We just returned for a little trip to the Bahamas to help with the celebration of a dear friend's birthday. While it was a lot of work, it was also a fun time enjoyed by all. Returning to the Ozarks, where Chef Roland and I live, we were greeted by the arrival of Fall with it's clear, crisp skies. Time for a change and to begin wearing the warm clothes!
On our trip, I had the opportunity to speak with other people who had their concerns about their own food production (gardening plans and projects), as well as their concerns regarding GMO's. As more and more people become aware that there are some VERY REAL concerns regarding the food sources that we have available to us, it becomes paramount that we each take whatever opportunities we have to keep the information flowing. Talk with your family, friends, neighbors and any stranger that will listen. Write to your representatives and any organization that you can think of to help enlighten them as to what your food concerns are, especially regarding, but not limited to, GMO's.
I am posting a link that I think gives good information that helps to keep food health concerns regarding GMO's crisp and clear and will help us all start to prepare as we face VERY SERIOUS health questions that demand that we all start taking action. It's the public that must become educated on the issues regarding GMO's, seed monopolies, and the threats that corporations pose when it comes to the foods we have available, or not, for our consumption.
I'm very excited in that I've recently come across a website where concerned individuals have the opportunity to collectively address the FDA over labeling Genetically Modified Foods (referred to as GMO's which is Genetically Modified Organisms). If you are interested in the health risks of these Frakenfoods (foods created in a laboratory "like a frakenstein") this is your opportunity to sign a petition asking that the public AT THE LEAST be made aware of which GMO foods are in the public market for consumption and then they can make personal decisions as to whether they would like to consume these products, OR NOT!! Some people might have questions as to what could possible be wrong with ingesting GMO's. I think if you do a little research on bio-compatibility, you will see that it is a VERY serious concern. As the incidence of food alergies and other potentially related food/health/body & mind performace issues steadily increase, it's time food consumers begin to educate themselves as to what the food controversies are really about. So, with that lead in, here is the link that will further address the issue and offer an opportunity to add your name to the growing demand for the labeling of GMO's:
Ugh!! No more apologies, I'm a bad blog manager! Such is life........
Today, I am following a quest to learn more about where our food comes from and on "the other end" of the food chain, it starts with seeds. Unfortunately, seeds are usually only considered by people who work with them, like gardeners. But, let's say you don't garden and don't plan on gardening. That's okay, there's tons of people who do and they are the ones, especially the large food producers who get to make the decisions as to what you put into your mouth. If we believe the old adage "what you don't know can't hurt you", well, you know how that works! The more light shed on a subject, the more clarity and the more informed we can be as consumers so that, by our food purchases, we actually can have a significant impact as to what foods, and the quaility of the foods, that are put into the food market.
Even if you are still confused as to why you should be concerned about genetically modified foods (GMO's), I hope you will read over this interesting information that I found on Wikipeida. If anything, it gives you a little more insight as to who Mansanto is as a major player, if not almost a monopoly, in the world of food production. (By the way, they are also the ones that developed Agent Orange, a heribicide/defoliant used during the Vietnam War era.)
The "seed" of something is usually considered its 'genesis', its nucleus, where something germinates from to become something else. It's miraculous how the basis for our whole food chain, which we are MOST DEPENDENT upon comes from little, sometimes miniscule, seeds.
Likewise, an idea, a dream, and a controversy of with Fascist/Disctatorship-like characteristics can spring from 'a seed'! In previous posts I have referred to Genetically Modified Organisms (primarily food) and the HUGE concerns that we, as a consuming/dependent public should have regarding them. Not only are there some main concerns such as biological compatability and unknown health consequences, the most concerning is the idea that we no longer will have the freedom to produce our own food.
Some people have referred to me, Elaine Parny, as an alarmist and that I unnecessarily focus on the negative. I can tell you this, if the public does not go out of its way to question, investigate and advocate, it will be subjected to tyranny in every area of their lives. And, with the control over food production, any ruling agency will, in fact, have the government sanctioned capacity to exploit your dependence on food and to regulate what you can and cannot have for food consumption, unconcerned as to your optimum health but rather prioritizing the producers profits. Case in point, please read the following:
We know what we like and, what we like is good food! How we love to go to our favorite restaurants, over to grandma's or enjoy that Sunday family get-together. We have our favorite's no matter where we go and the grocery stores are packed with more choices than we can take home at one time. Variety is everywhere around us and we love it! Soon, that could all come to an end. Sorry, I have a link to another article to alert you to a growing threat to the foods we eat and food's availability, in general.
