Memories are in the seeds

May  – It was a very warm day, at 86 degrees Fahrenheit. High winds appeared to sap the oxygen right out of the air, as dust swirled around in small whirlwinds. I needed to plant potatoes that should have been in the ground long ago. The potato spuds had sprouted and needed to be covered by earth.

I watched the sky all day wondering when the rains would start. I knew they were coming. My rain barrels needed filling. The transplanted trees and shrubs were bone dry and leaves were wilting.

Red potatoes have pick flowers

Red potatoes have pick flowers

I saved over aged russets potatoes with eyes. This year, I bought red and yellow starter potatoes to add to the mix. For many years, I have been planting a diverse crop of potatoes together. It appears to keep potato beetles away. I have always had a  happy and healthy crop.

Potato basket hand woven by JoAnn Flanagan, Oregon, OH

Potato basket hand woven by JoAnn Flanagan, Oregon, OH

Last year, I was able to use my own potatoes right up to the middle of march. Imagine that! What a thrill. Not to have to go to the grocery store to buy potatoes for nearly a whole winter. I knew where my potatoes came from. I was enjoying being sustainable and providing for my own food.

The same day, I planted a bed of beans. This year I added Kebarika bush shell bean, bought from organic Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, in Virginia. The bean species is purple, looking much like the scarlet runner. The bean was added to a mix of saved Hidasta, black, and white soup beans. I’ll grow the vine beans up on devised bean poles.

Sample of biodiversity of potatoes crop 2009

Sample of biodiversity of potatoes crop 2009

After I finished planting the potatoes, I started weeding the next bed. Lo and behold, the garlic I planted from seed in 2009 was growing. I thought it had died out last year, but it hadn’t. I dug one up to make sure it truly was the garlic grown from seed. Saved seed do have stories. I remember a man had come to our seed saving workshop, at Lac Courte Oreilles (LCO) Ojibwa College’s Wellness Fair, at the LCO Convention Center. I wish I knew his name. He told me his grandmother had brought garlic seed to American, when she immigrated from Poland. He has been growing the garlic ever since. I felt honored that he thought to give Happy Tonics the memory seed. How I wish today I had his telephone number. I could call him up to tell him the continuing seed story from Minong, Wisconson.

I realized in 2009 that I had to start writing down people’s names after this experience.  How could one carry on the story without a name? Seed is handed down from one person, culture, and tradition to another. It isn’t a story of just the seed, but the people who lovingly tended the seed making sure the seed was passed to the next generation. Yes, the man was an elder. His story was important even when he didn’t think so.

I hope if you are a seed saver, you will remember to write down the person’s name and pass the story on.

PLEASE VOTE FOR OUR GRANT PROPOSAL on Brighter Planet

Happy Tonics has been selected again as a candidate for the April 1 – 15 VOTING PERIOD with Brighter Planet.  Our Grant Proposal Native Habitats and Community Gardens in Shell Lake, Wisconsin, needs your VOTE at
http://brighterplanet.com/project_fund_projects/100
We are a nonprofit 501(c)(3) Environmental Education Organization and Public Charity.  Officers and board work for free.
 
 
Please take a minute to REGISTER on BRIGHTER PLANET and VOTE for our Grant Proposal.  Thank you for helping us create a world of beauty for today and the future.  
 
Bees on Coneflower

Native Bumblebees on coneflower

  Our work is dedicated to helping the littlest of species the pollinating butterflies and native bees that need our help.  We grow native habitat and crops to promote biodiversity which pollinators depend upon.

Thank you for VOTING for our Cause at http://brighterplanet.com/project_fund_projects/100
 

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.

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.”

Day Two – Brighter Planet Votes that Keep Us Going

Thank you Crossroads Resource Center, MN; La Cruz Habitat Protection Project, Inc., TX; Destination Marketing Organization, WI; Yellow River Advertising and Design, WI; Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad, WI; Dyer Design, VA and countless individuals who are VOTING for our grant proposal at Brighter Planet.  

