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FARMER'S FORUM / Review reveals problems protecting workers from pesticides
« Last post by Little Feather on February 03, 2016, 06:51:25 AM »
Review reveals problems protecting workers from pesticides

BELLE GLADE, Fla. (AP) -- Dozens of farmworkers looked up at the little yellow plane buzzing over the Florida radish field, a mist of pesticide falling from its wings.

Farmworkers are supposed to be protected by government rules regulating exposure to toxic farm chemicals. But in this case, the breeze pushed the pesticide over the crew in a neighboring field, where it fell mostly on women, including at least one who was pregnant.

"I smelled a strong odor and started feeling bad," worker Maria Garcia later told a state investigator. "I had a headache, itchy eyes and threw up."

The health investigator assigned to the case said more than a dozen workers showed symptoms of pesticide poisoning, and also found evidence that the farm and crop-dusting contractor may have violated federal farmworker safety laws.

An Associated Press review of federal and state enforcement data and other records revealed that the pesticide-safety system is riddled with problems: Investigations often take years to complete and result in few penalties. Written warnings are common, fines rare. Compliance is sometimes voluntary, not required. And worker anonymity can be compromised, making employees reluctant to report violations.

The agriculture industry defends the system, saying the low numbers are a sign that farms are doing a good job of protecting workers.

President Barack Obama's administration recently adopted tougher farmworker protections after 20 years of debate and fierce resistance from the chemical and agricultural lobbies. The more stringent regulations adopt annual training requirements, safeguards to keep children workers out of the fields and stronger penalties for companies that retaliate against workers who report violations. However, when they take effect in 2017, all of the new rules will still rely on the existing enforcement system.

Adding to the troubles are the regulators themselves. In all states except California, enforcement of federal pesticide-safety laws is managed by the same agencies that promote agricultural industries.

The Florida workers fell ill on Oct. 14, 2014, in Belle Glade, a farm town near Lake Okeechobee where the motto is "Her soil is her fortune." They had been moved at the last minute to a celery field owned by Duda Farms. Rains the previous night had made the fields they were supposed to plant too soggy.

That was not communicated to the crop-duster pilot, who should have waited to spray a "restricted-use" pesticide called Bathyroid XL, records show.

Bathyroid XL is listed as a probable human carcinogen, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Studies on rats showed some neurological effects, but the results of long-term exposure on people are not known. As a restricted-use agent, it is considered one of the more toxic pesticides available to American farmers.

Twelve women including Garcia and one man were hospitalized. Many were released and cleared to go back to work after a few hours. But some, including the pregnant worker, required follow-up medical screening for lingering symptoms, according to state health records about the incident.

Despite the findings about pesticide poisoning and evidence of violations, a state investigation resulted in no punishment for the farm and, after more than a year, only the small fine for the crop duster, according to the case file obtained by the AP through a public-records request. Workers contacted by the AP said they were never interviewed.

"The Florida system is terribly broken," said Greg Schell of Florida Legal Services, a national expert who has been litigating farmworker cases for decades. "Unless you see somebody being sprayed, it's your word against the employer."

Florida is the nation's second-largest agricultural state, with more than 47,000 farms. Inspectors conducted 785 worker-protection inspections in 2014, the last year for which data was available. That's more inspections than any other state in the region, yet they issued only seven fines for a total of $11,400.

The numbers are comparable in other states.

In tobacco-growing North Carolina, only three fines were levied in 2014 against farms for violating pesticide protections. In the Cotton Belt states of Georgia and Alabama, there were no fines, according to data gathered by the AP.

It's not clear how many workers get sick from pesticides each year. No one gathers comprehensive data.

A program run by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health identified 5,200 workers with acute pesticide-related illness, and eight deaths, in 11 states between 1998 and 2006. Those cases included only poisonings confirmed by doctors.

Using that data and other sources, the EPA estimates that the nation's 2 million farmworkers suffer 10,000 to 20,000 cases of doctor-diagnosed pesticide poisoning in the U.S. every year.

Low enforcement numbers also reflect workers' fear of reporting problems.

Many field hands have come to the U.S. illegally or are here on worker visas, and their immigration status is controlled by their employers.

