Holy Sh**t-sicles

I know this isn’t a very marketable name for a food, but I don’t care: these Popsicles are the shiznit! No added sweetener. Just sunripe goodness coupled with nutrient-dense all-stars like coconut oil and grassfed butter. A treat you can be confident will actually nourish your kids, instead of the typical sugar-bombsicles that will rot the teeth out of their heads.

The color and texture is pretty close to poop, but ya just gotta grin, and then admit that some sh**t really is holy.

HOLY SH**TSICLES

1 cup ripe raspberries
2 TB grassfed butter
2 TB coconut oil
3/4 cup sour cream (I use organic, lactose-free version)
1/2 cup whole milk yogurt
2 TB unsweetened cacao powder
[Options: add a splash of raw honey, or substitute coconut creme/milk for the butter and yogurt if you want a dairy-free version.]

Blend everything in food processor, add to Popsicle molds and freeze! Makes 8 Popsicles. You’re welcome, kids.

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Bone Broth Gazpacho

I’m a soup gal. I like to eat it everyday, sometimes several times a day. Lately, however, it’s been so hot, I haven’t been drawn to soup.

But I don’t like missing my daily dose of bone broth! So, dutifully made the creamy cauliflower purée that is normally one of my favorites, but it sat there uneaten.

UNTIL!–I decided to turn it into GAZPACHO! I pulsed tomato and zucchini chunks along with lime juice, chopped parsley, and sea salt, in the food processor, then mixed in the cauliflower purée (which already had quite a bit of butter in it, by the way).

VOILA! A tangy, mouth-watering bone broth gazpacho to drink over ice at the beach. It’s perfect–bone broth, butter, raw veggies, and electrolytes all in one meal.

Super yummm!

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Lard Mayonnaise–NOT RUNNY!

I’ve never been able to find a store-bought mayo that doesn’t contain the evil canola oil. Even the ones that claim to be made of “olive oil” still have canola in them.Years ago, I’d tried the recipe for homemade olive-oil mayo in Nourishing Traditions, but it always came out runny.  I tried subbing out coconut oil to make it more solid, but I found the coconutty flavor didn’t really work for mayo, so I kinda gave up on it.

But today, I was making potato salad, and a lightbulb went off to substitute good ole fashioned LARD for the olive oil, and PRESTO!!!  Perfect mayo!!!  It’s so good, in fact, that I wonder if LARD was actually the original base for mayo before it was demonized.   Well, now we know better, don’t we?

Here’s the recipe:  ENJOY!

REAL HOMEMADE MAYO

1 egg

1 egg yolk

1 tsp. prepared mustard

2 or 3 tsp. lemon juice

1 TBsp whey or other lacto-starter (OPTIONAL: the purpose is to make the mayo last much longer.  2 months or more, as opposed to 2 weeks without it.)

generous pinch of salt

3/4 cup lard (melted)

Put all ingredients except lard in food processor.  Mix well for about 20 seconds.  Then turn processor on and drizzle in melted lard slowly.

Super nutrient dense with Essential Fatty Acids — use it on everything!

 

Halloween Switch Witch to the Rescue!

Grandmother Witch

Around Halloween, health-conscious moms around the country are faced with the challenge of how to avoid all the HFCS and GMO-laden candy that surrounds us this time of year.

I want my son to be able to participate in Halloween Festivities, to dress up in costumes, to Trick or Treat, and to bob for apples with the best of ’em, but I don’t want him subjected to the metabolic havoc of gorging on Snickers Bars, Smarties, and Candy Corn.

So, we have struck a bargain with the “Switch Witch.”

I tell my son that he can collect all the candy he wants on Halloween, and then give it to “The Switch Witch,”  who will exchange it for his favorite foods.  This year I asked him what those foods were and he replied, “French Fries” “Chocolate Chips” and “Bananas.”  So, we gave the the Switch Witch the candy, and she gave Mama the raw ingredients.  The next day, I created the following recipe for “Banana Chocolate Chip Cupcakes” (being primarily comprised of of eggs, almond butter and sweet potato, these are much more like nutrient dense, grain-free muffins than cakes.)

And, as a bonus, it gave us a super-educational and fun activity to do all morning, as my three-year old got to measure everything out, press the button on the food processor, and, of course, lick the spoon!

Next activity is making gourmet french fries from our garden potatoes and local, home rendered tallow (lard works great too!)

Voila:  some (not so) naughty homemade treats to replace the typcial nasty Halloween fare.  THANKS, SWITCH WITCH!

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RECIPE:  Grain-Free Banana Chocolate Chip Cake 


•4 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes (cooled, or else the chocolate chips will melt, which is just as yummy….)

•1 1/2 cups homemade almond butter (made from soaked & dehydrated unpasteurized almonds–buzzed in food processor about 2 minutes)

•4 eggs (100% local & pastured with deep, rich golden yolks!)

•1/3 cup raw honey (or to taste)

•2 organic bananas (overripe ones work great)

•2 Tbsp. powdered gelatin (Great Lakes)

•couple handfuls of fair trade, organic, dark chocolate chips

•1 1/2 tsp. sea salt

•1 tsp. baking soda (optional)

Grease cake pan with coconut oil, butter, or other yummy saturated fat.

Process almonds in food processor or blender til it turns into almond butter.  Add remaining ingredients except chocolate chips and mix together.  Consistency should be like a cake batter. If it needs more liquid, you can add milk, cream, or cooking water from sweet potatoes. Stir in chocolate chips before folding into cake pan or lined muffin tins.

Bake at a low temp–250 degrees for about 1 hour.  This cake comes out pretty dense, almost pudding-like in the center, so we are basically dehydrating it a bit in the oven, and allowing the batter to “gel” rather than “rise.”  If you want fluffy cupcakes, add baking powder to batter, increase oven temp to 350, and reduce baking time to 20-30 minutes.

(Need I mention that these go great with homemade lard frosting?  Just pulse lard with maple syrup and spread it on!)

Bee Well this Halloween!

Nala Walla, MS, FIMCA, NTP (June 2015)
Ecosomatic Wellness Coaching
http://www.bcollective.org/html/professional.html

Ugly Ducklings and Suckers

When I hear the word “sucker,” I think of the plum tree in my garden, which sends out little shoots and leaves in a circle around itself, pushing up dozens of baby sprouts everywhere in an effort to reproduce. Many-a plant species uses this suckering strategy, especially when under stress, often cramping up in a tangle of itself so dense that it can choke out its own sunlight and compete with itself for soil resources, making it difficult for any individual in the thicket to thrive.

