confronting the scum who pedel the fast food is how
can they get money into hands of children in third
world countries so they can buy their poison.  Ah,
a solution.  Send manufacturing jobs into the third
world countries and pay them just enough so they
can buy the American poisoned fast food.

Report this

By elisalouisa, September 7, 2009 at 12:41 pm Link to this comment

Kay Johnson:When I was a child, I loved all fruit, and the flavors from peaches and
pears, etc., as well as the juice that gushed out and trickled down my chin. The
flavor was rich, and full! However, that hasn’t been true for a long time.
**************************************
It has been my experience that size and color can be enhanced but flavor cannot.
Therefore if the size of a peach is doubled, much of it liquid, the original flavor is
the same just as if it was the small size peach. The small home grown fruit are
the best. I am not a chemist, this conclusion was reached strictly through the
taste test method.

Report this

By wagelaborer, September 7, 2009 at 12:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is true that our food production is
unsustainable, mostly because it relies on fossil
fuels, but also because it poisons the water and soil
and destroys the topsoil.

  I just saw “Food, Inc” yesterday.  I am OK with
destroying our food system as it is now. 

  We produce WAY too many calories, subsidized by the
government.  Those calories, in the form of corn,
mostly, are then fed to animals who live in horrible
conditions in factory farms, and are then slaughtered
in horrible conditions in slaughterhouses which
exploit their workers.  The animals are then chopped,
ground and shaped into different forms, deep fried in
more corn oil and sold “cheap” to people who believe
that a dollar hamburger or nugget is a bargain.

  We need land re-distribution, an end to the
subsidies of millionaire agribusiness, an end to
animal cruelty and suffering, and a return to farming
by more of our population.  That’s what they did in
Cuba when the Soviet Union fell and their oil
subsidies disappeared.  (Read “Eating Fossil Fuels”)

Report this
Fat Freddy's avatar

By Fat Freddy, September 7, 2009 at 12:18 pm Link to this comment

Kay Johnson

Never put a peach on your windowsill in the direct sun. Place it in a paper bag in a cool dry place for a couple of days. I guarantee, if that peach came from the east coast the juice will be gushing. I’ve bought many this year that came from local orchards that were hard. That’s the only way they can travel. And never, ever place any fruit in the refrigerator. But do place vegetables in the fridge.

Report this

By truedigger3, September 7, 2009 at 12:13 pm Link to this comment

One of primary reasons that will lead to a food crisis is overpopulation. It is getting very difficult to feed all the people of earth even if corporate greed and exploitation is removed.
A concerted effort should be devoted to spread the knowledge and practice of birth control.
Mother Earth is over-worked.!!
People in certain parts of the world are breeding like rabits and then they riot because of food shortages.??!!
I am not a racist or condoning corporate greed and exploitation. There is a serious problem in that too.

Report this

By tq, September 7, 2009 at 11:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The myth that fast foods are “cheap” or ‘inexpensive” is just that - a myth.  And a false one at that.  These faux foods are actually quite expensive.  The least expensive foods are the healthiest (e.g., garlic, onions, carrots).

Report this

By Kay Johnson, September 7, 2009 at 11:34 am Link to this comment

“a noticeable decrease in flavor and consistency.  How can one eat an apple that no self-respecting bug will touch?”—C.Curtis.Dillon

Over the years, I have noticed the decrease in flavor in, especially, fruit in the United States. When I was a child, I loved all fruit, and the flavors from peaches and pears, etc., as well as the juice that gushed out and trickled down my chin. The flavor was rich, and full! However, that hasn’t been true for a long time.

A couple of years ago, I bought three or four peaches, but they weren’t ready to eat—they were still hard and unripened due to the fact that they were picked way too early. However, I placed those peaches in my window, and waited for them to soften. They never softened. Two weeks later they were still uneatable. Sadly, I have almost completely quit buying fruit. It’s far too expensive, and there’s not much taste to the peaches, pears, etc.

You’re correct, worms no longer eat them, either.

