Good For Community. Good For The Earth. Good For You…

Disasters in the Gulf
May 3, 2010, 8:13 pm
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Five thousand barrels of oil are pouring into the Gulf of Mexico from a major oil leak more than 5,000 feet below the surface of the ocean, per day. The potential environmental devastation likely to be caused by this oil spill is being called “unprecedented”. All over the news officials are making statements and pledges to assure the public that everything possible is being done in response to the accident. Over a thousand personnel and a hundred ships are battling the spill, as well as a small airforce of planes and helicopters being used to monitor the slick and dump tens of thousands of gallons of chemical dispersant on the spill. But despite all the efforts being made to contain and stop the leak, it is pretty obvious that a quick fix and a total clean up is impossible. No matter how much money, equipment, technology and effort is thrown at this problem, it is almost guaranteed to end in catastrophic damage to the environment.

This isn’t the first time that ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico have been threatened by toxic substances from human activity. Excessive nutrient runoff in rivers such as the Mississippi and the Atchafalaya, has created unnaturally high nitrate levels in the river deltas and large areas of the northern Gulf of Mexico. This condition of “Hypoxia”, or low oxygen, has created a “Dead Zone” that can no longer support living aquatic organisms. Now, there is still some debate around the specific causes and sources of all the excessive nitrogen creating the dead zone, but it seems pretty obvious that it’s another man made problem. It’s also pretty difficult to deny that a leading contributor of excessive nutrient runoff is chemical based fertilizer that washes into various river systems from farmers’ fields. However, the cause and effect of this environmental catastrophe isn’t as easy to pin point as the obvious leak from the BP oil well that currently threatens the Gulf of Mexico. When a disaster of this magnitude happens suddenly and has a single cause that can be blamed, it’s easy to point our fingers at the culprit and demand an immediate response and some lasting consequences. It’s easy to demand and expect some real change. But when it comes to the complicated issue of polluting our waterways, where fertilizer runoff is only one part of the problem, it’s a lot harder to measure the effects and also a lot harder to convince an industry to make changes.

One can only hope that events like this will cause our industrial world to stop and rethink the way we are doing things, and realize the true price that is paid by the environment as a consequence of our insatiable desire for cheap energy and cheap food, and excessive consumption of natural resources. Hopefully, we will start to find more environmentally responsible ways of producing food and energy, without the need for a disaster to motivate us.


On Your Mark, Get Set, GO!!
April 8, 2010, 9:38 pm
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I can not believe spring is here. In my head it is still February. This winter seemed to go by so quickly it feels like I missed it altogether. OK, that’s not true I remember quite vividly the -35 weather!!

I have been starting to think about all the things that need to be addressed in the very near future. Obviously for most farmer they are starting to get prepared and thinking about the state of their fields and what the year will look like for them. When they will start, will there be enough moisture, all of the usual stuff.  It seems like I am in a race against time. I can’t find quite enough time in the day to do some research on what I will need to get done.

This year my Husband and I are doing our own garden. This is the first year we have been able to do this. I had gardens when I was younger but there is no way I remember everything from then. So, I am looking for suggestions on really great ways to get my soil ready for planting?!

What did you do to get ready to plant?  What’s happening on your farm right now to get ready for the busy season ahead?

Food Revolution
March 29, 2010, 6:40 pm
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Last night I took the opportunity to watch the premiere of the new T.V. show Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. I personally loved the show. It was so eye opening and really makes you look at the kind of things you are eating and making for your family.

A quick overview of the show for anyone who has not seen or heard of it. Jamie Oliver has a message on his website for the show that says “I believe that every child in America has the right to fresh, nutritious school meals, and that every family deserves real, honest, wholesome food. Too many people are being affected by what they eat. It’s time for a national revolution. America needs to stand up for better food!”  His show is based out of the community Huntington, WV.  And Associated Press story used federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data to proclaim the five-county Huntington metropolitan area the country’s fattest and unhealthiest.  In the first episode Jamie starts his journey in Huntington at the school cafeteria.

He is not met with the kindest of receptions. The majority of the people around him on the show seem reluctant and angry that he is even there, trying to change them.  It was really fascinating to watch but at the same time a little bit scary. I know some things can be edited to make for a better show, but there truly were some really disappointing sections of the show. Like seeing the cooks for the food program at the school say that they did not see a problem with feeding the kids pizza for breakfast!!  I could not imagine sending my child to school knowing that is what they are going to start their day with.  The scariest part to me was that the things the kids were being fed actually met the standards they were told to!!

I am not the greatest cook that there is, I do OK but really could use some more time in the kitchen. Luckily my Husband is a great cook. We eat quite well. After seeing this show it makes me want to do even better. It makes me want to make sure that the things we are eating as a family are healthy and going to give our kids the best shot at a healthy life as possible.

