Mondragon: The Loving Society That Is Our Inevitable Future


From TERRY MOLLNER
Trusteeship Institute
See also The Myth of Self-Reliance
Thanks to Dave Pollard

My first visit to Mondragon was in 1979. I had been searching the globe for years for a Relationship Age society which was also fully integrated into the modern world. My initial reaction to Mondragon was utter amazement. I had never expected to find such a mature and comprehensive example.

The inspiration behind Mondragon was a Catholic priest who in his own way understood the difference between the Material Age (Newtonian) and Relationship Age (quantum) worldviews. From the beginning he was about the business of creating a society based on the latter.

His first assignment upon leaving the seminary in 1941 was to be an assistant pastor at the Catholic church in the small town of Mondragon which is high in the Pyrennes Mountains of northern Spain. Mondragon is in the Basque region and Father Don Jose Maria Arizmendiarrietta was Basque. This was just after the Spanish Civil War which had been won by General Francisco Franco and his fascist party.

Franco had had a difficult time defeating the Basques who had sided with the freely elected democratic socialist government against the fascists. If the democratic socialists won, the Basques had been promised an amicable separation from Spain so they could create their own nation. As a result, after the war Franco treated the Basques like an occupied nation. He even outlawed the Basque language. As you can imagine, this forged a strong bond among the Basques. This was on top of the deep solidarity which already exists within Basque society.

The rainfall in the Pyrennes is such that there has never been a drought. Thus the Basques have never had to migrate. They have lived in those mountains for as long as there has been recorded history. Also, their farming and village life has been based on consensual democratic policies for as long as they can remember. At the same time, they have always been dominated by other people. These conditions, plus a unique language and common religion, have forged a deep feeling of family among the Basque people.

So Father Arizmendi, not only a devout Catholic but also a devout Basque, set about building a Relationship Age society by extending into more sophisticated realms the Relationship Age values

America’s Teacher


From NAOMI KLEIN
Nation Magazine

[Capitalism: A Love Story, just out for rental from Netflix. Although Moore’s solution to  our current version of Capitalism is more democracy, he fails to explain the difference between Monopoly Capitalism and Small Is Beautiful Capitalism. The wingnuts, in their simplistic, either/or, black and white world, love to scream “socialism” over and over, misunderstanding that we have always had a mixed economy of socialism and capitalism, and the struggle is the balance between the two. The problems currently are our Presidents’ failures, since Reagan, to enforce our anti-monopoly laws, and they have devastated our world economy with their Shock Doctrine. Where huge, transnational companies supposedly save consumers money through “economies of scale” with the neo-cons so-called “free market”, we now know that banks, food companies, health insurance companies, etc. are hugely inefficient and can only survive through fraud (privatizing public commonwealth, etc.) and subsidization. To continue after the health care victory, America must now de-monopolize our economy to allow local Small Is Beautiful Capitalism entrepreneuring to flourish; re-institute tariffs to level the playing field with other countries; and halt the privatization of our publicly-owned commonwealth. Let’s push the greedy snakes back in their holes, or into jail, and create jobs in a new, green economy. -DS]
~

Naomi Klein:
So, the film is wonderful. Congratulations. It is, as many people have already heard, an unapologetic call for a revolt against capitalist madness. But the week it premiered, a very different kind of revolt was in the news: the so-called tea parties, seemingly a passionate defense of capitalism and against social programs.

Meanwhile, we are not seeing too many signs of the hordes storming Wall Street. Personally, I’m hoping that your film is going to be the wake-up call and the catalyst for all of that changing. But I’m just wondering how you’re coping with this odd turn of events, these revolts for capitalism led by Glenn Beck.

Michael Moore: I don’t know if they’re so much revolts in favor of capitalism as they are being fueled by a couple of different agendas, one being the fact that a number of Americans still haven’t come to grips with the fact that there’s an African-American who is their leader. And I don’t think they like that…

More at The Nation
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Obama, Lehman and ‘The Dragon Tattoo’


From FRANK RICH
New York Times

The same week that Lehman Brothers collapsed in September 2008, a Swedish crime novel titled “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” was published in America. The book didn’t receive a ton of hype, not least because the author, a journalist named Stieg Larsson, was unavailable for interviews; he had died in 2004 of a heart attack at the age of 50. The mixed Times review appeared in the back pages of the Sunday Book Review. Many more readers were riveted instead by the Lehman article on that morning’s front page: “A Wall Street Goliath Teeters Amid Fears of a Widening Crisis.”