Report this

By C.Curtis.Dillon, September 7, 2009 at 10:50 am Link to this comment

Just one comment:

So many say don’t trust politicians but do trust large corporations?  How can you see any difference?  They are both slugs but just wear different hats.  Demand good regulation and hold them too it.  And refuse to buy the crap corporations sell you.

Report this

By C.Curtis.Dillon, September 7, 2009 at 10:44 am Link to this comment

Fortunately, we still have many of the heirloom varieties of most crops in Eastern Europe.  Tomatoes that taste like when I was a kid.  Cucumbers with a snap.  And fruits that bugs actually like to eat!  But that is changing as European agribusiness starts to introduce sterile seed varieties.  We see them in the markets more and more.  It is sad and the locals are not happy at all.  But yields are higher and the results are prettier so the growers like them.

The whole system of Western agribusiness has destroyed all but a small percentage of the old family farms.  My cousin still farms 200 acres but he will probably be the last.  It gets harder every year and he only survives by his wits.  He has a huge pumpkin patch which generates most of his profits.  The rest of my relatives have quit and retired.

Argibusiness is about 2 things ... creating hybrids that can be machine picked early (for shipment) and have excellent presentation.  So we see “Tomato on the Vine” where all the tomatoes are identical and perfect.  We see fruit that has no worm holes or other insect marks.  Everything is about convenience and looks.  But this genetic meddling has major side effects.  One has already been noted ... sterile seeds.  Other include a decrease in diversity (monoculture) leaving major crops highly susceptible to new diseases, and a noticeable decrease in flavor and consistency.  How can one eat an apple that no self-respecting bug will touch?

The other issue is processing.  Each processing step removes more nutrients and taste which leads to more additives to compensate.  Also, we all know about the chemical soup that is needed to create great shelf life (years) and to compensate for imagined short comings in the original.  Why do we need cheese so orange it glows in the dark?

This chemical soup is, I think, a major contributor to many of the growing health problems we see.  A new additive is only tested in isolation.  If it passes all the FDA tests, it is approved for use.  But no one checks it in combination with all the other additives already being used.  What are the effects of combining 5 or 10 different additives in a box of mac and cheese or the combination we get from mixing several different processed foods?  No one knows or is even asking the question.

Here in Eastern Europe, we are much closer to the fields than in America but the situation is changing.  We have many of the familiar junk foods (Lays potato chips, Coke, McDonald’s, etc.) and there is an explosion of fat that is very disturbing.  We also see the same chemical soup in many of our processed foods and that too is not good.  It is only a matter of time before we see the same health issues here as back home.

Report this
Fat Freddy's avatar

By Fat Freddy, September 7, 2009 at 10:22 am Link to this comment

Oh, and if you happen to eat an entire quart of fresh strawberries, don’t run to the ER the following day because of what you saw in the toilet. I’ll leave it at that.

Report this
Fat Freddy's avatar

By Fat Freddy, September 7, 2009 at 10:15 am Link to this comment

What you discuss in your example is another case of pandering to the profit motive rather than the protection that is govt’s. chief function.

Yes, but it’s hidden under the guise of consumer protection. Cases like this are not always easy to detect until it’s too late. Which is why we can’t trust politicians, even Democrats. Henry Waxman (D-Cal.)

Report this
Fat Freddy's avatar

By Fat Freddy, September 7, 2009 at 10:04 am Link to this comment

I think it more accurate to say that proper regulation is what is lacking.

I’ll buy that. But I still won’t buy California produce.

Report this
Fat Freddy's avatar

By Fat Freddy, September 7, 2009 at 10:02 am Link to this comment

Hybridization sucks. West coast farmers use it to produce crops that have extended growing seasons and produce “prettier” looking produce that travel well at the expense of flavor and texture. I’ll put a Pennsylvania Empire apple up against a Washington State Red Delicious any day. Sure, Empires don’t look as nice and bruise easier, but they are juicier, sweeter and crisper than those Red Delicious. And then there’s strawberries. I get sick to my stomach when I see that California crap in my Supermarket. Cali strawberries look beautiful. Big, and red with no bruises. But bite into one and its dry, flavorless and, well, they put the “straw” in strawberry, regarding texture.  Jersey strawberries, however, are only available for a short period, usually around Mother’s day. And let me tell you, they are incredibly delicious. I ate a whole quart one night this year for dinner. Yeah, they’re small, not much to look at, and bruise if you look at them the wrong way, but, they are incredible. It’s a shame that most people in this country will never know what a real strawberry is supposed to be.

