Gardening for peace and love

Gardening

From Hippie Peace Freaks

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Seattle’s First Urban Food Forest Will Be Open To Foragers

Now, Washington state has jumped on the foraging bandwagon with plans to develop a 7-acre public plot into a food forest. The kicker? The lot sits smack in the middle of Seattle.

The idea is to give members of the working-class neighborhood of Beacon Hill the chance to pick plants scattered throughout the park – dubbed the Beacon Food Forest. It will feature fruit-bearing perennials —  apples, pears, plums, grapes, blueberries, raspberries and more.

A Food Forest is a gardening technique or land management system that mimics a woodland ecosystem but substitutes in edible trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals. Fruit and nut trees are the upper level, while below are berry shrubs, edible perennials and annuals. Companions or beneficial plants are included to attract insects for natural pest management while some plants are soil amenders providing nitrogen and mulch. Together they create relationships to form a forest garden ecosystem able to produce high yields of food with less maintenance.

(From Beacon Food Forest)

Happy Earth Day !

“The earth is what we all have in common.”

Wendell Berry

Mother Earth
Today is Earth Day, a day to appreciate Earth and the environment. People celebrate Earth Day in many ways: Some clean up their local park, others work on educational efforts or even donate to their favorite environmental charity. What can you do to honor Mother Earth?

Danielle Nierenberg suggests the following 13 Things Everyone Can Do in 2013:

1. Eat more colors

The colors of fruits and vegetables are signs of nutritional content. A richly-colored red tomato has high levels of carotenoids such as lycopene, which the American Cancer Society reports can help prevent cancer, as well as heart disease.

2. Buy food with less packaging

Discarded packaging makes up around one-third of non-industrial solid waste in industrialized countries, with negative impacts on the climate, and air and water quality. Choosing foods with less packaging can also be better for our waistlines, since highly processed foods that are low in nutrients generally use more packaging than more healthful, less processed options.

3. Choose seasonal produce

Earth Day offers a great opportunity to bring more seasonal fruits and vegetables into diets. Many farmers markets sell products that are in season. Locally sourced, seasonal products can also be found at major grocery stores.

4. Get in touch with agriculture

This time of year, many people are starting to plan vacations. A great way to skip the crowds, save money, and get both children and adults in touch with agriculture is to book a farm-stay.

5. Get creative in the kitchen

Shopping at farmers markets, which often have a wide selection of less-ordinary produce such as celeriac, sunchokes, or kohlrabi, can prevent “food ruts” by helping consumers try new foods.

6. Invest in perennial crops

Perennial plants — plants that grow back every year — tend to hold water in soil more effectively than annuals and help prevent erosion. Their extensive roots also allow them to better access nutrients and water, reducing the need for artificial fertilizer.

7. Reclaim abandoned spaces

As populations continue to expand, especially in cities, reclaiming unused land and buildings for food production can help meet growing demand.

8. Build local and global food communities

A great way to get involved in food and agriculture issues is with Slow Food International, an organization with more than 1,300 groups around the world called convivia. These groups support healthy, sustainable diets and traditional food cultures.

9. DIY

Many Do-It-Yourself (DIY) food projects are easy and fun. Turning old t-shirts into produce bags to save plastic, starting seeds in eggshells, which can then be crushed for transplanting into the soil, and DIY foods such as homemade oat or almond milk can all add a creative twist to healthy eating and sustainable agriculture. Plus, they are lots of fun for families.

10. Cook in batches and freeze for later

Planning meals in advance can help reduce stress around cooking. It also helps reduce food waste, which is a big problem in industrialized countries A great way to reduce waste and make planning easy is to cook large batches of a single meal, such as soups or curries, which can be frozen and reused on short notice later in the week.

11. Brighten your outlook

At the recent Warwick Economics Summit in February, Warwick University Economics Professor Dr. Andrew Oswald presented his research on health and happiness, focusing on the link between happiness and consumption of fruits and vegetables. His team of researchers found that eating more fruits and vegetables directly improves a person’s mental well-being, separate from other variables such as income level and how much meat a person ate. This research is supported by a similar study from the Harvard School of Public Health, which found a link between patients’ blood-level of carotenoids, compounds commonly found in colorful fruits and vegetables, and their feelings of optimism.

12. Use crop rotation

Crop rotation is an important way to preserve soil nutrients, prevent erosion, and protect against crop diseases and pests.

13. Embrace conviviality around the table

Talking and laughing while sharing food is a uniquely human experience. Conviviality, joyful and friendly interaction, is found at markets and around the dinner table, and it supports healthy relationships and healthy bodies.

Let’s every day be the Earth Day 🙂

THE END

Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side…

“Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.”

Mark Twain

From Freaking News

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“In a war you see people as they really are, and the truth may be the opposite to what you would expect… When fear and hunger set in, people forgot the ties of friendship and looked out for their own families, but as fear grew, and the likelihood of dying increased, even family members could be forgotten; people then thought only of keeping themselves alive…

The parachute drops began… The only way you could know where they’d landed was the loud cracking sound of the pallet hitting the ground. And when you heard that sound, you knew that if you were ever underneath it, you’d be squashed into pate.

When you reached the pallet, there was more danger. People were desperate; they would be searching in groups, carrying knives for opening the pallets, and may be guns – and people would steal those weapons from others if they got the chance. I usually went with another girl, my friend Nermina, and we would look out for each other. Sometimes knives would slash at your fingers when you reached for the food. Two girls were shot by a man spraying bullets to keep people back; one of them never regained the use of her legs. And these people were all on the same side!…

My worst experience of the parachute drops was when a pallet landed in a large, deep, pit-like hole. I was with a group of friends and when we got to that hole and looked down, we saw a mass of people, about two hundred of them, fighting and shouting over the food… One of my friends gave me a pistol to look after while he was in the hole grabbing for food… I was on the edge of the hole…, when a man who had been running around muttering and cursing to himself suddenly produced a grenade and began waving it around. He was crazy with rage because he had missed out on the food packs.

‘I’ll kill you. I’ll kill you all you bastards,’ he shouted above the clamour of fighting. Everyone fell silent. He was just a few metres from me. I knew that man; I went to school with his daughter; and their family were distant cousins of ours. He was holding the pin of the grenade. ‘I’ll pull this. I will.’

I raised the pistol that was in my hand. ‘Move your finger and I’ll shoot you.’

‘You’ll be dead,” he said. “This grenade will kill you.’

‘I don’t care. You can kill us all but you’ll die first.’… My finger was on the trigger….

Then he turned and walked away….”

(from ‘Escape from Bosnia’ as told to Sue McCauley)