Day Six – PLEASE VOTE for Climate Change Native Habitat…on Brighter Planet

Brighter Planet logo copyright

Please help pump up the votes.  Please Sign up AND VOTE for the Climate Change Native Habitat and Community Garden Shell Lake grant proposal at Brighter Planet at http://brighterplanet.com/project_fund_projects/100

Happy Tonics wants to thank Donna Barnes-Haesemeyer, Mayor of Shell Lake, for her VOTE.  The Mayor and I took part in The Natural Step for Communities – How Cities and Town can Change to Sustainable Practices in 2008.  I am proud to announce that Shell Lake is a sustainable city.

farmers market

Local grown food Famers Market

The mayor has implemented many initiatives to help the city start a Farmers Market, promote community gardens, improve wetlands and increase native habitat.  She is proactive in environmental advocacy work. 

Personally I am proud to live in this small community where so many are trying to protect the lake from invasive species.  We have the cleanest lake in Washburn County and perhaps throughout many areas in Wisconsin.  The Shoreline Protection Committee is reestablishing native habitat at 13 public access areas around the lake. 

cottonwood tree

The campground with aged cottonwood tree and lake

native black-eyed Susan

Native black-eyed Susan at Native Wildflower and Butterfly Garden.

Happy Tonics implemented a Native Wildflower and Butterfly Garden on city land.  Now we are trying to raise funds through Brighter Planet to maintain the habitat and help the community with community gardens.

  Let me tell you way.  Washburn County will shortly be impacted by 8,000 more people who have been taken off the unemployment benefits roll.  This means that food pantries need to gear up to address an ever increasing crisis in food security for citizens.

A community that can feed itself is sustainable.  You are allowed three votes and we are asking for your help.  Please sign up and VOTE for the Climate Change Native Habitat and Community Garden Shell Lake grant proposal at Brighter Planet at http://brighterplanet.com/project_fund_projects/100

Thank you for VOTING and proving you care. 

Quote Source:  Cassie McCrow wrote on Nick Vander Puy’s blog: “The genius of hunter-gatherers is that they must live as a part of nature rather than a manipulator of it – playing by nature’s rules, if you will. Part of that is the exchange – gratitude, relationship and respect (all good energies) for food, clothing and shelter.”

Adapting to Climate Change

Please take a minute to REGISTER AND VOTE at http://brighterplanet.com/project_fund_projects/100

Happy Tonics needs your VOTE to help us do our work.  Officers and Board Members give of their time to educate and implement programs to adapt to Climate Change by promoting Sustainability of Native Plants, Monarch Butterfly and other pollinator habitat.  Our mission is:  Sanctuary for the Monarch Butterfly and Food Safety Issues.

Bumble bee

Native bumble bee on autumn sedum

beauty she gives

small square foot garden

We are a small grassroots nonprofit that needs your help to WIN our Climate Change Native Habitat and Community Garden Shell Lake grant proposal.

This is not Happy Tonics first attempt to bring Adapting to Climate Change into national awareness.

We were honored to participate in the Green Effect grant process with National Geographic sponsored by Sun Chips in 2009.  Although other worthy causes won, we believe that each of us must do our part to bring the message of adapting to climate change home.  (National Geographic, Green Effect Winning Ideas for a Better World, November 2009, insert after pg. 6.)

Native pollinator plants

Plant native wildflowers for drought conditions

Won’t you help us now?  Please SIGN UP AND VOTE at http://brighterplanet.com/project_fund_projects/100

Thank you.

HOPE – WE NEED TO SEE the movie FRESH

Lacinto kale.  Italian heirloom from 18th century.
Lacinto kale. Italian heirloom from 18th century.

Just when we thought the global food battle was lost to genetic engineering (GE) in Washington, DC, along comes hope.  I am thrilled to speak about the Good Food Movement.

 The movie FRESH will be out this spring.  Watch the movie trailer at  http://www.freshthemovie.com/

Happy Tonics promotes the importance of local grown and organic crops and grass fed animals for dairy, poultry and meat.

FRESH the film is already marching forward in Wisconsin.  You can view the film in Hayward, on January 31, at 2 p.m. at the Park Theatre.  The film features Joel Salatin from Polyface farm, Shenandoah, Virginia, and Will Allen, of California’s Growing Power.  Both of these extraordinary people have been instrumental in the Good Food Movement.  Allen says,
“The Good Food Movement is now a Revolution.”

