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September 2000 News, Reviews, Tips"Whereas most other sectors of agriculture are losing farmers, the number of organic farmers is increasing by 12% per year."
Source: Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman, reported in ATTRAnews, April 2000.
Research Grants for Organic ProductionThe Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) Board of Directors granted over $68,000 to 10 organic farming research projects this spring. The OFRF grants support research into significant production challenges for organic farmers. The largest grant was made to a group of researchers and farmers based at Cornell University who are developing commercial organic apple production systems in New York state. Cranberry growers Monika Weldon and Peter Belanger will study the use of flooding to control Sparganothis fruitworm in Massachusetts cranberries. An alliance of investigators from the Frontier Organic Research Farm, the Land Institute and an organic farm will study growing echinacea in polyculture systems in Iowa. Michael Cahn of University of California Extension in Yuba County is working with grower Scott Park to use reduced tillage and cover crops to control weeds in organic processing tomatoes.
Research reports summarizing projects funded by OFRF are available to the public on topics such as weed, insect and disease management, fertility management, livestock, and organic farming systems. Contact the Organic Farming Research Foundation for a list of reports and/or a complete list of spring grant awards at: Organic Farming Research Foundation, PO Box 440, Santa Cruz CA 95061; tel. 831-426-6606; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.ofrf.org.
‘Ad-tivism’ Campaign Promotes Sustainable AgricultureStonyfield Farm, the New Hampshire-based yogurt maker, joined Chefs Collaborative in May in announcing their new ‘ad-tivism’ campaign--a combination of advertising and activism that profiles celebrity ‘Doers.’ The first celebrity role model was Rick Bayless, renowned Chicago restaurateur, activist and Chairman of the Chefs Collaborative.
"Rick Bayless is an exemplary model of our vision for this campaign," exclaimed Hirshberg. "Rick’s dedication to teaching the basics of sustainable cuisine--to children, his employees and his restaurant patrons--makes him an ideal role model for inspiring others to follow in his footsteps."
In addition to teaching the public about sustainability, organics and eating clean, healthy food, Bayless says the Chefs Collaborative plans to further the term of ‘sustainable cuisine.’ Through offsetting carbon dioxide emissions from their restaurants, the Collaborative aims to reduce their contribution to global warming. Modeled after Stonyfield’s success in offsetting 100% of its facility energy use, the Chefs Collaborative will work with Oregon-based climate services firm Trexler and Associates, Inc., (www.climateservices.com) on their climate change mitigation efforts. "Not only will participating restaurants be offsetting their emissions through a variety of means, including renewable energy and reforestation projects, but they will be raising the profile of the global warming problem with the general public," says Dr. Mark C. Trexler, President of Trexler and Associates. Stonyfield itself helps businesses offset carbon emissions through its free, online ‘cookbook’ called Stonyfield Farm Carbon Cookbook: Reversing Global Warming through Carbon Offsets (www.stonyfield.com or 1-800-PRO-COWS).
Stonyfield Farm is the fastest growing yogurt company in the nation, a leader in corporate environmental responsibility, and winner of many environmental awards. It purchases its milk from family farmers who pledge not to use recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH). Chefs Collaborative is a network of 1500 chefs, restaurateurs, producers and other culinary professionals that educates its membership about how to partner with their community and the environment to promote local, artisinal, sustainable food and how to strive toward sustainability in operating their food-related businesses. Chefs striving to produce sustainable cuisine, according to the Collaborative, are thoughtful about the ingredients they use [most rely heavily on organic or other sustainably raised products] and about how many resources they use in preparing them.
The ‘Ad-tivism’ campaign will profile other celebrity role models who are also environmental and social change-makers.
LocalHarvest.com Connects Farmers, ConsumersThe Internet is emerging into a strong marketing tool for small farmers. One example, LocalHarvest.com, is tapping into an unbridled marketing niche of hungry web surfers and small farmers, including several from Maine, with the click of the mouse. This new site is the brainchild of a group of farmers from the central coast of California who were looking for a way to cooperatively advertise their CSA projects. They invited Ocean Group, an activist-minded Internet software engineering company in Santa Cruz, California, to develop the site on a pro bono basis.
