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ROBIN SEYDEL es it’s that time again! Time to come together, think about how to restore and sustain our planet, plan our gardens, get seeds, seedlings and just generally celebrate the season with friends and family in our Co-op neighborhoods! Each year it is our great pleasure to create community celebrations that in keeping with the cooperative principle of community education and concern for community, provide an opportunity for us all to come together. The annual Co-op festivals are a chance to get your bedding plants, talk to and learn from the farming and gardening experts in our midst, get educated on the important environmental issues we face, get active and take action to make our neighborhoods and the world a better place for all to share. BY
All the Co-op spring festivals are not-to-be-missed community wide events. All are welcome to come, enjoy and participate in these FREE community gatherings. At all the Co-op spring festivals you can expect a wonderfully inspiring time filled with information and education booths from dozens of environmental, social and economic justice organizations, local farmers, seedlings, drought resistant plants, beautiful art from fine local artists and crafts people, inspiring performances from some of our favorite local artists and, of course, great Co-op food. EARTH WEEK • April 22 – April 28th This year we envision a week-long celebration of our communities and our planet. At the Celebrate the Earth Fest in Nob Hill, this year held on Sunday, April 22th, our little street fills up quickly so please reserve your booth space early. This year Earth
Week will close with a lovely community gathering at the Santa Fe Co-op location with environmental and farming, education and action booths, music, and local artists and, of course, great Co-op Food. At both the Nob Hill Celebrate the Earth Fest (4/22) and Earth Day Santa Fe, this year held on Saturday, April 28, we do give first priority to environmental, social and economic justice non-profit organizations and farmers and farming organizations. Artists and crafts people must make and sell their own art (no kits or imports allowed) and be Co-op members, be juried if they have not set up with us before, and at the Nob Hill Fest, be willing to participate in the "placement lottery."
At the North Valley Garden Party, on Saturday May 5th, due to space considerations we must limit booth space to vendors with seedlings, plants, seeds, and other farming and gardening related products, supplies and education. We're hoping for beautiful days, and with Mother Earth's blessing we will once again take time to celebrate Her; reaffirming our commitment to restoring and sustaining our blue/green planetary gem and cultivating a sustainable future. Join friends and neighbors as we educate and inform ourselves for the upcoming growing season and take action on behalf of our precious Mother Earth. Mark your calendar;
festival SCHEDULE ✿ 22nd Annual Earth Fest, Nob Hill Co-op, Sun., April 22nd, 10am-6pm ✿ Earth Day Santa Fe, Sat., April 28th, 10am-3pm ✿ Valley Garden Party, Sat., May 5th, 10am-3pm
these are three spring events you don't want to miss. Watch for more information in our April Co-op Connection on the Co-op’s Annual spring EARTH WEEK celebrations and Gardening events. FOR MORE INFORMATION or to reserve your FREE space contact Robin at 505217-2027 or toll free at 877-775-2667 or email her at email@example.com.
Old Windmill Dairy and the La Montanita FUND: COOPerative Partnership BY DENISE MILLER, N.M. FARMERS’ MARKET ASSOCIATION inter with the goats at Old Windmill Dairy on the flat plains of the Estancia Valley can be bitterly cold, but more often than not, Ed and Michael Lobaugh find themselves counting their blessings as they grab an extra cup of coffee while the truck warms up. Since about the first of the year, the truck that is warming up in their driveway is better than ever—a new Nissan NV2500 delivery van with custom decals that serves as a moving billboard for their family-run, artisan dairy.
"We really had outgrown our old truck; it couldn't hold all of our deliveries anymore, and trips to the mechanic were becoming a problem. When the Co-op asked what our business needed, a new delivery truck was at the top of the list," says Ed. The La Montanita Fund (LaM FUND) with its local grassroots investing and loan program was created for just this kind of situation: a way to help local food producers expand their businesses with non-collateralized, low-interest loans. Robin Seydel, Co-op Community Development Coordinator and La Montanita FUND
"As Michael and I reflect back, we believe the Co-op had a plan for us that we did not understand at the time," says Ed. The Lobaughs first contacted the Co-op in spring 2007, the same year they were approved to operate as a USDA Grade A Dairy. They had come a long way since 2001 when they bought their land in the Estancia Valley and their first two goats.
manager, says that while the van represented a larger than usual loan for the LaM FUND, it only took 24 hours to decide to approve it. "They are such solid local producers, and we have a very close and trusting relationship," Robin says. Then, to be sure they were within the LaM FUND’s legal parameters, they waited six weeks for the New Mexico Securities Division to approve changes to the LaM FUND’s operating agreement allowing them to make the larger loan. This is not the first loan the Lobaughs have received from La Montanita to help grow their business. In 2009, they borrowed money to create cheese caves (almost like those in France!) where they age their hard cheeses below ground. The Co-op sells Old Windmill Dairy's full line of goat and cow cheeses, including their award-winning chevre that gave the dairy its solid start. The Co-op's Development Center (CDC) also delivers Old Windmill Dairy's cheese to about 25 grocery stores and 13 restaurants.
We still welcome all Veterans of all branches of service, including the National Guard, to participate. While classes build on the knowledge of the class before, each class also provides stand alone information on farming and gardening. Veterans can join at anytime, and our work in the gardens is ongoing and can always use extra hands. For more information or to participate please contact Robin at 217-2027 or toll free at 877-775-2667 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If this sounds like an unusual relationship for a grocer to have with its suppliers, it is. But because La Montanita believes in supporting its local food shed by partnering with local producers like Old Windmill Dairy, "going above and beyond the call of duty is what they do," says Ed. Whether it was helping them find a buyer for 400 pounds of chevre in the early days when they didn't have any bulk buyers, or helping them scale up their production capacity to deliver 40,000 units of chevre last year (compared to 12,000 units their first year), the Co-op has been an invaluable partner.
BOOTS on the ground! anuary and February were exciting months for our fledgling Veteran Farmer Project. Class– es began in January and continue through June. In February, thanks to a grant from McCune Foundation, we were able to purchase the materials to put frost protective row covers on the dozen or so beds that thanks to the generosity of the Downtown Action Team we are using as our learning and demonstration garden. By the time you read this, these beds, located at the Alvarado Urban Farm, will have been planted with cold weather greens, including lettuce, spinach, kale and collards.
Initially the dairy's products were sold in just one store. Early challenges included figuring out case sizes, case packaging for distribution and unit flavor mixes. Then came the need for barcodes, label development and increasing their product line."The Co-op guided us along by providing education about marketing and introducing us to different dairy models. They have always been concerned about how we are doing and they ask us how they can help."
March Schedule of Classes 3/10: The Blessing of Bees: Learning the basics of pollination and honey production, Loretta McGrath, Coordinator, the New Mexico Pollinator Project. 3/16: Boots and Roots Down, more starts, more seeds and transplanting and seeding beds, Martin Sanchez, NMDA, East Mountain Organics, Ron Job, Veteran Master Gardener. 3/17: Growing Compost Part 1, at 1pm, Omar Sadek, Master Composter Program. 3/20: Holistic Orchard Strategies and Fruit Tree Grafting, learn to graft using scionwood and rootstock, Gordon and Margaret Tooley of Tooley’s Trees. 3/22: Season Extension Continued, working with row covers, Eli Berg. 3/24: Growing Compost, Part 2, at 1pm, Omar Sadek, Master Composter Program.
"Over time, our relationship has become more of a partnership. We see La Montanita as part of the Old Windmill Dairy team. They are an essential piece of our operation as they provide product feedback which improves product development. They provide distribution and sales. And now they are even warehousing our bulk cheese which gives them more to sell," says Ed. As they begin their sixth year of business, Ed and Michael continue to work through the many challenges of growth. But whether it's taking on debt for the new delivery van or contemplating a tractor they will need soon, product is still king for both Ed and Michael. Chocolate enthusiasts will appreciate "Heavenly Clouds of White Chocolate Chevre" that is made with white chocolate and Heidi's Raspberry Jam. Like dark chocolate? Try their "Sinfully Decadent Chocolate Chevre," made with Illy coffee and rich dark chocolate provided by the Station Fine Coffee and Tea in Santa Fe; it’s like a chocolate mousse desert. These seasonal products will be on the shelves from January until April. Look for the full line of Old Windmill Dairy cheeses at your favorite Co-op location.
food & community A Community - Owned Natural Foods Grocery Store La Montanita Cooperative Nob Hill/ 7am-10pm M-S, 8am-10pm Sun. 3500 Central SE Abq., NM 87106 265-4631 Valley/ 7am-10pm M-Sun. 2400 Rio Grande Blvd. NW Abq., NM 87104 242-8800 Gallup/ 10am-7pm M-S, 11am-6pm Sun. 105 E. Coal Gallup, NM 87301 863-5383 Santa Fe/ 7am-10pm M-S, 8am-10pm Sun. 913 West Alameda Santa Fe, NM 87501 984-2852 UNM Co-op ’N Go/ 7am-6pm M-F, 10-4pm Sat. Closed Sunday, 2301 Central Ave. SE Abq, NM 87131 277-9586 Cooperative Distribution Center 901 Menual NE, Abq., NM 87107 217-2010 Administrative Staff: 505-217-2001 TOLL FREE: 877-775-2667 (COOP) • General Manager/Terry Bowling 217-2020 email@example.com • Controller/John Heckes 217-2029 firstname.lastname@example.org • Computers/Info Technology/ David Varela 217-2011 email@example.com • Food Service/Bob Tero 217-2028 firstname.lastname@example.org • Human Resources/Sharret Rose 217-2023 email@example.com • Marketing/Edite Cates 217-2024 firstname.lastname@example.org • Membership/Robin Seydel 217-2027 email@example.com • CDC/MichelleFranklin 217-2010 firstname.lastname@example.org Store Team Leaders: • Mark Lane/Nob Hill 265-4631 email@example.com • John Mulle/Valley 242-8800 firstname.lastname@example.org • William Prokopiak/Santa Fe 984-2852 email@example.com • Alisha Valtierra/Gallup 575-863-5383 firstname.lastname@example.org Co-op Board of Directors: email: email@example.com President: Martha Whitman Vice President: Marshall Kovitz Secretary: Ariana Marchello Treasurer: Roger Eldridge Kristy Decker, Lisa Banwarth-Kuhn Susan McAllister, Jake Garrity Betsy VanLeit
urban HOMESTEADING IN SANTA F E
NEW COMMUNITY GARDEN MODEL
BY POKI PIOTTIN n interesting experiment is taking place just a few blocks from the State Capitol. An eclectic group of friends started a large food producing garden in the back of a 1/2-acre private residence on Don Gaspar Avenue last June. Their intention: to develop a new model for community gardening.