Sound familiar?

This behavior reminds me of the frenzied and almost automated reproduction of the human race in the last few thousand—and especially the last few hundred—years. Despite our rapidly declining physical, mental, and spiritual health, we just keep on multiplying.
Or maybe it’s really because of our rapidly declining health that our population is exploding?

There’s a sucker born every minute.

Perhaps we (accurately or inaccurately) sense an impending doom and we whirl around in some preset breeding fit that only increases the pressure on the family, the community, the larger ecology. This downward spiral then involves even more suckers to respond to the stress, along with decreasing regard for the vigor or sanity of our offspring.

And then, of course, there is the other sense of the word sucker, which also happens to line up quite well with modern behaviors: someone desperate, someone gullible, someone willing to accept almost any imitation as reality. Confronted with the firepower of an increasingly exploitative and and pathetically fake society, our habitual response is to paddle around our polluted little pond faster and faster with our brood. As the big guns take aim, the chemicals rot our feathers, and we become the proverbial sitting ducks.

But there are other responses to stress besides suckering.   Like the fabled Ugly Duckling, it is time for us to find the place where we truly belong, a beautiful place that involves real sustenance for people and planet both. Not to mention that human beings are (supposedly) a heckuvalot smarter than ducks. It is possible to slow our pace and actually give our children what they need, even if its something we never got ourselves. We can insert some creativity into our tired old procreative fantasies.

Like all other life on Earth, humans do have to reproduce if we are to continue here. Strict abstinence strategies amount to little more than suicide.

The real question is:  reproduce what?

It seems less and less wise to invest the future of humanity in a generation of record-breakingly sick, traumatized and bullied children. Plus a growing epidemic of fertility problems is rapidly chopping away at the colossal numbers we are capable of replicating.

Can we make an attempt to tune-out the roaring industrial propaganda—including brainwashing and guilt-trips about over-population, food pyramids, material success, academic achievement, obedience, manners, and discipline–and listen for the instinctual voice that still knows the root of what our children need? Nourishing food, loving arms, clean air, water & soil, strong family and community ties. These have always been the basis of what humans need to thrive. Maybe if we took care of these basics, we would naturally figure out how to keep our numbers in the range that our ecosystems can support, a homeostasis we achieved for 99% of human existence and lost only a blink ago.

If we can focus on raising a few truly healthy children, maybe when they grow up, they won’t be such suckers.

The Farmer and the Witch: Replanting the Seeds of Indigeneity

Grandmother Witch

Grandmother Witch

The Farmer and the Witch:
Replanting the Seeds of Indigeneity

By Nala Walla

THE SEEDS OF INDIGENEITY

Just as any store-bought apple will always sprout a unique wild variety when planted (Pollan, 2002), so every person on this globe—even the most domesticated among us—contains the feral seeds of our own indigenous origin. Though they may be deeply buried, so deeply that we may be unaware they exist, these seeds are of incalculable value to anyone interested in the germination of sane and sustainable cultures.

Mayan author and teacher Martin Prechtel (2012, p.53) shares his extraordinary insights about these seeds of indigeneity:

The world is populated with…[p]eople who’ve lost their seeds. They are not bad or useless people, but…[t]he real people they used to be, like the seeds, have vanished…to hide in an inner world inside modern, citified people. In some small, never-looked-at place in the forgotten wilderness of their souls, invisible to the forces that would invade and take over, their indigenous seeds of culture and lifeways live exiled from their everyday consciousness.

The quiescent kernels of indigeneity are resting patiently within all of us, waiting for our variously industrialized and wounded bodies to step outside our climate-controlled routines, into the nourishing rain and soil, so these seeds can flourish once again.

Yet, the “simple” act of spending time outdoors, working again with soil and seeds, animals and trees, has been enormously complicated by oppressive systems designed precisely to break human connection with earth, with each other, and with the wilderness embedded in our own psyches. A profound sense of meaninglessness and depression often results from this disconnection, as described by depth-psychologist and wilderness guide Bill Plotkin (2013, p.160):

Affective depression is, at root…the blockage of the wild, indigenous, emotive, erotic, and fully embodied dimension of our human wholeness. The best therapy for depression begins with the resuscitation, animation, and liberation of [our] Wild Indigenous One.

But accessing our indigenous wisdom is much more than just an excellent strategy for healing our personal psychological wounds. Such liberation involves the deep shift in consciousness needed in order to perceive solutions to seemingly intractable societal and ecological problems. These solutions may have been right in front of us all along, but it has been difficult for us to see them, embedded as we are within a paradigm of exploitation, separation and division. Writer and herbalist Stephen Harrod Buhner (2014, p.24-25) emphasizes the importance of our capacity to see beyond entrenched assumptions, to a deeper reality of connectedness with the whole of nature:

[T]here is every reason to view this capacity as a crucial evolutionary adaptation, a capacity hardwired into all living organisms, and which serves a specific purpose…Despite our culture’s willful ignorance, deeper perceptual experiences and paradigmatic shifts in cognition are spontaneously emerging with more frequency, and much more strongly, into the human species. For using this different kind of perception and thinking is the way out of our predicament, the way to solve the problems that those older kinds of thinking have caused. It is an evolutionary necessity.

The convoluted histories which taint our relationship with landscapes, both inner and outer, render earth-based work an extremely powerful catalyst for healing between individuals and families, between nations and races, as well as for the living planetary ecosystems of which we are all part. Our ability (and responsibility) to rebuild our connections with natural communities—human, animal, vegetal, bacterial—is underlined and potentiated by the severity and depth of our wounding. Though this type of paradigm-shifting work may not be easy, it can be extremely rewarding, and can be regarded, as both Prechtel and Buhner do, as an “evolutionary necessity.”

Whether we become advocates for youth naturalist programs, dig a garden in an urban pea-patch, create permaculture programs in prisons (Thomas, P. 2015, Vosper, 2015), or organize large-scale holistic land management (Savory, 2015), opportunities abound to reclaim our birthright as wild creatures on an awe-inspiring planet. Indeed, our ability to respond creatively and decisively to rising sea levels, to civil wars, to nuclear pollution, is directly dependent upon our ability to reconnect with our inner wildness, regarding it as a wellspring of wisdom, rather than an unruly riot which must quickly be tamed.

