Healing herbs

Healing herbs
Echinacea and Calendula

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.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

14 Tips for Starting Your Own Seeds

from organicgardening: Ensure that your plants are organic from start to finish by starting your own seeds.

Start your own seeds and you can be sure that your plants have been raised organically from first to last. And by sprouting and nursing your own seedlings, you don't have to wait for warm weather to get your hands dirty. Best of all, starting your own seeds is easy and fun. Here's how to get started now:

Place sure bets
Some plants lend themselves to home germination better than others. Surefire vegetables include basil, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, chives, leeks, lettuce, onions, peppers, and tomatoes. Some reliable annual flowers are alyssum, cosmos, marigolds, and zinnias. Perennials include Shasta daisies, columbines, and hollyhocks.

Get the timing down
To calculate when to sow your seeds, go to our seed-starting chart, print it out and then fill in the blanks. Then you will have a planting plan you can follow through the season.

Gather containers
Reuse last year's nursery flats if you have some around. Otherwise, any container 2 or 3 inches deep will do. Punch holes for drainage into the bottom of containers and set them into trays. Protect against plant disease by thoroughly cleaning all used containers: Wash them in hot, soapy water, and rinse with a dilute solution of household bleach and water. If you want a less-irritating substitute for the bleach, use distilled white vinegar.

How naturopaths can survive states criminalizing alternative medicine

from foodfreedom: An amendment to North Carolina’s Unauthorized Practice of Medicine Act would have changed the original bill (SB 31) from making alternative medicine a felony to a Class 1 Misdemeanor. Violators would face jail time after a first conviction. However, on April 14, the amendment failed. The bill has gone back to committee for further clarification and possible redraft.

Section 90-19, Practicing without license; penalties of NC’s General Statutes provides a list of exemptions. The only section potentially relating to homeopaths, naturopaths, and herbalists, by my lay reading of it, is (c)(5), which exempts:

“The treatment of the sick or suffering by mental or spiritual means without the use of any drugs or other material means.”

According to Medicine.net, homeopaths use minute quantities of drugs; naturopaths use physical forces such as heat, water, light, air and massage, but may also recommend herbs or drugs; and herbalists use herbs to treat medical conditions. All of these constitute “material means” which will be criminalized in North Carolina’s code, if S.B. 31 passes in its current form.

Friday, 22 April 2011

18 of Nature’s Most Powerful Medicinal Plants

from webecoist: From marijuana to catnip, there are hundreds of remarkably common herbs, flowers, berries and plants that serve all kinds of important medicinal and health purposes that might surprise you: anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, insect repellent, antiseptic, expectorant, antibacterial, detoxification, fever reduction, antihistamine and pain relief. Here are eighteen potent medical plants you’re likely to find in the wild – or even someone’s backyard – that can help with minor injuries, scrapes, bites and pains.*


Seriously. Though marijuana is still illegal in the United States, it is legal in 12 states for medicinal purposes, and if a case of poison ivy in the woods isn’t a medicinal purpose, what is? Marijuana was *mostly* legal until 1970 when it became classified as a hard drug. No one thought of it as a dangerous or illicit drug until the 20th century; in fact, hemp was George Washington’s primary crop and Thomas Jefferson’s secondary crop. The Declaration of Independence is written on it; the Gutenberg Bible was printed on hemp, too. There’s actually an environmental dimension to legalizing marijuana – hemp is a remarkable and renewable plant, offering all kinds of foodstuff and product uses that surpass cotton and plastic. But health benefits are well documented, from depression and anxiety relief to reduced blood pressure, pain alleviation and glaucoma treatment. It is not addictive, does not kill brain cells and is not a “gateway” drug – in fact, when pot is more available, studies show that the use of hard drugs like heroin and cocaine actually decreases. The bottom line for hikers: when your leg is broken from a misjudged boulder hopping attempt (pain) and a bear has eaten your friend (depression) and you’re lost because you forgot the compass (dumbass), consult the cannabis.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Ireland Says Not In This Country: Bans Genetically Modified Crops

from treehugger: Prince Charles has called it the "biggest environmental disaster of all time", while Monsanto and others maintain it's safe for humans and the environment. Genetically modified foods are a contentious issue, but Ireland is erring on the side of caution, placing a ban on growing any genetically modified crops.

Ireland will ban growing of GM crops, and a voluntary GM-free label can be placed on all animal products such as meat, poultry, eggs, fish, crustaceans, and dairy that are raised with GM-free feed, according to a GM-Free Ireland press release. Ireland joins Japan and Egypt as one of the few but growing number of countries that have banned the cultivation of GM crops.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Oakland Gardener Questions Need For Permit To Sell Produce

from sfgate: Novella Carpenter took over a vacant lot on a hardscrabble corner of West Oakland eight years ago and turned it into a working farm of vegetables, goats, rabbits and, sometimes, pigs.

