January 2011 Archives

This is Frightening.

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from OrganicConsumers.org SIGN THE PETITION BELOW! I, for one, will no longer shop at Whole Foods, Buy products from Organic Valley, Stonyfield Farm or any other company that supports the use of GMO seed stock and I encourage you to do the same.

**The Organic Elite Surrenders to Monsanto: What Now? **

"By Ronnie Cummins
Organic Consumers Association, Jan 27, 2011
Straight to the Source

"The policy set for GE alfalfa will most likely guide policies for other GE crops as well. True coexistence is a must." - Whole Foods Market, Jan. 21, 2011

In the wake of a 12-year battle to keep Monsanto's Genetically Engineered (GE) crops from contaminating the nation's 25,000 organic farms and ranches, America's organic consumers and producers are facing betrayal. A self-appointed cabal of the Organic Elite, spearheaded by Whole Foods Market, Organic Valley, and Stonyfield Farm, has decided it's time to surrender to Monsanto. Top executives from these companies have publicly admitted that they no longer oppose the mass commercialization of GE crops, such as Monsanto's controversial Roundup Ready alfalfa, and are prepared to sit down and cut a deal for "coexistence" with Monsanto and USDA biotech cheerleader Tom Vilsack.

In a cleverly worded, but profoundly misleading email sent to its customers last week, Whole Foods Market, while proclaiming their support for organics and "seed purity," gave the green light to USDA bureaucrats to approve the "conditional deregulation" of Monsanto's genetically engineered, herbicide-resistant alfalfa. Beyond the regulatory euphemism of "conditional deregulation," this means that WFM and their colleagues are willing to go along with the massive planting of a chemical and energy-intensive GE perennial crop, alfalfa; guaranteed to spread its mutant genes and seeds across the nation; guaranteed to contaminate the alfalfa fed to organic animals; guaranteed to lead to massive poisoning of farm workers and destruction of the essential soil food web by the toxic herbicide, Roundup; and guaranteed to produce Roundup-resistant superweeds that will require even more deadly herbicides such as 2,4 D to be sprayed on millions of acres of alfalfa across the U.S.

In exchange for allowing Monsanto's premeditated pollution of the alfalfa gene pool, WFM wants "compensation." In exchange for a new assault on farmworkers and rural communities (a recent large-scale Swedish study found that spraying Roundup doubles farm workers' and rural residents' risk of getting cancer), WFM expects the pro-biotech USDA to begin to regulate rather than cheerlead for Monsanto. In payment for a new broad spectrum attack on the soil's crucial ability to provide nutrition for food crops and to sequester dangerous greenhouse gases (recent studies show that Roundup devastates essential soil microorganisms that provide plant nutrition and sequester climate-destabilizing greenhouse gases), WFM wants the Biotech Bully of St. Louis to agree to pay "compensation" (i.e. hush money) to farmers "for any losses related to the contamination of his crop."

In its email of Jan. 21, 2011 WFM calls for "public oversight by the USDA rather than reliance on the biotechnology industry," even though WFM knows full well that federal regulations on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) do not require pre-market safety testing, nor labeling; and that even federal judges have repeatedly ruled that so-called government "oversight" of Frankencrops such as Monsanto's sugar beets and alfalfa is basically a farce. At the end of its email, WFM admits that its surrender to Monsanto is permanent: "The policy set for GE alfalfa will most likely guide policies for other GE crops as well True coexistence is a must."

Why Is Organic Inc. Surrendering?

According to informed sources, the CEOs of WFM and Stonyfield are personal friends of former Iowa governor, now USDA Secretary, Tom Vilsack, and in fact made financial contributions to Vilsack's previous electoral campaigns. Vilsack was hailed as "Governor of the Year" in 2001 by the Biotechnology Industry Organization, and traveled in a Monsanto corporate jet on the campaign trail. Perhaps even more fundamental to Organic Inc.'s abject surrender is the fact that the organic elite has become more and more isolated from the concerns and passions of organic consumers and locavores. The Organic Inc. CEOs are tired of activist pressure, boycotts, and petitions. Several of them have told me this to my face. They apparently believe that the battle against GMOs has been lost, and that it's time to reach for the consolation prize. The consolation prize they seek is a so-called "coexistence" between the biotech Behemoth and the organic community that will lull the public to sleep and greenwash the unpleasant fact that Monsanto's unlabeled and unregulated genetically engineered crops are now spreading their toxic genes on 1/3 of U.S. (and 1/10 of global) crop land.

