Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Experiment: Week Four

Things are going pretty well so far, but this weekend was a blur. Between my friend's baby shower (congrats again to Bob and Jahzz!) and the local craft / fish fair I really did NO research whatsoever! LOL!
Sorry y'all.
And today being my first day back in the workforce since before Xmas....well I'm pretty much whupped.
HOWEVER, I did promis the Burpee folks I'd do my retraction this week so here it is : (YAY!)
Neither Burpee NOR their sister company The Cook's Garden sell GMO seeds!
(Insert appropriate celebratory noises here!)
Here is the e-mail I received from them.
(They were the ONLY seed company so far to answer my missives......)

Dear Ms. Lavery,

Thank you for your inquiry. Please be advised that neither Burpee nor
its sister company The Cook's Garden sell GMO seed.

The individual who contacted you, Kristin Grilli, handles public
relations for Burpee and its sister companies. Unfortunately, there is
some inaccurate information on the Internet where claims are made that
Burpee and The Cook's Garden sell GMO seed. Our formal statement, which
Ms. Grilli may have relayed to you, can be found below.

We would greatly appreciate it if you would print a retraction as you
suggested. We appreciate your concern and value your business. Please
don't hesitate to contact us if you have further questions.

Kind Regards,

Burpee Customer Service

So hooray! Big happy for those of us about to plant for the growing season!
Now....hopefully I'll be able to post more this week...but as I said...I AM WHUPPED!
So till next time,
Be well!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My Experiment: Week Three

A good news week all around!
FIRST and foremost, I want to drop a happy bomb regarding last week's post. I was contacted by a member of the Burpee Family and alerted to the fact that neither they NOR their sister seed company "Cook's Garden" use GMO seeds! HOORAY!!!!!!!!!!!!
I was a bit sad when I thought they did, as they have a really great selection of seeds, and are really easy to find in my area. I have sent them an e-mail, asking for verification one way or another that I could post here, as I can't just take the work of a random person that contacts me through this blog, but from all I read on the Burpee site, they are extremely proud of their lineage and pedigree as far as hybridised plants go and don't seem at all interested in GMOs. ALSO, they have no association with Monsanto or any of their products. (As far as their public site says....I'm really waiting for an e-mail from them to be sure.)

NOW...on to my really exciting news!

I did some serious research this past weekend as far as their produce goes and it sort of leaked over into the rest of the store. (I am thinking about doing an interview with someone high up there as well!)

When you first walk into the Whole Foods, you are smack dab in their produce section. And while it can be DAMNED overwhelming, it's a beautiful sight. ALL their produce is clearly labled with both origin and wether organic or not. Everyone knows this.
BUT...did you know that when you first walk in, if you look up there is a really cool chalkboard sign, divided in two that CLEARLY states the number of both organic AND LOCAL produce for that day?!?!?!
No kidding!
Any item with a BROWN border sign is local! (Their statement is "In our stores only produce that hastravelled no more than- and often much less than- seven hours by car or truck, from the farm to our facility can be labeled 'locally grown'.") On the day we went, the sign read 55 Local 127 Organic. (The majority of local as it's still early spring were apples, root veggies and mushrooms.)

They even have a little pamphlet in the store, readilly available, on "Locally Grown". It's actually a great read, but here's my favourite bit: "One of the most exciting aspects of eating local produce is anticipation. Products unique to your region are most likely only available for a limited time. The rest of the year, that product must come from somewhere else. Try to celebrate your own local flavours whenever possible! Take the oppourtunity to feast, freeze, can or dehydrate while a local product is abundant."
By the way, they also have a fantastic Fair Trade and Microcredit programs. More on those another time.

SO...I chatted with the gal in the produce section about grapes. (Yes, yes, back to the stupid grapes. They've sort of become the symbol for difficulty here!)
She told me that in a couple of months there will be fewer of the imported grapes and quite a few grown in the USA...even 2 or 3 LOCAL varieties!

Well you can imagine my joy!
She went on to tell me that the local thing isn't just in produce, but all over the store. I couldn't keep that one eyebrow down at this one.
Really? Like what?

