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Organic Food And Seeds

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#1 Agatha

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 01:13 PM

i am aware that this could be highly controversial. i don't care. i'm just beginning it and will have lots of information to add as we go along. i suggest, however, that this thread could be life-saving and life-changing not just for us, but for everybody. We live in an age when big business has largely taken over the process of putting food in our mouths. Giant corporations such as Monsanto produce countless varieties of so-called food and are also invested in the huge business of "curing" the multiple diseases that we now suffer from, en masse it seems, as a result. Genetically modified food is now available on a world-wide basis. We have no scientific knowledge of how those foods will affect us in the future.

We do know that biological evolution cannot even minimally keep pace with cultural evolution. We do know that diseases such as diabetes are now at 30% to 50% of the population in small communities throughout Mexico (check at your local Clínica del Campo--the numbers are staggering).

i propose that we simply put a stop to it. We should be saving organic seeds for the future. We should be planting and eating organic foods that not only taste better but also protect us and the environment. We need help with this and as the government is unlikely to do so as much as we'd like, we can group together and pull it off. i confess that Mrs Obama's gardening efforts brought tears to my eyes and i just wish that her message had been better spread by the powers that be. We are just at the beginning of what could change the future dramatically.

i know that many of you on this forum take pride in your bad eating habits. You talk loudly about your carnivorous and alcohol-based diets and i sometimes wish you would come over to my place for a meal that might/would alter your consciousness for ever. But it's much more than just YOUR health that concerns me. The cows, the environment, the brutal poverty: it's all part and parcel of the same problem. Yeah, i know, i won't live long enough to save the world but y'know, you can put on my jar of ashes: she tried. Love will find the way. Ag.



#2 elpulpofeliz

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 04:17 PM

Big business does NOT  put food in my mouth. That type writing turns people off and your quest will never get off the ground. Give people some credit in being more intelligent than that. Especially on this board.



#3 Dave_in_Ont

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 05:04 PM

 

i am aware that this could be highly controversial. i don't care.

 

Agatha...I also don't care... If you happen to not consume meat nor consume alcohol, I don't care. What I do care about is my freedom of choice to eat and drink what I want without someone preaching at me.

 

I respect those who are vegetarian, I respect those who don't drink alcohol, I respect those who don't smoke...BUT..I don't try to "convert" them in any way and I object when someone tries to convert me.


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#4 Agatha

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 05:22 PM

But you completely didn't understand.  This isn't about you, and it isn't about me.  Monsanto may not put food in your mouth, but that's hardly the point, is it?  Y'know, if we just stick to the basics of organics, not even think about the environment as a whole, chemical additives have only been around since WWII.  "Going organic" wouldn't be as huge a leap as some might imagine.  Indeed, i could send you to reliable sources that get specific as to the nuts and bolts, but they're out there through Google if you're interested.  What this ISN'T about is preaching.  i genuinely think that if we banded together, even in minimal ways, we could be useful to future generations.  This ISN'T about what Dave eats, nor smokes, really, and i'm sorry if you felt that.  i'm staying in the home of my good friend who is almost vegan, but eats fish.  Whatever turns her on.  The problem out there is HUGE; it can be personal if you want it to be (double entendre intended).  Ag.



#5 lippincottfarm

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 05:37 PM

Agatha, why the negativity today - has the day been what I call a suck ass day? Mrs. Obama eats meat and drinks. Everything in moderation. Kick back, open a nice bottle of wine or a freshly made margarita, and watch the sunset. Everything will be okay. Maybe you have access to heirloom seeds and a garden. I know a lot of people who don't. Life is too short to make negative comments about others you don't know. We, here, on Yolisto won't be solving the world's diabetes or obesity problems. Ohmmmmm, shanty, shanty.

#6 Agatha

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 06:11 PM

i shall not be moved by your extreme rudeness LOL.  Can't get the link to paste, but if you goggle "Haiti slum blooms into urban oasis" you'll find a lovely piece that is anything but negative.  It shows what can be done.  An organic component protects the environment as well as bodies.  Actually, i DO think that we at YoListo can contribute to "solving world's diabetes and obesity problems."  Obviously a root problem is poverty and lack of access to land.  Hence, the community gardens concept.  Small steps.  Ag.



#7 judy

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 06:41 AM

Some very well meaning Snowbirds started a garden one year at the old age home in Progreso. This is the block long white walled building on Calle 27, about 15 blocks from Centro going East. I was volunteering at the time to help with a rummage sale and was also in and out several days a week for an exercise program for the residents.