LocalHarvest.com is designed to provide consumers all over the country with the ability to easily locate CSAs, farmers’ markets, farm stands and U-pick farms in their area--by merely clicking on a map of the United States and ‘zooming in’ on their city or state. Each farm matching their search criteria appears as a ‘pinpoint’ on the map, and the consumer can view a complete, extensive profile for any farm of interest.
For farmers, LocalHarvest.com includes a "Farmers Only" area where farmers create and update their profiles, maintain customer mailing lists, and respond to consumer feedback. Farmers can also have private discussions with one another. LocalHarvest enables farmers to tap into an existing Internet resource rather than develop their own websites.
"By letting people know what is being grown locally, and who is growing it, consumers and farmers can actually make a connection," explains Erin Barnett, Project Manager for LocalHarvest.com. "It’s simple...consumers can search a national database of direct market farmers, and farmers can create, for free, an extensive listing about their farm--communicating to consumers just about everything they would put in a printed brochure. What’s more, it only takes about 45 minutes to do, and the farmers can update or change their listing at any time by simply going to the website."
Humanizing Maine’s Food SystemHow can we work together to strengthen Maine's local food system? That was the question considered on Friday, April 28, 2000, at MOFGA’s Common Ground in Unity, Maine. The event was organized by Maine Coalition for Food Security, Maine Farms Project, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association and the Maine Rural Development Council. More than 70 people including farmers, processors, retailers, chefs, coop managers, nutritionists, consumers and others gathered to discuss concerns about the future of Maine food. All involved recognize that a strong local food system is crucial to the health of all Maine people.
We used the Open Space Conference Technique, facilitated by Denise Rheel of Creative Rheelizations. This process gave participants an opportunity to create the agenda by proposing the topics to be considered. It allows those involved to focus creativity and problem solving energy on those issues that concern them most. Open space establishes a safe and honest forum for diverse people to address complex issues. Our goals included making more connections between and among people and resources. We also wanted to share awareness of and enhance existing supports. We intended to generate new initiatives and surprise ourselves with new ideas.
Over 30 workshops were proposed. After combining some similar topics, a total of 20 were conducted through the day, including: How can we increase income and wages on small farms? How do we create consumer driven demand for locally grown and produced foods? What can the state do? Pros and cons of marketing through large corporate retailers Getting capital to young farmers What is the vision? Maine people eating Maine food in Maine restaurants Does Maine need a business incubator for value added food products? Making local food accessible to people with limited incomes Migrant laborers and the organic farm movement
Some themes consistently emerged throughout the day. All present expressed tremendous frustration at the lack of recognition and undervaluing of food systems and at the disconnect between what is on folks’ plates and where it comes from. Participants agreed that agricultural skills are undervalued at the same time that farmers tend to be mythologized. Farmers need to be resourceful and are expected to do all aspects of business to be successful.
An underlying assumption emerged that by becoming more aware of the importance of agriculture and, by extension, of the food system, more local farms will be preserved, more regional foods will be purchased, and economic, social and environmental quality of life will be enhanced in our communities.
Many people felt isolated in their efforts, so communication among those committed to the food system needs to be enhanced.
The group working on connecting local producers and restaurants committed to taking this to the next step. Organizations represented at that session included: University of Maine Coop. Extension, Maine Restaurant Association, MOFGA, Maine Dept. of Agriculture, USDA. Howard Jones of the Maine Department of Agriculture will coordinate these efforts.
Participants expressed a lot of enthusiasm for Russ Libby’s long-term promotional idea of getting Maine people to commit to spending $10 per week on local food. If they do this only during the six-month growing season, $100 million will be pumped into Maine’s economy. A year-round commitment doubles that amount. Meanwhile, the Maine Department of Agriculture talked about its Buy Local campaign. The department has been given $250,000 to develop a Maine brand logo and ad campaign.
The gathering was significant in the movement to reclaim and rehumanize our food system. Many relationships were initiated and/or strengthened in the process of articulating a stronger vision for the future of Maine food.