Until a few years ago, Louisiana pesticide inspectors sometimes required farmworkers to travel hundreds of miles to Baton Rouge to lodge pesticide complaints in person. That practice was halted only after litigation and an EPA investigation that the state fought.

After the incident in Belle Glade, some of the Florida workers sprayed by the crop duster were advised by supervisors against taking legal action, according to state documents obtained by AP.

"They were told 'You would never find a job in agriculture again. Their husbands may also be fired, and it would take years to get a settlement,'" said Antonio Tovar, the Florida health department investigator on the case.

Luis Martinez, one of the workers in the fields that day, said a lawyer and the safety officer for the farm labor contractor hired by Duda Farms all discouraged him from making a complaint. The company also asked him to take a drug test to prove the symptoms he experienced were not from marijuana or other drugs.

"I feel so bad," Martinez said, "because I have no rights because I have no money and can't afford a lawyer."

Defenders of the agriculture industry say the lack of fines and violations in Florida and other places shows a high level of compliance, not lax enforcement.

"The culture has changed. There may be a few bad apples, but they are few and far between," said Gene McAvoy, who runs state pesticide safety trainings for farm supervisors in Florida.

Farm spokeswoman Donna Duda denied that anyone from the company had spoken to them. She said the company has complied with state investigators and was reviewing its policies after reading the allegations in Tovar's report that workers were pressured not to file complaints.

Jose Ojeda of Martinez & Sons Trucking, the contractor in charge of the workers that day, denied his staff discouraged workers from filing a complaint.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services never interviewed Martinez or any workers about the retaliation or intimidation claims, despite a tip from the health inspector that some workers were talking about it.

In a statement, the agency denied being told about the intimidation allegations and said it would have investigated if it had known. Officials would not answer other questions.

Other workers contacted by AP at their homes in Belle Glade did not want to be interviewed, with one saying she did not want to make trouble.

The EPA said the numbers may be low because workers are reluctant to file complaints for fear of deportation. They also say retaliation violations often are not caught during the routine, random inspections.

Nationwide, few of those violations are ever filed. Data from 2006 to 2013, the years the EPA has available, show that only 13 violations involving companies that threatened to retaliate against employees were reported nationwide - none in any Southern states.

When workers do come forward, they face a yearslong process that often ends with nothing but a warning for the farm. In other cases, people who complain are sometimes put in professional exile.

North Carolina tobacco worker Cayetano Dominguez-Rosales complained to state investigators when 12 workers on his crew got sick in 2010 after witnessing pesticides being sprayed in a field that was no more than 40 paces away. Records show they all sat down and felt dizzy and nauseas. While heat stroke could have been to blame, it was unusual that so many workers fell ill at the same time, he said.

Dominguez-Rosales said his supervisor told him he would take him to the hospital for $20, a violation of federal law, according to state investigative documents. A clinic worker transported him and a fellow worker to the hospital five days after the incident.

After the hospital trip, he returned to work and was told to sign a "voluntary quit" paper giving up his job. He had worked for 15 years on North Carolina tobacco farms and never fallen ill, he said, but the incident left him without work. He returned to Mexico.

Nearly a year after he left, a state investigation issued a warning to the farm.

Pesticide investigations in North Carolina can take up to two years, and the vast majority nationwide end in warnings.

"A warning just says 'We're not going to hold you responsible for these actions,'" said Caitlin Ryland, an attorney at Legal Aid of North Carolina. "Really, there's no teeth at all in that law."

Delays in North Carolina investigations come largely from staffing issues, said Patrick Jones, deputy director of pesticide programs at the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The division shares one lawyer from the state attorney general's office with all other agriculture departments. Jones said a new attorney has been appointed, and pesticide cases are expected to be a top priority.

In the future, technology may offer new ways of tracking workers' potential exposure and monitoring their blood for toxins. Some ideas are being tested in California and Washington state.

"It's a problem of scope," said Dr. Thomas Arcury, director of the Center for Worker Health at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Advanced testing "is a great idea, but it would be a fairly expensive proposition, and only a handful of labs can do this with any reliability."