Most of the residents are very impaired and have walkers, wheelchairs, or just take life at a very slow pace. The exercise program was all done from their chairs and was really for flexibility and socializing.

The snowbirds were there one late March morning and talking about the garden. They had done a beautiful job of clearing an area in the very far corner of the rather large property. This area was at the back wall which was on Calle 29, just to give you an idea of  the size of area I am talking about.

They had put large rocks around for markers and paths within the garden. I gave them a LOT of credit, because to water this garden one had to come to the front of the building and carry water in buckets to the far back area. No outlet for water in the back at all.

 

I asked the one young woman how she planned to water the garden in the heat of Spring and then all through the Summer.

She replied that she was going back to Canada and she ASSUMED one of us full timers would be more than happy to help the residents take care of this project. She said this as she snapped picture after picture of the work.

For those who do not spend Summer down here this might not be laughable, but for us who do, the thought of hauling water in bucket after bucket a distance of about a half a block in heat and humidity off the charts was enough for me to have to walk away shaking my head.

The idea of any one of the residents being capable of filling a bucket and then just picking it up, as frail as most were, gave me even more reason to shake my head.

Projects started and then handed off to people that one does not even see with a clear lens as to age, ability, and desire, makes me feel that once again these projects are so much fodder for the feel good crowd.

Gardens are a wonderful idea, but someone has to tend them, so the idea of huge community gardens may be a little premature, until we educate our neighbors about the benefits to them for putting in the hard work of maintaining.



#8 seeking

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 07:17 AM

And for every negative story there is a positive one that's success could bring you to tears. I'd love to help and at least try to improve the quality of food available, even if it just starts out as expatriates tending and enjoying the benefits, it can grow into something more spectacular. nothing happens when you don't try.

Sara


#9 dugin

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 03:53 PM

As I'm sure Agatha and others know, there are a number of programs and organizations here in Yucatan whose goals are to promote healthy eating, home or community gardens, and/or organic gardening. Lots of what they do, especially the organizations promoting organic foods/agriculture are educational. 

One example is the Escuela de Agricultura Ecológica “U Yits Ka’an” in Maní, that just won the national merit prize issued each year by SEMARNAT.  There are programs sponsored by the state and municipalities to encourage home gardens and healthier eating, though these don't necessarily emphasize organically grown/raised foods.  There are private groups, such as Colectivo Milpa (see their Facebook page) that are also promoting organic gardening at the community level.  I'm more interested in working through these groups, which generally KNOW the issues concerning the campo, and rural and urban health problems, rather than involving myself with a foreign-organized movement (Judy's post is a good example of pitfalls facing the latter).



#10 Agatha

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 09:30 PM

Actually, i began working with precisely these issues 20 years ago, right here in Mexico, in Chiapas.  Have only ever worked with Mexicans.  But that's just me.  Went to school here, speak Spanish, my good fortune.  However, where i happen to live now, no groups are working at all.  There are local people tending the little lot in my absence and harvesting the rewards.  We've come a long way in 2 years.  Whichever route you take, it should be great!  If there is an actual "movement" here, foreign-based or otherwise, i don't know about it.  There is, however, a TOTAL commitment to organics whenever and wherever possible, on the part of many, given that the environment is at stake (as well as health matters).  All i'm trying to do is drum up some help and some ideas from those of us who are pretty well-heeled and perhaps have some disposable time and energy.  i am aware of most of the groups in action and can only cheer them on with "the more, the merrier."  These ideas have been around for ages, thank goodness, but the presence of so many non-Mexicans is relatively new and could be an amazing support system.  And of course, whether by foreigners or Mexicans, mistakes will be made.  That's part of the process. Gardening here is VERY hard.  Most of us don't water enough, for instance.  One person forgets to shut the gate, and 6 months of work can be wiped out by a bunch of dogs.  We console each other over the losses and keep right on planting!!  Ag.



#11 iowahawkeye

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 10:27 PM

Ok Ag, I like others felt that your initial screed was over the top. I think I have met you and believe that you care and want to do good, and I believe that your most recent note goes a long ways to getting the help and cooperation you need to successfully organize the community garden project.

 

The word that caught my attention was "gate", to need a gate, one must have a fence. How do we make fences - here at the beach we save the palm spines  and weave them together. Maybe you need some hardware wire?

