Countdown for Vagina Monologues, S.P.

Only two peformances: next Saturday, March 3. 2:00 matinee and 8:00 evening.
You may be able to purchase tickets at the door, but they are going fast; otherwise, cast members have tickets to sell. (see earlier posting)


Monsanto Merger Sows Fears Over Skewed Seed Market
A pending merger in the cotton-seed industry is prompting sharp legal and environmental criticisms of biotechnology in US agriculture. The proposed merger would fuse the world's largest seed company, Monsanto, with one of the country's leading cotton-seed firms, Delta and Pine Land.
Consumer watchdogs tracking biotechnology's impacts want the federal government to intervene, arguing that the merger would come at the expense of agricultural diversity and of the environment.


Seeds, Newsletter from Italy


Iraqi Oil

Iraq cabinet approves new oil law
The Iraqi cabinet approves a draft law allowing Iraq's oil revenues to be split between ethnic groups.
Full story:http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/-/2/hi/middle_east/6399257.stm


Graduate Assistantships

[Please help spread the word!]

Graduate assistantships in sustainable agriculture and business administration available for Fall 2007

The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University is proud to be a sponsor of several graduate assistantships for students interested in pursuing a master’s degree in sustainable agriculture with a minor in business, or a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) with a minor in sustainable agriculture.

A unique partnership between the interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture and the Colleges of Agriculture and Business at Iowa State University has created a course of study that allows qualified students to focus on building bridges that address sustainability challenges in agriculture while cultivating core skills essential f or suc cess in the business world.

Funding for the assistantships comes from the Leopold Center and the ISU Colleges of Agriculture and Business. The ideal candidates will have work/life experience in business and/or sustainable agriculture, and be truly committed to implementing the knowledge developed within this dual concentration. Applicants must fulfill the admission requirements for the Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture if pursuing the MS, or for the graduate business school if pursuing the MBA.

Candidates chosen will work as part of a Leopold Center team involved in either the Value Chain Partnerships for a Sustainable Agriculture project or the Marketing and Food Systems Initiative.

The deadline for application is June 1, 2007, but due to the competitive nature of these assistantships, prospective students are encouraged to submit their materials as soon as possible.

For detailed in formation, please contact: - Charles Sauer, Grad Program in Sustainable Agriculture: csauer@iastate.edu
or (515) 294-6518 - Amy Hutter, MBA grad program: ahutter@iastate.edu
or (515) 294-8118 - Rich Pirog, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture: rspirog@iastate.edu or (515) 294-1854

Learn more about: - Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture:
www.sust.ag.iastate.edu/gpsa - ISU Masters in Business Administration: www.bus.iastate.edu/mba/ - Value Chain Partnerships for a Sustainable Agriculture: www.valuechains.org - Marketing and Food Systems Initiative: www.leopold.iastate.edu/r esearc h/marketing.htm

Richard Pirog
Associate Director Marketing and Food Systems Program Leader
Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture
209 Curtiss Hall
Iowa State University Ames, Iowa 50011-1050
515 294-1854 FAX: 515 294-9696
rspirog@iastate.edu Web page URL:

Iranian Peace Offer

Ex-Congressional Aide: Karl Rove Personally Received (And Ignored) Iranian Peace Offer in 2003
As Seymour Hersh reports the Pentagon has created a special panel to plan a bombing attack on Iran, we examine how the Bush administration ignored a secret offer to negotiate with Iran in 2003. We speak with the National Iranian American Council's Trita Parsi, a former aide to Republican congressman Bob Ney. Listen/Watch/Read

Raft Swamp Farm audio and photos


Last Tickets for Vagina Monologues

Saturday, March 3, matinee at 2, evening performance at 8, Sunrise Theater. Tickets are going fast, so let me know if you still need one. Maureen


Peace Rally, Fayetteville, March 17

MARCH 17, 2007


CALL ALLYSON AT 919-961-4130
Volunteer for an hour or more but please
help make this a huge success and a loud shout out to the Bush regime:
Support our troops , Bring them home NOW

Take Action Tour, Fayetteville

On Monday February 26th NC Conservation Network's Take Action Tour will make its last stop in Fayetteville! We are crossing the state for the 3rd straight year to bring you the scoop on pressing environmental issues in our state. Our expert legislative monitor, Erin Kimrey, and I are stopping in six cities over the next two months to discuss pressing environmental issues up for debate during the 2007 legislative session. We hope this will be an opportunity to learn, discuss, and connect with other folks in your area interested in environmental problems facing our communities.

We hope you will join us Monday night, February 26th, at the Cumberland County Headquarters Library in Fayetteville to prepare for this year’s NC General Assembly legislative session. Find out what issues are hot (clean energy, landfills, etc.), how these issues could impact your community, and how YOU can make a difference!

CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS OR TO RSVP: http://ncconservationnetwork1.org/because_you_love_nc/events/Fayetteville_07TAT/details.tcl
WHAT: Cumberland County stop of the NC Conservation Network’s Take Action Tour. Learn about pressing environmental issues in NC and discover easy ways YOU can get involved.

WHEN: Monday February 26th 6:00pm-7:30pm

COST: FREE - Light refreshments will be provided.

We hope you will come out and meet the growing number of folks who are helping us to build a movement in North Carolina. We are working to connect people across North Carolina who take action on the most critical environmental issues in our state. Please join us!

Thanks and I hope to see you soon,

Veronica Butcher, Organizer
NC Conservation Network
919.857.4699 xt 104


Cheap Solar Power Coming?

Cheap solar power poised to undercut oil and gas by half
by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

Within five years, solar power will be cheap enough to compete with carbon-generated electricity, even in Britain, Scandinavia or upper Siberia. In a decade, the cost may have fallen so dramatically that solar cells could undercut oil, gas, coal and nuclear power by up to half. Technology is leaping ahead of a stale political debate about fossil fuels.