WFM and most of the largest organic companies have deliberately separated themselves from anti-GMO efforts and cut off all funding to campaigns working to label or ban GMOs. The so-called Non-GMO Project, funded by Whole Foods and giant wholesaler United Natural Foods (UNFI) is basically a greenwashing effort (although the 100% organic companies involved in this project seem to be operating in good faith) to show that certified organic foods are basically free from GMOs (we already know this since GMOs are banned in organic production), while failing to focus on so-called "natural" foods, which constitute most of WFM and UNFI's sales and are routinely contaminated with GMOs.

From their "business as usual" perspective, successful lawsuits against GMOs filed by public interest groups such as the Center for Food Safety; or noisy attacks on Monsanto by groups like the Organic Consumers Association, create bad publicity, rattle their big customers such as Wal-Mart, Target, Kroger, Costco, Supervalu, Publix and Safeway; and remind consumers that organic crops and foods such as corn, soybeans, and canola are slowly but surely becoming contaminated by Monsanto's GMOs.

Whole Food's Dirty Little Secret: Most of the So-Called "Natural" Processed Foods and Animal Products They Sell Are Contaminated with GMOs

The main reason, however, why Whole Foods is pleading for coexistence with Monsanto, Dow, Bayer, Syngenta, BASF and the rest of the biotech bullies, is that they desperately want the controversy surrounding genetically engineered foods and crops to go away. Why? Because they know, just as we do, that 2/3 of WFM's $9 billion annual sales is derived from so-called "natural" processed foods and animal products that are contaminated with GMOs. We and our allies have tested their so-called "natural" products (no doubt WFM's lab has too) containing non-organic corn and soy, and guess what: they're all contaminated with GMOs, in contrast to their certified organic products, which are basically free of GMOs, or else contain barely detectable trace amounts.

Approximately 2/3 of the products sold by Whole Foods Market and their main distributor, United Natural Foods (UNFI) are not certified organic, but rather are conventional (chemical-intensive and GMO-tainted) foods and products disguised as "natural."

Unprecedented wholesale and retail control of the organic marketplace by UNFI and Whole Foods, employing a business model of selling twice as much so-called "natural" food as certified organic food, coupled with the takeover of many organic companies by multinational food corporations such as Dean Foods, threatens the growth of the organic movement.

Covering Up GMO Contamination: Perpetrating "Natural" Fraud

Many well-meaning consumers are confused about the difference between conventional products marketed as "natural," and those nutritionally/environmentally superior and climate-friendly products that are "certified organic."

Retail stores like WFM and wholesale distributors like UNFI have failed to educate their customers about the qualitative difference between natural and certified organic, conveniently glossing over the fact that nearly all of the processed "natural" foods and products they sell contain GMOs, or else come from a "natural" supply chain where animals are force-fed GMO grains in factory farms or Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs).

A troubling trend in organics today is the calculated shift on the part of certain large formerly organic brands from certified organic ingredients and products to so-called "natural" ingredients. With the exception of the "grass-fed and grass-finished" meat sector, most "natural" meat, dairy, and eggs are coming from animals reared on GMO grains and drugs, and confined, entirely, or for a good portion of their lives, in CAFOs.

Whole Foods and UNFI are maximizing their profits by selling quasi-natural products at premium organic prices. Organic consumers are increasingly left without certified organic choices while genuine organic farmers and ranchers continue to lose market share to "natural" imposters. It's no wonder that less than 1% of American farmland is certified organic, while well-intentioned but misled consumers have boosted organic and "natural" purchases to $80 billion annually-approximately 12% of all grocery store sales.