Beginning with a piece of land resembling most back yards in Santa Fe (the kind that everyone says you can’t grow anything on!), volunteers have built twelve 4’ by 16’ raised beds using the French double-digging method. With straw, horse manure, and seedlings donated by a friend, along with the natural work of bene-
Membership information is available at all four Co-op locations, or call 217-2027 or 877-775-2667 email: firstname.lastname@example.org Membership response to the newsletter is appreciated. Address typed, double-spaced copy to the Managing Editor, email@example.com website: www.lamontanita.coop Copyright © 2012 La Montanita Co-op Supermarket Reprints by prior permission. The Co-op Connection is printed on 65% postconsumer recycled paper. It is recyclable.
YOU OWN IT 2
Joy, camaraderie, beauty, and community are some of the reasons for people gathering at Dandelion Ranch. The warm feeling present in this project is what makes it unique, fun, and easily accessible to parents with children, gardening neophytes, and experts alike. The Dandelion Ranch stewards are well aware that they are engaged in one of the most important challenges of this century; reclaiming food sovereignty, saving heirloom seeds, and modeling to children that growing food, working in community, and caring for nature can be fun. They are engaged in this process with joy and have a profound commitment to share their space, knowledge, resources, and already vibrant community with as many people as possible. There are some child-attracting features incorporated into the garden design—a trampoline, swing, and large chicken coop, making Dandelion Ranch a great afternoon visit for volunteers with children.
growing food & community
ficial weeds (amaranth and purslane), last year the garden yielded a crop ready to be eaten within a month. For the creators of Dandelion Ranch the most important components of building the foundation of a regenerative culture are—growing food in urban areas (in community), merging gardening with education, and using the organic waste produced by the neighborhood to make fertile soil. Community gardens on public land can be subject to issues such as vandalism, poorly tended or neglected plots, or inefficient cultivation techniques. In contrast, a community garden on private land like Dandelion Ranch benefits from the ongoing care of the property’s long-term residents and resident gardener, as well as a large community of friends and neighbors dedicated to the garden’s well being. The most remarkable aspect of this community garden experiment is its fluidity and inclusiveness. Because the garden is not bound by a limited number of plots, but instead, tended as a whole by a collective, there’s always room to welcome new people. Rather than investing in growing a high volume of food as a main purpose, the emphasis is on learning efficient organic
As a community some of the skills taught are soil-building, composting, collecting urban food waste, starting seeds in flats, transplanting seedlings, saving seeds, plant harvesting, animal husbandry, building hoop or bird houses, repairing tools, building fences or sheds, making herb tinctures, and everything that comes with urban farming! Many activities are currently under way at Dandelion Ranch: expanding the plant growing areas of the garden to twice the current size, installing water-saving drip irrigation and water catchment systems, building a storage shed and workshop, creating an outdoor kitchen for cooking, food-preserving demonstrations and science classes, and installing a composting toilet to accommodate the growing number of participants. Check the Dandelion Ranch blog (thedandelionranch.blogspot.com) for information on "garden parties" taking place every Wednesday and Saturday from 1-4pm. If you are interested in supporting this endeavor, a tax-deductible donation can be sent to the New Mexico Community Foundation, Dandelion Ranch, 502 West Cordova Road, Suite 1, Santa Fe, NM 87505. Donations of construction material, water catchment barrels and cisterns, garden tools, wheelbarrows and fruit trees are also welcome! For additional information, please visit the Dandelion Ranch blog, at thedandelionranch.blogspot.com or call Poki at 505-796-6006.
Membership Costs: $15 for 1 year/$200 Lifetime Membership Co-op Connection Staff: Managing Editor: Robin Seydel firstname.lastname@example.org Layout and Design: foxyrock inc Cover/Centerfold: Co-op Marketing Dept. Advertising: Rob Moore Editorial Assistant: Rob Moore email@example.com 217-2016 Printing: Vanguard Press
growing techniques, fostering a wholesome community, and inspiring children to be curious about and to care for nature. In fact, the garden is tended with such care that many participants view the food they take home as medicine.
EDUCATION SARAH MONTGOMERY arden’s Edge was formed by a group of farmers and social activists concerned about environmental degradation, global climate change, disappearing smallscale farmlands, and the erosion of indigenous cultural knowledge. Garden’s Edge is a non-profit organization that works in New Mexico and Guatemala to revitalize local culture and economy through projects in sustainable agriculture and environmental education.
A strong desire to work towards creating a more sustainable future led founding members Sarah Montgomery and Aaron Lemmon to Guatemala in 2003 where they started a project to help indigenous farmers preserve their traditional seeds and agricultural practices. This project, called PPAS (Proyecto de Producción de Alimentos y Semillas) The Food and Seed Production Project, was initiated as an alternative to the conventional international aid model.
There will be evening cultural activities, a tour of the Maya archeological site, Mixco Viejo, and a visit to the Chixoy Dam that displaced thousands of families during the civil war. Visit the famous village of Rio Negro and see what survivors of the devastating massacre of March 1983 are doing to rebuild their community. Stay at their beautiful tourist center overlooking the river. All Garden’s Edge tours offer a unique insight into Guatemala and the Maya culture. For more information go to www.gardensedge.org or write The Garden's Edge, PO Box 7758, Albuquerque, NM 87194 or call Sarah at 505-948-8398 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
GUATEMALA garden tour: June 13-23/2012 Register by March 13 This summer visit and volunteer in the small villages where the Garden's Edge works. Enjoy the unique opportunity to visit Maya family homes, work alongside families in their gardens, help plant trees, or work on a building project.
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food & community CONNECTING YOUTH FOR FOOD, EQUITY AND COMMUNITY HEALTH
Youth Food Action
Both programs supported and expanded gardens at the Santa Barbara/Martineztown Learning Center, the Martineztown House of Neighborly Service, Highland High School, and Kirtland Elementary.
BY RICHARD BRANDT he Youth Food Action Project (YFAP) is a three-year collaborative project between Dragon Farm at South Valley Academy (SVA) and multiple community schools and organizations including: Kirtland Elementary, Wilson Middle School, Highland High, Santa Barbara/Martineztown Learning Center, East Central Ministries and New Heart. The initiative was funded by a USDA Community Food Projects grant.
The YFAP is connecting students at SVA with young people in two other Albuquerque neighborhoods, the International District and Santa Barbara/Martineztown, to build youth capacity, improve the food environment at their schools and in their neighborhoods through civic engagement, and focus on food equity and community health. YFAP’s first year, completed in September 2011, was an overwhelming success! In the proposal we indicated we would serve seventy youths during the first year. We surpassed that by far, reaching out to over five hundred kids. Students from South Valley Academy worked with UNM Research and Service Learning students under the direction of Andrew Marcum (PhD candidate in American Studies). UNM Research and Service Learning Program (RSLP) has been a driving force behind YFAP. RSLP founder and director Dr. Dan Young made it possible for South Valley Academy juniors and seniors enrolled in the class with a 3.0 GPA or better to earn an elective credit at UNM (Experiential Learning Seminar 175).
future of food
The project at Kirtland Elementary is in full swing and our partnerships continue to grow. Kirtland Elementary acquired Food Corps member Kendal Chavez last fall and she has taken the project there to another level; successfully integrating gardening activities into the school curriculum as well as the APS after-school program. Additionally we have partnered with UNM School of Architecture to assist with the master design of the new garden with students, faculty, and community members in the neighborhood. YFAP will move to Wilson Middle School this spring to support science teacher Mary Erwin’s gardening activities. Mary has extensive experience using gardening activities as a classroom tool and was a driving force behind the school garden at Bandelier Elementary. Miguel Martinez (SVA alumni and co-founder of Dragon Farm) became a Service Corps member at UNM this semester. Miguel will serve as the assistant farm manager at Dragon Farm and will help coordinate YFAP gardening activities. East Central Ministries has also been instrumental to the program. Year one has been a tremendous success and we are well under way during this, our second gardening season. I would like to thank all partnering organizations for making the YFAP a success, and especially Dr. Janet Page Reeves for conceptualizing the project and bringing it to fruition. YFAP will be selling starts and trees at the annual La Montanita Earth Day event. You can also see our young leaders in action selling produce at the Downtown Growers’ Market this summer. For more info go to youthfoodactionproject.blogspot.com, e-mail: Rembrandtrocks@yahoo.com or call 505-363-3776.