Now, there are good hybrids. Usually coming from Florida. Grape tomatoes. Super sweet corn. These were bred entirely for flavor. We grow them now in Jersey. The super sweet has replaced the old Silver Queen completely, and the grape tomato is about to replace the cherry tomato. Hybridization is not necessarily bad. What is bad is the reasons and the desired outcomes.

Report this

By m_astera, September 7, 2009 at 9:42 am Link to this comment

There is food, and then there is real food.  Simply growing a garden, even an organic, permaculture, biodynamic soilfoodweb biologically active garden does not guarantee any sort of nutrition.  If the nutrients are not in the soil, they will not be in the crops.  That is why there is so much confusion about whether or not organic food is better; all the organic label guarantees is that toxic chemicals were not used; it says nothing about nutritional value.

The nutritional value of any crop is dependent on the mineral content of the soil, period.  No minerals in the soil, none in the crop.  Compost and organic matter are NOT going to change that as they are mostly carbon.  What if the soil needs Calcium or Zinc?

I’m on a mission to get this message out.  Please visit my website, http://www.soilminerals.com, for lots and lots of free information.  Yes, we sell things but I don’t ask or expect you to buy anything, just that you read and educate yourself about soil minerals and nutrition.  You can do it all yourself without expert help. Here is a good place to start:

<a>http://www.soilminerals.com/AgricolaI.htm</a>

and here:

<a>http://www.soilminerals.com/TIS_Ch1.htm</a>

Learn about true health and sustainability and take your power back.  Please.

Michael Astera

Report this
Fat Freddy's avatar

By Fat Freddy, September 7, 2009 at 9:41 am Link to this comment

Oh, and starting your own seeds doesn’t always work because the seeds themselves can be contaminated.

Report this

By ardee, September 7, 2009 at 9:41 am Link to this comment

Fat Freddy, September 7 at 8:40 am #

ardee,

More regulation is not necessarily a good thing

I think it more accurate to say that proper regulation is what is lacking. What you discuss in your example is another case of pandering to the profit motive rather than the protection that is govt’s. chief function.

Report this
Fat Freddy's avatar

By Fat Freddy, September 7, 2009 at 9:35 am Link to this comment

The late blight would not have been noticeable at the time of shipment or purchase,

I never said it would. But that doesn’t mean it couldn’t have been prevented. The producers know full well the possibilities of infection and there are fungicides available which should have been used. They cut corners. They should be held responsible. You are the one that doesn’t understand plant diseases. The fungus is spread through the air. And yes, a cool, wet early season could have added to it. But it never should have been present so early in the first place. But even more important is that most people don’t even know what is, or what it looks like. I heard several people complain that their tomatoes were turning brown and rotting on the vine. I told them to immediately uproot and double bag the plants and throw them out. What did you do?

Report this
G.Anderson's avatar

By G.Anderson, September 7, 2009 at 9:22 am Link to this comment

Poison, is profitable. It’s also one of our top products.

From the sugar sweetened cereals made from genetically modified sugar beets, to the High fructose corn syrp linked to prostate cancer and found everywhere from mayonaise to soda, it takes a degree in bio chemistry to know what your eating. But even with that degree you might not be sure.

Then there is the gender bending herbacide Atrazine, anti depressants, anti cholesterol medication, high blood pressure meds, and various solvents, found routinely in the water supply, along with glyphosate, and estrogen mimicing chemicals found in plastic.

We allow our meat to be exposed to carbon monoxide to keep it red, our cattle are genetically altered to a high degree, pork with lots of human genes inserted to make it leaner, and the FDA wants to ban vitamin B6.