Anil Sethi, the chief executive of the Swiss start-up company Flisom, says he looks forward to the day - not so far off - when entire cities in America and Europe generate their heating, lighting and air-conditioning needs from solar films on buildings with enough left over to feed a surplus back into the grid.

The secret? Mr Sethi lovingly cradles a piece of dark polymer foil, as thin a sheet of paper. It is 200 times lighter than the normal glass-based solar materials, which require expensive substrates and roof support. Indeed, it is so light it can be stuck to the sides of buildings.

Rather than being manufactured laboriously piece by piece, it can be mass-produced in cheap rolls like packaging - in any colour.

The "tipping point" will arrive when the capital cost of solar power falls below $1 (51p) per watt, roughly the cost of carbon power. We are not there yet. The best options today vary from $3 to $4 per watt - down from $100 in the late 1970s.

Mr Sethi believes his product will cut the cost to 80 cents per watt within five years, and 50 cents in a decade.

It is based on a CIGS (CuInGaSe2) semiconductor compound that absorbs light by freeing electrons. This is then embedded on the polymer base. It will be ready commercially in late 2009.

"It'll even work on a cold, grey, cloudy day in England, which still produces 25pc to 30pc of the optimal light level. That is enough, if you cover half the roof," he said.

"We don't need subsidies, we just need governments to get out of the way and do no harm.
They've spent $170bn subsidising nuclear power over the last thirty years," he said.

His ultra-light technology, based on a copper indium compound, can power mobile phones and laptop computers with a sliver of foil.

"You won't have to get down on your knees ever again to hunt for plug socket," he said

Michael Rogol, a solar expert at Credit Lyonnais, expects the solar industry to grow from $7bn in 2004 to nearer $40bn by 2010, with operating earnings of $3bn.

The sector is poised to outstrip wind power. It is a remarkable boom for a technology long dismissed by experts as hopelessly unviable.

Mr Rogol said he was struck by the way solar use had increased dramatically in Japan and above all Germany, where Berlin's green energy law passed in 2004 forces the grid to buy surplus electricity from households at a fat premium. (In Britain, utilities may refuse to buy the surplus. They typically pay half the customer price of electricity.)

The change in Germany's law catapulted the share price of the German flagship company SolarWorld from €1.38 (67p) in February 2004 to over €60 by early 2006.

The tipping point in Germany and Japan came once households twigged that they could undercut their unloved utilities. Credit Lyonnais believes the rest of the world will soon join the stampede.

Mike Splinter, chief executive of the US semiconductor group Applied Materials, told me his company is two years away from a solar product that reaches the magic level of $1 a watt.

Cell conversion efficiency and economies of scale are galloping ahead so fast that the cost will be down to 70 US cents by 2010, with a target of 30 or 40 cents in a decade.

"We think solar power can provide 20pc of all the incremental energy needed worldwide by 2040," he said.

"This is a very powerful technology and we're seeing dramatic improvements all the time. It can be used across the entire range from small houses to big buildings and power plants," he said.

"The beauty of this is that you can use it in rural areas of India without having to lay down power lines or truck in fuel."

Villages across Asia and Africa that have never seen electricity may soon leapfrog directly into the solar age, replicating the jump to mobile phones seen in countries that never had a network of fixed lines. As a by-product, India's rural poor will stop blanketing the subcontinent with soot from tens of millions of open stoves.

Applied Materials is betting on both of the two rival solar technologies: thin film panels best used where there is plenty of room and the traditional crystalline (c-Si) wafer-based cells, which are not as cheap but produce a higher yield - better for tight spaces.

Needless to say, electricity utilities are watching the solar revolution with horror. Companies in Japan and Germany have already seen an erosion of profits because of an effect known "peak shaving". In essence, the peak wattage of solar cells overlaps with hours of peak demand and peak prices for electricity in the middle of the day, crunching margins.

As for the oil companies, they are still treating solar power as a fringe curiosity. "There is no silver bullet," said Jeroen Van der Veer, Shell's chief executive.

"We have invested a bit in all forms of renewable energy ourselves and maybe we'll find a winner one day. But the reality is that in twenty years time we'll still be using more oil than now," he said.

Might he be wrong?

Their Prosperity Enables Our Own


Explosion Canceled

Divine Strake Canceled
The Pentagon on Thursday canceled plans to detonate a 700-ton explosive charge in the Nevada desert that had drawn environmental protests and lawsuits.

Beginning Of the End


Protect ATTRA!

Tell Congress to Restore Funds to Important Sustainable Agriculture Program--ATTRA National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture, Feb 20, 2007

Last week, the Senate passed the "Continuing Resolution," which makes permanent funding decisions for the fiscal year already underway (Fiscal Year 2007), which wasn't completed before the last Congress ended.

This resolution would IMMEDIATELY eliminate funding for a program crucial to sustainable agriculture! The Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA) program is a highly rated national information service that answers practical questions from farmers and others across the US who call its 1-800 telephone number, print publications from its website, or attend its workshops.

Congressman Boozman (R-AR) is circulating a sign-on letter to USDA to fund ATTRA's modest $2.5 million. It's crucial that you call, today if possible, and ask your House member to sign onto that letter. NOW is the time to ask them to sign on, as Congressman Boozman will take this message to USDA early the week of February 26. Senators are also sending individual letters to USDA with the same message.

It's easy to call (and your call has a big impact). Please call the congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to the office of your representative and your two senators (this means 3 very quick calls). Ask to speak to the staffer handling appropriations. If he or she is unavailable, leave a message with your name, phone number and the quick message below.

The message is simple. For your representative: Please ask Congressman/woman _________ to sign onto Congressman Boozman's letter asking USDA to restore full 2007 funding to the ATTRA sustainable agriculture information service. (Tell the staffer for your Representative that they can contact Maggie Lemmerman at 202-225-4301 in Mr. Boozman's office to sign onto the letter.) ATTRA is a national valuable source of information to farmers across the US about how to farm using sustainable practices, and it shouldn't be cut.