Larsson’s novel, the first of a “Millennium” trilogy he left behind, would nonetheless soar onto best-seller lists in America, as it has in much of the world. It remains a best seller 18 months later, even as the first of what may be two movie adaptations opens this weekend. In the many dissections of this literary phenomenon, much has been said about Larsson’s striking title character, a brilliant, if antisocial, 24-year-old female computer hacker who bonds with a middle-age male journalist to crack a chain of horrific crimes against Swedish women. Strangely, far less attention has been paid to the equally prominent villains in this novel — whether they literally commit murder or not. They are, without exception, bankers and industrialists. At the time of its American release, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” was far more topical than most anyone could imagine.

“A bank director who blows millions on foolhardy speculations should not keep his job,” writes Larsson in one typical passage. “A managing director who plays shell company games should do time.” Larsson is no less lacerating about influential journalists who treat “mediocre financial whelps like rock stars” and who docilely “regurgitate the statements issued by C.E.O.’s and stock-market speculators.” He pleads for some “tough reporter” to “identify and expose as traitors” the financial players who have “systematically and perhaps deliberately” damaged their country’s economy “to satisfy the profit interests of their clients.”

What’s remarkable is that Larsson wrote all this in a book completed years before the meltdown of 2008 — and was referring only to Sweden. And yet the overlap with our recent history is profound…

More at NYT
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Joan Gussow, Matriarch of the Organic Movement


From EDIBLE MANHATTAN

A woman who wouldn’t stop asking questions, and her seminal role in today’s food fight.

Last spring, when hundreds of alums and faculty of the nutrition program of Columbia University Teachers College gathered to commemorate the department’s 100th anniversary, one speaker riveted the audience. Shoulders back, patrician chin jutting forward, Joan Gussow strode toward the stage. A recent octogenarian, she remains in remarkable shape.

“Good morning. I don’t come with slides,” the seasoned speaker quipped to immediate laughter. “But I have to say that if anyone told me 35 years ago that I would be speaking after a Manhattan borough president had talked about New York City’s foodshed, I would have thought they were smoking dope.” More laughter and applause. “So this is a thrilling moment for me.”

Thrilling because for the past 40 years-half her life-Gussow, a longtime occupant of the Mary Swartz Rose chair of the college’s Nutrition Program, the oldest in the nation, has been waging a tireless war against the industrialization of the American food system. Long before mad cow, avian flu, E. coli or the “diabesity” epidemic made headlines, Gussow foretold the impacts of the post-modern diet on public health, ecology and culture, “depressing generations of graduate students,” as she now puts it, with the news that “life as they knew it was not sustainable, and destined to come to an end unless we urgently changed our ways.” And along the way she didn’t just lay the foundation for modern-day locavores. She also challenged nutritionists everywhere to look up from their microscopes to see the cafeteria, the factory farm and beyond.

“In many places we have begun serious dialogues about the corporate malnourishment of our children,” she told the crowd last spring. “We have painfully begun to fix school lunch, and we have a family in the White House that is publicly committed to local, organic food and has begun digging up part of our national lawn for a vegetable garden.  It is hard to not yield to a kind of heart-lifting optimism.”

More at Edible Manhattan
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Why We’re Fat and Why To Buy Locally-Grown Food


From THE CONSUMERIST

Click Here To Enlarge
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Get Off The Fat Train That Features Chemical Industrial Food, and Get Healthy With Fresh, Locally Grown Organic Food

YOU’LL GET EXCEPTIONAL TASTE AND FRESHNESS
Local food is fresher and tastes better than food shipped long distances from other states or countries. Local farmers can offer produce varieties bred for taste and freshness rather than for shipping and long shelf life.

YOU’LL STRENGTHEN OUR LOCAL ECONOMY
Buying local food keeps your dollars circulating in our community. Getting to know the farmers who grow our food builds relationships based on understanding and trust, the foundation of strong communities.

YOU’LL SUPPORT ENDANGERED FAMILY FARMS
There’s never been a more critical time to support our farming neighbors. With each local food purchase, you ensure that more of your money spent on food goes to the farmer.

YOU’LL SAFEGUARD YOUR FAMILY’S HEALTH
Knowing where our food comes from and how it is grown or raised enables us to choose safe food from farmers who avoid or reduce their use of chemicals, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, or genetically modified seed in their operations. Buy food from local farmers you trust.

