OCA: Deadline September 8: Tell the USDA to reject Dow’s ‘Agent Orange’ crops!

Organic Consumer's AssociationCritical Action Alert! from Organic Consumer’s Association

Take Action Now to Stop Dow’s “Agent Orange” laced insecticide!

On August 6 (2014), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), over the objections of 50 members of Congress, and more than 500,000 citizens, scientists, farmers and health professionals, moved one step closer to approving Dow’s new Enlist “Agent Orange” brand soy and corn crops.

The crops are engineered to withstand massive doses of Enlist Duo herbicide, concocted from a combination of 2,4-D (used to make Agent Orange) and glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup.

The USDA has admitted that approval of Dow’s new crops will cause the use of 2,4-D to skyrocket from 26 million pounds to 176 million pounds. Scientists predict worse.

Dow’s 2,4-D is already the seventh largest source of dioxins in the U.S. It’s been linked to a host of ills, including birth defects, infertility, allergies, Parkinson’s disease, endocrine disruption and cancer.

It’s unconscionable that the USDA would approve these crops. Yet the agency is less than 18 days away from doing just that. Unless we stop it.

Deadline September 8: Tell the USDA to reject Dow’s ‘Agent Orange’ crops!  

The Sound of Nature

Barred Owl in the RainBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz -

This morning I woke at 4:00 am.  The crescent moon was high in the eastern sky casting it’s milky light into the open spaces on the edge of the woods. In the deep shadowy crevices the cicadas and crickets wound down the night’s exuberance in a fading farewell hum.  I stood at the open window, basking in the slightly cool breeze coming down the mountain and relishing the silence when suddenly a series of piercingly eerie shrieks broke the spell.  The suddenness of it startled me, but my instinct was answer with my own crazy whoop and scream, which would surely have woken the house. Instead, I silently searched the branches of the tall, dark oak beside the house for the Cheshire Cat of raptors.

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Seed Saving Time: Ripe Seeds and the Float Test

Tomato seed float test - Jill Henderson - Show Me Oz at wordpressby Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

George Washington once said, “Bad seed is a robbery of the worst kind.” Indeed, there is nothing quite as frustrating as spending weeks planning, preparing, and planting seeds that never germinate.  Sometimes the seeds are just old or have been improperly stored.  But more often than not, poor germination is the result of harvesting unripe seeds.  In this week’s Show Me Oz, we’ll talk a little about the best time to harvest seeds for proper germination and  I’ll show you a quick and easy way to check certain seeds for ripeness using “the float test”.

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Easy Refrigerator Pickles

Easy Refridgerator Picklesby Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

After several years of extreme summer heat and drought, this year we decided to give the cucumbers the  most fertile spot in the garden and trained them to climb a 10 foot tall trellis.  Before they ever reached the top (and crawled on to the roof of the house!), they were producing an abundance of fruits.  Needless to say, we have had to come up with quite a few novel ways to prepare cucumbers, but nothing beats a classic crunchy dill pickle for long-term satisfaction.   In this week’s Show Me Oz, I’ll share a few pickling tips and tricks and the easiest, most laid back pickle recipe ever!

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Violets and the Great Spangled Fritillary

Fritillaries on Milkweedby Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

I know I promised this article a couple of weeks ago, but between blackberry pickin’, the garden and seed saving classes, I just couldn’t get back to it.  But while we were up berry pickin’, we saw lots of butterflies – including the Great Spangled Fritillary.  Of course, I love all butterflies, but I’ve always had a soft spot for Fritillaries because of their softly muted-orange coloration and complex wing patterns in brown, black and silver.  I had been wanting to entice more fritillaries to the garden but wasn’t sure what to do, so you can imagine my excitement when I realized I had already done it!

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Washing Herbs: The Good, the Bad and the Messy

Thai Basil sm_thumb[6]by Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Now that the weather has finally warmed to normal summer temperatures many of the late-flowering herbs in the garden have exploded into a tangle of arching stems and resinous leaves ready to be harvested for drying and storage.  But before I begin cutting, I want to make sure that they are relatively free of dirt and debris.  But should herbs harvested for drying be washed at all, and if so, how and when does one go about washing them?

The “Right to Farm” in the Ozarks

Animals on our small family farm.By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

No matter how one chooses to look at it, farming can have an impact on the quality of our water.  Like a network of blood vessels, capillaries, and arteries found in the human body, the Ozarks are riddled with craggy veins that carry surface water deep down into the earth through the highly-fractured slabs of limestone beneath our feet – and sometimes, back out again.  Everything that touches the ground on the surface – including soil, rocks, debris, chemicals, manure, fertilizers and even acid rain – will eventually find its way into our creeks, rivers and springs, and ultimately our aquifers and our water wells.

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Tips for Harvesting Flavorful Herbs

Cilantro harvest.By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Harvest and storage methods are critical components of utilizing herbs or other plant material for culinary or medicinal purposes.  Gathering, drying and storing herbs correctly a big difference in the quality and quantity of essential oils in the leaves.  This not only affects the flavor of dried herbs, but increases their shelf-life and medicinal potential, as well.   Of course, it is possible to gather herbs at just about any point in their growth cycle and still obtain a decent product, but for flavor that will knock your socks off,  consider the following tips for harvesting the best culinary herbs ever.

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