But the results of eating this way are already in, cancer, heart disease, the top killers, obesity, depression, metabolic disease, drug addiction, yet we can’t seem to connect the dots.

Instead we see happy smiling people on T.V., who seem to have robust health. Clearly they must be simulcra’s, not really people. 

Making people sick, and keeping them that way is highly profitable, both to the producers of the poison, and those who dispense the medicine to treat the symptoms, while they neglect the causes.

The corporations are in control, and they don’t want anything or anyone to stand in the way of their profits.

They own, the government regulatory agencies, and in all instances the government serves them and their profits, guarnteed by lucrative job offers waiting for those that leave government, or who go back and forth betwween government and the corporate monsters who give us all cancer and heart disease.

And most of us are too sick to know it.

Report this

By jackpine savage, September 7, 2009 at 9:20 am Link to this comment

Seriously people, claiming that hybridization is some sort of insidious plot is A. silly and B. goes to show just how far Americans have moved away from any connection with their food or that land that it comes from.

Infertility is a common trait in hybrids, but hybrids were not bred to keep you down. Many, if not most, of them were bred for disease resistance…among other things. Saving seeds is not a simple matter of collecting them. Were they fully mature when harvested? Were they dried properly? Were they stored properly?

If seed saving is important to you, then you need to read labels and only buy “open-pollinated” plant varieties…these are often called “heirloom”. Save those seeds and you’ll be just fine. There are plenty of places that sell those.

And, hey, if you really want to propagate hybrids then take a cutting from one in the garden and grow it vegetatively in the house over the winter. Come spring root cutting from it and plant them out.

Report this

By jackpine savage, September 7, 2009 at 9:08 am Link to this comment

Fast Freddy,

You don’t have a very good handle on plant diseases, do you? The late blight would not have been noticeable at the time of shipment or purchase, nor would it have been such a bad outbreak if the weather in the NE hadn’t been unusually cool and rainy. This is not like an E. coli or salmonella outbreak at a food processing facility.

Report this

By Rodger Lemonde, September 7, 2009 at 8:25 am Link to this comment

Fallow fields abound in many areas of the country, testament to the erosion of farming. As I drive
around Florida every once in a while I note with a
smile that agriculture still happens. We could still
grow massive amounts of food but where will the
farmers come from?
In times past farms had accumulated equipment over
time. To start a farm on an acre or half acre now
would require a rather large outlay of capital.
Should the food supply system fail it would take
several years before long ignored fields could be
back in production. At that, farming can be rather
dicey, even experienced farmers can have bad years
can you image those folks you saw at the mall trying
to run a farm? We may end up begging Mexicans to come
teach us how to farm again. Of course by that time
they may have lost faith in the US as the land of
plenty.

Report this

By purplewolf, September 7, 2009 at 8:21 am Link to this comment

Chaotic Good: Donald Rumsfield has his fingers in this pie also for making $$$ and people sick. Care2NewsNetwork had a report on this last week. He does love to kill people, doesn’t he?

There was/is a bill in congress assisted in the writing of by big food corps, that is trying to eliminate the organic farmers all across America and this include the little home gardeners also. They do not want Americans to be able to even grow any food, weather permitting, at all, leaving us to their mercy of chemical loaded pseudo-food which is unhealthy, thus making money for the big pharma as they are making all of us sick. The bad part of this anti-organic farming legislation is that 2 of the so called representatives from my state have signed for this bill, something they no doubt never read, don’t understand or are getting tons of money to hurt the people by denying us the right to grow our own food. I cannot vote these people out o

Report this

By purplewolf, September 7, 2009 at 8:12 am Link to this comment

Chaotic Good: Donald Rumsfield has his fingers in this pie also for making $$$ and people sick. Care2NewsNetwork had a report on this last week. He does love to kill people, doesn’t he?

