Rethinking economic security

Banning Heirloom Seeds?

The European Commission is seeking to ban all heirloom seeds. They are considering legislation that will criminalize nearly all seeds and plants not registered with the government. The proposed law “Plant Reproductive Material Law” would make it illegal to “grow, reproduce, or trade” any vegetable seeds that have not been “tested, approved and accepted” by a new EU bureaucracy called the “EU Plant Variety Agency”.  Virtually all plants, vegetable seeds and gardeners will eventually be registered by the government and gardeners must also pay FEES to the EU for the registration of their seeds. You can read the proposed law here , but pay attention to the Articles  since they are what becomes law and not the misleading summary.

Why am I concerned about what the EU is doing with heirloom seeds? Because I think we will soon be jumping on this bandwagon. Certain large corporations who already own the majority of our seed companies will find this irresistible as it will drive the small heirloom seed companies out of business. I believe it will also trickle down to home gardeners and seed saving will become a criminal act (as it already is for Monsanto seeds).  You can read more about this proposed law and what it means for us  here.


Jujube Fruit

Now that school has started and I am back to work, my jujube tree is loaded with fruit ready to ripen into a dark red color. This time of year is so busy with many fruits and vegetables here just hitting peak harvest time, yet the return to work phase leaves little energy for canning and prepping. I have to find the right balance so that both can be accomplished in the right mind set. Please comment with any tips you have found helpful during harvest time.

jujube tree

 The jujube fruit is new to me and I was thrilled to read that it has 20 times the amount of Vitamin C of citrus fruits! Apparently there are several tree varieties and luckily I have one where the fruit is good to eat raw, like an apple. These fruits are still green and immature, but soon will turn a full red color and begin to soften and wrinkle. The best time to eat them raw is the stage between yellow-green and full red. The fruits I have eaten so far at this stage were crisp, sweet, and similar to an apple. I’ve been looking for recipes to use them in and have only been able to find one for jujube butter; I’ll be trying this since we like apple butter too. Has anyone tried jujube fruit or have recipes?

jujube fruit

Garden Plans

Gardener's Supply Company, raised beds, gardening

There are so many reasons why I think it is important for everyone to be growing at least some of their food. For one reason, it is a huge learning curve and I know it takes several seasons to start getting it right. For another, our health may depend on it given the growth in GMO use and the long shipping times it takes produce to show up in our stores.  I don’t like to focus on doom and gloom scenarios, but economically our bad weather patterns are causing crop shortages and for many already, their personal economics are causing hardships with their food budgets.

I have been trying to lay out a garden plan while waiting for the tractor work and have decided for me the easiest way to begin is based on the square foot model. So many choices to make; it seems like I am spinning my wheels trying to decide how many of what can go in how much space and which should be grouped together. I have all the information, but it is a time factor now to get ready for a fall garden. I am so glad I found a free, online garden planner from the Gardener’s Supply Company. They have pre-planned raised beds in many different designs, from a Fun for Kids bed to herbs to High Yield to Salad Bar and others. They also have a Design Your Own feature where you can lay out your beds with the crops you want to grow and the site will populate each of your square foot grids with the right amount of that crop. A Growing Guide is included with more links to all you would ever want to know about any particular vegetable. It works for me!  Check it out here!

Oh, and in case you need to know your gardening zone, the 2012 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map can be found here.

Vote for GMO Free

Ok, I’ve heard more news on the GMO front that I feel compelled to share. Many consumers are lulled into a false sense of security about their food supply when doing their typical grocery shopping. Others are aware of genetically modified organisms (GMO) or genetically engineered (GE) foods but don’t fully understand what that means for their own body.  When Monsanto started inserting viruses and bacteria into crops it was not disclosed that the DNA inserted into GMOs can transfer to bacteria in the environment and also into our own intestines.  Now, most corn and soybeans are genetically engineered and this is manufactured into the majority of our foods.  There is also GE salmon, alfalfa, sugar beets and the list is growing.

Studies have shown a close association between GMOs and plant disease, infertility, miscarriages, organ damage and high infant mortality in animals.  This includes farm livestock and our pets.  When animals are changed to a non-GMO feed, their health improves.  NOW new studies have shown how GMOs may alter organ function in humans.  If this isn’t a call for growing your own garden and shopping organically, I don’t know what else would convince you.

What would it take for food companies to eliminate all GMO ingredients? I remember when Europe banned all GMO foods about ten years ago due to consumer demands. In the U.S., mainstream media is reporting more and more on GMOs and food safety.  Jeffrey Smith, GMO expert, believes it would only take 5% of consumers avoiding GM brands to start the non-GMO avalanche.

Did you know they want to introduce a new GMO that can tolerate the 2, 4-D chemical – a main component of Agent Orange?  Will you be part of the 5% and vote no to GMOs with your shopping habits?

Please watch and share the video below to understand the need for shopping and eating non-engineered foods.


This post has been linked to Scratch Cookin’ Tuesday.

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