Healing herbs

Healing herbs
Echinacea and Calendula

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

The Gates Foundation Invests Millions In Monsanto

from care2: Advocates of sustainable agriculture are shocked by the recent discovery of significant financial connection between the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and agribusiness titan Monsanto.

In August, a financial website published the Gates Foundation’s investment portfolio, which included recent purchases of 500,000 shares of Monsanto stock estimated to be worth over $23 million.

(See the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission).

The most troubling part about this discovery is that it marks a substantial increase from the Foundation’s previous Monsanto holdings, which were valued at just over $360,000 (see the Foundation’s 2008 990 Form).

Petition Against The Gates Foundation Monsanto Investment!

“The Foundation’s direct investment in Monsanto is problematic on two primary levels,” said Dr. Phil Bereano, University of Washington Professor Emeritus and recognized expert on genetic engineering in a press release. “First, Monsanto has a history of blatant disregard for the interests and well-being of small farmers around the world, as well as an appalling environmental track record. The strong connections to Monsanto cast serious doubt on the Foundation’s heavy funding of agricultural development in Africa and purported goal of alleviating poverty and hunger among small-scale farmers. Second, this investment represents an enormous conflict of interests.”

Monsanto-DuPont Biotech Cartel: How Global Seed Market Is Controlled

from consciousape: According to an article in The Ecologist, just five biotech giants have increased their control of the global seed market, promoting monoculture farming and making it harder for farmers to find alternative sources of seeds.

Since the mid-1990s just five biotech giants – Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, Dow and DuPont – have bought up more than 200 other companies between them to dominate our access to seeds.

Philip Howard from Michigan State university, who has produced a unique visual to illustrate this growing concentration of power in the hands of a few companies, says the takeover of the seed market has been ‘dramatic’ and that it is getting harder for farmers to find alternatives.

In the US for example, where 90 per cent of the soybeans grown are genetically-modified varieties, many conventional farmers have had difficulty obtaining non-genetically modified seeds to plant.

Howard says the increasing power of these seed companies is ‘incompatible’ with renewable agricultural practices such as saving and replanting seeds. He says one solution to restricting their control would be through banning the practice of granting patents on seeds, plants and genes.

Court Rules Organic Farmers Can Sue Conventional, GMO Farmers Whose Pesticides 'Trespass' And Contaminate Their Fields

from naturalnews: Purveyors of conventional and genetically-modified (GM) crops -- and the pesticides and herbicides that accompany them -- are finally getting a taste of their own legal medicine. Minnesota's Star Tribune has reported that the Minnesota Court of Appeals recently ruled that a large organic farm surrounded by chemical-laden conventional farms can seek damages for lost crops, as well as lost profits, caused by the illegal trespassing of pesticides and herbicides on its property.

Oluf and Debra Johnson's 1,500-acre organic farm in Stearns County, Minn., has repeatedly been contaminated by nearby conventional and GMO farms since the couple started it in the 1990s. A local pesticide cooperative known as Paynesville Farmers Union (PFU), which is near the farm, has been cited at least four times for violating pesticide laws, and inadvertently causing damage to the Johnson's farm.

Farmer's Markets Spur Job Growth, New Report Finds

from commondreams: As the economy limps along, farmer's markets are showing record growth, and that growth could bring thousands of jobs with it.

A dismal week for the U.S. economy featuring debt-ceiling drama in Washington and the threat of a double-dip recession on Wall Street, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) delivered some powerhouse statistics demonstrating the public's demand for healthy, organic food:

The number of farmers markets in the country increased 17 percent in the last year. "There's a yearning for the 99 percent of Americans who are no longer connected to the farm to reconnect," Kathleen Merrigan, deputy secretary of the USDA, said.

The timing is perfect — this week marks National Farmers Market Week — and comes on the heels of a new report finding that farmers markets could generate thousands of jobs in the U.S.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Nutrition's Top Seed

from smh: This time next year a jar of hemp seed could be a respectable kitchen staple, nudging the rolled oats in your pantry cupboard - and giving chia and flax seeds some stiff competition in the health food stakes.

Although hemp seed in muesli bars, breakfast cereal - or even ice cream - wouldn’t raise eyebrows in the US, Canada or Europe, its use as a food is currently banned in Australia.

But this could change in the next few months if a new proposal to overturn the ban is approved by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) – a move that’s backed by the Dietitians’ Association of Australia.

“As good foods go hemp seed is a rock star. It has a lot to offer and it would be a shame not to have it here,” says Accredited Practising Dietitian Camey Demmitt who was surprised to find no hemp seed on the menu when she moved to Australia from the US four years ago.

A major benefit of hemp is that it’s a way of getting extra omega-3 fatty acids back into diets dominated by omega-6 fats, says Demmitt, a member of the DAA.