--Lila Purinton, Maine Coalition for Food Security News" June, 2000
Grant Opportunity for Northeast ProducersA regional grants program is offering funding to Northeast farmers interested in testing innovative production and marketing strategies and sharing what they learn with other producers. Applications are now available for the Northeast Region USDA-Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Program’s 2001 Farmer/Grower Grants competition. Applications are due December 4, 2000.
"This program provides an excellent opportunity for producers who want to try something a little different," says Northeast SARE Program Manager Jim Gardiner. "It helps farmers evaluate new practices and approaches, and other producers benefit by learning from grant recipients’ experiences."
The goal is to help farmers shift to production and marketing practices that are profitable, environmentally sound, and beneficial to the community. Proposals can address a broad range of agricultural and farm forestry production and marketing issues.
Grant funds can be used to rent equipment, buy materials, pay for such project-related services as soil testing and technical advisors, and to compensate farmers for the time they spend on the project. The Farmer Grant Program is not intended to provide startup funds for beginning farmers, nor to support capital improvements on individual farms.
The program is very competitive. Last year, funding was available for only half the applications received. The average grant was $4,351, although the program has awarded grants as large as $12,000 and as small as $300.
To be eligible for Northeast SARE funding, an applicant must be a commercial producer and reside in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont or West Virginia.
Funding decisions will be made in Feb. 2001, and funds will be available in April for the 2001 crop production season. For an application, call 802-656-0471.
Northeast SARE is a USDA competitive grants program. Its mission is to increase knowledge that helps producers adopt production and marketing practices that increase profitability, promote conservation of natural resources and strengthen communities.
This will be the ninth year that Northeast SARE has offered producer grants. Since 1993, Northeast SARE has awarded over 350 producer grants.
Similar grant opportunities are available through each of the other three SARE regional programs. Call (301) 504-5230 for more information about applications and deadlines in the other regions.
Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone Affects OffspringThe genetically engineered recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH), also called bovine somatotropin, appears to be affecting the offspring of cows treated with it. Here’s information from Steve Taylor, New Hampshire Commissioner of Agriculture, as reported in the June 21, 2000, Weekly Market Bulletin, put out by the N.H. Dept. of Agriculture:
"Recently I heard a story about a person who wanted to get into the business of raising replacement dairy heifers. This individual was going to sale barns to purchase the calves that were to be grown out, bred and sold as springers to producers expanding their operations.
"There were some real nice heifer calves to be had at these auction facilities, and at pretty reasonable prices, too. Soon there was a nice batch of animals chowing down at the feed bunk and future profits were looking good.
"But alas, most of these heifers turned out to be freemartins--heifers twin born with a bull calf and thus devoid of internal reproductive organs. Instead of animals to breed, this farmer had a bunch of animals to beef.
"Widespread use of bovine somatotropin seems to be increasing the rate of twinning in dairy cattle, resulting in higher numbers of freemartins moving into the livestock markets."
Source for Unusual SeedsLooking for broom corn? A carrot with exceptional taste and high beta-carotene content? A 6-inch watermelon that’s grown for its oil- and protein-containing seed? Check out www.echonet.org/usseed.htm, the on-line seed catalog for Echo’s "Underexploited Food and Other Interesting Plants." Echo (Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization, 17391 Durrance Rd., N. Ft. Myers, FL 33917; email@example.com) promotes local agriculture in third-world countries, and often comes up with methods and varieties that could benefit the rest of us as well. How about cranberry hibiscus, an annual with pink blossoms: "We pick them in the evening after they have folded up," says the ECHO catalog. Thirty blossoms are blended with lime juice and sugar to make a beautiful and tasty drink. The petals seem to add a smooth texture and intense color, more than any special flavor. This is popular in Central and South America."
Pesticides vs. BirdsThe American Bird Conservancy has cited U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service findings that, "Substantial evidence verifies that mortality of migratory birds and other non-target organisms occurs even when parathion is applied in complete conformance with the label." Currently, about 600,000 pounds of ethyl parathion are used annually on over 775,000 acres of U.S. land.
Source: What’s New In Organic, The Organic Trade Association, May/June 2000.
