Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Stars in the Food & Farming Firmament

Cathy's Tribute, Toast & Congratulations!

These activists and the character aptitude they represent are true stars in the food & farming firmament.

May their contributions continue to ripple through time and space creating positive impacts far beyond our imaginings.

COMPASSION - Sally Fallon Morell of the Weston A. Price Foundation - Her no-soy prison food lawsuit for the least of us, will benefit all of us when soy-based cafeteria foods fall like a house of cards.

CREATIVITY - Kristin Canty, Farmageddon - Her documentary film will help keep farmers from extinction exposing the heavy hand of government suppressing small farms.

CONNECTIVITY - Kim Hartke, HartkeIsOnline - Her blog gives the raw milk & small farm food movement a professional face and public forum.

CARING - Maureen Diaz, Traditional Foods Cook - Her DVDs gently beckon us back to the kitchen to cook with real foods, from scratch.

CONFIDENCE - Kevin Brown, the author of Liberation Diet - He will remedy the obesity epidemic and have people running to find a farmer - no doubt about it!

CONSISTENCY - Pete Kennedy, Esq. - took over the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund presidency this year, and offers hands-down-best-around guidance for farmers looking to expand their direct sales.

CLARITY - David Gumpert, The Complete Patient Blogger and Author of Raw Milk Revolution -his blog helps clarify the raw milk issues and is a call for government transparency.

COURAGE - Mark Kastel - Cornucopia Institute - he kept at it, and kept the Organic standard untainted.

COMMITMENT - Tim Wightman -President, Farm-to-Consumer Foundation - he stopped farming to start forming the future of farming.

CREDIBILITY - Ted Beals, M.D. & Peggy Beals, RN - Their groundbreaking work with the Michigan Fresh Unprocessed Whole Milk Workgroup explored cooperative approaches to providing raw milk.

CHRISTIAN-LIBERTARIAN-CAPITALIST-ENVIRONMENTALIST-LUNATIC FARMER - Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm - for being Joel and setting the world on fire for fresh farm food, raised right.

CHRISTIAN-LIBERTARIAN-CAPITALIST-ENVIRONMENTALIST-LUNATIC FARMER'S BRIDE - Teresa Salatin of Polyface Farm - for sharing Joel so freely with the world this year.

CREATING BEAUTY - Clare Raymond, my mother - She reminds this activist that the world is a beautiful place, when it often seems otherwise.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

First Footing with Scottish Shortbread

My maternal grandmother, Mamie, told us about the days of old, when our grandmother's grandmother's grandmother took Scottish Shortbread for First-Footing.

I loved hearing the story of the tradition, when on New Year's Day, they'd visit the house of a friend. The first person to cross the threshold would bring tidings of good fortune for the year.

My ancestors carried Scottish Shortbread to symbolize that the family they visited would always have plenty to eat in the coming year.

I carried on the happy tradition of making Scottish Shortbread using my ancestor's special wooden mold. I gave them as Christmas gifts until I became an advocate for fresh farm food and adopted a diet devoid of the "white's" - white flour, white sugar!

I did try to "green" my Great-Great Grandmother's recipe and return it to it's true traditional roots (before the whites!), but it was a hopeless unhappy mess. To be at ease with my convictions, I laid the molds aside, and made soaked/sprouted nut medleys instead.

But, Lass, do not turn your back on tradition for long!

The long arms of my Great Great Grandmothers reached through time on what has been a particularly barren Christmas season for me, full of work and devoid of tree and treats. Years of ancestral urging rose in me and the next thing I knew it I was measuring white flour and white sugar, butter and eggs in the ways I was taught.

I formed it into a 21st century version of the mold, the two-part lids from my canning jars. Pricking holes into the top of the shortbread reminded me of the fun I had as a child participating in this ritual with my mom and sister.

So, I made peace within myself, and created the most delicious Scottish Shortbread in my 54 year memory. My new love of fine food, carefully grown/raised sits very finely indeed with my inner Scottish Lass setting out for First-Footing in the ways of her grandmothers.

I'm relieved, out of integrity (a wee bit), but I feel divinely human, and definately part of my clan.

I took the picture above, and had to take a nibble. It's that good. I'll have to make more for First-Footing Day!

Sorry, I can't share the recipe, it's a family secret. You'd have to marry me (or my sister) to get it!

Thank you to the Real Food Media Bloggers who inspired me to write my very first (and likely only) food blog.

Friday, July 31, 2009

There's A FarmerTrap In the House! It's HR2749

A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package. "What food might this contain?"The mouse wondered. She was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap.

Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed this warning: "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!"

The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, "Ms. Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me I cannot be bothered by it."

The mouse turned to the pig and told him, "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!"

The pig sympathized, but said, "I am so very sorry, Ms. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. Be assured you are in my prayers."

The mouse turned to the cow and said, "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!"

The cow said, "Wow, Ms. Mouse I'm sorry for you, but it's no skin off my nose."

So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer's mousetrap

. . . Alone . . .

That very night a sound was heard throughout the house --the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey. The farmer's wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it. It was a venomous snake whose tail was caught in the trap.

The snake bit the farmer's wife. The farmer rushed her to the hospital. When she returned home she still had a fever.

Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup… So the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup's main ingredient. But his wife's sickness continued

Friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig.

But, alas, the farmer's wife did not get well...She died.

So many people came for her funeral that the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them for the funeral luncheon.

And the mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness.

So, the next time you hear someone is facing a problem and you think it doesn't concern you, remember ---

When one of us is threatened, we are all at risk.

"There is a FarmerTrap in the House!" It's HR 2749.

Please call your Senators today and during Congressional Recess to Oppose HR 2749.

Or, send an email to your Senators through our petition system.

