Organic Food Helps Revive Fortunes of Europes Farmers

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The article is about organic farming in *Europe* - I don't know what the situation is in the US, but in the UK, organic standards are very strictly enforced by the soil association - the organic stamp has as much to do with animal welfare as what went on the food. It costs the farmer a lot of to get, too, *because* it's strictly enforced and because it's a *guarantee*. Soil association foods are not contaminated in any way, not by farm drift or even traffic pollution
Eggs, especially are strictly demarked. If an egg says it's free range (and in the UK that means the hens run around free, not in any cage and not inside a building (that = barn eggs)) then that egg *is* free range.
http://www.soilassociation.org /
Maya
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<Charlie> wrote in message

Its all part of the mix isn't it. Organic can mean sfa. Sustainable farming/growing practices, where the products are shipped from, how they are shipped, how they are stored, prices paid to growers etc etc. Buying on a claim or organic alone, or on distance shipped, or on price will not always yield the result you hoped for.
rob
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wrote:

Indeed it is, as I am learning. I've eaten many apples from your land, but there is no reason for this.
It's a complicated, yet surprisingly simple, concept and practice to support, and implement, if only the rest of the world would step back and take a good look at what many of us know and are learning.
Thanks for putting this more into perspective, for me,
Aside and OT:
I have read Tolkein many, many times in my life. Never a better tale written. I never, ever thought *anyone* could make a film about LOTR.
Jackson did it.
Man, you live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. I find myself envious.
Ya'll raise some damn fine apples too, bet they taste better in your land! But I'm buying local now, when possible. ;-)
Well met and care, Rob Charlie
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<Charlie> wrote in message

