…. Occupy WORKS!!!!


Way to go Europe!!!!!!!!

(AP Photo/Seth Perlman)


Monsanto gives up fight for GM plants in Europe

The world’s largest producer of seeds, Monsanto, has apparently given up on attempts to spread its genetically modified plant varieties in Europe. A German media report said the firm would end all lobbying for approval.

The world’s largest producer of seeds, Monsanto, has apparently given up on attempts to spread its genetically modified plant varieties in Europe. A German media report said the firm would end all lobbying for approval.

The German newspaper “taz” reported Friday that US agriculture behemoth Monsanto had dropped any plans to have farmers grow its genetically modified (GM) plant varieties in Europe.

Monsanto Europe spokesman Brandon Mitchener was quoted as saying the company would no longer engage in any lobbying fur such plants on the continent, adding that at the moment the firm was unwilling to apply for approval of any GM plants.


Saying ‘No’ to genetically modified food

All over the world, protesters have been rallying against genetically modified food – and in particular, against seed giant Monsanto. (28.05.2013)

Monsanto said its decision was partly based on low demand from European farmers. “We’ve understood that such plants don’t have any broad acceptance in European societies,” Monsanto Germany spokeswoman Ursula Lüttmer-Ouazane commented. “We haven’t been bale to make any progress over the years, and it’s counter-productive to tilt against windmills,” she added.

Public resistance

The German Agriculture Ministry said Monsanto’s move was a corporate decision and would not comment further. But it added it was no secret the ministry had been highly critical of gene modification technologies.

“The promises of GM industry have not come true for European agriculture, nor have they for the agriculture in developing and emerging economies,” the ministry said in a statement.

In Germany, the protest movement against GM plants has been particularly strong for years. Vociferous rallying prompted the government in 2009 to prohibit the growing of Monsanto’s MON810 GM maize variety.

Rivals of the US company, such as Bayer CropScience, BASF and Syngenta had largely withdrawn from the German market because of large-scale public opposition, the “taz” report claimed.

hg/mz (dpa, AFP)


A Good Quote To Live By

“It’s seizing the day and accepting responsibility for your future. It’s seeing what other people don’t see, and pursuing that vision no matter who tells you not to.”

Howard Schultz (born 1953);

OMG This Garden Is Going To Be HUGE!

The biggest project of the past couple of weeks has been to start turning the old horse corral into a series of raised beds that will be come the cornerstone of the JAZ Farm sustainability food project.  After plowing up the soil (which had been pounded flat over the years by horse hooves) Farmer Jon and the tractor plowed up the ground and then tilled it into a much finer mixture.  We chose the horse corral because it had some fence posts already in, and it had been fertilized by those same horses.

The beds are all approximately a tractor width wide and the walkway in between them is also about the same.  It is wide enough to get a tractor down and a small flat bed trailer, for easy access to the plants.  We dug up the dirt in the pathways and dumped them into the raised beds.  So far we have 14 beds, 4 – 5 feet wide and averaging 35 feet long.  This is about 2/3 done.  We estimate it will be 20 beds all of similar size.  There is also the ability to lengthen them and/or add more should we think it necessary (haha!)

This is a huge project!  While we want to be able to be as food sufficient as possible, this is likely way more than we need.  Perhaps we will be able to sell some and also donate to food banks.  Only when we got out there and started making the thing did we realize just how big half an acre really is (and I was originally thinking of starting with a full acre!)!

My big concern, considering that we want it to be chemical free, is how to come up with the volume of compost that will be necessary to build the soil.  There is manure left from the previous owners, but that will run out very quickly.  Something else to ponder on our way to getting this big adventure up and running!

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The Agrarian Hippie Crew

At long last, with grandma visiting, we had someone to snap a photo or two of the hippie clan!  Zina, in keeping with the spirit of the organic agrarian hippie basis for JAZ Farm, got us some very busy tie-die shirts.  Basil the dog even sat still long enough to be a part of it!  Happy Spring!

Thanks to the efforts of Jon Zina and Grandma we even have the entire 24 raised bed garden at the urban farm planted!  Looking forward to eating and canning the produce who’s distance to plate is less than 25 yards!

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Memorial Day Chicken Coop Update

Well we made it through graduation!  It seems just like yesterday that I was carting him around in a car seat and rocking him to sleep.  What a long strange trip it is to raise another human being.  Now its up to him.  College is on the horizon and his adventures and dreams await.  Mom and Dad are very proud.