Guide To Wild Foods

from celtnet: Welcome to the Celtnet guide to wild foods. As this recipe site has grown it has become obvious that to allow people to replicate some of the more ancient recipes on this site (especially from the Ancient, Roman and Medieval periods it is necessary to list modern alternatives but also to produce a guide so that the curious can find the original (often wild) ingredients for themselves. These pages are an attempt at bringing all these potentially useful and often forgotten wild foods together into one place. The pages linked to from here provide a pictorial guide to wild foods, including a brief description of the plant in question and which areas of it are edible. For obvious reasons this is not a complete guide and is intended as a companion for the wild foods used in the varoius recipe sections of this guide. Also, as wild foods have started to become more popular (samphire is now used in restaurants) and there are a cornucopia of wild plants to be collected for free in every season; this is an attempt to allow people to re-gain much of the herb-lore lost in the twentieth century and to allow the curious to directly connect back to their ancient roots. Those are the worthy reasons. But the truth is that foraging for wild foods is fun! Even more so when you discover a taste sensation in the wild that you can then make a delicious dish from. The more you understand the ingredients you use, the better your food will be in the end. Using this guide is simplicity itself: just click on the first letter of the wild food you're intrested in. Alternativey why not just browse throgh the list of wild foods. You may well find something that surprises and intrigues you and which gets you foraging for yourself!

Plants For A Future

from makewealthhistory: There are over 20,000 known edible plants in the world, a quarter of which can be grown in the UK. So why does 90% of our food come from just 20 plant species?

Ken Fern has dedicated his life’s work to rectifying this situation, trying out and promoting alternative foods, and now runs the charity Plants for a Future.

On their website you will find thousands of plants that can be eaten or used in other ways, and the book offers just a sample.

Fern has a few criteria for inclusion. They have to be useful, they should grow outdoors in a temperate climate, and they should preferably be perennial.

In a very honest introduction, he shares his experiences of trying to live a self-sufficient lifestyle, growing vegetables and fruit organically. This, he discovered, was just too much work. “I don’t want to spend all my time growing plants, I want to be able to walk around and look at them, to sit back and enjoy them” say this self-confessed ‘lazy gardener’.

The traditional foods of the vegetable patch are annuals, and they need to be grown and planted out every year. Trees and shrubs are far better value – you just plant them once, and they’ll crop year after year with very little effort.

Across The Bay Area, Urban Farming Is In Season

from latimes: Cities are changing ordinances to permit sales of home-grown produce as residents demand access to high-quality food and greater connection to the source.

Reporting from San Francisco — In a dense pocket of the Mission Terrace neighborhood, a quiet grid of streets near the city's southern edge, the afternoon fog rolls in over a rare sight: nearly an acre of land sandwiched between homes and planted with kale, exotic salad greens, bursts of flowers and fragrant herbs.

The women who work this plot are pioneers. Their Little City Gardens recently became the first legal commercial farm within city borders. Thanks to them, San Francisco leaders revised zoning laws to allow the cultivation and sale of produce in all neighborhoods.

Other Bay Area cities are following suit.

Berkeley soon will take up a measure to allow residents to sell raw agricultural products from home without a costly permit. And Oakland has pledged to one-up its neighbors by tackling the raising of backyard animals as a personal food source.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Turn A 30-Year-Old Organic Farm In Maryland Into A Food Education Hub, Not Soccer Fields

from change: Nick's Organic Farm has leased County land held for an eventual middle school in Montgomery County Maryland for the past 30 years. Farmers from all over the region rely on Nick's certified organic feed and seed for their organic operations.

On March 7, 2011, Nick and the community at large were given 2-weeks notice that the land would become Soccer Fields. There have still been no public hearings on this decision.

Many environmental, agriculture and local food organizations have banded together to ask Montgomery County's Executive, Ike Leggett, to form a Food Policy Council that will use Nick's Organic Farm as an anchor for agricultural and food education.

A Food Policy Council would fit perfectly with the County's current efforts to strengthen the local food system; including the Food Innovation Hub, and of course the nationally renowned Agricultural Reserve.

We have to act quickly, the County is moving ahead on soccer field construction on this site. Please join the organizations calling for a Food Education center at Brickyard Farm by signing the petition to Executive Leggett. The public should have a voice in the future of the Brickyard property...and the health of their local food system.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Useful Tips For Avoiding Jail Time While Vegetable Gardening In Your Front Yard

from ecolocalizer: One of our sister blogs, Eat Drink Better, just wrote about a Michigan family who is being threatened with financial penalties and jail time for simply growing vegetables in their own front yard. Persecuting people for growing food is difficult to fathom, but similar oppressive restrictions and bizarre city ordinances seem to be an issue nationwide.

So before you get caught picking cucumbers in your front yard, are slapped with a fine, and charged with a misdemeanor, here are some sneaky strategies you can try to disguise your subversive gardening acts.

You can always resort to planting edible flowers and herbs among the veggies in your front yard, and Big Brother will be none the wiser.

This method of stealth edible gardening is worth a try if you are unfortunate enough to live in a city with an ordinance dictating what types of plants are “suitable” for your front yard. I am very much in favor of working to change such local laws that are misguided and often outdated; but in the meantime, the following tips may help keep you out of handcuffs.

