Category Archives: Sustainable Business

Yogic Farming – Say What?

“T’aint what you do, it’s the way that you do it”

– Ella Fitzgerald

Ella’s singing in my head as I write.  And I *get* this song; it popped into my head when I talked with Piero. It made sense, like when I fell in love for the first time and finally “got” every lyric about love ever written. In fact, love is the operative word when I spoke with the yogic farming creator of Kebio’s Santa Pasta. I asked him, “if you had one word to describe what you’re doing?”  Love is the answer.

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Piero  Senatore Musini says, “Love is the natural vibration of everything is living.”

I’ve heard a lot about different types of agriculture. Monoculture, industrial, organic, biodynamic.  I’ve read about farmers in India dramatically increasing their yields reverting to traditional methods.  When I asked Vandana Shiva about that in 2013, she said some folks believed it had much to do with uncompressing the soil.  Basically, the opposite of using heavy machines. There are myriad, wonderful ways to nourish and replenish the soil through ancient and organic methods.  Keep in mind, most industrial modern agricultural methods (from the 1950s  on) have succeeded mostly in depleting the soil and introducing biocides into the soil, air, food and water from glyphosate and now agent orange’s 2,4 D. There are so many viable alternatives.

My parents told me of a farm they just visited last week, where the farmers keep hives of predator insects.  Kind of like cultivating ladybugs to eat the aphids.  Natural pesticides…  Uncle Matt’s Organic orange growers in Florida also use such methods to fabulous effects. But, one thing I never heard about until I met Piero was “yogic farming.”

meditating in fields

Travels to the East have inspired pioneers in the West, as I have discovered in many early movers and shakers in the food movement. Piero had been to India and learned about Brahma Kumaris studies in Yogic Farming. So when Piero took over the management of his family farm in Italy in 2008, he promptly converted it to organic and has since implemented yogic farming.  Piero’s a tall, soft-spoken, calm and twinkly-eyed Italian who lives near one of Italy’s most beautiful medieval towns (Gubbio) near Assisi. Piero’s cara mamma set up an agricultural teaching center on the farm after being horrified when a local child informed her that milk was made at the store.

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What on Earth *is* yogic farming you must be asking??  At this point, I will let Piero explain, from an article he wrote for Dirt Magazine:

“YOGIC FARMING IN PRACTICE – Methodology

“The seeds or a sample of the seeds are placed in the house, ideally in the corner where meditation is practiced regularly. Thoughts of peace, love, strength and resilience for empowering and linking the seeds to the farmer are practiced every day for few days up to a month before sowing. From then on, regular meditations are conducted in the fields and remotely with specific practices designed to support each phase of the crop growth cycle: from seed germination, growth, and especially a lot of gratitude towards the time of harvest. In addition placing a meditation flag in each field helps in being reminded to sustain the meditative practice during the day.”

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When I was growing up, my dad always stressed how food was better, tastier, imbued with good vibrations when one meditated on the food while preparing it.  It’s about intention.

I grew up with the idea of parshad, or blessed food.  In Hindu and Sikh temples, after prayers, hot sweet parshad is handed out. For me, as a kid, that was always the best part! (I grew up in a sugar-restricted home). So I couldn’t get enough of the delicious sweets after invocations when I studied Bharat Natyum classical Indian dance as a child.  (I was a terrible dancer, sad to admit.) In the Indian tradition of saints and sadhus, food that has been prayed upon or blessed by holy men and women is special. How? Why?

This is something I’ve only just started to understand.  It hit me about a year ago.

I went to a Hindu temple with friends who wanted to pray with me after I had passed close to the veil.  We went into this small but colorful temple.  Conches were blown and bells were ringing.  It was a mesmerizing atavistic cacophony. The chanting was vibrating through the speakers viscerally calling one to the higher, the divine.  I slowly walked around the perimeter of the room where Gods were lovingly dressed in jewels and rich silks.

Praying in the Hindu temple, focusing kind and loving thoughts for people I love, using the gods as a focal point was a new experience.  After I circled the room, a bare-chested priest wearing a dhoti with marks on his forehead put into my hands a mango. This luscious fruit had been sitting on the tip of Lord Ganesh’s trunk.  When I ate it later, I was continually reminded how many prayers were sent its way, passing between and amongst fibres with love and hope.

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A South Indian friend from Kerala explained how mothers take wedding jewelry to the temple and transmit the positive energy of prayers while wearing the jewelry.  Then when it is passed onto the bride, the prayers also go with the gold.

But back to the fields! There have been studies on yogic farming.  To read more, look up the article in Asian Agri-History, (Volume 19, Number 2 May-June 2015 pp 105-122).  They have found that meditating on the seeds and in the fields has helped the yield and the general well-being of the farmers and their families. The Indian Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh in September 2015 (Article in Indian Express 15 Sept 2015), that the government supports organic and yogic farming.