Brighter Planet copyright by Brighter Planet

 PLEASE REGISTER AND VOTE for Climate Change Native Habitat and Community Garden Shell Lake at http://brighterplanet.com/project_fund_projects/100

 Happy Tonics members Patti Gardner, PA; Cindy Dyer, VA and Janice Organ, WI voted.  Friends on Facebook are voting AND writing on their wall to ask their friends to VOTE.  Friends on MySpace are voting.   It takes all of us to implement change in adapting to Climate Change. 

 We are counting on YOU!  

Seed in time

Seed in time regenerates the Earth.

 Happy Tonics is so appreciative to those who are helping us carry our sustainability work forward.  Our Mission:  Sanctuary for the Monarch Butterfly and Food Safety Issues.

Walk in Beauty.  Navajo Morning Prayer.

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.

Brighter Planet Selects Happy Tonics Grant Proposal for February Voting

Brighter Planet

Brighter Planet Logo

The week of 18 January 2010, Matt Vaughan, of Brighter Planet, in Middlebury, Vermont, called to let Happy Tonics know that our grant proposal for Climate Change Native Habitat and Community Garden in Shell Lake, Wisconsin, was selected by Brighter Planet as a project for funding via the social media nonprofit organization.  We are honored that our project is being sponsored.

We need your VOTES in order to win a grant of $999.  Register at http://brighterplanet.com/ to VOTE on Climate Change Native Habitat and Community Garden Shell Lake grant proposal between February 1 – 15.  There are not that many days before the VOTING begins.  Please get ready now.  We will remind you again starting next week. 

Conservation begins with action.  Thank you for playing a part in helping species besides ourselves survive in a world that is changing because of Climate Change. 

sign at Monarch Butterfly Habitat

Art work by Elaine DeAnn Brevitz Brown

Happy Tonics, Inc. is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) environmental education organization and public charity in Shell lake, Wisconsin.   We ask that you tell all your friends to VOTE for us too.

United we can do anything from the Grass Roots movement upward.

Bee on liatris

Bumble bee on blazing star copyright Cindy Dyer

  Let’s make this world sustainabile from the earth up in the midst of climate change.  Future generations of people, plants, animals and pollinating insects will thank us.  Yes, even the bees can buzz their affection.

Thank you for your help.

Soup Stock III Sustainable Agriculture

Basket of abundance

Basket of abundance

Happy Tonics exhibited at Soup Stock III at Little Footprint Farm, in Turtle Lake, Wisconsin, on 19 September 2009.  The annual event was hosted by Mike Brenna at his sustainabile farm.  I loved the beautiful biodiversity of crops in the gardens.  Mike is growing Oneida corn, a traditional tribal corn, that is grown by the Oneida Indian Nation near Green Bay.  The Oneida originally came from New York State and corn seed came to Wisconin in 1992.  I originated in New York State also and so like the Ojibwe,  Oneida and the white flint corn, I migrated to Wisconsin in December 2006.

I was thrilled that Mike shared three ears of Oneida white flint corn with Happy Tonics.  We distributed a small amount of seed at a seed saving session at the Lac Courte Oreilles Sustainable Living and Wellness Fair, on 25 September 2009, at the Lac Courte Oreilles Convention Center.  You can view my video of event and a migration story of the monarch and food safety issues at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZ7vl9qJIAA

054

We will use seed as a teaching tool at events and when we are presenting at conferences.  Seed will be planted in 2010 with the grow out intention of seed saving for our native seed distribution program.  

Learn from http://nativeharvest.com/node/3 the benefits of a traditional diet of native foods in restoring health and reconnecting to native cultural heritage.  White Earth Reservation is honored by Slow Food Movement at http://www.indiancountrytoday.com/living/health/48620117.html  Learn about the story that the three sisters (Corn, beans, squash) gave the tribe at http://www.cias.wisc.edu/curriculum/modII/secb/Tsyunhehkwa2.pdf

 Happy day

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