British Columbia Man Faces Six Months In Jail for Growing Food

from treehugger: Last week Colleen brought us the story of a woman in Michigan who is facing jail time for planting a garden. Sadly, this type of heavy-handed by-the-letter enforcement of bylaws exists at the same time as people embrace urban agriculture as a viable source of high quality nutrition. A man in Lanztville, British Columbia is facing a similar battle with the local government after converting his 2.5 acre "residential" lot from a gravel pit into a thriving organic farm. His refusal to "cease all agricultural activity" could land him six months in jail.

Acting on a single complaint from a disgruntled neighbor the regional district sent a letter to Dirk Becker giving him 14 days to "remove the piles of soil and manure from the property." The quoted bylaw states that property owners will ensure their property doesn't become or remain "unsightly". Specifically this refers to "the accumulation of filth, discarded materials or rubbish, which includes unused or stripped automobiles, trucks, trailers, boats, vessels, machinery, mechanical or metal parts." Admittedly, it can be argued that, to some a manure pile could be considered "filth". But, considering how Becker regenerated his 2.5 acres (see photo above) this characterization is an insult.

Becker explains the character of his neighbourhood and the evolution of his piece of property in an article he wrote for Synergy Magazine.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Health Benefits Of Oregano

from hubpages: Oregano is an aromatic herb that belongs to the mint family, it can grow to about two feet in height.

It is native to the Mediterranean region but is cultivated worldwide. The leaves as well as the volatile oil of oregano are used medicinally, but must be carefully distinguished as they are quite different.

There is a common oregano that is use for cooking and the oregano that is use to make oil. Origanum Marjoram is the common oregano used for cooking. Origanum Vulgare is the wild oregano used for making oil.

Oil of Oregano is a highly potent purifier that provides many benefits for human health. The two important compounds that are responsible for the many health benefits of oregano are carvacrol and thymol.

Studies have shown that both of these compounds can inhibit the growth of bacteria, virus and fungi which is the main causes of many illnesses in humans.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Bees Helps You Setup Your Own Beehive

from laughingsquid: So I’ve always consumed a lot of honey (I drink it. No really. Literally) and have always been interested in getting my own hive.

But actually maintaining a hive is kind of a pain. And it’s not really easy. And there are mites. And diseases (for the bees, not for you). And smokers. And bunny suits. So it’s always been more of a pain than it seemed like it was worth.

But you might have recently heard about hive “Colony Collapse Disorder.” As many as 36% of hives in the US have been lost to collapse.

Not to sound snarky and state the obvious, but if all our bees go away, most of our agriculture goes away.

No more fruit. No more flowers. No more honey. No Mustard, cabbage, vanilla, peppers, canola, cantaloupe, strawberries, alfalfa (horse munchies), almonds, grapes (as in those things used to make wine) or eggplants. (OK, I can personally live without eggplants, but the world should probably keep them.)

Practical Permaculture in Britain

from permacultureideas: Practical Permaculture in Britain documentary by Malcolm Baldwin. All 6 parts are featured here.

Permaculture Ideas is a place to find a range of articles, videos and latest news related to Permaculture.

A vast resource for those looking for an introduction, inspiration or to further their understanding on the matter.

Whether you skim the top or dig deep into the archives you'll no doubt be inspired by the wonderful ideas Permaculture brings!

The above link is not working! Try this one instead for more information on practical Permaculture:

Woman Faces 93 Day Jail Sentence For Growing Veggies in Front Yard

from cherylkicksass: In case you haven't yet heard, the crime syndicate U.S. government, having recently admitted to arming Mexican drug gangs with 30,000 weapons, has stated growing a vegetable garden in one's yard a criminal act.

Now the City of Oak Park, Mich. is carrying through with its insidious plan to

put a woman in jail 93 days for growing in her front yard.

It can be presumed the primary intent of these outlandish laws is for the government to ultimately have full control of the U.S. food supply under bill HR 875. (See American Family Farms and Gardens: Outlawed by Obama's New Bill?)

Consequently, cities are enacting codes based on the Federal mandate barring people from growing food on their own property.

You May Be Arrested Soon For Growing A Tomato

from friendseat: As our government hands over billions to Wall Street bankers, jobless Americans live in tent cities and collect food stamps in record numbers.

Now when we need it the most, growing our own food may be against the law and punishable by a fine of up to $1,000,000. Think I’m joking? Meet Bill HR 875, The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009, introduced by Rosa DeLauro whose husband Stanley Greenburg works for Monsanto.

The insanity doesn’t stop there—fishing boats, hotdog stands, neighborhood vegetable booths and farmers’ markets will be federally regulated under the same draconian law. As always, the spin is designed to make you (the public) believe these new provisions are for your own good.

Under the deceitful guise of protection, the goal of this bill is crystal clear: to prevent us from locally growing our own food so multinational agribusiness can completely control the production and distribution of our food supply.

I refer you to the usual suspects—Monsanto, ADM, Sodexo, Tyson, and Smithfield.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Can It, Bottle It, Smoke It: Kitchen Projects Help You Break Away From Factory Food

from takepart: There's been a huge surge of interest in home canning and preservation as more and more people embrace the local food movement and try to break away from the packaged and processed items on offer at the local grocery store.

But for those who grew up with the convenience of factory-made food, jumping headfirst into DIY kitchen wizardry can seem a bit daunting.

