April 30, 2012

Building a 6' x 3' Redwood Raised Bed Planter for under $50

This project uses the following:
*6 dog-eared picket fence pieces (@$2.35 per)
*One piece of eight foot redwood rough board (2x2x8 @$2.97)
*36 wood screws
*4.5 bags of garden soil (@$2.47/per.  this expense can be eliminated through craigslist)
*50ft of polytubing
*36ft of emitter tubing
*free horse compost from craigslist

Four of those fence boards will be used for the sides (two per side).  The rough board is used as the joining pieces in the corner (cut to 16" lenghts) and to anchor the finished bed in the ground.  Always pre-drill the holes in the wood to avoid cracking the wood.  Also, note how the corners come together in the photos, with the screws coming in at complimentary heights in the woods to minimize the stress on the wood.  The horse compost seemed well aged, and i've heard of people planting stuff straight into it without a problem (potatoes).  Bagged garden soil was mixed in with the compost to balance it out a bit.  Poly tubing connects up with emitter tubing, 12 inch spacing between tubing (emitters are built in 12 inches apart)

They may be too short (only 11 inches tall) but you can always add another fence piece or two, so long as you cut your rough board longer.  Seems like they would be perfect for shallow rooted crops.  We'll see how well they hold up.   


"la accion es la madre de la esperanza."

-Pablo Neruda

Slow Food For Thought, Eric Schlosser

Slow Food for Thought

Eric Schlosser | September 3, 2008

"Come to the Table" was the motto of Slow Food Nation '08, and over the Labor Day weekend roughly 60,000 people heeded the call, gathering in San Francisco to eat organic food, meet local farmers and listen to panel discussions about the future of sustainable agriculture. The plaza in front of City Hall was transformed into a fruit and vegetable garden flanked by an outdoor market. An exhibition space at Fort Mason, near the waterfront, featured "taste pavilions" with artisanal foods and meals prepared by well-known chefs. Measured solely by attendance, the first get-together of this kind in the United States was an unqualified success. The crowds were large, the lines were long and almost all the events were sold out. The food and the weather were terrific. Among the many vegans and carnivores, the cheese lovers, wine connoisseurs, raw milk advocates, biodynamic farmers, locavores and chocolatiers, a consensus emerged that what had previously been considered a slogan--"slow food"--was now a genuine social movement. Largely missing, however, was a group of people who will ultimately determine whether this movement gains importance beyond the Bay Area: the workers who harvest, process and serve the food we eat.

The idea of slow food has its origins in the Northern Italian counterculture of the 1970s. While American hippies were forming communes and going back to the land, some of their socialist counterparts in Italy were embracing the traditional music, food and agriculture of life in the rural Piedmont region. Carlo Petrini, a brilliant and charismatic journalist, became the leading spokesman for the notion that there is nothing contradictory about championing pleasure and working for change. After staging a protest at a new McDonald's near Rome's Spanish Steps, Petrini and his allies issued a Slow Food Manifesto in 1987. "We are enslaved by speed," it declared, "and have all succumbed to the same insidious virus: Fast Life." Two years later, the manifesto was endorsed by delegates from fifteen countries, as the destructiveness of a mechanized, industrialized food system became increasingly clear. Today, Slow Food International has about 85,000 members in more than 100 countries.

At the heart of Petrini's Slow Food philosophy is a set of fundamental values that aim to distance its celebration of pleasure from mindless decadence. According to the Slow Food trinity, food must be "good, clean, and fair." The "good" refers to taste; the "clean," to local, organic, sustainable means of production; and "fair," to a system committed to social justice.

