Pink Slime to Pinto Beans: One School’s Road to a Healthier Tomorrow

Doctors Award ‘Golden Carrot’ to Nation’s Healthiest School Lunch Leaders

This year’s Golden Carrot Award winners:

The Active Learning Elementary School (TALES) P.S. 244Q,ties for the grand prize award by dishing out a vegetarian menu to pre-K through third grade elementary school students in Queens, N.Y. The Physicians Committee will give $2,500 to Principal Robert Groff to benefit the school’s vegetarian lunch program. Brooklyn Baked Beans, Falafel Salads, and Malini’s Chickpeas remain popular menu items. Healthful sides include cucumber salad, sweet plantains, and roasted sweet potato wedges. Students can sample new options each month, bring their parents to lunch, and try yoga or running during wellness weeks, which take place each semester. Actress Mayim Bialik joins several athletes, including NFL players Devin and Jason McCourty, and celebrities in congratulating the school on their award.” Full Article/More Winners

Hobbit House ~ Living In The Future

 

Living In The Future. The Hobbit House. A simple way of life.
Simon Dale talks about his self built home.

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Being Somewhere – “Since 2003 we have been living and building on the land, working in environmental projects and community.  We have found that for a few thousand pound and a few months work it is possible to create simple shelters that are in harmony with the natural landscape, ecologically sound and are a pleasure to live in.  There is something powerfully alluring in such natural buildings.  Their simplicity and cost makes them accessible; their beauty and use of natural materials remind us of our ancestral right and ability to live well as part of the landscape/nature/earth.  We believe this dream is possible for anyone with genuine intention, will and hard work…

…After building and living in the hobbit house, we left it for the woodland workers passing through this beautiful place. In 2009 we finally bought our own place, a 7 acre piece of land as part of the Lammas eco village in West Wales.  The opportunity to really be somewhere, to integrate our basic needs of shelter, energy, food and a livelihood now has a permanent place to take root and grow.  Being creative with what is available; minimising energy and pollution; and careful observation is our basic approach. So far we have built a small house, the Undercroft; a workshop and barn.  Tree planting, pond creation, vegetable beds, fruit, composting and animals are the beginning of a self reliant, resilient and biodiverse home.”

Visit Being Somewhere To Learn More

 

From Garden City to Edible City

Having spent five years on organic farms in Europe, Bjorn Low founded Edible Gardens, a friendly social enterprise that aims to change the food production landscape in Singapore. He has been using unique techniques such as pop up farms, vertical food walls, and edible landscaping services to facilitate the ecological environment. 

After dabbling several jobs like a cook and camera salesperson, Calvin worked his way up from O&M traffic assistant to the employee of the year within 2 years. He was the first Singaporean CD in Fallon New York and has worked in several Fortune 500 companies. Presently, Calvin is an urban farmer and founder of Ninety Nine Percent, an organization that works with clients who want to integrate consumers into their brand. 

Edible Gardens

“Edible Gardens champions the “Grow Your Own Food” movement in land-scarce and import-dependent Singapore. We want our city to grow food at under-utilized spaces like rooftops and sidewalks. We believe that growing food re-connects urbanites to nature, conserves natural resources, and cultivates a sense of community.

We design, build and maintain food gardens in tropical urban Singapore. Our team has more than 10 years of farming, award-winning design and construction experience. We use sustainable natural growing methods, resource recycling and waste minimisation. Our mantra: Beautiful gardens should be productive too.

We support communities via social projects and public outreach. We believe that every urbanite can have access to fresh produce grown naturally.

Join us in this food movement.”

Click here to visit the website and learn more

Edible “Garden City” Project on Facebook

Turning Orange Peel Into Plastic

“Orange peel is an excellent example of a wasted resource…” 

The Independent – “British scientists are pioneering a novel way of recycling that turns orange peel into plastic.

The technique relies on high-powered microwaves that can degrade the tough cellulose molecules of plant matter so that they release volatile gases that can be collected and distilled into a liquid product. 