Homesteader's Discussion / Ducks in Winter
« Last post by Little Feather on January 26, 2016, 02:47:20 AM »
 Winter Care For Waterfowl
Help your ducks and geese weather the bitter cold of winter by giving them some additional attention when the temperatures drop.
Kirsten Lie-Nielsen

Provide extra care to your geese and ducks in the winter.
Kirsten Lie-Nielsen

Geese and ducks are cold hardy and resilient birds that make a great addition to a farm, but they have some special needs once winter rolls around. Covered in feathers with an interior lining of thick, fluffy down—the kind that we use to stuff our bed pillows, comforters and duvets—geese and ducks can resist the coldest temperatures as long as they are given proper care.
Provide Proper Shelter

An enclosed shelter is important for any farm animal to keep them healthy through winter. Walls help to keep out cold and blowing wind, and keeping birds close together within an enclosed space increases heat from shared body warmth. Even when you've let your fowl out in the open weather for the day, it's a good idea to leave the access to the shelter open so that they can get in out of the wind if they so choose.

A shelter needs proper ventilation so that condensation from body heat and breath doesn't build up. While it might seem like you want your coop airtight, trapped moisture is actually more dangerous for birds in winter than colder, drier air. You can achieve a well-ventilated shelter without allowing it to be drafty by putting small air holes at the top of the coop. This will still allow your birds to stay out of the wind and the bitter cold of winter nights.

Clean Their Bedding

Deep bedding helps to keep their bare feet warm, so freshening the bedding is paramount, especially in winter. Soiled bedding is not only messy, but droppings will turn into ice cubes and prevent your birds from being able to stay warm enough on long winter nights.
Allow Room To Roam

Waterfowl, especially geese, naturally won't want to stay cooped up during the winter days. They prefer wandering around in open space. In winter, they will even pretend to bathe in drifts of snow, as if the white powder was actually water.
Give Winter Treats

Geese and ducks will munch on crumble or pellets for the majority of their fat and protein, but birds used to pasture appreciate any additional greens you can give them. Foraging for green grass is impossible in snow, but a duck or goose can be kept amused by a handful of lettuce or spinach. They'll often nibble on hay if that is your preferred bedding and can be fed treats, such as mealworms, for extra protein. Keep in mind that anything you feed geese as a winter treat, they might discover and gorge on in your garden when warmer weather comes.
Provide Access To Water

The key with waterfowl is making sure they always have access to open water. Ducks and geese have trouble swallowing without water: Their nostrils can become plugged with feed if they can't rinse them thoroughly while feeding, so even if your feed trough is full, it won't help them if they don't have fresh, unfrozen water to swallow with their meal.

Rubber water trays are easy to empty when the water freezes over and are deep enough for wading. They're ideal if you're going to be around most of the time, but if you'll be away for more than a few hours a day, it's a great idea to invest in a large, heated dog water bowl for your feathered friends.

Waterfowl don't just need open water to eat, however. Enough liquid to splash about in is key to them staying healthy in winter. Their preening spreads sealing oils across their feathers, which help keep them buoyant in water and lock heat in when it's cold. Being able to bathe in open water allows for the most complete preen possible, but as long as your birds can submerge their faces and work the water through their bills, they can create enough oil to keep themselves comfy.

While watering your fowl is a must, keep in mind that any splashing indoors will soak your bird's bedding, which in turn will become icy. Whenever possible, provide water outdoors in a cleared area so that the mess your birds make is manageable.
Watch For Frostbite

If it’s bitter cold, geese will often warm themselves by sitting with their feet tucked in to their thick stomach down and their bills under their wings. Some varieties are especially prone to frostbite, such as a the Chinese and African geese. These breeds have large, fleshy knobs at the tops of their beaks that can be damaged by frost. You'll be able to tell if African or Chinese geese have been frostbitten because there will be orange spots on their otherwise black beaks and knobs. To prevent frostbite, these breeds of geese need to be kept within the shelter on particularly cold or windy days. Applying petroleum jelly to their beaks can protect against frostbite and can be used to treat a case that has already developed.

Geese and ducks don't need as much attention in the winter as some other poultry varieties, but they still need special care when the days get cold. With plenty of fresh water and food and shelter from the wind, they should have a happy winter and be excited for the fresh grass that heralds spring.