If each and every one of us can take this message home and practice it, we can change the global food marketplace one plate at a time.  Remember Margaret Meade said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” 

Visit Will Allen at www.growingpower.org/blog

Visit Joel Salatin at http://www.polyfacefarms.com/

Let us know how we can work together to promote food sustainability in our own neighborhoods right where we live.  Home is where the heart is.  Let’s hear from yours. 

Good day, Mary Ellen 

Honoring the Foot Soldiers

This post is written in memory of Craig Winters and Schuyler Houser.

Say No to GMO!

In 2008, I talked with Craig Winters (1951 – 2009).  We discussed The Campaign’s goal of wanting to establish Labeling for Genetically Engineered Foods.  Winters passed away on 3 July 2009 after a long bout against cancer.  He was the founder and principal driving force behind The Campaign that worked with Congressman Kucinich to introduce a Food Labeling Bill.

Say No to GMO
Say No to GMO!

Now the work is being carried forward by Jeffrey M. Smith, Institute for Responsible Technology.  Smith is the author of Seeds of Deception and Genetic Roulette.  Learn more about the the fight to stop GMOs in the food suppy at http://www.seedsofdeception.com/Public/MediaCenter/Videos/index.cfm  

Visit the Web site at http://www.responsibletechnology.org/GMFree/Home/index.cfm

Climate Change

Schuyler Houser (1943 -2009) was a champion for climate change education.  Sky as he was known, was the President of Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Community College in 2003 when I graduated.  I was privileged to hear him speak on Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change for Native Peoples and Homelands (Chapter 12).   His talk gave a lasting impression of how serious climate change may be for all of us.  I have been paying attention ever since.  The book title is Climate Change Impacts on the United States: The Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change.  You can view a PDF file of the book and Chapter 12 at http://www.usgcrp.gov/usgcrp/Library/nationalassessment/00Intro.pdf

Thanks to Winters and Houser we have a road map to follow.  We walk into the future with our eyes open and ready to teach others about sustainability.

Eco Adventure in Wisconsin – day one by Mary Ellen Ryall

Happy Tonics husband and wife team left today for Costa Rica.  They are staying at Rancho Margot, a self-supporting working ranch in Central America. 

Sadie the corge

Our first walk

 I am staying at their cabin in the woods with Sadie the dog for the next ten days.

Looking out at bird feeders from cabin

Before the storm.

The first thing I notice when I look out the windows is that there are little woodpeckers and chick-a-dees flying to the porch and window boxes.  Then I see the nut-hatch climbing down the tree backwards.  It’s a winter wonderland of little birds.  All of a sudden I am transported into the silence of winter.

A slow cook pot is on.  Within the pot are lentils, organic onions and carrots, potatoes and cabbage.  I added lots of cumin, a medicinal spice used for indigestion and a dash of smart balance for some fat.  A teaspoon of powdered Turkey tail mushroom was added.  It is a medicinal mushroom that has been researched as a  cancer treatment.

After Sadie had her walk and a roll in the fresh snow, we headed back to the cabin for a good brush on the porch.  She is a corgi and in winter Sadie sheds. 

Even with the beauty of winter and being isolated in my retreat setting, there was a sad moment.  Earlier I noticed a sweet little mole in the kitchen.  When I went over to it I saw that it was barely alive.  His little leg was broken.  There appeared to be a few punctures in the little creature’s neck.  I wrapped him up in some cabbage leaves and carried him out to the porch.  I knew the cold temperatures would help end his life more quickly than letting Sadie experiment with her little pet.

When I went out to the porch to check on the little dear, it had already walked on.  I already had my snowshoes on so I gathered oak leaves from the woods and picked him up while I sang him an honor song.  There was a nice wood pile with a sheltered opening and I placed the little mole in a bed of oak leaves.  I put down tobacco leaves to honor his life and to thank him for the gift he was giving me.

He may be preparing me for an experience that will call me into grief at some point.  I felt stronger for knowing that we must all pass through different stages of life and each stage should be honored.

Deer trail through the wooded trail

The road less traveled

  I photographed deer trails that wander along the woodland path.

Blue berries on red stem

Blue berries on red stem.

 I saw blue berries hanging from red stems and cotton soft down covering flower seed that wafts on the wind. 

The sun was setting to the west.  This is a little journal of my days in the woods.  I thought you might enjoy reading about Sadie and my eco adventure in the Great North Woods of Wisconsin.  Talk with you tomorrow afternoon.

Stay happy readers wherever you are.

Happy Tonics is Migrating to Costa Rica for an Eco Adventure by Mary Ellen Ryall

Copyright of Rancho Margot, Costa Rica, Central America

view of Lago Arenal in view of the Arenal Volcano and the valley of the Rio Cano Negro and is surrounded by the Children Eternal Forest and the Arenal Forest Reserve

We are pleased to announce that Sandy Stein and Pat Shields, husband and wife, will be in Costa Rica for much of December.