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Piero designed the logo above and puts it on his Santa Pasta grown from ancient grains (from Spelt and older wheats like Senatore Cappelli to Millet).  I made some Santa Pasta spelt linguine with broccoli for dinner 2 nights ago.  (Eternal grazie to Maria de la Purification Saez in Marti for the recipe). It was delicious.  We thought of the Kebio farm in Umbria and felt the love on our plates from the whole-grain pasta and the green brocoli with olio nuovo, new olive oil my typing hands helped pick from trees on his farm.

For Piero, organic cultivation was just a starting point.  His goal is to enhance biodiversity, the soil, and nutrition through the cultivation of ancient grains. In his practise of yogic farming, Piero said he goes into a state of mindful consciousness.  He tries to reach a deep part of the self that is love, happiness purity joy, the essence of the soul.  Swimming in that energy, he has loving feelings for nature.  He feels like an instrument, a lens, focusing down into the fields, into the seeds, into the plants and what will nourish and sustain us and the ecosystem.

Here is Piero meditating in his fields:

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The idea of praying on food or objects wasn’t a first for me.  But I really lit up when I heard of yogic farming.  The idea of prayer in the fields, upon the seeds strikes me as simply… bello!

Something to share.

Something to meditate upon.

 

 

My 7 year old vs GMOs

They say that at 7 years old, we humanoids commence the age of reason.

This is most certainly true of my youngest child, who turned seven this summer.

As we are at the end of Non GMO month, I thought I would share with y’all a funny incident that happened at the grocery store.  Funny haha and funny weird.  Funny embarrassing…   In the week following her revelation that GMOs cause cancer in rats I happened to take my 7 year-old daughter shopping.   As we walked up and down the aisles, she didn’t ask me about buying non-organic candy.  Nope. I was impressed. She passed by those non organic, GMO-laden cereals, bars, and cookies with resolve, without tugging at my sleeve.  For the first time, I wasn’t begged at either vociferously or silently with puppy-dog eyes.  As we made our way to the check-out, I caught a few wistful glances for those conveniently-placed impulse treats that this mom ain’t buying.

DSC_0829“Mom?” she asked as we were putting our groceries on the conveyor belt, “Can we make garlic bread tonight?”  Wow.  This was a promising development. Not sweets!  But I hummed and hawed.  I saw that there was no organic baguette left….  But as she had been so well-behaved, I was feeling inclined to reward her.  (Plus she was asking politely.) My hesitation was that although she wasn’t asking for sugar, at the same time the bread wasn’t organic.   Now wheat isn’t necessarily GMO but it was found contaminated in Oregon.  But even if it were certified GMO free, not being organically produced, wheat is sprayed with toxins such as desiccants.  Again not being labelled, well…. who knows?

As I deliberated with myself she was looking at me, time-ticking, people tapping their toes behind us in line…. I thought about it. I do allow her to eat Pizza at school.  That being one of many exceptions to the rule.  Why not make her fresh garlic bread? Garlic from our garden, fresh organic butter?  “Sure. But you have to get it quick because these lovely folks are waiting.”  I smiled at the lovely folks.

Off she dashed off to the baguettes (it’s a small store) and came back breathless wielding her trophy.

“Happy?”

She nodded enthusiastically grinning ear to ear.

I gave a half-smile. But – I could see little wheels turning in her perplexed face.

“Mom?” she asked, “Does the baguette contain GMOs?”

I sighed, nodded and shrugged.  “Why do you think that I didn’t want you to have it?”

She seized the baguette and violently pushed it aside, indignation heaving her little frame.

“WHAT??!! ,” she yelled for all those lovely folks to hear, “D’YOU WANNA GIMME CANCER!!!?”

gmo omg tee cute kids

Talk about absorbing things.

These are situations I didn’t face with my older daughter when she turned ‘the age of reason.”  Why?  Because we were living in Italy, where GMOs are labelled.  In parts of Europe they even have mandatory labelling of toxic pesticides.  64 countries have mandatory labelling of GMOs.  Canada and the US are the only two developed nations without mandatory GMO labelling laws.  A non-profit organization exists  in N. America called the Non-GMO project, of which Nature’s Path was a Founding Member.  But it is voluntary.  Food can contain other agricultural toxins and residues which are harmful to kids and adults alike can still be Non-GMO verified because they don’t have GMOs.  The Certified Organic seal, on the other hand has both zero tolerance for GMOs plus it is grown sustainably.  So when your food is Certified Organic and Non-GMO project verified, you can be truly confident in feeding it to your kids.

