Crashing Monsanto’s Pesticide Party in Beijing

Crashing Monsanto's Pesticide Party in Beijing | monsanto-1024x674 | Agriculture & Farming codex alimentarius Environment General Health Sleuth Journal Special Interests

By: Scott C. Tips | 

NHF Slams the Global Pesticide Empire.

“A business that makes nothing but business is a poor business.”  – Henry Ford

They have been running amok for years, unchallenged. The Codex Alimentarius Committee on Pesticide Residues (CCPR) is their playground and they know it. Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont, Dow, Bayer, and other agrochemical companies – cozily snuggled together at Codex as the disarmingly named, front group CropLife – sent no fewer than 39 representatives to the 49th session of the CCPR meeting held in Beijing, China from April 24-29, 2017, to coerce, charm and bedazzle government regulators. And many of those regulators, especially the Australian and New Zealand ones, have long been seduced into believing that pesticides can be safely applied in near endless amounts and varieties. Or, they simply do not care about the ill-health effects of it all.

The Problem

That is why over 1 billion pounds of pesticides are used in the United States each and every year, while approximately 5.6 billion pounds are used worldwide.[1] In many developing countries, programs to control pesticide exposures are limited or non-existent. The agrochemical companies tell us these compounds are safe and are ensuring adequate food production to feed the World, but the facts tell us another story.

On January 24, 2017, the United Nations (UN) published a report in which it stated that although pesticide use has correlated with a rise in food production, it has had catastrophic impacts upon human health and the environment. The report went on to say that “[e]qually, increased food production has not succeeded in eliminating hunger worldwide. Reliance on hazardous pesticides is a short-term solution that undermines the rights to adequate food and health for present and future generations.” In fact, the UN blames pesticides for poisoning 200,000 people each year.[2] I think that figure is wildly conservative.[3]

Glyphosate tops the list of poisons applied every day to plants and soil that in turn destroy humans, animals, and our environment. Some 9.4 million tons of glyphosate have been spread on our fields. It is in our water table, our soil, crops, the food industry, and over 90% of Westerners have it in their bodies and even breastmilk. In fact, 33% of our bread contains glyphosate, the World’s biggest selling weed killer.[4] Despite industry assurances that glyphosate is “safe” and “environmentally friendly,” there is increasing awareness that glyphosate is nothing more than a replay of DDT with its similar pronouncements of “certified safe” and “completely harmless.”[5] In fact, some experts attribute tens of thousands of deaths to glyphosate usage.[6]

Worse, as Sayer Ji, founder of GreenMedInfo and NHF Vice-Chairman, has said, glyphosate is poisoning our soil, destroying our gut biome, and laying the foundation for destroying our ability to produce healthy foods for future generations.[7] Industry and regulators claim that glyphosate is safe for humans and animals because the means by which it kills weeds (the shikimate pathway) is not present in in humans and animals. However, the shikimate pathway is present in bacteria, which dominate human and animal gut biomes. The glyphosate preferentially destroys beneficial gut bacteria, thereby allowing disease and inflammation to take hold.[8]

The Solution

The quick solution to the glyphosate problem is to do exactly what was finally done to the nasty pesticide DDT: Ban it. Glyphosate is a deadly and persistent poison that affects more than just plant and animal and pollinator life, it harms many different aspects of the environment as well. And yet glyphosate is not the only herbicide and pesticide that deserves our immediate attention.

That was apparent at the most recent CCPR meeting in Beijing, where the National Health Federation (NHF) made its appearance as the only consumer group present to counter the heavy industry influence favoring pesticides over people and world trade over health. There, a growing list of approved and soon-to-be-approved pesticides was before the Committee for its consideration, a list that included chlorpyrifos-methyl, buprofezin, teflubenzuron, saflufenacil, fluazifop-p-butyl, flupyrdifurone, and glyphosate.

The Meeting

As I scanned that long list preparatory to speaking out for NHF the very first day of the meeting, I knew from past experience at other Codex meetings that the poison pushers at this meeting would be Monsanto, Dow AgroChemical, Syngenta, Bayer CropScience, BASF, Adama, DuPont Crop Protection, and Nichino (all under the umbrella of CropLife or else sprinkled amongst various country delegations) as well as Australia, New Zealand, and some other industry-captured countries. On the other hand, NHF’s allies would be the European Union (EU) and Norway, with the Codex Secretariat being a very fair referee providing a level playing field for all delegates. In the event, this assessment proved to be exactly true.

On their part, the poison pushers had their own chance to assess NHF’s position during a telephonic meeting held earlier for the U.S. Codex delegation. NHF attended through its Executive Director Katherine Carroll, who was the only one of the many on the conference call to make a strong argument against the pesticides. This led to the comment, made by one of the attendees, that “NHF will probably speak up at the Codex meeting.” Indeed, we did.

Armed with the research provided by talented NHF researcher Arya Vrilya and Katherine Carroll,[9] I then spoke out over the next four days against chlorpyrifos-methyl, buprofezin, teflubenzuron, saflufenacil, fluazifop-p-butyl, flupyrdifurone, glyphosate, and more. Depending upon the pesticide, NHF argued that they were carcinogenic, killed bees and other vital insects as well as aquatic life, and damaged the environment, including the oceans in the case of glyphosate.

The EU delegates Marco Castellina and Veerle Vanheusden were quite good and made “reservations” for the record about the draft Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) for numerous pesticides.  The Norway delegate tagged along for the ride with the EU, also stating its own reservations. However, know that when a country states a reservation about a particular pesticide, it is not opposing the advancement of that pesticide’s proposed MRLs to final adoption; rather, the country is simply stating that regardless of whether Codex adopts those MRLs or not, the “reserving” country will not be accepting that MRL within its country. At least European consumers will be protected from many of these dangerous pesticides.

I could tell that, compared to some of the other Codex committees, this one was accustomed to a rather sedate, cordial, and non-confrontational pace. CropLife, Australia, and the other members of the pro-poison crowd were obviously not used to having their dirty laundry questioned or even aired in committee. So, when NHF showed up as the only consumer and health-freedom group in attendance and began challenging these pesticides, calling them in the most un-PC language “poisons,” we were as welcome as a mother suddenly opening the door on a teenage slumber party.

On behalf of NHF members and consumers worldwide, I objected strenuously to the many pesticides already mentioned. These solitary objections in a roomful of hundreds of delegates reminded me of the same circumstances I had found myself in at the Food Additives Committee meeting in 2008 and the Contaminants Committee meeting in 2009 when I was the only one to speak against aluminum in food additives and melamine contamination levels in infant formula. A few years later and both committees had come around entirely to the NHF positions and adopted them.

NHF also supported the EU’s and Norway’s efforts to revise the so-called IESTI equations. IESTI stands for the “International Estimate of Short-Term Intake” and these mathematical equations are used to estimate one-day exposures to acutely toxic chemicals in foods.[10] The Europeans feel that the current IESTI equations used to set MRLs are not sufficiently protective enough of certain consumers and might result in short-term dietary exposure exceeding the Acute Reference Doses (ARfDs) even when the pesticide residue levels comply with the MRLs. NHF agrees, especially when one realizes that no one has ever really tested the synergistic and cumulative effects of these poisons nor considered that the safety studies submitted to regulatory agencies may be invalid.[11] Additionally, bio-individuality is never considered; individuals have differing abilities to properly detoxify poisons.  In the end, an electronic working group was established to explore changing the IESTI equations but it was quite plain that Australia, Kenya, and the United States, who are quite comfortable with the status quo, would simply play the “study it to death” game as they ran out the clock on any changes.

Mountains of Gold and Silver

Of course, CropLife and its captured regulators in Australia and New Zealand did all that they could during the meeting to advance pesticide MRLs that fail to protect consumers but do protect worldwide sales. The European countries seemed increasingly isolated in their efforts to protect consumers, while most member-country delegates either did not speak at all or only spoke once or twice.

The noble words of Chinese Vice-Minister of Agriculture Xinrong Yu, which had opened the session on the meeting’s first morning, had been all-too quickly forgotten by many delegates. Mr. Yu had commendably said, “We prefer the green hills of Earth rather than mountains of gold and silver.” And for those who might have missed the meaning of such poetry he was even more direct, “This is about consumer health.”

But where were the consumer advocates to stand beside NHF at this meeting and protect consumer health? There was the EU, Norway, and sometimes Chile; but notably absent were Consumers International (CI), the International Consumers Action Organization (IACFO), and the International Baby Formula Action Network (IBFAN), all so prominent at other Codex committees but not here. With glyphosate appearing routinely in the breast milk of nursing mothers around the World, one would think that IBFAN especially would cry out against that travesty here. Sadly and shockingly, there were no consumer organizations present to speak against the continued poisoning of our Planet, of our bodies, and of the bees except the National Health Federation, which has been speaking for health-interested individuals since 1955 and for the last two decades at Codex. Perhaps their budgets, as with NHF’s, does not permit them to attend every Codex meeting.