THE FARMER AND THE WITCH

As I write, the colorful Halloween holiday, with straw-stuffed scarecrows and spooky lil’ ghosts parading across homes and storefronts is approaching all over the Northern Hemisphere. It’s my favorite time of year.

Crooked-toothed icons of witches on their brooms are plastered everywhere, and I can’t help but marvel at how, even after centuries of efforts to hunt and exterminate her, “The Witch” nevertheless continues to capture our imaginations. Even through the thick synthetic cloak of modern culture, our subconscious selves dimly recognize the witch—that earthy woman stirring her pot of herbs and flying through a magical nighttime sky—as our ancestor.

Despite pervasive miseducation, and rampant dilution of her cultural history, the witch endures.

The means by which the long and rich history of witch culture has been eroded include all the typical mechanisms of exploitation we are familiar with today: terrorism, colonialism, genocide, propaganda. The medieval witch hunts themselves served as the proving grounds which developed and refined the above mechanisms, when combined forces of Church, State and media experimented with global violent crusades whose purpose was to sever the connection of the peasantry to the land (Federici, 2011). Only slightly different in style and scope today, these techniques remain favorites of belligerent governments and corporations around the world that wish to remove all resistance to exploitation.

Current cartoonish portrayals of witches—virtually devoid of any real meaning—are a testament to the “success” of these terror and slander campaigns, which have destroyed most of the detail about how ancestral pagan cultures actually functioned, and the extensive knowledge they contained. In just a few hundred years, common representations of the witch shifted from a revered, medicine woman embodying a culinary, shamanic, and healing tradition, to a warty, cackling buffoon in a pointy hat who exists only in picture books.

A similar fate has befallen another figure who, in the public view, once possessed extensive knowledge about the land: “The Farmer.” The infantilized image of the witch mentioned above is reminiscent of popular depictions of farmers, ranchers, and herders as clumsy hicks who are, at best, unsophisticated and out of touch with the slick urban “reality” of modern life, and, at worst, stupid and irrelevant to the river of progress.

As with witch culture, the details of once-hearty and self-reliant agrarian communities have been glossed over in the creation of the current degrading stereotypes. I was ashamed to find on Wikipedia a whole list of pejorative slang used to refer to rural people—the very people who negotiate our relationship to the land and are responsible for our sustenance: boor, bumpkin, churl, hayseed, hick, hillbilly, lob, redneck, rustic, and yokel.

These slurs wound on several levels, translating not only to a philosophical disrespect, but an actual biting of the hand that feeds us, as well. Even worse, they demonstrate the thoroughness with which we modern people have internalized our own oppression, colluding with the severing of our original connections with the land, slashing at the lineages of our own indigeneity.

Though references to farmers in the West today usually assume “white,” “Christian,” and “male,” both the farmer and the witch–with their millenia-long lineages, and bountiful knowledge of food, animals, herbs, handicrafts–are characters which grace the family trees of diverse ancestries. Men and women worldwide have pagan and agrarian roots of which we can be proud, yet despite rich historical links, the potential solidarity between the average modern, industrial citizen and figures such as witches and farmers has been cauterized, allowing for ignorant and dangerous stereotyping to spread.

GRANDMOTHER WITCH

To prepare for our harvest feast, my son and I are headed to the local market in our little town. He always loves coming here, helping to fill our basket with an assortment of the succulent fruits and veggies available this time of year. But as I put my hand on the door, I feel a small jolt of fright as I notice the illuminated witch-in-silhouette, flying across the face of the waning moon–and it’s not because I am “scared of witches.” Rather, I shudder to think about what falsehoods, what shallow slanders, this image will be conveying to him about his own ancestors?

For all its tiring over-generalizations, it can at least be said that this green-faced portrait is an accurate representation of how desperately little knowledge remains about my son’s own mixed heritage. How the outlines of his original Indigenous Body have been buffed and muted into a puffy caricature. I wonder how bewildering the Witch concept will likely be to his developing Jewish identity, since her image was influenced by and conflated with the anti-Semitic images developing in Europe during the same period as the witch hunts. Wow, Mama, look at how long that witch’s nose is!  Will I really have to explain to him that since the entire populace of Europe was once wiccan, some had big noses, and some little? And how will I counteract the confusing fact that witches are pictured almost exclusively as women? You mean there’s such a thing as a boy witch, Mama? I’m merely trying to get some groceries, yet I’ve unwittingly exposed my son to a triple whammy: sexism, classism and anti-Semitism all rolled into one.

One of the eeriest things about this minstrelized Witch is how well-suited she is to the bland palate of modern industrial society in general, which is in such poor health it can hardly digest anything more than fluff, even as it starves for meaning and connection.

It may come as a surprise to many readers that people of European ancestry were (and arguably still are) subjected to the same processes of pauperization, industrialization and commodification that are currently occurring in so-called “developing” countries. In fact, we are so accustomed to seeing “white” people in a privileged, oppressor role, we assume it must have always been this way. We forget to inquire how Europeans got so disconnected from the their lands? Is it possible that people of European descent—is it possible that white people—also have indigenous roots?

Like existing indigenous peoples all over the globe, pre-conquest Europeans were earth-centered, pagan peoples—a term derived from Latin paganus, meaning “not cultivated” or “wild”—and intimately connected to a living, breathing land that they revered as the source of all life. Similar to tribal people worldwide, ancient European tribes had no formal money systems, and had no need for them, as they inhabited a gift culture based on careful stewardship of the commons—that great interlocking web of physical, cultural, and spiritual relationships. Lo and behold! Europeans once displayed the same connective qualities and behaviors we currently attribute to indigenous people.

Please allow me to propose a journey of kinship and solidarity with a larger family of pagan cultures: if the old European clans practice of “wicca” or “witchcraft” (a more modern term) was similar to that of current tribes worldwide, then can we reclaim and revalorize the term “witch” as a loose description of any intact, nature-centered culture?

In the Dark Ages, the witch-hunting authorities themselves certainly did not limit the label “witch” to European pagans, and they still do not. Snared in that same net—a net cast broadly enough to encompass almost any subversive activity, as “conveniently and strategically vague” (Federici, 2005) as the word terrorist–were colonial subjects from Africa to the Americas, at whom were hurled the same accusations of flesh-eating, fornication with the devil, and infant-stealing, and who suffered the very same torture rooms, pyres, and gallows that so efficiently broke the communities of their European counterparts overseas. And the witch-hunting violence continues to this day, for example in the contemporary murder in London of accused Congolese “witch” Kristy Bamu (La Fontaine, 2012).