YOU’LL PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT
Local food doesn’t have to travel far. This reduces carbon dioxide emissions and packing materials. Buying local food also helps to make farming more profitable and selling farmland for development less attractive.

BUYING LOCAL IS EASY
Our Farmers Markets are now opening year-round locally, our Co-op features locally-grown produce, and our CSA’s (here, here, and here) are serving up local organic abundance.

When we buy local food, we vote with our food dollar. This ensures that family farms in our community will continue to thrive and that healthy, flavorful, plentiful food will be available for local future generations.
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Local Slaughterhouses Come Back To Life


From SAMUEL FROMARTZ
Washington Post

HARRISONBURG, VA. — Huddled in a small pen in the slaughterhouse, the four sheep and two goats were quiet and still. A few men nearby in thick rubber aprons cut away at still-warm carcasses hanging on hooks.

“They don’t seem to know what’s going on,” a visitor remarked.

“Oh, they know,” one of the butchers replied. “They know.”

Maybe it was that awareness that led the men to work quietly and efficiently, dispatching each animal with a bolt shot to the head, until the last sheep, perhaps realizing that the flock was gone, began to bleat. Then she too fell silent.

So began the hard work of turning the animals into meat. The process is usually hidden from view, so that all consumers see is a steak or chop in a shrink-wrapped package. But at True & Essential Meats, one of about a dozen small slaughterhouses in the state that work with local farms, even school classes have visited the kill floor.

Co-owner and manager Joe Cloud, a 52-year-old former landscape architect from Seattle who bought the plant in mid-2008, welcomes visitors so they can see what’s at stake, for the eater and the eaten. “It is a slaughterhouse, but I’m not going to shrink from showing who we are and what we do,” Cloud said. “The industry has walled it off and is in a defensive crouch. I want to be different.”

Cloud is riding a wave of consumer demand for meat from local farms, which has burgeoned along with the rash of deadly E. coli food poisoning incidents, hamburger recalls and undercover videos about grossly inhumane practices at a few large plants. Prominent chefs, who work with farmers and processors like T&E to get high-quality meat, have also championed the products.

For farmers, the sales are alluring; they make more money per animal when they sell direct, even if these channels represent less than 2 percent of all meat sales…

More at Washington Post
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The Growing Movement for Publicly-Owned Banks


From ELLEN BROWN
WebOfDebt.com

As the states’ credit crisis deepens, four states have initiated bills for state-owned banks, and candidates in seven states have now included that solution in their platforms.

“Hundreds of job-creating projects are still on hold because Michigan businesses and entrepreneurs cannot get bank financing. We can break the credit crunch and beat Wall Street at their own game by keeping our money right here in Michigan and investing it to retool our economy and create jobs.”

–Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero in the Detroit News, May 9, 2010

Struggling with 14% unemployment, Michigan has been particularly hard hit by the nation’s economic downturn. Virg Bernero, mayor of the state’s capitol and a leading Democratic candidate for governor, proposes that the state relieve its economic ills by opening a state-owned bank. He says the bank could protect consumers by making low-interest loans to those most in need, including students and small businesses; and could help community banks by buying mortgages off their books and working with them to fund development projects.

Bernero joins a growing list of candidates proposing this sensible solution to their states’ fiscal ills. Local economies have collapsed because of the Wall Street credit freeze. To reinvigorate local business, Main Street needs a heavy infusion of credit; and publicly-owned banks could fill that need.

A February posting tracked candidates in five states running on a state-bank platform and one state with a bill pending (Massachusetts). There are now three more bills on the rolls – in Washington State, Illinois and Michigan – and two more candidates on the list of proponents (joining Bernero is Gaelan Brown of Vermont). That brings the total to seven candidates in as many states (Florida, Oregon, Illinois, California, Washington State, Vermont, and Idaho), including three Democrats, two Greens, one Republican and one Independent.

The Independent, Vermont’s Gaelan Brown, says on his website, “Washington DC has lost all moral authority over Vermont.” He maintains that:

“Vermont should explore creating a State-owned bank that would work with private VT-based banks, to insulate VT from Wall Street corruption,

Why Does Congress want me to Shun my Local Bookstore and Shop Online Instead?