Vice-Minister Yu spoke no truer words when he mentioned the “mountains of gold and silver,” which, to my mind, accurately describes the goals of that $60-billion mega-corporation named Monsanto and others who would hide the truth about pesticide hazards. Perhaps that is why when the Report of this meeting was being read on the last day, April 29th, CropLife and its minions Australia and New Zealand tried very hard to delete NHF’s comments from the Report.

The Report

The reading and correction of the Report on the final meeting day, Saturday, began routinely enough. Some words were added to the Report, some were stricken. The Codex Secretariat – led by Tom Heilandt, Gracia Brisco and Annamaria Bruno and charged with preparing the draft report – had done its usual thorough job. Then, the attacks began.

First, New Zealand complained that NHF’s comment against chlorpyrifos-methyl should not be included, arguing that NHF had spoken against another substance. But as both the Codex Secretariat and the FAO representative had carefully resolved any doubt during the meeting, New Zealand’s complaint went nowhere.

Next, CropLife wanted NHF’s comment about the ecotoxicity of teflubenzuron stricken because Codex is supposed to be about human health and not ecological health. This provided me with a perfect opportunity to argue to the delegates once again how ecotoxicity leads to ill health and even death in humans and animals. CropLife would have been better off keeping its mouth shut because both the Codex Secretariat and Chairman Xiongwu Qiao rejected CropLife’s stingy demand anyway.

However, emboldened by CropLife’s attempt to strike NHF’s comments about teflubenzuron, Australia launched its own cheap shot against NHF by demanding that all of NHF’s comments be stricken from the Report! In my 18 years of participating in global policy-setting at Codex, this level of desperation by a country threatened by NHF has never occurred. NHF was clearly making headway. Keep in mind that the Australian Codex Office is nothing more than a regional field office of the pesticide industry and you will understand why Australia would do this. In my experience, Australia has never properly represented the health interests of its own citizens.[12]

Always the gentleman, the U.S. delegate David J. Miller refused to jump on the bandwagon and more sensibly proposed some wording changes that would preserve NHF’s comments.[13] But Australia argued on.

It was really the most ridiculous waste of time as Australia and CropLife showed how petty and desperate they were. The Codex Secretariat and the Chairman, however, acted properly and are to be much commended when they flatly refused to tolerate these cheap shots and instead made sure that NHF’s seven reported comments remained in the final record.

Fulvic Acid

As counterpoint to the carnage wreaked by pesticides worldwide, organic fulvic acids are created by soil-based micro-organisms to make minerals and other nutrients assimilable by plants. Importantly, fulvic acid can and will neutralize glyphosate[14] and even the deadly pesticide Paraquat.[15]

Our soils are sick from greed-based, irresponsible agricultural practices, pesticides, chemical fertilizers, erosion, and mineral depletion, all of which stop or reduce adequate microbial activity in the soil, rendering them sick and/or dead and sterile. Sick soils make for sick plants and sick plants make for sick humans and animals. The addition of fulvic acid to our diets and our soils may provide both a stop-gap and medium-term solution to this pesticide plague.

In the Meantime the Planet Dies

The fight rages on. There are victories, such as in the 55 lawsuits filed against Monsanto in Northern California, where the court recently ordered release of Monsanto e-mails and other documents showing probable collusion between the company and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.[16] And there are defeats, such as the recent decisions by the EU and Health Canada to extend approval of the weed killer Roundup® for another 15 years.[17]

One thing is certain, however, the truth about glyphosate and other dangerous pesticides is increasingly coming to light.  Its days on the market are numbered, no matter what Monsanto does. The only question is how much longer will people, animals, insects, fish, and our environment continue to be harmed and killed before these pesticides share the fate of DDT and are discarded? Even then we know full well contraband chemicals continue to be used globally. But I also know that NHF will not stop its efforts at Codex to halt the international trade in these poisons nor stop educating others of the dangers of listening to anything but firm science and common sense. After all, we too prefer the green hills of Earth to mountains of gold and silver.

© 2016 Scott C. Tips


[1] Michael C.R. Alavanja, “Pesticides Use and Exposure Extensive Worldwide,” Rev Environ Health, 2009 Oct–Dec; 24(4): 303-309, at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2946087/.

[2] Ryan Rifai, “UN: 200,000 die each year from pesticide poisoning,” Al-Jazeera, March 8, 2017, at http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/03/200000-die-year-pesticide-poisoning-170308140641105.html.

[3] Even the somewhat sexist Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF) stated almost five years ago that “pesticides and harmful chemicals cause more than 900,000 deaths annually.” See WECF, “Pesticides and harmful chemicals cause more than 900,000 deaths annually,” WECF website, Oct. 10, 2012, at http://www.wecf.eu/english/articles/2012/10/pesticides-africa.php.

[4] David Noakes, “The Glyphosate Killer,” Health Freedom News, Summer 2016, Vol. 34, No. 2, at p. 30.

[5] Dr. Joseph Mercola, “Toxic Combo of Roundup and Fertilizers Blamed for Tens of Thousands of Deaths,” Mercola.com, April 8, 2014, at http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/04/08/roundup-fertilizer.aspx.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Sayer Ji, “Roundup Herbicide Linked to Overgrowth of Deadly Bacteria,” Health Freedom News, Spring 2013, Vol. 31, No. 1, pp. 12-13.

[8] Dr. Joseph Mercola, “Roundup and Glyphosate Toxicity Have Been Grossly Underestimated,” Mercola.com, July 30, 2013, at http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/07/30/glyphosate-toxicity.aspx.

[9] Also an important member of the National Health Federation delegation at CCPR.

[10] WHO-FAO, “International Estimated Short-Term Intake (IESTI),” June 13, 2013, at http://www.who.int/foodsafety/chem/guidance_for_IESTI_calculation.pdf.

[11] Tyler Durden, “Monsanto Colluded With EPA, Was Unable To Prove Roundup Does Not Cause Cancer, Unsealed Court Docs Reveal,” Zero Hedge, March 15, 2017, at http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-14/court-docs-prove-monsanto-collusion-epa-kill-cancer-study-admits-cant-say-roundup-do.

[12] See, e.g., Scott Tips, “The Great Australian Health Mystery,” July 21, 2013, at https://www.thenhf.com/codex/our-work-at-codex/3886-89the-great-australian-health-mystery-why-is-there-a-great-divide-between-the-australian-people-and-their-government-on-health-by-scott-c-tips.

[13] At the U.S. delegation meeting held the night before the regular CCPR meeting started on April 24th, NHF heard one CropLife delegate after another pitch their poisons to Mr. Miller. Indeed, one CropLife man stayed after the meeting to ask for Miller’s help in pushing yet another new poison on the public. I overheard this and after the man left told Mr. Miller that NHF was very much concerned about the fact that he was only hearing one side of the issue, that except for NHF the public was not at the table, and that we expected him to remember that he represents the American public and not Big Ag. I also warned him that Monsanto had already been shown to be in collusion with the EPA and that we expected that would not be the case at this Codex meeting.  Mr. Miller politely listened during my monologue and then responded positively.  Nonetheless, it was clear from the U.S. interventions at CCPR that he was pushing the pesticide agenda.

[14] Matthew Kilby & Graeme Sait, “Successful Forest Farming, Nutrition is the Key,” Global Land Repair, undated, at http://www.globallandrepair.com.au/information/articles/successful-forest-farming/.

[15] Fisher, AM, Winterle, JS, & Mill, T, (1967) “Primary photochemical processes in photolysis mediated by humic substances,” in Zika RG & Cooper WJ (Editors), Photochemistry of environmental aquatic system, (ACS Symposium Series 327), Washington DC, American Chemical Society, pp. 141-156.

[16] Reynard Loki, “Has Monsanto Orchestrated A Massive Cancer Coverup? Unsealed Court Case Documents Point to a Scandal,” AlterNet, March 16, 2017, at http://www.alternet.org/environment/has-monsanto-orchestrated-massive-cancer-coverup-court-case-documents-point-troubling.

[17] Ciaran Moran, “Controversial weedkiller could be authorised for a further 15 years this week,” Farm Ireland, May 7, 2017, at http://www.independent.ie/business/farming/tillage/controversial-weedkiller-could-be-authorised-for-a-further-15-years-this-week-35648179.html; Health Canada, “Re-evaluation Decision RVD2017-01, Glyphosate,” April 28, 2017, at http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/pubs/pest/_decisions/rvd2017-01/index-eng.php.


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Small Space Gardening

Small Space Gardening | vertical-garden | Agriculture & Farming Organic Market Classifieds Organics

We don’t always have the option of moving out into the sprawling countryside to live off of the land. Our jobs dictate that we live near a city and, as a result, our yards are smaller and may not provide adequate space for a large garden. As well, those that are renting homes may also be limited on what they can do with a yard.

