Saturday, December 14, 2013

Animal Communication

I saw such a beautiful documentary today on animal communication I have to share it here.

It sparked such an interest in me to learn more I found a few other gems online…

a really creative way to connect animals and people through the use of the internet, this idea is still in the making, but I do find it fascinating.

A parrot who is as capable if not more to learn concepts of that of a 5 year old.  I just find it utterly amazing that animals despite having totally different sound equipment then humans are able to speak in our language enough that there is communication -- especially among species like birds and apes.  These animals that were studied were also completely picked at random.  If a random human were asked to join a flock of flamingos and figure out 100 words of their language and be able to replicate the sound.. it might be totally hopeless.  Who knows maybe not.  But it is so so impressive that this bird was able to figure out how to communicate to this degree.  It's possible that perhaps our intelligence is severely impaired to that of these other creatures.

Interesting elephant article.  I am just so intrigued by this field !

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Russell Brand is right on!

Even though I personally vote, I 100% agree that some kind of revolution is in order.  

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Don't stop at vegan...

It's easy to look at the figures for global meat consumption and dairy and other animal products and just be absolutely alarmed with the amount of meat we eat in the western world.  Okay stats on meat and animal product consumption is one thing, but what about when looking at the amount of CO2 emissions, methane as well as all of those forests and jungles... pristine habitats we destroy on a regular basis, to feed and provide for these animals....

Animal production is devastating to our world.

I'm not going to go into gory detail.  You can find so many brilliant articles online about these issues.. in fact the UN has a whole series of documents related to the consumption of animals foods and the destroying affect that it has on our ecosystems.. not to mention our internal ecosystems.. which actually does not thrive on animal products... but that too is a whole different story that I don't feel like getting into the details.

Anyway, what I am saying is... after becoming vegan.. sometimes it can seem like.. okay I've done my bit.. I'm saving the world in my own way.. and that's that.. the story is over.

Sorry to disappoint you (or really just myself), but the world needs our active participation at this moment.  Actually to be more precise our soul does.  I can't help but believe that whatever is good for my soul, or her soul or his soul or your soul.... must be the same right.  Isn't it just love.

Hang in there with me.

I know I'm getting rather philosophical, but the point is coming.

But this coin is two sided.. even though, all we need is love.. most of us, don't know how to let it in.  Most of us don't even really know what it means.  We make movies about it and write songs about it all the time.. we like to confess our love to places and people elaborately all the time.  But the kind of love mostly portrayed in our media, is some kind of obsessive, lustful and craving kind of love.  It's not real.

We try to fill our hollowness with media input... material input... foods that numb our senses... actually ironically so that we can feel closer to this love... although.. in reality it's just pushing us further away from what it really means.

The more we can embrace our own hollowness, our own not knowingness.. the more the universe will fill the holes with its divinity.

And the more we see that it's not just about me.. or mine.. but actually about ours.

It's about every creeping crawling living thing on planet earth.  We are all learning.. we are all learning to love.

Yet many of us have these subconscious blocks on ourselves.. that unless we are such and such (kind, educated... compassionate.. smart.. witty.. ) a person.. we wont be able to love ourselves.. if we don't have... such and such  (mercedes, ipad... whatever) a thing.

But actually in reality.. on a deeper level.. we are only scraping the surface.. it's like when you are dreaming and you are trying to run but you can't move... Not until you realize it's dream.. do you have complete control... and you have the ability to wake up.

You know you are missing something, but you can't figure out what!

It's the connection to nature, to the unknown, to the mystery.

The moment that it becomes something of value in your life.. is the moment you will feel and experience love. real love for the first time.

Whatever you think you are doing at this moment that is supposedly your 'bit' of goodness to the world.  Turn it up all the way.

Dive deep into your passions to serve the world full heartedly.

This is the connection to love we've all been waiting for.  Get out of your comfort zone, and keep growing, keep moving, keep pushing yourself.

Changing Myself, for the Sake of Changing Myself

I'm not here to change myself for the world.

I am here to change myself for myself.

I am here to live in 100% integrity and divine love.

I am here to not hurt my surroundings but to be an inspiration and a benefit.

I refuse to give up.

I refuse to stop talking.

I refuse to die, without having said, "I did the absolute best, that I could have done, to live in truth, integrity and divine compassion"

This is my life purpose.

Chasing Ice

This is the most remarkable documentary I have ever seen.

It doesn't get more profound than this.

We are living literally on the tipping point of the world as we know it.

The visual evidence in this film is surmounting.

These men, these people with this dream, risked everything and risked their lives to capture this footage over years.

When, will documentaries start playing in movie theatres?  Sometimes I am completely bewildered by our human family.  I can't help but not understand why we prefer this mundane entertainment over real lives, real people, real stories and learning about our beautiful magnificent world that we live in.

Watching this documentary.  Suddenly nothing in the world can hold a frame on what this means to us, or life as we know it.

Scientists say that at best 2/3rd's of biological life will still remain in the next 1 to 200 years.  In my harsh opinion, I think this is way overestimating.  These pictures of ice bergs melting... miles upon miles of 100,000 year old ice, gone in minutes.

There is a lot of talk around endangered animals.  But hardly anyone mentions about endangered plants.  Plants are our life source, our sustenance.  We are literally nothing without these lifeforms on planet earth.  When temperature rises enough, it's possible that tropics could become completely uninhabitable.  Plants are very sensitive, they have evolved for millions of years to live within very specific temperatures. When temperatures vary too much from the norm, even if it's a day out of the year.  That can very well be the end of that plant life.  Not just the tropics may face issues... the whole planet.

I think it's worth really learning more about, talking to plant experts, talking to glaciologists... How much time are they giving us.  And how much time do we have to adjust what we are about to witness.   When the ice caps melt.. there goes global sea level.  Which is going to greatly impact many of our regions.  Misplacing millions of people.  What can we do today to prepare for this?

I don't have any idea how much time we have... all I know right now, is that if I can't be part of the solution in some capacity or another.  There is no meaning to my life.

I am guilty of so many things that it's easy for an environmentalist to point a guilty finger at others for.  But everyday in everyway, I want to reduce my negative impact on my surroundings.

And increase the positive ones.

What would it mean, if every single person were to be this passionate about global warming to the extent that they'd risk their life in the name of it's cause.

If that is not integrity at it's best... then I am unfamiliar with that word.

Maybe I'm not in a position to actively risk my life-- hiking dangerous peaks and capturing shocking footage.

And maybe I'm not even in a situation where I can do anything particularly impressive.

But what can I do?

And how can I keep checking to make sure that I haven't become slothful in the process and I am still working on doing and being the best person that I feel I can be, in the name of these causes.

It's not about every person doing their bit anymore.  We've tried that, and it doesn't work.

It's about every person taking 100% responsibility for every flaw in this world.

It starts with our own lives.

our share or our bit, gets left behind and ignored.  We need to ignite the passion and go all out.

Of course, there isn't a huge percentage of people who are willing to go all out... but let me tell you how this works.

It starts somewhere.  With one person, doing something radical.  Over time, that new behavior becomes slightly more normal and expected... perhaps at first only by close friends and family, and in fact, it rubs off on a few people... A few people turn into more people.. and suddenly it's a domino effect, that everyone starts doing it!

Any ONE can be that person. People think that when you are crazy and outside the box that no one will have listen to you or LIKE you.