It's the Bees. Maybe you've heard of Collapsed Hive Syndrome already, but I know there are many people who have never heard of the crisis and how alarmingly threatening it has become to the food supply of our planet. Please, read over this article and understand, it is by the food consumer becoming more aware of food production practices, such as how pesticides are used, and then becoming politically involved, we have a chance to slow down the incidence of Collapsed Hive Syndrome and, hopefully, to reverse this dangerous trend. At the rate it is happening, we have little time left.
Yahoo!! Spring has sprung and, regardless of ticks and poisen ivey, I'm there!! Unfortunately, we had to sell our tractor last year that would have been able to turn over the spot where I would like to put our garden. And, it's been a bit wet. So we are late getting our ground prepared for it's new inhabitants. Chef Roland is a very good mechanic so, he has the privilege of working over an old rototiller we have to see if he can get it running. He's a diligent guy and I'm sure he will not give up until he has conquered that machine. Hopefully, we will be turning the soil over next weekend! (Rather, I should say, I will be wrestling with that thing in hopes of getting some seed into the ground.)
I have managed to get some flower seeds and roots into the soil, hoping to attract the many birds and butterflies that we have visit our place. I like keeping the critters happy and the pop of color is always nice during the growing season.
I really believe that spring is the season of hope and I do want to encourage and lift up by the articles that I post on our website. The age we live in seems a far cry from what we wish it would be. I know alot of us are wondering what direction history is taking us. I do believe that I would be negligent if I did not stop and take this opportunity to encourage you in becoming more responsible and involved in your personal food production. I'm sure there are alot of uncertainties for many of us and there are many of us who are blessed to go about our daily life without much difficulties. However, given the seemingly increasing instability of world economics and how they affect us ultimately through the global food market, I believe we must, at least, give some thought to the possibility that the food products we consume, could become more scarce or increasingly unaffordable, even to those with a more stable income.
With that said, I would like to post a link to a report that, I believe, gives a clear overview of world politics and how they do play a role in what you pay for food products and how those food products are becoming less available in the global food market. Please take a moment, even if you aren't too concerned with these issues, and read over the report before you dismiss it as not possible. If, after you read the article, you believe that there is a significant level of truth to the article, I would again like to encourage you to go out and invest whatever monies you can, even if it is just a few dollars and purchase seed to grow food for yourself. Many of us do not have a garden space available so, I would direct you to do an internet search on the subject of "container" gardening or "urban" gardening. You would be suprised what you can grow in a windowsill or on a balcony/patio. Also, don't be overly concerned about bug control or fertilizers. If you grow native plants they are very hardy. They and "heirloom" seeds reproduce themselves and you need to know that "hybrid" seeds DO NOT reproduce themselves. This is important to know because if food should be difficult to obtain, purchased seed will also be difficult to acquire.
You can do an internet search to find common items in your own home that are just as good (and better) than chemicals that are commonly advertised as necessities for gardening. I, myself, look for household tricks (such as diluted soapy water) and use implements like an old knife to garden with. I am, by no means, a gardener. In fact, this is really the first time in my life I've really made an effort to get some gardening done. Mine is small at this time but it is something and I am learning as I go. A good bug catcher I discovered that my family in France uses is empty soda bottles that have the "funnel" top cut off and inverted back into the bottle. They rig them up so that they can hang them in their fruit trees with a little sugar water in the bottom. The flies/bugs are attracted, go inside the container and can't seem to manage their way back out. I tried that last year, for the first time, and it helped to keep my persimmon fruit from having eggs laid in them.
Another direction I have been pursuing is to search out native plants that are, in fact, edible and nutritious. It's something I do for fun and as a hobby, at this time, and, who knows, maybe that information might come in handy should I get lost in the woods. :) I read that the new baby pine needle tips are extremely high in vitamin C and you can make tea out of them. Fun stuff to know. Did you know that the purple fruit and "leaves" of a prickly pear cactus are edible?? The fruit makes excellent jelly.
Another interesting way that you can become more involved in your own personal food production is to research and learn to "can" your own food at home. There are several techniques to process and preserve food and if you should come across a good deal in the store or famers' market, or your neighbor gifts you with some of the bounty of their own food production, you will able to "keep it back" for months to come. Food preservation is a good way to stretch your dollars in the food market.
Fine dinning, going out to our favorite restaurants to enjoy well made food with family and friends, and trying our own hand at culinary creations is always a true joy and blessing and I pray you have many. Always take a moment to consider helping out your local food banks and discover what types of food/garden programs are in your area. Get involved and "play" with your food!!