For your senators: Please ask Senator ___________ to send a letter asking USDA to restore full funding to the ATTRA sustainable agriculture information service. (Tell the staffer for your Senator that John Lewis in Senator Baucus' office (202) 224-2651 can provide information on the wording of the letter that Senator Baucus sent if that's helpful.) ATTRA is a national valuable source of information to farmers across the US about how to farm using sustainable practices, and it shouldn't be cut.

Background: - For twenty years, ATTRA has been one of the most reliable sources of information for farmers and others who want fact-based information on a wide variety of agronomic, livestock, marketing, and entrepreneurial questions with reliable information, evaluated and summarized from its extensive database. - ATTRA is an extraordinarily efficient program. Though its funding has remained far too small, at $2.5 million since FY02, it accomplishes great work for farmers and consumers around the nation! ATTRA's services are in great demand, exceeding 37,000 technical requests last year and drawing over 2.6 million unique visitors to its website, from which there were over 673,000 publication downloads. It is phone calls like yours that have protected ATTRA and other sustainable agriculture funding in the past.

THANK YOU again for contacting your House representative and senators immediately to keep ATTRA's 2007 funding from being cut! For more about the ATTRA information service, click here "http://www.attra.org"> www.attra.org

Sheilah Davidson Administrative Director National Campaign For Sustainable Agriculture
P.O. Box 396 Pine Bush, New York 12566
Phone: 845-361-5201 Fax: 845-361-5204
e-mail: sheilah@sustainableagriculture.net


Two Peformances Mar. 3

Vagina Monologues, March 3 in Southern Pines

Thurs, Tomorrow, 7 p.m., Sou. Pines

In its ongoing series: A Community Dialogue on Growth
Presents Forum III


Land Planner, Author, Site Designer, Educator

The country's foremost authority and advocate of conservation planning.
The most sought-after speaker on creative development design as a conservation tool.
Arendt's approach to development is transforming communities and planning & zoning ordinances across the country.

If you care about controlling growth in Southern Pines and the Sandhills,
don't miss this opportunity to hear Randall Arendt speak!

Thursday, Feb. 22 from 7:00 to 9:00pm

Southern Pines Civic Club
105 S. Ashe Street
Southern Pines

Free and Open to the Public. Seating is limited

Working For a Living

Dr Vandana Shiva is one of the most inspirational and powerful speakers you will ever hear. In her closing lecture to the Soil Association conference she argues that sustainable agriculture and “working for a living, working with the land, working with the soil, could actually be the most evolved status of being human, not something that should disappear in history and will be put into a dustbin. That’s our common future, everywhere”.


The Music Must Endure




US 'Iran attack plans' revealed
US contingency plans for possible air strikes on Iran include most of its military infrastructure, the BBC learns.

Iran, Russia in nuclear plant row
Tehran denies Russian claims it is late on payments for work on a nuclear reactor in southern Iran.

Iraqi police say a tanker has exploded north of Baghdad, killing six people and injuring more than 100.

Vegetable Production Best Practices


Don't Go There


Come To the Table

You're invited to "Come to the Table: A Conference on Food, Faith, and Farms."

Each one-day session will gather faith leaders, hunger advocates, farmers, and others for a conversation on how North Carolinians of faith can honor the land, feed the hungry, and seek justice together.

Regional sessions will allow participants to find partners and projects in their area.
At each regional session, you will hear speakers on Christian faith and land stewardship, the state of hunger in your area, and the situation of local farms. Local groups who successfully partner churches, farmers, and they hungry will share their stories. Local organizations addressing these issues will host booths. Attendees can share information and find new partners over a locally-grown lunch.

In Cedar Grove, Anathoth Community Garden will share the story of how one congregation's garden fosters reconcilliation and provides nutritious, low-cost food to the community.
In Goldsboro, the field trip will feature the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, a project of NC State, NC A&T, and the NC Department of Agriculture that provides agricultural research, extension, and education for our state.

Registration of $10 includes a fresh, locally grown lunch. To register and get more information, visit www.cometothetablenc.org. If you have suggestions for groups or people who would like to learn about this conference, e-mail Claire Hermann at hermann@unc.edu.
To register by phone, call Rose Gurkin at (919) 828-6501.

"Come to the Table" is hosted by the North Carolina Council of Churches.

"A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: 'This business of settling differences is not just.' This business of ... filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death. ... There is nothing, except a tragic death wish, to prevent us from reordering our priorities, so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war." Martin Luther King, Jr.


Climate Action

'Now or never' for climate action
EU nations must back plans to cut emissions by 30% by 2020 or risk jeopardising future global climate efforts, ministers warn.

PBS--Lost Year in Iraq



The Seed Business


Gene Patenting


Chicks' Big Grammy Win

"Shut Up and Sing": Dixie Chicks' Big Grammy Win Caps Comeback From Backlash Over Anti-War Stance

Perhaps no musical act has paid a bigger price for speaking out against war than the Dixie Chicks, the biggest selling female music group of all time and the big winners at the Grammy Awards on Sunday. They have been largely blacklisted since the eve of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003. That's when the group's lead singer - Natalie Maines - said the group was against the war and ashamed that President Bush is from Texas. Barbara Kopple joins us to talk about her new documentary, Shut Up & Sing, which chronicles the period since.



Tom Whipple The Peak Oil Crisis: Connecting the Dots
Tom Whipple writes: "In the months after 9/11, there was much discussion about the American government's failure to 'connect the dots.' Hints and clues that al-Qaeda was about to launch airborne suicide attacks inside the US abounded, but nobody put the bits and pieces together into a convincing warning. Such it may be with peak oil."