The Solution: Truth-in-Labeling Will Enable Consumers to Drive So-Called "Natural" GMO and CAFO-Tainted Foods Off the Market

There can be no such thing as "coexistence" with a reckless industry that undermines public health, destroys biodiversity, damages the environment, tortures and poisons animals, destabilizes the climate, and economically devastates the world's 1.5 billion seed-saving small farmers. There is no such thing as coexistence between GMOs and organics in the European Union. Why? Because in the EU there are almost no GMO crops under cultivation, nor GM consumer food products on supermarket shelves. And why is this? Because under EU law, all foods containing GMOs or GMO ingredients must be labeled. Consumers have the freedom to choose or not to choose GMOs; while farmers, food processors, and retailers have (at least legally) the right to lace foods with GMOs, as long as they are safety-tested and labeled. Of course the EU food industry understands that consumers, for the most part, do not want to purchase or consume GE foods. European farmers and food companies, even junk food purveyors like McDonald's and Wal-Mart, understand quite well the concept expressed by a Monsanto executive when GMOs first came on the market: "If you put a label on genetically engineered food you might as well put a skull and crossbones on it."

The biotech industry and Organic Inc. are supremely conscious of the fact that North American consumers, like their European counterparts, are wary and suspicious of GMO foods. Even without a PhD, consumers understand you don't want your food safety or environmental sustainability decisions to be made by out-of-control chemical companies like Monsanto, Dow, or Dupont - the same people who brought you toxic pesticides, Agent Orange, PCBs, and now global warming. Industry leaders are acutely aware of the fact that every single industry or government poll over the last 16 years has shown that 85-95% of American consumers want mandatory labels on GMO foods. Why? So that we can avoid buying them. GMO foods have absolutely no benefits for consumers or the environment, only hazards. This is why Monsanto and their friends in the Bush, Clinton, and Obama administrations have prevented consumer GMO truth-in-labeling laws from getting a public discussion in Congress.

Although Congressman Dennis Kucinich (Democrat, Ohio) recently introduced a bill in Congress calling for mandatory labeling and safety testing for GMOs, don't hold your breath for Congress to take a stand for truth-in-labeling and consumers' right to know what's in their food. Especially since the 2010 Supreme Court decision in the so-called "Citizens United" case gave big corporations and billionaires the right to spend unlimited amounts of money (and remain anonymous, as they do so) to buy media coverage and elections, our chances of passing federal GMO labeling laws against the wishes of Monsanto and Food Inc. are all but non-existent. Perfectly dramatizing the "Revolving Door" between Monsanto and the Federal Government, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, formerly chief counsel for Monsanto, delivered one of the decisive votes in the Citizens United case, in effect giving Monsanto and other biotech bullies the right to buy the votes it needs in the U.S. Congress.

With big money controlling Congress and the media, we have little choice but to shift our focus and go local. We've got to concentrate our forces where our leverage and power lie, in the marketplace, at the retail level; pressuring retail food stores to voluntarily label their products; while on the legislative front we must organize a broad coalition to pass mandatory GMO (and CAFO) labeling laws, at the city, county, and state levels.

The Organic Consumers Association, joined by our consumer, farmer, environmental, and labor allies, has just launched a nationwide Truth-in-Labeling campaign to stop Monsanto and the Biotech Bullies from force-feeding unlabeled GMOs to animals and humans.

Utilizing scientific data, legal precedent, and consumer power the OCA and our local coalitions will educate and mobilize at the grassroots level to pressure giant supermarket chains (Wal-Mart, Kroger, Costco, Safeway, Supervalu, and Publix) and natural food retailers such as Whole Foods and Trader Joe's to voluntarily implement "truth-in-labeling" practices for GMOs and CAFO products; while simultaneously organizing a critical mass to pass mandatory local and state truth-in-labeling ordinances - similar to labeling laws already in effect for country of origin, irradiated food, allergens, and carcinogens. If local and state government bodies refuse to take action, wherever possible we must attempt to gather sufficient petition signatures and place these truth-in-labeling initiatives directly on the ballot in 2011 or 2012. If you're interesting in helping organize or coordinate a Millions Against Monsanto and Factory Farms Truth-in-Labeling campaign in your local community, sign up here: http://organicconsumers.org/oca-volunteer/

To pressure Whole Foods Market and the nation's largest supermarket chains to voluntarily adopt truth-in-labeling practices sign here, and circulate this petition widely:

And please stay tuned to Organic Bytes for the latest developments in our campaigns.