Enter Karen Solomon, with her refreshingly easy new book, Can It, Bottle It, Smoke It, and Other Kitchen Projects.

It's the follow-up to her 2009 book, Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It. Karen's bright and attractive new publication offers a slew of easy-to-follow and helpful tips that can help even the most inexperienced cook stock their home pantry with homemade kitchen staples.


Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Farmageddon: New Food Freedom Documentary Debut

from healthfreedoms: Kristin Canty started out like any mom, who educated herself on the best diet and healing path of her children. She knew she would have to do something about the alarming amount of small farm raids and restricted rights to the foods of her family’s choice: thus, Farmageddon was born.

Because, it’s not just about food freedom; all of our freedoms are at stake. Farmageddon highlights the urgency of food freedom, encouraging farmers and consumers alike to take action to preserve individuals’ rights to access food of their choice and farmers’ rights to produce these foods safely and free from unreasonably burdensome regulations – and raids.

Nutrition educators and activists belonging to the Weston Price Foundation are a significant influence in the Great American Diet Debate. Volunteer leaders have established over 300 chapters in the U.S. These chapter leaders do some heavy lifting, providing a free list of healthy food sources, grassroots organizing, holding conferences, and manning booths at health expos.

Volunteer leaders like Kristin Canty of Massachusetts are promoting some pretty contrarian ideas; animal fat and cholesterol are good for you, raw milk is healthier than processed milk, whole milk is better than skim, whole grains (unless soaked or sprouted) are unhealthy to consume, and modern soy-laden foods are hazardous to your health.

Perhaps the most controversial, Foundation members eschew processed foods in favor of home cooking, canning and preserving. And, they prefer food from traditional, mixed use farms rather than industrial scale factory farms. These activists equate ‘going green’ with your food choices with superior health and vitality–a compelling message for an increasingly sick and weak nation.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Edible flowers Are The New Rage In Haute Cuisine

from whatscookingamerica: After falling out of favor for many years, cooking and garnishing with flowers is back in vogue once again.

Flower cookery has been traced back to Roman times, and to the Chinese, Middle Eastern, and Indian cultures. Edible flowers were especially popular in the Victorian era during Queen Victoria's reign.

Today, many restaurant chefs and innovative home cooks garnish their

entrees with flower blossoms for a touch of elegance.

The secret to success when using edible flowers is to keep the dish simple, do not add to many other flavors that will over power the delicate taste of the flower. Today this nearly lost art is enjoying a revival.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

GardenPool - Couple Turning Swimming Pool Into Aquaponics System

from gardenpool: We created GardenPool.org to document our journey of converting an old backyard swimming Pool in to a way to feed our family and live more self-sufficiently.

When we purchased our first home in Mesa, AZ on October of 2009, it came with a large, empty, and run-down pool.

Rather than spending thousands of dollars in fixing the pool or having it filled with fill dirt we decided to design an inexpensive & self-sufficient urban greenhouse.

Initially, we had anticipated self-sufficiency by 2012 but we achieved our goal by mid-2010. Our family gets about 8 fresh eggs a day, unlimited tilapia fish, organic fruit, veggies, and herbs 365 days a year. To our knowledge, the GP (short for Garden Pool) is a one of a kind creation.

Health Benefits of Peppermint Oil

from organicfacts: The health benefits of peppermint oil include its ability to treat indigestion, respiratory problems, headache, nausea, fever, stomach and bowel spasms and pain. Due to the presence of menthol, menthone and menthyl esters, peppermint and peppermint oil find wide applications in manufacture of soap, shampoo, cigarette, toothpaste, chewing gum, tea and ice cream.

Peppermint is a cross between watermint and spearmint and is native to Europe. Historically, the herb has been known for its medicinal uses. Hence it is often termed as the world’s oldest medicine.

Unlike many other herbs and essential oils, numerous health benefits of peppermint and peppermint oil have been studied and proved by the scientific community. As a result, peppermint oil is also sold in the form of capsules and tablets.

Peppermint oil is also used as a flavoring agent. You will find very few people who will not find peppermint suitable to their palate.

Peppermint oil contains numerous minerals and nutrients including manganese, iron, magnesium, calcium, folate, potassium, and copper. It also contains omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin A and Vitamin C.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Your Vegetable Garden In June

from gardenorganic: With half the country suffering from lack of rain, and the other half from too much (or so it seems when listening to the news) now is not the time to make a general comment on the state of the nation’s vegetable gardens in June! Just remember – if your first sowings and plantings have failed or are malingering there is still time to sow some more.

Things to do in the vegetable garden this month

Encourage runner beans to climb up their supports. They twist the other way from most other beans, climbing clockwise when viewed from above.

Hoe regularly to keep weeds under control. Keep the blade sharp and hoe when seedlings are small and in dry weather for best effect.

Brassicas crops such as cabbages, sprouts, calabrese etc are favourites with many pests, from aphids and whitefly to pigeons and rabbits. Check your plants and take appropriate measures if necessary.

Sow up spare ground with buckwheat, phacelia, mustard or fenugreek green manures. They’ll help to improve the ground, suppress weeds, make a good ground cover for beetles and other predators and, if you let them flower, buckwheat and phacelia are very attractive to bees – and people.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Herbs and Spaces

from suite101: Easy to grow, herbs are a great addition to any space. Some, however, will try to take over the garden bed.