To Rain On Our V-Parade

Valentine’s Day:
Labor Conditions at US-Owned Plantations Show Hidden Realities of Flower Industry

Chocolate, flowers, diamonds. How can gifts that bring so much happiness have come from so much pain? We begin our coverage with a look at the flower industry. Nora Ferm of the International Labor Rights Fund talks about a new report on labor conditions at US-owned flower plantations in Colombia and Ecuador. We’re also joined by Beatriz Fuentes, President of the Sintrasplendor Union at Dole’s largest flower plantation in Colombia, which has become the site of a growing worker’s struggle. Listen/Watch/Read

Terror-free Oil?



Global Politics

Australia PM blasts US candidate *
Australian Prime Minister John Howard says al-Qaeda should be praying for Barack Obama to win the US presidency.

House Concert #3, Aberdeen!

The Rooster’s Wife

Big Medicine

A House Concert
February 24
8 p.m.

Corner of High and Blue in Downtown Aberdeen
$10. Donation

RSVP and more information: (910)944-7502 or


Third Carrier to Persian Gulf

US Sending Third Carrier Strike Group to Persian Gulf
The Iranians have reason to feel paranoid. At least one former White House official contends that some Bush advisers secretly want an excuse to attack Iran. A second Navy carrier group is steaming toward the Persian Gulf, and a third carrier will likely follow.


Bounty Set on Carbon Dioxide

Branson launches $25m climate bid
Millions of pounds are on offer for the best way of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Putin Scolds US



Animated Zone Change Map


Step It Up, April 14


Seed Vault


Three from Democracynow.org

Court Martial of First Officer to Refuse Iraq Deployment Ends in Mistrial The court martial of the first US army officer to refuse to fight in theIraq war has ended in a mistrial. On Wednesday, a military judge halted the case against First Lieutenant Ehren Watada over possible inconsistencies in a pre-trial agreement Watada made with prosecutors. Geoffrey Millard of Truthout.org reports from Fort Lewis in Washington. Listen/Watch/Read

Blackwater USA Takes Congressional Hot-Seat as Landmark Hearing ProbesMercenary Firm's Role in Iraq The private security company Blackwater admitted on Tuesday for the first time that one of its employees shot and killed an Iraqi guard inside the Green Zone in December. The disclosure came during a landmark hearing on the role of private contractors in Iraq. Among those to testify was Katy Helvenston. Her son Scott was one of the four Blackwater employees killed in Fallujah in 2004. Katy Helvenston joins us to talk about why she wants Blackwater held accountable for her son's death. We're also joined by Jeremy Scahill, author of the forthcoming book, Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army.

The Missing Billions: Ex-Iraq Occupation Chief Paul Bremer Questioned on Oversight, Spending of Iraqi Money Three former Army officers and two civilians have been indicted for diverting $3.6 million in Iraq reconstruction money to a contractor in exchange for cash, luxury cars and jewelry. The announcement came one day after the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing about how billions of dollars set aside for the Iraq Reconstruction have gone missing. Corpwatch Managing editor Pratap Chatterjee attended the hearing. He joins us from Washington.Listen/Watch/Read

Moore Co. Beekeepers

Moore County Beekeepers' monthy meeting
February 13, 2007, 7:00
Agriculture Building, Carthage, NC, room 3.

All members and those wanting to be members encouraged to attend.

Master Beekeeper Ellis Hardison will tell about
Parasites Affecting Honeybees
[hey, did you know that
NC has more beekeepers than any other State in the Union?]

Follow-Up on Soul Food

http://www.soul-food-advisor.com/ [February is Black History month--enjoy!]


Grandmother In Prison


Slow Food's e-newsletter


Sustainability Film Series, G'boro

UNC-Greensboro is sponsoring a Sustainability Film Series this spring semester, all films open to the public.
  • The Next Industrial Revolution, Feb. 8, Weatherspoon Auditorium
  • Blue Vinyl, February 22nd, Jarrell Hall in Jackson Library
  • Hot Zones, March 22nd, Jarrell Hall in Jackson Library
  • Future of Foods, March 29th, Jarrell Hall in Jackson Library
  • Urban Explosion, April 19th, Weatherspoon Auditorium
"The next film in our series will be shown this Thursday night, February 8th. The Next Industrial Revolution is based on the book by William McDonough, Cradle to Cradle.
Discussion afterward led by Dr. Anna Marshall-Baker from the Interior Architcture department.

"Information on the Slow Food "Food with a View" series will be out shortly, along with other plans for 2007."

Laurie [with Slow Food]

Deepak Chopra on Global Warming

"Who Owns the Planet?
Deepak Chopra - February 05, 2007

The United Nations report on climate change wasn't unfortunate only because it showed, with 90 percent certainty, that the planet is warming up due to human activity. The really unfortunate part is that it gave aid and comfort to right-wing forces who want to keep polluting and ignoring the issue. The authors, scientists from 113 countries, felt obliged to tell the truth, which is that global warming and rises in sea levels will continue for centuries. This despite any foreseeable efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

As the report fears, this news will cause many countries to throw up their hands and do little or nothing. Why try and stop the inevitable? Drastic changes in oil and coal consumption can slow down climate change, but climate experts take as a foregone conclusion that the carbon dioxide layer in the upper atmosphere will double anyway. For more than a decade the pessimists among climate researchers have said that human beings will have to adapt to change, because correcting the warming trend is impossible, for all intents and purposes. Lowering greenhouse gas emissions on a global scale would require unprecedented cooperation; moreover, the gases already present in the atmosphere would have to be neutralized somehow, and no workable technology is in place to accomplish that.

Human beings have created "a different planet," the report says, and now we must live with what we've done. In essence the human race feels that it owns Earth. We mess it up at our whim, like landlords who turn apartment houses into tenements and feel justified because it's their property. Animals and plants have no say in the matter because they have no voice, but even if they did, humans would overrule them.