Previously just a name for European pagan culture, the brand “Witch” was appropriated and became a slur used to describe anyone viewed a threat to authoritarian control—black, brown and white alike. Just a handful of generations ago, then, before mechanization, before colonization, before Christianization, we were all witches.

Amazingly, even after centuries of terrorism heaped upon the witch on at least four continents–despite her constant demonization, degradation, minstrelization, and Disneyfication–her image continues to haunt the collective soul, even penetrating the bubbliest halls of pop culture. Bovenschen et al. (1987, p. 87) describe the irony and importance of the witch’s staying power:

In the image of the witch, elements of the past and of myth oscillate, but along with them, elements of a real and present dilemma, as well. In the surviving myth, nature and fleeting history are preserved…In turning to an historical image, [we] do not address the historical phenomenon, but rather its symbolic potential…To elevate the historical witch…to an archetypal image of female freedom and vigor would be unimaginably cynical, given the magnitude of her suffering. On the other hand, the revival of the witch image today makes possible a resistance which was denied to historical witches.

I reconsider the witch cartoon on the front door of our local market: at least this image can serve as a segue for conversation with my son. Maybe, as Bovenschen, et al. (1987, p. 85) suggest, the omni-presence of this image evidences a collective ‘return of the repressed.’ Perhaps she can is being re-claimed for purposes of liberation, as seen with the label “queer” in the LGBTQ-rights movement, for example? To be certain, the sheer persistence of the witch to this day is indicative of an archetype not easily forgotten. Perhaps The Witch endures, because she is our collective grandmother?

THE COP IN THE HEAD

As my son and I wait in the checkout line, I overhear a woman describing an argument with her friend, exclaiming “Geez, what a witch!” I cringe at the harshness of this internalized oppression, as she not only denigrates a fellow woman in this small community, but also slanders her honorary grandmother. One of the main symptoms by which people in advanced stages of colonization can be recognized is that they have been recruited to participate in their own degradation and destruction, mostly unwittingly.

Using a marginalized person or group (such as “witches,” “terrorists,” or “ Jews,” e.g.) as a scapegoat upon which to blame virtually anything is an all-too-common human response to stress. And it is one that elite classes have long encouraged, since it successfully diverts attention away from the real source of the stress: the concentration of wealth and power into the hands of the very few.   And because scapegoating is but a mere temporary release-valve for tensions, the original problem eventually boomerangs back upon the thrower, destroying families, communities and ecologies in the process. Today “isms” are being hurled on a massive scale in the form of rampant racism, classism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia and anti-Semitism, all overlying an anthropocentrism nearly as ever-present as the air that surrounds us.

Indeed, the breaking of the power of communities to resist subjugation and appropriation of their resources is the original and primary goal of all the “isms.” The campaign of terror against witches was designed with this exact intention in mind—to attack the women who were the foundations of pagan, peasant communities, as well as the backbone of the resistance to the “Enclosures”—the medieval version of the unrelenting privatization that continues to this day.

In Caliban and the Witch (2002), scholar Silvia Federici reveals how persecutions of witches in Europe in the years leading up to the industrial revolution were overwhelmingly aimed at poor and working-class women, stereotypically represented in ragged clothing (not unlike today’s popular culture depictions of the lazy and tattered cowpoke). Old women who retained their abilities to subsist on the landbase were especially singled out for targeting, since they were the most likely to embody the cultural knowledge and heritage of ancient ways like raising crops and animals, herbal remedies, midwifery, community ritual, and so forth—skills which preserved the health and independence, and thus the power of the peasantry to resist exploitation.

This disturbing strategy by which community strength is efficiently broken by sexist targeting of women leaders was “perfected” in this era. As described by feminist theorist Maria Mies (1986, p.81)

Recent feminist literature on the witches and their persecution has brought to light that women were not passively giving up their economic and sexual independence, but that they resisted in many forms the onslaught of church, state and capital. One form of resistance were the many heterodox sects in which women either played a prominent role or which in their ideology propagated freedom and equality for women and a condemnation of sexual repression, property, and monogamy. Thus the ‘Brethren of the Free Spirit’, a sect which existed over several hundred years, established communal living, abolished marriage, and rejected the authority of the Church. Many women, some of them extraordinary scholars, belonged to this sect. Several were burnt as heretics…Some argue that the witches had been an organized sect…where all poor people gathered and already practised the new free society without masters and serfs.

Unfortunately, modern attempts to manifest a “new free society” are still being hampered by sexist infighting. The consequent scourges of mistrust and abuse remain primary factors in the weakening of community resistance movements which oppose the separation of people from their lands and means of subsistence.

Today, the mechanization of industrial agriculture ensures that a minimum of people know how to grow food or medicine, the remainder being completely dependent upon service and high-tech for their work and their sustenance. During any current election year, the thoroughness with which modern people have been disciplined to accept roles as “workers” can be heard in the constant clamor for “More Jobs!” By contrast, the early sixteenth century European peasant would rather risk the gallows than submit to wage labor. Hence the irony that the wristwatch–once a symbol of slavery and an artificially imposed time, disconnected from the natural rhythms of the land—has become a modern status symbol (Federici, 2004).

The horror of separation from the land created the stressful conditions ripe for scapegoating. As mistrust was sown within pagan communities, peasants began accusing each other and cooperating with their own marginalization. This is the terrorized and disturbed ground in which the “isms” took root, and continue to “flourish” today. In modern, industrialized peoples for whom a subsistent, nature-connected life is already long-gone, these “isms” have become the preferred method of social control: an internalized, instead of overt, oppressor with whom we cooperate in the effective policing of ourselves. Much tidier, and a lot cheaper than inquisitions and bombing, we become, as Brazilian activist Augusto Boal describes in Theater of the Oppressed (1993) our own “cop in the head.”

During the harvest season where I live in the northwest United States, I see examples of this self-inflicted oppression everywhere, as people routinely consume and propagate over-simplified, “pin-up” versions of witches and bucktoothed, grinning farmers with their pants falling down. In an astonishing ignorance of our own pagan and agrarian past (and future!), we conspire in the turning of both witches and farmers into cackling, guffawing minstrels.