Most herbs are compact and need minimal space. But there are some that, if left to themselves, will attempt to take over the garden.

Annual Herbs

An annual plant is one that only lasts for one growing season. Many herbs are annual and will need to be replanted each year. These include basil, chamomile and dill, although dill is very good at re-seeding itself. Annual herbs won’t grow too large, so they can be safely planted in appropriate locations without fear that they will attempt to smother their plant neighbors.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Blueberry Plants to Grow in Northern Gardens

from suite101: Northern gardeners can add blueberries to a sustainable kitchen garden by growing hardy plants. Homegrown blueberries provide fresh fruit despite blueberry virus news.

Blueberry plants are easy to grow even in northern climates by choosing hardy cultivar varieties. Despite the recent news of blueberry shock virus found in Michigan, growing blueberries in a kitchen garden is still an economical way to get fresh fruit into the diet.

Blueberry plants are native throughout North America, well known as a cash crop in the Pacific Northwest and Michigan but also grown everywhere in many backyard gardens. For northern gardeners choosing varieties that have been developed to withstand very cold winters and late springs is key to success.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Drought Gardening: How Will Horticulturists Cope?

from bbc: Gardeners in the UK are facing a difficult summer after the driest spring in over 100 years. But how can home horticulturists cope?

Summer is a time of excitement for gardeners conjuring up manicured lawns, immaculate roses, and a cornucopia of other flora.

But this year the usual optimism is in danger of drying up.

Across England and Wales spring rainfall was 86.9mm - the driest since 1893, according to the Met Office. It's meant problems for gardeners.

The dry spring "knocked gardeners off balance", says Peter Gibbs, presenter of BBC Radio Four's Gardeners' Question Time. This menace contrasts with the usual threat of spring frosts.

Already this has meant gardeners have had to plant seeds quicker and be more selective when deciding what to plant. They also need to consider how plants that will fare well in a hot dry summer will do when the cold eventually returns.

Monday, 6 June 2011

E. coli bacteria easily killed with spices like garlic, clove, cinnamon, oregano and sage

from presscore: A recent outbreak of a virulent strain of E. coli has killed 19 people in Europe and infected more than 2,000 in at least 12 countries. The source of the outbreak hasn’t been pinpointed but the World Health Organization and the CDC are focusing on fresh naturally grown foods like tomatoes, lettuce and cucumbers which were packaged in Germany. Entire suspect crops are ordered destroyed by the WHO and the CDC every year when an E. coli outbreak is declared. Why does the WHO and the CDC order crops destroyed? In recent years there appears to be a concerted effort by the WHO and the CDC to target only the foods that are essential for a healthy diet and life for millions of people. Foods which helps prevent disease, illnesses and viral infections. Every year the WHO and the CDC issues E. coli outbreak bulletins and they always accuse anti-cancer, anti heart disease and anti-microbial foods like lettuce, tomatoes, cabbage, spinach, peas and beans. No E. coli alert have been made against processed foods that make up the entire menu at fast food outlets. Fast processed foods are linked to heart disease, cancer, obesity, viral infections and a host of other ailments and illnesses. The intent of the WHO and the CDC is to destroy only the healthy natural food groups. Yes the death of 19 people is a good argument in favor of destroying a crop linked to an E. coli outbreak but the destruction of the entire crops affects millions. Without these healthy food crops thousands, even millions will become inflicted with disease, illnesses and viral infections and die.

No Matter What, Always Be Encouraged

from rawfoodnation: The sun always comes once the clouds have parted from the rain. There is always a lesson learned and an upside to various situations, it merely depends on your point of view, on how you look at things. There is experience to be gained in all that we do, there are stories to live and stories to be told. There is wisdom gained and knowledge to be passed on to others who endure something similar.

We know that it is not always easy to make lifestyle changes. Whether you are new to raw foods and holistic health, or a seasoned raw foodie looking to shake things up a bit, we encourage you all to take it one step at a time. For just as learning to walk or ride a bike for the first time left you with a couple bruises or scrapes, so might you unintentionally fall off track or take a wrong turn. No worries though, because we want to encourage you that at any point you can get back up again and get back to the raw food lifestyle.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Ten Reasons to Become Self-Sufficient and Ten Ways to Get There

from activistpost: We are now three to five generations removed from the rural backbone that strengthened America. The world at large has undergone a similar transformation as the promise of easier work has created a migration to big cities. These mega-cities could be seen as an experiment gone awry, as general well-being has declined, with suicide rates increasing across the world. Crowded conditions and economic strife have led to rampant crime, pollution, corporate malfeasance, and a dog-eat-dog type of competition that can be described as a temporary insanity.

The economic crisis we are living through has been the final straw for many people, as promises of a better, easier, and more creative life seem to have been sold to us by carnival-style tricksters who are laughing all the way to (their) bank.