COMPOST: LIFE’S BROWN GOLD
BOCCALANDRO hy would the Carbon Economy Series have a Compost Contest in Santa Fe hosted by Santa Fe Community College, judged by Rodale Institute Chief Scientist Dr. Elaine Ingham and supported by La Montanita Co-op and local businesses as sponsors? Because good compost is known as "brown gold" thanks to all its incredible properties!
High quality compost is crucial to soil amendment and restoration. It is the way Mother Nature does it; without additives, tilling, petrochemical fertilizers and such. In addition, last year we learned in the Soil Food Web workshop that there were NO soils amongst over 60 local samples, examined under microscope, that had healthy, diverse, robust biological life. We can change all that with good compost.
sweet-smelling soil. Backyard composting is the intentional and managed decomposition of organic materials for the production of compost, that anyone can effectively manage. In fact, if you have organic matter, it’s virtually impossible to prevent decomposition. The trick is to maximize the process of decomposition, while avoiding the unpleasant effects of the natural process of decaying matter. “Compost is good; sloppy garbage heaps and rotting food are bad,” according to the Garden of Oz web compost page, a great resource to get you started (www.the is COOL! gardenofoz.org).
We want to encourage community participation to find the highest quality compost, find out how it was made, give a sample to as many people as possible and create more. What is Compost? Compost is simply decomposed organic material. The organic material can be plant material or animal matter. If you’ve ever walked in the woods, you’ve experienced compost in its most natural setting. Both living plants and annual plants that die at the end of the season are consumed by animals of all sizes, from larger mammals, birds, and rodents to worms, insects, and microscopic organisms. The result of this natural cycle is compost, a combination of digested and undigested food that is left on the forest floor to create rich, usually soft,
DONATE your BAG CREDIT!
Compost is great for the garden but also an act of environmental responsibility. It saves money, reduces the waste stream into the landfill and helps sequester carbon from the atmosphere. Compost is created when you provide the right mixture of key ingredients to the millions of microorganisms that do the dirty work. The environment doesn’t have to be absolutely perfect, so you don’t need to be a microbiologist or chemist to have successful compost. You need to provide: food, water, and air. Compost Contest The finished compost samples brought to Santa Fe Community College the weekend of April 13-15 will be inspected under a microscope to determine the winner. Dr. Ingham, sponsored by the Santa Fe Farmers' Institute, will return to Santa Fe to teach her marvelous course on Soil Food Web and Compost Tea that weekend as well. We look forward to your participation in the Compost Contest, in the course and in joining the effort to shrink our carbon footprint, build soil and mitigate climate change. VISIT www.carboneconomyseries. com or call 505-819-3828.
BRING A BAG... DONATE THE DIME! MARCH BAG CREDIT DONATIONS: In March your bag credit donations will go to Youth Food Action Project: Connecting Youth for Food Equity and Community Health. Your JANUARY bag credit donations, totaling $1,989.35, went to Keshet Dance Company’s Sawmill Neighborhood Performing Arts Center. Thanks to all who donated!
Co-op Values Cooperatives are based on the values of self-help, selfresponsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, cooperative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others. Co-op Principles 1 Voluntary and Open Membership 2 Democratic Member Control 3 Member Economic Participation 4 Autonomy and Independence 5 Education, Training and Information 6 Cooperation among Cooperatives 7 Concern for Community The Co-op Connection is published by La Montanita Coop Supermarket to provide information on La Montanita Co-op Supermarket, the cooperative movement, and the links between food, health, environment and community issues. Opinions expressed herein are of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Co-op.
farming & gardening
March 2012 4
Gardening for Pollinator
NATION ions for her young. She lays an egg on each loaf and the larva of the next generation grow into their pupal forms on pollen protein. Double-flowered sunflower varieties and pollen-less ones don’t provide this sustenance. Grow old-fashioned and wild sunflowers for sunflower bees.
BY LAURIE LANGE garden, though rooted in nature, is a managed space that organizes natural forces to produce crops. We know now that if we disconnect elements in nature’s systems extensively a cascade of problems arises. Industrial agriculture, with its many artificial inputs, is an example, with resulting explosions of problems and pests as a result of the disconnections.
Our relationship with pollinators is one aspect of the garden that is out of balance. We generally think of just one insect as our garden pollinator: the European honeybee. Half a decade ago, honeybees began experiencing colony collapse disorder (CCD). This followed decades of increasing pest and disease disturbance in the hive. While there is still no definitive answer regarding the cause of CCD, it seems clear that the way hives have been managed is at least part of the reason for unhealthy hives and honeybee death.
&bee NATIVE balance
Here are some things you can do to make your garden a pollinator garden: First, avoid pesticides. Garden organically, and urge your neighbors to go organic, too.
Go Native! Honeybees are far from the only garden pollinators, and we can create pollinator diversity in our gardens by calling on the native bees. (There are also other insects and animals who provide pollination for cultivated crops, but their role is not as extensive). Encouraging pollinator diversity in the garden creates resilience.
Maintain wild spaces near the garden where native bees can nest. The majority of bee species are solitary. Few of them have a significant sting; about 70% nest in the ground. Some choose exposed ground—leave some clean bare spots for these bees. Others, like bumblebees, nest in or under clumps of wild grass. Grow native grasses for bumblebees.
Native bees are attracted to a variety of garden crops. Squash family plants, sunflowers, and fruit trees are visited by some bees. The orchard mason bee is a hardworking spring bee who will pollinate apples, pears, and stone fruits. If tomatoes are buzz pollinated by bees, the fruit set may be increased up to five times. Bumblebees are some of the buzz pollinators on tomato family plants; they wrap their abdomens around the pollen structure and vibrate rapidly, releasing clouds of pollen. Western bumblebee populations are declining, however, and need our support.
For the orchard masons, it’s even possible to provide man-made nests. These need to be constructed so the nest holes stay dry, and when the holes are lined, the mason bee cocoons can be removed and overwintered in the fridge to keep them from difficult winter exposures. Many bee species visit sunflowers for pollen, fertilizing the seeds as they go. Pollen is the main ingredient in the "bee bread" the mother bee fash-
For bumblebees, grow some of the clovers that are used as cover crops. This is an excellent double-duty sustainable garden practice whether you have bumblebees or not: the clovers fix nitrogen in the soil. They are thus an organic way to improve garden soil. While sufficient study hasn't been done to definitively assess the health of most native bee populations, anecdotal evidence indicates at least some native bees are in decline. Some species are thought to have gone extinct recently. Decline has been particularly noted in bumblebees. Parasites introduced into wild populations by commercial greenhouse tomato operations are a likely cause of precipitous drops in bumblebee populations. Planning your garden so that it offers nesting, pollen and nectar resources for native bees provides a measure of balance and resilience for the pollination services needed in gardens. Even in urban settings, many native species are likely already living nearby. In this time of planetary challenges it's essential to focus on biodiversity in our engagement with natural systems. Fostering the presence of many bees in our gardens is insurance that nature will be able to continue helping us produce food. LAURIE LANGE runs the Bee Collaborative and Pollinator Nation, offering nests and seeds for polllinator gardens for native bee habitat. Contact her at email@example.com for a downloadable chart of further ways to support the bees.
SELLING at the
nity to showcase your creative talents, test drive your best recipes, flaunt your green thumb, exercise your entrepreneurial spirit, and earn some extra cash.
GROWERS’ MARKET SARAH WENTZEL-FISHER ast night I woke up at 3am because I was too warm. As I lay awake, I imagined the seeds of my garden in similar tumult, aching from the cold some nights, and perspiring on others. The discomfort in change also inspires bountiful visions of summer and all the possibilities a carefully planned spring might bring to fruition.
Registration for most markets begins in March, so now is the time to start planning. Daily market fees range from $50 for the entire summer to $25 for the day, depending on the market. Most markets require some permitting—for example if you plan on selling food at a market in the city limits, you need to have a permit through the City’s Department of Environmental Health. Getting these permits does not cost much, but takes time and some attention to detail, so planning ahead can ensure a successful launch of your market stand. Compared to the start up costs for most small businesses, the initial investment is relatively inexpensive.
Close your eyes for a moment and imagine: tomorrow is the first day of the growers’ market. You have checked the air in your bike tires, washed out your canvas bags, and have set your alarm clock for an early Saturday morning. Now, imagine that alarm goes off at 5am instead of 8. This Saturday you will load a small pick-up with bunches of kale, radishes, beets, and turnips you have grown in the gigantic garden behind your house. You have purchased a canopy, folding tables, and table cloths, baskets, a cash box, and an A-frame chalkboard. This year, you are selling at the market. Growers’ markets are growing. While many of us attend as shoppers, perhaps this is the year to consider signing up as a vendor. In the greater Albuquerque area, we have over a dozen growers’ markets ranging in size from 5 to 100 vendors. Most growers’ markets in the Albuquerque area host produce, prepared foods, and craft vendors. With the unprecedented growth in these markets, selling at one of them represents a great opportu-
The rewards of selling at a growers’ market go beyond extra personal income. By joining a market as a vendor, you bolster our local economy and generate prosperity for your neighbors too. According to organizations like the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies and Civic Economics, approximately 70% of every dollar you spend at a local business goes directly back into the community where it was spent.
