Farmers’ Market in Springtime

Tomatero Organic Farm

We are so lucky to live here in Marin County where the Farmers’ Market is year round. It can look a bit sparse during the winter months, not all the vendors come year round, but there is always fresh greens of some kind.

Now, though, I’m seeing more variety. Here are some images from last week’s Market.

The picture above is the stall for Tomatero Organic Farm. They have one of the largest stalls and there is usually a long line of people checking out. They are known here for the different varieties of strawberries they sell. All are wonderfully juicy and tasty.

The other large vendor that always has a large and beautifully arranged booth is Capay Organic Farm.

Capay Organic

Capay Organic

Last week was the first time I saw cherries and blueberries. Yum

Cherries

Blueberries

Still lots of other fruit available. Soon we’ll have stone fruits – peaches, plums, nectarines.

Oranges

It’s planting season for tomatoes. Lots of starter plants available.

Tomato plants

Finally, some beautiful flowering plants for sale.

Roses

Flowers

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Convergences

Ralph Nader

I went to hear Ralph Nader this evening at our local independent bookstore – Book Passage – talking about his new book Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State. There was a large crowd to hear him, and it included a fair number of young people.

He started with the conclusion – “It’s easier that we think.”

The book is about convergences. It’s about getting past the Left-Right, Liberal-Conservative, Red State-Blue State feuding that paralyses this country and finding areas of common ground on 25 key issues, including:

  • UunstoppableRequiring the Department of Defense budget be audited annually
  • Adjust the minimum wage to inflation
  • Break up the “Too Big to Fail” banks
  • Push community self-reliance
  • Revise trade agreements
  • End corporate personhood
  • End the ineffective war on drugs
  • Prioritize the protection of the environment

Two issues that resonated with me were:

  • Protect children from commercialism and it physical and mental exploitation and harm
  • Oppose the patenting of life forms, including human genes

Nader talked about going to a meeting of evangelicals a few years ago and getting a standing ovation after his talk about protecting children from rampant commercialism. Through direct marketing aimed at children, parents have lost control over what their children see and the choices they make. We are raising a generation of children who have been marketed to eat junk foods, and buy addictive products such as tobacco, alcohol and medications. The results of this are record levels of child obesity and young teens dealing with addictions. This is an issue that needs convergence to take on the hucksters who are profiting off of our children.

The issue of patenting life forms touches on GMO products, but also the work done and patents issued on gene research. But it is especially in the area of GMO labeling that the corporate state dominates. According to Nader, 90% of the American people want labeling on genetically engineered foods. However, Monsanto has prevailed over the majority. There is a growing movement to get labeling laws passed at state and local levels, but a nationwide movement is needed.

We have to reclaim our power and make the people in Washington, DC or state legislatures address them by speaking up, marching, writing letters, making phone calls and – most importantly – getting people to vote. When politicians know that people are engaged and willing to vote for or against them based on how well they listen to them, things will get done. Several examples of this was stopping the move to intervene in Syria in 2013 and the grassroots effort to stop the Orwellian-named Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) a few years ago.

It doesn’t take a lot of people to make these convergences work, usually less than 1% of the population, but it takes persistence and talking to people to help these ideas spread.

I would like to add a few more convergences that I think could find some common ground. They are:

  • Food labeling
  • Subsidizing organic foods – fruits and vegetables

Along with the labeling of GMOs, we also need to revise the current food labeling laws so that we get more information about the types and amounts of sugars in food and clearer information about harmful additives.

In this country, as I’ve written about before, we subsidize the foods that make us overweight and sick, instead of organic fruits and vegetables. There are large numbers of people who want to eat healthy, but find they can’t afford these products. It’s time to make our voices heard on this issue.

Nader is a realist – he’s been doing this work too long to be otherwise – he knows that there are challenges in making these convergences happen. But he comes back to the conclusion – It’s easier than we think.

Let’s get to work!

Action Items for a Better Planet, a Better You

Elizabeth Kucinich

I found a great article by Elizabeth Kucinich, policy director at the Center for Food Safety and wife of former congressman and presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich. They are both vegan and animal rights activists.

The article We Can Reverse Climate Change by the Way We Grow Food, has information about the research and studies showing the impacts of how we grow and process food is ruining our environment.

After laying out the research, she provides some concrete steps we can all take to improve the situation and also your health

What can you do to help mitigate climate change?

  • Grow or buy local
  • Buy organic
  • Reduce food waste — 50 percent of food produced in America is wasted
  • Eliminate industrial meat, dairy and eggs from your diet and reduce overall consumption of animal products and if choosing to eat meat, seek out 100 percent grassfed products.
  • Protect local agricultural land from land grabs and wasteful development

What will this do for you?

  • Reduce your consumption of and exposure to chemicals
  • Reduce your carbon footprint
  • Increase your health — a diet rich in plant-based foods can help reverse diseases can reduce the risk of health problems such as Type II diabetes, heart disease,and high cholesterol whereas meat and dairy can increase these risks
  • Increase your food security by supporting your regional foodshed.

Reading Elizabeth’s bio, I found out she was an Executive Producer for the documentary GMO OMG. Here’s the trailer. I can’t wait to see this.

What’s In Season In Your Area? There’s a Map for That

seasonal_map

I found this great resource – thanks to a tweet from @TopIngredients retweeted by @veggiebeet – on the Epicurious site. It shows what produce are at their peak in your state during the 12 months of the year – at least in those areas where there is a yearly growing season.

There are links from the list of what’s fresh to recipes, cooking tips and more.

What a great resource. Now that I’m living in California – where we have year-round farmers’ markets – I’m looking forward to fresh, local produce all year.

The National Heirloom Expo – Sept 10-13 – Santa Rosa, CA

The National Heirloom Exposition is a not-for-profit event centered around the pure food movement, heirloom vegetables, and anti-GMO activism. The second annual event held mid-September 2012 in Santa Rosa, California drew more than 14,000 people from around the country and beyond. With more than 100 speakers and 300 natural food vendors, the event was the largest gathering in pure food history! The Heirloom Expo has gained incredible interest among home growers, farmers, school groups and the general public–so much so that it is being called the “World’s Fair of Pure Food”!

The Heirloom Expo