After the graduation events we went back out to the farm.  Grandma was out visiting and was eager to see the progress and to help.  We set her to work on spray painting the trim on the coop.  The aluminum edging didn’t lend itself to hand painting as it would be streaked, so a few cans of Hunter Green spray paint, some edging tape and it was good to go.

I got the first of the vents put in as well.  An article I read said that it is important to have some ventilation lower to the floor so that ammonia produced in the litter can be filtered out.  As chickens are prone to respiratory problems this seemed like a good idea.

The overhead tubing attached to the wooden posts is a “tic-tac-toe” frame that will be used to hold up chicken wire.  It will cover the entire run to protect against falcons, eagles, and owls.  Because of all the potential predators this all has to be something of a fortress.  One step at a time.  We are very pleased with the progress.

Next up…. windows.

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Farming is a revolutionary act

Chris Hedges is one of my favorite and most respected activist/authors.  Taking a stand against the attempted corporate domination of the planet through the guise of free markets is the most noble of deeds.  Farm your yard, farm your neighbor’s yard, farm abandoned football fields, farm lots left abandoned.  Take control of our future.  Rise up and make a difference!!!!  Gardening is a revolutionary act!  Occupy the food system!!!

Rise Up or Die


Posted on May 19, 2013

By Chris Hedges

Joe Sacco (http://www.drawnandquarterly.com/artBio.php?artist=a3dff7dd55575b ) and I spent two years reporting from the poorest pockets of the United States for our book “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt.” (http://www.amazon.com/Days-Destruction-Revolt-Chris- Hedges/dp/B00C2IGF3E/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1368750968&sr=1-1&keywords=days+of+destruction+days+of+revolt) We went into our nation’s impoverished “sacrifice zones”—the first areas forced to kneel before the dictates of the marketplace—to show what happens when unfettered corporate capitalism and ceaseless economic expansion no longer have external impediments. We wanted to illustrate what unrestrained corporate exploitation does to families, communities and the natural world. We wanted to challenge the reigning ideology of globalization and laissez-faire capitalism to illustrate what life becomes when human beings and the ecosystem are ruthlessly turned into commodities to exploit until exhaustion or collapse. And we wanted to expose as impotent the formal liberal and governmental institutions that once made reform possible, institutions no longer equipped with enough authority to check the assault of corporate power.

What has taken place in these sacrifice zones—in postindustrial cities such as Camden, N.J., and Detroit, in coalfields of southern West Virginia where mining companies blast off mountaintops, in Indian reservations where the demented project of limitless economic expansion and exploitation worked some of its earliest evil, and in produce fields where laborers often endure conditions that replicate slavery—is now happening to much of the rest of the country. These sacrifice zones succumbed first. You and I are next.

Corporations write our legislation. They control our systems of information. They manage the political theater of electoral politics and impose our educational curriculum. They have turned the judiciary into one of their wholly owned subsidiaries. They have decimated labor unions and other independent mass organizations, as well as having bought off the Democratic Party, which once defended the rights of workers. With the evisceration of piecemeal and incremental reform—the primary role of liberal, democratic institutions—we are left defenseless against corporate power.

The Department of Justice seizure (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/13/ap-phone-records-doj-leaks_n_3268932.html ) of two months of records of phone calls to and from editors and reporters at The Associated Press is the latest in a series of dramatic assaults against our civil liberties. The DOJ move is part of an effort to hunt down the government official or officials who leaked information to the AP about the foiling of a plot to blow up a passenger jet. Information concerning phones of Associated Press bureaus in New York, Washington, D.C., and Hartford, Conn., as well as the home and mobile phones of editors and reporters, was secretly confiscated. This, along with measures such as the use of the Espionage Act against whistle-blowers, will put a deep freeze on all independent investigations into abuses of government and corporate power.

Seizing the AP phone logs is part of the corporate state’s broader efforts to silence all voices that defy the official narrative, the state’s Newspeak (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newspeak) , and hide from public view the inner workings, lies and crimes of empire. The person or persons who provided the classified information to the AP will, if arrested, mostly likely be prosecuted under the Espionage Act. That law was never intended when it was instituted in 1917 to silence whistle-blowers. And from 1917 until Barack Obama took office in 2009 it was employed against whistle-blowers only three times, the first time against Daniel Ellsberg for leaking the Pentagon Papers in 1971. The Espionage Act has been used six times by the Obama administration against government whistle-blowers, including Thomas Drake (http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/war-whistleblowers-how-obama-administration-destroyed-thomas-drake-exposing ) .