Yet, we are beginning to understand that large-scale human estrangement from the land is threatening the extinction of our and many other species. Instead of taking crude potshots at farmers or witches, perhaps it is wiser for those of us who have lost our connection to the land to seek out the people who have been safeguarding it for centuries against all odds? Perhaps we might recuperate this wisdom–preserved within each of our indigenous lineages–and do our best to enact it, learning more about our food systems, our ancient healing customs and remedies, about working with animals, plants, and the cycles of the moon?

In the shallow images of the farmer and the witch lie the remnants of our very own ancestral cultures, and therefore, they deserve to be paid some much deeper attention. As we embrace them with an attitude of openness and curiosity, can our historical traditions and lifeways reveal potential solutions to serious cultural and ecological problems? Could our heritages, for example, contain a key to reversing climate change?

BRING BACK THE BUFFALO: HOW ANIMALS CAN REVERSE CLIMATE CHANGE

Perhaps this is the first time that you’ve encountered the hopeful idea that animals can help heal large-scale weather- and ecosystems, but I hope it won’t be the last. What follows is one example of how stunningly straightforward reversing climate change can be.

The research of Allan Savory has not yet made it into breakfast-table conversation in mainstream, industrial society, as the television stuffs us instead full of pop culture and trivia, yet he and his colleagues in the field of Holistic Resource Management (HMI, 2015) have discovered something of extreme importance for anyone interested in climate change: a method for swiftly and drastically reducing atmospheric carbon levels that uses no technologies other than livestock.

Livestock? You mean ranchers and cowpokes—those backwards, lazy, know-nothings—can help reverse climate change?

All grasslands–prairies, savannahs, steppes, and so forth–originally co-evolved with dense herds of grazing animals whose natural ranging behaviors provided the mowing, mulching, fertilizing, soil aeration, and seed dispersal functions essential to the health of these ecosystems. For decades, in a misguided attempt to stop “overgrazing,” standard land-management policies worldwide have removed herds—and the herding peoples whose lives were intertwined with them–from these lands. The result has been a drastic acceleration of desertification and therefore, of climate change, as well as displacement and pauperization of countless indigenous people (Schwartz, 2013).

What does desertification have to do with climate change?

As enormous amounts of carbon contained in grassland soil is plowed up and subsequently released into the atmosphere (think of the American Dustbowl), Savory emphasizes that desertification is as big or bigger of a contributor to global warming as burning fossil fuels (Savory, 2013). Savory’s efforts have been assisting people on 40 million acres in Africa, Australia, Europe and the United States to bring back the herds, recreating, out of barren desert, both healthy grassland ecologies and right livelihood for pastoral peoples. Simply by returning the animals to desertified places, and helping to ensure their natural movement patterns in the landscape, soil and range management scientists estimate that we could again achieve preindustrial levels of atmospheric carbon in less than 40 years (Sacks et al., 2013, p. 15).

Amazingly, pastoral skills are now being revealed as an integral part of reversing climate change, as carbon moves out of the atmosphere back into grassland soils (White, 2014). It seems that a restoration of respect for these skills—some of the very same skills witches worldwide gave their lives to protect—is as important as restoration of the land itself. If we are serious about reversing climate change, animal husbandry will necessarily become again, a respectable occupation. Imagine shepherding as the preferred profession for the hip and fashionable, the next “cool” thing to do!

Indeed, many people are being inspired by the example of Joel Salatin, dubbed ‘World’s Most Innovative Farmer’ by TIME magazine in 2011. Salatin is rapidly becoming a well-known example of how using the simple, low-tech strategies of holistic management is not only good for soils, animals, and humans, but can also be economically viable, as well. Salatin’s (relatively) small 550-acre Polyface Farm in Virginia, USA had over $2 million dollars in yearly sales (Gabor, 2011), an impressive accomplishment for an independent farm. Polyface’s success, completely independent of the enormous subsidies given to many US agribusiness, casts doubt upon the assumed “necessity” of ever-escalating investments in hi-tech and government subsidization, and points in a more hopeful and healthier direction.

As more and more people embrace the instinctual impulse towards reverence of the land that is the source of all sustenance, reestablishing a holistic and sustainable relationship to it, all kinds of unanticipated resolutions to ecological impasses like the example above will arise. A huge accomplishment will be to perceive the stereotypes we hold for what they are: examples of internalized oppression, and a disrespect of our own ancestors, the witches and the farmers. It is time for every citizen of this precious planet to identify as a creature indigenous to earth, and to reclaim a history full of herbalists, shepherds, and agrarians. Can we imagine a world where our educational systems encourage our children to cultivate “green-collar” careers in fields such as holistic ranching, dairying, and farming?   Where “Bring Back the Buffalo!” becomes a rallying cry for the sustainability movement?

RECONNECTING WITH THE LAND: THE KEY TO ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION

Since moving to a rural island over fifteen years ago, my own experience with farmers—especially small farmsteaders seeking to steward their lands organically and sustainably—has consistently contradicted the stereotypes I grew up with in suburbia. Far from naïve simpletons, most small-scale farmers and ranchers I know are astoundingly savvy and resourceful. In order for their farms and gardens to survive as businesses, today’s agrarians are required not only to become proficient with a hundred related skills (including entomologist, plant pathologist, vehicle mechanic, on-farm veternarian, and so on) but, as fellow citizens of the Information Age, they also are expected to maintain websites, intern programs, and community outreach calendars, as well as possess enough shrewdness to navigate a veritable gauntlet of health and food regulations, cutthroat subsidies and strategic marketing climates. One local farmer in our valley earned an MBA before starting his farm, and our local butcher originally learned his skills as a working surgeon. It would be very difficult to consider them “simpletons.”

The farmers and ranchers in our county are part of a larger national trend of young people and white-collar professionals who cherish having their “hands in the dirt,” and are voluntarily trading in their high-tech futures for trowels and tractors, returning to our neglected farms, fields and forests (Markham, 2011). In search of deeper nourishment, they are spitting out the thin gruel that our larger exploitative society tries to pass-off as sustenance, and rejecting the dominant cultural memes of our time that denigrate working with ones’ hands. For many, this means leaving urban environments and moving back to the land, in a small, but encouraging reversal of the demographic shift towards urbanization that has been in place since the beginning of land privatization.

