Friday, December 29, 2006

Healthy Hearts in the City

Research indicates that air pollution affects not just your lungs, but also your cardiovascular health. Particulate matter, in particular, appears to thicken the blood by increasing clotting factors. Other affects of air pollution are an increased inflammatory response, which could result in increased susceptibility to allergies and asthma, and degradation of immune cells.

If you live in a city, this is very disheartening news. It can leave you feeling apathetic. But take heart! What you eat could help protect you.

Let’s start with the least obvious and most appealing of your options . . . a cup of coffee! Yes, believe it or not, researchers studying antioxidant content of foods common in the American diet, in combination with likely portion sizes consumed, have discovered that coffee offers the most protection in the standard American diet.

They concluded that the average adult consumes 1,299 milligrams of antioxidants daily from coffee. The closest competitor was tea at 294 milligrams. Rounding out the top five sources were bananas, 76 milligrams; dry beans, 72 milligrams; and corn, 48 milligrams. According to the Agriculture Department, the typical adult American drinks 1.64 cups of coffee daily.

But really, any antioxidant source would be helpful, whether that be Vitamin A, beta-carotene, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, selenium, or any of the myriad awkwardly monikered antioxidants found in various natural foodstuffs.

Anyone who has bothered to listen to my diatribes in the past, knows my passion for Vitamin C. Unlike the other antioxidants available as supplements, it would be very difficult to accidentally overdose on Vitamin C. In fact, “There are very few research studies that document vitamin C toxicity at any level of supplementation, and there are no documented toxicity effects whatsoever for vitamin C in relation to food and diet

It has been proposed by some researchers that Vitamin C not only keeps the cardiovascular system healthy, but also the lungs: “Vitamin C is the major antioxidant substance present in the airway surface liquid of the lung, where it could be important in protecting against both endogenous and exogenous oxidants.” (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol 61, “Asthma, inhaled oxidants, and dietary antioxidants,” GE Hatch).

My favorite vitamin C supplement is Emergen-C. Along with Vitamin C, it contains important minerals and electrolytes. Rumor has it that some people use this stuff to “cure” their hangover symptoms. It is easy to carry with you, as 1 g doses of Vitamin C are individually wrapped. You only need a glass of water to dilute it into. I recommend the Lite flavor, because it has less added “fluff.” As Vitamin C is water soluble, the best way to maximize your benefit from a supplement, is to take small doses over the course of the day.

Again, protecting yourself from the ravages of the city doesn’t have to be a chore. A nibble of chocolate can be protective, as can a sip of red wine. Red wine appears to both help thin blood and act as an antioxidant. There is also a Spanish study that shows red wine consumption may reduce lung cancer risk.


Thursday, December 28, 2006

Mystery Soy "Meat"

How much of the soy in your soy burger, or your loaf of bread for that matter, is genetically modified? If you eat a lot of processed foods, you should be particularly concerned because, “it is estimated that over 70 percent of the foods in grocery stores in the U.S. and Canada contain genetically engineered ingredients.” Unlike other countries, American governments have left us in the dark, so that, “citizens in the United States and Canada are engaged in the largest feeding experiment in human history and most people are not even aware of the fact.” (click here for more info)

The FDA has not been policing engineered foods, therefore rigorous scientific protocol which calls for “Animal studies using large doses of the additive for long periods [of time] . . . to show that the substance would not cause harmful effects in people when eaten in expected amounts” has not been applied.

Not outraged yet? Maybe that’s because the media has not reported on recent studies which show that some GM foods are proving to have negative health implications. This is just one of many censored news reports you won’t be hearing soon on your television news channel.

#11 Dangers of Genetically Modified Food Confirmed

  • Research by the Russian Academy of Sciences released in December 2005 found that more than half of the offspring of rats fed GM soy died within the first three weeks of life, six times as many as those born to mothers fed on non-modified soy. Six times as many offspring fed GM soy were also severely underweight.
  • In November 2005, a private research institute in Australia, CSIRO Plant Industry, put a halt to further development of a GM pea cultivator when it was found to cause an immune response in laboratory mice.
  • In the summer of 2005, an Italian research team led by a cellular biologist at the University of Urbino published confirmation that absorption of GM soy by mice causes development of misshapen liver cells, as well as other cellular anomalies.
  • In May of 2005 the review of a highly confidential and controversial Monsanto report on test results of corn modified with Monsanto MON863 was published in The Independent/UK.

