Monday, June 25, 2012

The Victory Garden 1941

This was produced before America formally entered the war. This garden is huge for a family of 4 or 5 pictured. It was probably the idea to grow far more than needed to feed the neighboring community. Apparently all of the dust masks were being used for the war effort, so young Dick is inhaling all of those pesticides. No mention of compost; and the weeds that they mention; lambs quarter and amaranth are often being eaten now by foragers. Remember, no garden, no victory. Being threatened with the loss of freedom by gaining food freedom seems such innocuous propaganda.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Turning Honeycombs into Wax the Traditional Way

A traditional German apiary processes the honeycombs into cleaned beeswax.  The extent of electricity being used is to light the work area.  These methods have been used for centuries to make wax for candles when candles where one of the few forms of illumination.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

DIY Top Bar Hive; Recycled Barrel

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.
This is a brilliant idea to repurpose an old food grade barrel. This makes two top bar hives. Full Directions can be found here:

Sunday, May 27, 2012

New Bee Variety; Virtually Stingless and a Hardy Producer

These gentle bees that rarely sting are isolated in mountain valleys in the Caucasus. They have the longest proboscis of any bee giving them an advantage in nectar production. Not available in the US yet but this hardy but docile bee would be great for the urban back yard beekeeper.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Best Method to Make Sauerkraut.

I have tried the crock method to make my sauerkraut, but the mason jar and ziplock bag of brine method has given me the least amount of fuss. I found this video to be the most instructive in this method. I usually forgo canning to keep the probiotic effects of fresh kraut. It keeps well in the fridge so I don't find canning necessary.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

One Million People Sign Emergency Petition to Ban Bee-Killing Nicotine Pesticide Illegally Registered in Us

Word is getting out there of collateral damage from nicotine based pesticides.  The ground swell of attention is surprising considering overall knowledge of our food supply here in America by the average citizen.
A remarkable emergency petition with over one million signatures has been submitted to the USEPA requesting the withdrawal of the pesticide clothianidin - a nicotine-based systemic pesticide widely used on corn/maize. Multiple activist organizations participated, lead by major US beekeepers.
The basis of the petition is that the USEPA's legal requirements for the demonstrated safety of clothianidin were never proven - and subsequent findings have shown its damages - violating the US law FIFRA, which governs the registration process for pesticides.
A coalition of beekeepers and activists gained over one million signatures on this petition, that walks step-by-step through the reasoning behind the proposed determination of the clothianidin registration's illegality - used as the basis for the withdrawal request.
This is fantastic. download the complete original emergency petition linked here (English version):

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Organic Monoculture; Sustainable?

While the production numbers are impressive and the growth in organic crops is a huge positive, look at some of the production numbers.  87% of the apples, 81% of the cherries and 78% of the pears are coming from one state.  One state that is in the corner of the country.  Meaning about 87% of the apples are being shipped from one place.  This can demonstrate how a rise in oil prices can propagate higher food prices even if the crops are being produced without large petrochemical inputs like conventional agriculture.  Moving 200K tons of apples may be fine at $100 a barrel oil, but is it sustainable at $150 or even $200?

This shows that the sustainability of organic may end once the crops leave the farm, and the system of truck farming and massive economies of scale may only work to drive down food prices as long as oil prices stay stable and low.   Growing in less than optimal climates may be the future of agriculture to off set higher fuel costs if we go into another oil shock.