June 30, 2009

carrots and chelonians

Curls behind the willow fence beyond some spuds and buckwheat. Have they seen my illusive visitors?

Looking over the garden near the slow moving river up from which they come. Some of their trysts are evident in among the recently planted beds.

a close up of the soil angels seen here in a bed of just emerged late carrots.

There are these soft white round eggs dribbled about here and there...

Nova Scotia has 4 species of fresh water turtle, 3 with ellipsoid eggs and the snapping turtle's are spherical. I haven't dug up the turtle made depression in the carrots, but I should (and will take a photo) excavate a tiny window to see if it is a nest.

If so I guess It will be companion planting of an unexpected but rather lovely kind.

Terra Madre 2009 Trailer

June 28, 2009

saskatchewan settlement experience

I happened upon this wonderful website with some great photographs of the Saskachewan Settlement Experience.

There are even some silent movies.

June 26, 2009

Canadian Farmers repudiate transgenic (GM) wheat

Press Release, University of Manitoba. June 25, 2009

A new study on Canadian farmer perceptions toward genetically modified (GM)wheat specifically Roundup Ready wheat (RRW) has just been published in the international peer reviewed journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research. This scientific paper is being released just as the controversy over growing GM wheat is re-igniting.

Unlike a recent industry-sponsored study conducted in the US, it shows that Canadian farmers are categorically opposed to RRW.

Although GM wheat was initially abandoned in 2004, industry groups and their partners are now seeking its reintroduction, and our study on Canadian farmer attitudes toward Roundup Ready wheat is once again very timely, says Dr. Ian Mauro, the lead author of the paper written with Drs. Stephane McLachlan and Rene Van Acker. Mauro, McLachlan and Van Acker are internationally recognized experts on GM crops and their socio-economic and environmental impacts.

This research is the first of its kind to include farmer knowledge in the a priori risk analysis of GM crops and, arguably, is the largest scale, independent-farmer-focused study on GM crops ever conducted. The study, which was initiated in 2004, evaluates farmer attitudes towards the benefits and risks of RRW using both quantitative and qualitative methods. It included responses from 1566 farmers across Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, and includes organic, conventional, and no-till farmers.

In total, 83% of Canadian farmers disagreed that Roundup Ready wheat should have unconfined release into the environment, says McLachlan,
adding that although many respondents themselves used GM canola, the great majority felt that risks associated with RRW far outweighed any benefits.

Read the journal article from Springer Link

June 25, 2009

the road to an alfalfa victory

In an acknowledgement that transgenic contamination can cause "irreversible harm to organic and conventional varieties of crops, damage to the environment, and economic harm to farmers", a U.S. court ruling prevents Monsanto from introducing Round-Up ready alfalfa.

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday left in place an injunction barring Monsanto Co from selling its Roundup Ready alfalfa seed until the government completes an environmental impact study on how the genetically modified product could affect neighboring crops.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the company's request for a rehearing of its appeal and said it would accept no more petitions for rehearing in the three-year-old case.

Monsanto's only remaining avenue appears to be U.S. Supreme Court review.

read the Reuters story

Biosolids: from the toilet to your kitchen table

Halifax Chronicle Herald Thu. Jun 25

Every day hospital waste, feces, urine, household cleaners, vomit, blood, personal care products, prescription drugs, a vast array of chemicals, heavy metals and industrial waste are flushed into our sewer systems. The result, wastewater products, is a mixture of everything that we and industry flush down the drain.

This cocktail is piped from our homes, businesses and industries to sewage plants across the province. The water is filtered and discharged. Most of the solid waste, called sewage sludge, that remains is treated and turned into biosolids, which are promoted as a beneficial alternative to chemical fertilizers. These biosolids are then applied to the land that grows the food we eat.

Government officials and proponents insist the biosolids are not only tested, but also meet or exceed all the regulations surrounding the treatment and disposal of wastewater products. They also insist that biosolids are safe for application to agricultural land. There is, however, good reason to question the soundness of that opinion.

The regulations governing the treatment and disposal of wastewater products in Nova Scotia are based on the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s rules promulgated in 1993. Unfortunately, the risk assessment on which current rules are based is outdated and unreliable, as it fails to include many newly recognized chemicals of potential concern, including flame retardants, pharmaceuticals and personal care products such as shampoos and soaps".

Read more

June 24, 2009

what is an Energy Beet?

"A farmer in Nova Scotia holds an experimental "energy beet." source

"the energy beet, a hybrid beet that you can't eat, has been grown only experimentally... The first commercial-scale bioenergy plant (of its kind).... would use a genetically engineered sugar beet called an energy beet to produce low-carbon transportation fuel, an advanced biofuel used as a gasoline additive.

Wayne Simmons, a professional engineer who has worked on a similar Maibach project in Nova Scotia for about two and a half years, said the energy beet is a 2- to 3-pound tuber grown in California, Japan and parts of southern Canada."

"It's new to this part of the U.S.," he said.

Read the whole article

Also read how "companies are trying to cut costs by genetically engineering ethanol crops with built-in enzymes", like alpha-amylase corn and sugar beets

And the thread on this blog from this theme (transgenic energy beets for ethanol on prime Canadian agricultural farm land.

June 20, 2009

lettuce in the rain

Just back from the market and the introduction of self to chefs and a storefront along the drive home, because I didn't sell out today and need other "outlets" for my produce. It rained, and with in 5 minutes of the downpour customers disapperaed and vendors started to pack up - there was only an hour left of the market. Dealing with surplus isn't my favorite aspect of the job...hitting the pavement, figuring price; it always seems like a lot of work to time and juggle the sales - its a job my ex-partner managed while I was more field bound. I pray for more sunny saturdays everywhere, because the markets are more my speed. At least I was able to pass on my fine unsold lettuce and the box of salad and make some connections on the drive home for the ever burgeoning harvest.