Carpenter milked goats, made cheese and ate much of the produce. She also wrote a popular book, "Farm City," about the experience and became an icon of the Bay Area's urban farming movement.

But the future of her Ghost Town Farm is in question. This week, Oakland officials suggested it may need to close. The reason: She sells excess produce and needs a costly permit to do so.

"It seems ridiculous," said Carpenter, 38. "I need a conditional use permit to sell chard?"

The news stunned the region's urban farmers and their supporters, who questioned how a fundamental human task that goes back millennia could become illegal.

"It's incredibly sad that people can't grow food and sell it to folks," said Barbara Finnin, executive director of City Slicker Farms, an Oakland nonprofit that runs produce markets and helps people start their own urban farms.

Friday, 15 April 2011

The Garden Of Eden - Adam Purple Podcast

from harveywang: Adam Purple (rev. les ego) is a social activist, philosopher, and urban gardener/revolutionary. He created the world-famous eARThWORK, The Garden of Eden, which flourished on Manhattan’s Lower East Side from 1975-1986. He is also the author-inventor of ZENtences!, an exponential (non-linear) book. A unique copy of this work may be studied in the Miniature Collection, Rare Books Division, New York Public Library. His social activism continues online today with the ‘speciesurvivalibrary’ Yahoo! Group, which can be joined by visiting http://groups.yahoo.com.

Adam Purple talks about his life, work, and the future of huWOmankind (species survival) in this 40-minute interview. By the early 1970’s, much of Manhattans’s Lower East Side had become a desolate, crime-ridden place. In the midst of this, Adam Purple started a garden in the backyard of his tenement building at 184 Forsyth Street. In time, the surrounding tenements were torn down and Purple’s world-famous eARThWORK, The Garden of Eden, grew to 15,000 square feet and included 45 fruit and nut trees. He carted off tons of refuse and created virgin topsoil with horse manure from Central Park as well as his own “night soil.” To create the Garden, he used simple tools and raw muscle power. Adam “zenvisioned” the Garden expanding until it replaced the asphalt and skyscrapers of New York. Though the city was presented with numerous alternatives that would have spared it or incorporated it into the new structure, The Garden of Eden was bulldozed in 1986 to make way for a federally funded housing project, which did not include an apartment for Adam or space for a new garden. To view a gallery of photographs of the Garden, visit: http://www.eclectart.com/gardenofeden.html.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

42 Flowers You Can Eat

from mnn: Adding flowers to your food can be a nice addition of color and flavor, but be sure to follow these tips for eating flowers safely.

The culinary use of flowers dates back thousands of years to the Chinese, Greek and Romans. Many cultures use flowers in their traditional cooking — think of squash blossoms in Italian food and rose petals in Indian food.

Adding flowers to your food can be a nice way to add color, flavor and a little whimsy. Some are spicy, and some herbacious, while others are floral and fragrant. The range is surprising.

It’s not uncommon to see flower petals used in salads, teas, and as garnish for desserts, but they inspire creative uses as well — roll spicy ones (like chive blossoms) into handmade pasta dough, incorporate floral ones into homemade ice cream, pickle flower buds (like nasturtium) to make ersatz capers, use them to make a floral simple syrup for use in lemonade or cocktails. (See a recipe for Dandelion Syrup here.) I once stuffed gladiolus following a recipe for stuffed squash blossoms — a little out-there, I know, but they were great. So many possibilities…

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Garden as if your life depended on it, because it will

from foodfreedom: Spring has sprung—at least south of the northern tier of states where snow still has a ban on it—and the grass has ‘riz. And so has the price of most foods, which is particularly devastating just now when so many Americans are unemployed, underemployed, retired or retiring, on declining or fixed incomes and are having to choose between paying their mortgages, credit card bills, car payments, and medical and utility bills and eating enough and healthily. Many are eating more fast food, prepared foods, junk food—all of which are also becoming more expensive—or less food.

In some American towns, and not just impoverished backwaters, as many as 30 percent of residents can’t afford to feed themselves and their families sufficiently, let alone nutritiously. Here in the Piedmont Triad of North Carolina where I live it’s 25 percent. Across the country one out of six of the elderly suffers from malnutrition and hunger. And the number of children served one or two of their heartiest, healthiest meals by their schools grows annually as the number of them living at poverty levels tops twenty percent. Thirty-seven million Americans rely on food banks that now routinely sport half-empty shelves and report near-empty bank accounts. And this is a prosperous nation!