In fact its the opposite.  People are strangely attracted to that which they find bold, interesting and daring.  At first they will blatantly attack, although behind the scenes they may admire.. and this may subtly change with time.. and suddenly these people find themselves doing the exact same thing years later.. because that's how our world works.

You judge something.. and you have a tendency to attract it into your life.

We need the bold people of this world. To step up to the plate, and make the change they wish to see in the world.  What if you knew, that all it took in this life to live in the kind of world that you would like to see... is the meer act of you being 100% truthful and beneficial to all of your surroundings 100% of the time.

Are you saying that this isn't possible?

What if all it took, was for you to step up to the plate and own responsibility for climate change.  And if you could take whatever talents you were given in this lifetime, and push them to where you could make an impact in the lives of others through your beautiful talents, and you could inspire change through your choices and your life.

Perhaps that is the meaning of this place called earth.

For people to learn how to open their hearts, listen to their passions and use their talents to invoke the beauty around them.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Chimps: A connection to our past?

After reading more about Jane Goodall, apparently she was one of the first scientists to document that chimpanzees were not vegetarian.

In fact, 40% of their overall hunt from the year is caught in the dry season.  Meat total only still comprises their diet 3%-- however that includes the whole year-- even their 'hunting' season. Apparently they mostly hunt in packs since they on their own really only have a 30% chance of catching something, but in large numbers (10+)  they can usually always get something.

A main food for them are young red colobus monkeys.  They hunt by catching them and banging them around.

It seems like a very brutal way to go, however, it's interesting that they don't actually hunt with their canines, like most of us think they do.  Yet, their teeth would be of significance when having to separate the parts.... I won't go any more descriptive than that.

I learned about this through this article:

I was curious, what their conclusions were about chimps and eating meat.

In this particular article, the author correlates chimps eating habits with what our ancestors may have eaten, since at one point the chimps and our human line met some, 4.4 million years ago.

I find this correlation to be not really lined up logically.

The first assumption is that Chimpanzees have not evolved over the past 4.4 million years.

This is like saying, that the food habits of animals typically don't change, ever.

I find this claim to not be in alignment with what we have currently observed within the field of science today.  Organisms to tend to change.  Perhaps some for better, perhaps some for worse, and maybe some occurrences are completely neutral.   If we look at humans, our food has shifted tremendously over even the past 50 years.  If there are still some sort of people living on earth in 4.4 million years, can you imagine them eating a double cheeseburger with fry sauce?  Probably not.  Not saying that it isn't possible, it just doesn't seem likely, especially as we don't even know what we ate 4.4 million years ago.  But we can see that the foods we have eaten as cultures and societies has significantly changed over time, especially with transmigration and meeting of new cultures and food and integration.  Most people in India however would never guess that the chili pepper, the beloved chili of India, isn't actually from India.  There was a time in their history of cuisine that their foods weren't spicy.

If we choose to take a look at, for example the blue whale.  Before we started polluting our oceans, they ate plankton.  Today they ingest more plastic than they do plankton unfortunately.

If evolution could do anything to save these species while fish and plankton populations are plummeting, it would favor them or any other sea creature at this point to evolve to eat plastic.  As far as our science shows, this is how we evolved.  Take for example, in the beginning when the earth was filled with CO2, green life started flourishing off of this component in the atmosphere, yet because of how much they actually flourished, oxygen then became a new abundant component for the next organism to figure out how to use.

Anyway, what I am trying to say is, that, to think that chimpanzees have kept the same diet throughout the ages and generations, doesn't seem accurate.

But for a moment, let's assume for some bizarre reason, that chimps have actually been able to maintain not only the exact taste preferences and food consumptions throughout the million of years.  As well as their speed, quickness, dexterity, eyesight... etc etc. -- to catch the animals.

On top of that they would have also have had to maintain their exact hunting traditions of seasonal hunting... (also assuming that 4.4 million years ago the seasons were also identical, the plant life was identical and the water availability as well)
As well their close knit family bonds and communal life.  Okay, great, we've established that in 4.4 million years, this was all exactly the same.

So the second assumption that he makes, is that chimps eat this way for nutritional reasons.  This is at best, an educated guess.  We really can't say more or less on this whether we know for sure that A.  They show serious signs of nutrient deficiency when they aren't eating meat.  and B.  Their social behaviors, traditions and customs have no influence on their hunting meat.

From the article it seems clear that A.  They hunt in groups and B. They hunt during the dry season (which perhaps it's true that there is less fruit (their main food) at this time to effectively subsist on) and when the females are fertile.  (which I'm not sure how frequently this occurs for them)

Without really gathering statistical evidence on any of these assumptions, it's hard to say what may be the real driving factor for the chimps.

Jane Goodall only spoke about their complex social communities, could it not be possible that this has become a tradition for these primates.  Some social obligation or rite.

The author states how our genes are the most similar to chimp genes out of all the animals.

So why should it be any more likely that we are more like them, than they are like us?

Because if you look at the dynamics of human interaction, most of what we do, is based on our social surrounding.  The only times that we so call, 'misbehave' is usually when society dejects us.  This is when we get put into health centers or prisons in some cases.

There have been few individuals who have been able to do the 'thing' that they feel is 'morally correct' when being told the opposite by loved ones or authority figures or peers.  However, these events typically lead to the individual being punished, 'thrown' away, dejected, killed and sometimes in the rare event, become famous for it.

Instead of saying that we must be like chimps, could chimps be actually just like us?

We eat foods all the time that aren't good for us.  We love foods that we know we wont feel good after.  Take a look at the number of alcoholics or binge eaters.... the sales of junk food.  We know that these don't have any health benefit.  So why do we do it?

Maybe we feel that chimps are living in the wild, and since that's where we used to live, that that's why they must hold the answers to what we are supposed to eat.. since we have become so disconnected from the earth and it's plants that we can't walk outside and even tell whether that weed growing by the fence of our yard is edible or not.

Okay, so this is fair argument.

At the same time, just because it comes straight off a tree, without the use of processes to make things more 'tasty', doesn't always make it healthier.

It might be by chance that that chimpanzee got high off of a mushroom.  But, with living in the wild for so long, would they not be able to know the difference?

Also, sometimes eating habits have more to do with, ease, comfort and hunger.

The days that we eat the biggest load of unhealthy items, were probably the days we were the hungriest.  Or, I guess the monkey's have it right, when us women are on our menstrual cycles.  We can have a tendency to crave all sorts of things.

Craving doesn't necessarily mean nutritious.

Unless you are craving a carrot, which probably doesn't happen that often.. if ever.

Meat has a lot of calories, fat and will fill you up quicker than leaves.

And if those female chimps are getting after their mates for not having enough to eat... it just so may be the case.

Not to humanize our chimp relatives.. but don't we attempt to chimpanize humans all the time?  Letting their behavior excuse ours?

We also can't forget that they eat most of their calories from fruit.  It's pretty hard to justify our current mass consumptions of meat, and all animal product foods from chimps when overall, their diet is only 3% animal food in the whole year!

That comes to a whopping total of 33 meals out of the year that have meat in them.  A little over a month.  3% of (3 meals a day times 365 days a year) = 32.5

If meat was as essential to our diet as mainstream media would like us to believe..... it doesn't seem like 33 meals would be enough right?

What about the rest of the 332 days and 996 meals?

Anyway, I'd like to see if 10 guys could go out and chase down a rabbit with their bare hands.... have them bring their kids and see if this doesn't break the kids heart.

Maybe we happen to share 98% of the same genes with chimps, but that doesn't mean that chimps=humans.