Power to the People! Not the Corporations!

Ronnie Cummins
Organic Consumers Association"

If you got the chance to try Carol Román's Cuban Picadillo Pie, I'm certain you will have understood why it took the first place prize for the Savory category at the 4th Annual Brooklyn Pie Contest last weekend. It had all of the makings of a great dish: tender, flavorful, flaky crust and an abundantly meaty filling speckled with plantains, olives, raisins and spices. This is comfort food at it's finest and you could tell just by tasting it that a lot of time, love and care was poured into it. It was the perfect pie for a blustery Brooklyn night.

Carol was kind enough to send the winning recipe to me to share with my readers. I hope that you all will give it a try. It's not your average pie, as it's a bit more labor intensive, but it seems like a great winter meal for a special occasion or get together. You can make your own special occasion: Invite friends over this winter, crack open a bottle of red wine and get ready to enjoy what is easily one of the best savory pies I've ever tasted!

Please share your thoughts so I can pass them onto Carol. It's shockingly her first attempt at transcribing a recipe, but I think she's done a fantastic job. I hope this is just the first of many recipes she shares with us.

Carol's Cuban Picadillo Pie Jan 23 2011.jpg

Carol's Cuban Picadillo Pie
Recipe by Carol Román

This recipe was inspired by my wife who loves steak and everything latin. Instead of using ground beef
for a traditional picadillo, I used chunks of stew meat so that tasters may get the sensation of biting into
a well seasoned steak. Add a delicious pie crust and you've got yourself a winning pie. ¡Sí señores!

This recipe makes one 9 inch, deep dish style pie.


1 to1.5 lbs of Stew Beef chunks or ground meat

3 tbs. Vegetable oil and more for sautéing

1 cup White wine

2 tsp. Tomato paste

3 Bay leaves

2 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Black Pepper, freshly ground

3 Garlic cloves, grated

1 large Spanish onion, diced

13 large Green Olives, pimento stuffed

2 tbs. Brine, reserved from Olive jar

1 tbs. Capers

¾ cup Raisins, dark

½ stick Butter

1 ½ cups Beef stock

2 tsp. Cumin powder

1 tsp. Pimentón or smoked Paprika

1 medium Yellow Potato, cut into quarters

2 medium Carrots, cut in half

2 stalks Celery, cut in half

1 tsp. Cinnamon powder

2 medium Plantains, sweet yellow

Pinch Clove powder

1 medium Green bell pepper, diced

1 medium Red bell pepper, diced

1 tbs. Dried oregano

If using stew meat, cut larger chunks to bite size pieces. Over medium high flame, heat oil in a large
heavy pot to sear and brown meat. Remove meat from pot and place on a plate to rest where important
juices should be collecting. To the pot add ½ portion of onion, ½ portions of both red and green peppers,
½ portions of garlic and tomato paste and brown. Add ½ cup of the wine to pot and scrape off any
brown bits with a wooden spoon. Return meat and juices to the pot, add remaining wine and beef
stock. Add bay leaves, remaining onion, red and green peppers, garlic, cumin, pimentón, potato, carrots,
celery, cinnamon, clove and oregano and combine together. Raise heat to high and bring to a boil then
reduce to a simmer. Cover and continue to simmer for 20 minutes. Remove cover, discard celery and
bay leaves. Remove potato and carrots, cut into bite size pieces and reserve. Continue to simmer meat
mixture for twenty minutes, uncovered stirring occasionally. When liquid evaporates remove from pot
and transfer to a large bowl. Add cut carrot and potato pieces to bowl. In a medium saucepan melt ¼
stick of butter, add raisins until plump. Add raisins and olives, brine and capers to meat mixture and
gently combine everything. Allow mixture to cool for one hour. Cut off both ends of the plantains and
peel. Cut each in half then cut each half length wise to create ¼ inch thick strips. Melt other ¼ stick of
butter and brush on to each plantain strip. Place strips in a single layer in a roasting pan and cover with aluminum foil. Cook the plantains in the oven at 400° for about 15 minutes or until tender. Let cool.