About the Author: Kirsten Lie-Nielsen is a freelance writer and farmer from Liberty, Maine. When not cultivating a growing garden and tending her geese and other animals, she blogs at Hostile Valley Living, hoping to help others learn about self reliance and simple living.

 Visit the Back 40 General Store:    Visit the Back 40 General Store:[/i]   [url=]
Poultry specialists remind producers, small-flock owners of avian flu risk

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Late fall and winter are considered flu season, but not just for humans. Poultry specialists in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences point out that the threat of avian influenza also is heightened at this time of year.

Experts explain that the H5N2 virus that caused an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian flu earlier this year and led to the loss of more than 48 million birds -- mostly turkeys and laying chickens on commercial poultry farms in the Midwest -- survives best in cooler temperatures.

And although Pennsylvania has been spared from the virus so far, the seasonal, southward migration of the wild waterfowl that can carry the disease -- as well as the northward migration that will begin in late winter -- could result in the virus popping up in Pennsylvania at any time, putting at risk the state's multibillion-dollar poultry industry.

So what should you look for to detect a possible case of avian flu? What should you do if you think you see one? And how can you protect your flock from infection? The Penn State Extension Poultry Team, which includes poultry and veterinary researchers and extension educators, provided answers to these commonly asked questions:

--What are the signs of illness in poultry infected with avian influenza?
Low pathogenic avian influenza symptoms typically are mild. Infected birds can show signs of decreased feed consumption, respiratory illness (coughing and sneezing) and decreased egg production. There may be slightly increased mortality. Birds that are infected with highly pathogenic avian flu (often referred to as HPAI) are severely ill, and sudden deaths can be the first and only signs noticed.

Birds also may exhibit one or more of the following symptoms: lack of energy and appetite, decreased egg production, soft-shelled or misshapen eggs, swelling of facial tissues, dark red to purple discoloration and/or blistering of the comb, dark red areas on the scales of the legs, nasal discharge, coughing, sneezing, lack of coordination, abnormal head and neck positions, or diarrhea.

The wild ducks and other waterfowl that may spread the virus often do not get sick or show symptoms.

--How can I protect my birds from getting avian flu?
Follow common-sense biosecurity practices that isolate your flock from other birds. Also particularly important is keeping your birds away from any possible contact with wild waterfowl (ducks, geese, swans) and shore birds (gulls, terns), and the water sources where these wild birds congregate. Ideally, you should not raise land birds -- such as chickens, turkeys, guinea fowl or pheasants (birds with beaks) -- together with aquatic birds, such as ducks, geese and swans (birds with bills). This will help prevent the introduction and spread of avian flu viruses.

On its "Biosecurity for Birds" website (, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends these six basic steps to keep birds healthy:

1. Keep your distance -- Isolate your birds from visitors and other birds.
2. Keep it clean -- Prevent germs from spreading by cleaning shoes, tools and equipment.
3. Don't haul disease home -- Also clean vehicles and cages.
4. Don't borrow disease from your neighbor -- Avoid sharing tools and equipment with neighbors.
5. Know the warning signs of infectious bird diseases -- Watch for early signs to prevent the spread of disease.
6. Report sick birds -- Report unusual signs of disease or unexpected deaths.

--As a small flock owner, I give my birds good feed and water, and they have ample space to roam, both inside and outside. Won't that protect them from HPAI?
No. This is an equal opportunity disease. If any susceptible birds of the right species and age are exposed to an infectious dose of HPAI virus, they will get sick and most will die from the infection. This is true for very small flocks, pastured flocks, large commercial flocks in total confinement, and every type of operation and management style in between.

--What should I do when I suspect I have a health problem in my poultry flock?
If birds are dying, the dead should be double-bagged and refrigerated for possible testing. Meanwhile, until the problem is investigated, diagnosed and/or resolved, put your flock on "voluntary quarantine." This means operating as a closed flock: Do not buy, sell, trade or otherwise move birds to or from your premise. Do not visit other flocks, poultry auctions, shows or bring in visitors that have their own birds. These measures will help prevent potential disease- causing agents from being transmitted to other flocks and keep new agents from being introduced into your flock.