Monsanto GM soy and corn are widely consumed by Americans at a time when the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization has concluded, "In several cases, GMOs have been put on the market when safety issues are not clear."

Burning the Candle at Both Ends

My husband and I recently rented “Who Killed the Electric Car?” Not exactly the cheery, mind-numbing holiday classic that most of the rest of the country was undoubtedly watching. It got me thinking. Not just about how I’m going to boycott the auto industry by refusing to buy a new vehicle until fully electric cars are back on the market, and not just about how I’ll continue my on-going boycott of fossil fuel by continuing to severely limit my driving and keeping my home at a tepid “European” temperature, but less reactive and farther a field thoughts about the economic impact of biofuel on our dinner tables.

I’ve written before about the impacts of global warming, depleted water resources, and dust-bowl level droughts on the food supply (which translates into higher costs for grains), but I failed to see the other end of the equation – the fact that some of our grains are further being used as fuels, thereby increasing the demand and cost of the very grains we are finding increasingly difficult to grow.

Historically, countries have kept surpluses of grains on hand to feed the people in hard times. Increasingly these surpluses have been whittled away, for political reasons in the past, but now also because of decreasing yields due to environmental impacts. I recommend you read the full article yourself, here, but in case you don’t, at least read the following excerpt. Keep in mind, this was written in 2004, two years prior to the most current “dust-bowl” harvests in the mid-west:

It has been an almost unprecedented run of misfortune: four back-to-back meagre harvests, as heat waves, drought and pestilence took their toll -- something that hasn't happened since at least 1960.

As a result, since the turn of the millennium, the amount of grain held in the world's stockpiles has been falliing. At the end of the 2003 harvest, the amount of wheat, corn, rice and other grains had fallen to about 280 million tonnes. In 1999, it was more than 500 million.

That seems like a lot of grain because bakers can make about 2,000 loaves for every tonne of wheat milled into flour. But considering that the grain has to support both the world's population and its billions of livestock, there is precious little to go around.

Measured against consumption, there is enough grain left in the planetary larder to last for only 59 days, one of the lower figures on record. After it is used up, people will go hungry if the next harvest fails.

The same article gave the following statistics:

Reserves as a percentage of consumption
1980: 21.4%
1990: 28.9%
2000: 29.3%
2003: 16.2%

Now consider some of the reports for the most current growing season. In particular, Australia is so hard hit they are considering curtailing exports and re-energizing their grain stockpiles instead.

A more contemporary article than the 2004 one above, echoes the concern about dwindling stockpiles, but details the case of corn (currently being promoted as an important alternative energy source), in particular:

"The concern now is what hapens next year. If we have poor conditions for growing wheat again, supplies could get very tight and we might see some demand rationing," said Dan Cekander, grains analyst at Fimat.

James Barnett, grains analyst for Man Global Research, part of the Man Group, said there is more concern in the global corn market after the USDA cut crop estimates in the US by 209m bushels to 10.9bn after it said that 800,00 fewer acres were growing corn than had previously been expected. The US is the world's largest corn grower.

"We are looking at a structural change in the corn market, because demand is going to increase next year from the ethanol industry, and we might not be planting corn in enough acres to satisfy that demand," said Mr Barnett.

Analysts estimate ethanol to consume between 20 and 25 per cent of the US corn crop next year, which is estimated at about 11.1bn bushels, and forecast to account for about 35 per cent of the following year's crop.

What all of this effectively points to is the rising cost of our “daily bread,” whether you are eating corn bread, artisian loaves, or wonder bread. “In 2006, corn and wheat prices in the US jumped by 70% and 60% respectively. Much of this jump occurred between September and December.” (click here for full article, Asia Times)

There is already a widening economic gap between the uber-filthy-rich and the working poor (soon to include the former middle class). When those who can afford it are driving ethanol burning SUVs around town, what will the rest of us be eating? Certainly not factory farmed meat, because we won’t be able to afford a corn-fatted cow on our table. Sure this is an extreme picture I am painting, one we hopefully will never experience, but one that merits consideration, I believe.

According to the “Who Killed the Electric Car?” website, E85 (fuel composed of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline by volume) is an inferior source of alternative fuel, although pure ethanol is, in fact, a minimally-polluting source of fuel. “E85 is as costly or costlier for consumers as gasoline and few fueling stations, mostly concentrated in the Midwest, offer E85 for sale. On balance, ethanol derived from corn is not an energy-efficient product or a significant clean-energy improvement over petroleum.”