From STACY MITCHELL
New Rules Project

Portland, Maine  —  It’s always a relief this time of year to find that my local bookstore has emerged from the crucial holiday retail season still standing. Longfellow Books, named after Portland’s famous 19th century poet, is the only bookstore selling new, general-interest titles left in this small city. I can hardly imagine getting through Maine’s long winter months deprived of its weekly author events or the pleasure of an hour spent browsing the latest staff picks. Longfellow Books nourishes Portland’s cultural life and also its economy. The store anchors a key downtown block, has helped many a budding local author, and provides a livelihood for six of my fellow Portlanders.

All of this makes it hard to understand Congress’s long-standing policy of steering customers away from Longfellow Books by providing a substantial financial incentive to shop at Amazon instead.

Like all bricks-and-mortar stores, Longfellow Books is required to collect Maine’s 5 percent sales tax. Amazon.com is not. Five percent is a titanic advantage in the thin-margined world of retailing. It’s worse in other states like California, where Amazon’s government-bestowed competitive edge rises to nearly 10 percent.

Over the years, there have been four primary arguments made in favor of this grossly inequitable policy.

The first one dates to 1992, when the U.S. Supreme Court, mindful that 45 states and thousands of local jurisdictions levy sales taxes, ruled that requiring a catalog company to collect taxes in states where it has no physical presence would impose too much of a burden on interstate commerce. The Court, however, explicitly opened the door for Congress to conclude otherwise, noting that “the ultimate power” to decide the issue rested with lawmakers.

Nearly 20 years later, technology has both radically expanded long-distance retailing and eliminated the concerns that underpinned the court’s decision.

Can’t Buy Me Love

From Telegraph.co.uk

Money can’t buy you happiness, economists find. Inhabitants of wealthy countries tend to grow more miserable as their economy grows richer, according to research.

Economists Curtis Eaton and Mukesh Eswaran found that while the richest people, such as footballers and bankers, could perk themselves up with a new pair of designer shoes or a sophisticated mobile phone.

However, the bulk of the population who were unable to afford the latest status symbols were left unhappier by their inability to keep up.

As countries become wealthier, more value is attached to objects which are not strictly necessary for comfortable living, the researchers claim.

People are then drawn into keeping up with the Joneses which results in less happiness for those who cannot afford the newest “must-have” items even if their wealth has increased.

The nation’s sense of “community and trust” can then be damaged which, in turn, can affect the wider economy, the experts argued.

Prof Eaton, of the University of Calgary, and Prof Eswaran, of the University of British Columbia, concluded that, beyond the point of reasonable affluence, greater riches can make a nation collectively worse off.

In their research, published in the Economic Journal, they said: “These goods represent a ‘zero-sum game’ for society: they satisfy the owners, making them appear wealthy, but everyone else is left feeling worse off.

“Conspicuous consumption can have an impact not only on people’s well-being but also on the growth prospects of the economy.”

The Canadian research follows in the footsteps of the 19th century Norwegian-American economist Thorstein Veblen.

Prof Veblen coined the term “conspicuous consumption” and said it was a method by which people seek to set themselves apart.
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Women’s History Month Celebrated In Ukiah Last Sunday (3/14/10)


Ukiah Poet Laureate Theresa Whitehill with honorees
Katarzyna Rolzinski, Molly Dwyer, and Peg Kingman

From ANNIE ESPOSITO
Ukiah

The Women’s History Month celebration in Ukiah was this Sunday (3/14). It’s a great tribute to originator Val Muchowski that the event is now in its 27th year.

This year’s honorees were local women authors Peg Kingman and Molly Dwyer, and women’s history scholar Katarzyna Rolzinksi.

Vivian Sotomayor Power presents Neil Bell with an appreciation
of his late wife Susan Bell, for her extensive help in the community

The Developing Virtue Girls’ School Orchestra
playing traditional Chinese instruments

Kingman talked about the fun of writing a novel – a piece of fiction.  She actually did do a lot of research around her new novel, “Not Yet Drown’d.”  She got a laugh by saying that research is her favorite form of procrastination. 

Take Action! Tonight Wednesday 3/17/10 City Council Meeting. Why don’t school austerity programs apply to the Board and Top Brass of the Ukiah Unified School District?