These valuable biodegradable chemicals can then be used in water purifiers, cleaning agents and plastics. Researchers behind the process say it is 90 per cent efficient and works not just on orange peel but almost any plant-based waste such as straw or coffee grounds.

James Clark, professor of green chemistry at the University of York, said he is building a small demonstrator facility to show the novel recycling scheme can be scaled up in order to suit industrial applications.

“It will be able to cope with tens of kilograms an hour. We believe it is the right scale to prove to people that this is a viable technology,” Professor Clark said.

“You dice the peel and put it into a microwave field. You then focus the microwaves as you would with a domestic microwave oven but at higher power,” he said.

For every orange that’s squeezed to make juice, about half of it is wasted. What we’ve discovered is that you can release the chemical and energy potential of orange peel using microwaves,” Professor Clark said.

The Garbage Warrior

“. . . the Earthship is the epitome of sustainable design and construction
No part of sustainable living has been ignored in this ingenious building.”

“What do beer cans, car tires and water bottles have in common? Not much unless you’re renegade architect Michael Reynolds, in which case they are tools of choice for producing thermal mass and energy-independent housing. For 30 years New Mexico-based Reynolds and his green disciples have devoted their time to advancing the art of “Earthship Biotecture” by building self-sufficient, off-the-grid communities where design and function converge in eco-harmony.

However, these experimental structures that defy state standards create conflict between Reynolds and the authorities, who are backed by big business. Frustrated by antiquated legislation, Reynolds lobbies for the right to create a sustainable living test site. While politicians hum and ha, Mother Nature strikes, leaving communities devastated by tsunamis and hurricanes. Reynolds and his crew seize the opportunity to lend their pioneering skills to those who need it most. Shot over three years and in four countries, Garbage Warrior is a timely portrait of a determined visionary, a hero of the 21st century…”

Bar Code Voting

It is critical that people become informed about what is going on with our food supply if things are going to change. All of the petitions, protests or marches in the world are not going to stand much chance of bringing about change so long as millions of people continue to support the industrial system with their pocketbooks. Every scan of a bar code in a supermarket is a VOTE, people. If we continue to use our *Votes* to support processed, modified, soy-filled, corn-filled, JUNK…then that is EXACTLY what we will keep getting!

The strongest statement we can make, the best message we can send to corporations, is to back up our words with action…the action of consciously deciding to buy local, to make those organic fruits and veggies the most scanned items in the system. Stop voting for junk and start voting for your own health…and the health of all future generations.

JoelSalatin

Plant A Front Yard Community Garden & Meet Your Neighbors

via Films For Action – “The Food is Free Project is creating a repeatable model of growing food and community. It is our vision and wish to empower you with the knowledge and know-how to transform your block and neighborhood step-by-step. Using salvaged materials we are building front yard community gardens for all to share. Imagine walking down a block lined with fresh produce ready for the picking. Neighbors not only growing food together, but becoming friends and supporting one another. 

The Food is Free Project is a community building and gardening movement that launched in January of 2012 and recently filed as a 501c-3 Non-Profit. We teach people how to connect with their neighbors and work together to line their street with front yard community gardens that can be harvested and enjoyed by everyone in the community. The gardens are built and offered for free using salvaged resources that would otherwise be headed to the landfill and volunteer labor. Generous donations from local businesses help us fill the beds with soil, compost, and seeds or plant starts. Using these materials, we build drought-tolerant, wicking bed gardens, that require little maintenance and only need to be watered every 2-4 weeks. This simple tool makes home gardening accessible to everyone, regardless of experience level or available time. A wide variety of vegetables along the block promote neighbors to interact and connect, strengthening our communities while empowering them to grow their own food and reconnect with the earth.

What To Do

Plant a front yard community garden and label it “Food is Free.” Start to interact with your neighbors as you meet them in the garden and start a conversation about what you want your community to look like. By using food as a medium to connect us we can create communities that support one another, where we’re safer, happier and sharing our passions.” Click Here to read full article.