Selling at the market also provides unique ways to get involved in your community and to meet new people. The ultimate exchange in the marketplace— one of ideas, opinions, trust, and camaraderie—is much richer than turnips for dollars. When you choose to sell at the market, your participation helps grow a sense of place and community. As much as your growers’ markets’ vendors need you as a shopper, the markets themselves also need more social entrepreneurs to sign up to sell. Growers’ markets are experiencing their own spring—years of hard work and dedication by small growers, food producers, crafts people and market managers have created a fertile environment with the right economic climate for growing small businesses. Consider seeding your own best business idea this spring in a growers’ market. To learn more about getting involved, find your neighborhood market manager through the New Mexico Farmers’ Market Association website, farmersmarketsnm.org, or attend a class about selling at a growers’ market offered by the Albuquerque Growers Market Alliance, www.abqmarkets.org.
G R O W for the market!
TAKING DRIP IRRIGATION
TO THE NEXT LEVEL !
ZONED WATERING BY JEFF PARKS ou may be surprised to learn that most automatic drip irrigation systems as they are currently used in Albuquerque actually waste water. Because most drip systems attempt to water all plants with one zone and one watering schedule, they ignore the different watering needs of plants.
from our regional
An important characteristic of our high desert landscape is diversity of plant types, incorporating xeric plants, trees, shrubs and vegetables, all in different stages of the life cycle. Because diverse plants have diverse watering needs, we need to be more precise with our watering. To conserve precious water in our high desert climate, plants should be watered as infrequently as possible. At the same time, they need to be watered deeply to encourage the deep rooting needed to better withstand drought conditions. Installing drip systems that have three color coded tubes running through each planting bed is one
method that allows you to time your watering schedule for optimum plant growth. Each one of these tubes is on a different watering schedule, so you can choose from three schedules to meet the needs of plants in that zone. The three schedules are: FREQUENT: New plants and seedlings, most annuals, vegetables, all need frequent irrigation. MODERATE: Herbs, young trees and shrubs, and most perennials, need a moderate frequency of watering. SELDOM: Mature trees and shrubs, and xeric plants, need very infrequent deep watering. As a plant matures from seedling to maturity, the tubing to that plant can easily be changed to one with a less frequent watering schedule. Although the number of emitters may be the same on each schedule, vigilant observation of plants and their changing needs as they grow is required to maintain the system at its highest level of efficiency. For more info on zoned drip watering call Jeff at 268-1315.
spring beckons! Getting Calcium for
RADIO PROTECTION BY JESSIE EMERSON, RN he other day, I had the opportunity to "hang out" with my granddaughter, her friend, and their babies. I listened to their discussion about the Fukushima disaster and their concerns about radiation exposure to themselves and their children. It is my hope that people reading this series will do their own research, eat protective foods and share the information with family, friends and neighbors. We are not powerless and we are not alone. Together with the plants and foods of Earth we stand strong.
March 2012 5
PLANTS ARE OUR ALLIES! Sesame is an ancient oil seed first recorded as a crop in Babylon and Assyria. Its seeds are high in oil; 50% of the total seed weight. The oil contains high amounts of antioxidants that prevent it from going rancid. Thomas Jefferson recognized the value of sesame when he grew it in test plots. Now 200 years later, the only place to obtain sesame seeds for planting is Seeds of Change. A traditional Japanese condiment is Gomasio or sesame salt. It can be bought ready made, but it is fresher and more flavorful if made in your kitchen. I like this recipe because it uses nettles, which are high in chlorophyll, another radiation protector. The recipe: 1/2 cup sesame seeds 1 tsp dulse flakes or kelp or kombu or nori 1 tsp dried nettle leaf 1/2 tsp sea salt, I like Celtic sea salt
Dr. Tatsuichiro Akizuki’s advice about eating healthy to stay healthy is based on his education and his experience with radiation after the bombing of his city, Nagasaki. Dr. Akzuiki’s patients and staff ate traditional Japanese food as well as sweet potatoes and pumpkins. The other hospitals in the city ate a typical Western diet of white sugar, white rice, and refined white flour products. Sadly most of these patients didn’t survive. For Calcium OPEN SESAME “Open sesame” were the magic words that Ali Baba used to enter the treasure cave of the forty thieves. The sesame plant, Sesamum indices, L. Pedaleaceae, is more valuable than all the treasures in that cave. Its tiny seeds are power packed with nutrients, especially copper, magnesium, and calcium. In addition,
1/4 cup contains 6 grams of protein, 4 grams dietary fiber and 7 grams omega 6 fatty acids. Calcium protects us from heavy metals such as aluminum, cadmium, lead, and mercury as well as from radiation. It decreases absorption of strontium 90, calcium 45 and other radioisotopes by our bones. Sesame seeds contain sesamol, an antioxidant compound. In research at the Amala Cancer Research Center, in Thissur Kerala, India, (Cancer Biotherapy and Radiopharmacology 2010 (Dec. 25: 629-35), G.G. Nair from the department of radiation biology concluded: "Sesamol could act as a radio protector for the biomembranes and cellular DNA against the deleterious effects of ionizing radiation."
Grind the dulse and nettles separately. Add to the coarse ground sesame seeds and salt. Taste, add salt to your taste; store in a covered jar. Add to a spice mill to grind fresh over food. Mallow There is a plant that grows all around us and across the planet; you’ve seen it by the roadsides and as a weed that comes up regularly in your garden. It is the cheese mallow, of the Malvacae family and it is one of my favorite plants. It contains 249 milligrams of calcium per 1/2 cup. Perhaps there is a reason that it can be found planet wide in elevations up to 6,000 feet! It is a staple in my garden and yard. Combine mallow, chamomile, and cinnamon to make nice calcium tea. Starting March 24, JESSIE EMERSON, RN, will offer a series of classes on RADIOPROTECTION with our allies the plants. Call 505-470-1362 or e-mail her for more information at osoherbal firstname.lastname@example.org.
OR USEFUL BURDOCK: WEED GARDEN PLANT? Put plants to work in the garden! BY JOE FRANKE hat constitutes a weed is a purely human construction, and there are many different definitions. The one I find most useful came from the ecologist J.M. Torrell: "A plant that interferes with management objectives for a given area of land at a given point in time." This definition implies that some plants might be considered noxious in some contexts and useful in others. Burdock is one such plant.
Especially in times of high heat and drought you can put these so called "weeds" to work in your garden. Burdock, a biennial (two-year life cycle) plant, has extremely long tap roots, up to a meter in length, that while troublesome to pull up are exceptionally good at drawing nutrients up from deep in the ground. They also provide a large amount of biomass that can be utilized to improve your soil; chop down the leaves throughout the growing season to eventually incorporate them into the soil.
The trick to controlling burdock is to not allow it to go to seed as then it can become a management problem. You can cut off tops during or shortly after flowering, or just use the opportunity to mow them down to ground level. Either way they’ll continue to produce a great deal more plant matter before the onset of winter. If you choose to plant them, edible Japanese versions of burdock, called "gobo" offer the added plus of having reasonably good tasting roots to harvest and pickle. Even these relatively "tame" varieties are still potentially invasive if not managed carefully. In order to keep the plant from becoming invasive and taking over more space than desired, you can manage burdock by going out and diligently cutting the plant off at the ground, or simply cutting off the seed heads well before they’re ripe. Make sure you "top" the whole plant, leaving no terminal growing tips or flow-
Adapting to Changing Conditions
he Native Plant Society of New Mexico (NPSNM) is a non-profit organization that strives to educate the public about native plants by promoting knowledge of plant identification, ecology, and uses; fostering preservation of natural habitats; supporting botanical research; and encouraging the appropriate use of native plants to conserve water, land, and wildlife. The NPSNM currently has eight chapters in New Mexico, Texas and Colorado that work to promote the objectives of the organization and educate the local population for a better understanding of their regional flora through field trips, lectures, plant sales and seed exchanges. They also have a variety of available publications, posters and powerpoints for community educational events. The talents, interests and skills of chapter members greatly influence the activities and programs offered. March 7 at 7pm, ANNE BRADLEY, forest conservation manager for the Nature Conservancy of New Mexico, will discuss how drought, fire, and climate change are impacting southwestern forests, and especially the Jemez Mountains in the state. She will also describe the work underway to help our forests adapt to these changing conditions.
April 4: Albuquerque Soils, How They Happened and What to Do With Them JUDY DAIN briefly tells us how geology has shaped the soils of Albuquerque. Then four Master Gardeners, Barbara Shapiro, Cheryl Mitchell, Margo Murdock and Robin Romero tell how they have molded those geologic soil challenges into beautiful and sustainable gardens. May 2: New Mexico’s Favorite Landscape Plants over the Past 1,000 Years DR. BAKER MORROW, Professor of Landscape Architecture and Founder of the Landscape Architecture Program at UNM, shows us how landscaping has evolved in New Mexico. A short chapter meeting will precede the talk. These free public programs are sponsored by the Albuquerque Chapter, Native Plant Society of New Mexico, and take place at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History, 1801 Mountain Rd. NW, Albuquerque. More information about the organization is available at www.npsnm.unm.edu.
ering locations. Otherwise you’ll have a great deal more of the seedpods, which are covered in hooks that provided the original idea leading to the invention of Velcro and which stick to your clothes or pets, aiding in the distribution of the plant’s seeds. In order to get rid of the plants entirely you can either pull them up or pour a few tablespoons of vinegar down the lower stem on a hot day. In my garden, I use this plant to control other, more noxious weeds, many of which lose out in the competition for light with the large leafed burdock. There is also strong evidence that burdock secretes chemicals from its roots that inhibit the growth of other plants, a process known as allelopathy. Burdock is reputed to have medicinal properties and is rich in essential minerals, including iron and potassium; and it contains polyacetylenes, a group of compounds that are being investigated for their antibacterial, antifungal and possibly anti-cancer properties. Burdock is related to artichoke and the roots have a similar, if slightly more bitter flavor. The traditional way to prepare them in Japan is as a pickle or braised with soy sauce, mirin or sake and sesame oil, but you can also make teas and tinctures of the roots. All parts of the plant are at least mildly diuretic, and as is the case with any herbal remedy, be sure to clear its use with your doctor.
co-op news LOCAL PRODUCER PROFILE EXOTIC EDIBLES OF EDGEWOOD BY ROB MOORE edible ans of edible mushrooms tend ’SCHROOMS to be an understated but enthusiastic lot, and I number myself among that group. So it is with giddy pride that I can share with you news about one of the suppliers of Coop mushrooms, Exotic Edibles of Edgewood. You may have seen their terrific Wickedly Wonderful pates and oyster mushrooms in your Co-op stores, or better still enjoyed them at a Co-op sampling, and recently I had a chance to learn more about the hands and hearts behind Exotic Edibles, Gael Fishel and Scott Adams.