One hope is that time will allow the development of super-technologies that can override pollution and negate its effects. Some highly optimistic researchers believe that nano fuel cells and the like could conceivably replace fossil fuels before mid-century. We might find ways to bury carbon dioxide emissions (Norway pumps some emissions under the sea floor presently). Replanting the rain forest or constructing huge oxygen-emitting devices worldwide might help.

But even if science fiction turns into real science, would the world's mentality really change? The climate report gives us until the year 2100 before warming increases by 2 to 11.5 degrees and sea levels rise by 7 to 50 inches. The margins are wide, the time frame is long in relative terms. But for now the pessimists seem to be winning. Governments are likely to continue to wring their hands while doing very little. Corporations will pollute unless absolutely forced not to.

Is there anything you and I can do as ordinary citizens?

As in all matters that run this deep, only a change of consciousness can bring about radical change on the outside. Each person must realize that human beings don't own the planet. Life does, on every level. We owe our existence to plankton, blue-green algae, and one-celled organisms at the base of the food chain, not to mention our evolutionary debt to primitive life forms going back billions of years.

Reverence for life is our only hope. Instead of being a spiritual doctrine confined to individuals like Gandhi and Albert Schweitzer, or to a few religions like Hinduism and Jainism, reverence for life now stands between us and catastrophe.

Ultimately, the climate report can't be considered definitive. It took only 200 years of industrialism to create climate change; with the right will, a reversal could be engineered over the next two hundred years. One only hopes that reverence wins out over greed and hopelessness. "


Who Stole the Soul?

February 7, 2007 by CommonDreams.org
Who Stole the Soul?: The Decline of Food in America
by Bob St. Peter

Up until recently I've defined "soul food" narrowly as the traditional Southern fare born out of slavery and forced frugality. But the more food I grow for myself and my family, the more food I buy from local farmers and fishers, and the more recipes I create with the food of my bioregion, the more I understand soul food as food that nourishes the body, mind, and spirit, preserves the landscape, and embraces the connection between culture and diet. In contrast, the more time I spend outside of my food utopia at Forest Farm the more I wonder, what the hell has happened to food in America? Who stole the soul from our food?

I'm often reminded by my neighbor and organic farmer Eliot Coleman that the best cuisines in the world have all come from peasant cultures. It's not a difficult conclusion to come to if one recognizes that all throughout history the responsibility of growing, preparing, and cooking food has fallen on the poor, the peasants, and the working class. Using what was available, which usually meant what was grown locally and seasonally, our ancestors transformed what they had into wonderful and nourishing foods. Dinner wasn't the only thing coming out of those kitchens; rituals, traditions, and cultures were created, too.

While here in America we are still burdened by an underclass of farmers and food workers, the modern day serfs, slaves, and peasants, it is hard to compare the food that has come to dominate the American landscape to the food of Italy, Thailand, Mexico, or just about any other nation on earth that still has food traditions intact. For the first time in the history of our civilization, people who are connected to the land and sea for their livelihood are no longer the creators of food culture and tradition. Whereas diet was once determined by what the land and sea produced, food in America today is determined by what can be produced cheapest, in the highest quantity, and that can be packed so full of artificial ingredients that it can be shipped thousands of miles and stored for weeks, months, or even years. Worldwide, cultures built upon fresh, nourishing food are being replaced by an extractive industrial food system that is based on the narrow values of progress, efficiency, and profit.

Here in Maine this is clear as day. One-hundred-and-fifty-years ago Maine was the breadbasket of northern New England, providing a diverse range of plant and animal foods for its citizens and sending surplus to the markets of Portsmouth and Boston. Maine was even self-sufficient in sugar, producing maple and beet sugars. But like so many agricultural nations and states around the world, concentrated agribusiness and fast food culture has relegated Maine to an exporter of commodities and luxury goods and an importer of basic essentials.

But the tide it turning. Organizations and groups like Food for Maine's Future and Slow Food are reclaiming a culture of food built upon economic fairness, ecological sanity, and good taste. At the grassroots, farmers, fishers, activists, and consumers are coming together to create food independence and food /interdependence./ Because in the end, we are all stakeholders in our food system, good or bad. We are all eaters.

And in the halls of the Maine state house, the Protect Maine Farmer's campaign is working hard to represent concerned Maine citizens who believe it is the role of our state government to recognize and protect Maine's agricultural heritage and legacy, and to ensure that Maine's food producers will have the tools they need to succeed in the decades to come.

The soul food train is leaving the station and we've got an eclectic band of people from all walks of life who value what they eat, care about where it came for, and respect the people, the land, and the sea that produced it. There's plenty of room and the food is great. All aboard!

Bob St.Peter is the executive director of The Good Life Center at Forest Farm in Harborside, Maine, the last home of pioneering homesteaders Helen and Scott Nearing.

US Losing the Blame Game

Brazil scolds rich on environment
Brazil's President Lula says rich nations are not doing enough to fight global warming.

African Oil

US to get Africa command centre
President George W Bush approves Pentagon plans for a US military command centre for Africa.

Class Action, Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart bias case to go to trial
A US court rules female staff claiming discrimination by retail giant Wal-Mart can go ahead with a class action.


Big Batch of Cool Articles and Links


To Start a Local Campaign


Maya Missing Molly

Published on Tuesday, February 6, 2007 by the Miami Herald (Florida)
Molly Ivins: America's Jericho Voice by Maya Angelou

Up to the walls of Jericho
She marched with a spear in
her hand
Go blow them ram horns she cried
For the battle is in my hand
The walls have not come down,
but they have been given a
serious shaking.
That Jericho voice is stilled now.
Molly Ivins has been quieted.

The writer and journalist, dearly loved and admired by many, hated and feared by many, died of cancer in her Texas home on Jan. 31.

The walls of ignorance and prejudice and cruelty, which she railed against valiantly all her public life, have not fallen, but their truculence to do so does not speak against her determination to make them collapse.