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Certified Organic is the best we have apart from growing your own food.  To truly help your children grasp the everyday miracle of life, why don’t you try your hand at gardening?  If you weren’t fortunate enough to grow up with an organic gardener, there are plenty of people and organizations out there willing to lend you helping hand!  Partake in the symphony of the soil, earthworms wriggling in the healthy compost, drip lines and succulent home-grown berries. In my home, after much trial and error (after moving continents), we are just at the tail end of our Fall crop of golden raspberries.  We have plucked green tomatoes, ripening on the window sill in the kitchen, plus our year’s supply of garlic stored away.  To quote LA’s Gangsta Gardener, “Kids who grow Kale, eat Kale”.  You may wish to try a weekly box of produce from your local farm.  Many of them deliver right  to your door.  We started that when I was pregnant with my first child.

What parent doesn’t want to give their child the best chance for a healthy life?  The learning process may involve an embarrassing incident or two along the way. Such as at the grocery store now and again…  But this is the stuff which family legends are made of!  As Non–GMO month comes to a close, may we all choose systems that replenish the soil, support Biodiversity, and provide us with safe, healthy food.

Let us all make history together and make every month Non-GMO month!

(Note the tee-shirts are from Seedling kids.  Please see my post  https://thedeepersideblog.com/2013/10/03/style-diet-shot-seedling-kids/ for more info about this great little company)

522 Phone Bank

People who want to help support Washington’s Labelling campaign… I have good news!

You can!

From anywhere in the world even in Canada.  I’m not talking financially (although that would be appreciated go to yeson522.com so that they can fund their ads). I’m talking with your time and your wonderful God-Given Gift of the Gab!  That handful of big multinational corporations are spreading lies and waging a deceitful campaign just like they did last year in California.  In Washington however, many of these corporate donors tried to hide their identity.  They were slapped by a lawsuit by none other than Washington State’s Attorney General to get them to comply with campaign rules.

Those monster multinational corporations who oppose the measure say that “labelling is incomplete”.  That it’s not useful given that over half the food sold wouldn’t be covered.  Don’t be fooled by them – they would oppose labelling on any grounds.  The group said it is their number one priority to defeat labelling. They argue that incomplete labelling wouldn’t cover most GE foods, such as restaurants, food service.  Since when is your home delivery pizza labelled? Even in Europe food service isn’t labelled?!  522 affects the  labelling of people food you buy in a grocery store.  Close to 70 percent of the world’s population lives in a nation that requires labelling of GMOs.

Canada and the US are the only two developed countries that don’t have mandatory GMO labelling.  Can you think of anything more important than knowing what you put in the sacred temple of your body?

The ballots are out.  Washington State votes by mail.  Nov 5th is the deadline.  I’ve done phone banking several times over the last week.  It’s simple, and it doesn’t cost a cent for the phone call because the computer calls you!  Here are some happy volunteers clarifying the truth to Washingtonians last week at Nature’s Path!

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My Brother Arjan working though dinner (Non-GMO of course).

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Kyla a-phone banking with a smile.
DSC_0336My Dad Arran and Erika in deep concentration.

DSC_0343Roy with a YES on 522 sticker!

Remind your Washington friends and family to Vote.  Let’s show those corporate bullies who are covering up the truth about their food.  These bullies and their deep pockets are the only thing coming between you and your right to know.  Let’s show them that their money should have gone to useful, constructive things like feeding the hungry and designing safer food.  Can you believe that they have no higher priority than preventing consumers from finding out the truth?

350, 000 Washingtonians signed the petition that brought this to ballot.   With thousands of endorsements, and thousands of contributors Yes on 522 has the backing of the people.  The question is, will the No side convince enough people who want labelling that the bill (designed along International Standards) is incomplete?  The outcome is going to be too close to call.  Next week, a local Seattle TV station has a pro GMO fairytale to tell.  If there is a time get involved, this is it.  Get involved on any and every level.  Dispel the darkness – Spread the glowing truth!

All you need is a phone and computer!  To get trained go to http://yeson522.com/volunteer-for-yes-on-522/

The deadline is Nov 5th so we have a week left to make history!

GMO Mini Summit

The truth will set you free.

aaagmo mini summit vandana shiva

If you want to know more of the truths of GMOs, please take some time between the 25 – 27 (starting this coming Friday) to follow GMO Mini-Summit. http://gmosummit.org/  It’s free and you can tune in on the internet or by phone.  It will be hosted by best-selling authors Jeffrey Smith and John and Ocean Robbins.

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Please tune in and have your loved ones tune in.  This comes from a concerned place of love for you and the planet.  This comes from a desire to educate.  This comes from all that is good and true and just.  This comes from all that is light.

