CAFOs Are Killing Us (NAIS Sucks)

>> Saturday, May 30, 2009

Susan Blasko is a cancer survivor twice over.
She now incorporates local farm fresh foods into her diet in her on-going quest for health.
She was selected at random to speak at the USDA Listening Session on NAIS (National Animal Idenification System) that took place in Harrisburg, PA this month.
Here is the complete text of her remarks.
The fact that I am here at all should be an indication to you that the truth is dawning at last on the general population.
For many years your department has been trying to force NAIS on us. What part of “NO” don’t you understand?
Yes, the eyes of the public are being pried open by the undeniable, inescapable truth:
that the aim of the National Animal Identification Scam is to put small farmers out of business so that big-ag can be the sole provider of the world’s food;
that the food your department approves is making us sick and sterile
are the origins of foodborne illness
that the USDA is fully prepared to use force to implement NAIS
blog it
Bravo! Ms Blasko hit them where they cannot ignore her. But they probably will anyway because someone is going to make money from the NAIS.

She speaks for millions when she lists the seven ‘inconvenient truths’. What the USDA and Ag Dept are doing in unconscionable.

I don’t know how many of you understand the dire situation our food system has been put in, but Ms Blasko’s remarks will gone a long way to informing you.

Please read, for a better understanding of how to protect your health and the health of your loved ones.

Ms Blasko says: ‘I am deeply troubled by what I’ve learned about NAIS. Not only is it expensive, intrusive, discriminatory, and deliberately hostile to small farmers; it is downright unconstitutional. Go back to the drawing board. Stand up to big-ag and industrial food processors’.


Agrichemicals Are Not Needed or Welcomed

>> Thursday, May 21, 2009

I read a commentary posted in Grist entitled “Agrichemical industry steps up pressure on White House organic garden”. The author compared the mafia’s infamous ‘protection scheme’ with an agrichemical company’s letter writing campaign to ‘entice’ Michelle Obama into using chemicals on the White House garden.

Okay, this is a bit of a stretch.

You can’t fault agrichemical companies for pushing their products because that’s what businesses do to stay alive. However, you can fault them for the tactics they use to sell those products: mis-information and the omission of relevant facts.

Despite the amount of data available warning of the toxic side effects of chemicals in the gardens, to humans, pets, soil and wildlife in general, far too many home gardeners are buying into the wrong-headed notion that chemical ‘protection’ is required to have a healthy and productive garden.

If gardeners would concern themselves with maintaining the health of the soil, which in turn promotes the health of the plant, there would be no need for chemicals. Pests don’t attack healthy plants.

In the gardening blogosphere we know the many benefits of using compost to feed the soil. There are tons of sites citing personal experience with its benefits, I am included in that number and urge everyone to participate and leave the chemicals on the store shelf.

Nature has a marvelous answer to harmful pests: beneficial insects. Using chemicals to rid the bad guys also kill off the beneficials.

Most chemical pesticides are petroleum based. Another good reason to avoid them.

Other ways to ensure a healthy garden is to allow for good air circulation. Overcrowding your plants allows them to stay wet longer which makes them more susceptible to fungus and other diseases.

Using natural repellants such as sprays made out of hot peppers, coyote or bobcat urine, rotten eggs, bonemeal, or bloodmeal (even castor oil) can make your garden unappetizing to herbivores. Reapply the repellents frequently, especially after rain.

What we need to do is write to Ms. Obama to congratulate her for her level-headed thinking by not using chemicals and remind her that farmers managed to feed this nation for decades without the ‘protection’ of agrichemicals.


Vinegar as weedkiller

>> Thursday, May 7, 2009

Here’s something interesting I want to pass along concerning vinegar as a weed killer. Vinegar can kill weeds but it’s not the same vinegar that you find in your kitchen. Kitchen vinegar is 5% acetic acid. To be effective against weeds, vinegar must be distilled to 10 to 20 % acetic acid. Such concentrated vinegar exists as commercial food-prep product—such as that used by pickle manufacturers. However it isn't labeled/bottled for home cooks and it isn't labeled as an herbicide.

There are a few gardening products using "horticultural vinegar" that are labeled for home use as an herbicide, but they aren't available everywhere (they must be registered state by state).

If you look for a vinegar-based herbicide at the garden center, make sure it is registered with the EPA, and follow the instructions carefully. Concentrated acetic acid can burn the skin and damage the eyes. Keep the area closed off until the spray has dried.

Finally, you may have heard that homemade concoctions using kitchen vinegar (5% acetic acid) do kill weeds. It's true to a short extent. 5% acetic acid can kill certain types of weeds when they are young. However it can also damage nearby plants, and it doesn't kill the roots, only the top growth. So perennial weeds will return.

As hard as it can be to accept, the most effective (and safest) weed control is hand pulling.

So, you can save your household vinegar for cleaning around the house and of course for cooking recipes. It seems pulling weeds by hand is still the safest way to go.


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