--How do I report a suspected case of avian flu?
The Pennsylvania Animal Diagnostic Laboratory System has several university-based veterinarians with advanced training and expertise in poultry diseases. They deal with all types of avian health problems, from the common to the unusual. Contact the lab nearer to your location:

Penn State Animal Diagnostic Laboratory, University Park, Centre County, 814-863-0837.

New Bolton Center Laboratory of Avian Medicine and Pathology, University of Pennsylvania, Kennett Square, Chester County, 610-444-5800, ext. 6710.

You also can call the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture at 717-772-2852 (24 hours a day) or the USDA Healthy Birds Hotline at 866-536-7593.

--Is this strain of avian flu a threat to human health?
This is not human flu, and there currently is no evidence that this virus is infecting humans. However, a person should always practice good personal biosecurity while working with poultry.  This includes wearing washable shoes and clothing, and washing hands after working with poultry or feed. Washing boots before entering poultry housing helps keep germs from entering the structure.

--Can I get avian influenza from eating poultry or eggs?
No. Poultry and eggs that are properly prepared and cooked are safe to eat. Proper processing, handling and cooking of poultry will provide protection from viruses and bacteria, including avian influenza.

--Where can I learn more?
More information can be found at the Penn State Extension Poultry Team avian flu website at


Chuck Gill
Penn State Ag Sciences News
814-863-2713 office
814-441-0305 cell

Great Free-Range, pasture poultry book by Herman Beck-Chenoweth:
In the News / How The Food Industry Helps Engineer Our Cravings
« Last post by Little Feather on December 16, 2015, 03:15:44 PM »
It is no secret that the rise in obesity in America has something to do with food. But how much? And what role does the food industry as a whole play?

As part of Here & Now's series this week on obesity, America on the Scale, host Jeremy Hobson spoke with investigative reporter Michael Moss of The New York Times.

For Moss's book, Salt Sugar Fat, he went inside the industry and spoke with food inventors and CEOs about how the industry has shaped what people eat and capitalized on how American eating habits have changed — for the worse and, maybe now, for the better. Highlights from their conversation follow, edited for brevity and clarity.
Interview Highlights

On the food industry's level of responsibility for the obesity epidemic

I was really struck by how many people inside the industry itself hold their industry totally accountable, totally culpable for this surge in obesity that we've had for the last 30 years now. Clearly, there are other contributing factors. Clearly, there are things like exercise and personal responsibility. But they — being insiders — came to believe that all of the effort they put into making their product so irresistible, so tasty, so perfectly engineered to get us to not just like them but to want more and more of them, laid that responsibility directly at their feet.

On what it means to "perfectly engineer" food

They would hire people like Howard Moskowitz, trained in high math at Queens College and experimental psychology at Harvard. Howard was one of the people responsible for some of the biggest icons in the grocery store.

For example, he walked me through his recent creation of a new soda flavor for Dr. Pepper. ... He started with no less than 59 variations of sweetness, each one slightly different than the next, subjected those to 3,000 taste tests around the country, did his high math regression analysis thing, put the data in the computer. And out comes this bell-shaped curve where the perfect amount of sweetness — not too little, not too much — is at the very top of the curve.

And it's Howard who coined the expression "bliss point" to capture that perfect amount of sweetness that would send us over the moon, their products flying off the shelf.

On adding a sweetness "bliss point" to foods that didn't used to be sweet

It's not that they engineer bliss points for sweetness in things like soda, ice cream, cookies — things we know and expect to be sweet. The food companies have marched around the grocery store adding sweetness, engineering bliss points to products that didn't used to be sweet. So now bread has added sugar and a bliss point for sweetness. Yogurt can be as sweet as ice cream for some brands. And pasta sauce — my gosh, there are some brands with the equivalent of sugar from a couple of Oreo cookies in one half-cup serving.

And what this does, nutritionists say, is create this expectation in us that everything should be sweet. And this is especially difficult for kids who are hard-wired to the sweet taste. So when you drag their little butts over to the produce aisle and try to get them to eat some of that stuff we all should be eating more of — Brussels sprouts and broccoli, which have some of the other basic tastes like sour and bitter — you get a rebellion on your hands.