Scott and Gael came to mushrooming like many of us come to lots of things, largely via happenstance. "We were invited to attend the Telluride Mushroom Conference by a friend, who was teaching a class about growing Oyster mushrooms on straw" Scott recalls. "We had a good time, and thought we would like to try it at home." This initial foray proved successful, and "the mushrooms were so attractive and tasty that we started growing more. It also looked as though the Oysters could be a source of income when income was needed." Since then, Exotic Edibles has grown to supply their tasty Oyster variety to restaurants around the
edible fungus and the mushroomapalooza BY ROB MOORE very lover of food has from time to time encountered something, maybe a spice or a sauce, cream or glaze that turns the taste buds and reminds us that however jaded and seen-it-all we might have considered ourselves, the magic of food can still have the power to surprise. Mushrooms, the edible fruit of the fungus family, often fall into that category.
Visually, mushrooms don’t make much effort to draw us in. For those of us in the modern world, raised on food that is often far removed from the way it appears at the time of harvest, mushrooms look a little… strange. The last 30 years or so have seen a reemergence of mycological knowledge and culture in the U.S., and as more wild mushrooms have been identified (and their rarity furthered by
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March 2012 6 area as well as directly to shoppers via your Co-op produce departments. Scott continues, "One of the things we discovered about the Oyster mushroom early on is that it was more nutritious than the button mushroom, and has several health properties." Studies have shown that mushrooms offer great benefit to the immune system, and Oysters in particular have demonstrated positive impact on lowering cholesterol. Asian medical traditions make use of mushrooms in a number of settings, and in the East mushrooms are often prescribed for patients undergoing chemotherapy regimes. Scott is keen to emphasize the health benefits as well as the taste of mushrooms. "It was recently discovered that exposure to ultraviolet light will increase the Vitamin D content of mushrooms, from as little as none, to between 400 and 1600 percent of the daily requirement. Oyster mushrooms especially are good for the environment as well, because they will eat petroleum, crude oil, motor oil and the like, and still be edible themselves. We try to promote those things about the mushrooms as much as we can.” Sharp-eyed food fans will have seen their Wickedly Wonderful Pates on Co-op shelves, too. "When we
prepare the mushrooms for market, there are always a lot of small ones restaurants don't want. It seemed like a waste to just put them in the compost. So we came up with the paté which uses the smaller ones, so the paté is really an outgrowth of the mushroom growing and we’re really enjoying doing both. We have received a lot of positive feedback about the paté and the mushrooms; that feedback is what keeps us going in both ventures." While Gael and Scott have brought in folks from time to time to help with the operation, for the most part it’s strictly a family affair. "In the past we have had interns that came and helped out. Right now we have my daughter also involved in the farm. She loves the mushrooms as much as we do!" When I asked what plans Exotic Edibles has for the future, Scott was enthusiastic. "At the present time we are in the planning stages of expanding the growing area and at the same time investigating other valueadded products that will use more of the mushrooms we have. When I was young I grew up on a small farm," says Scott, "and when I left I swore I never wanted to farm again. Gael had no experience in growing things. Amazing what time can lead you to." Look for Exotic Edible fresh oyster mushrooms and pate at your favorite Co-op location.
WONDERFULLY DELICIOUS! human encroachment) more growers and chefs have sought to catalog our fungal friends and protect their culinary and medicinal value. Your Co-op is a great place to explore the range of tastes that mushrooms can offer. To this end, and with the highest goals of journalistic endeavor in mind, I set out to find some truth about our mushrooms by cooking a large and delicious batch of various sorts from your Co-op produce department. I wanted to try some fresh mushrooms that I had not tried before, so after conferring with some of the folks in the produce department I picked up an assortment that included the following types: BLACK TRUMPETS: these mushrooms were small, with thin bodies and were, indeed, quite black and resembled trumpets. Their taste when raw was a little on the earthy and nutty side, while roasting brought out their flavor nicely. They are also highly prized when dried and added to soups or broths. CRIMINIS: reliable standbys of the produce department, Criminis are the mushrooms that look like the shape kids draw when asked to draw a mushroom. They are by far one of the more popular mushrooms, and that familiarity has made them seem less interesting than some of their more exotic counterparts. That said, Criminis are an excellent source for selenium, bvitamins, and zinc, as well as being bright lights of research into helping with heart disease and cancerprevention, particularly for women. Their taste when raw is bland to some, but they absorb flavors excellently and are wonderful to sauté or add to sauces or gravies. MAITAKE: probably the strangest looking mushroom in my pan, the Maitake resembles a sort of ridged pinecone. Maitake are an Asian variety, known in Japan as the "dancing mushroom." These mushrooms are frequently used to boost the immune system and reduce nausea in cancer patients, and their extracts are sold as health-system boosters. The ’shroom itself is
rather tasty, with sort of a sweet and fruity tone. Roasting it made it mellow somewhat, but it was just fine raw, and would likely be great in a salad with spinach and mustard greens, where it could be leavened by a little sharpness from the greens. OYSTER MUSHROOMS: I was very happy to have some tasty Oysters from the Exotic Edibles growers in nearby Edgewood (see above). As usual, the Oysters were robust and full-flavored, and I like them just as much raw as I do when they are roasted. Terrific flavor, something like the "classic" idea of mushroom taste. I plan on making Oyster mushroom bisque soon! PORTOBELLO: Portobello mushrooms are large and firm, which is part of their appeal as a meat-like filling for sandwiches or in recipes. Eaten raw they can have an almost rubbery texture, but cooking softens them a touch and brings their smoky note forward. I am becoming a full on Portobello fan. YELLOWFOOT MUSHROOMS: these were wild-harvested in Oregon, and aside from the Maitake probably the strangest-looking of the lot. They have curved and slender stems and flat, cartoon-like tops. Raw the Yellowfoots had an almost mustard-flavored tone, though they seemed to taste richer once roasted. A revisit is in order to see how they would stand in, say, salad or cooked with rice. MY MUSHROOM ADVENTURE ENDED with a large skillet of roasted fungus, seasoned with salt and pepper, eaten with much gusto by my missus and son. Beyond being exceptionally delicious, this was a chance to move deeper into the diversity of a foodgroup and try some of its variety: IT’S WORTH IT!
On December 1, 2011, despite a cold and windy Annual Nob Hill Shop and Stroll evening, Co-op members, shoppers and strollers of all sorts planted wishes for 2012 in Natalia’s magic box.
Their hope for the year included: kindness delight rest calm innovation laughter tolerance wonder and wisdom
As you can see, the seeds have grown! Come to the 12th Annual North Valley Garden Party on May 5th and talk to Natalia about her MAGIC BOX.
AT YOUR CO-OP!
the 22nd annual Earth Fest at the Nob Hill Co-op April 22nd, 10-6pm
March 2012 7
THE INSIDE The National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA) will be conducting their spring meeting in Albuquerque April 16-18.
NCGA and has been and will continue to be a leader within this organization. We are thrilled to be hosting the spring meeting. Each member co-op will be sending their designated representative to Albuquerque. There will be a series of meetings and tours of our stores, offices and warehouse.
The National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA) is a business services cooperative for retail food co-ops located throughout the United States. NCGA helps unify retail food co-ops in order to optimize operational and marketing resources, strengthen purchasing power, and ultimately offer more value to food co-op owners and shoppers everywhere.
NCGA will also be conducting its quarterly Board of Directors meeting Sun., April 15, and Thurs., April 19th. I am an elected member of the board of directors and look forward to showing off our Co-op and city.
MISSION: NCGA will provide the vision, leadership and systems to catapult a virtual chain of food co-ops to a position of prominence in the natural foods industry.
This meeting will not only bring the best co-op minds in the country to Albuquerque but will provide our local economy with increased revenues; a nice benefit for all. As always, please contact me at email@example.com or by phone at 505217-2020 with any comments and/or suggestions. -TERRY
There are 125 member and associate co-ops operate with 160 storefronts in 35 states with combined annual sales of about $1.4 billion. La Montanita is one of the founding members of
NATIONAL COOPERATIVE GROCERS ASSOCIATION
A Y E A R L O N G C E L E B R AT I O N !