Weeks before she died, she launched what she called ''an old-fashioned newspaper crusade'' against President Bush's announcement that he was going to send more troops to Iraq.
She wrote, 'We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. Every single day every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. We need people in the streets banging pots and pans and demanding, `Stop it now!' ''

Years ago there was a fundraising gala for People for the American Way in New York, and Molly Ivins was keynote speaker. I was a loyal collector and serious Ivins reader, but I had not met the author. Another famous journalist, who was to have introduced her, had his flight canceled in a Southern city. Norman Lear, founder of the organization, asked me to introduce her. I did not hesitate. I spoke glowingly about Ms. Ivins for a few minutes, then, suddenly, a six-foot-tall, red-haired woman sprang from the wings. She strode onto the stage and over to the microphone. She gave me an enveloping hug and said, in that languorous Texas accent, ``Maya Angelou and I are identical twins, we were separated at birth.''

I am also six feet tall, but I am not white. She was under 50 when she made the statement, and I was in my middle 60s, but our hearts did beat in the same rhythm. Whoever separated us at birth must know it did not work. We were in the struggle for equal rights for all people since we met on that Waldorf Astoria stage. We laughed together without apology, and we wept when weeping was necessary.

I shall be weeping a little more these days, but I shall never forget the charge. Joshua commanded the people to shout, and the walls came tumbling down.

I am shouting,
With two voices,
Walls come down!
Walls come down!
Walls come down!

Poet Maya Angelou is the author of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

Organic Gardening Workshop, Fayetteville

Raft Swamp Farms [Hoke County] is happy to announce:

We have received word from the federal government that our application for 501 (c) 3 nonprofit status has been approved! Many thanks for your encouragement and support of this effort and of the farm.

Also, on Saturday, Feb 17th, at 10 am and also at 1 pm, Louie and I will be offering a brief lecture/workshop on basic organic gardening. This workshop will be held at Owen Garden Center on Cliffdale Road in Fayetteville. Please pass the word along to those you feel may be interested.

Many thanks, Jackie Hough


Since Early 1900s

In the past hundred years … we have lost about 95 percent of the garden seed diversity that was available in the early 1900’s. Privatization of seed, contamination from genetically modified organisms, industrialization of agriculture, and widespread habitat destruction threaten the deep diversity of non-human species upon which human life depends. H.C. Flores

Sou. Pines Forum, Thurs. Feb. 22

http://www.sustainablesandhills.org/ [click for more information and to register, or see below]

Presents Forum III in its ongoing educational series:
A Community Dialogue on Growth Management


Land Planner, Author, Site Designer, Educator

The foremost authority in the U.S. and advocate of conservation planning. The most sought-after speaker on creative development design as a conservation tool. The Arendt approach to development is transforming planning and zoning ordinances of communities across the country. His designs, called twice green, succeed both environmentally and economically.

If you care about your community and you want to help shape
the direction of its growth,
do not miss this opportunity to hear Randall Arendt speak!

Thursday, Feb. 22, 2007
7:00 to 9:00pm

Southern Pines Civic Club
105 S. Ashe Street
(Corner of E. Pennsylvania & S. Ashe St)
Southern Pines, NC

Free to the Public
Seating is limited. RSVP to: SuzColeman0622@aol.com


Bee Die-off Critical


Sandhills Contra Dance, Feb. 10

Contra dance
Saturday February 10

Lesson: 7:30 pm
Dance 8-11

Caller Charley Harvey
with Big Celtic Fun Band

Price $8 adult nonmembers
$6 teens

Same location—Old West End Gym

Please note new time



If You Couldn't Open Mouth Revolution. . .


Scientific Integrity

[from Union of Concerned Scientists]

Historic K, Feb. 10

Historic K on Jones Street
Saturday, February 10, 2007
Arrival at 11:00 a.m., Program at 12 p.m. followed by a March to the State Legislature Building. Progress Energy Center (Old Raleigh Memorial Auditorium), 2 East South Street, Raleigh, North Carolina

HK on J: The People’s General Assembly

HK [thousands] on [Jones Street, Raleigh] is a call by the North Carolina NAACP to the progressive and civil rights community to come together to support 14-point public policy strategy that will begin to shift North Carolina political action in a way that will more clearly match our rhetoric with reality.

February 12, 2007 is the 98th birthday of the NAACP, in commemoration of a time when progressive whites and blacks came together to fight racial injustice and social inequality.

Today, our challenges revolve around the issues of education, health, labor rights, economic empowerment, civic engagement, and criminal justice.

The goals of HK on J are to:
• Gather 50-100 people from each North Carolina county to meet in Raleigh before the General Assembly to embrace a 14-point agenda that we demand the legislature to act upon. We will insert the 14-point agenda in every political debate and discussion until they become a reality.

• Remind North Carolina that the General Assembly belongs to the people, not the powerful; to everyday folk, not just those with the money and the influence.

• Create a statewide network of the progressive and civil rights community which we will build in order to promote a progressive agenda and civil rights in North Carolina.

HK on J will not be a moment, but a movement. This event will bring hardworking, everyday people together, and on March 28, 2007, the Second Annual People of Color Legislative Day, when we bring hundreds of people together to lobby the General Assembly, will be held.
For more information: http://naacp.ubernc.com/ or call 1-(866)-586-6544 today!

1. All Children Need High Quality, Well Funded, Diverse Schools.
2. Livable Wages and Support for Low Income People.
3. Health Care for All.
4. Redress Two Ugly Chapters in N.C.’s Racist History: The overthrow of the bi-racial 1898 Wilmington Government and the sterilization of poor, mainly Black, women from 1947- 1977.
5. Same Day Registration and Public Financing of Elections.
6. Lift Every Historically Black College and University.
7. Document and Redress 200 years of State Discrimination in Hiring and Contracting.
8. Provide Affordable Housing and Stop Consumer Abuse.
9. Abolish Racially Biased Death Penalty and Mandatory Sentencing Laws; Reform our Prisons.
10. Put Young People to Work to Save the Environment and Fight for Environmental Justice.
11. Collective Bargaining for Public Employees.
12. Protect the Rights of Immigrants from Latin America and other Nations.
13. Organize, Strengthen and Provide Funding For Our Civil Rights Enforcement Agencies and Statutes Now.
14. Bring Our Troops Home from Iraq Now.