Patio or container gardens are a great solution to this issue. You can grow fruit trees, herbs, vegetables and fruits from the convenience of your patio while using underutilized space. As well, walls and window boxes can grow herbs, vegetables and fruits to make use of vertical space and provide you with a lovely focal point.

Urban and suburbanites can garden in their small spaces using vertical gardening and small space gardening techniques such as grow bags, vertical garden systems and containers. Some of the most popular are:

  • Vertical gardening systems
  • Window boxes
  • Grow bags
  • Containers
  • Garden boxes
  • Pallets
  • Hanging planters

Do some research on your part to determine what the best type of small space gardening is best for you. There is an unlimited amount of solutions you can find for this type of gardening on YouTube.

Plants Prefer Lots of Drainage

As well, ensure that your pots and containers have adequate drainage holes at the bottom. Plants do not like to sit in soggy soil and quickly develop root rot, as a result. Planting shallow-rooted plants such as small herbs, green leafy vegetables, strawberries, and green onions can be grown close to one another and will help plant roots stay shaded from the hot sun. This is a principle of xeriscaping and will also help to cut down on watering.

To keep plants healthy, water only when soil feels dry. The best way to determine when to water is to insert your index finger 2-3 inches into the soil. If the soil feels dry, it needs water. If it is still moist, then it can go another day until it needs to be watered.

Soil For All Seasons

Quality soil is essential in growing container plants. Because the plants will not get getting essential nutrients from the ground, you need to ensure that the soil you use is suitable for containers. Perlite, vermiculite, calcined clay (kitty litter), and sand are the mineral aggregates most commonly used in potting soils, and adding these would be beneficial to the success of your garden. The following is a mix that can support container plants for a year or two without additional fertilization.

Mix 2 gallons each of:

  • peat moss
  • perlite
  • compost
  • garden soil

with 1/2 cup each of:

  • dolomitic limestone
  • greensand
  • rock phosphate
  • kelp powder

Place a 1/2-inch mesh screen over my garden cart and sift the peat moss, compost, and garden soil to remove any large particles. Then add the remaining ingredients and turn the materials over repeatedly with a shovel, adding water if the mix seems dry. Source

What Kind of Plants to Grow?

Growing compact plants with smaller root systems is another way to garden in small spaces. Many herbs such as oregano, rosemary, thyme, lavender and sage will continue growing in most parts of the country and do not need to be replaced each season, thus making them wonderful additions to a year round patio garden.

Make a concerted effort to purchase heirloom quality seeds. These type of seeds are bred for their flavor and not their durability for shipping and mass distribution. Additionally, these seed types will produce fertile seeds that can be saved for subsequent growing seasons, which many sustainable-minded folks prefer. The following is a listing of plants that grow well in containers:

  • Bush tomatoes – requires staking
  • Peppers
  • Greens such as lettuce, spinach, mustard greens, kale
  • Cabbage
  • Cucumbers – requires a trellis
  • Green beans
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Turnips
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Radishes
  • Potatoes
  • Most herbs

As well, consider adding some colorful flowers such as petunias, marigolds, or roses to attract beneficial insects to help pollinate your patio garden.

My Personal Experience

On a personal note, even though I have an area of my yard devoted to larger-scale gardening, it is simple not large enough for what I want to accomplish, and I have decided to extend my garden on a back patio. This is the area where I have my herbs, lettuces and bush variety vegetable plants growing. I have found that I prefer container gardening because weeds are less likely to invade the growing space and the plants are so close I pay more attention to how they are growing.

I have utilized a lot of grow bags in my patio garden. In the grow bags, have planted potatoes, onions and strawberries and they are really doing great. I have my herbs and radishes planted in ceramic containers. My green beans, tomatoes and cucumbers are still not ready to be set out, but I plan on using 5-gallon plastic containers for them.

As one wise man once said, “There are never problems, only solutions.” Even though we don’t live in the sprawling countryside, you can still enjoy organic, homegrown vegetables and fruits from the convenience of your patio. This small investment will help your family save money at the grocery store, eat more healthy and have a lovely scenery to enjoy during the summer months.


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20 Medicinal Herbs That I Have in My Prepper Garden

20 Medicinal Herbs That I Have in My Prepper Garden | sage | Agriculture & Farming Natural Medicine

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” –  Hippocrates

So, many of you may be asking why I want to go to all the trouble and grow herbs and roots for natural healing. You can read about seven reasons why I started a medicinal garden, but in short, I wanted options at my disposal. From a preparedness standpoint, I know that infection and illness could be very prevalent in the aftermath of a disaster and accessibility to medical care will be difficult to find. As well, with the massive over-prescribing of antibiotics in our modern healthcare industry, today’s crop of antibiotics has become less effective. Let’s be honest, bacteria has a 4 billion year head start in the evolution and has been adapting to environmental changes since the beginning of time. The time will come when antibiotics will be moot in terms of its effectiveness.

I love natural remedies solely for their simplicity and worry-free use. It is difficult to overuse natural remedies, but more importantly, they have been used for centuries. While researching which medicinal plants I wanted in my garden, I made sure that many of them were hardy perennials that could perform multiple medicinal duties. I don’t have a lot of space where my herbal garden is, so the plants had to be exceptional. These 20 herbs made the cut and I couldn’t be more pleased with my choices.

Ready Nutrition writer and herbalist, Jeremiah Johnson has written extensively on how to cultivate a medicinal garden to use in a long-term emergency. His favorite medicinals are what he refers to as the 3 G’s: garlic, ginger, and ginseng. You can read his article on the subject.

