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The last month’s second blogging homework assignment was to list, “The Ten Best Gardening Blogs.” What a tough assignment! I culled through many!

I changed the title to, “Interesting Gardening Blogs.” Who am I to say what the best is/was??? The list below are ones that I found to be interesting, useful or both. I hope you will too.

1. Skippy’s Vegetable Garden: http://www.carletongarden.blogspot.com/
2. http://www.the Yarden.com
3. http://www.FarmGirlFare.com
4. BGgarden.com/blog:http:// www.bhg.com/blogs/…gardens-blogger
5.  A way to garden: http://www.awaytogarden.com
6.  http://www.blogmetrics.org/gardening
7.  http:// www.blogmetrics.org/gardening
8.  http:// www.6ftmama.com/the-best-garden-blogs-of-2013/
9.  http:// www.gardenguru.net
10. http://www.dorthytheorganizer.com
11.  http://www.theorganicgardener.net

One Earth Film Festival: Cowspiracy

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Saturday morning (March 7, 2015) I helped register attendees to One Earth Film Festival for the screening of “Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret,” presented by Elmhurst College and Elmhurst Cool Cities Coalition. The movie was long, but the conclusion tied the pieces together. This movie was a part of a whole weekend of movies, most centered in Oak Park, IL but with extensions into other parts of Chicago-land. For more information visit:
http://www.greencommunityconnections.org/one-earth-film-fest/
https://www.facebook.com/GreenCommunityConnections

Cowspiracy follows filmmaker Kip Andersen as he explores large-scale factory farming, described as the most destructive industry facing the planet today, and one that the world’s leading environmental organizations are too afraid to talk about.

cowspiracy

I consider myself a reasonable steward of Planet Earth. We reuse, recycle and repurpose as much as we can. I grow vegetables; often buy organic, use the high efficiency light bulbs, and compost. I’ve eliminated smelly commercial cleaning compounds (they make me gag) and have returned to using “grandmother’s cleaning tools” (i.e., baking soda or vinegar and water or Thieves Household Cleaner (by Young Living).

I am a dairy farmer’s daughter and grew up drinking raw milk and eating meat from our slaughtered cows–plus we had a huge vegetable garden. The last two years of college and in my early marriage years, like other young females my age, I was largely vegetarian. My reasons were health-centric.

When children arrived my focus shifted and meat became a more routine part of our eating. I wanted it to be incorporated into their diets for optimum growth and development. Now, since the kids no longer routinely eat with us, we are gradually reverting to a plant-based food intake.

The movie powerfully presented the critical need for folks take up vegan eating in order to preserve Planet Earth. Examining vegan eating from an ecological and environmental perspective was eye-opening. Even though I knew agri-farms were heavy producers of methane, I did not realize exactly what this meant or exactly how this impacted our environment relative to the green house effect. Kip’s journey explains how this happens. He uses facts and figures to convey his message.

Did you know that cows affect the earth’s gases even more than our cars, diesel engines and fracking? I was shocked to learn just how wasteful, expensive, and destructive animal agriculture is!! Animal agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. All transportation modalities combined are responsible for 13% of greenhouse gas emissions.

Nearly half of the contiguous US is devoted to animal agriculture. 30% of the Earth’s entire land surface is used by the livestock sector. Livestock is responsible for 65% of all emissions of nitrous oxide – a greenhouse gas 296x more destructive than carbon dioxide and which stays in the atmosphere for 150 years.

Livestock covers 45% of the earth’s total land. Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution and habitat destruction. Cows produce 150 billion gallons of methane per day. Two to five acres of land are used per cow.

Fracking (hydraulic fracturing) water use ranges from 70-140 billion gallons annually. Animal agriculture use ranges from 34-76 trillion gallons of water annually and agriculture is responsible for 80-90% of US water consumption. Growing feed crops for livestock consumes 56% of water in the US.

One hamburger (1/4 pounder) requires 660 gallons of water to produce – the equivalent of 2 months’ worth of showers (based on taking a 4-minute daily shower with a 2.5 gpm shower head). 2,500 gallons of water are needed to produce 1 pound of beef. The average American consumes 209 pounds of meat per year.