Growing List of HKonJ Coalition Partners
• ACORN• AFL-CIO• Black Workers for Justice• Carolina Justice Policy Center• Democracy NC• El Pueblo• General Baptist State Convention• Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation• NC Association of CDC’s• NC Black Leadership Caucus• NC Community Development Initiative• NC Council of Churches• NC Fair Share• NC Institute for Minority Econ Development• NC Justice Center• NC WARN• Old North State Medical Society• Opportunities Industrialization Center• People of Color Day Coalition Members• People of Faith Against the Death Penalty• Prince Hall Grand Lodge of North Carolina• Southern Faith, Labor and Community Alliance• Southerners for Economic Justice• The AME Zion Church• Triangle Lost Generation Task Force• Triangle Urban League• UE Local 150• UFCW

If your organization would like to endorse this event please contact the NC NAACP. Email HKonJ@gmail.com or visit http://naacp.ubernc.com/ or call 1-(866)-586-6544 today!
For grassroots organizations that wish to sign-up for this event contact Curtis Gatewood at 919-939-3401 or curtisgatewood@minister.com

“OUR servants meet in OUR House. They decide how to spend OUR taxes. But their decisions have been corrupted. Rich corporations pay to play in our House. We can’t match their money, but with God’s Grace and your hard work, we can sure out-number them! Please join me on February 10, 2007 in Raleigh.”
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, President of the North Carolina State NAACP

Ya-Hoo! the Mouth Revolution!



Smithfield Press Conference/Boycott

Contact: Libby Manly, 919-491-2262, emanly@ufcw.org

Clergy, Civil Rights and Immigrant Rights Leaders Condemn Arrests and intimidation of workers.

WHAT: Press conference led by North Carolina clergy, civil rights and immigrant rights leaders, in front of Smithfield Packing, world's largest hog processing plant in Tar Heel, NC. Clergy demand moratorium on arrests at Smithfield and an end to the mistreatment of workers at the plant.

WHO: Clergy, immigrant rights advocates, civil rights groups, consumer advocates and workers.

WHEN: Tuesday, February 6th at 2:30 PM.

WHERE: In front of Smithfield Packing, 15855 NC Highway 87 W Tar Heel, NC

BACKGROUND: The approximately 5,500 workers at Smithfield's Tar Heel plant slaughter and process 32,000 hogs per day in a dangerous and brutal environment. Reported injuries have risen by over 200 percent since 2003. Workers face a company engaged in the systematic, sometimes violent, suppression of their democratic rights. The US Court of Appeals even determined that Smithfield used threats, intimidation and violence to punish workers for standing up to improve conditions on the job.

After Smithfield previously violated federal labor law by threatening workers with arrest by federal immigration authorities, Immigration Customs Enforcement agents detained and arrested 21 Smithfield workers on Wednesday, Jan. 24.

This came on the heels of a confrontation with workers over Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Approximately 4,000 workers signed a petition asking the company for an additional paid holiday to honor the slain civil rights leader. The company responded by threatening to punish those who chose to honor the federal holiday by attending local church services and memorials.

United Food and Commercial Workers International Union 1775 K St. N.W. Washington, DC. 20006

US Rejects Controls

Climate paper prompts call to act
A major climate change report prompts calls for urgent action, but the US rejects controls on emissions.
[US responsible for one quarter of world's emissions]


Gore Interview


Available Now Online

Environment North Carolina Reports Goes Online
This winter's edition of Environment North Carolina Report is now available online at http://www.EnvironmentNorthCarolina.org/html/newsletters/winter07

Action needed to save natural heritage
North Carolina's distinctive woodlands, farmlands, and open spaces are disappearing at a rapid rate, and development across the state shows no sign of letting up . . . http://www.environmentnorthcarolina.org/html/newsletters/winter07/article1.html

Protecting the environment through the NC General Assembly
Lawmakers convened on Jones Street on Jan. 24 for their 2007 session, which is expected to last through the summer. Until lawmakers adjourn, Environment North Carolina staff will be there, advocating on behalf of clean air, clean water and open spaces.

Stepping up to a New Energy Future http://www.environmentnorthcarolina.org/html/newsletters/winter07/article3.html

Roadless areas get reprieve: Appeals to come http://www.environmentnorthcarolina.org/html/newsletters/winter07/article4.html

Mercury rule improved, still falls short

Analysis details global warming solutions

Lake clean-up behind schedule

Global warming bills gather support

Coastal drilling setback is oil industry giveaway

New air quality standards reject science, endanger millions

Letter from the director

To make a contribution or join Environment North Carolina, visit

ElizabethO@environmentnorthcarolina.orghttp://www.environmentnorthcarolina.orgP.S. Please feel free to share this e-mail with your family and friends.