Here are the top reasons for becoming self-sufficient; these are based on fundamental, systemic concerns for why undertaking this life change will not be a fly-by-night fad, but rather a long-lasting means for personal independence.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

10 Tools that Could Revolutionize Your Gardening Experience

from treehugger: Every gardener has their favorite tool, one that's always close at hand when they're at work.

I asked the gardeners I know on Facebook and Twitter what their "must-have" tools were, and found that (like me!) most of them were both particular and passionate about what they liked and disliked in a garden tool.

This list of 10 tools that could revolutionize your gardening experience includes some of their recommendations for great gardening tools and a few of my own "must-haves." A great tool makes gardening so much easier -- and your garden will flourish.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Drying Herbs

from ucanr: Dry herbs just don’t compare to fresh herbs in cooking. But, while some flavor loss in all dried herbs occurs, your own dried herbs will be fresher and more pungent than any you can buy at the supermarket. Here are the basics:

Pick herbs for leaf harvest just before flowers open. This is when the leaves contain the highest concentration of oils. Leaves may be harvested until late summer. Seeds may be saved by allowing some or all plants to mature and flower, and harvesting when seeds change in color from green to brown or gray.

The day before harvesting leaves, spray herbs with water so that they will be clean and dry the day of harvest. The day of leaf harvest, pick herbs in the early morning or place stems in water for two hours after picking. Strip damaged lower leaves and remove any flowers (unless you are harvesting seeds from the flower heads as described below).

Friday, 27 May 2011

17 Benefits of raw garlic & how it can improve your health

from greenze: I have always enjoyed eating dishes seasoned with garlic. Like most people I would normally chop it up and cook the garlic with food. I’ve learned now that cooking kills the good enzymes and other good things contained in it. In fact, raw garlic is healthier for you compared to cooked garlic.

Eating raw garlic might sound a little tough for some, but after a while you get used to it. 

I normally average one clove of raw garlic a day. I add it to salads, eggs or burritos.

For people that can not handle the taste, you can cut the garlic cloves into pill size pieces, then swallow them like you would any other medication. For thousands of years garlic has been considered a herbal “wonder drug”. If garlic had been created in the laboratory instead of by nature, it would probably be a high priced prescription drug.

How To Safely Detox Fluoride From Your Body

from canadianawareness: As many people already know the commonly used sodium fluoride is extremely toxic, and contrary to most “medical professionals” it is not good for the human body.

But if you have become health conscious and stopped drinking fluoridated water, your good right? Yes and No.

If you were raised in a community that fluoridates the water, it has built up in your system. Sodium fluoride is an accumulative poison. If you are like me, born and raised in a fluoridated city, it has built up in your body. Mainly in your bones, thyroid glad, and pineal gland. So how do you get that fluoride out of your system?

That is a very complicated question. There is no 100% verified method of totally detoxing fluorides from your body. But there is several methods that I have used (along with many others), that can make a huge difference. For example: Joint pain disappearing, Chronic headaches gone, an ability to think clearer, and weight loss.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Dandelions Tastes Bitter But It Cures

from presscore: Dandelions are the fastest growing and one of the most nutritionally packed food on Earth. The dandelion is a herbaceous (a herb) perennial plant of the family Asteraceae (Compositae). Dandelions are flowers with medicinal properties yet we spend $millions every year to destroy them. Why do we spend so much time and effort to destroy this valuable herb if we also spent $millions each year to buy another herbaceous perennial plant of the same family Asteraceae called “marigold”? The answer is we’ve been brainwashed into regarding the dandelion as an unsightly weed when in fact it is a very fast growing and freely (100% free) available food and medicine (costs $0 to make) that just doesn’t treat illnesses and diseases it cures you of them. This herbal food costs nothing, in terms of time or money, to grow. There is no market value in a food that grows freely on every lawn around the World. There is however, a market value attached to destroying this free healing food – $billions are spent every year to make and disperse very toxic herbicides (anti-herb pesticides). Those herbicides not only kills this medicinal herb it kills us. How? When we spray herbicides to kill the dandelion the herbicide is absorbed by the soil with every rainfall and over time this very toxic saturation enters our fresh water supply and our food supply. Once it enters our drinking water supply we consume the toxic herbicide every time we drink a glass of water from out kitchen faucets or eat plants that have been irrigated with well water.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Welcome To HerbGardening.com

from herbgardening: At HerbGardening.com, you'll find a wealth of information on how to grow fresh kitchen and medicinal herbs in your backyard, on your balcony, deck or patio, even indoors! Words can't describe the flavors that come only when cooking with fresh cut herbs and how they enhance your culinary adventures.

Growing herbs is easy to do, and people continue to turn their love for gardening into successful businesses growing and selling fresh cut herbs, herb plants, and other herb related products.

HerbGardening.com provides necessary information for many popular herbs such as their preferred growing pH, soil requirements, suitability for container and hydroponic cultivation, watering needs, potential pest problems, and much more. Plus you'll find resources to obtain the seeds, plants and supplies you need to begin what will surely be a life long hobby that not only provides enjoyment for the kitchen and palette, but provides spiritual renewal and stress relief as well.

Friday, 20 May 2011

7 Secrets for a High-Yield Vegetable Garden

from organicgardening: Here’s how to get the most out of your garden.