Land required to feed 1 person for 1 year:
Vegan: 1/6th acre;
Vegetarian: 3x as much as a vegan;
Meat Eater: 18x as much as a vegan.

1.5 acres can produce 37,000 pounds of plant-based food.
1.5 acres can produce 375 pounds of meat.

1.5 acres can produce 37,000 pounds of plant-based food.
1.5 acres can produce 375 pounds of meat.

A person who follows a vegan diet PRODUCES 50% less carbon dioxide, 1/11th oil, 1/13th water, and 1/18th land compared to a meat-eater for their food.

Each day, a person who eats a vegan diet saves 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 sq ft of forested land, 20 lbs CO2 equivalent, and one animal’s life.

These are only a few of the facts on beef and water!! There were more facts on fish, the rainforest, and hog ranches!! For a full listing, visit:
http://www.cowspiracy.com/facts

This movie was/is a real eye-opener! It lays out reasons for going vegan–way beyond an individual’s choice to do so for health and wellness — in a mighty, mighty, BIG way! I’m not yet convicted to follow an entirely vegan diet, but I am glad that I am already pursuing a plant-based diet–even if it is not for the environment!

Have you thought about going vegan? Or, are you already vegan? What were your reasons for going vegan? Would you consider forfeiting a good hamburger or steak for the good of the environment? Do you think that meat eaters should be shamed for eating meat and promoting the destruction of our environment? Do you think that we will realize a drop of cattle farming for our environment?

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For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.         Romans 15:5 NIV

Dear Readers,
I am attending a blogging class once per month. Our homework assignment this month is to write two blogs from a list of five titles that were generated from the website listed below:

http://www.hubspot.com/blog-topic generator

To obtain a list of interesting titles we were asked to enter three keywords, preferably nouns. This site generates a list of interesting titles, based on the three nouns. Samples of the possible titles include:

The History of…
The Worst Advice on…
Why we Love…
How to Solve the Biggest Problems with…
Seven things about….
Three secrets about…

Each of us fills in the blank with the appropriate subject matter. I can’t say that the history of nutrition is exciting, maybe not even interesting to most folks, but it is the one I selected! And please don’t take this history as inclusive–it is not!

History of Nutrition
Nutrition is the process of obtaining and eating the right kinds of foods so that we can grow properly and be healthy. It is also the branch of science that deals with nutrients and nutrition, particularly in humans. Nutrients are essential substances that are essential to life and which are supplied by food.

Early scientists, whose names you may have heard, include Leonardo da Vinci, James Lind and Antoine Lavoisier and in more recent history, Linus Pauling. Others, not so well known, are Justus Liebig, Christiann Eijkman, E.V. McCollum and Casmir Funk.

My favorite, though, is Adelle Davis. She was popular in the 1970’s–when I was attending undergraduate school. Even though I didn’t agree with many of her positions, and often believed that she used half-truths and exaggeration to promote her positions,  what I did like is that she, (almost) single-handedly, brought the relationship and significance of nutrition, foods, health and disease to the forefront of the American population. She created controversy with the “folks” and within the scientific community. Indeed, she was a force!

Adelle Davis

In the 1940s and 1950s her ideas were considered to be eccentric; but with all the cultural (anti-authority) changes of the 1960’s, her position became more accepted. She leveled charges against the food industry, spoke out against food processing, “preached” about pesticide residues in our foods and the use of food additives.

With the youth of the day, she had an audience. They accepted and “ate up” her positions! At the time, scientists called her influence food faddism. Little did anyone know that this influence was her legacy! This “food faddism” is still going strong!

More and more, we seem to be returning to the premise that “clean” eating is healthy eating and that healthy eating leads to healthier bodies and to improved learning capabilities.

I have always maintained that it took a “far out” and left spokesperson to move the establishment to the center. It took Adelle  speaking out to the masses before the importance of foods and nutrition were connected to the state of health, wellness and disease. In turn these factors, collectively or independently, have been studied extensively for their influence and impact on our lifestyles.

To be sure, nutrition is not the cure all but it may, in some cases, be a significant lifestyle factor that can be moderated. The clincher: if only moderating our choices and our food intake was that easy.

1 Corinthians 10:31 (NIV) says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

Quick References:
http://www.nutritionbreakthroughs.com/html/a_history_of_nutrition.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adelle_Davis