And many others are digging right into the urban environments where they live, in the process, healing trampled land as well as tired clichés about where our food comes from and who grows it. The urban agriculture movement in the USA is headed-up by many people of color, and helps heal the ironic and innaccurate idea that all farmers are white. An example: Through its creative and inspiring New Roots program, the International Rescue Committee (2015) is helping refugees to share their farming expertise with their families and neighbors. These innovative programs are often located in “urban food deserts” where residents otherwise have little access to fresh food.

The opportunity to witness and work alongside other people of color who are expert farmers, right in their own neighborhoods, is healing for those whose land was taken from them, including African Americans, for whom the very idea of farming has been tainted with the traumatic legacies of slavery, sharecropping, and racist government policies (Thomas, M., 2015). Urban gardens give people of color a way to reestablish agrarian skills without having to move away from the safety of their own communities into rural areas, which they, often correctly, perceive as racist and hostile.

Other organizations encourage people of color to work in rural areas, such as the Fresno-based African American Farmers of California, which trains African Americans in essential skills such as irrigation and operating farm equipment on their Central Valley farm, and then helps them to sell their produce at farmer’s markets all over California (Scott, 2013). John Boyd–founder of the National Black Farmer’s Association–worked for decades to expose the widespread discrimination and abuse against blacks by the US Department of Agriculture, and eventually won back the farm that was taken from him. Though Boyd agrees that growing food in your own backyard is a huge step towards reconnecting with the land, he urges fellow black Americans to take a “second look” at farming because, “when we lose our land, we are also losing a part of our history” (Thomas, M., 2015).

In the UK, Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones founded the Young City Farmers program based on a similar sentiment. After leaving his inner-city upbringing to realize his dream of owning a farm on the rural Devon/Cornwall border, he wanted to help others do the same. “Exposing ‘hardcore urbanites’ to the rural environment…can trigger a deep seated affinity with the land…it opens up a huge amount of options to someone who may have thought they were headed for life’s dustbin heap” (The Black Farmer, 2009).

SACRED FARMING

In both urban and rural environments, people everywhere are breaking with conventional notions that have dictated how and where they interact with the land, and getting involved however they can. Perhaps the time has finally come for us to recognize that it is not required to become landlords of large swaths of land in order to access a meaningful relationship to earth; is not necessary to first become a paragon of virtue before we can begin healing familial, intertribal and interracial patterns; we need not have all the answers before attempting to reshape our culture to be friendlier, more humane, more connected. We can begin wherever we are, just as we are. Prechtel (2013, p. 313) describes this start-small attitude as a type of “sacred farming”:

[A]ny worthy culture has to sprout right out of the slag heap of the world’s present condition…These cultures…start in many ugly places in ways hardly noticed at first…For we, as “sacred farmers”…know we must learn to metabolize our grief into a nutrient…compost the failures of civilization’s present course, and cultivate…a future worth living in, all smack-dab in the middle of modernity’s meaningless waste.

After observing their contemporaries growing ever more hunched and pale in front of computer screens, people of all stripes are choosing to buck the technological tide by embracing traditional skills—starting small dairies, organic gardens, natural building co-ops, wildcrafting herbal medicines, and focusing on classic occupations such as tanning, smithing, orcharding, shepherding, masonry, and boat building. Simultaneously, people everywhere are fostering a world where the time-honored arts that grease the wheels of social and inner harmony–dance, storytelling, music and theater–are celebrated and integrated into everything we do. Innovations which incorporate nature into the healing arts are becoming more and more common, as well. All of the above, and more, qualifies as “sacred farming.”

In revaluing these timeless and enduring skills, we are growing real roots into our communities, and into the ground, gaining a visceral understanding how the fate of the trees, the animals, the plants, the waters are bound up with our own. Working amidst a tearful rain of human gratitude, we are making it possible to sprout forth the seeds of indigeneity that have been dormant within our bodies since our cultures were uprooted, perhaps hundreds, or even thousands of years ago.

These trends towards re-skilling instinctively recognize that when we are connected in a tangible way with the Earth are much more likely to act in reverence and stewardship of it. As Wendell Berry (2003, p.85) elucidates:

In a state of total consumerism—which is to say a state of helpless dependence on things and services and ideas and motives that we have forgotten how to provide ourselves—all meaningful contact between ourselves and the earth is broken. We do not understand the earth in terms of either what it offers us or of what it requires of us, and…people inevitably destroy what they do not understand.

Only when we risk rekindling a messy love-affair with our estranged beloved Earth will we gain the inspiration and the courage required to act resolutely when confronted with challenges such as melting sea ice, species extinction, massive pollution and “permanent” war. Thus, a human race moving robustly into a healthy, ongoing future, is destined to be a life which involves a reclaiming of our indigenous heritage—the basic right, and the basic pleasure of working, in community, with wood, with soil, with Earth. For more and more people, a healthy life will be determined by how much dirt we have under our fingernails.

THE WHEELBARROW ACTIVIST

Sometimes, on a windy October night like this one, I can actually catch a glimpse of the ghostly forebodings of my immigrant forefathers wafting around: Gotta get into a good school. You don’t wanna end up a dirt-farmer, like your poor grandfather! You’re smart enough to be a doctor or a lawyer! In these voices, which are threaded deep into the fabric of my personality, I can hear the echoes of a long history of exile from the land. Even after over a decade of living elbow-deep in a food-forest, I can still perceive the cop in my head trying to convince me that working with the land is despicable, suitable only for “peasants,” or, more pointedly in a hyperphobic and racist America, for “Mexicans.”

In response, I heft my wheelbarrow full of leaves and manure into our garden, and blanket the beds for their winter slumber. I laugh with my toddler as he affectionately labels the pile “Big Poop!” and encourage him help dig with his tiny shovel. I thank the cleansing winds as those voices catch an updraft and blow out to sea, and replace them with gratitude for the chance to work with earth–a freedom for which our ancestors sacrificed their lives, and for which people everywhere are still fighting—from Indian farmers resisting the exploits of Monsanto, to Amish farmers battling for the right to drink raw milk from their own cows, to modern herbalists preserving their grandmother’s healing recipes despite increasing regulatory pressure from Big Pharma, to urban farmers markets which sell food grown exclusively by African-Americans.

Like the green leaves that can always be found pushing their weedy heads through cracks in the sidewalk, no matter how many times they are torched, weedwhacked and herbicided, the unceasing sprouting of wild human ingenuity consistently thwarts every attempt to pave it over. For modern people to recognize and repair the disconnection to our “Body” on multiple levels—our personal body, the social body, and the larger earthly body—is perhaps the pivotal task of our generation. It is for this reason that I stand in solidarity with farmers and witches all over the globe, and reclaim them as titles of distinction and pride. I am a Farmer, and I am a Witch.