you make me sound like some sage or guru Charlie. Not so, merely the mass of confusion that can surround buying environmentally. If can be very complex, something I struggle to decipher as much as anyone else. Simplistic notions often fail to capture subtleties. Marketing of 'organic' have no great catch on me. I am cynical about marketing as a rule, the depth and manipulation of late capitalism makes me so. We are manipulated beyond belief by the capitalist marketing system, I view much with a wary eye. Simply having a marketing guru tell me something is organic does not make me buy it.
Some examples I can draw on, only as examples mind. It seems UK supermarkets are starting to label food miles on produce, I guess in an attempt for consumers to gauge carbon footprints. The concept in isolation however is flawed. NZ lamb is shipped 1/2 way round the world to Britain in container ships. British lamb is shipped by truck. The carbon per carcass may be less per NZ lamb than british lamb, given that shipping is so much more efficient per ton per mile. Moreover, our lamb produces way less greenhouse gases (carbon & methane) to produce than British lamb. Our sheep live outside 365 days & eat predominantly grass (grown in situ), supplemented by hay and sileage (harvested in situ). Much British lamb is reared indoors during winter & fed grains and the like (grown elsewhere and trucked in). The power from processing this side of the world comes mainly from hydro, with some geothermal and wind and some gas & coal. Much of British power comes from coal and nuclear. So, all up, British lamb produces around 4 times the greenhouse gases that NZ lamb does. Buying lamb on food miles alone will f up the atmosphere 4 times more than nz lamb.
We have had a British chef/cook touring NZ promoting her books & videos. She recommend eating local & seasonally. She would not use NZ lamb. If she did so on the basis of food miles then she will pollute the atmosphere more than buying NZ lamb. More than that she polluted the atmosphere flying down here to sell her wares.
I cannot comment on taste issues for buying local, never having tried British lamb. NZ lamb however is pretty nice stuff. British lamb would have to be super nice to beat our stuff. Buying british will help keep british farmers in money, that is for sure, although their farmers get nice fat subsidies from the EU.
All up, the arguments for buying British lamb don't stack up on all fronts. There are mixed for and against.
rob
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British farmers do NOT get big subsidies from the EU. The average lamb carcass is getting the farmer around 25p - 0.25% of a - profit. Farmers are going out of business all over the UK.
British lamb is fantastic, too, an almost entirely grass reared. VERY rare for UK sheep to go indoors any time of the year.
You wanna check your facts, mate.
Maya.
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Ok, you may have to excuse me for some of the assumptions I have made such as grass feeding or the level of subsidies. My apologies if I got parts of it wrong. Those were assumptions, though I would add the EU does subsidise its farmers. Whether sheep farmers are exempt from that I am not sure.
That said, the issue of carbon emissions in the total package still stands. Buying British lamb versus NZ lamb on food miles/carbon foot print alone does not stack up. British lamb produces around 4 times the amount of greenhouses gasses landing in the British supermarket as does NZ lamb. Hence my comment that the issue is more complex than that. The executive summary of the report drawn on is the third link, the full report is the 4th link. rob
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0609/S00340.htm http://www.beehive.govt.nz/ViewDocument.aspx?DocumentID '549 http://www.beehive.govt.nz/Documents/Files/Food%20Miles%20Executive%20Summary.doc http://www.lincoln.ac.nz/story_images/2328_RR285_s6508.pdf http://www.greens.org.nz/searchdocs/PR10275.html http://www.nzembassy.com/news.cfm?CFID 17&CFTOKEN005406&c6&l&i143
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z>
I find this research extremely dubious. It's all based on *one* set of research by *one* university and that based in New Zealand! (no ulterior motives there!) I can't see how they can conclude that British lamb is more 'intensively' reared than New Zealand lamb; it's grass reared in the field in exactly the same way. Even if the figures are correct (and I'd dispute that) costs of transport (and refrigeration) are subject to change. We need local farming. 60 years ago we were embroiled in a war that meant an end to practically all imports - if you have no home farming, where does that leave you at times of emergency, or when the fuel prices go through the roof as they seem set to do?
Maya
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I find this research extremely dubious. It's all based on *one* set of research by *one* university and that based in New Zealand! (no ulterior motives there!) I can't see how they can conclude that British lamb is more 'intensively' reared than New Zealand lamb; it's grass reared in the field in exactly the same way. Even if the figures are correct (and I'd dispute that) costs of transport (and refrigeration) are subject to change. We need local farming. 60 years ago we were embroiled in a war that meant an end to practically all imports - if you have no home farming, where does that leave you at times of emergency, or when the fuel prices go through the roof as they seem set to do? Maya
some of the figures may be a little light or a little heavy, I am not in a position to clarify that. Different studies may come out with different averges. That said, I think it proves quite nicely however that simply buying on the basis of 'food miles' is naive and frought with problem. The entire lifecycle of food needs to be considered in order to gauge an accurate environmental footprint, not just how far it travelled. For the likes of supermarkets to tag food with food miles only in an attempt to be 'environmentally aware'* is a crock. Environmental awareness needs a larger range of information than merely distance.
rob
* or if you are cynical, marketing bullshit and hype in an attempt to cash in on environmental concerns, without doing the really hard work.
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Rob, Rob, Rob,
that's why you buy local. If'n the anal sphincter tries to intercourse you, you can rip 'em a new one. Uh, I'm mean, you can lodge a formal complaint.
- Billy Coloribus gustibus non disputatum (with only the most modest of intent in mind)
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wrote:

Oh for sure, Billy. I know this. Like the difference between, say Organic Valley milk and standards and Dean/Horizon milk and standards.
I trust Oregon Tilth certification......USDA certification means shit. The new farm bill was a travesty, in that it lowered the standards to allow the industrial boys to play the organic game, and allowing bastardized products to be sold. The average consumer won't know the screwin' they are getting.
Just like eggs that are sold as "cage free" and all that. Words, my friend, words. You can pack a hundred chickens in two hundred square feet and technically they are not caged.
Feh......
Lots of interest around the country in the one hundred mile rule, and other distances.......it really makes you aware.
Yes, think global, eat local.
On a personal note....younger son and wife are narrowing in on the birthing. Doin' the labor thing...don't know if it is the real deal yet. And you know, it breaks my freakin' heart to think what the little guy is going to inherit from all of us. I am going to be one busy sumbo before I die.
You take care and keep spreadin' the word. Charlie
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"Supermarket Pastorial" is the style that Michael Pollan uses to refer to terms like "Cage Free" or "Free Range", or that cow on the milk carton, standing out in the middle of a lush green pasture. Free run chickens from Petaluma Poultry are caged (a very large cage, as Charlie mentioned) for 5 weeks, then a little door is opened that gives them access to a short outside run, and 2 weeks later they are bagged and shipped to market; "Free Range". Not exactly the dream of Joel Salatin. Who? http://polyfacefarms.com /
If we don't push back, the day will come that we rent our clothes and furniture. We'll be the equivelent of "Free Range" citzens and, for that occasional, special treat, we'll eat "real type" food, not the normal, synthetic stuff.
"Supermarket Pastorial", globalization has plans for all of us.
- Billy Coloribus gustibus non disputatum (mostly)
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wrote:

C'mon, that's not the point Sherwin. The old usenet conventions have a purpose. Readability and ease of response. Standards. I'm not tryin' to "score points" against you. This "game" isn't about points and all that crap... it's not a game....it's about life,....mine, yours, our children's and so on. I'm asking people to stop poisoning my progency.
No doubt about it, I'm already effed.

Dammit Sherwin, if you were following the whole organic discussions and checking up online, you would find you are agreeing with me,in part. The large agri-biz concerns are bastardizing the whole thing. They *are* fleecing the public! Of course there are fallacies.....should be more like.,,,felonies.
I'm more concerned about saving my grandson and my two unborn grandchildren from the toxic overload that is being forced upon them. Any littel bit that I can to to relieve that burden to their systems, I will do. From growing as much food as I can, that is chemical free, to purchasing as much as I can that is truly organic, to fighting with those of you who disparage and malign the organic food movement.
Your attempt at comparing the defense of organic growing to a cult and trying to align it with a "religious" thing only shows your lack of understanding about the issues.
Of course organic farming has merit. It's not only the air you breathe. What about the water you drink, with it's pesticide load? The same water is showing a load of pharmaceuticals, from disposal and elimination.
You have to do some research and determine which companies, and which certification organizations are worthy. USDA certs won't do it..They are biased towards the factory farms and big agi-biz....ADM. Monsanto, Cargill, ad nauseum

I didn't follow you. I posted this to both groups, which I read. You thought you could avoid the discussion by trimming one group?
I just put it back again. I don't need the backup of any "cronies". I've been fighting the system for decades, mostly on my own, in one way or another.
I'm sorry to have thrown reality in your face. You thought you would find "cronies" here to support the use of poison on our food, Rational people do not condone the use of poison. I cannot, in all good conscience, let it rest.
C'mon Sherwin....we're crappin' in our own nest. People are dying on account of our practices. Fetus developement is being genetically altered. I have one grandchild about to be born and another due in October. Are you pleased to share in the toxic burden placed upon their development? I'm not, and I share responsibility as well.
My children and grandchildren must inherit this toxic mess we are going to leave them as a legacy.
Please... stop the poisoning of us. I am not all about scoring and all that shit. I just want people to quit adding to the already heavy toxic load we all bear.
Please, Care Charlie
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Charlie, your flogging a dead horse here. If Sherwin read even every forth word that you have written he would know where you are coming from. None are so blind, as those who WILL not see. For those gentle readers of yours who want verification of the impact of food on the American public, all they need do is look at the infamous N.Y. Times' (Times, of Judith Miller fame), columnist Paul Krugman's (not nearly as famous as he should be) last column, "America Comes Up Short" and the relationship between the crummy food in this country as compared to what Europeans eat. Today's Harper's Index also had a couple of factoids on America's burgeoning belt line.
I don't remember who suggested the book, "Farming with Microbes" by Jeff Lowenfels and Elaine Engham. Excellent, excellent book. Along with Michael Pollan's book, "Ominivore's Dilemma" it gives the lie to chemical farming. Chemical farming kills off micro-organisms in the soil that feed, protect, and nurture our plants. Even the Journal of Nutrition is forced to say that organically grown food is higher in nutrients. Counter information would be interesting to assess but the simple-minded game saying of "no it isn't" (a la Sheldon) is pointless.
If anyone has a book that flaunts the merits of chemical farming over sustainable organic (even industrial organic), I would be interested in reading it. Farming, I should say, for the consumer, not for the board of directors.
Of course food quality, air quality and water quality are sub-sets of the over arching "health of the environment". Ecological systems that kept the environment in balance are being destroyed by the extinction of large predators, birds, amphibians, and insects. The oceans are over fished and used as a giant septic tank. Forests that clean both air and water are being clear cut. Vernal wetlands and deltas that clean the water are being filled in. Factory faming fouls the air and aquifers. Loss of large predators means uncontrollable populations of their prey that strip the environment and put it even further out of balance. As we are painfully aware, the environment under human stewardship is in ruins and mass extinction stands at the door.
What can I tell you Charlie? It's like they say in the Bhagavad Gita, you can't control anything. You have your responsibilities, and as long as you try cover your responsibilities as best you can, that's really all you can be held accountable for. It's not very satisfying, but it is all we got.
Don't worry, there will be another idiot along in a minute or so to tell you that organic farming is a crock. But, you might, just might, get someone who asks, "Why is it better?" and then, you can pass on the word.
Thanks again to whoever turned me on to "Farming with Microbes".
Have a good Sunday,
- Billy Coloribus gustibus non disputatum (mostly)
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snipped-for-privacy@sonic.net writes: [snip]

