Clifton Ware, Editor
Growing Groceries and Local Food Sources
Several years ago Bettye and I were fairly uninformed regarding local food sources, especially food cooperatives, community gardens, and Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs). We’ve been conscious of eating healthy foods for at least four decades, but we’ve always depended on local big-box grocery markets, most of which have gradually added more healthy food options.
Our first contact with a food co-op was a decade ago when one of our three sons, David, served as president of the Viroqua, WI Food Co-op. We bought some C shares, which made us long-distance members, and, unfortunately, unable to take advantage of shopping in their impressive new store.
Since organizing CFS in January 2013, our awareness of local food sources has continued to expand. Beginning with occasional shopping for fresh vegetables at our local weekly farmers market, we later joined our local Eastside Food Co-op, recently purchasing several shares of C stock to support an ambitious expansion project. We also helped organize Growing Groceries, a 2014 CFS program consisting of three workshops taught by a very competent team of three University of Minnesota Master Gardeners, who have donated their time and expertise in instructing 30 local gardeners (to date; the third workshop is set for Sept. 20th). And, most recently, we bought into a CSA program that’s serviced by a farm family located in western Wisconsin, with a weekly “salad plan” delivery made to our city’s community center for pickup. (We’ve never eaten so many fresh and tasty vegetables, mostly greens but including carrots, radishes, strawberries, onions, kohlrabi, beets, and the like.)
In addition to visiting several local community and church gardens, we’ve taken an urban farm tour that featured a flourishing Minneapolis vegetable farm constructed over a large parking lot. And last Saturday we joined a busload of folks to enjoy an Eat Local Farm Tour that visited three farms in the general area of New Prague, MN. Eastside Food Co-op sponsored the free tour of organic farms, and tour leaders treated us with refreshments, co-op shopping bags and T-shirts. The three farms included a sizeable dairy operation, a herb and vegetable farm, and a family farm featuring old buildings and some consisting of recyclable materials. The labor force is formed by the young family, plus up to 15 local neighbors, some working at low wages, and others exchanging work in return for a share of garden vegetables. We look forward to taking future farm tours.
So where are all of these new experiences leading? Aside from learning more about local food sources and making connections with some very interesting, inspiring people, we’re hoping to create more general local food awareness among area citizens, and in the process create more activity in producing local food sources, beginning with creating more home gardeners, and eventually community and school gardens. We also want to promote the concept of converting lawns from grass to permaculture sites, with more edible plants, and rain gardens to filter rainwater runoff.
In closing, a prime source of information about the interconnections of Economy, Energy, and Environment is found in Chris Martenson’s publications, including the Crash Course, which is available on Peak Prosperity, a website he and his colleagues founded. You can access a brief introductory video and a one-hour condensed version (http://www.peakprosperity.com/crashcourse) or a new four-and-a-half-hour version. Both are available in video and script formats. Some free chapters of the long version are available on his website, including Chapter 5, which is listed below. The Crash Course is highly recommended viewing for anyone who wishes to grasp a big-picture understanding of the Big Three E’s, and why creating resilience and sustainability is an essential goal for humankind.
Peak Prosperity: Growth vs. Prosperity: Crash Course Chapter 5. Chapter 5 of the Crash Course is now publicly available and ready for viewing. It challenges the conventional thinking that “economic growth” is the same thing as “prosperity”. It isn’t. And increasingly, we’re being forced to trade one off for the other. As global surplus resources dwindle, we need to ask ourselves: Which of these do we value more? Read more »
San Jose Mercury News: Economist Who Predicted Busted Housing Bubble Says Another Recession Is Coming. According to David Levy, just as the U.S. economy is strengthening, other countries are threatening to drag it down.
Transition Culture: “Without Celebration, We Wither Away”. Chris Johnstone works in the area of the psychology of resilience, sustainable happiness and is co-author, with Joanna Macy, of Active Hope: How To Face The Mess We’re In Without Going Crazy. Read more>
New York Times: Part-Time Schedules, Full-Time Headaches. These are among the experiences related by New York Times readers in more than 440 responses to an article published in Wednesday’s paper about a fledgling movement in which some states and cities are seeking to limit the harshest effects of increasingly unpredictable and on-call work schedules.