Cranberries Fight Breast Cancer in MiceCranberries are known for their proven ability to fight urinary tract infections. Now, researchers at the University of Western Ontario have shown that the fruit can delay the development and spread of breast cancer tumors in mice as well. In the study, reported in the May 6, 2000, issue of Science News, 24 mice received a normal diet for 12 weeks, while 24 others had cranberry juice rather than water to drink, and a third group of 24 received 1% of its diet as the remains of the berries after the juice was removed (cranberry solids).
After being injected with human breast cancer cells, the mice, which had been genetically engineered to have compromised immune systems, all developed breast cancer. Those who received the cranberry juice, however, developed tumors after 9 weeks rather than 7, as in the control group. Those receiving cranberry solids developed tumors after 11 weeks, and only half as many tumors spread to their lungs and lymph nodes, compared with the spread in control mice.
International Hemp Journal Yearbooks ReleasedNew, bound compilations of HempWorld magazines from 1996, 1997 & 1998 cover the most tumultuous years in the history of the modern-day hemp industry. Highlighting each book is an introductory essay written by Publisher Mari Kane, who describes the dynamics of hemp industry players and the legal and political obstacles they've striven to overcome.
In the 1996 Yearbook she writes:
Read the Yearbook essays and other information about the hemp industry at ww.hemppages.com, or order your yearbooks (three volumes cover 1996, 1997 & 1998 and cost $19.95 each--tax and shipping not included) using VISA/MC/AMEX from 1-800-649-4421; from outside the U.S. call: 805-965-7170; Fax: 805-965-2006; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Parkinson’s Disease and Pesticides Used in the HomeNeuroepidemiologist Lorene Nelson and colleagues at Stanford University surveyed 496 people who had been newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, which causes shaking and freezing of muscles. The same questions were asked of 541 people without Parkinson’s.
Nelson found that people with Parkinson’s were more than twice as likely to have been exposed to insecticides in the home, and were more likely to have been exposed to herbicides (weed killers) as well. Exposure to insecticides in the garden and to fungicides did not appear to be associated with Parkinson’s.
Nelson said that more study is needed to draw conclusions or guidelines.
Source: "Home Bug Spray May Increase Parkinson’s Risk," Reuters, 5/5/00
EPA Says Dioxin is CarcinogenIn a draft report released in May, the Environmental Protection Agency said that exposure to dioxins is a significantly greater risk for cancer than previously believed, and that at least one form of dioxin--TCDD (2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin)--should be classified as a definite human carcinogen. Previously, TCDD had been classified as a "probable carcinogen." More than 100 other dioxin-like compounds, said the EPA, are "likely" carcinogens.
Dioxin is produced when chlorine is used in some chemical processes, such as combustion. Medical and municipal waste incineration, paper-pulp production, car exhaust, coal burning, forest fires and wood stoves can be sources of dioxin, as can the practice of burning trash in back yards, which is still done in some rural areas. Dioxin enters the food chain and accumulates in the fat of mammals and fish.
People who eat large amounts of fatty meats and dairy products that may be contaminated with dioxin are at greatest risk. In addition to cancer, the chemical was linked to diabetes, developmental problems and irregularities in the immune system. The report says that children take in more dioxin than adults because of its presence in dairy products and breast milk, although it also said that the benefits of breast feeding still outweigh the risks from dioxin.
Sources: "EPA Cites Cancer Risks from Dioxin," by H. Josef Hebert, AP report, 5/16/00; "EPA Links Dioxin to Cancer in Humans," Reuters, 5/17/00; "Environmental Groups Target Dioxin Emissions," by Kelley Bouchard, Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc., 6/1/00.
Agricultural Risk Protection ActThis summer Congress passed a law making substantial changes in Federal crop insurance programs, trying to make them more affordable and accessible. As part of those revisions, about $50 million has been set aside for help with value-added production, cooperative development, and making transitions to organic farming. MOFGA is waiting to see the regulations that will implement the law, but it looks forward to a program that encourages farmers to make the transition to organic production systems.