  1. Angelica – This herb is one that everyone should be growing in their garden. It’s great for children, adults and the elderly. It has antibacterial properties, astringent properties can be used externally as a medicinal gargle for sore throats and mouths and as a medicinal poultice for broken bones, swellings, itching, and rheumatism. It is also known for strengthening the heart. A powder made from the dried root can be used for athlete’s foot, as well as an insecticide and pesticide.
  2. Calendula – Also known as pot marigold, this pretty yellow flower is believed to be one of “the greatest healing agent for all wounds.” It naturally cleanses wounds and promotes rapid healing. It slows bleeding in some cases. Marigold was also used as a toothache and headache preventative in the 1500’s in England. It is an excellent herb to have on hand for skin issues such as eczema, skin inflammations, soothing varicose veins, soothing chapped hands and can be used to reduce body scars. Commonly made into oil by soaking fresh or slightly dried plant parts in one’s choice of base oil, it can be applied topically to relieve all sorts of fungal infections.
  3. Catnip – Your cats may be drawn to this herb, but it has plenty of medicinal uses and a wonderful herb to have in the herbal medical cabinet. Most notably, it has sedative effects and helps calm the nervous system. Making a tea from this herb before bedtime will help settle the body. It also has anti-fever properties, as well as antibacterial effects. The compound can also be used to repel common insect pests such as mosquitoes and cockroaches. When nepetalactone is distilled, it is more effective than DEET than repelling mosquitoes. As a matter of fact, it is up to 10 times more effective in accordance with laboratory experiments conducted by isolating the compound via steam distillation. Read more about using this herb here.
  4. Chamomile – This herb is also most recognized by its sedative effects, but has more to offer than just that.  The flowers can be strained out of the tea and placed into a warm compress to use on ear infections. Tea compresses and tea rinses can be used to gently treat eye problems. It also has the power to assist in comforting the effects of indigestion, morning sickness, nervousness, neuralgia, painful periods and assists as a sleeping agent.
  5. Comfrey – I just added comfrey to my garden this year. Not only does it have medicinal values, but can be used as a nutritional supplement to livestock and used as a fertilizer because it is high in potassium. To make a liquid fertilizer: chop off the top of a comfrey plant and throw the leaves in a bucket. Cover with water and let them rot into green liquid… then water whatever needs a boost. Medicinally speaking, comfrey is also known as “one of nature’s greatest medicinal herbs.” It helps heal wounds and mend broken bones, and even helps to bring fevers down. Nutritionally, it is a good source of vitamin C and calcium.
  6. Echinacea – Although the root is most widely used for its medicinal purposes, truly the entire plant can be used. This herb strengthens the body’s ability to resist infection and stimulates the production of white blood cells.  Echinacea stimulates the body in non-chronic illness such as colds, bronchitis, sore throats, abscesses and for recurrences of yeast infections. Echinacea can also be taken as an anti-inflammatory for arthritis. A gargling solution can also be made with the tea to use with a sore throat.  For cases that are not strep throat related: add 10-16 drops of water or to sage or ginger tea and use as a gargling agent.  If a person is fighting strep throat: every two hours, gargle with the above-mentioned teas to which add a drop full of echinacea extract.
  7. Garlic – This is simply a must-have in your garden. Its medicinal uses are too extensive to list but can be read in more detail here. In short, it is effective in preventing the common cold, reducing recovery time, and reducing symptom duration. An infused oil can be made from garlic to treat wounds and ear infections. And, I need not mention all of its culinary uses.
  8. Ginger – the medicinal value of this root is amazing. In fact, recent studies have revealed that ginger may be stronger than chemo in fighting cancer. It’s truly a remarkable medicinal to have in your garden. Here are 8 more benefits of ginger.
  9. Ginseng – This herbal powerhouse assists with nervous disorders, helps alleviate symptoms related to cardiovascular and blood disorders, is beneficial for diabetics as it reduces the amount of blood sugar in patients with mild to moderate diabetes, inhibits the formation of tumors and helps as a cancer preventative, and helps to minimize the effects of X-rays and radiation produced by radiation therapy as well as negative effects caused by free radicals are minimized and reduced by the adaptogens in ginseng.  Read more here.
  10. Lemon balm – This is one of my favorite herbs. This herb is great for adding a light lemon flavor to dishes, but I love it for its sedative qualities. If you have problems sleeping, this is a great herb to take before bedtime. The aromatic properties help with alertness and can sharpen memory. It is also a good herb for diabetics to use as it helps regulate blood sugar. The antioxidant properties present in this herb are also beneficial.
  11. Lavender – This is a great multipurpose herb to grow. Not only is it a calming aromatic, but it has antiseptic properties, assists with burns, can be used as a stress reliever, good for depression, aids skin health and beauty. Here are 15 more ways to use lavender medicinally.
  12. Peppermint – This aromatic herb is great for digestive aid, and dispels headaches. Peppermint tea will also assist in overcoming muscle spasms and cramps. Due to the camphor present in peppermint, if peppermint is applied to a wet washcloth it can externally relieve pain. This herb also helps clear sinus infections.  Apply a large, warm peppermint pack to the sinus area.
  13. Onion – Onions might not be at the top of your healthy snack list, but you should make efforts to include them regularly in your diet, nonetheless. They help to fight insulin resistance, have anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and antibacterial uses, and are powerful antioxidants. They even help to relieve congestions. A time-tested effective cough syrup can also be made from onions. Read more about onion’s health benefits.
  14. Oregano – This little herb works as a savory culinary herb and a potent medicinal herb, as well. Most importantly, it is a powerful antibiotic and has been proven to be more effective in neutralizing germs than some chemical antibiotics. It has been effective against germs like Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli, Yersinia enterocolitis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. An extract of its essential oil can be made to treat fungal infections and skin issues like dandruff, dermatitis, psoriasis and eczema. Carvacrol and thymol, the powerful enzymes in oregano, help to combat fungal and bacterial infections.
  15. Rose hip – Not only are roses beautiful, but they can assist in boosting our immunity, as well. Rose hips are high in vitamin C and if rosehips are made into a syrup it also”provides a welcome boost of vitamin D, something that should be welcomed when our exposure to sunlight is minimal and our vitamin D manufacture is at its lowest. Vitamin A is naturally present in the rose hips so pregnant women should seek medical advice before taking rose hip syrup.”
  16. Rosemary – This highly aromatic plant is used today in any number of organic products to help alleviate bone and muscle soreness, reduce anxiety and promote well-being.
  17. Sage – It’s anti-inflammatory properties also make this an effective herb. This herb can also be used in aiding anxiety, nervous disorders, used as an astringent. There are aromatherapy qualities to this herb and have been known to lift depression. Rubbing the sage leaves across the teeth can be used to effectively clean the teeth and assist in bad breath. American Indians used this herb as a fever reducer.  Sage has antiseptic properties and the leaves can be chewed to cleanse the system of impurities or made into a tea. Sage has also been known to assist with hot flashes associated with menopause. If a person has stomach troubles, cold sage tea can be used to alleviate the symptoms. Sage can also be used to treat the flu.  Using the tea before and during any type of epidemics and to hasten healing during a flu attack. Sage leaves can be wrapped around a wound like a band-aid to help heal the wound faster.
  18. Thyme – I have multiple thyme plants in my garden and allow them to creep over rocks in my garden. Thyme can help alleviate gastric problems such as wind, colic and bad breath, helps with bronchial disorders, shortness of breath and symptoms related to colds. If it also effective in fighting sore throat and post nasal drip. If a person has whooping cough, make a syrup of thyme tea and honey to help treat the disease. Thyme can also be used to treat a fever.
  19. Toothache plant – My medicinal garden wouldn’t be complete without some dental aides too. The toothache plant has a powerful numbing effect and works great for inflammation of the gums, lips, and mucous membranes of the mouth, and it can be used as toothpaste. It can also be used to alleviate those with asthma and allergies. It also is a powerful antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. The toothache plant also contains B-Sitostenone it also lowers blood sugar. Other notable qualities are that it lowers blood pressure, chronic fatigue and is a natural pain reliever to all parts of the body.
  20. Yarrow – This plant was a favorite among Native American tribes who would use it to control bleeding, heal wounds and infections. It can also be effective in cleaning wounds and to control bleeding caused by puncture wounds, lacerations, and abrasions.

Don’t feel handcuffed to using only these herbs in your garden. Think about what future health issues you may have to deal with and plan(t) for them. Even tobacco has its medicinal uses. There are also medicinal weeds that you may want to locate in your yard and cultivate for the future.

Once you get your medicinal garden going, start experimenting with making your own medicinal pantry. Here are some ideas:

In the future, I plan on adding mullein, plantain, marshmallow and some cayenne peppers. What medicinals are you growing in your garden? Share them in the comments section to help our community!


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Poison Peddlers

Poison Peddlers | roundup-weedkiller-glyphosate-1024x682 | Agriculture & Farming Petitions Toxins

(image: Getty)

It’s probably not in your garage, or on your shopping list.

But how many of your neighbors will spray their lawns and gardens this summer with Roundup herbicide, thus exposing you (and your family and pets)—possibly without your knowledge and definitely against your wishes—to Monsanto’s cancer-causing chemicals?

If the answer is one, it’s one too many.

With everything we’ve learned about the health risks of exposure to Roundup (and its key active ingredient, glyphosate), and the lengths to which Monsanto has gone to hide those risks, no ethical retailer should still be selling Roundup to consumers.

On one of its Roundup product labels, Monsanto boasts: “Kills Weeds not the Lawn.” What the label doesn’t tell you is that Roundup can also kill people—just ask the hundreds of people suing Monsanto for failing to warn them that Roundup is linked to non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

It’s time for big retail chains to stop peddling poison. Period.

TAKE ACTION: Tell Amazon, Home Depot and Walmart: Stop Selling Monsanto’s Roundup!

Post your comments and share this petition on Facebook (Amazon, Home Depot, Walmart).

Tweet @Amazon and @HomeDepot and @Walmart


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Source: Alternative news journal

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7 Reasons Why You Should Have a Medicinal Garden

7 Reasons Why You Should Have a Medicinal Garden | herb-garden | Agriculture & Farming Natural Medicine Organics

Growing medicinal plants are a great way to ensure garden sustainability and more notably, have access to natural medicine when you need it most. When I introduced more herbs in my garden, I noticed it had a profound impact on the vegetables and fruits I was growing. It also encouraged beneficial insects and birds to visit my garden and this helped cut down on plants being eaten.

Because of this observation, I changed my focus from solely growing to eat and, instead, worked to create a welcoming growing environment. Not only were my plants healthier, but I had access to natural herbs to use for making extracts and poultices. The following are reasons I feel gardeners should adopt adding medicinal herbs to the garden.

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7 Reasons Why You Should Have a Medicinal Garden