It's also assuming that among that 2% of gene share, it's the sharing of exact same nutritional needs.  As well as brain capacity, right?  Not saying that chimps are any less intelligent than humans, just basically in our ability to use tools to calculate what our needs could or would be.  Chimps as far as we know, don't use tools to calculate nutritional nuances among their societies.

Unlike chimps, we have tools to collect our observations from across the world and throughout time and generations to draw conclusions.  We have found ways of preventing and observing reasons for diabetes, heart disease, cancer, allergies etc.  Unfortunately these happenings aren't as well documented by mainstream because funding typically doesn't come from some, veggie campaign.  However there are really amazing documented cases like the china study, that in my mind do us a lot better to look at, than trying to observe from our closest relative and connecting that to our relatives 4.4 million years ago.

Anyway, plus the fact that many of us are very sensitive to the slaughter of animals.  Even talking to people who have killed animals, many of whom expressed sadness in doing so.  We don't need to necessarily go back or justify what we do.  Simple observation of our own species today, should be more than enough information.  How do you feel when you eat certain foods?  Do you have chronic pain or conditions, have you ever tried eating different foods for more than a month or a year consecutively? If not, give it a go, in my opinion, it's the best way to do research.  

That's all.


Monday, October 21, 2013

Jane Goodall Institute

I feel like I have been dreaming for so long about exactly how I want to contribute in this world.
Almost 5 years ago I studied abroad in Norway, where I had begun working on an application for Greencorp.  In Norway, we hardly had class.  Maybe an hour a day, and no homework, no test, not until the end of the semester.  Basically I had a lot of time. To do absolutely nothing.  But I worked on this applicaton.  The question for the application was, "If you could do one thing in the US and be successful at it, what would you do?"  After learning about global warming and food miles and generally our disconnect with nature, I decided that I would initiate greenhouse building across america, to help improve our access to fresh foods despite the climate.

From there, my brother helped me edit this essay question, and showed me a permaculture video.  I fell in love with the idea of creating beautiful fertile life from a completely barren desert.  I decided that was what I wanted to do.  I turned up of course not getting accepted to Greencorp, but it was for the better.

My ideas over the years, have changed, relatively they've had the same overall idea, to connect the gaps between us and our environment.  To reduce carbon emissions, protect pristine ecosystems, and restore the landscapes that we've over-used.

Looking at everything the Jane Goodall Institute is involved with, I am just so inspired by their work.

I love how they are taking such a holistic approach to environmental conservation.  Nithya gave me the idea to start contacting organizations that are an inspiration to me and that I could see myself being of use to after college.  Definitely Jane Goodall's Institute is one of them, and I just got done writing an email to them.  We'll see if I hear back.  If nothing else, I can sneak myself in by volunteering.

I am just so touched by all the amazing people in our world, and the incredible work that they do and have created.

If you feel like making a difference to families of chimps and the ecology of the planet you can donate here:

Zinc Foliar Sprays

12. (and the list continues)

It's interesting that a common practice in farms are foliar nutrient sprays.  Once a year the farmer will spray a diluted nutrient, for example zinc, on his crop.  The interesting thing is, even if the plant or the tree is showing signs of deficiency, the nutrient sprayed on the plant will be immediately taken in by the leaves, flowers and even fruit to help alleviate those problems.  It seems like such a bizarre yet amazing thing that fruits and flowers can directly use the nutrients applied to them.

On the flip side, is that this means that everything we spray on our plants, is readily taken in by the plant.  All the pesticides, the insecticides, herbicides.  Plants have evolved to take in substances through their leaves, flowers and fruits.  Of course before we created these 'cides', this ability of the plant to absorb from their leaves, could only be of benefit to the plant, and perhaps some of these chemicals don't necessarily hurt the plant, but everything has repercussions up the food chain.

bon appetit.  Another reason to buy organic.

According to this study:

Even with organic trees deficient in Zinc, and no zinc foliar sprays applied due to lack of availability, the same trees the very next year were not deficient in Zinc.  In fact they had equivalent levels of zinc to the conventional plots which had received foliar sprays.

Because compost is essentially, a 'whole' food for plants.  It should contain all the nutrients that the plants need for growth and health.  It may seem like we need micro-manage every part of our operation, but it may not be so necessary.

We have three 30year+ old apple trees in the backyard.  For 3 years, and most likely much longer as well, there are no visual signs of past pruning on the trees, they haven't been pruned.  They also haven't been fertilized by us, the most we have done is mow the weeds/grass underneath them.

Much literature will say that the fruits will be small, won't taste as good and may break the tree, because it produces more than it can properly support.  While I think this may be more true with younger trees and especially peach trees, it's not always the case.

We get an immense supply of apples on our trees, every year, we do have some kind of bugs getting into some of them, but not enough to destroy the apple enough that I am not interested in eating it.  Perhaps the apples are smaller than the ones you get in the store.  However the taste is amazing.  We harvested ample supply of apples this year and honestly, once I've eaten through 1/2 of a box, once I try store fruit again, all I can taste is water.  It's almost unbelievable.

Has the quality of taste of our fruits and vegetables from the store really become water?

During the time of harvest-- when local foods are at their best, yes, my taste buds usually are heavily disappointed with grocery store food at that point.

Not saying that this is a possibility for many farmers, to do nothing.  Because at the end of the day, beauty unfortunately pays more than taste and quality.  On top of the fact that it's rare if not impossible to find a fruit tree production site which isn't in a typical orchard tree growing fashion, where each row has as many trees that it can fit and nothing else is produced but fruit.  In these orchards, most if not all of the trees are harvested, and those nutrients that were in the soil, were first harvested by the tree, into the fruit, and now that fruit is being shipped across the state or country.  When farmers don't replenish their soils, it can be a sort of, 'soil mining'  Getting everything from the soil as possible, until serious deficiency problems start occurring.  In these large scale operations it is really important to add back to the soil.

My farm can get away with it since, we have a variety of plants and weeds growing, and the act of mowing underneath the fruit trees can add a good proportion of nutrients back into the soil.   But once our compost is ready, I'll be sure to give these trees a nice dose :)

Plus, our families income isn't dependent on the income from these fruits, in fact we mostly give it away for free.

Basically what I am saying is, there is an easier way to farm.  It's less complex than we think, and it makes healthier tastier food.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Improve work productivity

So even though, I am fortunate enough to work in a field I feel very passionate about. Sometimes, it's hard not to get stressed about deadlines, projects, hours needed... etc.

I am going to school part time and I have 270 hours of work that I have to finish by the end of the semester.  I am grateful for this opportunity, however sometimes it can be a little anxiety ridden when I feel overwhelmed by assignments, tests.. etc.

My husband, offered a different way to look at it.

instead of thinking about number of hours to do... instead.. change the story.

How about 270 insights, wonderful learnings.  So I am starting now.  The grateful learnings of my internship.

1.  Iron chlorosis is a common disease affecting many utah orchards.  It can happen when the soils are kept excessively wet.  A possible remedy to this, is to plant alfalfa in the orchard, or the parts of the orchards that don't get a chance to dry in between waterings.

2.  Plants often turn yellow while soils are cool and moist and recover their normal green color as temperature increases.

3. general work tip of the day.  Stop looking at the clock! In fact, don't even look at the clock.  Unless you are 99% sure you've worked the amount you've needed to.

4. Repeat this mantra, "work is getting easier and easier, the hours are just flying by (while I'm attaining amazing productivity), I find myself getting more excited about work all the time, and it's getting funner by the minute."