 

A hand dug well requires 7 or 8 concrete rings, a strong back and once dug, a pump. I haven't seen many hand pumps here, but ...

 

There is an absolute need to improve diets, my own included. About 12 years ago I remember my daughter talking about "muffin tops" as unattractive, though very common in the US at the time. It seems to me that the "muffin top" and the pot belly (watermelon seed) are the standard for women and men of any age here at the beach.

 

While the garden is your project, mine is providing dental care to young adult locals. I have been called a "tooth fairy", but unlike the fairy, I try to keep the teeth in the mouth. Even though dental care is inexpensive (by nob standards), it quickly gets out of hand.


"facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." John Adams

#12 Agatha

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 10:55 PM

Not sure if you do actually "know me" yet, but it's sweet that you're concerned.  Actually, perhaps i wasn't clear, i was just writing about some issues that do come up as part of the group-grope gardening process.  LOL.  i do have a block fence which i put huge amounts of money into to be able to protect from the marauding dogs.  However, all it takes is one person to forget . . .   As for the well, yeah, next on my list when i get back.  But i really meant that we don't know how much to water because it drains so very fast in sand.  i'm in California learning a lot about permaculture.  i am not physically capable of doing it on my own, nor do i have a vehicle to haul the components, but if anyone out there is interested in helping when i return, that would be super.  Plus, i'm looking for land!!!!!  The teeth thing is so important.  Very glad you can help. 

 

We do need to take care of ourselves as well.  Actually, some of us non-Mexicans aren't very wealthy either (my teeth are awful, for instance), but even if we don't have money to share, i know we have vast amounts of knowledge that can go a long way.  And yes, most of my local friends are not just overweight, they are HUGE.  They visit their "sugar" doctors regularly.  i ask if the doctors ever discuss diet and they tell me that i'm the ONLY person who ever brings it up with them.  i have taken risks to be so brazen, but i think it's crucial.  They triple-fry some of their food!!  OMG.  And sadly, although of course their knowledge about so much that i know nothing about is also enormous, much has been lost of traditional gardening methodology.  We share it all and prosper together.  Small steps.  Paso a paso.  Thanks for all the positive input!  Will return soon :) :) :)  Ag.



#13 Agatha

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Posted 21 June 2014 - 12:21 PM

Ag is almost back!  Broke my knee cap in the USA so won't be actively gardening for a while but that's what the community is all about.  We can cover for one another and not lose the crops.  i'm still looking for support for the venture.  We need, more than anything, a plot of land that has access to water or neighbours who would be willing to share (it's one price anyway).  We won't need it on a permanent basis, although that would be almost too good to be true.  The idea is to open it up for folks to come and experiment together and if there's any way possible, to learn the tricks of permaculture that i believe will improve our chances of good harvests by a lot.  Here in California my friends have done it and the results are amazing.  Of course, it's not the tropics, but it's hot (in the interior) and the soil isn't very good at all, so they have faced some of our issues.  In addition, i'd love to score a wheelbarrow, seeds, tools and anything you'd feel good about donating or loaning.  We are super careful about tools and wash everything scrupulously before storing. When my leg is better, i'd like to start approaching the schools to offer to set up little gardens in each one.  That would need volunteers to follow up the project.  Anyway, loads of ideas!!  i've had a couple of sweet PMs come in, other folks who feel the same way about the future and our food but more are needed.  Mérida is certainly a great location for many organic gardeners, and i'm really glad the movement is kicking in there big time, but now we need the beach to keep up!  Be in touch y'all!  Would love to meet you and grow our community!  BTW, for those who are working on their Spanish acquisition, i can help.  We can garden in Spanish!  How cool is that!  hasta pronto, Ag.



#14 rnsmth

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Posted 21 June 2014 - 12:55 PM

<< We do know that biological evolution cannot even minimally keep pace with cultural evolution. We do know that diseases such as diabetes are now at 30% to 50% of the population in small communities throughout Mexico (check at your local Clínica del Campo--the numbers are staggering).

i propose that we simply put a stop to it. We should be saving organic seeds for the future.>>

 

Whether a food is organic or not has very little to do with whether a person becomes a diabetic or not.

 

Push organics all you want to, but do not pin diabetes on non-organic diets.  That is a mistake and is not consistent with facts.

