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Every week, I pretty much, have something that inspires a blog post. It may be a rant, an epiphany, a story, a farmer profile, an update about one of my food projects, etc. This week, not so much. So I visited my favorite web haunts to drum up some ideas. Nothing! I did some online searches about  food. Still nothing! Soon I found myself at Facebook lurking through my news feed and my friend Sarah had posted this quote! Enough said! I absolutely love it! it sums up the ag debate in a nutshell!

What would the "pesticide-laden" produce be called? I may need some help with this one but here are a few stabs...conventional produce, factory produce, synthetic produce, genetically modified produce, chemical produce, not-your-grandmas' produce, gag-me-with-a-spoon produce, don't-buy-me produce, the other produce, enslaved produce, unhappy produce, engineered produce...the list can go on.

I tried to find out more about the person. Ymber Delecto, who coined this saying. But yet again...I came up with nothing. I'm thinking it must be an alias for someone or a fictitious name. So strange! It dilutes the power of the quote not having a personality to attach it too! Or does the mystery of this elusive character make it that much stronger? Hhmm?? I may not have learned more about the author of this quote but I did learn about Handpicked Nation which looks like a rad food site where I might be looking for blog inspiration in the future when I hit a dry-spell or writers block. Check them out!

 
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When I first came up with the "foodlust" concept, I tried to visualize what it might look like in a logo. I kept visioning this debonair, swashbuckling gentleman dipping a leek raptured by its earthly wonder. Foodlust is after all "a deep respect for food" and if consumed with foodlust, we would cradle the bounty of mother nature in awe and amazement at what she provides. We would not take our food for granted, expect it to be cheap, super-size everything, and let it go to waste.

I had a friend draw up this picture in my mind and I've included it here along with my interpretive tribute to foodlust.

This past week, I harvested my first leeks! It took five months but who's counting. It was worth the wait! They weren't the fattest leeks I'd ever seen but they had lovely, long white shanks! I learned this trick of long-white shanks from 4-season gardener, Eliot Coleman...when your leek seedlings are 10" tall, you loosen them from the ground trimming roots and tops and then transplant them into 9" holes. In his book, Winter Harvest Handbook, he says, " If you have never grown leeks this way before, you may find it hard to believe that it will work - but it does!" And it did!

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Volunteers and clients from Project Mana's food distribution in Truckee, CA.
Along with the leeks, was a whopping 56lb. harvest! It was our biggest yet. Like most of our harvests, 70% or more is donated to our local hunger relief agency, Project Mana. It was an incredible day and a big celebration! Over the past month, a traveler named Terry from Wyoming, had come out to the growing dome every week to volunteer. For his hard work, I would load him up with an arm full of veggies to share with his fellow travelers at the local hostel. He humored me by taking the photos of me with the leeks.

The following is a photo essay over the last week. My friend Daphne Hougard, who is a professional photographer, came down for the 56lb pickin'. She took the one of me with the carrots and the gorgeous one of the dome's interior at sunrise! Enjoy the harvest!

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Daphne Hougard Collection
 
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Last month, I traveled just southwest of Chico, CA to Hamilton City. I was on assignment for the Rodale Institute and an article about organic rice farmer, Greg Massa. You can read the interview in its entirety by visiting the Rodale Institute's website, click here! To peak your appetite, here is a taste...

Dragonflies swarmed above a rice field under a hazy morning sun. With an orchestral maneuver, they darted into the sky then nose dived back to the water, occasionally swooping to the left or right as if trying to throw off the police in a chase. As my gaze was transfixed upon this dance, organic rice farmer Greg Massa informed me that dragonflies have an aquatic life stage in the beginning. When they dip and dive to the water, they are actually laying eggs. I had never made the correlation between rice fields and dragonflies before, but it made sense. I guess it’s no coincidence they are often depicted together.

Greg and his wife, Raquel Krach, along with their five children, own and operate Massa Organics, a brown rice and almond farm outside of Chico, CA. Greg is a fourth-generation rice farmer, and the 225-acres he farms have been in the Massa family since 1970. But it wasn’t until 1997 when Greg and Raquel returned from five years in Costa Rica as tropical ecologists that they began to transition the land to organics. “Rice farming offered an opportunity to do real conservation work on our own land rather than the theoretical work of university-based ecology,” says Greg. “Stewardship of the air, water and land are our primary concerns.”
Read the entire article by visiting the Rodale website.

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Cody watching over his flock of sheep who graze the almond orchard to keep the understory clean.
 
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Stephen Ritz (left) with two of his students. Click for Stephen's TED talk.
If you need a little inspiration on how to make a difference, go no further than Stephen Ritz's TED talk! If it doesn't get you fired up nothing else will!

He talks fast but you don't miss a single word because he doesn't muddle the topic by spewing random facts and linking big words. He speaks the truth!

Stephen is a teacher in the South Bronx who is not only empowering kids with growing food and creating a business with their edible walls but helping these students realize how they can make their community better for themselves, their families and their future! He isn't just using a systems-based learning model to teach kids about our connection to food but our connection to community!

Thanks to my friend Deb for sharing this video. I'm  now I'm passing it forward! Seriously...watch and be amazed at what one person can do. What's your "edible wall"?

 
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On May 3rd, I spoke about the domino effect that California's GMO Label law, Proposition 37, could have not only in California but throughout the entire US food system, click here.

Well, my assumption was right...The food industry sees the threat it poses. Here is what Pamela Baily, President of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), had to say in a speech to the American Soybean Association on July 9th...

"The California Ballot Initiative to label genetically engineered food is "a serious, long-term threat to the viability of agricultural biotechnology. Defeating the Initiative is GMA's single highest priority this year." -

The conventional food industry isn't worried about the cost to redo their packaging or concerned about a little bad press. They realize that once California falls, so will the rest of the country. Ever state will want to have GMO labels and with GMO labels comes decreased sales. People aren't going to want to buy food with a label that will have the likeness to "skulls & crossbones." 

It's deductive reasoning...To increase sales, the food industry will have to start producing food that doesn't require GMO labeling. To obtain that stature, they are going to have to change the way they grow the food. Fingers crossed...Hopefully, that means more sustainable and earth-friendly farming methods. Conventional farming is so closely aligned with genetically engineered (GE) seeds that they are practically synonymous. Change will only be able to happen, if they change the way they do business.

Big Ag should be afraid...very afraid! The GMO Label could be checkmate!