What really ticks me off about the disappearance of electric cars from the market is the fact that an electric car doesn’t have a combustion engine, and therefore does not have all the maintenance nightmares of the cars we drive today.

But, back to my main line of thinking -- Even as many of their crops have failed in the withering heat of the summer of 2006, people in the Mid-west are apparently discovering that it is much cheaper to heat their homes with their corn crops. Just one more example of how, “The continued rise of global energy prices in 2007, paired with growing demand for renewable energy, will produce further strong increases in international grain prices.” (Asia Times article again)

Unless you are independently wealthy, start tightening your belts. Your grocery bills may start to sky rocket in the years ahead. Don’t expect your government to pick up any slack, if times get bad. Most aren’t storing anything for “rainy” days.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Modular Greens

In the course of experiementing with starting greens in late summer and early autumn, I really had to scratch my head and consider what to plant them in . . . the ground can be very inhospitable in my neighborhood, as the ferral cat population tends to claim freshly fallow fields as public facilities. Meanwhile, all my pots were already occupied by edible plants and I was in no mood to construct any more cat barriers, as pictured below:

Buidling those barriers was a good excuse to play outside in the spring, but in the wilting heat of summer, I'd rather find a lazier solution. So, as I paced my garden, fretting that all my pots were planted and growing veggies, yet desperate to start some low-labor greens. Why not experiment?

About the first week of September, I lined the bottom of a plastic flat with organic matter, tossed in a little soil, sprinkled some seeds on top, and gently watered them in. I wasn't holding my breath, here, just seeing what would happen. And while they didn't grow as big as the greens I planted in late August, they seem to have held up better over the long haul, since in our damp conditions, there is less soil depth to trap moisture. The ones planted in August, in a deeper pot, actually started to rot a little bit and I lost about half of the greens. These flat-planted ones are healthy as could be and I could have made a nice baby green salad for Thanksgiving, if I'd planted a few more flats (in order to feed 8). What I love about this set-up is the modularity of it. Flats are easy to carry or set on a shelf in a nice neat row. I plan to grow my greens this way next year.

Funny that after patting myself on the back for being so original, I found this method of growing greens mentioned in my seed catalogue.

Speaking of seeds, I've just shipped off my seed order. Perhaps a little premature, as I usually wait until after the first of the year, but I find it speaks to me more loudly than the inevitable Christmas shopping. I guess maybe I subconsciously decided to prioritize my spending this year. I'm excited to try a few new edibles, and I'll post my progress here, if I remember. What always amazes me is how seed packets that only cost several dollars can all add up so fast. Even with a small garden and practical-minded constraint, I still managed to rack up almost $60 worth of seeds.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Fairy-tail Farms

For those of you who missed the green-pasture-shattering article "The Organic Myth" in Business Week, here is a quick re-cap:

Next time you're in the supermarket, stop and take a look at Stonyfield Farm yogurt. With its contented cow and green fields, the yellow container evokes a bucolic existence, telegraphing what we've come to expect from organic food: pure, pesticide-free, locally produced ingredients grown on a small family farm.

So it may come as a surprise that Stonyfield's organic fam is long gone. Its main facility is a state-of-the-art industrial plant just off the airport strip in Londonderry, N.H., where it handles milk from other farms. And consider this: Sometime soon a portion of the milk used to make that organic yogurt may be taken from a chemical-free cow in New Zealand, powdered, and then shipped to the U.S.

. . .

Just as mainstream consumers are growing hungry for untainted food that also nourishes their social conscience, it is getting harder and harder to find organic ingredients.

. . .

As food companies scramble to find enough organically grown ingredients, they are inevitably forsaking the pastoral ethos that has defined the organic lifestyle. For some companies, it means keeping thousands of organic cows on industrial-scale feedlots. For others, the scarcity of organic ingredients means looking as far afield as China, Sierra Leone, and Brazil -- places where standards may be ahrd to enforce, worker's wages and living conditions are a worry, and, say critics, increased farmland sometimes comes at a cost to the environment.

. . .

Hence the organic paradox: The movement's adherents have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, but success has imperiled their ideals. It simply isn't clear that organic food production can be replicated on a mass scale.