Krugman Missing Molly

Published on Friday, February 2, 2007 by the New York Times
Missing Molly Ivins
by Paul Krugman

Molly Ivins, the Texas columnist, died of breast cancer on Wednesday. I first met her more than three years ago, when our book tours crossed. She was, as she wrote, “a card-carrying member of The Great Liberal Backlash of 2003, one of the half-dozen or so writers now schlepping around the country promoting books that do not speak kindly of Our Leader’s record.”
I can’t claim to have known her well. But I spent enough time with her, and paid enough attention to her work, to know that obituaries that mostly stressed her satirical gifts missed the main point. Yes, she liked to poke fun at the powerful, and was very good at it. But her satire was only the means to an end: holding the powerful accountable.
She explained her philosophy in a stinging 1995 article in Mother Jones magazine about Rush Limbaugh. “Satire ... has historically been the weapon of powerless people aimed at the powerful,” she wrote. “When you use satire against powerless people ... it is like kicking a cripple.”
Molly never lost sight of two eternal truths: rulers lie, and the times when people are most afraid to challenge authority are also the times when it’s most important to do just that. And the fact that she remembered these truths explains something I haven’t seen pointed out in any of the tributes: her extraordinary prescience on the central political issue of our time.
I’ve been going through Molly’s columns from 2002 and 2003, the period when most of the wise men of the press cheered as Our Leader took us to war on false pretenses, then dismissed as “Bush haters” anyone who complained about the absence of W.M.D. or warned that the victory celebrations were premature. Here are a few selections:
Nov. 19, 2002: “The greatest risk for us in invading Iraq is probably not war itself, so much as: What happens after we win? ... There is a batty degree of triumphalism loose in this country right now.”
Jan. 16, 2003: “I assume we can defeat Hussein without great cost to our side (God forgive me if that is hubris). The problem is what happens after we win. The country is 20 percent Kurd, 20 percent Sunni and 60 percent Shiite. Can you say, ‘Horrible three-way civil war?’ ”
July 14, 2003: “I opposed the war in Iraq because I thought it would lead to the peace from hell, but I’d rather not see my prediction come true and I don’t think we have much time left to avert it. That the occupation is not going well is apparent to everyone but Donald Rumsfeld. ... We don’t need people with credentials as right-wing ideologues and corporate privatizers — we need people who know how to fix water and power plants.”
Oct. 7, 2003: “Good thing we won the war, because the peace sure looks like a quagmire. ...
“I’ve got an even-money bet out that says more Americans will be killed in the peace than in the war, and more Iraqis will be killed by Americans in the peace than in the war. Not the first time I’ve had a bet out that I hoped I’d lose.”
So Molly Ivins — who didn’t mingle with the great and famous, didn’t have sources high in the administration, and never claimed special expertise on national security or the Middle East — got almost everything right. Meanwhile, how did those who did have all those credentials do?
With very few exceptions, they got everything wrong. They bought the obviously cooked case for war — or found their own reasons to endorse the invasion. They didn’t see the folly of the venture, which was almost as obvious in prospect as it is with the benefit of hindsight. And they took years to realize that everything we were being told about progress in Iraq was a lie.
Was Molly smarter than all the experts? No, she was just braver. The administration’s exploitation of 9/11 created an environment in which it took a lot of courage to see and say the obvious.
Molly had that courage; not enough others can say the same.
And it’s not over. Many of those who failed the big test in 2002 and 2003 are now making excuses for the “surge.” Meanwhile, the same techniques of allegation and innuendo that were used to promote war with Iraq are being used to ratchet up tensions with Iran.
Now, more than ever, we need people who will stand up against the follies and lies of the powerful. And Molly Ivins, who devoted her life to questioning authority, will be sorely missed.

Interesting Analysis on Gore


Wanna Localize?

has many events, trainings. Subscribe!

Post Carbon Institute


It's the Oil

Putin hits back at energy critics
Russia's President Putin denies claims that Russia is using its energy exports as a foreign policy tool.

France 'dims' for climate protest
Lights across France dim for five minutes as part of a campaign designed to raise awareness of climate change.

It's the Petrol

Chavez sets May oil takeover date
Venezuela's President Chavez says he wants the state to take over oil projects on the Orinoco Belt by May.


U.S. and Iran


Iran Clock is Ticking

Robert Parry Iran Clock Is Ticking
Robert Parry writes: "One well-informed US military source called me in a fury after consulting with Pentagon associates and discovering how far along the war preparations are. He said the plans call for extensive aerial attacks on Iran, including use of powerful bunker-busting ordnance."

Piedmont Biofuels

offers biofuels classes this spring.
Chatham Co. school buses use biofuels as does the NC Zoo.

In Chatham Co


For Molly from The Texas Observer

Statement From the Texas Observer

Molly Ivins left her editor's chair at The Texas Observer more than 30 years ago and went on to play a larger stage. But she never left us behind. She remained convinced that Texas needed a progressive, independent voice to call the powerful to account and to stand up for the common folk.
She kept our voice alive. More than once, when the paper was on the brink of insolvency, she delivered speeches and gave us the honorariums. She donated royalties from her best-selling book Shrub to keep the doors open. Her determination and efforts sustained the Observer as a magazine, as a family, and as a community.
Molly was a hero. She was a mentor. She was a liberal. She was a patriot. She was a friend. And she always will be. With Molly's death we have lost someone we hold dear. What she has left behind we will hold dearer still.
Despite her failing health and an impending ice storm, Molly insisted on being driven to the Observer's most recent public event in early January so she could thank our supporters. Observer writers are useful, she explained to the crowd, in much the same way as good hunting dogs. Turn them loose, let them hunt. When they return with their prey, pat them on the head, say a few words of praise, and set them loose to hunt again.
For the time being, The Texas Observer's web site will be dedicated to remembering Molly, her work, her wit, her contributions to the political discourse of a nation. We invite readers to submit their own thoughts and recollections, to say a few words of praise. Then, we will return to the hunt.
To read more about Molly Ivins or to make a comment about her, go to Texas Observer. Tax-deductible contributions in her honor may be made to The Texas Observer, 307 West Seventh Street, Austin, TX 78701 or the American Civil Liberties Union, 127 Broad Street, 18th floor, New York, NY 10004.

The Story of Karl


Remembering Molly Ivins




More on Container Gardening


Sweet Potatoes in a Bathtub

gives many resources on container gardening.

It's the Fuel

Mexicans stage tortilla protest
Tens of thousands of Mexicans join a march in Mexico City to protest against the rising price of tortillas. [see U.S. corn conversion to ethanol]