Report Links Common Chemicals To Disabilities
A report produced by Physicians for Social Responsibility and released by the Maine Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility, the Natural Resources Council of Maine, and the Maine Toxics Action Coalition links chemicals widely used by industry and commonly found at home to developmental disabilities, including behavioral and learning disabilities. These chemicals -- developmental neurotoxicants -- are toxic to the developing brain and can lead to hyperactivity, attention deficit, lower IQ and motor skill impairment. They include:
Metals--lead, mercury, cadmium, and manganese--used in common consumer products and by industry; Pesticides--such as organophosphates and others that are widely used in homes and schools; Dioxins and PCBs that bioaccumulate in the food chain; Solvents used in gasoline, paints, glues and cleaning solutions; and Nicotine and alcohol. "This report underscores the importance of toxics use reduction," said Michael Belliveau, Toxics Project Leader with the Natural Resources Council of Maine. "It makes the case for the state to step up efforts to eliminate toxins like mercury and dioxin from our industry and products."
Mercury, dioxin and PCB contamination in Maine’s waterways has caused the state to issue health advisories warning pregnant and nursing women, women of childbearing age and children under 8 years old to limit their consumption of freshwater fish because of threats to fetal brain development. Striped bass and bluefish consumption is also restricted due to these chemicals.
"Maine has the highest toxic chemical use per capita in New England, which puts all of us, most especially our children, at high risk," says Kathleen McGee, Coordinator for the Maine Toxics Action Coalition. "This report accentuates the need for commitment to comprehensive legislation, regulation and stronger pubic health protection concerning toxic use."
The report found that one million children in the United States are exposed to levels of lead that can affect behavior and learning. Studies also indicate that a byproduct of the neurotoxic pesticide chlorpyrifos is present in the urine of over 80 percent of adults and 90 percent of children in the United States.
"It is critical that we understand and, as a matter of public policy, address the impact of these neurotoxic chemicals on developmental and learning disabilities," said Dr. Ted Schettler, a practicing physician and one of the report’s co-authors. "The urgency of this issue is underscored by the fact that between 5 and 10 percent of school children in America have learning disabilities and at least an equivalent amount have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder."
The report also points out that even when chemicals are regulated, the risks from chemical exposure are estimated for one chemical at a time, while children are exposed to many potential toxicants in complex mixtures throughout their development. Multiple chemical exposures can interact to intensify damaging effects or cause new types of harm.
As chemical testing has advanced, the report continues, lower and lower doses of chemicals have been found to be harmful. These falling thresholds indicate that currently available knowledge regularly underestimates the true magnitude of harm and biases the existing regulatory system towards a "too little, too late" response. Also, because of the complexity of the human nervous system, animal studies generally underestimate human vulnerability to neurotoxicants.
Almost 75 percent of the most used and produced chemicals have undergone little or no toxicity testing. Physicians for Social Responsibility joined the Natural Resources Defense Council in calling on the EPA to begin testing all new pesticides for their effects on the brain and nervous system, before they are registered and marketed.
Peter Wilk, M.D., Co-President of the Maine Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility adds, "Harm to our children from exposure to toxic chemicals must be prevented. It is completely unfair that children are becoming guinea pigs in real life chemical toxicity experiments."
"The scientific evidence is convincing and should be a call to action for parents, educators and health professionals," said Dr. Jill Stein, a practicing physician and the report’s other co-author. "We risk needless and irreversible harm to current and future generations if we fail to overhaul our flawed regulatory system."
The full text of the report is available online at www.igc.org/psr. Additional educational information based on the report is available at www.preventharm.org.
Source: Judy Berk, Natural Resources Council of Maine, 3 Wade Street, Augusta, Maine 04330, ph - 207-622-3101 X 203; fax - 207-622-4343
Vitamin K May Strengthen BonesMore evidence that vitamin K helps maintain strong bones comes from a new look at data from 888 elderly men and women participating in the Framingham Heart Study between 1988 and 1995. The study is reported in the May issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The risk of hip fractures among these elderly decreased as intakes of vitamin K increased, according to study leader Sarah Booth. She heads vitamin K research at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging in Boston, funded by the Agricultural Research Service, USDA's chief scientific agency. Booth collaborated with researchers from the Hebrew Rehabilitation Center for Aged Research and Training Institute, Harvard Medical School and others.
Men and women who reported the lowest daily vitamin K intakes--averaging 56 micrograms--in 1988 had experienced significantly more hip fractures by the 1995 examination than those reporting the highest intakes--averaging 254 micrograms.
Dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli, are rich in vitamin K--known chemically as phylloquinone. One serving of spinach or two servings of broccoli provide four to five times the Recommended Dietary Allowance, now set at 65 to 80 micrograms.
Vitamin K activates at least three proteins involved in bone health, according to Booth, but exactly how it works is still a mystery. That may help explain why the study found no relationship between bone mineral density and vitamin K intakes. Booth and colleagues estimated vitamin K intakes from food frequency questionnaires the volunteers fill out at each examination, but the estimated intakes are misleading. They overestimate intakes by 50 percent or more, explains Booth, because people report eating more vegetables than they actually do, so the estimates aren't a good ruler for setting recommendations.
The new findings support others reported in 1999: Analysis of data from more than 72,000 women in the Nurses' Health Study showed that low vitamin K intakes increased risk of hip fracture. Booth provided vitamin K levels for the foods reported in the nurses’ study.
Source: ARS News Service, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Judy McBride, (301) 504-1628; Scientific contact: Sarah L. Booth, Vitamin K Laboratory, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, Mass.; phone (617) 556-3231, fax (617) 556-3149.
Mushrooms May Improve Soil QualityFungi known as basidiomycetes--the same group that produces edible mushrooms-- may play a key role in maintaining and improving soil quality, Agricultural Research Service scientists found. In many basidiomycetes, the underground parts of the fungi--known as filaments and hyphae--produce sugary substances that bind soil particles. This binding, or aggregation, reduces soil compaction and allows roots, oxygen and water to move through the soil.
Mushrooms are typically associated with cool, damp, forested areas where they help decompose fallen trees. But ARS microbiologist TheCan Caesar found that basidiomycetes are widespread and important components of many types of soils.
However, in open environments, the underground filaments may be plentiful without producing above-ground mushrooms, so their role was not well understood. Basidiomycetes are the second largest group of fungi known to science.
The fungi survive with or without living plants and thrive on straw, or crop residue, left after harvest. Caesar found greater numbers of the fungi--and better soil--in land that had been cropped without tilling. So in addition to reducing erosion, no-till practices could help improve soil quality by fostering basidiomycete populations. The presence and number of these fungi may also serve as a good indicator of soil quality.
Source: ARS News Service, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Kathryn Barry Stelljes, (510) 559-6069; Scientific contact: TheCan Caesar, ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory, Sidney, Mont., phone (406) 433-9411, fax (406) 433-5038, firstname.lastname@example.org.
High-Selenium Broccoli Vs. Colon CancerAgricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists dramatically reduced early stages of colon cancer in rats by feeding the animals broccoli grown in a high-selenium medium. Nutritionists from ARS, John Finley and Cindy Davis, drew on reports that the form of selenium in broccoli is more potent against cancer than other food forms or selenium salts. The broccoli form is known as selenium methyl selenocysteine, or SeMSC. The body simply snips the end off this amino acid to produce the anticancer agent called methyl selenol.
The form of selenium prevalent in grains and some meats requires several chemical conversions to produce methyl selenol. Selenium salts--the forms used in some supplements--convert more readily. But it's only one step for the form in broccoli to get there.
To test its efficacy, the researchers grew broccoli having several thousand times the selenium normally found in the vegetable. They grew the broccoli at the Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center in North Dakota.
Then, in a series of rat studies, they confirmed that differences in selenium metabolism translated to differences in risk of colon cancer. First, they pitted high-selenium broccoli against the selenium salt selenate, controlling for any beneficial effects of broccoli itself, for the vegetable scores high in antioxidants and contains other substances shown to be active against cancer.
After beefing up the rats' selenium levels for several weeks, they injected the animals with a potent carcinogen. High-selenium broccoli always resulted in fewer precancerous lesions than selenate, and the number of precancerous lesions decreased as the dose increased.
Then they confirmed the findings using a different salt--selenite--and a higher dose of selenium. They also challenged the animals with a much more potent carcinogen. Although many more precancerous lesions occurred, the rats fed high-selenium broccoli had half as many as the animals getting selenite.