From AVA PETERSON
Redwood Valley

[We have laid off teachers, school closures, unfunded pensions, and budget pain. We have empty school buildings and other surplus buildings such as the former Montgomery Ward site. Yet the UUSD wants $3,000,000 for a brand new luxury Taj Mahal to house the school administration? “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” Stop this foolish waste of critical and needed resources! -DS]

Open Letter to the City of Ukiah Redevelopment Agency & the Ukiah Unified School District

RE: 1 ) The Request by the Ukiah Unified School District for Redevelopment Funds

2 ) The Transfer of Property from the City of Ukiah to the Ukiah Unified School District-Oak Manor Park

Ukiah Redevelopment Agency Meeting Date:  March 17, 2010 8:00 P.M. Ukiah City Hall

In a letter dated January 20, 2010, the Ukiah Unified School District requested that the Ukiah Redevelopment Agency approve $3,000,000 for construction of a new two-story District Administration Office at 925 North State Street, Ukiah, CA 95482. This idea should be defeated by the Ukiah Redevelopment Agency for the following reasons:

1 ) The Brush Street and Low Gap Road intersection is a bottleneck due to the lack of left hand turn signals at this location.  It is heavily used by the Mendocino County offices located on Low Gap Road and by Ukiah High School teachers and students who must use Low Gap Road to reach the high school or leave that area.

2 ) The parking at the UHS administration building is highly limited and the entrances and exits are difficult to negotiate during peak traffic times and when public meetings are held at the District office.

Seeing


From DON SANDERSON
Mendocino County

There are two ways to live your life:

One is as though nothing is a miracle;

The other is as if everything is.

I believe in the latter.

— Albert Einstein

Wondrous tales about the Australian Aborigines’ Dreamtime are often related. While I can provide no names or dates, I’ve been assured the following true. A certain anthropologist specialized in Aborigine culture. Some time ago, he went on a long walkabout with an Aborigine guide. Several years later, he heard unbelievable stories about an Aborigine tracker. When the anthropologist later met the man, he asked whether the tracker could follow the walkabout track he had earlier followed. The tracker said that he could and in fact did with great exactness. The amazed anthropologist asked how this was possible. It was easy, the tracker explained, he had simply walked beside the two men as they made their original traverse.

Australian Zoltan Torey “replaced the entire roof guttering of [his] multi-gabled home single-handed”. What alarmed his neighbors was that he did so in the middle of a dark night and he was and is blind. As he describes in his “Out of Darkness”, in 1951 when he was 21, he loosening the plug in a vat of acid at the chemical factory where he worked. In a moment, a flood of acid engulfed his face and he saw his last sparkle of light. Rather than lose memory of his sight, he determined to maintain a vivid imagination of the world about and constantly reinforce it with his remaining senses. Since, he understood that the imagination can run away with itself, Torey took pains to check the accuracy of his images by every means available. “I learned,” he writes, “to hold the image in a tentative way, conferring credibility and status on it only when some information would tip the balance in its favor.” Torey’s successes extended far beyond what sight would have provided. He became able “to imagine, to visualize, for example, the inside of a differential gearbox in action as if from inside its casing.”

The Big Banks want you back. Yeah, see you later Alligator…


From The New Rules Project

Those who wonder whether public anger at big banks and the Move Your Money sentiment sweeping the country is substantial enough to impact these giants need only look at the banks’ own marketing over the last few weeks to see the proof.

In a spate of new advertisements and PR maneuvers, the nation’s largest banks are working hard to win us back. They are, in effect, standing on our doorstep, flowers in hand, trying to convince us they’ve changed.

They’re using words like “local” and “community,” because they know quite well that there’s a rival for our affections. A recent Zogby poll found that nearly one in ten Americans had moved at least some of their business to small banks or credit unions.

One jilted lover, Citibank, has launched a blog devoted to showcasing the “new Citi.” The site, which Citibank is promoting through newspaper and magazine ads, features a video statement by CEO Vikram Pandit, who offers a few vaguely apologetic statements before detailing how Citi is a changed bank.

We’ve given up boozing and gambling, Citibank seems to be saying as Pandit assures us that the new Citi has embraced “a culture of responsible finance.”

In his opening post, Pandit describes this as a “new chapter” and invites us to participate in a conversation. “We promise we’re listening,” he writes.

So far, many of the user comments, which are moderated, appear to come from Citibank investors, but a few disgruntled customers have managed to get through. “What Cit has done to ‘help’ me in the last year: interest rate increase to 29 percent!” writes Peter. “I have never been late with a payment… [You have] a total lack of caring toward your customer base.”