  1. Have access to multiple forms of natural medicine for future needs. When you have fresh cut herbs to use for natural medicine, you have access to the freshest forms of their healing properties. For example, what if you cut your hand and did not have a bandage. Did you know that the sage leaf can be wrapped around a wound and used as a natural band-aid? Or, if the bleeding from that cut was so bad that it wouldn’t stop. Did you know that a few shakes of some cayenne pepper can help control the bleed? Or, if you have a severe bruise, make a poultice. It’s one of the easiest and fastest ways to use herbal medicine.
  2. Calm your senses with medicinal teas. Herbs like lavender, lemon balm, chamomile, catnip, and peppermint have a natural sedative quality to them to help calm your spirits or help you sleep better at night. Taking a handful of leaves and adding them to a cup of hot water will create a soothing cup of herbal tea. Here are some great herbal tea remedies to start with.
  3. Many medicinal plants and herbs are perennials and will come back year after year. The more established the plants are, the more they will produce each year. This will save you money in the long run! I bought a small oregano plant three years ago and it is the size of a small shrub. I have so much oregano now that I can use it for culinary uses and experiment with making my own tinctures and astringents. As well, my echinacea has produced so many “baby” plants that I have dug them up and transferred them to another part of my property where I am creating another medicinal garden.
  4. Feed your livestock! Livestock can also benefit from growing herbs in the garden.  Not only can they be added for additional nutrition, but you can use herbs to make natural cleansing shampoos and even clean wounds. Some herbs I feed my animals are oregano, comfrey, lavender, mint, and sage.  Note: not all herbs are healthy for your livestock, so do research to find out which ones are good for your animals.
  5. Another added benefit of having a thriving medicinal garden is that bees love it! This promotes bee sustainability and a healthier garden, as well. The blossoms put out by the flowers and herbs will attract bees that will, in turn, happily pollinate your vegetable and fruits. Consider planting some of these beneficial flowers in addition to herbs:
    • Asters (Aster/Callistephus)
    • Sunflowers (Helianthus/Tithonia)
    • Salvia (Salvia/Farinacea-Strata/Splendens)
    • Bee balm (Monarda)
    • Hyssop (Agastache)
    • Mint (Mentha)
    • Cleome / Spider flower (Cleome)
    • Thyme (Thymus)
    • Poppy (Papaver/Eschscholzia)
    • California poppies (Eschscholzia)
    • Bachelor’s buttons (Centaurea)
    • Lavender (Lavandula)
  6. Regrow from cuttings on your windowsill. Herbs like rosemary, lavender, mint, cilantro, oregano, marjoram, basil, sage, lemon balm, and thyme are perfect for starting in a glass or canning jar. Simply add water and set in indirect sunlight – it’s that simple! Read more here.
  7. Herbs can be great companion plants for the vegetable garden. Don’t feel handcuffed to only growing vegetables, but herbs can be planted nearby to do double duty as companion plants. Companion planting can also help control the insect balance in your garden and repel some of the more unwanted guests like mosquitoes. Some favorite companion herbs are pairing basil with tomatoes, chamomile near cucumbers, garlic planted near apple, pear and peach trees, roses, cucumbers, peas, lettuce or celery. Read more about which herbs are great companions here.

Ready Nutrition writer and herbalist, Jeremiah Johnson has written extensively on how to cultivate a medicinal garden to use in a long-term emergency. His favorite medicinals are what he refers to as the 3 G’s: garlic, ginger, and ginseng. You can read his article on the subject.

To better understand natural medicine and using herbals for health, I strongly recommend you read more on the subject. The following books come highly recommended:

Herbal Antibiotics: Natural Alternatives for Treating Drug-Resistant Bacteria,” by Stephen Harrod Buhner.

Prepper’s Natural Medicine: Life-Saving Herbs, Essential Oils and Natural Remedies for When There is No Doctor, by Cat Ellis (Herbal Prepper)

This is not a new gardening concept, yet is still not widely used. When you are planting your garden, consider adding a few herbs and watch the benefits grow before your eyes.


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7 Laws Of Gardening: Time-Tested Tips For Growing A Successful Garden

7 Laws Of Gardening: Time-Tested Tips For Growing A Successful Garden | gardener | Agriculture & Farming Organic Market Classifieds Organics

We all have the best of intentions in the beginning of summer. We plan on spending the season growing a beautiful lush garden. As the summer drags on, avoiding the heat becomes the top priority. From the neglect, your garden suffers. The plants may not be thriving, there may be bug infestations, or root rot. Inevitably, if there are enough issues, you give up altogether and call it a summer.

What you may not realize is there are laws that you must follow to ensure your plants have the best environment to thrive in. These gardening laws are essential in giving your plants a fighting chance at giving you a big harvest.

7 Laws For Successful Gardening

1. Start with good quality seeds. Seed quality plays an important role in a successful garden. As such, it is important to know seed characteristics such as trueness to variety, germination percentage, purity, vigor, and appearance are important to farmers planting crops and to homeowners establishing lawns and gardens. Further, growing heirloom seed varieties will ensure you can collect the seeds for subsequent harvests.

2. Feed the soil. Your plants need nutrients in order to grow healthy and produce fruit and vegetables. Ensuring they have these present in the soil will save you time and money on fertilizer.

I love incorporating the lasagna-style or sheet mulch gardening with the square foot gardening method. This is the best opportunity to introduce compostables to the soil. Composting is a great way to provide some added nutrients and condition the soil. Fertilizers will give the plants just what they need to produce healthy fruit. Building your own composter can help you make use of any organic materials, as well as getting onto the journey to self-sustainment. I also add soil amenders to make my soil really healthy. Some of the amenders I use are:

You can purchase these items at a garden store, online or find a local source on Craigslist. I recently purchased 60 pounds of earthworm castings for twenty-five dollars. Not a bad deal, if you ask me.

3. Balance the amount of sunlight with the ideal temperatures. Who  knew gardening was a balancing act? But in order to get a good harvest, you have to balance to amount of sunlight your plan gets with the ideal temperature. If your garden or patio area receives full sun all day long, it can wreak havoc on your gardening endeavors. Keep in mind that plants need at least six to eight hours of sunlight to grow to their maximum potential. That said, the temperature plays a key role in plant health. Keeping plants between 70-90 degrees F will help the plants grow to their potential. Transplants especially will benefit from shade cloth. There are different percentages of shade cloth ranging from 25% – 70% or more. This will allow you block out the heat from the sun and help the plant thrive. All you need to do is drape the cloth over a support structure. Many gardeners use ladders, pvc hoop-style structures, or purchase products specifically manufactured to support shade cloth. Here are plans to build a shape canopy for the garden using pvc pipe. Read more here.

4. Regular waterings will prevent plant stress. Having an irrigation system in place with a timer will be less work for you and will ensure your plants are getting a balanced amount of moisture at each watering. This also will help you not over-water your plants which can be just as bad as not watering at all.

5. Protect the roots with mulch. Mulching the roots is a trade secret many successful gardeners use to protect the plant’s delicate root structures and prevent weeds from growing. You can use fallen leaves, straw, wood chips or newspaper to shade the roots. This will keep the roots moist and not stress the plant out during the warmest parts of the day. As well, the natural mulch will compost down over time and help your soil in the process.

 6. Talk to your plants. I know that I’m going to get some comments about how crazy I am for listing this, but I believe in talking to your plants. While there is no evidence to suggest that plants respond to affection, some plants do have a limited ability to communicate with one another. Though plants lack the ability to receive and process sound waves, evidence suggests that some plants can communicate with each other through the use of chemical signals. Additionally, vibrations that travel through the soil or in the air may have an effect on plant growth. It may be possible for plants to pick up on the vibrations created by human speech and maybe even by the chemical signals that humans release without knowing it.

7. Give your plants some friends. Many use companion planting in organic gardens to let nature do most of the work instead of chemicals. In theory, using this type of gardening, essentially creates an agroecosystem. Nothing goes to waste and everything is interdependent. The bi-products of these plants (dead heads, frail looking plants, etc.) can be used as soil conditioners. This makes for great efficiency and good use of space. Read more about which companion plants to use in vegetable, fruit and herb gardens.

Above all, visit your garden regularly. When you spend time in the garden, you will be less likely to neglect it. By following these simple laws of gardening, you can have a successful garden, year after year.

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Big Dairy Continues War Against Farmers and Raw Milk

Big Dairy Continues War Against Farmers and Raw Milk | glass-of-milk | Agriculture & Farming General Health Special Interests

Increasing numbers of Americans are seeking out unpasteurized, or raw, dairy products — both for the health benefits and the flavor. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), meanwhile, has released a report that’s clearly an attempt to squelch the growing enthusiasm for obtaining farm-fresh foods like raw milk and cheese.1

The report is only an estimate, made using a model relying on publicly available outbreak data, so it’s far from an exact science. Further, the outbreak numbers are very small. According to the report, dairy consumption causes an average of 760 illnesses and 22 hospitalizations a year. Of those, they claim that 96 percent are caused by contaminated unpasteurized milk.

Statements made in the study suggest it may be used as cannon fodder for government to act against the interest of food freedom, especially in terms of loosening the nonsensical regulations that make it difficult if not impossible for so many Americans to access this natural food.

For instance, the CDC said: “An easing of regulations has allowed greater access to unpasteurized milk in recent years, and this study shows that illnesses and hospitalizations will rise as consumption of unpasteurized dairy products increases” — an assumption that paves the way for raw milk regulations, already a topic of heated debate, to be tightened.

Also curious is the fact that the study specifically looked at raw dairy contaminated with escherichia coli (E. coli), salmonella, listeria and campylobacter — the latter of which is commonly found contaminating produce and CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) chickens!