5. Just because you have reached a new wall in your area of interest.  Does not mean that you have 'lost' interest in what you originally thought was your calling.  Often professionals, athletes, artists must break through new realms of their work in order to make it to the next level in their desired field.  A pianist doesn't give up after months of working and perfecting a piece of music.  It may become discouraging, and breaks may need to be made more frequently.  But success is inevitable when dedication and perseverance continues.   If you fail 8,000 times at something.  You know a lot of ways not to do something.  Keep trying, keep going. Don't give up on what matters to you.

6. It's possible to combat zinc deficiency in the intermountain west by planting hairy vetch and austrian winter pea in your orchards.  

I wrote the previous six yesterday and have started again today....
My mom always tells me, it's not really about the subjects you learn in school, it's really about all of the aspects of applying yourself to one thing, that really creates the most benefit.

7. When you set the alarm early to do work in the morning, but when morning comes and tiredness seems overwhelming. Just get up, it will take just a couple of minutes of walking around, drinking some fresh water and the tiredness will dissipate.

8.If you have many tasks in a day.  And many of those tasks are long houred projects, don't try to finish one task in one go.  It may cause burnout.  Switch it up, do something different every hour to keep your brain and body energized.  It can be tempting to not do this, but can be lead to more overall productivity by the end of the day.

"Organic materials with low C:N ratios of 15:1 to 20:1, such as legumes, will release nitrogen more rapidly, whereas materials with high C:N ratios of 40:1 to 80:1, such as grasses, may actually immobilize nitrogen during their decomposition before it is made available to the tree roots.
Sawdust, which has a very high C:N ratio and is a very fine material, can immobilize nitrogen for an extended period of time, whereas coarser wood chips are not incorporated into the soil as readily and do not immobilize nitrogen as much" --

"Manure, especially if
unprocessed, has very low C:N ratios, and the rapid release of nitrogen together with the salts it contains can injury tree roots."
From same link as above

11."When new trees are planted in the spring, immediate supply of adequate water is essential to settle the soil around the roots, but application of nitrogen fertilizer is not recommended.This is because the initial tree growth is mainly supported by the nutrient reserves within the tree and the uptake of nutrients from the soil is often delayed due to the damaged root system. In addition, it may even cause damage to the roots" --

12.  Get realistic about your goals, and your work week.  Don't imagine the 'best' case scenario for yourself and strive to set completely unrealistic deadlines for yourself.  The quickest way to burnout is to set the bar too high and consistently fail to meet that standard.  If it means having to work on the weekends to meet your deadline, it may make more sense, instead of trying to cram it all into a work week.

Thats all for now,  I'll post more as I continue working on my hours

Friday, October 18, 2013

Finding your path

It's interesting being married to a happiness teacher.  I get the opportunity to learn about many awareness teachers and wonderful techniques in self-discovery and living in the present moment.  We are often gifted books on the latest and most cutting edge techniques of embodying the true self.  Which despite the hearsay, isn't actually about, 'being happy'.  It's about, accepting you as you are.  And in so doing, being able to recognize the difference between the ways we experience our situation and the perception we have of it as well as the stories we tell around it.  That are often times, perhaps not so beneficial.

What I mean is, there is the bodies experience of pleasure and pain, there is also the mind's experience of pleasure and pain which can be totally different.  And then there is the observing self, which actually isn't affected at all.  It's the witness of these events.  In being the witness of these events, one doesn't have to attach so heavily to the fears that play in to the current situation and exacerbate our anxieties of the future.

It's possible to allow our bodies and our minds to experience the joys or the sufferings that they are experiencing without building stories around them.  For example, if someone has a headache, and this headache lately has becoming worse and worse and coming on more frequently.  The tendency may be, to become worried, "What's wrong with me?  Why is this happening?  It's only going to get worse, if it's this bad, what will tomorrow be like?"  This is building on to the story.  Instead of witnessing that the body is experiencing pain or some sensation in the head.

The latest book we were gifted is called, "The happiness trap."  It's a pretty interesting read, and talks a lot about what I just mentioned above, of course mentioning tools and tricks to dissociate one's self so heavily with one's thoughts.  But it asked also a very interesting question,

"If you had 1 year left to live, and if you had the complete and total love and support of everyone around you to do anything that mattered most to your heart, what would you do? How would you spend your time?"

I found this a deeply meaningful question.  Currently I am in school, and it is a lot of work, but if I only had a year left of life itself.  It would be difficult for me to say that I would actually stay in school.  The choice seems obvious to me that I would like to spend my last year, visiting family and friends and spending time in nature.

It's common to hear these kinds of questions, what would you do with your last moments on earth, or if you could do anything with the knowledge that you could not fail, what would you do?  If time and money weren't limiting factors, how would you spend your time?

It was interesting for me to play with the element of time.  How would my goals change depending on the amount of time I had left on earth?  As of now, I'm assuming that I will live a long and healthy life, which many people in the beginning of their journeys often also assume.  I don't necessarily know it to be true.  On one hand there is a lot of strength and boldness in living today as if you won't make it to tomorrow.  However, if living fully today means lounging around, watching tv, or something of the sort, the decision to live like this is rather irresponsible, it's taking the path of inaction.  It's giving up on life.  It's a misinterpretation of what living fully today, means.

But how can I justify going back to school a 2-3 year commitment if living fully today is actually my end goal?

There is a strength in realizing the impermanence of our bodies, minds and lives; however, just because we live each day as if it were our last, in fact each moment as if it were our last, enables a few things.

1. It's impossible to contemplate the future -- because it's completely utterly out of our frame-work of reality as we know it.
2. It's completely worthless to contemplate the past -- because none of it matters or has meaning today.  All that matters is the loving relationships in our lives, the relationships we have with people, animals and nature, as well as our work, our frequented places, and ourselves.

It's a tool to get us present with our lives as we know it.  To not take the love in our lives for granted.  To not take our experiences or goals for granted.  And at the same time, not attach to the idea that we will be dead tomorrow.  It may not be the case.  If we could dream any dream, what would it be.  What if that dream involved the next 50 years, 40 years, 20 years, 10 years.  How would our direct relationship with our values and goals be shifted?

Since I consider myself at the beginning of life -- essentially, I have my whole career ahead of me.  I have goals upon plans upon goals and dreams for myself.  But can I not attach to them to heavily?
Can I hold them lightly in my heart and in my mind.  Nothing is certain.

However can I live fully and embrace the positive in my life today as if I'd die tomorrow yet my dreams will continue for the next 1000 years.  I think that's what is meant by it.

It's possible that our dreams will die with our bodies.  But can we know it for certain?  Just because we are dying or not dying... doesn't mean that we are any further from our dreams or the realities of them.

Today, or more specifically this moment, is the compilation of tens of millions of dreams of tens and millions of dreamers.  We are living the reality of beautiful dreams from all over the world from all over the past centuries to experience every moment we have.  If we have the capacity to tap into that beauty, we can appreciate today for what it really is.  And we can choose to live this dream while furthering it's pursuit for those who come after us.  This is the beauty of life and the beauty that connects us all.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Fullspeed forward

I was so touched by Maggie's story.  The story I posted yesterday.  It really got me thinking about the world.

I've lived in India, New York and Utah, I've seen poverty.  My heart has broke while witnessing some of these situations where people or animals are living in terrible conditions on the street.  The best I could muster at those times, was to bless them.  Although I have given money at times, and more often I have given food.  These measures, don't create change.  And perhaps only fuel these problems?