Learn more about the movement: Food Is Free Project

New study: Magic Mushrooms Repair Brain Damage From Extreme Trauma

Higher Perspective – “A new study by The University of South Florida has found that low doses of the active ingredient in magic mushrooms repairs brain damage caused by extreme trauma, offering renewed hope to millions of sufferers of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).

Psilocybe tampanensis

Psilocybe tampanensis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The study confirms previous research by Imperial College London, that psilocybin, a naturally occurring compound present in “shrooms”, stimulates new brain cell growth and erases frightening memories. Mice conditioned to fear electric shock when hearing a noise associated with the shock “simply lost their fear”, says Dr. Juan Sanchez-Ramos, who co-authored the study. A low dose of psilocybin led them to overcome “fear conditioning” and the freeze response associated with it faster than the group of mice on Ketanserin (a drug that counteracts the receptor that binds psilocybin in the brain) and a control group on saline.

An estimated 5 percent of Americans – more than 13 million people – have PTSD at any given time, according to the PTSD Alliance. The condition more often associated with combat veterans, is twice as likely to develop in women because they tend to experience interpersonal violence (such as domestic violence, rape and abuse) more often than men.

Common symptoms, such as hyper-vigilance, memory fragmentation, flashbacks, dissociation, nightmares and fight or flight responses to ‘triggers’, are generally thought to be psychological and therefore treatable by learning to change thought processes. But new research suggests that they may in fact be the result of long term physiological mutations to the brain.

In the South Florida University study, the mice treated with low doses of psilocybin grew healthy new brain cells and their overactive medial prefrontal cortex regions (common in PTSD sufferers) were restored to normal functionality.

Further independent studies (http://www.thedoctorwillseeyounow.com ) have shown that the hippocampus part of the brain is damaged by extreme stress and that this is specific to PTSD and not associated with anxiety or panic disorders.

Dr. Sanchez-Ramos acknowledged that there was no way of knowing whether the mice in the experiment experienced altered states of consciousness or hallucinations – commonly experienced with magic mushrooms, but he believed the doses were too low to cause psychoactive effects.

Decriminalisation of psilocybin could help millions

Previous studies have shown that low doses of psilocybin produce no consciousness state altering effects. Administered in the correct amount, psilocybin could therefore be assumed to safely treat PTSD with minimal risk of adverse side effects. Magic mushrooms could help millions recover from the debilitating cycles of fight and flight and other conditioned biological responses caused by extreme trauma, if only they weren’t listed as a dangerous Schedule 1 drug with no medical benefits.” Full Story on Higher Perspective

State Threatens To Seize Infant Who was Fed Goat’s Milk

This was originally posted in late August, not sure how I missed it. Just another example of an over-reaching state interfering in our private lives…

A baby having milk from a bottle.

A baby having milk from a bottle. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

via Healthy Life – “A young mother in Maine is being threatened by the Department of Health and Human Services to have her infant child taken away and put into foster care. Her crime? Feeding him goat’s milk instead of commercial infant formula.

Alorah Gellerson was not able to breast feed her child, so she developed a formula of goat’s milk that included celery juice, and reports that the child loved it, and “grew like a weed.”

The young mother made a huge mistake, however. She told her pediatrician about the formula. The doctor turned her in to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), which resulted in home visits, an overnight stay in the hospital, a directive to buy “approved” commercial infant formula (most of which contain GMOs and soy) and threats to remove the baby and place him into foster care.

The local mainstream media apparently is confused by this action, and has covered the story. WABI even interviewed another family doctor in the area who said: “I’ve got plenty of kids in my practice that have been given goat’s milk, for example, and they’re growing and developing fine.”

Indeed, goat’s milk is generally considered healthier, more easily digested, and less allergenic than cow’s milk. It has been fed to infants in traditional cultures for probably many thousands of years. So why the uproar and threats? The local media tried to interview the DHHS, but they refused, and instead referred them to government websites that stated goat’s milk was not suitable for infants.