Source: ARS News Service, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Judy McBride, (301) 504-1628; Scientific contacts: John W. Finley and Cindy D. Davis, ARS Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center, Grand Forks, N.D.; phone 701-795-8353, fax 701-798-8395, email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fall Gardening Tips*Get the cold frame out and use it again! Plant lettuce, spinach and other cool season crops for harvest in November. For plans to build a coldframe, contact your Cooperative Extension office.
*Don’t let the soil be bare this winter: Sow 2 to 3 pounds per 1000 square feet of cover crops (winter rye or oats) by early September, and gently rake the seed in.
*Change the oil in the rototiller. Clean and put away other tools.
*Collect mulch materials for next year. Leaves, oat straw, pine needles and other organic materials may be readily available now. Bag them or store them so that you can mulch with them later, or use them in your compost pile.
*If the summer or fall is dry, water shrubs, especially evergreens, before the ground freezes. Evergreens are especially prone to drying out during harsh winter weather.
*Put mouse guards on your fruit trees--either commercially available plastic guards or hardware cloth placed around the base of the tree and about 2 to 3 inches away from the trunk.
*Plant garlic in October, placing each clove 2 to 3 inches deep and 4 to 5 inches apart. In November, mulch the plants with hay or straw to protect them from heaving.
*Order and peruse seed catalogs.
*Start a compost pile where you can put vegetable scraps from the kitchen during the winter. Store some dry organic materials, such as hay, leaves or straw, so that you can cover the scraps all winter.
*Check your stored vegetables regularly to prevent rot from spreading.
*If you use raw manures, put them on early in the fall and rototill them in, then plant oats or rye.
*If you grow tomatoes, peppers, melons, squashes or other crops using black plastic mulch, put the plastic down this fall to avoid having to do the job in the spring when the black flies are buzzing.
*Get a soil test done.
Source: "Tips for Fall Gardens," by Rick Kersbergen, Extension Perspectives, Waldo County Cooperative Extension, Fall 1999.
Avoid Diesel Exhaust DangersCumulative effects of prolonged exposure to diesel exhaust concern public health officials who deal regularly with farm workers. The advent of high tractor cabs has reduced exhaust inhalation for many operators, but thousands of others regularly breathe in contaminants spewing directly from mufflers.
Lengthening the exhaust pipe extending above the muffler is one common-sense way to reduce operator contact with combustion gases. Short stacks tend to place the discharge stream right in the operator’s face as the tractor moves forward.
Source: N.H. Dept. of Ag. Weekly Market Bulletin, 6/7/00
ReviewA Farm of Our Own--A Spiritual Journey Running a Smallholding, by Graham R. Irwin, Softcover, 159 pp., 1998, CityScape Books, PO Box 16554, London SE1 5ZS, UK, www.compassion-in-business.co.uk
($17.75 from from Dixon-Price Publishing, 618 West Spacerma, Ste. 1, Murray, UT 84123)
Graham Irwin and his partner, Rosemarie, spent 10 years on a "smallholding" in England, raising vegetables for themselves, eggs for sale, and various animals: sheep, goats, cattle and bees. This book takes a tender, sometimes humorous look at that time.
***A Farm of Our Own*** will not teach you how to raise crops or animals, but for someone thinking of going into farming, it will give you a flavor of farm life, some of the pitfalls (such as a very sad time when a cow had to be put down because of mad cow disease), some of the idiosyncrasies (such as a billy goat giving milk), a few tips that seem obvious in retrospect (such as catching sheep by using a feed bucket rather than chasing them), and maybe even some marketing ideas (such as naming hand-knit wool sweaters after their "original owners"--Helga, Vashti, Mopsy...).
The book ends on a sad note, with Graham and Rosemarie splitting up and leaving the farm. However, Graham takes a long philosophical look at his decade on the farm and sees the spiritual growth he attained as a result of it. For example, he says that he gained a new appreciation for the link between thoughts and results, "just how thoughts could create a physical manifestation... Perhaps it was all this that first helped me appreciate that there is more to life than simply what we can see, hear, taste, smell, and touch... I guess it is what I now consider the spiritual side of life." He reminds us how important it is to stop and and reflect on the wonder of the lives we create for ourselves.
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