Campylobacter — No. 1 Cause of Food Poisoning in the US — Is a CAFO Chicken Bug

Salmonella has been the leading cause of foodborne illness in the U.S. for the last 20 years, but as of 2016 it’s been unseated by campylobacter. In April 2017, the CDC released a preliminary report stating that 8,547 cases of the more than 24,000 foodborne infections reported in 2016 were caused by campylobacter (compared to 8,172 caused by salmonella).2

It’s likely not a coincidence that these two bugs are then singled out as major drivers of outbreaks related to unpasteurized dairy. The CDC report noted, ” … [O]utbreak-related illnesses will increase steadily as unpasteurized dairy consumption grows, likely driven largely by salmonellosis and campylobacteriosis.”3

It seems strange to peg campylobacter as a “raw milk germ,” when it’s regularly detected in CAFO chicken sold in U.S. supermarkets. According to the CDC, “Campylobacter was found on 47 percent of raw chicken samples bought in grocery stores and tested through the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS).”4 The CDC also states:5

“Most cases of campylobacteriosis are associated with eating raw or undercooked poultry meat or from cross-contamination of other foods by these items … Even one drop of juice from raw chicken meat can have enough campylobacter in it to infect a person!

One way to become infected is to cut poultry meat on a cutting board, and then use the unwashed cutting board or utensil to prepare vegetables or other raw or lightly cooked foods.”

Also revealing, while campylobacter is the bacteria responsible for most cases of foodborne illness, leafy greens are actually the No. 1 source of food poisoning in the U.S, accounting for nearly half of all illnesses.6 It would seem to be a mystery why, then, raw dairy is considered worthy of banning, until you understand that it’s seen as a direct competitor to Big Dairy.

Preventing Farmers From Selling Raw Milk to You Facilitates Price Fixing, Consolidation of Big Dairy

The war against raw milk has been one of the most successful, fear-based campaigns ever created to monopolize an industry. As long as farmers are prevented from selling to consumers directly, processors can and do price fix the market, ultimately leading to the intentional destruction of small, family dairy farms and consolidation of CAFO dairy farms using taxpayer-funded subsidies.7

As CAFOs became the norm for dairy farms (even in idyllic-seeming dairy states like Vermont), farmers were forced to grow their herds and increase milk production using artificial (drug and hormone-based) methods, among others (like feeding cows an unnatural amount of grain-based food, 24-hour confinement and increased number of milkings per day).

The price of milk is now so low that an average-sized dairy farm in Vermont (about 125 cows) is operating at a loss of $100,000 a year. It’s gotten so bad that farmers in Vermont only get about $14 for 11.6 gallons of milk, which cost about $22 to produce. So they’re essentially paying about $8 to sell 11.6 gallons of milk.8

Corporate Giants Benefit When Milk Prices Tank

In 2016, the industrial dairy industry dumped 43 million gallons of milk due to a massive milk glut. The glut was the result of a 2014 spike in milk prices, which encouraged many dairy farmers to add more milk cows to their farms. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data showed that dairy cows increased by 40,000 in 2016, with a 1.4 percent increase in production per cow.

With too much milk and nowhere to sell it, prices tanked. Milk prices declined 22 percent in recent months to $16.39 per 100 pounds — a price so low some farmers could no longer afford to even transport it to the market.9 As VT Digger reported:10

“The only happy faces in the Vermont dairy industry are Ben & Jerry’s, Cabot Cheese, Dean Foods, and a few other conventional milk users. They are happy because they are making huge profits at the same time that milk prices to farmers are hovering in the $13 to $15 range for 100 pounds of milk (11.6 gallons). The farmers are not happy since they are hemorrhaging money — lots of money — since it costs about $22 to produce that 100 pounds of milk.

Both St. Albans Co-op, which supplies Ben & Jerry’s, and Agri-Mark, which supplies Cabot, have been losing an increasing number of farmers to bankruptcy because of too much conventional milk and low prices; all this, while their corporate profits soar.”

Raw Milk Cheese Culture Is Booming in the US

Raw milk cheese is so common in Europe that you can even find it in vending machines, while in the U.S. federal regulators have been threatening to ban raw milk products, including raw cheese, due to what they claim are increased safety risks — safety risks that have been greatly overblown.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) surveyed more than 1,600 raw milk cheeses in 2014 and found only 10 of them, or 0.62 percent, contained listeria.11 Not to mention that, in the U.S., raw milk cheese is aged 60 days before being sold to consumers. In some types of cheeses, such as Gruyere, this process leads to a lower-moisture, more acidic environment that discourages the growth of pathogens like listeria.12 And there’s a reason why many award-winning cheeses are made from raw milk.

Piero Sardo, president and scientific adviser of the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity and Cheese, explains some of them in the video above.13 Pennsylvania cheesemaker Sue Miller also explained to Mother Nature Network:14

“There are all these great enzymes living in the milk when it’s raw that create flavor profiles. When milk is pasteurized, they get extinguished so you have to add cultures to accentuate the flavors of the milk … I’d love for people to really try raw milk cheese. In Europe people don’t want pasteurized cheese. They know how good raw milk cheese is.”

‘Food Freedom’ Bill in North Dakota Excludes Raw Milk

As more Americans demand the right to purchase and consume locally sourced food of their own choosing, increasing numbers of states are introducing legislation to loosen restrictions regarding intrastate sales of raw milk. Raw milk, by the way, is the only food banned from interstate commerce.

In North Dakota, House Bill 1433 would have allowed farmers to sell raw milk directly to consumers. As it stands, North Dakotans who wish to purchase raw milk must purchase a share of the cow or herd. The “Food Freedom” bill also includes other measures, like a cottage food operator provision that allows people to produce and package food made in a home kitchen, as well as an exemption from grading eggs that come from a producer’s own flock.

Well, the bill passed easily in April 2017 — but only after the raw milk sales were removed.15 In Montana, meanwhile, House Bill 325 was voted down by the Senate. The bill would have allowed for limited sales of raw milk.16 However, efforts continue across the U.S. to expand access to raw milk and, in so doing, protect people’s right to eat and drink what they please. The Durango Herald reported:17

“Efforts to legalize raw milk sales in some form have succeeded in 42 states, and expansion pushes are ongoing this year in states including Illinois, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, Rhode Island, North Dakota and Texas.”

State Rep. Nancy Balance, who sponsored the Montana bill, added, “It’s time for the state government to get out of our kitchens and end this control of what we choose to eat and drink.” Sen. Anne Gobi of Massachusetts, who sponsored a state bill that would allow farmers with 12 or fewer cows or goats to sell raw milk, further told the Herald:18

“Raw milk is one area that can help farmers to sustain and grow their dairy business … The opportunity to be able to create a larger market and better marketing ability will be a great assist to our farmers.”

Your help is needed. Please DONATE NOW to support raw milk farmers and help provide funds so they can continue with the tough legal challenges that are required to fend off these government assaults against our right to quality GMO-free, soy-free and organic grassfed foods from the farmers we know and respect. To be an important part of this fight please consider helping with any amount you can.

What’s Really Causing Massive Rates of Foodborne Illness?While the CDC continues to point the finger at raw milk, the reality is that large-scale food production and global distribution means that if bacteria are present, they quickly contaminate massive batches of food, which gets widely distributed, sometimes globally. Even the dangerous and increasingly drug-resistant Clostridium difficile may be spreading via food distribution, according to preliminary research presented at the 27th European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.19

The absurdity of targeting raw milk becomes even clearer when contrasted with the real culprits in many cases of food-borne illness: CAFOs. The majority of foods that are making people sick are not coming from small organic farms selling raw milk products. They’re coming from CAFOs and the mega-companies that use their products, along with processed foods. Listeria may live inside the tissue of romaine lettuce leaves, which means even sanitizing it may not remove the pathogen.20

In 2017, salmonella was also detected in jalapeno-flavored potato chips21 and frozen brownies (packaged alongside frozen chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese),22 while listeria was found in frozen pizzas.23 The bottom line is that bad bugs are found in many food products during random sampling, which means, if you use the same justification used to vilify raw milk, virtually all foods would be banned.

Do You Believe in Food Freedom?

Truth be told, many people should not consume dairy whether it is raw or pasteurized, as they are allergic to the milk proteins. Additionally, if you’re insulin resistant, you would likely be better off avoiding raw and pasteurized milk, as it contains the dairy sugar lactose, which can worsen insulin/leptin resistance.

However, if you are healthy and want to drink milk, grass fed raw milk from a high-quality source is generally superior in nutrition and flavor. It will also help to decrease the likelihood of insulin spikes from the milk sugar, courtesy of the thick layer of cream on top.

But whether you’re a milk drinker or not, there’s no doubt that you should have the option of choosing what to eat and from what sources. This is why the fight over raw milk stands as a symbol of the much larger fight for food freedom. Who gets to decide what you eat? You or the FDA?

If the FDA and other government agencies are allowed to impose their view of “safe food” on consumers, raw milk won’t be the only thing lost — one day virtually all food could be pasteurized, irradiated and/or genetically engineered.