It's too easy to blame the government, individuals and everything else who may be to blame for these conditions we dislike seeing in the world. And we go home feeling angry, sad and confused, how can we allow this to happen in the world?

That is called victimizing yourself.  It has nothing to do with the person you saw on the street or the some 'corrupt' government.  You are allowing yourself to beat up on you!  You are not embracing yourself as the fully embodied individual that you are!

If we want to live in the world we want.  WE have to create it.  There is no other way.  We can't sit around and cry about our surroundings.  We have two options.  We can accept the world the way it is, or we can actively pursue embracing love in this world.

I used to feel that the only place for me in this world, was in some remote, beautiful exotic village where I could live free of gasoline, energy, grocery stores, etc.  Where all my food was homegrown and everything I needed was in an arms grab away.

Maggie in her video talks about, creating the world that you want to see.

Life isn't about escaping into some dream world, and denying whatever reality you have right now, just waiting for the pieces of your life to fall into place.  What steps can you do today, to make where you are that piece of heaven, that you have always been looking for.

Nithya, showed me a video today about a man who stopped walking -- instead he only gets around by dancing.  This happened one day after visiting his mother, his mother's health was compromised and just before this visit he thought that she wasn't going to be alive once he got there.  Turned out she was feeling fine, and she was well.  He was so happy that he hadn't lost his mother, he was dancing the whole way home.  He said it felt so amazing, that he never stopped dancing!!  Something more interesting about his story was that before this incident he felt that he lived in such a miserable town, that everyone had miserable looks and no one was happy.  Now he says, everywhere he looks people are smiling.  His attitude changed his world.  Upon interviews with others who live in the same town, they all had positive remarks to say about this man, about how he always brightens their day and is such an inspiration, that he can always be happy like that and he doesn't care what anybody else thinks.

So, I'm here.  I live in a town with less than perfect public transportation, dependence on grocery stores, and automobiles.  But I am alive.  And I am here.  I can not go on believing that things as they are, aren't as they should be, without any effort on my behalf to create the kind of place that I would like to see.

It's complete junk to believe that you cannot make a difference in this world.

I've decided to get involved in whatever capacity I can.  I can take wild food foraging classes or join meet up groups.  I can research local greenhouses to buy winter veggies.  I can research on how to run my car on veggie fuel.  I can actively get involved on campus and see if I can promote sustainable energy sources and better public transportation systems.  I can take advantage of living in the west, by making connections and fundraising for holistic projects locally and or abroad -- for our brothers and sisters in places like Kenya, where 1 dollar goes a lot further than it can here.

Be thankful for where you are.  See the opportunities which surround and support you everyday.

It's impossible for us to go back to the way things used to be.. horse and buggy.. growing all of our own food (well maybe it is still possible)) But it's totally unlikely that all of us are capable of these things.  So what are the next steps, how can we move our human family forward?  In what ways can we support each other, both locally and abroad?  In what ways can we actively engage our neighbors and friends for the rights of those who may not have a voice, the wild areas in our towns and the animals who may be subjugated to tests and or abandoned or lost.  Whose life can we impact today, and how can we contribute to the greater good of our beautiful world.

Thank you.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Creating the world you want

This has got to be one of the most moving stories I have ever encountered.

She was 18, and wasn't feeling right about starting college yet.  She decided to take a gap year to travel the world.  She found herself in Northern India, working with refugee children from Nepal.  One thing led to another and she was opening a home and school for these children in Nepal.

In addition to this, she started noticing how poorly the women were being treated at home, she opened a center for the women to get together and learn life skills and also just to support each other.

Of course it's better to hear the story straight from Maggie, the one who lived it,

I am so touched by her story.

If we could all have that courage to follow our inner most compassion.  Our inner calling and whispering.  How could that affect our home, that is, earth?

I loved the way she referred to the people on planet earth.  Our human family.  That's exactly what we are.  At 26, she has adopted 40 children.  What would it feel like to have 100% ownership of everything you don't stand for in this world, and 100% ownership to change it with love and compassion alone.

It really inspires me, to delve deep.  How can I live more compassionately?  How can pursue my beautiful dreams of how the world could be only through actions of love and passion.

Her dream is to see the day where all children have their basic needs met.

If I delve deep into my heart, I see the same image, I'd like to see no suffering.  And I have to lump all beings into this as well.  perhaps I can call it our earth family.  Our family of all beings.  I'd like to see a cage free world.  Where animals and humans love and live peacefully alongside each other.

It's interesting because I know that there are many who say, "how can we even begin to think about compassion towards animals, when we can't even have compassion for ourselves, our family, our people, or any other people of the world."  Maybe this is true.  Maybe I'm being Naive to think that growing compassion in one aspect of ones life, can grow compassion in all others.

Just because you have a soft spot for animals or nature, doesn't mean that you don't have a sense of responsibility or love for humans!  Just because you only have 1 child, doesn't mean you won't have enough room in your heart to love more.  There is always more love.

What is your dream?  What can you do today to act on that?  What breaks your heart to see in this world?  What initial step could be taken to change one life, to help 1% or .00000001% of that problem.  Go ahead fearlessly and ferociously with the power of love within you.  And never ever ever give up.  Be the change you wish to see.  Allow the empowerment of divine compassion to take you forward.  

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


So I know I haven't posted in a while, I currently am taking statistics and organic chemistry as well as an internship for the school.  I will have to give an update soon, but in the meantime, my brother has written an awesome post regarding localism...

I couldn't agree more.  I think re-creating wholesome local culture and supporting local artists is just as important as obtaining material goods locally.  Even though at this point it may be more of a nice idea than an easily pursuable reality, regardless it's always good to focus on what positive changes can be made in a community and what may be attainable now.  The more we are able to talk about these things, the more it will be possible to integrate these ideas into our everyday lives.

Dogmas of intellectual elite or be a locavore of ideas

Thursday, September 12, 2013

11 ways to motivate yourself

After struggling with this myself for the past couple days, I've decided to explore my internal world to find the answer.  I had been so busy with school and work last week that this week suddenly I have found myself with empty time.  Within those empty moments, my mind has been racing of all the things I need to catch up with.  Yet, I don't seem to have motivation for any of it.  Maybe I just need to allow myself to rest, or maybe it's an opportunity to explore what get's me motivated.  Maybe it's a little of both.

1.  Clear your mind.  Watch what the emotions are inside, open a window, listen to the wind, the rain, traffic, birds, whatever it is.  Allow to be in a state of observation for 10 minutes.  Start with a deep breathe and end with one.  Allow yourself to become a blank canvas.

2.Write a list of 100 ways to motivate yourself!

3. Get straight about your goals.  What is it that you see yourself doing in 10 years?  How will this help you on your journey there?  Does this track help benefit yourself and those around you?  Does it benefit the world as a whole? 

4. Allow yourself a break.  Take an hour.  Cook, read, relax, do what you've been wanting to but have been holding back because you are too stressed about whatever, 'it' is.  Motivation will come, but maybe now isn't the time.  Don't be so hard on yourself.

5. Turn on Pandora.  Type in your favorite artist.  Or grab your favorite soundtrack, even better, make your own soundtrack of uplifting inspiring music.  Unless you happen to be a musician and you can actually make music yourself.  Let your emotions come out.  Make up a song. 

