"You can help save the environment with your spoon and fork. You can actually stop big-agribusiness and build a better world by eating right." This was a line in an ad for the upcoming 2013 Food Revolution Summit. Its from April 27-May 5. its online and free, and has a lot of interesting folks presenting.
I really liked the connection that statement made. Eat right (I would define this as eating local, organic, whole foods.) and you become healthier while at the same time supporting the local economy, making new friends and being part of the greater good.
My number one reason for eating mostly organic is that is is guaranteed non-genetically modified (GMO free), plus organic foods taste better and last longer. I believe organic can help those that eat them last longer too There are deleterious effects from GM on not just insects and weeds but humans and the environment as a whole and I've read enough that I know I want to avoid foods with GM ingredients.
This is no easy thing when eating out. Just as one example, most likely the chips at Mexican restaurants in the US are all GM corn. The odds are some form of GM corn is in the fine print on any US - made packaged cracker or cookie that's not organic or certified GMO-free. What better reason to avoid all of this junk food!
State governments don't legislate controls that would at least require labeling, because of the powerful lobby from Big Agra. The Non-GMO Project is a voluntary program that provides labeling to show that manufacturers have verified that their products are GMO-free.
I love it when restaurants use locally grown vegetables! It would be great to have organic dishes on the menus. Even though it costs more, I for one would pay more for it at a restaurant. But .. most of the time we can be spending our food dollars with more awareness and creativity at a grocery store or farmers' market. We can be growing our own food and perfecting the slow food movement of home-made meals and simplicity.
Its time to get back to the garden. The Essiac herbs are part of an amazing range of foods you can grow, even if your garden is tiny and in containers. Guaranteed best produce: home-grown, or bought locally, GM-free and organic.
And so I say, find some Good Seeds and plant a garden! And support your local farmers' markets!
Coming next: Part 2 - Growing and Wildcrafting the Essiac herbs...Oh No Snow
April already! really??? Cool! This is the time of planting seeds, digging sheep sorrel root, and reveling in the warmth and wonderful earthy smells in the greenhouse here at Rene Caisse Tea.com!
This marks our first spring for growing the Essiac herbs in Montana. A year ago April was also busy..I was the sprout-grower for a two-week intensive permaculture design course given by Michael "Skeeter" Pilarski, a well-known and much respected elder in the network of herbalists/permaculturists in the Northwest. I was somewhat familiar with permaculture and wanted to learn more and apply the principles to Essiac, growing the herbs as part of a complete symbiotic system. I got way more out of it than that. Permaculture is a way of life, of living in the world in such a way that interconnected relationships create a sustainable whole. It can be applied to gardening but much more, including building and community design and even school curricula and other structures. Its about caring for the earth, caring for the people, and reinvesting the surplus created by this caring. There is a great YouTube video presented by Toby Hemmenway, author of Gaia's Garden called Redesigning Civilization With Permaculture, for further info on permaculture.
It was quite an indoctrination making LOTS of sprouts at the permaculture training, but I did manage to learn a lot at the classes too. After the training, I moved into my new house, and although I would have loved to have begun transforming my yard from turf to a permaculture paradise, I was just a tetch short on time, energy, and money...summer was upon us in no time. However, not to worry..a central tenet of permaculture is 'observe'. I put this to work, planning the layout and design for growing the herbs this spring. The beginnings are humble, but the endeavor is officially underway~ growing medicinal herbs in the Flathead Valley!
There were a number of potted Sheep sorrel and Slippery elm plants started mid-season that wintered over nicely. I covered them all with straw in the greenhouse last fall. Sheep sorrel doesn't mind freezing, but Slippery elm babies do seem to not handle it too well.. They appear to have overwintered just fine, though, plus it was a pretty mild winter. Most remained in their pots, but I actually planted a few Slippery elm saplings from Horizon Herbs, right in the ground, inside the greenhouse. I will move the greenhouse when alpha elm gets too big - along with the Pau d'Arco and Moringa trees I can't resist trying to grow here in the "banana belt" of Montana. There is a fine three-story botanical garden at the U of Montana in Missoula, where they can go live should they need more room, like in the Rocky Horror Picture Show or something...lol. I believe the Slippery elm will take to living out in Montana just fine, though.
I had tried to grow Slippery elm in Idaho. Its hardiness is to -40 F. but we put the saplings out too soon, and they froze. Adequate mulching seems to be the ticket, until they are big enough to overwinter with grace. The largest specimen was doing really well in a pot on my porch last fall, and then the deer nibbled on it -rrr....but its still alive
It dropped its leaves, which is what they do in the fall anyway, and I've been waiting all winter to see - is it alive??? .. I'm tickled to announce, the buds are forming! I just discovered the first leaf today! Its a good thing to plant Slippery elm, since it is such great medicine, and its numbers could use reinforcement since so many died of Dutch Elm disease and over-harvesting in the past 40 or so years.
Here is the full picture of the Slippery elm with the first leaf - as you can see, it and Burdock are friends!
All of the Sheep sorrel wintered over just fine. Below is a picture showing how much variety there can be between plants, depending on soil and other regional variations - all are rumex acetosella.
Its also wildcrafting time for Sheep sorrel. I have found a nice patch not far from here, and was out last week digging some. It was wonderful being in the sun, with hands in the earth! This time of year, Rene Caisse used to use the whole plant. As you can see below, the new growth, being pretty tiny yet, is no doubt packed with nutrients! Total time spent about 5-6 hrs., for 1.2 oz. root There are worse jobs The most time-consuming part is cleaning the root, to separate out the other materials like fine grass roots. Its interesting to note that when Sheep sorrel is growing in a field, the grasses will compete with it and it seems to adapt by putting out lots of fine 'hairs' that mimic the grass roots, leveling the playing field so to speak.