There was/is a bill in congress assisted in the writing of by big food corps, that is trying to eliminate the organic farmers all across America and this include the little home gardeners also. They do not want Americans to be able to even grow any food, weather permitting, at all, leaving us to their mercy of chemical loaded pseudo-food which is unhealthy, thus making money for the big pharma as they are making all of us sick. The bad part of this anti-organic farming legislation is that 2 of the so called representatives from my state have signed for this bill, something they no doubt never read, don’t understand or are getting tons of money to hurt the people by denying us the right to grow our own food. I cannot vote these people out of office as they are not from my area. What is wrong with these elected officials. Are they so out of touch with the real world that they don’t care or just don’t understand what they have done.

My daughter worked for one of the major seed companies in western Michigan. I learned a lot from her time there. It is fine to tell people to save their seeds and try to grow them next year. But there are problems with that. Too many of the seeds today are hybrids and will not produce the same fruit/vegetable the next year and you will get something that is totally opposite or nothing. Many of these seeds are sterile, thus making the home gardeners dependent on the seed companies for next years supply of seeds. Nice scheme to rip off the little guy even more. Save the seeds from store bought produce? What about all the seedless varieties today? Then we have to deal with the weather and constantly raising water rates.
Last year I grew a fairly successful garden with very little effort, this year out of 20 tomato plants and I got less than 15 small-medium sized tomatoes and the eggplant was worse. Broccoli that has been planted 4 1/2 months ago still has nothing that resembles broccoli. Weather, organic soil with no chemicals and water did nothing to alter this outcome good or bad. Makes one wonder if all the plants have been altered to the point of not producing anything so as to discourage the home growers from trying to grow anything again, thus making them dependent on big farm corps. BTW we do have plenty of bees and other pollinators so that is not the problem. I believe it is the “messing with mother nature” that has been done to the plants that have caused this problem. 

Home canning is not a lost art for many, but don’t forget freezing and also dehydrating your produce, which is keep dry lasts longer than canning. Our ancestors knew this and it worked for them very well. Besides dry food takes up less space and weighs a lost less and stores easier.

Report this

By Ms_Anne_Thropy, September 7, 2009 at 8:10 am Link to this comment

I am reminded of the Great Famine in Ireland. And anyone who is not familiar with this bit of history should do some research. The Great Famine is exactly the kind of evil that arises when a country is exploited by an elite in this case British ruling class that sees a land and its people as nothing more than resources to be exploited. When profits come before people, we are all at risk.

Report this
Fat Freddy's avatar

By Fat Freddy, September 7, 2009 at 8:02 am Link to this comment

Issues like that can be fixed by either, starting your own seeds (either under lights or putting up a small greenhouse) or buying starter plants from local nursery operations

No. It can be fixed by holding these companies, both producer and retailer, financially, and ethically responsible! But we all know, that will never happen.

Report this

By Mike, September 7, 2009 at 7:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The increasing incidence of obesity and diabetes and the still widespread prevalance of heart disease is not surprising considering the food system is based on refined carbohydrates (white flour, white rice, white pasta, etc.), and processed foods containing high levels of fat, sugar, and salt.  “Good Calories, Bad Calories” by Gary Taubes is informative on refined carbohydrates, even though his main topic is on fat.  Refined carbohydrates are required in an industrial food system for longer storage and easier processing reasons but these foods are “dead”, with a significant portion of their natural nutrients removed (with some added back in). 

Both the Dr. Ornish and Dr. Atkins diets are effective in facilitating weight loss and both, while diametrically opposed on the issue of fat (and Taubes agrees with Atkins), but both require elimination of refined carbohydrates.  I went with the low-fat Ornish diet and lost a lot of weight easily and healthily and blood pressure and cholesterol were lowered to where drugs were not necessary.  This involved a radical change from the mainstream diet, using whole grains in a basically vegan diet, but was well worth it.  DO the work and do not depend on the mainstream food system for your health.

Report this

Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 >

 
Right 1, Site wide - BlogAds Premium
 
Right 2, Site wide - Blogads
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 
 
 
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 

A Progressive Journal of News and Opinion   Publisher, Zuade Kaufman   Editor, Robert Scheer
© 2014 Truthdig, LLC. All rights reserved.

Like Truthdig on Facebook