Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Another reason to avoid HFCS...

As those of you who read my blog regularly know we try to avoid HFCS in our lives, as much as possible. Total avoidance is next to impossible, assuming you want to eat food outside your home. But we are careful avoiding all sodas (except those rare ones made with cane sugar) and almost all processed and commercially produced foods (have you ever read the ingredient list for a loaf of bread at a supermarket "bakery?")

It sneaks in everywhere from ketchup to salad dressings, from tater tots to English muffins, from yogurt to "fruit" drinks, from cereals to, well to almost everything!

Choosing not to buy it at a grocery store and you have effectively reduced your selection by 90 or 95 percent. Really, if you have not tried to avoid it yet, try, for one week, and see what happens. Also eliminate transfats and artificial sweeteners and you are down to 3 to 5 percent of the store, mainly made up of fresh items.

There are so many reasons we try to avoid it, and we do not need anymore, but in case you do...

A study finds that half the tested samples of HFCS contained... (drum roll please) Mercury!

Something for parents to think about as they worry about mercury levels in fish (or vaccines) as they hand their child a soda...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Milk, Toys, then what?

The government is protecting us from ourselves again and in the process is slowly (or quickly) putting small producers of all kinds of children’s items out of business.

The new laws regarding lead and other harmful chemicals in children’s products are certainly reasonable for Mattel and Fischer Price on imported (and even domestically) produced toys and items slated for use by children, especially when the manufacture of the product is outsourced to non-company factories. Certainly having to pay $4,000 to test Barbie is not going to significantly decrease profit margins on the hundreds of thousands of twenty five dollar dolls they sell.

After MUCH public outcry the new law, which will come into effect in February, was changed to exempt resale stores from the testing requirement for ANY PRODUCT meant for use by a child, although they are still required to not sell items with more than the restricted levels of the chemicals, so many are planning on not risking selling toys, sending many parents to Wal-Mart for the next cheapest options.

But what about all the small businesses out there? Largely women owned, who supplement their household income and in many cases are able to stay home with their children by MAKING and SELLING children’s items. Carefully, beautifully, and lovingly made baby slings, children’s clothing, cloth diapers, wood toys, and more are easily available on the internet and at craft shows for those who prefer supporting people and small economies instead of large corporations.

Indeed even small regional companies will be affected. Either forced to reduce their items to only the “A” movers or close all together because their slim profit margins do not allow for the prices of paying US workers to laboriously manufacture their high quality items, pay the testing fee for EACH and EVERY variation of each and every product they sell and each and every component. Here is an explination from a mom who sews little lunch kits of how the cost of her product will go from
$35 to $10,050. Obviously, the cost is for one item, but she would need to sell 290 items to pay for the testing alone…

This is the same mindset that;
Requires us to sleep on mattresses soaked in potentially cancer causing chemicals while dressing our children similarly treating bed clothes. When was the last time you dropped a blow torch on your bed and did not pick it up for 70 seconds?

· Makes lemonade stands impossible for children who do not have business licenses and whose parents homeowners insurance do not cover.

And this mindset may someday make selling fresh, locally grown produce next to impossible without large packing plants and UV irradiation in case the small farmer unreasonably used real compost (instead of chemical fertilizers) or let an animal (deer, chicken, bunny, raccoon) somewhere near their field in the past year as selling meat directly from a farm already is.

The government does not even offer us the option of using warning labels to warn people of potential harm. Instead they will assume we are all idiots who cannot make responsible decisions without them. In fact the reason for the children product rule was because so many parents WERE making decisions, choosing to avoid potentially contaminated products by the big manufacturers in preference of other options (fewer, higher quality toys.) And of course the big manufacturers did not like that, so the solution is to take the OPTION away from people
(sounds a little like prohibiting labeling of GMO-free foods, but I digress.)

At some point people will have to stand up and say “NO MORE!” Or else it will become impossible for anyone to start a small business of any kind because government regulations will make it too expensive a hurdle to jump. We could see ourselves in a hundred years with a permanent upper class, merchant class, and then everyone else, with no hope of anyone moving from their established social position…

Remember what Margaret Mead said “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Ask yourself what is next?

If you want to help the cause…

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

More about the bees...

A great article about the ongoing bee issue...

"As the disappearance of honeybees continues, researchers are trying desperately to discover the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). General consensus at this point is that there is more than once cause and the latest culprit may be genetically modified crops. This is one area of research being neglected as mainstream scientists insist GM crops are safe."

But is bT GMO corn really safe?

"Bees forage heavily on corn flowers to obtain pollen for the rearing of young bees. These pollen grains also contain the Bt genes of the parent plant, because they are present in the cells from which pollen forms. Mr. McDonald believes it may be possible that while Cry1Ab has no direct lethal effect on young bees, there may be some sub-lethal effect, such as immune suppression, acting as a slow killer."

Today Obama made a comment about us feeding the world. Given his choice of Secretary of Agriculture and his comments on our technology I have little hope that this means little more then spreading our GMO technology further... Hopefully we will do no more harm to world food systems then we have already done! And boy, have we done a lot already...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Getting back on the blogging bandwagon!

I know, I know, I know.  If I do not write my blog regularly no one will read it regularly.  It is so easy to say that there is SO much to write about in this cold time of the year.  What we PLAN on doing this year, what we are reading, what  we are learning, and what we do on the farm in the winter.

I could blog about how in the -12 degree temps we saw last week made our chicken coup dip under 20 degrees, and we had to buy a second heat lamp in an attempt to keep them warm.  

I could write that we are finally getting EGGS!  With over a dozen a day, they are piling up fast in our fridge!  

I could write that I have three different presentations to give in ONE WEEK in February.  One on Green Building on Farms, one on integrating sustainability into a business mission, and one on beginning gardening.  I could talk about points I will be making in those.

I could write that we have been getting ready to start signing up CSA members, with existing members first and new members following in late February.  

There is so much going on, even in this cold, snowy time of the year.  I will try to blog more.  I really will!  

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy new year!

Why not take it as one of your resolutions to eat more local food?

Happy New Year!

(Can you believe it is 2009 already!?!? The first seeds will be started in a month and a half! So much to do!)