U . N . INTERNATIONAL YEAR
BY SUSAN MCALLISTER, BOARD OF DIRECTORS n December 18, 2009, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted resolution 64/136 declaring 2012 the International Year of Cooperatives (IYC). International years are declared by the UN to "draw attention to major issues and encourage action."
The statistics that describe the state of cooperatives around the world are impressive: 800 million members in over 100 countries, 100 million jobs, and a study by the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives estimates that in the United States alone cooperatives account for nearly $654 billion in revenue, 2 million jobs, $75 billion in wages and benefits paid, and a total of $133.5 billion in value-added income. Despite this track record, there continues to be misconceptions and a lack of understanding about co-ops. Co-ops have an important story to tell and the International Year of Cooperatives gives us a once-ina-lifetime opportunity to do so. From our beginnings
in 1844 with the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers, who created the basic guidelines that govern modern co-ops today, to our focus on a triple bottomline; from our dedication to our local economies to our world-wide impact, and including all the other aspects of the cooperative economic model and the community connections that are created as a result. 2012 is our time to share our story.
ns oratio b a l l o c
GRASSROOTS INVESTING TO: • Help GROW the LOCAL FOOD SYSTEM • Help STRENGTHEN the LOCAL ECONOMY.
TASTE LOCAL KYZER PORK! 3/10 Santa Fe, 2-4pm 3/11 North Valley, 12-2pm 3/24 Nob Hill, 4-6pm
CO-OPS: A Solution-Based System A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.
try-a sling program lending library FREE classes positive parenting so much more!
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The comprehensive resource center for having and raising babies and families. Inspirational, small-group birthing and parenting classes are our specialty.
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CO-OP NEEDS YOU! Are you interested in helping your Co-op and Our Community? Would you like to EARN an
18% DISCOUNT on your Co-op purchases? Your Co-op needs a strong VOLUNTEER pool to help with special events, community outreach, and ongoing projects. Call ROB at 505-217-2016 or email firstname.lastname@example.org!
YOGA IS FOR EVERYONE! Ask for your Coupon when you join the Co-op or renew your membership today! Thanks for Owning Your Co-op!
GROW THE REGIONAL FOOD SYSTEM FUND:
Class Schedule on page 1.
New and Renewing Members of the Co-op and anyone new to High Desert Yoga: First class $5, and a 10-class package for $100, a savings of $40! Mention where you saw this, and come in to the Co-op to join or renew your Co-op Membership before May 31, 2012.
LA MONTANITA FUND
See the Veteran Farmer Project
STUDY CIRCLES BEGIN La Montanita’s board is highlighting IYC by hosting a study circle beginning this month. For more information contact us at email@example.com. And be sure to stop by the board table at the Co-op’s spring Earth Day and Garden Party celebrations to share your co-op stories and find out more about the International Year of Co-ops.
NEIGHBORHOOD COLLABORATIONS: NOB HILL CO-OP AND HIGH DESERT YOGA!
Your La Montanita Co-op is pleased to team with High Desert Yoga in Albuquerque to bring you a very special offer. All new and renewing members in the months of March, April and May will receive a coupon good for discount classes from our friends at High Desert Yoga. High Desert Yoga offers a very wide range of classes from Vinyasa, Pilates, and Kundalini to Hatha, Restorative, even Therapeutic classes. They have classes for kids, teens, and families.
3/20 BOD Meeting, Immanuel Church, 5:30pm 3/26 Member Engagement Meeting, 5:30pm
Cooperatives and their associations worldwide are planning celebrations and advocacy campaigns and the International Co-operative Alliance has a great website that captures much of what’s happening at www.2012.coop.
International Year of the Co-op: A M E M B E R S H I P S P E C I A L
It’s a great time to be a Co-op Member/OWNER! Care for your body and open yourself to better health, with High Desert Yoga and your Co-op!
Calendar of Events
• Quick and easy loan application process • Loans from $250 to $15,000, or more in exceptional cases • Repayment terms tailored to the needs of our community of food producers • Applications taken in an ongoing basis To set up a meeting to learn more or for a Loan Application or help with your application, call or email Robin at: 505-217-2027, toll free/877-7752667 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
N e w M e x i co ’ s
New Community Radio • Contemporary Jazz • Chill • Latin Guitar
! N E T LIS
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1037theoasis.com Locally Programmed and Woman- Owned.
Shredded Kale Salad with Feta Cheese and Pine Nuts
SPECIAL THANKS to Deborah Madison, noted local chef, author and food activist, for these delicious recipes!
This kale salad is based on the dark green Tuscan kale also known as dragon tongue or lacinato—the kale whose leaves have a bubbly surface rather than a ruffled one. Look for leaves that are on the small size and tender in appearance rather than those that are overly large and bound to be tough. The garlic and salt in the dressing should effectively soften smaller leaves and yet, unlike lettuce, the salad stays fresh and bouncy for hours and leftovers can actually be enjoyed a day later.
greens& U MORE! Sautéed Spinach with Mushrooms 1 pound velvety oyster mushrooms or matsutake 1 sweet onion (Maui or Vidalia onion, or 1 red onion, cut in 1/4-inch dice) 1 pound small spinach leaves 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil sea salt and freshly pepper Leave the mushrooms whole, but snip off ends of stems if they feel tough. Wash the spinach well and dry. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until softened, about 3 minutes. Turn the heat to high, add the mushrooms and sauté until they’re tender and most of liquid, if any, has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and plenty of fresh ground pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl or platter. Return the skillet to medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, swirl the pan, and in batches, quickly sauté spinach just until wilted and a deep vibrant green. Season with salt and pepper, then toss with the mushrooms and onions. Serves 4. From Local Flavors.
1 bunch of small Tuscan kale leaves, about 8 ounces, or four cups leaves 1 plump garlic clove 1/4 teaspoon sea salt Grated zest of 1 lemon 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice or aged Red wine vinegar 2 tablespoons robust olive oil 1 teaspoon Dijon style mustard Two pinches Aleppo pepper flakes Crumbled feta cheese, 1 or 2 ounces 2 tablespoons pan-roasted pine nuts Slice the kale leaves off the ropy stems and discard the stems. Bundle the leaves and roll them up as best you can, then slice them crosswise into very narrow ribbons. You’ll need to make several bundles. Put the ribbons in a salad bowl. Mash the garlic with the salt in a mortar with a pestle
March 2012 10
until it is broken down into a puree. Add the lemon zest, juice, and whisk in the mustard and olive oil. Toss the greens with the dressing until thoroughly coated, then add the feta cheese and pine nuts and toss once more. Serves 4 to 6. From Vegetable Literacy, a book in progress. Rutabaga and Potato Puree When’s the last time you ate a rutabaga? People who pass these fall tubers by are missing out on a treat. They’re delicious, they’re mild, and they’re a delicate buttery yellow color. You do have to peel them thickly though, just below the epidermis. You can use more rutabagas than potatoes, and you can include some carrots as well. Because rutabagas aren’t as starchy as potatoes, you may not need to add additional milk, cream, or the cooking water. If you do want to thin out the mixture, it’s best if the liquid has been warmed first. 8 ounces russet or other potatoes 1 1/2 pounds rutabagas Sea salt and freshly ground pepper Butter, to taste Freshly grated nutmeg 1 tablespoon chopped parsley and/or snipped chives Peel the potatoes and rutabagas, then chop them into chunks, making the rutabagas about half the size of the potatoes as they take longer to cook. Put them in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and bring to a boil. Cook until soft enough to mash, about 25 minutes.
Drain, reserving a cup of the cooking water first, then return the vegetables to the pot and mash them with a potato masher, adding as much butter as you like. If the puree is too thick, add some of the reserved liquid or warm milk to thin it. Scrape in a little nutmeg and taste for salt. Serve with the parsley or chives scattered over the top. Serves 6 to 8. From Local Flavors. Chard Soup with Cumin, Cilantro and Lime If you have a choice, choose tender leaves, not too big. A mixture of color is fine. 8 cups packed chard leaves, stems removed, about 1 pound or 20 leaves 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 white onion, sliced 1 small (about 4 ounces) potato 1 carrot, scrubbed and sliced 2 tablespoons tomato paste 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin 1-teaspoon ground coriander 1 cup slivered cilantro stems and leaves Sea salt and freshly ground pepper 1/2 cup sour cream or yogurt Zest and juice of 1 lime, to taste Rinse, then roughly chop the chard. Warm the oil in a soup pot. Add the onion, potato, and carrot and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes to wilt. Stir in the tomato paste, smashing it into the vegetables, then add the cumin, coriander, cilantro stems and the chard leaves. Sprinkle over 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, cover the pan and allow the leaves to cook down substantially before adding 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to a simmer, partially covered, and cook until the potato has softened, about 15 minutes. Puree with the sour cream and return to the pot. Taste for salt, season with pepper, stir in the lime zest and juice and taste again.