I never made it into any of the taste pavilions at Slow Food Nation, where the ideal of "good" was amply represented. During panel discussions billed as "Food for Thought," the movement's leading writers and intellectuals discussed the harms that modern agriculture is imposing on the world. Patrick Holden, who heads the largest organics group in Britain, warned that the coming shortage of fossil fuels would consign industrial agriculture to the dustbin of history. According to Holden, ten calories of fossil fuel energy are now required to produce each calorie of food. The rising prices of basic inputs--such as the natural gas necessary to produce fertilizers, the petroleum that allows long-distance trucking of livestock, the jet fuel that brings strawberries from New Zealand--will force a return to more traditional farming methods. Vandana Shiva, a passionate defender of India's small farmers and opponent of genetically modified foods, argued that free trade was actually "forced trade," imposing the needs of multinational agribusiness upon Third World economies. And Michael Pollan, author, most recently, of In Defense of Food, explained how the latest US farm bill is really a "food bill," providing subsidies to the manufacture of unhealthy, processed foods while maintaining high prices for healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables. Most panelists, including myself, signed an admirable twelve-point Declaration for Healthy Food and Agriculture.

The handful of labor activists at the gathering put the larger, theoretical critiques in the right perspective. José Padilla, executive director of California Rural Legal Assistance, displayed four photographs of farmworker housing in San Diego County--wooden shacks draped with plastic garbage bags. He read the names of farmworkers who have died on the job this year from heatstroke. And he gave a grim account of routine sexual harassment in the fields. Greg Asbed and Lucas Benitez, representing the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, described some of the terrible conditions in Florida agriculture, challenging the audience to care as much about human rights as they already seemed to care about animal rights. And at a sparsely attended session far from the crowds in the main auditorium, Saru Jayaraman, co-director of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, made an eloquent plea on behalf of the 13 million restaurant workers in the United States. Jayaraman spoke about workers who could never hope to afford the meals they prepare and serve, who toil long hours for low wages, who rarely get sick pay or vacations.

Legendary chef Alice Waters has for years been the driving force behind Slow Food USA. In addition to having remarkably good taste, Waters has a passion for social justice deeply embedded in her bones. While other famous chefs have used their names to promote frozen dinners, open restaurant outlets in airports and build gourmet empires, she has focused her energy on bringing nutritional education and healthy food to children in America's public schools.

The first Slow Food Nation partly fulfilled Waters's broad agenda. It earned high marks for the good and the clean but next time could do a hell of a lot better with the fair. At the moment, the majority of Americans--ordinary working people, the poor, people of color--do not have a seat at this table. The movement for sustainable agriculture has to reckon with the simple fact that it will never be sustainable without these people. Indeed, without them it runs the risk of degenerating into a hedonistic narcissism for the few. Wendell Berry--the great poet and novelist whose book The Unsettling of America, more than any other, inspired the current assault on the fast food mentality--says that "eating is an agricultural act." That means we are all co-producers, choosing a certain set of values with every bite. Does it matter whether an heirloom tomato is local and organic if it was harvested with slave labor? That was the question I asked the audience at Slow Food Nation. The answer is obvious, and it's one that this movement needs to address.

Cuatro Caminos Collective

*Meaningful Work,
*Wholesome Local Food,
*Appropriate Technology,
*Intergenerational/Cross-Cultural Dialogue and 


How to Preserve Avocados in the Freezer


Cuatro Caminos Collective

*Meaningful Work,
*Wholesome Local Food,
*Appropriate Technology,
*Intergenerational/Cross-Cultural Dialogue and 


April 26, 2012

Culpado por Collapse Bee, Monsanto compra empresa líder de Investigación de Abejas

Is Facebook Making Us Lonely? - The Atlantic

"I fear that we are beginning to design ourselves to suit digital models of us, and I worry about a leaching of empathy and humanity in that process."

Jaron Lanier, the author of You Are Not a Gadget; one of the inventors of virtual-reality technology. 


"la accion es la madre de la esperanza."

-Pablo Neruda

Springtime in Sanger

Here are some pictures of all the activity going on in Sanger.  The broken down straw and local compost, coupled with some good spring rain have helped to make this once barren plot really come alive.


"la accion es la madre de la esperanza."