Share: The rising global movement that calls for #noTTIP TTIP is the latest bid to capture policymaking by the profit-making interests of the 1%, with dire implications for anyone who upholds a vision of a more equitable and sustainable economic order. Read more>
Shareable: California Passes Bill to Legalize Complementary Currencies. A community without dollars is not a community without wealth – this basic insight lies at the heart of the community resilience movement. With the recent passage of the California Alternative Currencies Act, AB 129, California has taken a significant step toward fostering more just and resilient local economies.
Resilience-World Shift Vision: Top 10 Signs of U.S. Empire’s Passing. The signs are: skyrocketing inequality; deteriorating infrastructure; hollowed-out domestic industry; decline of U.S. dollars; scarcity of domestic energy; diminishing influence abroad; sale of democracy; rise of China; growing surveillance state; and apocalyptic dreaming.
CLIMATE, ENERGY, AND ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS-VIEWS
The Hill: Report: Sunday Shows Give Climate Change More Air Time. Sunday shows have given climate change issues more airtime in the first half of 2014 than in the last four years combined, according to a new analysis. [It’s about time!]
MinnPost: Rapid Pace Of Changing Climate Gets Special Emphasis In New Status Report. The “State of the Climate in 2013” report came out at the end of last week, offering a selection of global-warming superlatives of the most troubling kind for last year.
Climate Progress: Planet’s Hottest June On Record Follows Hottest May. NOAA reports that the warmest May on record has been followed by the hottest June on record. In fact, the last time the Earth experienced a June with below-average global temperatures, Gerald Ford was president!
Eco Watch: Weather Disasters Caused Nearly 2 Million Deaths, Cost $2.4 Trillion Since 1970. A new report from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) details some of the worst historical results of climate change—death and trillions in economic losses.
Eco Watch: First-of-its-Kind Map Details Extent of Plastic in Five Ocean Gyres. When a research team set sail on a nine-month, worldwide expedition in 2010, they explored five huge ocean gyres, which collectively contain tens of thousands of tons of plastic. The result was the creation of a compelling, first-of-its-kind map of this debris.
Resilience: Oil Abundance? Not So Fast- A Risk Checklist (Part 2 of a two-part commentary; Read Part 1 here.) Understanding how we use oil and where it comes from provides many reasons why Americans should be worried about the future of oil supplies. The outline below presents the essential information. More about each section will be available through the www.peak-oil.org website.
Peak Prosperity: The Electrical Grid May Well Be The Next War’s Battlefield. We talk a lot about Peak Cheap Oil as the Achilles’ heel of the exponential monetary model, but the real threat to the quality of our daily lives would be a sustained loss of electrical power. Anything over a week without power for any modern nation would be a serious problem. Read more »
International Business Times: Aging US Power Grid Blacks Out More Than Any Other Developed . Nation. According to federal data, the U.S. electric grid loses power 285 percent more often than in 1984, when the data collection effort on blackouts began. That’s costing American businesses as much as $150 billion per year, the DOE reported, with weather-related disruptions costing the most per event.
LOCAL, STATE, AND REGIONAL NEWS-VIEWS
CERTs: Solar Dream Team Wins National Award For MN Solar Suitability App. CERTs is helping a talented team of GIS pros design an online mapping app for solar that will serve an array of stakeholders through the coming boom in solar—and they just won a national award. Learn more >>
Star Tribune: For Mpls. Beekeepers, Neighborly ‘No’ Won’t Carry The Old Sting. Urban beekeepers in Minneapolis will find their lives easier under an ordinance change approved unanimously by the City Council. Full story>
New York Times: Minnesota Is A Model For Reducing Carbon Emissions. While other states and critics of the Obama administration have howled about complying with its proposed rule slashing greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, Minnesota has been reining in its utilities’ carbon pollution for decades — not painlessly, but without breaking much of a sweat, either.
Inside Climate News: How a Sudden Flood of Oil Money Has Transformed North Dakota. [News That’s Good, Bad, and Ugly]. The clout and swagger of the oil companies in politics has unsettled this traditionally amicable and moderate state of just 725,000 people.