Chemical Cocktail & Your DNA

Back when I took Organic Chemistry in college, I mindlessly took a big whiff of some clear liquid in a test tube, in order to confirm that I was holding a tube of ethanol. I nearly landed myself flat on the floor, because I had just inhaled a big dose of straight-up toluene! (This is a big part of why I have decided it is much safer for me to practice "chemistry" within the safe confines of a kitchen, with such mundane "reagents" as eggs and butter). At the time I chastised myself for potentially shortening my life, but I had no idea of the larger picture -- I could very well have doomed future generations to permanent genetic weaknesses. Thankfully I don't have plans of pro-creating.

The following are excerpts from an article on how industrial chemicals are changing our biology. First, note the prevalence of under-researched chemicals in our daily lives:

On average, 1800 new chemicals are registered with the federal government each year and about 750 of these find their way into products, all with hardly any testing for health or enviornmental effects.

Brominated flame retardants, phthalates [plasticizers that can leach from plastic food containers], bisphenol-A, PFOA (related to the manufacture of Teflon) are the toxins thathave gained our attention at the moment. By working overtime for 10 or 15 years in the traditional enviornmentalist way, we may be able to ban a half-dozen of them. But during that 10 or 15 years, the chemical industry (and the federal EPA) will have introduced somewhere between 7,000 and 10,000 new chemicals into commerce, almost entirely untested. This destructive merry-go-round is accelerating.

[But starting at the beginning at the article . . .]

During the 1990's, it came as a surprise that many industrial chemicals can interfere with the hormone systems of many species, including humans.

. . .

Now new evidence is piling up to show that some of these hormone-related changes can be passed from one generation to the next by a mechanism that remains poorly understood, called epigenetics. Until very recently scientists had thought that inherited traits always involved genetic mutations -- physical changes in the sequence of nucleotides that make up the DNA molecule itself. Now they know that there is "second genetic code" that somehow influences the way genes operate, and that by some poorly-understood mechanism can be passed along to successive generations.

. . .

But the dark side of this new understanding is that stress, smoking, and pollution can cause epigenetic changes -- including many serious diseases like cancer and kidney disease -- that apparently can be passed along to one's children and even grandchildren. For example, Dutch women who went hungry during World War II gave birth to small babies. These babies, in turn, gave birth to small babies even though they themselves had plenty to eat. "It changes the whole way we think about inheritance," says Dr. Moshe Szyf at McGill University in Toronto.

Just last month professor Michael Skinner at Washington State University in Spokane announced results of laboratory experiments showing that environmental pollution could permanently reprogram the genetic traits of a family line of rodents, creating a legacy of sickness. This research "highlights the long-term dangers from environmental pollution, " professor Skinner said. Dr. Skinner showed that a single exposure to a toxic chemical in the womb could produce a sick litter of offspring, which in turn could produce its own sick offspring. "It's a new way to think about disease," Dr. Skinner said.

. . .

"It introduces the concept of responsibility into genetics," says Dr. Szyf . . . . "You aren't eating and exercising for yourself, but for your lineage."

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Creme de la Crema

Yesterday I played a tourist in my own backyard.

I can't believe that I only now got around to exploring one of Seattle's finest espresso houses. This is no Seattle's "Best" or Starbucks. I'm talking a mecca for espresso hounds -- Espresso Vivace. I read about this place for years, because I have a penchant for fine espresso. Enough of an addiction to know about such obscure things as microfoam and crema. If you drink your brew at Starbucks you really have no clue of what I speak.

Anyway, Espresso Vivace is renowned and adored. So I felt confident ordering a cappuccino, whereas I tend to typically order half-chocolate double tall mochas. And while I really do believe that you can't make a judgement based upon a first-impression, I have to admit that I wasn't impressed. I've had better espresso, closer to home. It is just a shame that the woman, master espresso shot puller, shut her business down because it was too popular and cutting into her quality of life.