Photo Credit for Non-Lethal Mousetrap.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

More Indigestible Food Safety Measures

My stomach hurts.

The House just passed H.R. 2749 The Food Safety Enhancment Act. People are calling it "historic" and "long overdue".

I call it a kick in the pants to farmers and the consumers that care for real food.

FDA Incompetence
Food contamination deaths number 5,000/year
Death by medical error number 195,000/year

If the FDA is doing such a great job of "Safety" Police, what are they doing to stop medical errors, including deaths by correctly administered drugs, fatal drug interactions, administration of mislabeled drugs and over-prescription of antibiotics?

Next, they made lots of talk about exeptions to rules for small, organic farmers and direct-to-consumer sales but....

Our farmers aren't certified organic. They are "sustainable" or "non-toxic". Once the USDA took over the label, farmers didn't want to play by USDA guidelines. These farmers will fall in the cracks, just wait and see. "Certified Organic" will be exempt, but certification will likely cost them more than HR2749 fees.

Small Farmer Exempt
This keeps our small farmers small, rather than encouraging them to grow. That's unAmerican.

This is the name of the game, and I'm happy to hear it talked about in the halls of Congress, but they gave examples of sales to restaurants and grocery stores as "direct-to-consumer" sales. I'm worried that if they don't know what "direct" means, they won't know what "small" or "organic" means as well.

High Risk Food
Any farmer selling FDA defined "high risk" items (like raw milk) will still get the FDA evil eye, and likely the evil boot.

Enough is Enough
Our farmers are ALREADY overburdened by regulations. See the Fund page for more information about SWARMS (one reg won't hurt, but swarms of them can and do kill small farm initiatives) and FARM RAIDS and SWAT TEAM VISITS to Food Coops.

When I say Grace, I thank God, the Cook and the Farmers.

Let's keep them in our prayers these days.

We cannot underestimate their contribution to our wellbeing.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Freddy Kruger Food Safety Bill HR2749 Returns

This is truely a Nightmare for Main Street America!

I'm not one for horror movies.

Just when you think the bad guy is deader-than-a-doorknob, he jumps back up and slashes away.

Same goes for House legislation bill HR 2749 "Food Safety" Enhancement Act of 2009.

Bill sponsors tried to rush this bill through. They asked for "special rules", that are usually preserved for items of little import - like naming post offices. With special rules they only needed 2/3 vote or 286 of the 430 possible. They failed.

So, HR2749 Died. We cried "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead"

But, then, the creepy music started back, and we find now, the HR2749 is still alive.

Yes, having failed miserably at their fast-track strategy, Bill Sponors now want to introduce it again on Thursday, under "regular rules" where it would only need to win by majority vote.

Don't leave your seats for the snackbar now. Popcorn will have to wait.

Use these devices to drive a steak into the heart of this Freddy Kruger Food Safety Bill.

Invoke the 4 P's.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Farmer "Soul-Killing" HR2749 "Food Safety" Bill

"These definitions and restrictions run from mind-bending (even for a retired lawyer) to soul-killing." - Steve Bemis

Friends Who Eat - It's Fight Back Friday!

The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense is mounting a vigorous campaign to STOP HR2749, proposed Food Safety Legislation on Congress Fast-Track. Provisions in the Bill are Alarming.

What we want instead, is deregulation of small farmers.

Overregulation, Overreaching and Overlapping regulations already drive up the prices of local foods. Farmers are spending more money and more time behind a desk to comply with local, state and federal agencies - Ag Departments & Health Departments.

You saw what over regulation did to staffing and costs at your doctor's offices. Imagine Farmer's Needing Office Managers, Food Safety Experts, Risk Managers and HACCP Food Technicians. You get the picture? It adds up to more food cost for you for local foods. The corporate food system pay the same, but they can leverage the costs over hundreds of thousands of products.

Did you wonder why you pay more for local food sometimes? Our small farmers are made to pay the same permits, fees & fines as the large agribusiness. And, it's about to get worse - much worse. The fees & fines aren't scalable. Nor, are they fair. The food recalls are NOT coming from small farmers.

Helping is Kim Hartke-Guardian Angel of the Fund, Farmers & Food Read her Blog

And Steve Steve Bemis Read his Guest Blog Here and More

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Michael Taylor's FDA Appointment

Dear Commissioner Hamburg,

What a shock this is to those of us who understand the devious, national health threatening acts these revolving door appointments create.

I'm sorry to say, but I imagine your good family name will be caught up in a big national scandal down the road about this.

This is a Health Ponzi scheme of huge proportions.

The edible oil industry revolving door guys are about to get their comeuppance, as more of us understand just what we sacrificed when they manufactured data, manipulated regulations and placed Crisco, Corn & Soil Oils, Margarines in our pantries, in the place of the food that humanity has been eating for centuries...butter, cream, lard etc.

Actually, these folks should be tried for treason....their actions are not in the interest of our national health...which IS our national security.

We are only as strong as our weakest link. Inhalers, allergy shots, cardiovascular disease...these are signs of maladies, created by machinations of self-interested industrial ag.

Have you heard Sally Fallon Morell's "The Oiling of America" presentation?

I hope you take some time to call her, or find out more about this, for your own personal use, and to help inform your future decisions.

If the industrial ag model that Taylor represents was such a boon for mankind, we wouldn't be seeing these food safety problems, would we now?

The pendulum is swinging the other way. Local, sustainable, safe and fresh is the direction we are going. I do not understand why you would appoint someone who will lead us in the opposite direction and mire us in the same-old-same-old thinking.

Like the banking bailout, It will take us generations to recover from the maladies of industrial ag.

We will also recover from your short-sighted appointment of Michael Taylor in the drivers seat.

Please reverse your decision. Turn this Titanic Around.

Write your own letter -