Imagine harvesting nearly half a ton of tasty, beautiful, organically grown vegetables from a 15-by-20-foot plot, 100 pounds of tomatoes from just 100 square feet (a 4-by-25-foot bed), or 20 pounds of carrots from just 24 square feet.

Yields like these are easier to achieve than you may think. The secret to superproductive gardening is taking the time now to plan strategies that will work for your garden. Here are seven high-yield strategies gleaned from gardeners who have learned to make the most of their garden space.

1. Build up your soil.

Expert gardeners agree that building up the soil is the single most important factor in pumping up yields. A deep, organically rich soil encourages the growth of healthy, extensive roots that are able to reach more nutrients and water. The result: extra-lush, extra-productive growth above ground.

The fastest way to get that deep layer of fertile soil is to make raised beds. Raised beds yield up to four times more than the same amount of space planted in rows. That’s due not only to their loose, fertile soil but also to efficient spacing—by using less space for paths, you have more room to grow plants.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Survival Gardening Priority Crops

from organicsurvivalistsite: What to plant in your survival garden is a somewhat personal decision and there is no definitive guide for this but I have a few personal thoughts on this about some of the crops that will help most for survival needs.

First off in a survival situation you need to grow things quickly and get the most nutrition you can as staying healthy and getting proper nutrient levels is just as important as satisfying hunger.

But beyond just providing high nutrition they should also serve practical uses.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

The Future Of Food Documentary : A Must See!

from psychedelicadventure: There is a revolution happening in the farm fields and on the dinner tables of America ! A revolution that is transforming the very nature of the food we eat. The Future Of Food is a must see documentary for all ! It offers an in-depth investigation into the disturbing truth behind the unlabeled, patented, genetically engineered foods that have quietly filled U.S. grocery store shelves for the past decade.

From the prairies of Saskatchewan, Canada to the fields of Oaxaca, Mexico, this film gives a voice to farmers whose lives and livelihoods have been negatively impacted by this new technology. The health implications, government policies and push towards globalization are all part of the reason why many people are alarmed by the introduction of genetically altered crops into our food supply.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

4 Simple Steps to Grow a Hundred Pounds of Potatoes in a Barrel

from greenupgrader: Container gardening isn't only for savvy urban gardeners and folks with limited space to grow, it can also be for folks who want to maximize their yields in a controlled environment.

Not only does growing potatoes in a barrel reduce the amount of weeding and exposure to pests and fungi, you don't even have to risk shovel-damage to the tender potatoes by digging them out of

the ground when they're done, just tip the container over!

After extensive research to plan my own potatoes-in-a-barrel, I've boiled all of the recommendations down to 4 simple steps to a winning potato harvest.

Monday, 9 May 2011

IoS campaign buries plan to close allotments

from independent: Outcry forces PM to promise new rights to land.

A resounding success was achieved by The Independent on Sunday's Dig for Victory campaign yesterday, when ministers promised that people would have new rights to land for allotments.

The move followed widespread concern, highlighted by this paper and raised at Prime Minister's Questions last week, that the Government is planning to remove the 103-year-old protection for allotments, raising the possibility that councils would sell off plots by the thousands.

The IoS received dozens of letters from plot holders – including a veteran of the Second World War Dig for Victory movement – calling on ministers to rethink the review of "unnecessary burdens" on local councils. The list includes the obligation to provide allotments where there is demand.

40 Fruits, vegetables and herbs that will grow in partial shade

from examiner: We all know that most garden crops want as much sun as possible. Tomatoes, melons and peppers will positively pout if they don't get oodles of light. What you may not realize is that many other garden crops will do quite well with limited sunlight.

Which plants will put up with lower light levels?

A general rule is that plants grown for their stems, leaves or buds generally tolerate light shade fairly well. Those grown for roots or fruits tend to need more sun.

That said, even many of these crops will also tolerate light shade, simply providing smaller yields. These are noted on the list with an asterisk (*).

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Make Your Own Rose Water, Elixir of the Goddess

from organicauthority: Rose water is a deliciously fragrant and versatile botanical made from delicate and seductive rose petals.

Store bought rose waters can be overpriced, contain artificial fragrances and lack the freshness of a homemade batch.

Making homemade rose water is easy and fun. Add it to baked goods (try these rose water cupcakes), beverages, and pour it into baths.

Use it as a refreshing spritz—perfect to have with you on those warm summer days just ahead, or for those times when you just need to feel a little fresher.

And, it makes a most wonderful gift. When making anything with flowers that will go in or on your body, it's important to use petals that have not been exposed to toxic pesticides.

Commercial flowers are some of the most heavily sprayed crops, so it's best to stick with roses that you know have grown without the use of chemicals (like from your own yard).

Thursday, 5 May 2011

"The elixir of youth" - "The herb of immortality"

from liveandfeel: Aloe Vera health benefits
Also called "the elixir of youth" by the Russians, "the herb of immortality" by the old Egyptians or the "harmonious remedy" by the Chinese, Aloe vera is without a doubt the medicinal herb most widely known for its noticeable impacts on health and at the same time the ingredient most widely used in the cosmetic industry.