A FUTURE WORTH LIVING IN

In putting these words on “paper,” I hope to contribute to the enormous task of piecing back together what Prechtel calls the “tribal shards” of original human culture, shards from which we can reconstruct the blueprint for an ample and sturdy cooking vessel. Only in a pot as miraculous as this, made up of pieces recovered from deep within each of us, can we simmer up the deliciously innovative responses needed to sate the rowdy ecological and social crises currently seated at our dining table and “begin remembering our Indigenous belonging on the Earth back to life” (2012, p. 10). As we reach out to the banished farmers and witches exiled within us, we will welcome also the wild solutions we need to transform travails into triumphs, and give birth to “a future worth living in.”

REFERENCES:

Berry, Wendell (2003) The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays. Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint Press.

Boal, Augusto (1993) Theatre of the Oppressed. New York: Theater Communications Group.

Bovenschen, S., Blackwell, J., Moore, J., & Weckmueller, B. (1978). The contemporary witch, the historical witch and the witch myth: The witch, subject of the appropriation of nature and object of the domination of nature. New German Critique, (15), 83-119.

Buhner, Stephen Harrod (2014) Plant Intelligence and the Imaginal Realm: Beyond the Doors of Perception Into the Dreaming of Earth. Rochester, Vermont. Bear & Company.

Federici, Silvia (2004) Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body, and Primitive Accumulation, New York: Autonomedia Press.

Federici, Silvia,. (2005) Audio Lecture with Silvia Federici, recorded live at Fusion Arts.   Little Red Notebook. 30th November [Online] Available at: http://www.silviafederici.littlerednotebook.com/

Gabor, Andrea (2011) Inside Polyface Farm, Mecca of Sustainable Agriculture. The Atlantic. 25th July. [Online] Available at: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2011/07/inside-polyface-farm-mecca-of-sustainable-agriculture/242493/

HMI-Holistic Management International (2015). HMI. Heathy Land, Sustainable Future.[Online] Available at: http://holisticmanagement.org/

International Rescue Committee. New Roots in America [Online] Available at: http://www.rescue.org/new-roots-america

La Fontaine, John, (2012) Witchcraft belief is a curse on Africa. The Guardian. 1st March. [Online] Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2012/mar/01/witchcraft-curse-africa-kristy-bamu

Markham, Lauren (2011) The New Farmers. Orion. 27th October. [Online] Available at: https://orionmagazine.org/article/the-new-farmers/

Mies, Maria (1986) Patriarchy and Accumulation On A World Scale: Women in the International Division of Labour. London, UK: Zed Books.

Plotkin, Bill (2013) Wild Mind: A Field Guide to the Human Psyche. Novato, CA. New World Library.

Pollan, Michael (2002) The Botany of Desire. New York: Random House.

Prechtel, Martin (2012) The Unlikely Peace At Cuchumaquic: The Parallel Lives of People As Plants: Keeping the Seeds Alive. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.

Sacks, A.D., et al. (2013) Restoring the Climate Through Capture and Storage of Soil Carbon Through Holistic Planned Grazing. The Savory Institute. [Online] Available at: http://savory.global/assets/docs/evidence-papers/restoring-the-climate.pdf

Scott, William (2013) Scott Family Farms: AAFC Black Farmer Training [Online] Available at: http://scottfamilyfarms.net/services.

Schwartz, Judith (2013) Cows Save the Planet and Other Improbable Ways of Restoring Soil to Heal the Earth. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green.

Savory, Allan (2013) How To Green the Worlds Deserts and Reverse Climate Change. TEDx Talk. 4th March. [Online] Available at: http://www.ted.com/talks/allan_savory_how_to_green_the_world_s_deserts_and_reverse_climate_change.html

Thomas, Madeline (2015) What happened to America’s black farmers? Grist. 24th April. [Online] Available at: http://grist.org/people/what-happened-to-americas-black-farmers/

Thomas, Pandora (2015) Pathways to Resilience. [Online] Available at: http://pathways2resilience.org/#

Vosper, Nicole (2015) Empty Cages Design. [Online] Available at: http://www.emptycagesdesign.org/permaculture-prisons-links-resources/

White, Courtney (2014) Grass, Soil, Hope: A Journey Through Carbon Country. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green.

Wheelbarrow Paleo?

I guess some of you have figured out by now that I’m an absolutely unrepentant Nutrition Geek. If you can believe it, I actually read books like “The Vegetarian Myth” “Why We Get Fat” and “The Paleo Diet Solution” for fun and enjoyment!

Now, I must admit, I’m pretty on-board with Robb Wolf and his paleo strategy, though I think I’m in it for radically different reasons. For example, when I find myself adrift in the turbulent sea of the modern world, which offers little mooring in reality, I find myself with no recourse but to imagine, “what would a human 1,000 (or even 10,000) years ago do?” So, to move closer to eating the way a Paleolithic human would have eaten feels natural to me.

However, to do it so I can “rock my blood-work” or “look awesome in a bikini” seems to miss the paleo-point. What does his paleo-solution solve? Is it a solution to the “problem” of successful marketing of his “brand”? Or is it an actual desire to heal people?

At one point, Robb goes out on a limb to advise his readers to load up a wheelbarrow with sandbags and heft it back and forth on the lawn, even though it “smacks of yardwork.” As if there’s nothing so degrading as yardwork!?

If using a wheelbarrow is so good for us, Mr. Wolf, maybe our bodies are trying to tell us something? That our health so clearly responds to paleo diets and cross-fit workouts is perfect evidence that we ought to question the heinous departure of our modern life from interaction with earth, rock, sand, clay—all the things one puts in a wheelbarrow when actually doing real work. Like natural building, for example, or organic gardening? Has Mr. Wolf failed to notice that the world so desperately needs throngs of humans to step out of our air-conditioned vehicles and into our yards, to grab our wheelbarrows and get to work creating the dynamic, sustainable, zero-footprint villages of the future?

