Looking at Cuba’s Organic Food Movement and More

LCO Green Team Sign Honor the Earth

LCO Green Team Sign Honor the Earth

November 3, 2010, The GreenTeam at Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College, in Hayward, WI, hosted the first in the series of the II Annual Environmental Film Fest. There was a good turnout of instructors in science, natural resources and ethnobotany. The event was hosted by Happy Tonics, Inc, LCOOCC and the Sustainable Living Institute.

 A film “Power of Community” showed how Cuba responded after the collapse of Russia in Cuba.  The country had to face a loss of utilities and industry. Transportation came to a grinding halt. The people went from cars to bicycles, from inported food to growing their own as they suffered a loss of income and petroleum for energy. None the less, the people have something to teach the world. They brought back healthy small agriculture that is no longer dependent upon large agricultureal machines and pesticides and herbicides.

Healthy food is now abundant in Cuba and the soil has been improved by sustainable some agricultural and family garden practices. We can learn something from Cuba. The USA and the rest of the world are now experiencing rising food prices as the global food supply is becoming more expensive and fuel prices keep surging. In Wisconsin many communities are starting to raise their own food. Families are maintaining garden plants. Our small farmers are being respected for the job that they do to bring local food to our tables. I see this movement growing in northwest Wisconsin and I feel proud to live in a community that understands that our security comes from knowing who is growing our food and where we can buy local grown produce that is free of chemicals.   

Teresa Depies, owner Springbrook Organic Dairy

Teresa Depies, owner Springbrook Organic Dairy

Teresa Depies, owner of Springbrook Organic Dairy, was the speaker at the November 3rd event. She raised some interesting points. There are new pasture rules in relationship to how many cows can be in the pasture. It is based on waste management. Teresa raises Jersey cows. They are a smaller breed and have less of a waste management problem than other species of dairy cows. This is a Grade A farm.  Teresa and her husband have been in the business since 1990. She is having success in distributing her milk to local grocery stores. I am proud that Dahlstrom’s Grocery Store in Shell Lake sells Springbrook organic milk.

When we buy from our local farmers we are supporting our own crops, dairy, poultry and grass-fed animals. This allows us to be prepared if we where to find ourselves in a “Food Security Situation.” Preparedness is readiness. The Green Team is busy at work networking a local food system into a viable way to purchase food.

Sierra White, intern from Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Community College

Sierra White, intern from Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Community College

 

Welcome Sierra White, a LCOOCC student and environmental education intern of Happy Tonics, Inc. Sierra will be Happy Tonics representative at the monthly Environmental Film Fest. She will assist with marketing, advertising, and recruiting partners for a local food network. Sierra will also assist with a “Day Trip”  itinery and partners with Happy Tonics Monarch Butterfly Habitat.

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Kucinich on GMOs

On June 21, 2010, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) announced he would introduce three bills to comprehensively regulate all genetically engineered products, including a bill that would require all foods containing genetically modified ingredients to be labeled.

Kucinich on GMOs: “Why do we continue to throw precaution to the wind?”

“Today the Supreme Court ruled that when it comes to genetically modified organisms, we as consumers have to wait until the damage is done and obvious before we can act to protect health and the environment, even if that damage could be irreversible.”

“Haven’t we learned from the catastrophe in the Gulf of the dangers of technological arrogance, of proceeding ahead with technologies without worrying about the consequences? Why do we continue to throw precaution to the wind?

“Tomorrow I will introduce three bills that will provide a comprehensive regulatory framework for all Genetically Engineered (GE) plants, animals, bacteria, and other organisms. To ensure we can maximize benefits and minimize hazards, Congress must provide a comprehensive regulatory framework for all GE products. Structured as a common-sense precaution to ensure GE foods do no harm, these bills will ensure that consumers are protected, food safety measures are strengthened, farmers’ rights are better protected and biotech companies are responsible for their products.”

– Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), a long-time advocate of family farmers and organic foods, on June 21, 2010, after the Supreme Court voted 7-1 to allow the experimental planting of genetically modified alfalfa seed before an environmental review is completed

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.”

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.

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.

HAPPY TONICS IN THE NEWS

We are honored to announce that Mary Ellen Ryall, Executive Director, has been given a scholarship to attend the 13th Annual Food Security Conference, 10-13 October 2009, in Des Moines, Iowa.  The focus is on Commodity to Community:  Food Politics and Projects in the Heartland.  Visit www.foodsecurity.org to learn more about growing healthy farms, people and communities.

Community Food Security Coalition copyright poster

Community Food Security Coalition copyright poster

Happy Tonics along with many other organizations around the USA are working to promote growing our own food closer to home using green methods and far less energy.  Happy Tonics a nonprofit organization is committed to sustainability of our food, the monarch butterfly and Mother Earth.  We are deeply committed to biodiversity of native crops and Say No to GMO!  Farm Aid has created the Farmer to Farmer Campaign on Genetic Engineering.  Visit www.farmaid.org to learn more.  According to Farm Aid, “Due to the extremely unpredictable nature of genetic experimentation, new food toxins, allergens or diseases can and have resulted from genetic engineering.”

We have a choice in how we feed ourselves and our families.  Pick up a hoe and tend the earth.  Mother nature will provide if we work with her.

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