Growing Food by Mary Ellen Ryall

Spider web after rain
Spider web after rain copyright Mary Ellen Ryall

Take a look at Will Allen.  

He walked away from corporate America and sports sixteen years ago to head up a growing business.  His main goal is to grow soil at his working farm Growing Power in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  It is all about community gardens and we need to get growing in each community.  Visit http://www.growingpower.org/

When we realize that it takes nearly 1 gallon of fossil fuel and 5,200 gallons of water to produce just 1 pound of conventionally fed beef (Mooallem, 2009), we might start to realize we need to support local farmers and grazers.  Meat taste like meat when it is wild harvested or grass fed.  Biofuels made from crops have been responsible for up to 75 percent of the 130 percent increase in global food prices in the past six years (Weltz, 2009).  Food is not fuel and should never be taken out of the mouths of people and diverted to another profit making purpose. 

 It is interesting to note that college campuses across the USA are starting to introduce local grown food right into the cafeteria.  Tim Galarneau, is cofounder of Real Feed Challenge, a national campaign, wants to introduce 1,000 universities and colleges to buy 20 percent of their food by 2020.  Tim will still be actively working long after I retire.  It is good to know that youth are stepping up to the issue now.  Communities need to learn how to grow their own food so they can feed themselves in the future.  Josh Viertel, the 31year-old president of Slow Food USA says, “It’s just this incredible outpouring of energy to do the right thing.”  I feel confident that Tim Galarneau and many other young activists will lead the way to sustainability.

 Are we too little too late?

At the same time we need to keep our eyes open and on global food security and climate stress now that climate change is knocking at Earth’s door.  Please take a few minutes to listen to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack speaking on Agriculture and Climate Change in the video at http://vimeo.com/8137485

He spoke at Agriculture and Rural Development Day, on 12 December, 2009, a day-long event at the University of Copenhagen with more than 300 policy makers, negotiators, producers and leaders from the agricultural and climate change scientific community.   Unfortunately many believe that genetically engineered crops are a possible solution to end world hunger and the second Green Revolution has begun.  By listening to this video, we are staying informed and hearing about the world’s challenges to these paramount issues.

 Mooallem, J. (2009, March-April).  Veg-o-might.  Mother Jones, 36-37.

Weltz, A. (2009, March-April).  Trouble on the Limpopo. Mother Jones, 44-47.

Viertel, J. (2009, March-April).  Tray chic, Mother Jones, 47.

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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.

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

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