Double Crust Dough:

2 sticks of Butter, cut into small pieces and well chilled

½ tsp. Adobo seasoning

1 pinch Saffron

5 tbs. Beef stock

1 small sprig Fresh oregano, leaves removed, roughly chopped

¼ tsp. Baking powder

2 ½ cups Flour, all purpose

More Flour for bench/ counter surface to roll dough out

Crumble saffron with fingers to the stock and heat in microwave on high for 30 seconds. Mixture should
only be warm. Immediately chill in bowl over an ice bath. Combine adobo, oregano, baking powder and
flour in a food processor until well incorporated. Add butter to processor and pulse approximately 4-
6 times until butter is well combined with the dry mixture but still detectable,. Then add chilled stock
mixture in a slow stream while processing continuously until the dough just comes together. Empty
dough onto a floured surface and with floured hands push dough together to make a thick rectangle.
Cut dough in half to make two flat round discs and wrap each disc with plastic. Chill dough in the fridge
to rest for at least an hour.

With rolling pin, roll one disc of the dough on a floured surface quickly and evenly until the diameter
measures about 12 inches wide and transfer unto the pie dish. Gently ease the dough into the sides of
the dish, trim overhang to ¼ inch. Dock the bottom of the dough with the tines of a fork. Chill dough
for approximately a half hour. Line bottom of pie dough with plantains approximately ½ inch thick and
layer cooled meat filling on top. Roll out second dough disc and place over filling. Crimp edges with a
scalloped design or with a fork and cut vents on top crust.

Carefully place pie on a rimmed cookie sheet and bake in a preheated 425° oven for approximately
40 minutes or until mixture is bubbling and dough is light golden in color. Let cool on wire rack for
approximately 45 minutes and serve while still warm.

I'm just going to be forthcoming: I've spent so much of the past month obsessing and stressing over this pie contest to raise funds for Growing Chefs that I don't think I have the energy to muster talking about it much more. Fortunately for you all, when people demand information from me, I do my best to supply. I'm going to keep it short and sweet and list the winners from last night and then share their recipes throughout the week.

The 1st Place Sweet Prize went to an unexpected pie. Unassuming, seemingly simple at first glance, the contents of this pie plate were flavorful and balanced, all contained in an amazing buttery crust. The judges from Baked, Momofuku Milk Bar and Four & Twenty Blackbirds could all be heard over the bustling crowd groaning with contentment after their first bite. You might assume that the pie in question would be boiling over with chocolate fudge, salted caramel or some other rich and sensual ingredient but you would be incorrect.

The pie that won was a simple Shaker Lemon Pie! GASP!

lemonshaker.jpg (photo courtesy of the baker)

Made from thinly sliced and sugared fresh lemons (peel and all), this pie was baked by Gerald Gold from a recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen. Reminiscent lemon curd or marmalade, the filling was appropriately tart and sweet and enrobed in a flaky-but-firm half butter, half shortening crust. The judges were pleased by the simplicity of the finished product and fresh, vibrant flavor it provided.

I definitely recommend trying out this recipe in the summertime (I plan to!). I can imagine this would be a perfect addition to a BBQ with a pitcher of iced sun tea! Great job, Gerald!


Game-Planning for Spring

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With all of the stressing about money and future projects going on in my life right now I've been kind of forgetting that I've got existing projects to manage and plan for this Spring. I'm going to be heading to Newton Farm sometime in March so I'm going to have to spend as much of February as makes logical sense to get our little backyard garden and beekeeping projects throughout Brooklyn in working order.