WELL....cheese and all other dairy, meats, pastas, their bread is made on site, (tho I will have to ask about organic content and locality of ingredients later), cookies and crackers....pretty much every section of the store has at least 1 or 2 locally obtained products.
So I poked around the store, (Gods bless my patient hubby! LOL!) and sure enough!
Not only were there a TON of local products, they actually tended to be CHEAPER than the imports!!! CHEAPER PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This was a HUGE deal! I was a bit put off by the travel involved (20 minutes in a car to get to the nearest WF) and thus gas consumption, but the amount of food we can get there with NO GMOs, organic, local, affordable...we could, in theory cut our food shopping down to half.
There are still some things that we can ONLY get locally. Ground turkey ( natural ) is 2.99 at Giant and 6.99 from WF And we've found that our cats demand Fancy Feast. (brats) We DID get them onto the Feline Pine tho. BIG step for our girls! LOL!
So lots of happy there.
Check out their site!

Now, on to the house cleaning portion of our game.

For those of you attending our June party....this is important.
Not joking.
I'm going through 41 years of accumulated stuff and it's not good.
So we've decided to have a yard give.
It's like a yard sale, but no money. Just take it. Seriously.
Fabric, gargoyles, books, decor, old SCA crap. We'll have stuff outside on a table or something, and we want it all GONE before the end of the party. Anything left goes to Goodwill....but I think a lot of our stuff would creep out the Goodwill folks. Heh heh.
We went from a 2 bedroom house to a 2 ROOM apartment with NO CLOSETS.
There are times I can't find the bedroom!
Anyone who mixes oils...ALL my bulk fragrence oils gotta go! I need room for all the new projects, and I haven't mixed in about 3 years. So the scents and empty bottles, droppers, everything OUT!

(pant pant) fingers are cramping, so I'm out for now.
See you happy people next week for more madness!

PS....the photo uploader is behaving badly today...I'll add pics later. :D

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My Experiment, Week Two

Well, two weeks and no one's dead. I swear, quitting smoking was easier than this.

The more I research, the more I dig, the more there is to research and dig! It's insane! I am POSITIVE everyone in the universe has written a paper, book, pamphlet, thesis or flyer on the subject of nutrition and all it's offshoots. I don't think I'll ever know for sure about any of this, but I'm more than willing to drag you all along as I try!

OK....first things first. Goodwill was pretty much a wash. There was a decent clothing selection, but housewares was a little scary. I think it gets picked through pretty thuroughly. I found ZERO items on my list. But, I wasn't just counting on that. I popped down to ye olde flea market this morning, (yay for living this close!) and found 3 items right away! A really nice glass baking dish, some magazine holders, and a cool new planter. I dug around and found some great steampunk items for my Hatter hat too...$1 each. Tres cool. So I actually have higher hopes as far as the purchase of items goes.......
This has never been the issue I suppose.......
Once again, however, food is a HUGE issue. Organic, local, non-gmo AND affordable are so not a package deal. In fact, they are more often than not completely seperate entities. Not even introduced. Gah.

(I'm going to start including some links in these posts, just to save others the pain and suffering! LOL!)

So...the soy issue. (Thank you Dria for yet ANOTHER thing for me to be nurotic about! LOL! MUAH!) I LOVE my tofu. And if ya want to make me really happy during amovie, give me a bowl of edamame in pods to pop and eat. Well now it seems this may not be the best idea. -sigh- Another thing my hubby was probably right about. He always told me soy was 'bad for guys', and I believed him on that. After all, soy raises estrogen levels. But for the same reasons I always thought it was GOOD for women. We NEED estrogen right?

Well there's normal estrogen, and toxic level estrogen.
WHAAAAAT!??!?!?! There is no way for me to keep up with all this!

So I did some research, and some digging.....and some more research, and some MORE digging. Guess what I found.


Soy is good; soy is bad; soy is DEADLY toxic for infants; soy causes cancer; soy cures heart disease; it's good for blood sugar issues; it's BAD for blood sugar issues; it's almost always geneticlly modified; it's rarely genetically modified.....and all this without going into the FACT that a HUGE number of people are allergic to it, but not in the usual 'swollen face, anaphalactic shock, kind of sneaky, thyroid issue, adrenal gland issue kind of ways.

So I'm no closer to an answer for myself than I was before.

Do I steer clear of soy altogether, just to be safe? (whimper)

Or do I continue to dig?

Well duh! I dig of course!

So this is yet another topic I will add to this project. (If you're keeping count, that's 4 now.)

As for the rest of y'all....well here's a start. Use the link Dria posted to last week's blog and check out the soy sitch on your own.

As for the GMO thing (genetically modified organisims), use this link to a really handy shopping guide. You can save it or print it...very printer friendly by the way, then use it to avoid GMOs if they freak you out.

They freak me out.

A lot.

(I'm anti franken-carrot)

And for all you gardeners out there who are freaked out by all the GMO seeds...below you will find a list of BAD (gmo using) seed companies, followed by a list of GOOD (no gmo) seed companies. Hope this helps.