On the backlash the food industry now faces

One of the fascinating things I came across in my research is that it was none other than Philip Morris — for years and years, it was the largest food manufacturer in North America through its acquisition of General Foods and then Kraft — it was none other than the tobacco managers at Philip Morris who turned to their food managers [in] 1999 and warned them that they were going to face as much trouble over salt, sugar, fat, obesity as they were then [facing] over tobacco smoking and health problems. Now we're starting to see that come home for the food companies.

Earlier this year, almost all of them stood before investors and reported dismal earnings. And the most forthright among the heads of the food companies attributed that decline to consumers caring more and more about what they put in their bodies, wanting to eat healthier, and acting on those decisions by changing their purchasing habits, which is really hitting the food giants hard.

This story comes to us via Here & Now, a show produced by NPR and member station WBUR in Boston.
Real Life / Hedge Apples: Thanksgiving Décor and Strong American Wood
« Last post by Little Feather on December 01, 2015, 06:58:54 AM »
    Hedge Apples: Thanksgiving Décor and Strong American Wood

    Dawn Combs

    Hedge apples, aka horse apples or osage oranges, make great natural, fall-time decorations.

Thanksgiving is about a week away, and along with thinking about all the food, my thoughts often turn to how I’m going to decorate the table. One of my favorite choices for table décor is the hedge apple (Maclura pomifera), also known as osage orange or horse apple. We have a large crystal bowl that we love to fill with these green curiosities. They make the perfect fall decoration and are readily available along our roadsides at this time of year.

Part of the fascination I have today with this odd looking fruit is its survival plan. All the other large, fleshy fruits native to North America have an animal partner that dines on them and assists in their seed dispersal. Unfortunately for the hedge apple, it’s believed that the animal in question was a type of sloth that died out before humans inhabited North America. M. pomifera and the sloth lived together happily in what is known as the Red River drainage of Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

You would think that a plant that lost its means of seed dispersal would have died out long ago, and yet, the hedge apple has been planted in every state in North America and spread even up into Canada. How is that possible? I think the plant got creative and simply found a new partner.

Hedge apple fruits are edible, though the flavor isn't exactly worth it to most cooks.
F.D. Richards/Flickr

Humans have told all manner of stories about the fruit of M. pomifera. Folklore says that placing it in your house it will drive away spiders and crickets. They were definitely a fixture of my childhood, and I remember that a fresh batch of hedge apples were placed in the corners of the basement each fall. While it has never been proven effective against spiders or crickets, it appears that the hedge-apple sap repels cockroaches.

Hedge apples are also edible, though you won’t see them mentioned often in foraging cookbooks. The seeds are fairly difficult to extract because they are trapped inside the hard outer coating, embedded in woody flesh and encapsulated in a slimy pocket. I haven’t ever heard anyone describe the taste as "worth it,” so, we can’t attribute the survival of this plant to its ability to lure the human palate. Hedge apples are delicious snacks for horses and squirrels, too, but again, they aren’t truly set up to spread the seeds.

The reason why the tree has been spread all across North America is less about the fruit and more about the wood.
Horse High, Bull Strong and Hog Tight

The wood of the osage orange tree was used by settlers to make fencing because it is strong.

While the fruit induced human curiosity about the tree, it was the wood that held our attention. The bendable limbs were a favorite of the Native Americans who used them for bows, and settlers used the wood to pen in their animals. It wasn’t until 1880 that barbed wire came along, so before then, ranchers needed a way to keep their animals from wandering away. Slips of M. pomifera planted closely together and kept trimmed form a living hedge that is nearly escape-proof. (I say "nearly” because I still haven’t met a goat that I would trust with an edible fence. I’d love to hear from folks who’ve tried it.)

When the mammoths and sloths died out, the hedge apple tree could have gone with them. Luckily for them, the fruit that used to attract a predator was interesting enough to enchant the human who had need for shelter and fencing. As I pile up a bowl of hedge apples for my Thanksgiving centerpiece, it makes me chuckle that this "useless” fruit is still working its wiles with the likes of me.