Our compost bin is currently overflowing. There's some nicely broken down humus in there capped with about 6 inches of chicken poo-speckled sawdust, leaves and veggie scraps, so as soon as there is a warm day towards the end of February, I'm going to have to go out, turn it over and shovel all of the good bits into a new bed which we are reserving for a hefty amount of herbs. We're tearing down the largest of our beds because of some structural flaws...Who knows what will go in it's place. I told Katrina we should plant some dwarf apple trees but I don't think she's sold on that.

The chicken run is looking pretty haggard at the moment too. It's fairly clean smelling and cozy but just looks a mess. We started off with untreated wood mulch to fill the frame (which also needs some repairs) that is situated on top of a cement extension of the patio. Over the past year the mulch has broken down and we've turned in more of it as well as straw, sawdust, grass clippings, coffee chaff ....you name a dry, organic (and free!) material and it's been added to the run to make it clean and comfortable for the ladies. But now it's time to do an overhaul of the whole thing. All of the material on the floor of the run is coming out and going in the new compost area. We'll likely repeat the same process as before.

yuckyrun.JPG (Run in it's current state, less snow. I guess it's not TOO bad)

I've also got to start planning our Spring garden! I've got to practice some real restraint this season. Since I will only be in Brooklyn half of the time, I want to be sure that I am growing low-maintenance crops for the household. In addition to not really being here as often as before, I'll be able to bring produce home with me from Newton Farm, so I want to make sure that I am not growing something that I'll already be getting from there. I'm thinking that sticking to tomatoes, herbs, beans and potatoes will be our best bet since whatever we don't eat can be stored or canned. The squirrels pretty much eat everything else anyway. Especially lettuces and kale which just happen to be my favorites. Jerks.

Yes, and the bees! Oh man, how could I forget them? I've got to meet up with my lovely partners in beekeeping (non)crime, Annie Novak of Eagle Street Rooftop Farm and Stacey Murphey of BK Farmyards. February is a good time to start planning on emergency feeding your bees so that they don't starve. Truthfully, I don't think all of our hives are going to need it since we were very conservative with any harvesting we did this past summer. In any case, I will be prepping fondant for them as a precaution. Once they make it to April, Maples and Oaks will be blooming and we'll see the first bits of golden pollen coming in on the flanks of our winged friends.


(Stacey Murphy with our Crown Heights bees)

We then have to start preparing for swarm season. Swarms are a reproductive division of a strong colony (a good thing!) It is an intimidating sight to behold but the bees themselves are quite docile in this state. They've eaten their fill of honey to transport to a new home and for the first day or so after swarming, it's actually quite difficult for them to extend their stinger. All that aside, since we live in a densely populated area, I want to do my best to keep this from happening. My plan is to do some early alleviation of crowding in the brood nest, perhaps make some splits and set up a couple of bait nucs for good measure. Heck, maybe the bait nucs will catch someone else's swarming bees! That could be kind of cool.

I'm super fortunate this year because I've taken on two very wonderful and dedicated beekeeping apprentices that started working with me this past Summer. Nicole and Patricia will be learning hands-on all season how to inspect beehives, diagnose illnesses and identify pests, harvest honey and lots more. It will be great to be able to call on some folks to go check on some hives in a pinch if I won't be nearby. I'll tell you more about these fantastic ladies in a future post.

And that's about it. I guess I should quit blathering on about it and get cracking, eh?

Times have been pretty lean for me since May.

Leaving the security of a salaried job with benefits during the worst recession of my lifetime was a pretty risky decision. When you consider that I left to pursue a career in beekeeping and backyard homesteading... Well, you may as well strap a straight jacket on me because it's totally crazy. I had no idea what I was doing. Still don't. But when my gut speaks, I often take heed. My instincts haven't lead me astray so far.