-Pablo Neruda

April 18, 2012

Farm group seeks US halt on 'dangerous' GE crop chemicals

Cuatro Caminos Collective

From: Thomas Wittman <info@eco-farm.org>
Date: Wed, 18 Apr 2012 11:36:12 -0400 (EDT)
To: <ivcaminos@gmail.com>
ReplyTo: info@eco-farm.org
Subject: Farm group seeks US halt on 'dangerous' GE crop chemicals

EcoFarm Logo

Genetic Engineering News List

Dear Readers,
   This article from Reuters in the UK (not here in the USA)  shows that American farmers understand all to well the dangers of bringing back these extremely toxic chemicals to support a failed technology.  Why the US press is not carrying this story shows the power of corporations over the press.  Now would be the time for news media to get this kind of information to the public, before our food system is in total ruins.

Farm group seeks US halt on 'dangerous' crop chemicals
Carey Gillam
Reuters, April 18 2012

A coalition of more than 2,000 U.S. farmers and food companies said Wednesday it
is taking legal action to force government regulators to analyze potential
problems with proposed biotech crops and the weed-killing chemicals to be
sprayed over them.

Dow AgroSciences, a unit of Dow Chemical, and Monsanto Co. are among several
global chemical and seed companies racing to roll out combinations of
genetically altered crops and new herbicides designed to work with the crops as
a way to counter rapidly spreading herbicide-resistant weeds that are choking
millions of acres of U.S. farmland.

Dow and Monsanto say the new chemical combinations and new crops that tolerate
those chemicals are badly needed by corn, soybean and cotton farmers as weeds
increasingly resist treatments of the most commonly used herbicide -
glyphosate-based Roundup.

"They (farmers) need this new technology," said Dow AgroScience Joe Vertin,
global business leader for Dow's new herbicide-protected crops called "Enlist."

But critics say key ingredients in these new herbicides - 2,4-D for Dow and
dicamba for Monsanto - already are in use in the marketplace and have proved
damaging to "non-target" fields because they are hard to keep on target. Wind,
heat and humidity can move the chemical particles miles down the road, damaging
gardens, crops, trees. Many farms have suffered significant damage in recent
years even though the chemicals are currently sprayed under tight restrictions.

"These are the most dangerous chemicals out there," said John Bode, a Washington
lawyer hired by the Save Our Crops Coalition. Bode served as assistant Secretary
of Agriculture in the Reagan administration.

Unlike many other protestors of new biotech crops, the coalition comprises many
grower groups that use and support biotechnology. This is not a biotech
complaint, they say, but one focused on the danger of the chemicals to be used
with the biocrops.

"The danger that 2,4-D and dicamba pose is a real threat to crops...nearly every
food crop," said Steve Smith, director of agriculture at Red Gold, the world's
largest canned tomato processor, and a leader of the Save Our Crops Coalition.

The coalition represents more than 2,000 farmers and groups such as the Indiana
Vegetable Growers Association, the Ohio Produce Growers and Marketers
Association, and major food processors Seneca and Red Gold.

Over the last four years, more than $1 million in damages have been filed in
lawsuits and insurance claims by Midwestern growers who have suffered crop
losses due to 2,4-D and dicamba that has drifted onto their farms, Smith said.

Those losses would increase with the new herbicide-tolerant crops because
farmers would then be spraying more of the herbicides and later in the growing
season, the coalition says.

In their legal petitions, the group is asking the Department of Agriculture
(USDA) to conduct an environmental impact study on the ramifications of a
release of a new 2,4-D tolerant corn that is to be accompanied by Dow's new
herbicide mix containing both 2,4-D and glyphosate. It wants a similar
environmental impact statement on the dicamba and glyphosate herbicide tolerant
crops being developed by Monsanto.

The coalition is also demanding the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
conduct a Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) meeting and appoint advisors to the
panel to address herbicide spray drift.

