Saturday, September 19, 2009

Wow, Israel's really small, and what else is new?

"In 2008, Israelis consumed 3,500 tons of honey. About 40 percent of that amount is eaten in September, when Israelis buy about 1,500 tons,as Jews seek to “sweeten” the New Year. It is part of almost every meal: from the ceremonial apples dipped in honey, to sweet breads, honey cakes, and roast chicken or beef glazed in honey. Apple statistics are even more encouraging: The average Israeli eats about 125 apples a year.

Most people notice the difference between dark honey, whose source is avocado or eucalyptus nectar, and the lighter kinds, from citrus or wildflower nectar. Dark honey contains more minerals: potassium, iron, phosphorus, sodium and magnesium. It is suited to dishes associated with winter, such as stews, and those made with meat. Lighter honey goes well with summery dishes: vegetables, chicken, fruit and vegetable salads, yogurt. The honeys range from a dark amber one made from the jujube trees that grow near the northern border with Lebanon -- a honey so fruity it almost tastes like creamed bubble gum -- to the sharp golden sweet-and-sour sage and thyme honey from the hills around Jerusalem.

According to information provided by the Israel Honey Council, Israel’s 500 honey farmers maintain 90,000 hives, producing 8 million pounds of the sticky sweet stuff. Even this is not enough to quench the Israeli sweet tooth. In recent years, lack of rainwater has affected the avocado, citrus, and other crops on which beekeepers rely for pollen, and honey production has decreased by almost 25%. So, ironically, the Land of Milk and Honey imported 1,300 tons of honey in 2008, up from 940 tons the year before."

"Beekeepers also face stiff competition from producers of artificial honey, and sporadic theft of hives by Arabs. Still, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics, the apiaries are injecting over $10 million of consumer goods into the Israeli economy each year."

And then...

"An Israeli company is producing embryos from highly productive milk cows, aiming to introduce the Israeli super cow to the global market.

Levanon gazes indifferently at the leafy landscape, unaware that she has been labeled Mother of the Year. Being a cow, it probably makes no difference to her anyway. But by the end of next year, she will be the proud mother of as many as 100 offspring, most of whom she will never see."

And then there is this interesting article about some of Israel plans for their water supply.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What did most people do 150 years ago?

Here's a really neat interactive graph of reported occupations over the last 150 years in the U.S.

Job Voyager

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sustainable Ashland Videos

This is Ashland's local paper's video channel on Local Sustainability. Lots of really cool videos, particularly my friend Josh Shupak's Neighborhood Harvest program, a local business that manufactures elecric motorcycles, the local farmer's markets and a nearby biodynamic farm.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

On the front page again! This time in Ashland

Here is a link to the article about WWOOFing in Ashland, Oregon.

My fifteen minutes isn't over yet! Other top stories include the hot high school soccer team and a lemonade stand. Those two WWOOFers are clearly not me but, they didn't get interviewed, so ha!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

What's new in Organic Farming?

Nothing is new in Organic Farming. The basic principles have been practiced for over 10,000 years. It interests me that people always want to know what's new, and people's interest get really piqued if their is technology or chemistry involved. So when people ask me whats new in organic farming, I tell them there is nothing new under the sun. If anything, we have most certainly lost countless amounts of knowledge and experience related to living in harmony with the planet.

I wonder how many people are living in the world today living a lifestyle similar to that of their great grand parents. We, the "civilized" portion of humanity, talk of moving forward, of a better tomorrow. But how have we made our lives better than they were ten years ago, or twenty, or one hundred?

Look at the most civilized of civilized societies, America. Are we happier than we were ten years ago? Are we healthier? Wealthier? Wiser?

What's new in organic farming? Well for one, anybody can do it. That's not actually a new idea, but we most certainly forgot that. Anybody can grow food, anywhere. Whether you live in a house with a yard front and back, or you live in an apartment in the city, you can grow vegetables, herbs, and fruit. The number of people growing food in America has doubled in the last two years due to the economic whatever we are living in. Farmers markets are actually doing less business because more people are growing their own food.

I've never had my own garden, if you can believe that. But, I've made it a goal to have a garden this year. When I go back to Ashland, I'm gonna find a place where I can have a small garden. And it will feel so good.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Shalom Oregon. I shall return.

Tonight I fly to New Jersey for two weeks with my family and friends, and then it's off to Israel for a month with more family and friends. Now is a great time to take stock of the last seven months.

On February 1st I landed in Los Angeles and began WWOOFing and traveling my way North to Oregon. In three months I visited over a dozen farms, ranches, and homesteads. I saw small backyard gardens, large market gardens, CSAs, vineyards, and farmers markets. I met farmers as young as twenty and as old as eighty five. There were entrepeneurs, hippies, ex-hippies, hermits, Rich hobby farmers, and Hari Krishnas.

I slept in my tent, in barns, in cozy rooms, in smelly rooms, and cabins.

I finally made it to Oregon and spent the last four months in Coquille, at the Mountain Homestead Intentional Community. I helped build a recycled concrete(Urbanite) foundation, prepared a new food forest, learned how to live in a dynamic community, took part in a three day search and rescue, baked bread, picked cherries, went to a barn dance, played some great tunes for great people, played naked bocce on my birthday, gathered wild mushrooms from the forest, cared for a beautiful old woman, drank lots of wine, and went to a traditional Native American sweat lodge.

It's been a great year, and this past week in Ashland has been great. Potluck dinners, Farmers markets, driving to the Applegate valley full of small farms. Everywhere I go, people are coming together to make their lives better one step at a time. There is inspiration everywhere and it fills me with such energy and motivation to participate any way I can.

Everybody has the ability to make their world a better place to live in. You don't have to buy a hybrid to change your life. Grow food, please!!! No matter if you live in a house, apartment, wherever, you can grow vegetables and herbs. Talk to your neighbors, please!!! You can build strong relationships and help each other out with almost anything. Support your local community. Your neighbors have skills that you could use. Local businesses, local banks. Go to your local farmers markets, there are really cool people in your area growing delicious foods. Start looking around your town for fruit and nut trees, trust me they're there and many of them never get picked. Local businesses throw out tons of perfectly good food products everyday. Baked goods,dairy products, donuts, etc. Stop buying so much stuff. Ask yourself, do I really need it and how long will it last before I'm forced to buy another one.

I can't wait to come back to Ashland and start taking my own advice. It's gonna be grand!