The effort to reclaim your right to buy and consume raw milk is leading the way for everyone who wants to be able to obtain the food of their choice from the source of their choice. So please, get involved! I urge you to get involved with the following action plan to protect your right to choose your own foods:

  1. Get informed: Visit www.farmtoconsumer.org or click here to sign up for action alerts. To review the raw milk laws in your state, see Farm-to-Consumer.org’s Raw Milk Nation page.
  2. Join the fight for your rights: The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) is the only organization of its kind. This 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization provides a legal defense for farmers who are being pursued by the government for distributing foods directly to consumers. Your donations, although not tax deductible, will be used to support the litigation and legislative and lobbying efforts of the FTCLDF.
  3. Support your local farmers: Getting your raw milk from a local organic farm or co-op is one of the best ways to ensure you’re getting high-quality milk. You can locate a raw milk source near you at the Campaign for Real Milk website. California residents can find raw milk retailers by using the store locator available at www.OrganicPastures.com.

As with all foods, the source matters, and this is just as true with raw milk as any other food. If you’re interested in raw milk, here are tips for finding high-quality raw milk sources.


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DIY: 10 Herbal Tea Blends You Can Grow In Your Garden

DIY: 10 Herbal Tea Blends You Can Grow In Your Garden | chamomile | Agriculture & Farming Natural Medicine Organic Market Classifieds Organics

From a sustainability standpoint, herbs are one of the easiest plants to produce. Many of the herbs we grow are perennials and will produce for many years. Drying herbs is a great way to save money and use for cooking or to enjoy for aromatherapy needs. That said, we haven’t completely put these perennials to their full potential.

Harvesting Your Tea

Growing your own herbal tea blends is almost effortless. Many herbs prefer to be on the “dry” side during the growing season, so you can skip a few waterings and they will be ok. In fact, many herbs can be grown in containers on a sunny window sill or patio. Most herbs will fit into a 1 gallon sized growing pot, but make sure your container has a nice-sized hole so that surplus water can drain away. Herbs do not prefer to have their roots sitting in water or saturated soil. A larger volume of potting mix dries out more slowly, so use the largest pot you can. It’s better to combine two or more plants in a large pot than to use several little pots.  Further, fertilize your herbs once a month to ensure your herbs have adequate nutrients.

Prune your herbs regularly to harvest the tender leaves. This will also keep plants bushy and discourage them from blooming; often, blooming will change the flavor of the leaves. Harvest the oldest stems individually with scissors rather than pruning the whole plant to keep a steady stream of leaves coming.

As well, if you are using fruit trees, when you are pruning them, save the leaves and cut leaves or blossoms to make teas with. Harvest the leaves, blossoms, or the root in some cases such as ginger, dandelion and echinacea, and thoroughly dry outdoors for 10 days, or use your food dehydrator at a setting of 95 degrees Farenheit until completely dry.

Some of the easiest herbs I have grown are:

  • Mint
  • Lemon Balm
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Dandelion
  • Calendula
  • Lavender
  • Stevia

And, the easy fruit bearing plants I grow are:

  • Rose hips
  • Lemons
  • Blackberry
  • Strawberry

Harvesting Tips:

  • Most herbs are at their peak just before they bloom.
  • Harvest all your herbs at the end of the season, once a frost is forecast. You can dry the herbs whole and store for winter teas or for use as seasonings.
  • Harvest early in the day, after the dew has dried, but while the herbs are still lush in the cool of the morning.
  • Be careful not to tear or crush the herbs until you are ready to use them. You don’t want to waste any of the essential oils.

Tea blends can make great gifts for friends and family! You can easily make homemade tea bags out of coffee filters. For an easy tutorial, follow these instructions. My family usually enjoys a cup of tea with raw honey and some fresh lemon, but that is not always the case. Here are some of my favorite tea blends.

10 Delicious Herbal Tea Blends

Tension Soother

  • 4 teaspoons lavender
  • 3 teaspoons chamomile
  • 2 teaspoons lemon balm
  • 2 teaspoons rose petals

Tummy Tamer

  • 1 teaspoon Calendula
  • 1 teaspoon chamomile blossoms
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed

Sleepy Blend

  • 1 teaspoon chamomile
  • 1 teaspoon lemon balm leaves
  • 1 teaspoon catnip
  • 1 teaspoon lavender flowers

Immune Booster

  • 4 tablespoons rose hips
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon chips
  • 1 teaspoon hibiscus flowers
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • ½ teaspoon lemon peel

Cold/Flu Tea

  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 teaspoons thyme
  • 1 teaspoon sage leaves
  • 1/4 cup dried echinacea leaves
  • ¼ cup dried peppermint leaves
  • ¼ cup dried lemon balm leaves
  • 3 tablespoons dried elderberries or ¼ cup dried elder flowers

Autumn Blend

  • 3 teaspoons nettle leaf
  • 2 teaspoons spearmint leaf
  • 2 teaspoons lemon balm
  • 1 teaspoon mullein leaf
  • two teaspoons dandelion leaf and root, combined
  • 1 teaspoon rose hips
  • 1 teaspoon ginger root (dried cut and sifted)
  • 4 cups of water

Winter Blend

  • Juice of two oranges (approx 1 cup)
  • 3 teaspoons dried pomegranate seeds
  • 1 4″ cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 4 black tea bags
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 4 cups water

Pregnancy Blend

*check with your healthcare provider to make sure this blend is right for you.

  • 3 teaspoons dried red raspberry leaves
  • 2 teaspoons dried rose hips
  • 1 teaspoon dried nettle
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon chips
  • ½ teaspoon dried fennel seed
  • ¼ teaspoon dried spearmint leaves

PMS Tea Blend

  • 2 teaspoons chamomile
  • 2 teaspoons nettle
  • 2 teaspoons red raspberry leaf
  • 1 teaspoon lemon balm

Chai Spice Mix

  • 3 tablespoons cardamom
  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 4 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons allspice
  • 4 teaspoons ground ginger

Tea Preparation:

To make a nice tasting cup of tea, first warm your teapot with scalding-hot water. Then place your ingredients directly in the pot (or tea ball). For a mild tea, pour 1 cup of boiling water over 2 tsp. of dried leaves or blossoms. Cover the cup with a lid or plate (this helps keep the vital nutrients and beneficial properties of the herbs in the cup and not evaporating into the air). Let steep for at least 10 minutes. Serve the hot drink “as is”, or — if you wish — flavor it with grated fruit rind, lemon juice, or honey. For a greater medicinal effect, make a decoction by gently boiling 1/4 cup of the tea blend in 1 qt. of water until about half of the water has boiled off. Drink 2-3 small cups of the tea daily.

Storing Your Tea Blends

After mixing up your favorite blend of herb tea, add them to a glass jar and store in a dark place. I use large mason jars for storing my tea blends. As a general rule, figure on about one to two teaspoons of dried herb(s) per cup of tea. (Double the amount of ingredients if you’re using fresh herbs.) And remember that you can get more flavor out of the leaves, blossoms, and berries if they are crushed before using.

Consider adding these medicinal plants to your garden and enjoy them year after year. In addition to tea blends, many of these herbs can be used for other natural medicinal needs, such as salves, lotions, tinctures and decoctions.


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4 Secrets to Becoming a Successful Gardener

4 Secrets to Becoming a Successful Gardener | garden | Agriculture & Farming Organics Special Interests

Gardening is a skill and anyone who tells you something different is not being totally honest.  That being said, having a successful gardening experience depends on many outside factors including, but not limited to soil conditions, available sunlight, the length of the growing season, seed quality, pest control and even a bit of luck.  Still, many of these factors can be overcome with skill, perseverance, and experience.

In this article, Dan Chiras shares his time-proven tips on what it takes to become a successful gardener.

If Dan’s name sounds familiar, it is because he is the author of two Prepper Book Festival titles, Survive in Style: The Prepper’s Guide to Living Comfortably through Disasters and Power From the Sun: A Practical Guide to Solar Electricity.  Today, however, the focus is on gardening and on acquiring a much-converted green thumb.

Growing a Green Thumb

Over the years, many people with whom I’ve discussed gardening confess to lacking a green thumb. My response is always the same: gardening is a lot easier than you’d think. With a little knowledge, anyone can graduate into that elite cadre of green-thumb gardeners.

If you’d like to be one of them, read on. I’ll let you in on the main secrets of successful gardening.

Green Thumb Gardeners are Soil Builders

Individuals with the greenest thumbs are typically those with the richest soils. Although a gardener may have purchased a home that came with a yard endowed with rich topsoil, the excellent soil in which they grow their fruits and vegetables is most likely due to the fact that they’ve spent several years building it. That is, they have enriched their soil with good old organic compost.

Great gardeners are also avid “mulchers.” Mulch is a layer of organic material like straw or bark that reduces the evaporation of water from the soil. This, in turn, helps plants meet their needs, even on blisteringly hot days. It also helps you by reducing the amount of water you need to apply to your garden. It saves energy, water, and time.

Mulch also helps hold weeds at bay. If you’ve applied a thick enough layer, mulch will prevent weeds from growing. They can’t get the sunlight they need. Those weeds that do manage to pry their way through the mulch are much easier to pull. Weeds come up more easily when yanked from moist soils.

