Pay Dirt! Let’s Celebrate 2015 as International Year of the Soil!

2015 Year of Soil 2What is soil? It is not just the dirt under out feet, but a living, breathing organism that we depend on for our very survival. Soil is one of the main resources that sustain life on this planet along with water, air and sunshine. Healthy unadulterated soil is quite literally alive with insects, microorganisms, bacteria and humus, decaying organic matter. It is the resource we walk all over and don’t spend much time thinking about… unless of course you are an organic farmer. Now the United Nationals Food and Agriculture Organization and the USDA agree:  soil health and awareness is essential to the health of our eco-systems and the food security for the billions who must be fed. Continue reading

Reflections on the winter solstice

The Future of food
I pen this blog on the day of winter solstice. It is the shortest day of the year from where I sit in the Northern Hemisphere. The daylight hours will be quick and fleeting with less than ten hours of light from our burning sun. The sun solstice is also known as the first day of winter here in the north.  Celebrated by humans for millennium this is the darkest day when the North Pole is tilted teeter totter away from our beloved star. After this day the light will slowly begin to grow long and the sun will return to bless fields and yields to sustain us.  There is much to celebrate in this returning sun as we look ahead to another year of growing, harvesting and eating good food. Continue reading

Dispatch from Washington, D.C.: New Beginnings

Melody DCI traveled to Washington, D.C. in early December to attend the SAFSF policy conference and hill visits. The newly elected 114 Congress had not yet been seated. Once seated, nearly half of them will have been in office for four years or less.  They will need to be educated. The current lame duck congress was in the midst of passing an omnibus bill, this year dubbed “cromnibus” for its ability to fund the government and enter into continuing resolution which means it extends the funding for only a limited period of time. I thought I was there to deliver my messages, well prepared and strong on federal GMO labeling and funding for organic agriculture.  Instead the message I received was more profound than anything I was about to deliver. Continue reading

All we are saying….Give Bees a Chance

HoneybeeI spent several years in my early twenties traveling on the West Coast sowing a few wild oats. The songs that accompanied my travels were often made up of powerful messages shedding light on social events that had run amok. The Vietnam War was raging, civil rights struggles were blazing and the songs drew us all together to highlight a common cause. If John Lennon was still writing songs today, I think he might be saying…. Let’s, give bees a chance…. Continue reading

Come fly away come fly me to DC

Capitol HillIowa in the 1960’s offered a life that was simpler and had a less complicated pace. The local airport was small and completely surrounded by towering fields of corn. One of our favorite Friday night rituals was for the entire family to trundle into the old Cadillac and drive to the airport and watch the planes arrive. My mother would pack a picnic supper to eat as we expectantly waited for the two evening planes to land from faraway places. One after the other they gloriously zoomed overhead. It sounds silly now but those were exciting times, and as the small propeller airplanes took off I sniffed my first hint of wanderlust. Who were these people cavorting off through the sky to distant lands? What could they possibly be up to? Continue reading