6.  Take out your old .. or current drawing supplies.  Whether you are actually an artist or not, most people have at least a pen and some paper at home.  Or if you are on the computer, you can always use , Paint :)  Take it outside, or grab something in the vicinity to draw.  Don't focus too much what it looks like or how 'good' it should be or could be or would be.  Just focus on the lines, the angles and the shades of light on the 'object'.  Allow the pen and the eyes to move across the object and the paper with no judgment, just allowing it to flow.

7. Call a friend.  Ask them what their most inspired days have been in their life.  Ask them where they seemed to get the energy to accomplish what they did.  If this seems too serious of a question, tone it down, ask about their day, just allow yourself to connect. 

8.  Imagine the worst case scenario.  The image that you never get this project/ or whatever it is  done.  Hold this image in your mind for 5 minutes.  How does it feel... Just notice.

9.  Listen to the Traveling Wilbury's, "End of the Line"  :)  It's perfect. 

10.  Get out of your comfort zone, your personal space.  Maybe you brain needs a switch of scenery.  Go enjoy the fresh air, go on a hike, take a bike-ride, volunteer at your local children's hospital.

 11.  Just do it.  Don't think about it.  Don't give yourself the opportunity to question it or think about what it is you are doing or the implications that it may entail.  Forget it.  Just dive in. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

statistics, why are you important?

So I did get into 2 classes this semester, statistics and organic chemistry.

Statistics seems so simple.  Really. The questions seem straightforward, it seems like it should be workable, but I sit down with them, and all I have is a series of mushy numbers.   And it's possible that I'm being hard on myself, and I am understanding a fair amount. But overall.  It's hard for me to connect these computations with my bigger visions for myself and whatever goals that involves.  I guess that is what being a soil scientist is... ??? computing numbers?

Of course there will be good days and there will be not so good days.  This just so happens to fall on a not so good day.

I basically just want my brain to understand this stuff.

On a side note.

I mentioned in a previous blog about peaches, which by the way I still have two boxes in my fridge!  I mentioned making peach pickle-- a spin off of indian mango pickle.  And me and my husband have decided that it is the best pickle that we have ever eaten.

The peaches absorb the flavor soooo nicely and unlike mango pickle they are so soft and you never have to worry about getting something hard or weird to chew in your mouth.

It's a shame I didn't make more, but I was totally unsure how they would turn out.

Happy Fall.  :)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

second week of classes...

So after a very hectic 2 weeks of running from the registrar to the admissions to math placement exams to grad admissions back to admissions to various professors and department heads, I'm finally enrolled in organic chemistry and an online statistics class.  I have no idea, why it was so complicated, but it took me 1.5 weeks to sort it all out.

Anyway, finally its done.  Even though its not completely over yet, since I need to figure out how the online class works, I have received no information, and no information is available on any login sites through the university.  I guess I will be patient and enjoy the as of now.. empty time.

I brought home another 7 boxes of peaches from the farm last week.  Saturday I was able to freeze over 30 bags, fill my dehydrator with em and I managed to make some peach pickle!

The peach pickle is actually a twist on mango pickle which is popular in India.  Actually there are many varieties of mango pickle in India, and it wasn't easy finding a recipe that I wanted to use online.  I ended up with this one, found from :

  • 1 large green mango raw pickling mango/about 2-1/2 cup cubed mango (they are available at Indian and Asian grocery store)
  • 1 tablespoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder, adjust to taste (lal mirch)
  • 1/4 teaspoons turmeric (haldi)
  • 1 tablespoons coriander seeds crushed(dhania)
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds crushed(Saunf)
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (sabut mathi)
  • 1 teaspoon nigella seeds/kalonji
  • 2 tablespoons mustard oil or olive oil
  1. Wash and dry the mango, cut in small cubes with skin.
  2. In a glass bowl put the mango with salt and mix it well.
  3. Set aside for about 3-4 hour. Mix and by this time there will be some salt water. Squeeze the mango, and save the water, as we will use later.
  4. Spread the mango slices over dry surface and let it dry out preferably in sun light for 4-5 hours. Mango slices should be little dry but still moist. Note: Mangoes will reduce in volume.
  5. Add all the spices to salt water and keep it aside.
  6. Mix spices, water and oil to mango slices.
  7. Keep the Mango pickle in glass jar with lid on. Pickle should be ready in 4-7 days. Mango slices are nicely marinated with spices.

I ended up only using half the amount of oil the recipe asked for... hopefully it doesn't spoil the final product? I shall find out in a couple of days!!! Intense. Lol.

So I just replaced the mango with peaches.
I made 3 bottles of it.  we will see how it goes.

I was also given several cucumbers, I would love love to make sweet cucumber pickles.  I have never made them before, and I need to figure out exactly how it all works!  If any of you all have any favorite recipes I am definitely interested :):)  Or advice on mango pickle.... this is a whole new world for me .. in a good way!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Peaches and Turnips

I've officially been accepted in to the soil science master's program in my home town.  I will be starting in January.  Today was the first day of the semester-- which my plan is to register for 2 classes -- stats and organic chemistry.

However, because I'm a lab tech at the university currently.. and all of the other students have already registered for classes, I was basically the 'last' hope to help in the great harvest.

That is of peaches-- from one of the student farms.  I've had my own harvesting adventures in my own backyard, which I will be happy to elaborate on-- later in the blog :).

I love harvesting, I think it's one of the most beautiful things about farming.  Of course, it's a lot of work, and my back hurts, my day ends with a migraine.. not drinking enough? hot and muggy days??  But I have 4 overloaded boxes of peaches in the fridge and a brain full of imagination of how to use them??? The most I've been able to do as of now is.. to give it away :)

Harvesting at a university orchard, is a little different from a conventional one.. because it's all about recording the figures.  So every tree we had to record the number of peaches with particular kinds of imperfections.

The most common being:
-- Earwig bits
-- pecks-- which could be from birds or other bugs
-- bruises
--cat-facing -- a particular kind of insect which sucks the fruit from a needle like 'nose'  and causes funny misshaping of the surface of the fruit.  Often like a puckering effect.
-- birds -- looks kind of like an earwig bite, but the surface is a much bigger area and very jagged.

To begin with, this kind of sorting was easy, and a nice change from the hard labor that typically goes on in an orchard.  but after almost 7 hours of sorting, my head was pounding.. and I could hardly tell what kinda of scars were okay to sell at the supermarket and which weren't.  Suddenly everything started looking the same.

But perhaps, I was a bit too focused and a little under-hydrated.

I'm planning on registering for classes tomorrow, but my main professor is asking for my help in the field for wednesday, thursday and friday this week...

First week of classes.. no big right??  Lol, I hope they aren't.  I know that I'm basically the only one who is slightly more available then everyone else-- in terms of working in the university's farming operations.. it seems that university professors as well as grad students are completely overbooked with -- atleast in the ag department with lab work, field work, writing and etc.

I work with a lot of grad students and occasionally with professors.  I'm just hoping that I'll be able to keep an even mind in grad school.. without feeling swamped?? is it possible?  I'm gonna try.  I am gonna think happy thoughts and see if I can manage to have a relatively ... stress free time?

The secret?  Maybe it's possible to enjoy the process, enjoy learning, enjoy the experiments just enjoy the craziness.

I work with awesome people.  I think as long as I can believe in myself, and not be too hard on myself or stress too much about my to do list.. maybe I will be able to manage this adventure without too many grievances.

Anyway, I'm veering off topic.