Moist soils also increase the likelihood you will remove most, if not all, of their roots when you pull them out. If severed, roots of weeds often give rise to new plants. Whatever you do, don’t cut weeds off at the base of the stem and leave the roots in place. Some weeds (like Russian thistle) come back with a vengeance. So, be sure to pull weeds root and all.

Mulch decomposes over time, adding to your soil’s fertility. There’s no need to dig it in. Just keep adding mulch on top of old mulch that’s breaking down and becoming part of your topsoil. That’s the way Mother Nature builds soil.

Remember this green thumb aspirants: nourish and protect your soil with compost and mulch and it will return the favor many times over.

4 Secrets to Becoming a Successful Gardener | Dan-Chiras-Green-Garden-400x299 | Agriculture & Farming Organics Special Interests

Here is a photo showing Dan’s bountiful green garden.

Green Thumb Gardeners are Vigilant

Another key factor that contributes to a green thumb is vigilance. In my experience, the most successful gardeners are the most attentive. They’re in their gardens every day or two pulling weeds while they (the weeds, that is) are still young. They also keep an eye on their plants for signs of disease or insect damage. When they spot a problem, they address it quickly.

Attentive gardeners also pay close attention to weather and soil moisture and use these parameters to determine when watering should occur. They don’t necessarily follow a watering schedule. That’s because how often you need to water your garden and how much water you need to apply depends on many factors, such as the temperature, rainfall, and humidity, the organic content of your topsoil, the water requirements of plants, and how much mulch you have applied.

An accomplished gardener doesn’t water because it’s been five days since he or she last hauled out the sprinkler. He or she waters when the soil and plants say “How about a drink?”

The best way to determine when it’s time to water is to dig into the soil with your hands or a trowel. If the soil’s moist an inch or so down, and your plants have established deep root systems, you can probably hold off on watering. If the soil is dry, retrieve the hose and sprinkler from your garden shed and take care of things.

An ever-vigilant gardener pays attention to his or her plants for wilting leaves. They are a tell-tale sign that the soil is drying out. Water immediately. Better yet, pay closer attention to soil moisture content and weather so plants don’t have to cry out for emergency action.

4 Secrets to Becoming a Successful Gardener | Dan-Chiras-Tomatos-400x400 | Agriculture & Farming Organics Special Interests

Vigilance is important at harvest time, too. Overlook a zucchini for a day or two and it will transform into a log suitable for building a small log cabin or carving out a dugout canoe. If you don’t check your green beans during the harvest season very often, you’ll find those tender green beans have grown large and become leathery.

A Green-Thumb Gardener Knows Plants

Successful gardeners understand that not all plants are created equal. Some like acidic soil. Some like sandy soil. Some like lots of sunshine. Some thrive in partial sun or shade.

While that seems like a lot of information to hold in your cranium, it doesn’t take long to understand the requirements of common vegetables and flowers. Seed packets can help you learn about the requirements of fruits, vegetables, berries, and flowers you’d like to grow. Read the information that comes with seedlings you purchase at your local nursery. Books on gardening also contain a wealth of information on the topic.

Armed with this knowledge, head to your garden to plot a strategy for successfully planting sun lovers and the rest of the gang. Veggies that grow well in partial sun, are typically delegated to the less sunny locations in a garden or are planted in the shade of taller plants like tomatoes and corn.

It’s Not about the Tools

A green-thumb isn’t about owning a lot of fancy tools or the latest garden gadgets. You just have to build great soil and then continue to replenish it with compost and mulch each year until you hang up your gardening gloves one last time.

You need to be vigilant, as well, paying attention to weeds, disease, wilting, insects, and soil moisture. A two-minute stroll through your garden each day is all that it takes. It’s a great time to have that evening glass of wine.

A great gardener watches the weather and tends to her garden as dictated by temperature, rainfall, and humidity. Lest we forget, a great gardener plants according to their plants’ needs for sunshine.

There’s more to being a successful garden, but that’s it in a nutshell. If your life is too busy to start a garden, consider hiring someone to help out. Or, enroll your children and/or spouse to help with this task. Kids often love to garden alongside eager adults! If the world goes to hell in a hand basket, your garden will be up and running.

To learn more about food self-sufficiency through gardening, check out my book, Survive in Style: The Prepper’s Guide to Living Comfortably through Disasters.  It is available on my website and also at Lehman’s along with all of my other books.

Additional Resources

There are plenty of great resources available for free on the internet.  Here are a few.

For more information on composting, log on to http://www.howtocompost.org/.

For mulching, visit http://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/outdoors/landscaping/mulch-your-way-to-better-landscape-design.

And for tips on irrigating a garden go to https://cals.arizona.edu/pubs/garden/mg/vegetable/irrigating.html.

The Final Word

In my younger years, I had a reputation for having a green thumb.  It came naturally, or so I thought.  Initially, I did all of my gardening in containers.  Later, as I expanded to raise beds, I realized that having a green thumb was not a natural trait. It was a skill.

Whether you have gardened successfully in the past or are just getting started, Dan’s secrets, and especially his emphasis on building up the soil, are well taken.  I don’t know about you, but I am ready to get started!

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


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We’re All Tenant Farmers: Oregon Plans to Douse Azure Standard Organic Farm in Pesticide (VIDEO)

We’re All Tenant Farmers: Oregon Plans to Douse Azure Standard Organic Farm in Pesticide (VIDEO) | azure-standard | Agriculture & Farming Multimedia Organics Special Interests

If you buy organic products, chances are you have heard of Azure Standard, which is sort of like a mobile co-op that delivers well-priced organic food and products in bulk to drop-off points around the country.

Now that idyllic 2000-acre organic farm, which has produced reasonably priced organic wheat, field peas, barley, Einkorn, and beef for thousands of people across the country, is about to be sprayed against their will with Roundup and other harmful pesticides, due to a ruling from their local municipality about invasive plants.

Oregon state law requires farms to control noxious weeds. In this case, the weed in question is the Canadian Thistle. Sherman County appears to be concerned that Azure has not taken enough steps to eradicate the weed and decided they’ll do it themselves, to the detriment of Azure’s long-standing, 18-year organic certification and their livelihood as organic farmers.

Just in case you were under the misconception that we actually own our land and can decide what happens to it in this country, it appears that we’re tenant farmers with no options if the local government decides to wipe us out:

“Sherman County may be issuing a Court Order on May 22, 2017, to quarantine Azure Farms and possibly to spray the whole farm with poisonous herbicides, contaminating them with Milestone, Escort and Roundup herbicides.

This will destroy all the efforts Azure Farms has made for years to produce the very cleanest and healthiest food humanly possible. About 2,000 organic acres would be impacted; that is about 1.5 times the size of the city center of Philadelphia that is about to be sprayed with noxious, toxic, polluting herbicides.

The county would then put a lien on the farm to pay for the expense of the labor and chemicals used.” (source)

So not only will they poison the crops and kill off Azure’s livelihood, they’ll charge them for it. That’s a brazen insult on top of the injury.

Here’s how you can help Azure Standard.

There is just under a week before this would occur. Here’s what WE can all do.

If you are concerned about where your food comes from, enjoy Organic and non-GMO food grown in the United States, and support organic farmers, contact Sherman County Court before May 22, 2017 (and preferably before May 17 when the next court discussion will be held).

Contact info:

  1. Via email at lhernandez@co.sherman.or.us or…
  2. Call Lauren at 541-565-3416.

Raise your voice and speak up for you and your families and communities.

This proposed action is completely unreasonable and would destroy an organic farm and pollute a massive area. If enough voices that benefit from organic produce speak up, the county will understand that there are people that care about their food NOT containing toxic chemicals. And if the supporters of healthy food can have a louder voice than the supporters of toxic chemicals, every politician will listen. PLEASE take action today and share this message. Overwhelm the Sherman County representatives with your voice. (source)

I’ve already sent my email and will be making a call later today. Get on board and do the same. And share this article with everyone you know so that we can make our voices heard.

Update: Here are the email addresses of the entire county commission. Please be civil when you contact them, as swearing, threatening, and being rude means your message is lost to the delete bin.

County Commissioners Tom McCoy & Joe Dabulskis along with Administrative Assistant

  • tmccoy@gorge.net
  • joedab3jma@gmail.com
  • lhernandez@co.sherman.or.us

It’s bad enough that everything in the grocery store is already tainted. Actions like this take away our choice to avoid toxic pesticides and poisons in our food. We should have the right to buy organic, but if local governments take away the right to grow organic, we’ll have nothing left to eat than the standard fare.

If we stand by and do nothing but shake our heads sadly, we’ll soon be stuck without dietary options.

An Organic Farm Under Threat from Azure Standard on Vimeo.


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The post We’re All Tenant Farmers: Oregon Plans to Douse Azure Standard Organic Farm in Pesticide (VIDEO) appeared first on The Sleuth Journal.


Source: Alternative news journal

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