LA GMO Free

Is LA going to follow in BC’s Footsteps and declare itself GMO free?  Given that the urban vote was overwhelmingly for labelling, it is just a matter of time!  My brother Arjan, who is this morning teaching city kids about organic gardening has great faith in the urban gardening revolution.  LA councillors Koretz and O’Farrell are presenting a motion to LA council this morning.  They are also giving a press conference beforehand.  Speakers include Nisha Vida, whom I met in LA last month. (See post: GMO OMG LA Premiere.) Please click on the link below to know more about LA GMO Free and read the press release.

LA GMO Free

I’m so excited about this!  This is hot on the heels of Washington’s impending vote to label GMOs (Vote YES on 522) and the encouraging news from Kauai and Hawaii whose councils have voted just this week to restrict and declare pesticide use in GMO production.  Mahalo to Hawaii.  I see the positive vibes travel through the waters, waves and droplets.  They carry hope and tropical sunshine.  They carry the gentle Hawaii breeze, the thunderous force of 100 foot waves, the hopes and dreams of a better world.

March for our Food

“Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.”
– JFK

I passionately encourage everyone everywhere to march tomorrow in the world’s second March Against Monsanto.  It’s being held in every major city in the world on October 12th.

Here is Dr Vandana Shiva explaining why we should March.

Although Monsanto is perhaps the least ethical of the corporations, they are not the only ones legally hijacking our food supply.  6 companies are in control here: Dow, Sygenta, Dupont, Bayer Crop Science, Basf  are just as culpable.  Between them, they control the global seed, pesticide and agricultural biotechnology markets.  This is not science fiction.  This is not a conspiracy theory.

“What you are seeing is not just a consolidation of seed companies, it’s really a consolidation of the entire food chain.” —Robert Fraley, co-president of Monsanto’s agricultural sector

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This should have violated every anti-trust piece of legislation known to the courts.   Like monocrop agriculture is wrong, so are a handful of companies consolidating the food chain.   They say they are feeding the world.  Owning and poisoning the food supply doesn’t equate to feeding the world.  GMOs are not proven safe for human consumption.   They were released into our food supply after 3 month long rat studies.  Rats live 2 years!  The theory is that they use fewer pesticides.  The reality is that they use more pesticides than before.  The theory is that they give more nutrition.  The reality is that these are all just dreams and not one nutritionally enhanced food is commercially available.  As people wake up to this reality, they are outraged.


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March for our Food.

March for the Bees who are beeing destroyed by neonicontinoid pesticides.  (Neonicotinoids are a common coating on GMO seeds)

March for justice for the 284 000 Farmers in India who have been driven to suicide.

March for biodiversity.

March for the system of farming that works: ORGANIC.  In side by side comparison studies Organic yields equal GMO yields over the long run.  In times of drought, Organic yields are greater than GMOs.  Without poisoning the Earth.

I’m leaving you with this image: Monarch butterflies flutter, Bees Buzz, Insects abound, Our rivers run clean.  Air is pure.  This all is possible if we grow organically. Listen to the Earth.  Respect her creatures.  Respect each other.   As Grandpa Rupert said,

“Always Leave the soil better than when you found it.”

GMO OMG Bellingham and FISHY Sugar Beet car

Last night in Bellingham Washington, I attended the Bellingham premiere of GMO OMG. At the Pickford Film Center.  Guess what I saw parked out in front of the theatre?

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A Fishy Sugar Beet car! Here is more about the fishy food car campaign:

It was a wonderful turnout.  Sad for the several folks who were turned away…. but awesome that it was SOLD OUT! DSC_0264

Adrienne Battis from Bellingham COOP www.communityfood.coop and Steve Crider from Amy’s Kitchen http://www.amys.com/  below. Steve explained during the panel discussion that the reason that frozen pizza you buy in a store will be labelled whereas Pizza in a restaurant won’t is because food service doesn’t require food to be labelled.  Food service is a separate category.  Why would we ask for labelling where there isn’t? We don’t want to complicate our lives.  Just like we don’t require restaurants to label ingredients on the menus.

Yes on 522 has simple GMO labelling guidelines.  For human food.  Bought in the store.

DSC_0262In addition to NON GMO popcorn, I was pleased to find fair trade organic chocolate for sale.  Yay Pickford Cinemas http://www.pickfordfilmcenter.org/

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Sara Southerland, for Sustainable Connections http://sustainableconnections.org/.  Sara drove the Fishy Sugar Beet car!  That’s about as cool as it gets.

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Terence of Barlean’s Organic Oils http://www.barleans.com/

They endorse YES on 522!

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Courtney Pinneau and Caroline Kinsman of the  NON GMO  Project

http://www.nongmoproject.org/

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Vote YES on 522!  Washington is poised to make history.