Since the start of my self-imposed foray into the world of underemployment I've taken on some random jobs here and there. Babysitting, selling high-end kitchen supplies in a cool Brooklyn shop, social media consulting. Each experience had it's merit. I've met really wonderful people, had some laughs, made some money, but ultimately it always led to this nagging feeling that I was being distracted from my goal: To learn everything I can about growing food any apply it to my life, wherever I am. And to find someone to pay me to talk about it so I can keep a roof over my head. It sounds much less noble when I put it in terms of monetary compensation, but it's the truth. It's expensive to live here, but I AM here so I have to make it work. I refuse to be distracted further from that goal, but since then the quality of my life has take a few hits.

I think I've done a pretty good job of making do. I mean, right now I have $75 in my bank account until some checks start rolling in (which any freelancer knows happens whenever people get around to writing 'em) but my pantry is full for now and I've got a great companion in Neil who gives me tremendous moral support. For some odd reason he tells me he is proud of me, often. It's a considerable comfort when most other things in my life feel so tenuous and uncertain. I've never before been as poor as I am right now, but I feel pretty lucky. Every day I get to wake up in a warm bed with some soft, fat cats on my belly purring for their breakfast and a lanky, wonderful bean by my side. I eat well most days either by my own hand or by the hands of my talented and generous circle of food-centric comrades. I have great friends that look out for me and throw promising opportunities my way. And by and large they are great ones that have the potential to help me keep my head above water.

newtonfarm.jpg Photo courtesy of Newton Farm

Ah, opportunities! The future! That is what excites me most about my life currently. I'm happy to announce that starting in March I will be dividing my time between Brooklyn and Newton Farm up in the Catskill Valley. I'll be working with Lynn Loflin, a long-time NYC restaurateur, and her partner Rupert Newton to grow vegetables, raise fifty egg-laying hens and start up some country beehives for honey and pollination. In addition, I'll be keeping bees for a well-known hospitality group in the area, teaching classes as often as possible and possibly writing a book, provided anyone would want to read what I have to say about anything.

So that's a pretty good start, right? Can I stop being scared shitless now and just enjoy what's coming?

It's on y'all! Make sure you read the rules before you show up!


To find out about Growing Chefs, Annie Novak's Field-to-Fork education program please visit GrowingChefs.org

<3 M

I'm going to just come out and say it: I don't believe in "resolutions". Most of the time a resolution is nothing more than a goal that you didn't care enough about to reach the year previously. If I really cared about losing 10 lbs or learning to play chess, I wouldn't wait around for the rigidity and high rate of failure that comes with a New Years Resolution. That is just me, though. If I want to do something, I do it. I don't need a new year to motivate me to get'r dun.

That being said, I feel really good about last year. Individual progress had been made in leaps and bounds. I've become better at a lot of things, made a great number of truly wonderful friends and acquaintances, failed at some things but LEARNED A LOT in the process. I took a big risk quitting my well-paying and secure job during a recession and found that "money comes easily and frequently" if you are willing to work smart, improvise and hustle a little.

The focus of 2011 for me will be in building on what I've already got going, keeping up the momentum. At first I thought that making money would be more beneficial and wise goal, but I've realized in recent months that if I make profits the impetus for hard work, my heart suffers for it. Not to say that being fiscally solvent is not something I desire. I do desire it. But I also know one thing about myself that is true above all things: I am resilient and resourceful. If I need money, I'll find a way to get it. But now, I will focus on becoming the person I dream of being. As you can see below, my goals all follow the progress I've been making and direction that I've already been heading.

For 2011 I will:

-Become more consistent about documenting my gardening and beekeeping. I fall short on this and I know it

-Learn how to grow vegetables in a production setting. (Which I will be doing starting in March!)

-Create the most bangin' home office so I can write my book in relative comfort.

-Raise and slaughter some chickens and rabbits and make something delicious with them so as to honor their sacrifice properly.

-Develop my skills as an instructor and continue to inspire anyone and everyone to take up growing food in whatever capacity they can!

-Get massages as often as needed and brush my teeth before bed EVERY night.

Happy New Year, everyone!

<3 M

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This page is an archive of entries from January 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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