The legal petitions are provided for as part of the regulatory process and
require a response from the agencies before petitioners can file suit to force a

Dow's plans to roll out as early as 2013 its 2,4-D tolerant corn and new 2,4-D
based herbicide as the "Enlist Weed Control System" is a hot button issue for
many groups because of high profile problems in the past with 2,4-D, which was a
component of Agent Orange defoliant used in Vietnam.

A separate petition started by the Center for Food Safety says that 2,4-D, will
"likely harm people and their children, including farmers, and the environment"
and says USDA has not properly assessed the impacts of Dow's plan for a new
2,4-D based crop system.

Dow AgroSciences executives say the fears are unwarranted as their herbicide
formulation does not have the problematic "drift" and volatility problems that
other 2,4-D formulations have that cause farms even miles away to be impacted
when one farmer sprays the herbicide on his fields.

Dow says as long as farmers use their formulation under their specifications,
they would not have the same problems associated with current versions of 2,4-D
on the market.

"We're highly into stewardship and want to be sure the farmers get this right,"
said Dow spokeswoman Kenda Resler-Friend.

"Nobody wants trouble with their neighbor. They want to do the right thing."
Kenda Resler-Friend.

Coalition members say no matter how good Dow's formulation might be, generic
versions of 2,4-D on the market will be much cheaper and many farmers will use
those more volatile versions on the new 2,4-D tolerant crops.

(Editing by Ryan Woo)
The Genetic Engineering News is produced by Thomas Wittman and EcoFarm, and supported by a generous donation from the Newman's Own Foundation.  Please pass this vital information on.  If you would like to get on this list go to www.eco-farm.org and select Newsletters.

Follow us on Twitter

Find us on Facebook
This email was sent to ivcaminos@gmail.com by info@eco-farm.org |  
Ecological Farming Association | 406 Main Street, Suite 313 | Watsonvillle | CA | 95076

April 12, 2012

Whittier Area-Composted horse manure deliuered to your door, $45 per truck load.

April 11, 2012

Locally Grown,Organic Tomato Seedlings For Sale-San Gabriel Valley $4

Locally grown, organic tomato seedlings are ready to plant. Bred
using locally generated compost, these seedlings have been hardening
off in the outdoors for several weeks. 60 plants are available which

Mortgage Lifter
Black From Tula
Mandarin Orange
Kellogg Breakfast
Lillian's Yellow
German Red Strawberry
Black Stupice
Old German

There's probably no more than 8 plants per variety. Delivery may be
available (Whittier and surrounding area, $10 fee).


The View from La Habra Heights Today

Canned Loquats

1. Pick fruit
2. Wash and sort (throw out bad ones)
3. Throw fruit into boiling water for 30
Seconds and then into cool water.
4. Peel off loquat skin
5. Cut in half and remove seeds
6. Place into canning jars up to 1 inch
From top (don't pack in). Cover.
with light syrup (2cups sugar,
4cups water.
7. Screw on lids tight and hot water.
bath for 20 minutes

April 09, 2012

It’s Not a Fairytale: Seattle to Build Nation’s First Food Forest

Thanks to Erica Reiss for the 411.


Cuatro Caminos Collective

*Meaningful Work,
*Wholesome Local Food,
*Appropriate Technology,
*Intergenerational/Cross-Cultural Dialogue and


Roundup can cause amphibians to change shape

Cuatro Caminos Collective

From: Thomas Wittman <info@eco-farm.org>
Date: Fri, 6 Apr 2012 12:30:49 -0400 (EDT)
To: <ivcaminos@gmail.com>
ReplyTo: info@eco-farm.org
Subject: Roundup can cause amphibians to change shape

EcoFarm Logo

Genetic Engineering News List

EcoFarm Logo

Genetic Engineering News List

New Study Is First to Show That Pesticides Can Induce Morphological Changes in
Vertebrate Animals, Says Pitt Researcher

When exposed to the popular herbicide Roundup, tadpoles change shape in ways
that are normally induced by predators

University of Pittsburgh, March 30 2012

B. Rose Huber



Cell: 412-328-6008

PITTSBURGH- The world's most popular weed killer, Roundup, can cause amphibians
to change shape, according to research published today in Ecological