 

Ron, a type 2 diabetic



#15 Agatha

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Posted 21 June 2014 - 01:48 PM

Hey Ron!  So sorry that you have diabetes type 2, but glad you participate in YoListo!  Of course diabetes is not caused by eating non-organic foods, but it can be helped by overall dietary change.  If one is going to make those changes, on an individual or larger scale, the idea is to do it the best way possible for the environment as well, using organics whenever possible.  That's all.  Sorry if my comments weren't clear.  So hope we can count on you to join the community of growers of fine foods, and we'd love to share with you whether you help out or not.  Ag.



#16 Agatha

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Posted 21 June 2014 - 01:56 PM

Just saw this on FB.  Wish i could be there.  Looks really interesting.  Google "Fin-Consciente" for a weekend of healthy eating ideas. Ag.



#17 CoyoteMan

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Posted 22 June 2014 - 08:00 AM

I'm all in favor of gringos who want to become more organic in Yucatan because it's the easiest thing in the world to do: Become a milpero. You have 10,000 years of tried-and-true organic agriculture that will provide a diet that will sustain you for a year. No need to buy Monsanto seeds, because there are other milperos who will sell you starter seed. After that your crops will provide all the seed you need for the next year.

 

All you need is a plot of land and a machete. Seriously, you need to look into this because it's amazing. The milpa has sustained millions of people for thousands of years, and is 100 PERCENT ORGANIC!

 

-- Josh


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#18 Agatha

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Posted 22 June 2014 - 08:51 AM

Wish this were so.  Check out, for instance, the Zapatistas trying to maintain organic food production despite all the big agriculture around them.  The amount of "milperos" actually using their own seed is very limited.  Once you've been convinced to buy hybrid seed, you have to keep doing it as it does not reproduce.  i have worked with "traditional" farmers in the Highlands of Chiapas who bemoan what has happened to their form of agriculture (and that's apart from losing their lands).  What you claim is no longer a reality.  Hence the movement to return to organic food production.  Sad,  Ag.


Edited by Agatha, 22 June 2014 - 09:18 AM.


#19 dugin

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Posted 22 June 2014 - 01:17 PM

I agree with Agatha that in general, yucateco milperos do not use organic methods, including organic seeds.  The state and federal government regularly supply seeds, tools, herbicides and pesticides, etc. to ejidatarios, and this is the trend in yucatan agriculture over the last years.  Certainly most of  the local milperos I'm aware of in my area (admittedly a small sample) use chemicals whenever available, even though most also continue traditional land-clearing  practices -- cutting/burning.

 

However, if you do a search on ''semillas organicas Yucatan'', you'll find a number of articles discussing this, and discussion of various initiatives to encourage organic methods.  This includes the ecological school at Mani, plus work by the mainstream private organization Fundacion Produce Yucatan: here plus initiatives supported by UADY (there was a series of fairs focusing on exchange of organic seeds/plants in Aprila nd May) example here.

 

I think there was another exchange of organic seeds/plants in Peto last weekend, as well.



#20 Agatha

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Posted 22 June 2014 - 01:47 PM

Indeed Dugin, the more the merrier!  Some growers bring organic veggies and fruits to Ya'axtal to sell (used to be Tuesdays-less during the summer months), but it's not enough.  Slow Foods is wonderful, but it's not enough (and it's quite costly).  Problem with government seeds, one has to use the pesticides and herbicides--it's all part of the package, as it were.  Another really sad thing is that Mexico has large numbers of organic farms, but it's all for export.  They are the delicious produce items i can buy here in the California Whole Foods and other health food establishments.  Breaks my heart.  i have even tried to acquire some of that food directly from a Yucatecan farmer (through a restaurant owner friend of his) and was denied because he simply can't get enough money for his produce from the folks here so he exports it all.  All i'd like to see, and those others who are doing the same i imagine, is a wide variety of organic food available at reasonable prices or able to be harvested by the people themselves from their own patches of land or from community gardens.  Together, Mexicans and others, we can do this.  Sí se puede.  My friends locally in Chuburna Puerto had never tasted chard until i grew it.  Had never tasted a zucchini squash until i grew it, and so on.  Now she comes up with chard recipes for me to try!  i will NOT be put off by the negatives.  If we involve the children, they will always know a life with an organic kitchen garden (much as i learnt recycling from my daughter from her school 30 something years ago--now it's second nature).  If we share the seed, we can provide for the future.  Happy Sunday to y'all--still learning permaculture here--Wow!!!!  Ag.   


Edited by Agatha, 22 June 2014 - 01:50 PM.





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