Reminded of years ago talking with my teenage neighbor who was debating on the existence of heaven and whether we should be as moral, etc., as we can be as mere human beings. I quietly and patiently listened to his arguments which were, in his mind, totally valid.
My response to him was along the lines of: If you are right and there is no atonement when we leave this life, I have lost nothing. But if I am right, where will you be?
It is rather like that with organic gardening and/or making an attempt to leave our planet in better shape than when we arrived here. It does seem to be a trend in human beings that if one needs to take a little extra effort to help out in general, even for oneself, it gets in the way, even it it means poor health to self and those around one, forget it because, after all, we have no "proof" that it makes a difference so why bother. (Though I do wonder what Arctic dwellers think of this.)
About seedlings, this year I planted in the cell trays, the first time for me, and transplanted and all that. When I was transplanting the second time, I realized that the only tomato plants were Stupice. I quickly planted more tomato seeds, but I have Stupice plants giving those huge plants bought at the greenhouse some real competition for growth. It will be an interesting and Stupice-filled summer. So much for planning; if those cells had been balanced with different varieties, it would have been better. Perhaps next year, I will be thinking more clearly! I console myself that Stupice is a good all-around tomato . . . and my friends love the free plants!
Anyone have some good suggestions for actually growing birdhouse gourds and luffa? Only two of each have grown and they are very, very slow growing. I really would like to get something from them this years; in years past, the largest either got was about one foot. That's the plant, not the fruit. Bummer.
Glenna
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snipped-for-privacy@pmug.org (Glenna Rose) wrote:

From the atom on up, everything is trying to find the lowest energy level. It is the law of entropy. Lazy is built into the system. On the positive side, energy in usually results in more energy out. Empathy is a corner stone of society. Without altruism, we would just be a pack of wild animals. Soul, no soul, it doesn't make sense to me. I just want to be a good actor in the story that is unfolding. As Willie the Shake said, "All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts, . . ."
(from As You Like It 2/7)
In the end, you have to make your peace with your conscience, your God, what ever. It pleases me that, even if it is for a short time, the soil in my garden is better, physiologically my plants as healthier, and the person I love most, eats better. Not a bad deal.
Growing my first stupice this year. I have ten different heirloom tomatoes in the garden this year. Trying to get a handel on what is available. I also have a volunteer. Could be a juliet x German strip. Curious to find out.
My birdhouse gourd is starting to move in this heat. I haven't fish emulsioned it and the rest of the garden like I should have but it is mulched and regularly watered and I have it on the trellis with the peas, which I expect to go toes up in about 30 days.
My excuse is that I got a lated start after leaving my first two germination trays out in the sun with their lids on. Just fried everything.
From luffas I know nothing. Do you eat them or bath with them?
What's your zone and climate like?
- Bill Coloribus gustibus non disputatum (mostly)
--
Billy
Coloribus gustibus non disputatum (mostly)
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snipped-for-privacy@sonic.net writes:

[snip]
I so totally agree!