The government’s fierce persecution of the press—an attack pressed by many of the governmental agencies that are arrayed against WikiLeaks, Bradley Manning, Julian Assange and activists such as Jeremy Hammond—dovetails with the government’s use of the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force to carry out the assassination of U.S. citizens; of the FISA Amendments Act, which retroactively makes legal what under our Constitution was once illegal—the warrantless wiretapping and monitoring of tens of millions of U.S. citizens; and of Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act, which permits the government to have the military seize U.S. citizens, strip them of due process and hold them in indefinite detention. These measures, taken together, mean there are almost no civil liberties left.

A handful of corporate oligarchs around the globe have everything—wealth, power and privilege—and the rest of us struggle as part of a vast underclass, increasingly impoverished and ruthlessly repressed. There is one set of laws and regulations for us; there is another set of laws and regulations for a power elite that functions as a global mafia.

Truthdig – Rise Up or Die 5/20/13 11:35 AM

We stand helpless before the corporate onslaught. There is no way to vote against corporate power. Citizens have no way to bring about the prosecution of Wall Street bankers and financiers for fraud, military and intelligence officials for torture and war crimes, or security and surveillance officers for human rights abuses. The Federal Reserve is reduced to printing money for banks and financiers and lending it to them at almost zero percent interest; corporate officers then lend it to us at usurious rates as high as 30 percent. I do not know what to call this system. It is certainly not capitalism. Extortion might be a better word. The fossil fuel industry, meanwhile, relentlessly trashes the ecosystem for profit. The melting of 40 percent of the summer Arctic sea ice is, to corporations, a business opportunity. Companies rush to the Arctic and extract the last vestiges of oil, natural gas, minerals and fish stocks, indifferent to the death pangs of the planet. The same corporate forces that give us endless soap operas that pass for news, from the latest court proceedings surrounding O.J. Simpson to the tawdry details of the Jodi Arias murder trial, also give us atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide that surpass 400 parts per million. They entrance us with their electronic hallucinations as we waiver, as paralyzed with fear as Odysseus’ sailors, between Scylla and Charybdis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Between_Scylla_and_Charybdis) .

There is nothing in 5,000 years of economic history to justify the belief that human societies should structure their behavior around the demands of the marketplace. This is an absurd, utopian ideology. The airy promises of the market economy have, by now, all been exposed as lies. The ability of corporations to migrate overseas has decimated our manufacturing base. It has driven down wages, impoverishing our working class and ravaging our middle class. It has forced huge segments of the population—including those burdened by student loans— into decades of debt peonage. It has also opened the way to massive tax shelters that allow companies such as General Electric to pay no income tax. Corporations employ virtual slave labor in Bangladesh and China, making obscene profits. As corporations suck the last resources from communities and the natural world, they leave behind, as Joe Sacco and I saw in the sacrifice zones we wrote about, horrific human suffering and dead landscapes. The greater the destruction, the greater the apparatus crushes dissent.

More than 100 million Americans—one-third of the population—live in poverty or a category called “near poverty.” Yet the stories of the poor and the near poor, the hardships they endure, are rarely told by a media that is owned by a handful of corporations—Viacom, General Electric, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., Clear Channel and Disney. The suffering of the underclass, like the crimes of the power elite, has been rendered invisible.

In the Lakota Indian reservation at Pine Ridge, S.D., in the United States’ second poorest county, the average life expectancy for a male is 48. This is the lowest in the Western Hemisphere outside of Haiti. About 60 percent of the Pine Ridge dwellings, many of which are sod huts, lack electricity, running water, adequate insulation or sewage systems. In the old coal camps of southern West Virginia, amid poisoned air, soil and water, cancer is an epidemic. There are few jobs. And the Appalachian Mountains, which provide the headwaters for much of the Eastern Seaboard, are dotted with enormous impoundment ponds filled with heavy metals and toxic sludge. In order to breathe, children go to school in southern West Virginia clutching inhalers. Residents trapped in the internal colonies of our blighted cities endure levels of poverty and violence, as well as mass incarceration, that leave them psychologically and emotionally shattered. And the nation’s agricultural workers, denied legal protection, are often forced to labor in conditions of unpaid bondage. This is the terrible algebra of corporate domination. This is where we are all headed. And in this accelerated race to the bottom we will end up as serfs or slaves.