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If you like some texture in your soup add rough, crisp breadcrumbs or skinny tortilla strips, crisped in a toaster oven, to each serving. Makes about 6 cups. From Vegetable Literacy, a book in progress. Chard Stems with Olive Oil There’s no reason not to eat the chard stems, which are actually considered a delicacy in other parts of the world. The cooking time really depends on the tenderness of the stalks, so test, with the point of a knife, as they cook. They could be done in as little time as 7 minutes or as long as 20. 1 pound chard stems, trimmed and peeled 2 tablespoons flour 2 quarts water Juice of 1 lemon Sea salt and freshly milled pepper Olive oil to taste Chopped parsley Cut the stems into 3-inch lengths. Whisk the flour into the water in a saucepan, bring to a boil, and add the lemon juice and 2 teaspoons salt. (This is to keep them from discoloring. It’s not necessary with colored chard stems.) Add the stems and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes or longer, depending on their tenderness. Drain, then toss with olive oil and parsley. Taste for salt and season with pepper. Gratinéed Chard Stems: Transfer the cooked chard stems to a small gratin dish. Drizzle extravirgin olive oil over the top, add a little grated Parmesan cheese, and bake at 400’F until the cheese is melted and lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Serves 3 to 4. From Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, by Deborah Madison. Bitter Greens with a Walnut Oil and Mustard Vinaigrette This is not your mild salad of soft butter lettuces, but one in which slightly bitter chicories like escarole hearts, radicchio, escarole, arugula and dandelion greens dominate. The tastes are as strong as are the leaves themselves. They can take—and need—a big, somewhat aggressive dressing in which mustard and walnut oil do the work of taming these big flavors. Serve unadorned, or with a toasted baguette slice covered with fresh ricotta cheese or Gorgonzola. When using escarole in a salad, use just the pale inner leaves. Tear any extra long stems off arugula or dandelion leaves. 8 cups greens: escarole hearts, dandelion, arugula, radicchio, torn into pieces larger than bite sized 1/2 cup freshly cracked walnuts Sea salt and freshly ground pepper The Dressing 1 plump garlic clove 2 tablespoons strong red wine vinegar 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 3 tablespoons walnut oil 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon crème fraiche
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Heat a toaster oven to 350F. Toast the walnuts until fragrant, about 6 minutes or so. Remove and toss them with a pinch of salt and some pepper. Wash and dry the greens and put them in a wide, spacious bowl. Pound the garlic with 1/4 teaspoon salt, then stir in the vinegar and mustard. Add the oils and whisk them together, followed by the crème fraiche. Taste the dressing on a leaf and adjust the seasonings if needed. You may want more salt. Toss the greens with the dressing, add the walnuts, and toss again, then serve, the leaves piled high on each plate. Makes 4 substantial salads. From Local Flavors. Red Butter Lettuce Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette A gorgeous head of lettuce is something seldom seen now that lettuce mixes have taken over. The red butter lettuce at La Montanita is exceptional, truly buttery, beautiful to look at and delicious too. With a lemon-shallot vinaigrette, it is truly an uplifting salad. Handle this delicate lettuce gently at every stage. 1 head red butter lettuce 1 heaping tablespoon diced shallot, about 1 shallot Zest of 1 Meyer lemon plus 2 tablespoons juice 1/4 teaspoon sea salt 1/2 teaspoon mustard or more, to your taste 4 tablespoons olive oil, to taste Slice the lettuce at the root end to open the leaves. Discard the outer ones, which are likely to be ragged, (they’re good in soup stock), then separate the rest of the leaves. Tear them with your fingers, gently, into smaller pieces. You can leave the smallest ones whole. This lettuce is in my experience very clean, but wash it if you like, then dry it well and put it in a salad bowl. Put the finely diced shallot in a bowl with the lemon zest, juice and salt. Let stand for ten minutes then whisk in the mustard and oil. Taste and adjust, adding more oil or lemon if necessary. Pour the dressing over the top and toss well. Serves 4 or more. From Vegetable Literacy, a book in progress. Look for Deborah Madison’s books at your favorite LOCAL bookstore and wherever fine books are sold.
CESAR CHAVEZ CELEBRATION • SATURDAY, MARCH 31st • 10am: A procession at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, 12pm: Celebration with music, dancing, food, film and free fun activities for children. www.cesarchaveznm.org or call 505-842-7343.
REPLACING FEAR with planning and action
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TAKING BACK OUR
Of course, Agenda 21 has often been criticized from the Left as well, generally for being too general, too under-financed, and too representative of the interests of industrialized countries,
MICHAEL JENSEN, AMIGOS BRAVOS wo stories that came out in early February brought attention to a disturbing trend in local politics: supporters of everything from bike lanes to smart meters to assessment of carbon footprints have come under attack as part of a global move to create a "one-world" government using the UN’s Agenda 21 as the blueprint (see the New York Times of Feb 2nd: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/04/us/activists-fightgreen-projects-seeing-un-plot.html and High Country News for February 6th: www.hcn.org/issues/44.2/fearfulof-Agenda-21-an-alleged-united-nations-plot-activistsderail-land-use-planning). BY
Agenda 21 Agenda 21 is a UN "action plan" to achieve sustainable development that came as a result of the 1992 Rio de Janeiro Conference on Economic Development – the so-called "Earth Summit" (www.un.org/esa/dsd/agenda21/). This was followed up by "Rio +5", which assessed the progress made toward Agenda 21 goals, and the 2002 "World Summit on Sustainable Development” held in Johannesburg, South Africa. Agenda 21 has a large number of recommendations, grouped into four main categories: • Social and Economic Dimensions addressing issues of poverty, environmentally sustainable consumption, health, population, and sustainable settlement • Conservation and Management of Resources for Development dealing with problems of deforestation, fragile environments and biological diversity, pollution, and biotechnology • Strengthening the Role of Major Groups dealing with the roles of children and youth, women, non-profit organizations, local political organizations, the business community and workers, indigenous people, and farmers • Means of Implementation dealing with the roles of science and technology transfer, education, international institutions, and financing mechanisms for all the work Since 2002, at least, there has been a growing voice among conspiracy theorists and far-right activists attacking Agenda 21 as a grand conspiracy to deprive people of their private property and individual rights and enslave them to a global government. However, it wasn’t until some of these activists plugged into the Tea Party movement that Agenda 21 became a broad-based rallying cry for opponents of all sorts of local ordinances and planning efforts.
even though supposedly aimed at benefitting poor countries. The idea that Agenda 21 is some sort of huge left-wing conspiracy to take over the world strikes these critics as laughable, given the almost complete inability of Agenda 21 to create any "sustainable" movement of its own. Local Planning It is even more surprising that critics oppose the sort of local planning efforts that are supposedly driven by Agenda 21 because in many cases the planning is aimed at preserving agriculture and rural communities against the impacts of urban sprawl and largely urban-caused pollution. Of course, some people see enormous dollar signs when thinking about selling off large amounts of land for tract homes and shopping malls, but most rural residents are more concerned with keeping traffic, crime, and dense development out of their rural lives and landscapes. However, these "smart growth" initiatives are the very things under the most intense attack. It really makes no sense that people would attack urban planning whose goal is to reduce urban impacts on the surrounding rural communities as an instance of urban elites presuming to impose their vision on rural folks, when the lack of these smart growth initiatives would almost certainly mean the continued rapid absorption of rural communities into urban orbits. Fear When people start seeing UN conspiracies in bike lanes and equate sustainability with communist bigbrother government, then the rationality of the thought process must be questioned. People clearly feel that they've lost control over their lives – 9/11, mortgage crisis, financial crisis, unemployment, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a black man as President
(hey, it matters to a lot of people, unfortunately), and the real sense in many rural and small town communities that they may not survive. In the US, we have had something like this a number of times. The first "Great Awakening" (late 1600s/early 1700s) happened when the population began to spread away from the coast into the "wilderness," congregations became more isolated and subject to the influence of charismatic itinerant preachers and people were faced with the difficulty of living up to the strict religious tenets of the "founders," leading many to search for a path that was more under individual control. In the 1830s & ’40s the US experienced the first big shift towards urbanization and manufacturing, causing severe economic dislocation. It led to the so-called "Second Great Awakening," lots of conspiracy theories, fads in health, and lots of new religious sects. We saw it in the South after the Civil War and with the difficulties of imposed Reconstruction, when AfricanAmericans began migrating north, in the 1910s when the first great wave of eastern and southern immigration hit and again in the 1930s after the Crash of 1929. In modern times, this sense of crisis and fear has led people to coalesce around a simple dichotomy of "the People" vs "the Elite". It is not that they are wrong about the basic problem, it's that those terms are so imprecise and fluid that they can be made to mean anything. For example, the Nazis were "national socialists" in name, but fascists in deed; they put forward a grossly distorted but highly attractive image of what constituted "the (German) People" and "the (Jewish) Elite," a dichotomy that still attracts admirers 80 years later. The problem is that these simple dichotomies can make people easier to manipulate. Just throw up one of their concerns, make it appear to be overwhelming in order to create real fear, and then offer them both an easy scapegoat and a hero. Keep doing this long enough and do it within the confined mainstream media spectrum we have (which is made even more confined by people's tendency when scared to go where they feel comfortable) and the "echo chamber" drives out any possibility of actual public life, which is to say, political life ("political" comes from the Greek "polis" or city - the place where people had their public lives). As FDR said, "we have nothing to fear, but fear itself." Unfortunately, many people have let fear grip them and are now actively working against some of the very policies and practices that could help them the most. The question that needs to be asked is: who is really benefitting from the confusion and fear that now reigns in local, state, and national politics. For more information, contact Michael Jensen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ECONOMY EIB GIVES INDUSTRY EVERYTHING: As usual IT'S THE PUBLIC WHO PAYS s expected by proponents of the statewide carbon pollution cap and trade law (Rule 350), the Environmental Improvement Board (EIB) unanimously voted in early February to repeal the controversial regulation. In deliberations that lasted about three hours, EIB based its decision on the belief that “Rule 350” would be too burdensome on the New Mexico economy and that the costs outweigh the benefits.