Rick Relyea, University of Pittsburgh professor of biological sciences in the
Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and director of Pitt's
Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology, demonstrated that sublethal and
environmentally relevant concentrations of Roundup® caused two species of
amphibians to alter their morphology. According to Relyea, this is the first
study to show that a pesticide can induce morphological changes in a vertebrate

Relyea set up large outdoor water tanks that contained many of the components of
natural wetlands. Some tanks contained caged predators, which emit chemicals
that naturally induce changes in tadpole morphology (such as larger tails to
better escape predators). After adding tadpoles to each tank, he exposed them to
a range of Roundup® concentrations. After 3 weeks, the tadpoles were removed
from the tanks.

"It was not surprising to see that the smell of predators in the water induced
larger tadpole tails," says Relyea. "That is a normal, adaptive response. What
shocked us was that the Roundup® induced the same changes. Moreover, the
combination of predators and Roundup® caused the tail changes to be twice as
large." Because tadpoles alter their body shape to match their environment,
having a body shape that does not fit the environment can put the animals at a
distinct disadvantage.

Predators cause tadpoles to change shape by altering the stress hormones of
tadpoles, says Relyea. The similar shape changes when exposed to Roundup®
suggest that Roundup® may interfere with the hormones of tadpoles and
potentially many other animals.

"This discovery highlights the fact that pesticides, which are important for
crop production and human health, can have unintended consequences for species
that are not the pesticide's target," says Relyea. "Herbicides are not designed
to affect animals, but we are learning that they can have a wide range of
surprising effects by altering how hormones work in the bodies of animals. This
is important because amphibians not only serve as a barometer of the ecosystem's
health, but also as an indicator of potential dangers to other species in the
food chain, including humans."

For two decades, Relyea has studied community ecology, evolution, disease
ecology, and ecotoxicology. He has authored more than 80 scientific articles and
book chapters and has presented research seminars around the world. For more
information about his laboratory, visit www.pitt.edu/~relyea/.
The Genetic Engineering News is produced by Thomas Wittman and EcoFarm, and supported by a generous donation from the Newman's Own Foundation.  Please pass this vital information on.  If you would like to get on this list go to www.eco-farm.org and select Newsletters.

Follow us on Twitter

Find us on Facebook
This email was sent to ivcaminos@gmail.com by info@eco-farm.org |  
Ecological Farming Association | 406 Main Street, Suite 313 | Watsonvillle | CA | 95076

April 03, 2012

Drip Irrigation Primer (5-5)

Close-up on the header:
The barbs just poke into the polytubing (black stuff) and compression fit into the microtubing (brown stuff).  Those are new designs on those barbs, allowing for some "purchase", extra grip to shove them into the poly easier

Drip Irrigation Primer (4-5)

The emitters are built right into the line at a spacing of 12".  The optimum working distance for this stuff is 35'.  The ends are plugged using goof plugs, the line held down using ground staples

Drip Irrigation Primer (3-5)

Water valve, Backflow preventer, manual timer, water hose.  Additionally, you could include a filter and a pressure regulator.  Also, you can swap out the manual timer for an electric one and have the water kick on at programmed hours (early and late).  The polytubing, also also, could go right into the faucet (on this setup it does not)

Drip Garden Irrigation Primer (2-5)

Here's another "header" setup.  This one uses a less desirable valve to control water flow through the header (The green valves in #1 are easier to work with and also provide more flow)

Drip Garden Irrigation Primer (1-5)

A drip garden irrigation system can maximize one's ability to grow food at home by effectively and efficiently delivering water (and potentially nutrients) directly to the plants one wishes to promote and (ideally) not to the ones that you don't want.

Here you see a basic "header" setup:  elbow coupling, valve, polytubing, barb connector, and brown microtubing

"la accion es la madre de la esperanza."

-Pablo Neruda

Cuatro Caminos Calendar