Rebel. Even if you fail, even if we all fail, we will have asserted against the corporate forces of exploitation and death our ultimate dignity as human beings. We will have defended what is sacred. Rebellion means steadfast defiance. It means resisting just as have Bradley Manning and Julian Assange, just as has Mumia Abu-Jamal (http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_unsilenced_voice_of_a_long- distance_revolutionary_20121209/ ) , the radical journalist whom Cornel West (http://www.cornelwest.com/about.html ) , James Cone (http://www.pbs.org/thisfarbyfaith/people/james_cone.html ) and I visited in prison last week in Frackville, Pa. It means refusing to succumb to fear. It means refusing to surrender, even if you find yourself, like Manning and Abu-Jamal, caged like an animal. It means saying no. To remain safe, to remain “innocent” in the eyes of the law in this moment in history is to be complicit in a monstrous evil. In his poem of resistance, “If We Must Die,” Claude McKay (http://www.poemhunter.com/claude-mckay/ ) knew that the odds were stacked against African- Americans who resisted white supremacy. But he also knew that resistance to tyranny saves our souls. McKay wrote:

If we must die, let it not be like hogs
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs, Making their mock at our accursèd lot.
If we must die, O let us nobly die
So that our precious blood may not be shed
In vain; then even the monsters we defy
Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!
O kinsmen! We must meet the common foe! Though far outnumbered let us show us brave, And for their thousand blows deal one death blow! What though before us lies the open grave?
Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack, Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!

It is time to build radical mass movements that defy all formal centers of power and make concessions to none. It is time to employ the harsh language of open rebellion and class warfare. It is time to march to the beat of our own drum. The law historically has been a very imperfect

Truthdig – Rise Up or Die 5/20/13 11:35 AM

tool for justice, as African-Americans know, but now it is exclusively the handmaiden of our corporate oppressors; now it is a mechanism of injustice. It was our corporate overlords who launched this war. Not us. Revolt will see us branded as criminals. Revolt will push us into the shadows. And yet, if we do not revolt we can no longer use the word “hope.”

Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick” grasps the dark soul of global capitalism. We are all aboard the doomed ship Pequod, a name connected to an Indian tribe (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pequot_War ) eradicated by genocide, and Ahab is in charge. “All my means are sane,” Ahab says, “my motive and my object mad.” We are sailing on a maniacal voyage of self-destruction, and no one in a position of authority, even if he or she sees what lies ahead, is willing or able to stop it. Those on the Pequod who had a conscience, including Starbuck, did not have the courage to defy Ahab. The ship and its crew were doomed by habit, cowardice and hubris. Melville’s warning must become ours. Rise up or die.

A Pause to Go Celebrate

We have been running around like crazy the past week or so.  Aaron is graduating from High School this week!  Zina has been disinfecting the house, working in the garden, and shopping for graduation gifts.  Jon has been trying to get both the Urban Farm planted and get some of the Farm projects completed prior to Grandma’s visit.  Of course, this is all happening on the very week that is usually planting week.

The “tick-tack-toe” structure that will be used to hold up the chicken wire cover over the run is now built.  I had to get that done so that I could plant the Buffalo grass in the run itself.  The previous horse-tenants beat the ground hard and bare.  It needs some kind of ground cover, and considering that Buffalo grass holds up in Colorado better than the water hungry Kentucky Blue, it seemed to be just the ticket.

The half acre future garden has been plowed and tilled.  Gotta remember to wear ear protection out there.  The tractor and the banging of the tiller can make you deaf.  I am going to be planting in a bunch of Black Beans into the garden and then use the plants as green manure to compost the soil.  We are also planting seed corn and sunflowers to begin growing some food for the future chicken residents.

This week though, it is a pause for the graduate.  Grandma, the parents and the neighbors are all coming to cheer Aaron’s walk across the stage!  We are all so proud of him.  As a dad, I hope he walks into the next stage of his life and education with the drive and determination that will help him to achieve all of his hopes and dreams.

Woohoo!!!  Public school is over !!  I am looking forward to not having to work on english papers and physics projects!  While I will miss my kid, I will not really miss that!  It will be fun to Skype from time to time to get caught up and I relish to hear about the stories of adventures on campus when he comes home on break.  It is all on him now.  Time to step it up and keep on becoming the person he is supposed to be.