It's harvest season!!

to add to my 4 boxes of peaches, I also have 3 huge bags of turnips.. which I am thinking of drying... freezing?  Might be interesting.  I could have a lot of fun with this!  I just have to get over my bit of a freeze up, as I've never preserved turnips before.

The other big harvest that I've managed this year, is actually lentils.

They grew so easily in my garden, but I am realizing that next time I will need to put a trellis up for them.  They did better next to hardy weeds which were strong and grew tall ( whoohooo for no-weeding gardens!)  But when next to grasses and such would fall over.. which wasn't that big of a deal, because they still produced many lentils!  And apparently they keep producing lentils until the season ends! So far I have one big bowl of lentils and I will need need to figure out the best way to dry them.

Granted, lentils are extremely labor and time consuming for not that much of a bounty.  But I did only pick the dry lentils off of the plant because I wanted to allow the plant to produce more lentils.  And if I had had help in the garden, it probably would have been a piece of cake.. and if I hadn't of chose to do it mid-day in the heat, probably would have been less intense.  lol, oh well.

But with many things happening-- all of the farms I have been visiting and classes which need to be registered for.. i'm just trying to figure out the best time to process all of my bountiful foods!  I'm hoping that they don't get bad meanwhile :( .  I am so lucky that I have excess turnips.. they've stayed awesomely good for months in my fridge.  Lol I love farming, but I am probably the laziest farmer ever.  Minimal work is best for me.. that's why -- really the most I do is water the garden.. and prep the beds in the spring.. other than that.. I'm totally handsoff.. But I do love harvest time.  And I'm trying to break into my love for processing/preserving!! It'll happen, surely!

Some things in the garden that didn't quite produce like some of my other farmer friends, were my squash and tomatoes.  Everyone seems to be having like.. huge harvests of these, but in my garden not so much.  I think the main issue, with this, was that I didn't really fertilize at all, I think these plants seem to be a little bit more nutrient intensive, so a bit of compost tea every week or just start out the plants with nice compost in the soil, will probably be enough to enjoy a big bounty.  But it's not really much of a loss, because all of my friends are producing more than enough, so I am still enjoying these wonderful foods.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Gmo or no GMO?

I mentioned in the last post that I was going to write a series of commentaries on organic comebacks.  So here goes the next topic, GMO.

This is perhaps a little less scientifically oriented as perhaps a GMO activists would like it to be.  But, science can't deny the fact that some issues, just don't feel necessarily 'okay'.  Here are just a few reasons I feel that.  I don't claim to be anyone important or anyone who should know any more than anyone else.  I just felt like sharing what I currently view about these topics.  

I am not quite sure why I chose this specific article to go through and make rebuttals.  Although he is a 'botanist' and a professor.  I find his way of writing... a little over the top with caps locks, and sometimes quite un-meaningful claims.  But, he has written a lot, and if I am able to go through these reasons, I find it unlikely that any would be left out, he seems to have explained the pro-GMO argument quite extensively, even though his method of argument could use some editing .. in my opinion :)

Lol, I'll even address some of the claims that make me giggle.  Only because right now, I have nothing else urging to do, otherwise, I would probably think that this was a complete waste of time, but hehe anyway, here we go.

1-- organic supporters are fundamentalists-
 -- Sure, I can agree to that.  Organic agriculture does have a strict set of rules that needs to be followed in order to be labelled as such, without this strict adherence, there would be little meaning in the word 'organic'.  It ensures that artificial fertilizers aren't used, sludge isn't used, biodiversity is considered, alternative farming methods are considered, water and soil aren't contaminated with man made chemicals that have long- residual effects on the eco-system -- or even other natural elements.

-- being a fundamentalist isn't necessarily a bad.. or a good thing, it just is.  Even conventional agriculturists are fundamentalists in a way.  They are proponents of chemicals, gmos, of not changing the current system. If they were interested in another way... they would probably be a finding another way to do things.  

Of course that is on one side of the spectrum, the other side of the spectrum would be  totally against tilling, weeding, chemicals, gmos, etc etc, altogether.  

I've also met an organic farmer who was a huge proponent of GMO's-- of course she couldn't grow them with the organic label that she had, but there are all types of people.  Some fit more into specific categories than others.. in the end, fundamentalist doesn't mean much, mostly because the organic label was created by the USDA, and is managed by the USDA -- atleast in the USA, abroad there are different organizations that decide-- but it's all under international agreements about what organic means and how it ought to be labelled.  This was requested by the poeple and for the people.  

The author's next point is on the 'health' argument for/against organics.  I address that in a previous blog.  

But I will mention a tiny detail about what he says at the end of the paragraph -- about a study done to prove that conventional food is perfectly fit for consumption.

-- All I have to say is, "Can we really be sure, with 100% certainty that these biological toxins are safe in small doses on all of our foods, not just in our generation, but for the upcoming generations? Can any 2-4yr scientific experiment be enough to tell us with accuracy how this will affect our minds and bodies or those of our children 50,100 or 200 years down the line?"  

And by that time, if there are any kind of negative consequences associated, and we've invested all of our farmland into producing GMO's to 'save' the world... then... what...? 

2. Organic Farming takes up much more land than conventional farming.

In the end, organic and conventional means really nothing when it comes to how much land it takes up. Honestly, it's a style of farming, but within that either conventional or organic farming can be extremely land consuming, or can be literally produced in the backyard.

His argument is that organic farming needs manure, and if we are 9 or 10 billion soon to be people on earth, than we won't have enough manure to meet these needs.  Well, what about our excrement, we've got plenty!  But this is the assumption that organic farming needs manure.. which isn't always the case.  Organic farming doesn't necessarily need manure, or anything for that matter, there are plenty of farmers who don't actually put anything into their gardens.  Where I work the main source of nutrient is actually planting legumes interspersed with the crops.  This adds nitrogen back into the soil for a fraction of the cost of manure.  Also compost can be used, which essentially could be left over plant material, either plant residue or table scraps, or carrot tops, whatever, yard clippings.  Manure doesn't need to be used.

And currently synthetic nitrogen fertilizer is produced from using a non-renewable product. Natural gas.  Which is, in it's own regard land consuming, and polluting--when extraction doesn't go as planned.   Conventional farming systems use mono-crops, which doesn't really utilize all the vertical space that could be used for growing food.  Organic can include companion planting-- groundcovers, vines, tall plants, short plants, trees... the more mixed the operation the more the land can produce, not necessarily of one product but of many.  This in the long run is much healthier for the soil and more financially stable than only growing one crop.  Think of a farmer who only grows tomato... they have one bad pest year for tomatoes and their whole crop is finished, it might even put the farmer out of business if it's bad enough.  But if only part of his garden is tomatoes, he'll still get enough food and product to use and sell to not be totally destroyed as a farmer for that year.

3. Organic Agriculture can't feed the world.

Again, he is using the same reasons that he mentioned above for this point.  He says that we are already using all of the arable land, so the only way to increase production is to increase the productivity of the farm lands we are already have.

