Environmental Film Festival “King Corn”

Yesterday Happy Tonics was a co-sponsor at the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Community College’s Film Fest featuring “King Corn.”  Mary Ellen Ryall, Executive Director of the nonprofit spoke about Oneida Corn, a tribal corn, that originated in New York State near Syracuse and Utica.  The corn seed was gifted to the Oneida tribe to the west side of Green Bay, Wisconsin in 1992.

Oneida corn

Oneida tribal corn

In 2009 Oneida corn was grown out by Mike Brenna of Little Footprint Farm, Turtle Lake, Wisconsin.

Mike told me that the Oneida Tribe in Wisconsin gave him some of the corn seed.  He cherished the seed and only gave us three ears.  I take one dried ear with me when I am lecturing. 

Corn silk is medicinal and good for urinary tract infection.  The dried silks can be added to soups and stews.  Ayner Larson (originally from Turkey) told me the silks can be used in tea. 

Phytochemicals:  Maysin, Carvacrol, Flavonoids and Polyphenols make up some of the medicinal properties of corn silk. 

Maysin helps protect the plant from bag bug larva such as European Corn Borer.  What is good for the plant may be good for our own intestinal health. 

Carvacrol may have antibacterial, anti fungal, antiviral and anti-cancer  properties when naturally distilled in liquid.  If corn silks are in a liquid base such as tea, soup and stew, this will allow the phytochemical to release its essence into the liquid.

Flavonioids have antioxidant properties.  Polyphenol also has antioxidant properties.  Rather, they may affect cell-to-cell signaling, receptor sensitivity, inflammatory enzyme activity or gene regulation.

Food sources are more than just a question of eating.  Are we conscious of what we eat?  For example, Oneida corn is a life substance to the Oneida people.  My ancestors came from Ireland and I am tied to the potato.  Being connected to our ancestral food has an effect on our DNR.  We are linked to our past through food.

King Corn points out that corn being grown today is often not for human consumption.  Corn is grown to feed cattle in the concentrated animal feed operations.  It is often grown as a byproduct called corn syrup.  It’s in mayonnaise, ketchup, boxed food and soft drinks.  Corn syrup is a processed product from a non food source. Diabetes is often caused by a diet of high corn syrup.  The closer to the natural food source, the healthier we can be. 

Happy Tonics display featured Tarahumara corn from a remote area of  Sierra Tarahumara, Chihuahua, Mexico.  Growing biodiversity of corn species can keep the landraces alive. There are more types of corn besides yellow sweet corn.  Tribal people understand the importance of growing dent, flour, flint, popcorn and sweet corn. 

Tarahumara serape corn

tarahumara serape corn

 Tarahumara serape corn tassels.  Just look at the beautiful red striked tassels.  This species is a  Flour/Flint Corn.  When dry, flints generally store better and have a great resistance to insect damage.  The kernals can be toasted and ground and popped.

There is more to the corn story.  Visit http://happytonics.org/mbr13b1.htm to read the Colonization of Maize by Mary Ellen Ryall.

Be happy insectamonarca friends where ever you are.

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Beneath the soil there is life by Mary Ellen Ryall

The earthworm makes soil copyright by Mary Ellen Ryall
Photo of an earthworm who lived in my garden. Photo taken after a rain.

I watched a video of E. O. Wilson, a biologist, explaining biodiversity and the possible consequence of the loss of at http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/83  He was speaking about the hidden life beneath the soil that supports life.

The topic was of interest to me because of a video I did for News from Indian Country “Tracking the monarch butterfly through corporate killing fields,” at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZ7vl9qJIAA

I touched on the fact that even earth worms were being poisoned by pesticides and herbicides.  Sandy Stein, secretary of Happy Tonics, and I experienced what massive doses of ammonia (fertilizer) felt like as we traveled on Route 35 alongside the concentrated animal feeding operations and monoculture fields in Kansas, USA.  Please read “Nutrients for plants” to learn about the dangers of ammonia fertilizer at http://www.nutrientsforplants.com/blue-fertilizer.html

 If we lose earth worms and kill other (unknown) soil microbes what will be the consequence?  E. O. Wilson speaks to this finite hidden world.  Please watch his video.  We must honor and protect biodiversity including the soil which contains the “mystery of life within.”

 Nick Vander Puy, reporter from News from Indian Country, sent a quote that ties right into this plea.   “Once there were brook trout in the streams in the mountains. You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow.  They smelled of moss in your hand. Polished and muscular and torsional.  On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming.  Maps and mazes.  Of a thing which could not be put back. Not to be made right again. In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery.”  Source:  Cormic McCarthy’s apocalyptic story The Road.

Every precious species belongs here.

What Are You Eating?

Food Safety News:  If you have the opportunity please read Food, Inc.  The book, edited by Karl Weber, teaches about “How Industrial Food is Making Us Sicker, Fatter and Poorer – And What You Can Do About it.”  It is a participant guide to the movie Food, Inc. a must see film to comprehend why we need to talk about feeding ourselves with local grown produce and grass fed dairy, meat and poultry.     The exciting news is that Wal Mart is now getting involved in the organic movement.  When America buys “organic” the big box stores listen.   Thank goodness people vote with their pocket books.  In my mind, there is no sense in arguing with the multi-national industrialized food czars.  In the end the buying public decides.  Choose healthy naturally grown foods meaning non packaged foods to support health.      

Joel Salatin is featured in Food, Inc. He is the owner of Polyface Farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Salatin is featured in Michael Pollen’s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

Officers of Happy Tonics had the honor of speaking before Mr. Salatin at the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Community College Sustainable Living Conference in Hayward, Wisconsin, on 25 September 2009.  Sandy Stein spoke about the Three Sisters Garden (corn, beans and squash).  I addressed Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations of the Midwest and affect on migrating monarch butterflies. 

Sandy Stein saving seed

Seed saving break out session

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