The rain will make the lettuce grow even bigger, but slow down the bolting, so its all good.

June 19, 2009

Meguma and me

I've been reliving history, listening to the stones, so to speak, a very ancient story. Our world plays abstractly with exponential numbers in billions and trillions these days what with an exploding debt..I'm just daydreaming back a few hundred million years...not so long; It is relevant.

For example, it seems this patch of land started its journey in quite a different place. The Gondwana fragment broke off early, drifted about, was transformed with fire, heaving plates, molten stone, was whittled and sculpted by water and wind and somehow attached itself to the bit (Avalon) that was a part of Laurasia. Now its south western Nova Scotia. It seems my new home may have been close to the very beginning of things being on the early supercontinent Gondwana with what is now Africa, Antartica, Middle east and South america! Blessed be Meguma!

Now the folded spiraling mountains, lava, deep deep silt, and quartz pebbles make more sense; the land changes quite perceptively along the fault line from Chedabucto Bay to Cobequid Bay although it is tenuously "stitched" with layers of silt, rock and root.

So I daydream as I'm walking from task to task....floating on a bit of rock and sediment... were there lizards...mammals... are there any plants left from those so many million years ago. Was this land attached to Madagascar, West Africa or Crete? Was this near one of the four rivers? Perhaps the jasper, chalcedony and milky quartz water smoothed pebbles in the garden were once handled by children, or given to a lover in the garden of Eden.

June 18, 2009

put the needle on the record

I post this smart video not because I agree with all the theories herein, but with rhymes made with sharp jabs about "the message of the jab" and the evils "hidden inside the prick" these beats describe a
"conspiracy, of yeah I sense a couple of plots"

Besides, its good to hear what some of the people are thinking.

June 17, 2009

low down green

I have tackled plenty of 500 foot rows of things to hand weed, like carrot where there are four laps of them in the bed, but here on my new place, the end of the row comes like a surprise. I love the interaction, the intimacy, getting low down with the garden, the moments squatting and traveling along bright lacy green carrots full of ladybugs and other splendid things.

I do many different types of "weeding": tilling, cover cropping, hoeing - I till the paths with a walk behind and scuff with my foot. I want to make a little snap-on hoe for the front of my boot - that would be really handy. In the past, with many more acres to weed, I used several mechanical implements on the tractor.

But the most pleasant hours in the garden are when I am off the machine, slowed right down by a squat, and fully present with the life of the garden.

June 15, 2009

Canada blocking consensus on farmer rights to seed

Harper Government again sides with multinationals over farmers, risking our food production

OTTAWA –New Democrat Agriculture Critic Alex Atamanenko MP for BC Southern Interior - is demanding that the government stop blocking measures to protect farmers against large corporations. Right now, in Tunisia, Canada’s representatives at a meeting of the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant and Genetic Resources are holding up a resolution under negotiation to reaffirm farmers’ rights to save, use, exchange and sell their seeds.

“Far too often we see Canada blocking consensus at international forums in order to further the interests of multinational corporations who have been allowed to use patents as an instrument of control over the seed market,” said Atamanenko. “It is time for our government to get behind the more wholesome system of food production, that most countries around the world are fighting for.”

The action plan in the draft resolution which has been approved by all the member states except for Canada has three main elements:

1) Review all existing seed legislation for their impact on farmers’ rights, including provisions on intellectual property rights (patents)
2) Workshops and capacity building on farmers rights in different countries
3) An ongoing information sharing and monitoring mechanism in each country on farmers’ rights.

“This is an important opportunity to be part of an international commitment to protect farmers’ rights, especially in regards to seed legislation,” stated Atamanenko. “Most Canadians want to be a part a global consensus against the corporate monopoly of the world’s seeds, and it would be a travesty if our government were to vote against this important resolution.

read more

June 13, 2009

June 11, 2009

belonging to the green lush ground

I love a June garden. After the busy activities of tillage, composting and seeding of the early spring and with a good germination, there is pause in June, gentle work of weeding, staking, watching and watering. A chance to catch one`s breath a wee little bit.

My new garden is fabulous and the soil much more fertile than I imagined. I am excited by a sense of belonging to a place with history. There is evidence of people before me in the soil that I tend ... flat slab of slate (tiles for roofs?), a stone plow, a flint knife and wonderful stones and fossils in the alluvial soil.

And now I think the old house well is much older than I thought

June 1, 2009

maybe really naughty chocolate

Mars is fingering women in a new line of chocolate and has grabbed the initiative of the EPA`s recent approval of titanium dioxide-coated mica-based pearlescent pigments in food, to make it glimmer. As I wrote in an earlier post, Mars (which now owns Seeds of Change), has a patent for nanoscale coatings. Unfortunately, there is no requirement to inform the consumer about nanoscale ingredients in food (or other products). Is this glimmering mica coating a nanoscale mica-based titanium dioxide pigment?

See Emerging ingredients Good as Gold, for this and other naughty nosh.

Note: Nano-mica is used in organic electronics (Organic Field Effect Transistors, Organic Solar Cells, Bio sensing, Large area electronics, Nano patterning, Nano electronics, Molecular self assembly, and
Soft lithography for example)

Here`s a picture of nano-mica lattice

The "bread basket" says, label GMOs

Ukrainian Cabinet introduces mandatory labeling of products containing GMOs.

Read about it

The gene giant coming down

Profits for gene-chemical giant Monsanto are down and have been attributed to cheaper herbicides flooding in from China (see the article in the St Louis Dispatch).
I think this is incorrect. A global resurgence for healthy food, research pushing past the censors to prove the toxicity of the chemical cocktail round-up and a repudiation of big corporate gene engineering: these are probably more critical causes of the beginning of the fall.