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.