The Onion is So Wonderful

This is awesome, from The Onion archives:
Small, Dedicated Group Of Concerned Citizens Fails To Change World

In early October, Zuboff will step down as director of CCW to take a post as assistant regional director of The Sierra Club. Replacing him will be Jessica Stotts, a University of Minnesota-Duluth senior who wants CCW to adopt a more politicized stance than it has under Zuboff.

“CCW has failed to change the world because Brian’s bourgeois liberal approach was ineffective and compromised,” Stotts said. “How can we just target Chisholm-area environmental concerns when even our most successful efforts wouldn’t put so much as a dent in the oppressive capitalist global paradigm? Insufferable as they are, it’s not the complacent suburbanites who are the problem: It’s the giant, poison c*** of materialism that is spewing its diseased smegma into Mother Earth’s once-fertile womb.”


June 30, 2008 at 11:40 am Leave a comment

Food Not Lawns House in Santa Cruz

Food Not Lawns House Santa CruzI finally took a couple shots (with my camera phone, sorry for the quality) of the Food Not Lawns house in Santa Cruz. Over a year ago, maybe two years ago, the front lawn of this house was dug up and replaced with a space for growing food. Well-kept and gorgeous, the crops are always rotating with a mix of veggies and flowers. There is a drip watering system, too. Had I more gumption, I would have stopped by to talk to the residents of the house, but alas, I was hungry and on my way to eat Indian food. Anyway, back when it was first set up, this project was the first I’d heard of or seen of Food Not Lawns and prompted me to go to a session on it at the Eco Farm conference in January. It’s just the inspiration I needed to rip up my own (very small) patch of lawn behind my apartment and plant food there. The book, written by Heather Flores, is full of tips not just for gardening, but all kinds of permaculture projects. A friend of mine used the instructions in the book to set up a water system that takes gray water from the house and cycles it though the yard.

June 26, 2008 at 2:03 pm 9 comments

And the Kombucha Goes On…

Kombucha SCOBY and TeaOur kombucha at work has been splitting into two pretty regularly now, so I took one home to try making a batch all by myself. The kombucha SCOBY will divide itself into two when it’s conditions are favorable and its happy; the new culture is the “baby” while the old one is the “mother.” The best way to get your own SCOBY is to get a baby from a friend.

This morning was judgment day, so to speak, on my own batch. And it tasted great! I used a couple blueberry tea bags for flavor which added a nice, sweet twist. I’m calling this batch “Sweetness.” Here is a step-by-step with photos of what I did to make this yummy, healthful beverage. You can bet I will be starting another batch this evening after work – it’s so easy!

June 12, 2008 at 12:18 am 4 comments

Your Backyard Gardner Brings Food Security to Your Neighborhood

Your Backyard Gardener CropsYour Backyard Gardener is one of the cooler things I’ve heard of in a while. If you are too busy saving the world in other ways to grow your own food but you’re still concerned about access to local, organic food, you’re in luck if you live in the Portland area. Your Backyard Gardener consults with families about what kinds of veggies they like to eat and then turns their lawns into backyard farms. Drip irrigation is set up so maintenance is minimal and someone from the organization comes to your house once a week to harvest and check on things, maybe do some weeding or plant some new seeds. The City of Portland recently awarded Your Backyard Gardner a “Best of…” award for Sustainable Food Systems. This is a great way to provide our communities with local, organic food, bringing the concepts of Urban Farming and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) to a whole new level.

June 4, 2008 at 9:55 pm Leave a comment

Would You Eat Genetically Modified Food?

It’s most likely you do already, every day. Did you know when genetically engineering a food, scientists inject a bacteria to get the new gene into the food cells? Andrew Kimbrell, author of Your Right to Know and Director of The Center for Food Safety breaks it down:

The good news is that whole foods are still non-gmo (genetically modified organisms), that means your fruits and veggies, so eat more of them! The bad news is that four major crops, corn, soy, cotton and canola are mostly genetically engineered. This means most processed food since most processed food contains oils and (corn) syrup from these major crops. A recent study conducted by CBS and the New York Times found that :

Experts say that means if it comes in a can or a box and the label lists soybean oil or corn syrup as ingredients, odds are that it contains GMOs. Overall, 65 percent of all products in your local grocery store have DNA-altered ingredients…not that you’d know it by looking.

June 1, 2008 at 1:50 pm 1 comment

Vermont Passes Industrial Hemp Law

Industrial Hemp Field (WikiCommons)Vote Hemp reports today that the Hemp for Vermont Bill, H.267 was passed into law. Farmers across the nation have been working on passing laws allowing them to farm industrial hemp as a cover crop to alternate between (usually) corn harvests as it’s a quick-growing, sustainable plant which fixes nitrogen in the soil. All sorts of products can be made from hemp and it’s fiber and the market for these types of products is growing. In the U.S., makers of hemp products must import the raw material representing a missed economic opportunity for domestic farmers.

Vote Hemp also has a comprehensive section detailing the North Dakota Industrial Hemp legislation (passed) and resulting struggles with federal law, such as a lawsuit filed by North Dakota farmers against the DEA.

Gov. Schwarzenegger vetoed a similar bill in California, AB684, last year. You can find a brief history of California Industrial Hemp legislation at the CCOF website.

May 30, 2008 at 12:59 pm 3 comments

CIW and Burger King Reach Human Rights Agreement

CIW-Burger King Signing AgreementAn historic victory for human rights was reached yesterday. On Friday, May 23, the Coalition of Immokolee Workers (CIW) signed an agreement with fast food giant Burger King to work together for better working conditions in the fields. In addition to the requested increase in pay to tomato pickers, an additional penny per pound, the agreement includes stipulations for terminating BK’s buyer relationship with any vendor that fails to pass along the payment to the workers, fails to obey basic worker rights and provide safe, dignified working conditions, where some workers have been living and working in slavery conditions. The signing took place on Capitol Hill with the presence of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and follows several months of scandal where Burger King executives were accused of publishing libelous comments about the CIW on blogs.

As for what’s next, Lucas Benitez of the CIW said:

There are companies — like Chipotle in the restaurant world and Whole Foods in the grocery industry — that already make claims to social responsibility yet, when it comes to tomatoes, fall far short of their lofty claims. It is time, now, that those companies live out the true meaning of their marketers’ words.

May 24, 2008 at 12:31 pm Leave a comment

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