I think that makes me the first person who dares to rate Espresso Vivace as only slightly above average. But I have to admit being a little soft-hearted over their microfoam art.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Cultivating Hope

I guess I’m not the only one who’s been contemplating the future of our food system. I find the Cuban example inspiring. The following are excerpts from the following speech (click here for full speech text):

Fifty Million Farmers
by Richard Heinberg

Modern industrial agriculture has been described as a method of using soil to turn petroleum and gas into food. We use natural gas to make fertilizer, and oil to fuel farm machinery and power irrigation pumps, as a feedstock for pesticides and herbicides, in the maintenance of animal operations, in crop storage and drying, and for transportation of farm inputs and outputs. Agriculture accounts for about 17 percent of the U.S. annual energy budget; this makes it the single largest consumer of petroleum products as compared to other industries. By comparison, the U.S. military, in all of its operations, uses only about half that amount. About 350 gallons (1,500 liters) of oil equivalents are required to feed each American each year, and every calorie of food produced requires, on average, ten calories of fossil-fuel inputs. This is a food system profoundly vulnerable, at every level, to fuel shortages and skyrocketing prices. And both are inevitable.

. . .

Today so few people farm that vital knowledge of how to farm is disappearing. The average age of American farmers is over 55 and approaching 60. The proportion of principal farm operators younger than 35 has dropped from 15.9 percent in 1982 to 5.8 percent in 2002. Of all the dismal statistics I know, these are surely among the most frightening. Who will be growing our food twenty years from now? With less oil and gas available, we will need far more knowledge and muscle power devoted to food production, and thus far more people on the farm, than we have currently.

The third worrisome trend is an increasing scarcity of fresh water. Sixty percent of water used nationally goes toward agriculture. California’s Central Valley, which produces the substantial bulk of the nation’s fruits, nuts, and vegetables, receives virtually no rainfall during summer months and relies overwhelmingly on irrigation. But the snowpack on the Sierras, which provides much of that irrigation water, is declining, and the aquifer that supplies much of the rest is being drawn down at many times its recharge rate. If these trends continue, the Central Valley may be incapable of producing food in any substantial quantities within two or three decades. Other parts of the country are similarly overspending their water budgets, and very little is being done to deal with this looming catastrophe.

Fourth and finally, there is the problem of global climate change. Often the phrase used for this is “global warming,” which implies only the fact that the world’s average temperature will be increasing by a couple of degrees or more over the next few decades. The much greater problem for farmers is destabilization of weather patterns. We face not just a warmer climate, but climate chaos: droughts, floods, and stronger storms in general (hurricanes, cyclones, tornadoes, hail storms)—in short, unpredictable weather of all kinds. Farmers depend on relatively consistent seasonal patterns of rain and sun, cold and heat; a climate shift can spell the end of farmers’ ability to grow a crop in a given region, and even a single freak storm can destroy an entire year’s production. Given the fact that modern American agriculture has become highly centralized due to cheap transport and economies of scale (almost the entire national spinach crop, for example, comes from a single valley in California), the damage from that freak storm is today potentially continental or even global in scale. We have embarked on a century in which, increasingly, freakish weather is normal.

. . .

In some respects the most relevant example is that of Cuba’s Special Period. In the early 1990s, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba lost its source of cheap oil. Its industrialized agricultural system, which was heavily fuel-dependent, immediately faltered. Very quickly, Cuban leaders abandoned the Soviet industrial model of production, changing from a fuel- and petrochemical-intensive farming method to a more localized, labor-intensive, organic mode of production.
How they did this is itself an interesting story. Eco-agronomists at Cuban universities had already been advocating a transition somewhat along these lines. However, they were making little or no headway. When the crisis hit, they were given free rein to, in effect, redesign the entire Cuban food system. Had these academics not had a plan waiting in the wings, the nation’s fate might have been sealed.
Heeding their advice, the Cuban government broke up large, state-owned farms and introduced private farms, farmer co-ops, and farmer markets. Cuban farmers began breeding oxen for animal traction. The Cuban people adopted a mainly vegetarian diet, mostly involuntarily (Meat eating went from twice a day to twice a week). They increased their intake of vegetable sources of protein and farmers decreased the growing of wheat and rice (Green Revolution crops that required too many inputs). Urban gardens (including rooftop gardens) were encouraged, and today they produce 50 to 80 percent of vegetables consumed in cities.
Early on, it was realized that more farmers were needed, and that this would require education. All of the nation’s colleges and universities quickly added courses on agronomy. At the same time, wages for farmers were raised to be at parity with those for engineers and doctors. Many people moved from the cities to the country; in some cases there were incentives, in others the move was forced.
The result was survival. The average Cuban lost 20 pounds of body weight, but in the long run the overall health of the nation’s people actually improved as a consequence. Today, Cuba has a stable, slowly growing economy. There are few if any luxuries, but everyone has enough to eat. Having seen the benefit of smaller-scale organic production, Cuba’s leaders have decided that even if they find another source of cheap oil, they will maintain a commitment to their new, decentralized, low-energy methods.