Jerusalem Artichoke tubers for sale now at Back40Gereral Store:

In the News / 90 percent of Americans would die in two years without electricity
« Last post by Little Feather on November 17, 2015, 06:13:34 AM »
90 percent of Americans would die in two years without electricity, warns EMP commission

November 12th, 2015, by Greg White

If the power grid were to go out on a national scale, it would be lights out for America, in more ways than one. The bulk of the nation’s infrastructure, including cell phones, computers, hospital equipment, credit card readers, gas pumps and refrigerators would cease working. This is one of the greatest threats to potentially plague the United States, and yet, it scarcely makes news headlines.

An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack would plunge America into darkness overnight. Given how dependent society is on technology, very few would be equipped to survive in a world without gadgets. In fact, tech guru John McAfee wrote in a recent article that approximately 90 percent of the population would be dead within two years if such an attack were to take place.

“Experts agree that an all out cyber attack, beginning with an EMP attack on our electric infrastructure, would wipe out 90% of the human population of this country within two years of the attack. That means the death of 270 million people within 24 months after the attack,” he writes.
Recipes / Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes
« Last post by Little Feather on November 16, 2015, 08:57:55 AM »

"This is a super-easy way to cook these vegetables if you've never tried them before and by far my favorite. Jerusalem artichokes, or sunchokes, are starchy tubers like potatoes and turnips. When roasted, the skin becomes flaky and the flesh becomes tender, but the taste of a sunchoke is slightly nutty and sweet. Cooked sunchokes are best when eaten within 2 days. When raw, they store well in your fridge's vegetable bin, wrapped loosely in a paper towel. Enjoy!"

    1 pound Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes)
    3 TBS olive oil
    2 tablespoons dried thyme
    1 tablespoon minced garlic
    sea salt to taste


    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). (Can also be sauteed on stove)
    Scrub Jerusalem artichoke tubers and cut out eyes. Cut tubers into 1-inch pieces.
    Mix olive oil, thyme, garlic, and sea salt together in a large bowl; add Jerusalem artichoke pieces and toss to coat. Arrange coated pieces in one evenly-spaced layer on a baking sheet.
    Roast in the preheated oven until Jerusalem artichokes are tender, 35 to 45 minutes.

Jerusalem artichokes are available for sale at farmer's markets.  If you prefer to grow your own they are available here:

MARKET FARMING & GARDENING / Jerusalem Artichoke tubers for sale
« Last post by Little Feather on November 16, 2015, 08:50:35 AM »

These healthy, tasty tubers can bring nice profits to your market garden.  Ready now for fall planting and ready for sale next fall and winter.  For sale now at for just $22.00 per pound.  Back40General store.  Clink the link for more information.
Herman Beck-Chenoweth
Real Life / Paw Paw
« Last post by Little Feather on November 04, 2015, 12:47:50 PM »
Is The Pawpaw Making A Comeback?
This North American native fruit might not have ever gone away for some, but it's making a big comeback.

Have you ever tried a pawpaw? The fruit is native to North America, which means every American should have tried it at least once, right? Many of us haven't, though. Admittedly, I have not. The pawpaw hasn’t really been on my radar, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be, and according to author Andrew Moore, the pawpaw should be part of all of our diets.

Moore recently wrote Pawpaw: In Search of America’s Forgotten Fruit, wants Americans to incorporate the pawpaw—which tastes like a combination of mango and banana—in our meals again. According to Michigan Radio, Moore says that the pawpaw was a staple in Americans’ diets when we foraged for food, but it has since been replaced by fruits like apples, oranges and bananas.

His suggestion? Plant some pawpaw trees. The fruit is high in niacin and potassium, as well as vitamins and antioxidants. The trees are pyramid-shaped, and in the fall, the leaves turn a bright yellow—a gorgeous addition to your farm. However, the best part is that it can be organically grown.

"Thus far, it doesn’t have pests and disease like our apples and peaches do, so it can be grown without the use of chemicals,” Moore told Michigan Radio.

Moore says the pawpaw is also great for local farmers markets.

What do you think of the pawpaw?
MARKET FARMING & GARDENING / PawPaws as a promising crop: An NPR Interview
« Last post by Little Feather on October 10, 2015, 03:29:08 PM »
NPR Interview:  ( Have your sound turned on):

PawPaw, Commercial Uses, Chris Chimeil, Back 40 Forums

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