Not one study conducted so far was fully able to explain the wonders which lie within this herb and how its compounds work together in a miraculous way to bring about the treatment or the alleviation of some of the most serious illnesses like cancer or AIDS.

Aloe vera or "Aloe Barbadensis" is a plant which originated in North Africa and spread to the fertile lands with mild climate. Its physical aspect is similar to that of the cactus; the thick rind hides a succulent core formed mostly of water.

The aforementioned herb gained worldwide recognition and has been intensively used from the oldest of times due to its extraordinary features. A clear proof of this fact is a clay plank found in the antic city of Nippur, Babylon (the Irak from today) dating from year 2200 b.c. From Greek physicians like Celsius and Dioscorides to Romanians (Pylni the Great) and Arabs (Al-Kindi) to C.E. Collins, the one who published the first modern medical thesis in United States (1934), "aloe vera" has always been an issue with a long history behind it.

Just about every important civilization used it for its beneficial effects over health and beauty. Egyptians would mix aloe with other herbs while preparing remedies for internal and external anomalies. After the Second World War, aloe vera was introduced in treating the victims of the catastrophies from Nagasaki and Hiroshima because of its ability of mitigating the pain of the patients and renewing skin tissues.

What to Plant in May

from ufseeds: Finally warm temperatures are here to stay and you don't have to worry about that frost. You may think it's too late to grow all your favorite vegetables from seed but warm May temperatures have made the soil perfect for sowing seeds.

Warm soil will allow for fast germination and growing plants. Good choices are summertime kitchen garden staples like squash, beans, cucumbers and melons.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Feds sting Amish farmer selling raw milk locally

from washingtontimes: A yearlong sting operation, including aliases, a 5 a.m. surprise inspection and surreptitious purchases from an Amish farm in Pennsylvania, culminated in the federal government announcing this week that it has gone to court to stop Rainbow Acres Farm from selling its contraband to willing customers in the Washington area.

The product in question: unpasteurized milk.

It’s a battle that’s been going on behind the scenes for years, with natural foods advocates arguing that raw milk, as it’s also known, is healthier than the pasteurized product, while the Food and Drug Administration says raw milk can carry harmful bacteria such as salmonella, E. coli and listeria.

“It is the FDA’s position that raw milk should never be consumed,” said Tamara N. Ward, spokeswoman for the FDA, whose investigators have been looking into Rainbow Acres for months, and who finally last week filed a 10-page complaint in federal court in Pennsylvania seeking an order to stop the farm from shipping across state lines any more raw milk or dairy products made from it.

Friday, 29 April 2011

Real Food, Real Farmers, Real Community

from localharvest: The best organic food is what's grown closest to you. Use our website to find farmers' markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area, where you can buy produce, grass-fed meats, and many other goodies. Want to support this great web site? Shop in our catalog for things you can't find locally!

There are almost two million farms in the USA. About 80% of those are small farms, and a large percentage are family owned. More and more of these farmers are now selling their products directly to the public. They do this via CSA programs, Farmers' Markets, Food Coops, u-picks, farm stands, and other direct marketing channels. Would you like to support your local farmer? Use our map to find a small farm near you!

Large scale chemical agriculture is poisoning our soils and our water, and weakening our communities. By buying direct from a family farm you can help put a stop to this unfortunate trend. By buying organic produce from your local farmer, you are working to maintain a healthy environment, a vibrant community, and a strong and sustainable local economy for you and your kids to thrive in.

Selecting a site for your new garden

from examiner: During World War II, Americans were encouraged to grow a “Victory Garden” in their backyard. The idea being that a home garden would help offset shortages in farm production, food processing, and transportation.

If you're concerned about the quality, availability and high price of supermarket produce, you may want to consider starting a new garden or expanding your existing garden.

A vegetable garden not only decreases the strain on your pocketbook, it promotes a healthy lifestyle. Home-grown vegetables taste better than store-bought. They are fresher and have a higher nutritional value. By growing your own, you'll know if there are any extra additives such as fertilizers or pesticides used.

A garden also has intrinsic value. It is an active sport that can be enjoyed by the whole family. A well-tended vegetable garden is an attractive addition to any yard, porch, balcony, or window box. And, a garden will always give you something to talk about with friends and neighbors.

Monday, 25 April 2011

ALL allotments under threat

from farminmypocket: The UK government is quietly undertaking a review of ‘statutory burdens’ (things that they must do, by law) on local authorities, to enable them to cut costs. That’s a good thing in principle, but finding that the provision of allotments is up for grabs is a bit of a shock. The UK government is willing to sell off cherished public assets to save very small amounts of money, as demonstrated by the recent forestry fiasco. Also, anyone in politics will tell you that local authorities (LAs) don’t always act in the best interests of the people they are supposed to be serving.

Demand for allotments is at an all-time high, and many areas have quite breathtaking waiting lists. If the requirement goes, there will be a virtual freeze on new allotment provision. As leases expire, many LAs may refuse to renew them in order to free up the land for housing, office space or car parks. City allotmenteering could gradually become a thing of the past, and a third of a million allotment holders could find themselves standing in line to buy their fruit and veg at Tesco like everybody else.