Minnesota Daily: Private Water Wells Soaking Up Fertilizers, University Research Says. For the 70 percent of Minnesotans who rely on groundwater for drinking and the 1 million people who drink from private wells, there are both financial burdens and health risks.
SUSTAINABLE IDEAS AND PRACTICES
ENSIA: The Secret to Real Sustainability. Truly sustainable decisions start with looking at the big picture.
The Carbon Pilgrim: Agrivoltism. What is the best way to utilize sunlight: grow food or to produce fuel? Increased competition between food and fuel for agriculturally productive land means that the stage is set for food shortages and rising conflict, as the projected human population on Earth swells to nine billion by 2050.
Resilience: Working for a Shareable Future. What does the future of the sharing economy look like, and how can we build a grassroots movement that will make that vision a reality? Here are some possible ways to create more sharing.
CERTs: Getting Started With Energy Efficiency And Renewable Energy At Home. We often receive questions from homeowners about how to get started with energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Here are some tips for saving energy at home. Learn more >>
Peak Prosperity: VIDEO: Why, Like It Or Not, We’ll Have To Live Within Our Means. Last week, Erin Ade of RT TV’s BoomBust interviewed Chris about the launch of the newly revised Crash Course series. The discussion is quite far ranging, from net energy, to central bank policy, to the role and limitations of technology: Read more »
YES! Breaking The Grip Of The Fossil Fuel Economy: If It Can Happen In Appalachia, It Can Happen Anywhere. Coal production is gradually leaving Appalachia—having already extracted much of the region’s natural wealth. Local people are figuring out how to build a new economy based on shared vision and community knowledge. If transition can happen here, it can change the debate everywhere. Read More »
Street Films: Parking: Searching for the Good Life in the City. Many cities around the world are now changing course by eliminating parking requirements while investing in walking, biking, and transit. Soon cities in the developing world will follow, providing many new lessons of their own.
Modern Farmer: Feeding 9 Billion People. With years of experience working with the UN, charities, and in the investment world, Paul McMahon has written “Feeding Frenzy: The New Politics of Food,” a refreshingly non-dogmatic look at the global food system — and how it must change if the world hopes to feed nine billion people.
CFS RECENT AND UPCOMING EVENTS
CFS—SAV VILLAGEFEST ACTIVITIES: Parade–Fri., Aug. 1, 7 p.m., SAV, coordinated by CFS Bike-Walk SAV. Exhibits—Sat., Aug. 2, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., CFS-related groups participate. More info: http://www.stanthonyvillagefest.org/
CFS SUSTAINABILTY BOOK CLUB–Decline and Fall: The End of Empire (John Michael Greer), and The Five Stages of Collapse: Survivor’s Toolkit (Dmitry Orlov), Sat. Aug. 23, 3-5 p.m., St. Anthony Village Library, SAV Shopping Center. Open to public. RSVP Clif Ware (firstname.lastname@example.org).
OTHER NOTABLE UPCOMING LOCAL EVENTS
Focus On The Economy: An Afternoon With Charles Eisenstein. Fri., July 25, 1:30-4:00 P.m., Wellstone Center, Room 272, 179 Robie St. E., St. Paul, MN 55107 View Map
Citizens for a Safe Railroad and Climate. Wed.,July 30, 2014, 12:00 p.m., St. Anthony Bridge, 201 St. Anthony Pkwy, Mpls. Info (Matthew0tt@yahoo.com/)
MN350: “Local Dollars, Local Sense: How Minnesotans Can Move Their Money from Wall Street to Main Street to Achieve Real Prosperity”. Speaker—Michael Shuman (michaelhshuman.com). Thurs., Aug. 7, 7 p.m., MCDA Auditorium, 2501 Stevens, Ave., Mpls. Tickets ($8.38) Eventbrite (MichaelShumanAugust7.eventbrite.com)
> REDUCE > REUSE > RECYCLE!
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Clif Ware http://www.clifware.com/
CFS News-Views Digest is published weekly (with some exceptions)