Maybe from aboard his favorite clients’ yachts, Robb Wolf hasn’t yet noticed that the aristocratic “I musn’t get dirt under my fingernails” sentiment is becoming more and more outta style by the minute. Hey Robb–hate to tell ya, but you’re missing the real boat–the one that’s sailing us towards a healthier, saner, more humane planet. Now that’s the paleo solution…

The Changing Food Landscape–Revisiting the Animal Foods Question

I am usually quite proud to belong to a counter-culture which works to expose and transform our American inheritance of racism, sexism, exploitation, militarism, mechanization, corporatism, “patriotic consumption,” pursuit of affluence at all costs. My friends and community regularly question the so-called “truths” spouting from the mouths of government and mainstream media. So I am left wondering, why do we allow dialogue about health and nutrition to be so truncated, so dead-ended by fundamentalism and privacy issues? Why, in such a rapidly changing food landscape are our conversations so stale?

I’m craving dialogues that go beyond the brown-n-serve eating strategies that dangerously misrepresent our place in–and responsibility towards–the food “chain,” as well as the broad spectrum of choices available today for eating ethically. In alternative food circles, we can no longer allow ourselves to believe that all our problems will be solved by eating a “plant based diet.” Sorry folks, but it ain’t that simple.

With the burgeoning of local food movements in the USA (and worldwide,) we now have many, many options for pastured, humanely raised meat, dairy, eggs, etc. that were not “on the table” when Moore-Lappe wrote, Diet for a Small Planet. Pastured meat is being found on more and more mainstream menus, (such as the Chipotle Grill and Hilton Hotels) which constitutes very good news for local economies and ecologies, including the ecologies inside our bodies.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/05/31/154084442/antibiotic-free-meat-business-is-booming-thanks-to-chipotle

I wonder if my vegan, vegetarian and raw-foodie comrades realize that in advocating for the same whole grain and vegetable basis of the “food pyramid”, they are actually doing the USDAs bidding? I guess the low-fat, anti-meat propaganda of the 70s and 80s was ubereffective, because many of my otherwise radical friends do not seem to understand that their food choices do nothing to challenge big agriculture, pharma, finance, oil, or the chemical industry giants and government policy.

On the contrary, the “eating low on the food chain” strategy so often trumpeted by those who claim to stand on the moral high ground actually helps to perpetuate dangerous societal habits such as the huge grain subsidies that are killing small farmers in every nation, including our own. And it completely misses the point that the monocultures of grain and vegetables that are the basis of a vegan diet are necessarily biocidal, as the native vegetation, animals and insects are cleared and drowned in fertilizer (all the better for Dow and Monsanto!) to create “crop land.” Agriculture is arguably the most destructive practice on our planet. How can vegans ignore this enormous elephant in the room?

Add to this major oversight the growing mountains of evidence that carbohydrate-laden diets are the basis of an epidemic of degenerative diseases—diabetes, obesity, cancer, heart disease, depression, anxiety, and a whole panoply of inflammatory and autoimmune disorders never seen before the advent of agriculture. And because both rely heavily on carbohydrates for the bulk of food consumed, a vegetarian diet is still disturbingly close to the Standard American Diet (SAD) of convenience food, despite the fact that it eschews meat.

Has anyone noticed the skyrocketing incidence of “gluten intolerance” and celiac disease? I would hope that it is obvious that humans are NOT ruminants. We have no extra stomach chamber designed to ferment and breakdown cellulose, which is indigestible to humans. No amount of wishful thinking will help us grown a rumen. Here’s an idea: How about we let the cows graze happily on their native prairie (saving ourselves all the nasty work of clearing land, spraying pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, going to war to get the petrochemicals, etc.) then harvest beef instead of grain? But dare I say that publicly? That wouldn’t be polite! It would be far better if I remained silent. We are adults after all, and everyone is entitled to make their own food choices.

But, I feel the pain of this silence everyday as I see people I love suffering from mood disorders, tooth decay, autism, obesity, chronic fatigue, eczema, and “inexplicable” allergy attacks. And these health problems occur just as much with vegans as those eating the SAD. Both groups are eating foods full of either toxins or allergens, usually both. And both somehow miss the connection of their dis-ease to what they are eating (and not eating!)

And I feel even worse when I see these health problems in children, who by virtue of their youth are often unable to understand, much less consent, to the food they are served. Culturally, it is not “kosher” for me to offer unwanted advice or opinions on what parents feed to their children, but I sometimes wonder about my complicity in their health problems? Where does my responsibility to these children begin and end? No easy answers here, either.

Rather than talk explicitly to parents about their children’s health and diet, I have at times broached the subject with friends-of-friends-of-friends of these kids, hoping to at least create a climate of casual conversation about it that might indirectly affect the situation, but even that has aroused the fury of veggie friends.

This discussion takes on a whole new holistic level once we consider that bringing grazing animals back to the dustbowls and deserts–which were caused by agriculture in the first place!– could well be the answer to global warming. Allan Savory has been successful at restoring millions of acres of the world’s prairies, savannas and grasslands with no technology other than livestock. Savory’s team has run the numbers and–get this: we could sequester ALL the carbon spewed into the air since the industrial revolution simply by allowing ruminants to do what they were born to do–EAT GRASS! I often wonder why Savory’s amazingly straightforward and hopeful work with Holistic Range Management is not more part of the regular fare of food justice and activist discussion? For those who are craving simple answers, look towards livestock, not veganism.

Holistic Range Management is very good news for North America with its vast prairie aching to be freed from agricultural bondage–and good news for our health (and tastebuds!) too, as it translates to a lot of grass-fed nutrition, with none of the attending problems of maintaining croplands. And, importantly, it amounts to a huge toppling of the vegetarian off the high ground of “ecological eating.” After all, monocropped soy, wheat, and corn ends up destroying natural prairie ecosystems. And feeding corn to captive feedlot steer amounts to torture. Set them free, and heal the prairie!

If eating low in the food chain is actually perpetuating an agriculture that pollutes aquifers and waterways, and destroys both soil ecology and gut ecology, it seems that we are desperately in need of meaningful civic discussion of the far reaching ramifications of our food choices. Yet we willingly cooperate with the gag order on real discussion, fighting amongst ourselves about non-issues and purity fantasies, while BigAg is all to happy to encourage diversion from the obvious: that agriculture’s poor nutritional profile and toxification of our environment lead to devastating health problems–for humans, for animals, for planetary ecosystems.

Any ideas about how to encourage honest and real dialogue about the issues mentioned in this post? Interested in searching for strategies to heal our beleaguered bodies, food systems and health? I’m all ears… Meanwhile I leave you with the conscious carnivore’s rallying cry—“Stop climate change–Bring back the buffalo!!”