"The hearing initiated by EIB and PNM et al. was a very expensive formality," says Bruce Frederick, New Mexico Environmental Law Center (NMELC) Staff Attorney. "They essentially already agreed to repeal the regulations long before the hearings began. By law, EIB
Spring Festivals AT YOUR CO-OP SAVE THE DATES!
must be an impartial decision maker. In this case, however, it is not impartial." The NMELC and its client New Energy Economy (NEE), has fought for the protection of Rule 350 since the New Mexico Environment Department, the original champion for the Rule, began advocating for its repeal under Governor Susana Martinez. "It's a shame that this administration is pandering to the few monied voices and leaving the public out in the cold," says Frederick. "The regulations we support would have been an important regional solution to climate change at very little cost. What just occurred will cost tax payers much more - the public will pay higher rates for their energy and they will pay with their health." The NMELC plans to file an appeal for New Energy Economy. For more information go to www.nmelc.org
of CO-OP environmental awareness and action! ✿ 22nd Annual Earth Fest, Nob Hill Co-op, Sun., April 22, 10am-6pm ✿ Earth Day Santa Fe, Sat., April 28, 10am-3pm ✿ Valley Garden Party, Sat., May 5, 10am-3pm
DON’T MISS THEM!
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M O R E C O M P L I C AT E D T H A N A N Y O N E I M A G I N E D !
RNA, FOOD AND H E A LT H
and Devgen, a Belgian company, made corn plants that silence a gene essential for energy production in corn rootworms; ingestion wipes out the worms within 12 days.”
BY ARI LEVAUX hinese researchers have found small pieces of rice ribonucleic acid (RNA) in the blood and organs of humans who eat rice. The Nanjing University-based team showed that this genetic material will bind to receptors in human liver cells and influence the uptake of cholesterol from the blood.
Humans and insects have a lot in common, genetically. If miRNA can in fact survive the gut then it's entirely possible that miRNA intended to influence insect gene regulation could also affect humans.
Central Dogma? Monsanto's website states, "There is no need for, or value in testing the safety of GM foods in humans." This viewpoint, while good for business, is built on an understanding of genetics circa 1960. It follows what's called the "Central Dogma” of genetics, which postulates a oneway chain of command between DNA and the cells DNA governs. The Central Dogma resembles the process of ordering a pizza. The DNA codes for the kind of pizza it wants, and orders it. The RNA is the order slip, which communicates the specifics of that pizza to the cook. The finished and delivered pizza is analogous to the protein that DNA codes for. We've known for decades that the Central Dogma, though basically correct, is overly simplistic. For example: miRNAs that don't code for anything travel within cells silencing genes that are being expressed. So while one piece of DNA is ordering a pizza, it could also be bombarding the pizzeria with RNA signals that can cancel the delivery of other pizzas ordered by other bits of DNA. Researchers have been using this phenomena to their advantage in the form of small, engineered RNA strands that are virtually identical to miRNA. In a technique called RNA interference, or RNA knockdown, these small bits of RNA are used to turn off, or “knock down,” certain genes. RNA knockdown was first used commercially in 1994 to create the Flavor Savr, a tomato with increased shelf life. In 2007, several research teams began reporting success at engineering plant RNA to kill insect predators, by knocking down certain genes. As reported in MIT’s Technology Review on November 5, 2007, “Researchers at Monsanto
“SUBSTANTIAL EQUIVALENCE” is a pseudo-scientific concept manufactured primarily to create an excuse for not requiring biochemical or toxicological tests.
Substantial Equivalence Monsanto's claim that human toxicology tests are unwarranted is based on the doctrine of "substantial equivalence." According to substantial equivalence, comparisons between GM and non-GM crops need only investigate the end products of DNA expression. New DNA is not considered a threat in any other way. "So long as the introduced protein is determined to be safe, food from GM crops determined to be substantially equivalent is not expected to pose any health risks,” reads Monsanto’s web page. In other words, as long as the final product—the pizza, as it were—is non-toxic, the introduced DNA isn’t any different and doesn't pose a problem. For what it’s worth, if that principle were applied to intellectual property law, many of Monsanto’s patents would probably be null and void. Chen-Yu Zhang, the lead researcher on the Chinese RNA study, has made no comment regarding the implications of his work for the debate over the safety of GM food. Nonetheless, these discoveries help give shape to concerns about substantial equivalence that have been raised for years from within the scientific community. In 1999, a group of scientists wrote a letter titled "Beyond Substantial Equivalence" to the prestigious journal Nature. In the letter, Erik Millstone et. al.
N E W G M O F O O D A N D E N V I R O N M E N TA L T H R E AT
ow Chemical is currently requesting an unprecedented USDA approval: a genetically engineered (GE) version of corn that is resistant to 2,4-D, a major component of the highly toxic Agent Orange. Agent Orange was the chemical defoliant used by the US in Vietnam, and it caused lasting ecological damage as well as many serious medical conditions in both Vietnam veterans and the Vietnamese people.
Tell USDA To Do Its Job And Reject 2,4-D Resistant GE Corn! Exposure to 2,4-D has been linked to major health problems that include cancers (especially nonHodgkin’s lymphoma), lowered sperm counts, liver disease and Parkinson’s disease. A growing body of evidence from laboratory studies show that 2,4-D causes endocrine disruption, reproductive problems, neurotoxicity and immune system suppression. Further, industry’s own tests show that 2,4-D is contaminated with dioxins, a group of highly toxic chemical compounds that bio-accumulate, so even a minute amount can accumulate as it goes up the food chain, causing dangerous levels of exposure.
To these charges, Monsanto responded: "The concept of substantial equivalence was elaborated by international scientific and regulatory experts convened by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 1991, well before any biotechnology products were ready for market.” This response is less a rebuttal than a testimonial to Monsanto's prowess at handling regulatory affairs. Of course the term was established before any products were ready for the market. Doing so was a prerequisite to the global commercialization of GM crops. It created a legal framework for selling GM foods anywhere in the world that substantial equivalence was accepted. By the time substantial equivalence was adopted, Monsanto had already developed numerous GM crops and was actively grooming them for market.
The type of RNA in question is called microRNA (abbreviated to miRNA) due to its small size. MiRNAs have been studied extensively since their discovery ten years ago, and have been implicated as players in several human diseases including cancer, Alzheimer's, and diabetes. They usually function by turning down or shutting down certain genes. The Chinese research provides the first in vivo example of ingested plant miRNA surviving digestion and influencing human cell function in this way. Should the research survive peer review—a serious hurdle—it could prove a game changer in many fields. It would mean that we're eating not just vitamins, protein, and fuel, but gene regulators as well. That knowledge could deepen our understanding of many fields, illuminate new mechanisms for some metabolic disorders and perhaps explain how some herbal and modern medicines function. The work shows a pathway by which new food products, such as GM foods, could influence human health in previously unanticipated ways.
called substantial equivalence, "a pseudo-scientific concept" that is "inherently anti-scientific because it was created primarily to provide an excuse for not requiring biochemical or toxicological tests."
Dioxins in Agent Orange have been linked to many diseases, including birth defects in children of exposed parents; according to the EPA, 2,4-D is the seventh largest source of dioxins in the US. USDA approval of Dow’s GE corn will trigger a big increase in 2,4-D use – and exposure to this toxic herbicide. Yet USDA has not assessed how much, nor analyzed the resulting impacts on public health, the environment or neighboring farmers (2,4-D is prone to drift and cause damage to nearby crops). Instead, USDA has once again bowed to the pesticide industry, by giving preliminary approval to still another pesticide-promoting crop that will likely harm people and their children, including farmers, and the environment. For more info and to sign on to the petition that demands the USDA not approve Agent Orange Corn GO TO www.change. org/petitions or WRITE TO the USDA at: USDA Docket # Aphis 2010-0103 R.A.D., PPD. Aphis Station 3A-03.8 4700 River Road, Unit 118 Riverdale, MD, 20737-1238
Many GM fans will point out that if we do toxicity tests on GM foods, we should also have to do toxicity testing on every other kind of food in the world. But we’ve already done the testing on existing plants the hard way; by eating strange things and dying, or becoming ill, over thousands of years. A tomato with fish genes? That, to me, is a new plant and it should be tested. It’s time to re-write the rules to acknowledge how much more complicated genetic systems are than the legal regulations—and the corporations that have written them—give them credit for being. Monsanto isn’t doing itself any PR favors by claiming “no need for, or value in testing the safety of GM foods in humans." Admittedly, such testing can be difficult to construct – who really wants to volunteer to eat a bunch of GM corn just to see what happens? At the same time, if companies like Monsanto want to use processes like RNA interference to make plants that can kill insects via genetic pathways that might resemble our own, some kind of testing has to happen. A good place to start would be the testing of introduced DNA for other effects—miRNA-mediated or otherwise— beyond the specific proteins they code for. But the status quo, according to Monsanto’s web page, is, "There is no need to test the safety of DNA introduced into GM crops. DNA (and resulting RNA) is present in almost all foods. DNA is non-toxic and the presence of DNA, in and of itself, presents no hazard." Given what we know, that stance is arrogant; time will tell if it’s reckless. Given its opposition to the labeling of GM foods as well, it seems clear that Monsanto wants you to close your eyes, open your mouth, and swallow.
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The La Montanita Coop Connection is a monthly publication about food and issues affecting our local foodshed. Membership in La Montañita Co-...
Published on Sep 6, 2012
The La Montanita Coop Connection is a monthly publication about food and issues affecting our local foodshed. Membership in La Montañita Co-...