Here is the link: http://www.offthegridnews.com/otgNCurrent/Food_Shock.pdf
I can only apologize for not attending to my blog lately. We are dealing with many issues related to my parents' health and keeping up with managing their affairs. It's a bit distracting from all the other things I would like to be doing.
Chef Roland is keeping quite busy working with a local non-profit in developing their baking/culinary program for rehabilitating persons. It's an awesome program. We have managed to work in a few outside projects and I will hopefully have pics up soon. In addition, we will be involved in some private culinary classes, some culinary presentations and helping with our church to develop their concept for gardening/culinary/food preservation classes. Though we live in a very rural area, I can't believe how many opportunities keep popping up in the most unexpected places.
We are also looking at the possibility of collaborating with two local venues to present culinary classes to our immediate community, with the idea that we will possiby start our own small cooking school nearby. Lots going on.
In the meantime, I am persisting to find what I can regarding the GMO/hybrid/Mansanto connection. I hope you find the link I've included to be interesting regarding an article that ran in the NYTimes. As you read the article, especially take note of the reference to how Mansanto is brought into this article. I really wish their could be some kind of public pressure that could be organized and brought to bear on Mansanto and the FDA. Any political activists reading this???
I would love to hear back from some of you as to what your thoughts are on this most important subject of GMO labeling.
I came across an article this morning that really got me to thinking. For instance, I've always had the understading, in my limited knowledge, that when there was a glut of something on the market, it would bring the price of that item down. I understand, as with any production, you want to make the best money you can for your efforts, and the better the profit margin, the more you like it. So, after reading this article, I see that when the US markets had an excess of dark chicken meat, they sold outside of the country. I guess I would have liked to have seen that commodity come down so that more Americans would have access to it and buy it. When I was a single mother with three children, I had to be highly selective when it came to meat purchases which were the costliest. And, chicken/turkey legs were where I could get the most real food for the most affordable price.
The other aspect of this article that really deomonstrates how we as consumers affect these kinds of decisions is that we(as the public) indicated that we didn't really want to make significant purchases of dark chicken meat. I can only speculate why that might be. Possibly, we perceive dark chicken meat to be 'poor peoples food'? Just a thought. So, the people who had the buying power rejected the dark meat, and it went to overseas markets. Interesting.
Then, I noted that the dark chicken meat is actually higher in nurtritional content than the white chicken meat. So, it would seam that it didn't matter what the real value was of the chicken meat, it was the 'look' and perception of the white meat that made it more desirable over the dark meat which was lost to the market. I wonder if there's anyone who studies these kinds of things???
Maybe it would be the psycho/sociology of food and how it affects the public food market? Now, there's a thesis for some brave soul!
Here's the link that got me going:
Since I've referred to Mansanto in various articles and links I've posted, I thought I would give you a link that, I think, gives a very good overview as to why we should be concerned about this corporation and how it is negatively impacting our world. Here's the link:
Hello. I trust you are all keeping warm and cozy, enjoying this weather. One of the great ways to beat the winter blahs is to pull out a few recipes that you've thought about trying. Having the oven on in the winter, filling the house with delicious smells, lifts everyone's spirits.
I wasn't sure if you all heard, but the Updated Food Safety Bill did pass and was singned into law a couple of weeks ago. Also, it did have an amendedment attached that excludes the food producers making under $500.000/year, I believe. Please, do some investigating and doublecheck that fact. My memory is not working so good. :)
If you are in the food production business, in whatever capacity, and whatever level, you need to keep a careful watch on this bill and others like it that are relative to food production. The reason I say that is that during my research on this particular food bill, I discovered unknown information regarding seed harvesting and the whole controversy regarding Mansanto and the hybrid/genetically engineered food fight. That's one that is REALLY scary. I had come across a little tidbit, (when I find it again, I'll post the link), that during the WikiLeaks, it was revealed that the US administration threatened economic punishments to France if they did not allow hybrid seeds into their country. They had been resisting because they take great pride in the fact that they have very strict controls in place to insure the high quality of food that they produce.
In the meantime, (while I look for that link), here is another interesting link regarding food safety:
When Roland and I met, I was one of those people who opened the box or can and warmed up the family meal. After our marriage in 2005, I truely began to appreciate what food is really about, not only that it can taste very good, and be nutritious, but that it can be a celebration of who you are and the people that you share it with.