. . .

Let us, then, consider an indigenous historical example. During both World Wars, Americans planted Victory Gardens. During both periods, gardening became a sort of spontaneous popular movement, which (at least during World War II) the USDA initially tried to suppress, believing that it would compromise the industrialization of agriculture. It wasn’t until Eleanor Roosevelt planted a Victory Garden in the White House lawn that agriculture secretary Claude Wickard relented; his agency then began to promote Victory Gardens and to take credit for them. At the height of the movement, Victory Gardens were producing roughly 40 percent of America’s vegetables, an extraordinary achievement in so short a time.
In addition to these historical precedents, we have new techniques developed with the coming agricultural crisis in mind; two of the most significant are Permaculture and Biointensive farming

. . .

As of 2002 . . . Only 9 percent of primary operators on farms with one operator, and 10 percent on farms with multiple operators, report all of their income as coming from the farm.

Big Pharma Plot to Steal Your Vitality

For those of you who care about your health and thereby the nature of the food you eat, you really need to know about the proposed future of organic foods, conventional food handling practices, and vitamin regulation. This is a complex issue -- for the full story, please visit this informative website -- so I will take one angle in all of this, the case of vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant and also a vitamin essential in many cellular processes. Vitamin C is water soluble, so effectively you can never overdose, because your body can clear excesses from your system without any harm being done to your body, and with only minimal discomfort. Being aware of the "overdose" symptoms makes it easy to keep to a proper dosage. Doses in the grams (g) are often recommended for those suffering infections (including colds and flus). Yet the world government wants to limit your access to only 225 mg a day (0.225 g), a dose which would be ineffective at protecting you against damage resulting from excessive environmental stresses, colds, flus, or infections.

"If there were ever a time to rise up and stage a health freedom revolt,
this is it. This is a cause worthy of a fight, because you're fighting for the
protection of the very laws of nature. Basic human biochemistry demands that we
intake certain nutrients in order to live. Human bodies simply do not
manufacture vitamin C, and thus we must ingest it. Banning this vitamin is akin
to outlawing fresh air, clean water or natural sunlight."

This quote is from an article describing proposed legislation in Europe, but the driving force behind these regulations is even more sinisterly wide-reaching -- the Codex Alimentarius Commission.

This nouveau nutritional regulation isn't proposed just for us over-fed Europeans or Americans (for those of you who have already heard about it), this is a world-wide food and vitamin regulation program, under the auspices of the UN's World Health Organization, set to go into effect as of 2009. It amounts to outlawing nutritionally releveant levels of supplements and vitamins, while simultaneously promoting irradiation of foods -- a practice that potentially degrades essential nutrients in the foods we eat, especially at high doses of irradiation. It also proposes to laxen organic farming standards (just in time for Wal-Mart's foray into the organic foods market?) and keep genetically modified foods hidden from consumers. For all the consequences of this proposed policy, click here.

One doctor believes this nutritional policy has arisen due to his finding that vitamin C can prevent arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and heart attacks. Big Pharma won't be able to sell you expensive drugs for your heart and circulatory health if you find out you can pop a few vitamins for a cure. Read this paper, if you'd like to learn more about this doctor's research with vitamin C and cardiovascular health.

With the cost of health care soaring, we need more than ever to focus on preventative health care methods and naturopathic curing. Already we have seen a spike in interest in organic and natural foods. The problem is that these foods can never be mass-marketed. We live in a factory farmed reality. There just aren't enough green pastures these days for everyone to feast from, and farmers are still unappreciated in this askew social structure. Small farmers are the tireless saints who keep you alive and healthy, they deserve our adoration, respect, and support.

I want to see all of you at the Farmer's Market this spring!

Just for Fun

You Belong in Fall

Intelligent, introspective, and quite expressive at times...

You appreciate the changes in color, climate, and mood that fall brings

Whether you're carving wacky pumpkins or taking long drives, autumn is a favorite time of year for you

Well, yes, I do adore the fall. But I love spring too. And winter has its charms . . .

Your turn!

Credit: Found this at Tina T-P's blog.