Source: Health Impact News

27-Year-Old Man Gets “20 Years Hard Labor” for Half an Ounce of Pot

“Defense lawyers are appealing the twenty year sentence for Mr. Ladd, but the hundreds of thousands of marijuana arrests continue each year. This insanity must be stopped.”

AlterNet – “While Colorado and Washington have de-criminalized recreational use of marijuana and twenty states allow use for medical purposes, a Louisiana man was sentenced to twenty years in prison in New Orleans criminal court for possessing 15 grams, .529 of an ounce, of marijuana.

Corey Ladd, 27, had prior drug convictions and was sentenced September 4, 2013 as a “multiple offender to 20 years hard labor at the Department of Corrections.”

Marijuana use still remains a ticket to jail in most of the country and prohibition is enforced in a highly racially discriminatory manner.  A recent report of the ACLU, “The War on Marijuana in Black and White,” documents millions of arrests for marijuana and shows the “staggeringly disproportionate impact on African Americans.”

Nationwide, the latest numbers from the FBI report that over 762,000 arrests per year are for marijuana, almost exactly half of all drug arrests.

Even though blacks and whites use marijuana at similar rates, black people are 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for possession of marijuana than white people.

For example, Louisiana arrests about 13,000 people per year for marijuana, 60% of them African Americans.  Over 84 percent were for possession only.   While Louisiana’s population is 32 percent black, 60 percent of arrests for marijuana are African American making it the 9th most discriminatory state nationwide.  In Tangipahoa Parish, blacks are 11.8 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana than whites and in St. Landry Parish the rate of black arrests for marijuana is 10.7 times as likely as whites, landing both parishes in the worst 15 in the country.

In Louisiana, a person can get up to six months in jail for first marijuana conviction, up to five years in prison for the second conviction and up to twenty years in prison for the third.   In fact, the Louisiana Supreme Court recently overturned a sentence of five years as too lenient for a fourth possession of marijuana and ordered the person sentenced to at least 13 years.

Jack Cole of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) argues that “the “war on drugs” has been, is, and forever will be, a total and abject failure.  This is not a war on drugs, this is a war on people, our own people, our children, our parents, ourselves.” LEAP, which is made up of thousands of current and former members of the law enforcement and criminal justice communities, has been advocating for the de-criminalization of drugs and replacing it with regulation and control since 2002.” Full Story

Toxic Algae Plagues US

National Wildlife Federation

via EcoWatch

“Summer should be a time for fishing, boating and swimming with family on our nation’s lakes. Yet instead of fresh clear waters, many are encountering mats of thick blue-green harmful algal blooms (HABs)—also known as toxic algae.

A new, first-of-its-kind national online map by the communications firm Resource Media shows that 21 states across the U.S. have issued health advisories and warnings related to harmful algal blooms at 147 different locations on lakes, rivers and ponds this summer.

In partnership with the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Regional Center, Resource Media is also releasing a report, Toxic Algae: Coming Soon to a Lake Near You? The report provides a look at how extreme weather and an increase in nonpoint source pollution from agriculture and failing septic systems are spurring its spread. Health impacts and economic costs are also reviewed.

The scourge continues to fly beneath the radar of national attention, in part because:

  1. No federal agency currently tracks lake closures or health warnings nationally.
  2. Few economic studies have assessed the national cost of freshwater hazardous algal blooms.
  3. A minority of states monitor lakes and rivers for algal-related toxins.

Tracking of toxic algae showed that this summer:

  • New York State led the U.S., with warnings issued at 50 different lakes and ponds.
  • For the first time, Kentucky officials found toxic algae at four lakes, which collectively draw more than 5 million visitors a year. Some visitors to the lakes complained of rashes and intestinal problems.
  • Western Lake Erie continues to experience a resurgence of toxic algal blooms, leading to health advisories and “do not drink” orders being issued by the state of Ohio. In contrast, the state of Michigan, which shares some of the same waters but does not currently have a formal monitoring or advisory program, issued no health advisories during that same time period.
  • In southeast Florida, a massive toxic algae outbreak covered St. Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon with fluorescent green slime this summer, prompting warnings from health officials to not touch the water. Scores of dolphins, manatees, birds and fish have died.