He says that with current models organic ag can only feed 4 billion people.  
 --- This may be true with the assumption that every person on earth needs animal products 3 or more times per day.  This is pretty unsustainable and actually, conventional farming can't even keep up with the demands of food for people today.  At the rate we are currently destroying the rain forest for these, "conventional practices"  We may find ourselves living in an a very oxygen deprived world.  :/  

These ideas that conventional practices can feed the world and will save the world, are nice thoughts, but the reality of it is, is that these countries that are currently providing the western world with all of their meat, foods, fibers and other products aren't really able to afford these agriculture chemicals and soil additions that the west can.  We've introduced them to this 'superior' way of life where we obtain a livelihood from destroying our surroundings.  Because they can't afford to buy these agro-chemicals, the lands can only produce food and fiber for a year or two before they have slash and burn the next segment of rainforest.  In places where it 'seems' like they can afford it, for example India -- because they are able to use pesticides and fertlizers on their land, its not because they can afford it, it's because they have taken out so many loans that are pretty much indentured servants to England and other countries who have set up these systems for them.  There are 100's of Indian farmer suicides every year because farmers feel completely lost and hopeless as to how they can ever get out of debt or ever make a proper livelihood for themselves.  

The more we emphasize organic, the more we can teach people how to be self sufficient how they can use the rainforest to acquire all the needs for their own livelihood sustainably--- for example brazilian nuts, are an example of a cash crop which can only grow in the most pristine forests, therefore, buying brazilian nuts, preserves those very delicate eco-systems.  We can teach those communities in South America about composting, about utilizing what they have available and to combine agroforestry with their crops so they can preserve more land.  (as well as every other place on earth currently destroying natural land for their livelihood)

Organic definitely isn't perfect, and it doesn't automatically mean that our problems will magically vanish.  But it is a step towards re-considering our current farming methods and ways in which we can do them more efficiently and also incorporating native wisdom-- before it's all gone.  Indigenous people have such history and such knowledge of their forests, who are we to say that our thinking/ rational brains and chemical laboratories are more beneficial than 10,000 year old wisdom??  

So far it hasn't failed us.. but at the rate that we are currently destroying the rainforests... it seems a little too obvious that red flags are in the air... that an alternative relationship to our natural world may be approaching, if humans wish to stay here a little longer.  

4.  The author puts a lot of emphasis that GMOS have been around for a whole, 20 years.  

How wonderful.  and twenty years is supposed to be a long time?  Plants are plants?  For some reason this argument as it is, just isn't enough of an argument for me to even want to say anything.  Ancient wisdom which has been around for 1,000's of years, where communities knew not to wash their dirty hands in streams because some society down stream would then have to deal with that in their water.... And today this.. All I have to say about GMO's is this,

Scientists are learning all the time about micro-nutrients and the perfect balances of substances found in plants continually.  Why is it not possible for human beings to survive on supplements alone?  
Why have their efforts to enrich white breads and pastas with nutrients haven't worked to provide superior food for people?  It may or may not be possible to survive on enriched white bread alone.. but I know how I feel after I've only had 1 meal of it.  

Scientists can do their best to make the 'healthiest' foods available.  But in the end, we haven't learned everything.  We don't know everything.  We are all children in a sense, we have only made hypothesis, and have tested them over and over again, but just because those results have seemed to fit our educated guesses, doesn't mean they have 100% accuracy.  I guess I would personally rather not play god.  I do think that nature is perfect as it is.  If bugs are eating our crops, so what.  If weeds are wanting to grow next to crops, so what.  This is life :)  This is how it's supposed to be.  If you feel like manipulating with plant genes and inserting fish genes into them--- in the end, there's nothing I can do or say to stop you.  But don't make me eat whatever you have created, because to me, it just seems weird and unnatural.  

Scientists also talk about putting more calcium into carrots and pesticides into plant cells.  

Here is my issue:

If every plant is a perfected composition of millions of years of evolution and we have for 1000s of years evolved with that process, how can we possibly make a better composition of genes from our thoughts... 

Nutritionists do the best they can to proportion nutrients in vitamin pills in a way that there aren't any excess nutrients, because excess nutrients can cause your body to leach other vital nutrients.  But in the end, it's a best guess, nutritionists can't explain why someone who gets all of their nutrients from actual fruits and vegetables are much healthier than someone who eats a standard diet and supplements with those same nutrients from a pill.  This is modern science.  Any nutritionist who says otherwise, isn't mainstream, and is following their intuition.  

So if we are manipulating plant genes so that they carry excess calcium?  We just don't know the effects that that may cause.  

If this was something people kind of took less seriously and people only had what, 1 gmo carrot every year or every other week even.  Nothing is most likely going to happen.  But the way our governments work, they like to subsidize what they think, is 'economically beneficial for the masses'  

For example a diet high in fruit and vegetables would be the healthiest.... However, filling people's bellies is higher on the priority, therefore, the government really subsidizes grains to help farmers grow more grains.  These become our staple crops.

These even become our staple crops for all of our farmed animals.

And according to this author, corn and wheat are actually completely made up varieties of plants... through breeding -- which I don't really have an issue with, as plants interbreed themselves all the time.  However I do find it interesting that corn doesn't get digested by the human gut and wheat is one of the biggest human allergens.  

... coincidental? If crazy breeding can create this for humans... what would be the effects of GMOS long term on the human?

Wheat and corn have already caused widespread hunger and malnutrition in many areas, as they aren't complete proteins and have fractions of the amino acids that many of the traditional grains that people grew had such as millet, quinoa, amaranth, etc. 

5-- Pesticide producing plants
BT-- a natural pesticide used in organic farming, however not allowed in BT producing GMO plants.
Okay, so this author finds the organic movement as hypocritical because they allow BT as a spray and they don't allow the genes to be intermixed with the crops they plant.

To me, this one is obvious.

Okay, if a pesticide is on the outside of your food, you can wash it before you eat it, plus it has no residual life, so by an hour or so after spraying.. it's no longer lingering in the environment it's already broken down.  If plants are made to produce this toxin.. it's always pumping out.. This is a bacteria.... could this cause your immune system to suffer, by eating all foods containing this toxin?  I don't know, but this idea disturbs my gut.

6-- Gmo's can be planted back.

Okay firstly... would we even want them to be planted back?  Actually this isn't exactly considered a good thing, a lot of measure is taken by scientists to make sure that these strains of 'super' plants don't get into the environment.  we think we have a problem with 'invasive weeds' currently..... well what happens when our genetically modified Frankenstein plants start invading the natural world?  

And if they don't spread and don't re-seed so easily.. well it's definitely better, but then what for those farmers who are stuck buying seed every year... with larger and larger bills to the scientific community for having to develop these seeds in a lab every year.  Something about this image, seems like.. planet zeroxtera.  Yes.. that planet doesn't exist.  Yes, this idea seems so foreign and unnatural to me that it's making me come up with strange planet names lol.

Maybe it's true organic farming won't feed the world
But if we can learn to create more natural places in our world and learn more about native plants, it may be able to significantly supplement our need for organic farms.  

Anyway, I enjoy my organic garden, I don't have to worry about the taste of chemical residues on my plants and I can see all the happy critters and creatures buzzing and living out their happy lives.

As long as I can have this close relationship with my surroundings, I'm going to.

And if in the meantime that makes me a hypocrite, a fundamentalist or an extremist.. than that's how it is.  But I enjoy seed saving and I enjoy this intimate relationship I have with the natural world and it's gifts.  Nothing needs to change or improve for me to be happy or for me to feel like the world needs to do anything differently.  

Let conventional farmers and scientists go on this crazy goose chase to save the world and create whatever life that floats their boat.  

I'll sit back, watch the sunset and play with the ladybugs.  at least whatever animals/insect they keep trying to eradicate will have a home at mine, and whatever indigenous peoples they try to convert, will hopefully instead follow the rhythm of their own intuition.  

May all beings find peace
May all beings find happiness