I started growing heirlooms in 2000 (the year of my first *real* garden. The Stupice was a requirement. My oldest son has a dear friend who certifies farms to be organic (lots of travel in that job!) and gave him some Stupice plants the first year he had his house. Lovely tomato! Those were the also first heirloom I had so when I moved here; his friend gave me some plants as a starter. Then I went to the Yard and Garden show, sat in on the heirloom veggie demo given by Millennium Farms, and started buying more heirloom tomato plants there (and forever after).
Pictures of some of my early heirlooms are on my site from the garden link (www.glennarose.com). There were many more; these are just the fourteen for which I made labels for MF a couple of years later. The pictures of slices are from the tomatoes they are with, a little PhotoShop magic there.

Perhaps when our weather warms up, they will take off. I would like to finally call this a success!

Hmmm. Only bath as far as I know. They are a cucumber, however, or so I was told, which led me to believe they would grow much like cucumbers. I've never seen a luffa that was not a bath sponge. <g>
I foolishly figured that since my cucumbers, when they get planted, do very well, that the luffa plants would as well.

Gee whiz. You think that matters?! Sorry, I left out that rather important part for growing; Pacific Northwest, Portland, Oregon, area (Clark County, Washington to be exact). Mild weather, at least compared to eastern Washington where I grew up, is our blessing, though we can have greatly overcast and cool summers sometimes though not so much the last few years.
As near as I can tell by one map (Better Homes and Garden site), it's 5b (avocado color) just south of 5a (the light avocado color; guess they didn't want any "real green" on the Washington map).
With your fish emulsion info, I will add some to their growing space. Maybe it will help. If they grow like the cucumbers do sometimes, there will be enough for the whole town!
Glenna
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snipped-for-privacy@pmug.org (Glenna Rose) wrote:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luffa
The Luffa or Loofah/Lufah are tropical and subtropical annual vines comprising the genus Luffa. The fruit of at least two species, L. acutangula and L. aegyptiaca, is grown to be harvested before maturity and eaten as a vegetable, popular in Asia and Africa . . .
The fruit of L. aegyptiaca may also be allowed to mature and used as a bath or kitchen sponge after being processed to remove everything but the network of xylem.
--
Billy
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wrote:

Thanks, Bill, for once again reminding me.
I know this, but I cannot seem to realize this for very long periods. Many of the spiritual, and philosophical, traditions (as I am sure you know), acknowledge this very thing. I try to remain still, and not seek those things which *I* think must be done, only await the duties that simply arrive unbidden: these unbidden duties are the ones I must perform. Those that I seek, what are they? And how many of the really important unbidden duties, probably the "small" things, do I simply miss or ignore, because I am in my own way?
As Scotty Peck has said over and over......"Life is Difficult"

Your Pal Charlie
--
It is good to be alone in a garden at dawn or dark so that all its shy
presences may haunt you and possess you in a reverie of suspended
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Sorry Charlie, but if you shoveled the same drivel as Oz, I'd try and be in your face too. It all has to do with integrity. A lot of the news groups have been overrun with trolls. The best thing we can do is offer them a place at the table if they act like adults. If they are just interested in being potty mouths, I'll "kill file" them as many time as is necessary. The only crap I put up with is what I spread on my garden. Hoping everything is boring with you.
--
Billy
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wrote:

I would expect a whack.
Integrity...a nearly forgotten principle.
Yeah, it's boring......the wifey-poo is "nesting"... as is the DIL.
Expectant DIL-nesting is OK.......Grandma-nesting, in anticipation of impending arrival........is not a good thing for Charlie. Or Charlie's pocketbook. The woman has lost her mind.
My wifey has become yoga.....incarnate...........duties are appearing to Charlie that he is not seeking. Breathe in, breathe out. Repeat. Do not think, just do.
Relax, Billy....in......out.......in...out Charlie
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