As for food....well I guess I get to read more labels
.........................................and take more Advil.

(ALSO, very cool new label to keep an eye out for. This one on coffee. Besides 'shade grown' and 'organic' and 'free trade' now look for the 'safe for migratory birds' label. Yes folks, there IS one. This info is from my friend Braidy and the Smithsonian. So add it to the list! LOL!)

(This list has been compiled by some diligent mothering gardeners. If you have any corrections or additions post them here.)

* Territorial Seeds* Totally Tomato* Vermont Bean Seed Co.* Burpee* Cook's Garden* Johnny's Seeds* Earl May Seed* Gardens Alive* Lindenberg Seeds* Mountain Valley Seed* Park Seed* T&T Seeds* Tomato Growers Supply* Willhite Seed Co.* Nichol’s* Rupp* Osborne* Snow* Stokes* Jungs* R.H. Shumway* The Vermont Bean Seed Company* Seeds for the World* Seymour's Selected Seeds* HPS* Roots and Rhizomes* McClure and Zimmerman Quality Bulb Brokers* Spring Hill Nurseries* Breck's Bulbs* Audubon Workshop* Flower of the Month Club* Wayside Gardens* Park Bulbs* Park's Countryside Garden


I also want to share a list of Monsanto-free seed companies/labels-

Sand Hill Preservation CenterSeeds of ChangeSeed Saver's ExchangeRenee's GardenBaker Creek Seed Co.Peaceful Valley Farm SupplyAbundant Life SeedsUnderwood Garden SeedsBountiful GardensKitchen Garden SeedsHigh Mowing SeedsHeirloom Acres SeedsGarden City SeedsTomato FestMountain Rose HerbsSouthern ExposureAmishland SeedsTiny SeedsLocal HarvestHeirloom SeedsFedco Seed Co.Diane's Flower Seeds (she has veggies now, too)Wood Prairie FarmVictory SeedsWildseed FarmsHorizon Herbs

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

My Experiment: End Of Week One

Well things are going pretty smoothly, despite a few glitches here and there. (The grapes thing really threw me!) Now I feel I've got a better handle on things. But it really is amazing where our food comes from. The 'object' part is easy, I live at a flea market, and I'm taking a trip to Goodwill this Saturday to both offload AND pick up.

The food thing, however.......*shudder*
I live right up the road from a health food shop, a farmer's market AND a local gormet shop....and I STILL can't believe where food comes from!!!

I was at the health food grocery (NOT the 'big one') and picked up a jar of "Genovese Italian Pesto". Now you would THINK this was imported from Italy. Still not really on my list for food, but a pretty honest guess.

Not kidding.
Floored me. I go to the LOCAL farmer's market. I got som eggs from right up the street and not too pricy, some local goat cheese and a head of garlic from their farm. Then I asked THE question...
"So the grapes over there....where are they from?"
"Ya know, I'm not sure, lemme ask."
"Cool, thanks."
"______, where are our grapes from?"
"Hmmm, not sure. Someplace in South America."

.........really...........huh. Ok then.

SO.......the gist here is that, unless the 'BIG ONE' has grapes from at LEAST California....I get no grapes for a year. What that also means is, I have to really check where my jelly is coming from too.

This shit trickles down ya know.
Man......Ok, so no grapes. No big deal, really.......

But in the scheme of things ladies and gents, I would like you all to try a little experiment of your own. Walk through the produce of your LOCAL market, be it Farmer's or otherwise, and check the labels. How much FOOD do we actually grow here?
I understand the seasonal thing, I get that. But there are actually LOADS of fruits and veggies that are in season NOW. Why is my lettuce coming from South America?? I LIVE IN THE GARDEN STATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sorry. But this experiment is really opening my eyes in a way that no politician or documentary could. By living this way I have allowed the changes this country has undergone in the past few decades to really hit home.
Small farmers wiped out by factory farms with mutilated chickens and tortured cattle always seemed a horrible thing that I should be really upset about.

NOW it strikes me as a serious deterioration of this country's ability to sustain itself. Everyone is so worried about our ability to 'stand on our own' in the oil race.....

but we'll DIE without food.

And the stuff we're putting into our bodies looks less and less like food every year.

I fear the age of the nutrient pill!!

So to sum up.....
This year I see how well I can do this thing. I'll take notes and post all my steps year, I'm going to see If I can get anyone else to join me.
Cause this is really a bigger job than I can handle! LOL!
A good, eye opening first week......

I hope I don't end up a radical fruitcake.

Awww crap.