I joined the United Plant Savers today! Slippery elm is one of the native medicinal plants they are working with. Their mission: "to ensure the perpetuation of important medicinal plants and their native habitat so that when future generations of plant lovers walk upon this planet, they, too, will know and appreciate the medicines of their ancestors and the healing power that grows from the heart of the earth."
And so it goes..installment one of a growing story! I know a lot of you are also doing the same thing, judging by our Essiac seed kit sales! I would LOVE to hear how your growing experiences are going.
Earth laughs in flowers.~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Happy new year! Here in Polson MT we don’t get a lot of sun in the winter due to the ‘lake effect’ so I have been refreshing myself on Vitamin D3 supplementation. I have gleaned the following info from Mercola.com. For much more info and recommendations I recommend the two articles I am summarizing below.
The First article is entitled Little Sunshine Mistakes that can give your body cancer instead of Vitamin D – catchy little title. Here are some interesting facts:
Sunscreen (moisturizer with an SPF value), while blocking the UVA rays, which can tan - or burn - your skin, also keeps out UVB rays, which bring D3 to you, which is good for a lot of things. It is recommended therefore to allow your skin (not counting your face, which should be protected from exposure by a cap or sunscreen) to be exposed without sunscreen initially Read More →
Its the first day of November. The Essiac master class has come and gone. We had a great group - a real cross-section of folks including naturopaths and other healing arts practitioners, growers, people on their journeys with cancer, nurses, folks from Canada as well as the U.S., both original inhabitants and us 'imports.'
The master class was not recorded or videotaped so that the discussion could be candid. In this time of webinars and info going 'viral' on the internet, we decided to go 'back to the source' - a sharing amongst those there, just like the beginning of this tea, person to person. From there it grows, naturally. Read More →
"Change is a measure of time and, in the autumn, time seems speeded up. What was is not and never again will be; what is is change." - Edwin Way Teale
As the Bracebridge tour winds down, I sense how the passage of time can erode the memory of something once very special.
Our next stop on the tour is a visit to Rene's grave. Read More →
After visiting Rene Caisse's statue and Bracebridge Falls, we took a stroll up the main drag, Manitoba Street, where Rene's Father had his Barbershop. Manitoba Street, then and now:
The road was new to me, as roads always are going back. ~Sarah Orne Jewett, The Country Road of Pointed Firs, 1896
What a week it has been. We've gone back to the source..me for the first time, but for Mali Klein, the road going back did look familiar.. Mali, over the course of nearly two decades' worth of writing and researching the history of Rene Caisse and Essiac, has witnessed Rene's legacy in this place pass from its youth into the 21st century. Mali's writing partner Sheila Snow lived her whole life here. Sheila worked with Rene Caisse directly during the last years of her life. She wrote one of the first Essiac books, The Essence of Essiac, as well as an article for the Canadian Homemaker magazine entitled "Could Essiac Halt Cancer?" which played a major role in putting Bracebridge on the map in the 1970s. Sixteen years ago she showed Mali the sites to see for the first time, just as Mali shows me today. Read More →
Yesterday morning the sun came up pink, ushering in the autumn equinox. I started the new season learning more about GMOs than I'd bargained. It was the last day to view the newly released documentary Genetic Roulette for free - I took notes so I could share this really important info. Update: here is a link where you can still watch it -
Genetically modified organisms - GMO - are created when the DNA of one species is forced into the DNA of another species. There are a couple of different varieties that have been patented.
Herbicide-tolerant crops (Roundup-ready). You can spray them with Roundup and it doesn't kill them but it kills the weeds.
Insecticide-producing crops (BT, for bacillus thuringiensis) kills insects when they eat the plant.
Mind you, GMO food is not about better flavor, nutrition, or saving money at the grocery store. Monsanto marketed this seed to farmers for better crop yields and increased profit. However, that hasn't panned out. In fact, GMOs are turning out to be bad for everybody but Monsanto. But, the citizens of California once again are coming forward with a unique proposition that could change things for the better and lead the way for the rest of the nation. Read More →
I am sending out a call to all Essiac users, producers, growers and wildcrafters - let's get together! October 1 will find myself and Mali Klein in Bracebridge, Ontario, Rene Caisse's home town and where she had her cancer clinic in the 1930s. We'll be talking to some folks who have had a part in Essiac history, and visiting what's left of the Essiac sites to see. We'll be making lots of video and uploading to YouTube. I'll be blogging all about it! I am really excited at the prospect of meeting some of my fellow Essiac advocates.
Mali will then be coming out to Montana later in the month, and we'll be putting on the Essiac Master Class in Missoula on October 27. We'll also be hosting an Essiac meetup potluck at the Bistro in Polson Montana on October 19 for any and all fellow Essiac folk to network and enjoy an evening with Mali. Call (406) 883-0110 to reserve a place at the table, or email Debbie! Let's find our common purpose and work together for Essiac - hope to see you there!
The dream … to grow the Essiac herbs applying permaculture principles, to hand-harvest the herbs, and to provide a model for community-scale production of Essiac and other medicinal herbs. In doing so, to meet local or regional needs in the retail sector as well as through charity. To produce the highest quality herbs so that this remedy can be researched properly and its value officially proven, as was Rene Caisse’s lifetime dream.
What else to do in Missoula in October? Here's a great preview from Permies.com!
Lately I've been reading about some really cool affordable ideas being put to action for small-time entrepreneurs. The first one is called SQFT (Square Foot). Its based out of San Francisco and just starting up. Their mission is geared toward small-time vendors who couldn't afford to rent traditional retail space but COULD afford a fraction of that amount for a fraction of the time. They are putting them together with underutilized spaces in non-traditional settings. Its a win-win-win Read More →