“No one wants a green, sick lake,” said Andy Buchsbaum, regional executive director, National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Regional Center. “And yet that’s what communities across the country are facing. Excessive runoff is feeding an explosion of toxic algae that is choking our waters, closing our beaches, and posing a threat to people, pets and wildlife…” Full Story on EcoWatch

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Blue algae bloom in Hubei China

Killer Algae – BBC Horizon Documentary

 

Antibacterial Products Fuel Resistant Bacteria In Streams & Rivers

EurekAlert – “Millbrook, N.Y.) Triclosan – a synthetic antibacterial widely used in personal care products – is fueling the development of resistant bacteria in streams and rivers. So reports a new paper in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, which is the first to document triclosan resistance in a natural environment.

Invented for surgeons in the 1960s, triclosan slows or stops the growth of bacteria, fungi, and mildew. Currently, around half of liquid soaps contain the chemical, as well as toothpastes, deodorants, cosmetics, liquid cleansers, and detergents. Triclosan enters streams and rivers through domestic wastewater, leaky sewer infrastructure, and sewer overflows, with residues now common throughout the United States.

Emma Rosi-Marshall, one of the paper’s authors and an aquatic ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York explains: “The bacterial resistance caused by triclosan has real environmental consequences. Not only does it disrupt aquatic life by changing native bacterial communities, but it’s linked to the rise of resistant bacteria that could diminish the usefulness of important antibiotics.”

With colleagues from Loyola University and the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, Rosi-Marshall explored how bacteria living in stream and river sediments responded to triclosan in both natural and controlled settings. Field studies were conducted at three sites in the Chicago metropolitan region: urban North Shore Channel, suburban West Branch Dupage River, and rural Nippersink Creek.

Urbanization was correlated with a rise in both triclosan concentrations in sediments and the proportion of bottom-dwelling bacteria resistant to triclosan. A woodland creek had the lowest levels of triclosan-resistant bacteria, while a site on the North Shore Channel downstream of 25 combined sewer overflows had the highest levels.

Combined sewers deliver domestic sewage, industrial wastewater, and storm water to a regional treatment plant using a single pipe. Overflows occur when a pipe’s capacity is exceeded, typically due to excessive runoff from high rainfall or snowmelt events. The result: untreated sewage flows directly into rivers and streams.

The research team found that combined sewer overflows that release untreated sewage are a major source of triclosan pollution in Chicago’s North Shore Channel. In addition, their findings support past work that indicates sewage treatment plants can effectively remove triclosan from wastewater.

John Kelly of Loyola University Chicago, the paper’s senior author, comments, “We detected much lower levels of triclosan at a site downstream of a sewage treatment facility as compared to a site downstream of combined sewer overflows. And we demonstrated a strong link between the presence of triclosan in the environment and the development of triclosan resistant bacteria.”

Nearly 800 cities in the United States rely on combined sewer overflows, with the Environmental Protection Agency citing them as a major water pollution concern.

Artificial stream experiments conducted at Loyola University confirmed field findings that triclosan exposure triggers an increase in triclosan-resistant bacteria. In addition to the creation of these resistant bacteria, researchers also found a decrease in the diversity of benthic bacteria and a shift in the composition of bacterial communities. Most notable were a 6-fold increase in cyanobacteria and a dramatic die-off of algae.

Rosi-Marshall explains how these shifts could impact aquatic life, “Cyanobacteria are less nutritious than algae and can produce toxins. In triclosan-polluted streams and rivers, changes in microbial communities could negatively affect ecological function and animal communities.”

The study is the latest in an ongoing effort to better understand the environmental and human health consequences of synthetic antimicrobials. Funding was provided by a grant from the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center.”

Access the paper here.