Did you watch the show? What did you think? Did it inspire you to make any changes with your family?

PETA = Terrorists?
January 26, 2010, 10:43 pm
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I just read a new article on the CBC website about another PETA incident. Seems in Canada they are now trying to decide if PETA should be labelled a Terrorist organization.

I am not too sure what I think about this. I am personally not a supporter of PETA. I  obviously believe in supporting ethical treatment of animals, I think most farmers do.

The latest incident involved a pie and the Federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea.   It is now being asked that PETA be looked at to see if they have crossed a line attacking a federal minister.  The article explains that: “Canada’s Criminal Code describes a terrorist organization as any group that disrupts lawful activities to commit an act for political, religious or ideological purposes and that causes the public to be intimidated.” – CBC Article

What do you think? Should PETA be labelled as terrorists or should they be left alone?

The Cove
January 5, 2010, 9:09 pm
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Recently I had an opportunity to watch the film The Cove. The movie is an Ocean’s 11 type effort by the film crew, attempting to get footage of the Dolphin slaughtering happening in Taiji, Japan.

As the film progressed not only did you see the heartbreaking trapping and killing of the dolphins, but you learned what they were wanting to do with some of the dolphin meat as well as what they were already doing.

A recent study shows that, on average dolphin meat contains approximately 5 times the amount of mercury exposure recommended by organizations like the Food and Drug Administration.  The film also depicts that after doing some testing in a lab, stores in Japan were already selling the mercury heavy dolphin meat to the general public. BUT it was under false pretenses the packaging only informed the consumer that it was ‘whale meat’ .

Then they wanted to go ahead and put this dolphin meat into the mandatory school lunch programs.  At the end of the film we did find out that the thanks to the help of two city councillors the dolphin meat was pulled from the lunch menu!

So what do we do? It seems like more and more stories trickle out every year about our food that is so negative its  a wonder people even feel safe purchasing food or know that it was killed humanely. Where are the voices pushing the good things about food? Telling people where they can find safe food! There are obviously farmers out there doing good, and doing things in a safe manner…so SPEAK UP!! It’s also time we speak up to things like this dolphin situation. Yeah I know they are not exactly a farm animal but I urge you to watch the show and then decide that you don’t want to speak up!

When is it time?
December 7, 2009, 7:48 pm
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I have been looking into mentoring programs. Which got me wondering at what point do you look at a situation and think “I could really use some guidance”?

In fact until I did some reading that 71% of Fortune 500 companies use mentoring programs – that is a huge number – I have often sort of pushed the thought of a mentor to the side. I mean I know everything I need to…right?! I mean I grew up on a farm I possibly could not need to know much more than I already do.  Then a sort of calm reality hits. I know a lot about nothing!!

Ok not nothing. A lot of the things I know about are very valuable. But being a part of has really taught me some amazing things about business that I had no clue about before. I now look at things more with a business mind than I ever had.  Even after being in this company for as long as I have, I can now look and see that a mentor in certain areas would be so beneficial. Especially in an area like finances.

It was rather humbling to realize I did not have all the answers and that there just might be someone out there who knows more than I do 🙂 But coming to that realization gave me a sense of relief, just acknowledging that it is something I want and need.

Do you have mentor? In what areas do you think you would benefit from one?

Resolve away…
December 2, 2009, 10:22 pm
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Along with snow, cold and windy days, this time of year also brings a lot of reflection and a time for thanks-giving.   I often wonder how many people go around the table and say what they are thankful for. Or, how many people make New Years resolutions.  I can not recall a time where I have ever actually made a resolution for the new year. Maybe it’s time….

I have been looking at the way we live. My husband and I do a pretty good job of trying to make some changes to be a little ‘greener’. We compost, recycle, walk when we can, buy local (as often as possible) and try to eat very few processed foods.  Now, i am not saying we have it all right or that we are even doing the things we do, perfectly. We still contribute in different ways to things that are not great for our environment.

My first thought is I am not going to beat myself up for not doing things perfectly. The point is we are very aware of our choices. But, I think this next year I would like to look at some of the things and see what we can do more of….or less of. Figure out ways we can fine tune some of our green living ways.

Next year we are going to be having our own garden (we finally own our own place so its easier), use our own compost. My husband is hoping to grow enough that he can also preserve excess veggies so we have them past the season. We are also looking into energy efficient vehicles. Buying local has been pretty easy for us already….but even easier next year. My sister will be producing chickens and pork so we will have easy access to meats and eggs (we already get all our beef local).

As of right now the next year is looking promising. It seems like our resolutions will be reachable. Have you put any thought into resolutions? Maybe pick one meat to buy local, or find a local vegetable producer…..