Stein is secretary of Happy Tonics, Inc. a nonprofit environmental education organization and public charity.  Pat Shields is a board member and facility at Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Community College.

They will be staying at Rancho Margot, a 300 acre self sufficient working ranch at tp://www.ranchomargot.org/our_ranch.html

The Reserva Biologica de Monteverde is just 15 km from the ranch.  The natural paradise setting of the ranch is on Lago Arenal in view of the Arenal Volcano and the valley of the Rio Cano Negro and is surrounded by the Children Eternal Forest and the Arenal Forest Reserve. 

Costa Rica has the most species of butterflies anywhere in the world outside of Ecuador.  We hope the team is able to photograph butterfly species that are unfamiliar to us.  A video camera will record interviews at the organic ranch.  Happy Tonics mission is:  Sanctuary for the Monarch Butterfly and Food Safety Issues.  We are looking at other countries to see what we can learn about staying small, producing our own local and organic food, promoting biodiversity of habitat for butterflies and eco tourism.  Be sure to keep up with the blog news in December here at Insectamonarca’s Blog.

GE thoughts for the day by Mary Ellen Ryall

Native serape corn

Native serape corn

Genetic engineering (GE) is the practice of altering or disrupting the genetic blueprints of living organisms.  Think of trees, plants, fish, animals, microorganisms and humans who are no more a true species but now bits and pieces of something else, outside of their own natural species line.

The Creator did not cross different species with each other.  Man is crossing the species line in the laboratory.  Fish genes are now in tomatoes, bananas have no seeds, a bacterium pesticide is in the DNA of corn and the list goes on and on.

What are these altered crops doing to the soil?  What are these crops doing to human health?  What is the consequence to the very crops and animals that have had their DNA changed forever?  Take the tiniest spider in his web, is there anything more beautiful?  Or corn pollen that scatters from silky hairs to wrapped corn kernels within a cob.  The pollen slides down the silks and pollinates each and every corn kernel.  Why would one poison a plant and let it fertilize itself with its own toxic pesticide pollen?  In turn we eat the toxic corn.  This was not the way it was intended.

German researchers have found antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the guts of bees feeding on gene-altered rapeseed (canola) plants.  Wind, rain, birds, bees and insect pollinators have been carrying genetically altered pollen to adjoining fields, including organic and non-GE fields.

 In 1999, we learned from Cornell University that GE Bt corn killed the monarch butterfly.  According to Food, Inc. a must see film, there is a growing body of evidence that GE crops are also affecting other beneficial insects included ladybugs and lacewings, as well as beneficial soil microorganisms, bees, and possibly birds (Weber, 2009).

Scientists in Oregon found that GE soil microorganism, Klebsiella planticola, completely killed essential soil nutrients.

Source:  Weber, K. (2009).  Food, Inc. NY:  Public Affairs (84-86).          

Butterflies and Gardens Newsletter Volume 4 issue 4

Monarch butterfly on milkweed. Photo by Cindy Dyer of Dyer Design

Milkweed is the only host plant of the monarch butterfly

The fall 2009 issues of Butterflies and Gardens is ready for viewing at below link. 

http://happytonics.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/butterflies-gardens-issue-4-091.pdf

Our Graphic Artist Cindy Dyer, Vice President of Happy Tonics, Inc. publishes the newsletter for Happy Tonics.  Please leave comments and let us know what you think of our blog version.

Thank you, Mary Ellen Ryall, Executive Director, Happy Tonics, Inc.

People’s Food Sovereignty

There is a growing movement that states that perhaps sustainable agriculture will support feeding the hungry.  The People’s Food Sovereignty met in Rome, Italy, from 13-17 November 2009.  Please read The People’s Forum.  At the end of the text there is an Explanation of Food Sovereignty by Nyelini Declaration from Mali, February 2007 at http://peoplesforum2009.foodsovereignty.org/the_peoples_forum

Native Harvest

Native Harvest

The Americas have an abundance of native crops, including pumpkins and squash, that are drought hardy even considering climate change.  Two of the four most important crops in the world are native to the Americans being corn and potatoes.  The other two most important crops are wheat (Europe) and rice (Asia).

Native crops throughout the world have biodiversity that needs to be protected from an industralized profit driven global food system. 

Tashunka Witko (Crazy Horse) said, “One does not sell the earth upon which the people walk.”  1840-1877

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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