Switching to Grass-Fed Beef


From TARA PARKER-POPE
NYT

[Just another way to keep us healthier and the cattle we eat healthier. Note that the proposed Mendocino feed lot/slaughter would be fattening cattle before slaughter as well as far as I know. -RP]

What’s the nutritional difference between beef from animals raised on grass compared with animals fattened in feedlots?

New research from California State University in Chico breaks it down, reviewing three decades of research comparing the nutritional profiles of grass-fed and grain-fed beef.

Over all, grass-fed beef comes out ahead, according to the report in the latest Nutrition Journal. Beef from grass-fed animals has lower levels of unhealthy fats and higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are better for cardiovascular health. Grass-fed beef also has lower levels of dietary cholesterol and offers more vitamins A and E as well as antioxidants. The study found that meat from animals raised entirely on grass also had about twice the levels of conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, isomers, which may have cancer fighting properties and lower the risk of diabetes and other health problems.

While the analysis is favorable to grass-fed beef, it’s not clear whether the nutritional differences in the two types of meat have any meaningful impact on human health. For instance, the levels of healthful omega-3s are still far lower than those found in fatty fish like salmon. And as the study authors note, consumers of grain-fed beef can increase their levels of healthful CLAs by eating slightly fattier cuts.

Grass-fed beef has a distinctly different and “grassy” flavor compared with feed-lot beef and also costs more. A recent comparison in The Village Voice cooked up one-pound grass-fed and grain-fed steaks. The grass-fed meat tasted better, according to the article, but at $26 a pound, also cost about three times more.

More at NYT
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See also Boosting Health With Local Food at NYT→

…and Grass-Fed Basics at EatWild→
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Again: Slaughter On The Farm With Mobile Units!


From CIVIL EATS

[As we have been advocating for several years, mobile units are the best alternative for local meat. We do not want a regional slaughterhouse that processes hundreds of animals a day to supply distant markets. That is a no-go. Rather, keep it small, decentralized, on the farms, and local. Compost the waste on the farms. Here is some history, and here is the answer for our local ranchers. Follow the links. Also, see Scott Cratty’s comments below. -DS]

As supporters of sustainable food production, many of us know that finding an alternative to the industrial meat supply chain is difficult but by no means impossible.  For the typical sustainable meat buyer, when one thinks of local meat, he most likely pictures a ranch, and then a steak or pork chop.  Unless he is willing to do the work of slaughtering and processing the animal himself, his access to a local abattoir is as difficult to find as local beer without the brewery. This is the marketplace reality that many small-scale ranchers face today.

As the daughter of a former butcher, I recently asked myself how we got ourselves to large-scale meat processing and what our alternatives are. Giant feedlots that truck thousands of cattle to large-scale processing facilities have not always been the favored manner of putting steaks on plates in the U.S. Rapid consolidation in the U.S. meatpacking industry, starting in the late 1970s, greatly impacted the way meat began to be produced, packaged, sold and consumed in the U.S. Earlier, in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, there were many independently owned and operated meatpacking plants that catered to local customers within a few hundred miles of their facilities.

My parents operated one such plant just outside of Eugene, OR from 1980-86. They slaughtered about 100 head of sheep and cattle per week (primarily animals raised on our ranch) and sold the meat to restaurants and hotels in Oregon and Washington. 

The World of Community Supported Agriculture


From CHELSEA GREEN
Keynote for Urgenci Kobe Conference 2010, “Community Supported Foods and Farming”
February 22, 2010

All the way around the world in countries as diverse as the United States, Japan, France, China or Mali, people who farm and people who eat are forming communities around locally grown food. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), Teikei, AMAP, Reciproco, ASC – the names may be different but the essence is the same. Active citizens are making a commitment to local farms to share the risks and the bounty of ecological farming. Elizabeth Henderson at NOFA NY 2010A century of “development” has broken the connection between people and the land where their food is grown and in many countries, north and south, a few decades of free trade have driven family-scale farms to the point of desperation. A long series of food scandals – illnesses from food-borne pathogens, milk and other products contaminated with GMOs and chemical pollutants – have led to a crisis of confidence in imported foods from industrial-scale farms. CSA offers a return to wholeness, health and economic viability.

Human history abounds in examples of specific groups of non-farmers being connected with specific farms—the medieval manor, the Soviet system of linking a farm with a factory, or the steady attachment of particular customers to the stand of a particular farm at a farmers’ market. In Cuba today, all institutions are obliged to be self-sufficient in food, so companies and schools have farms or garden plots. But none of these is like the form of organization we refer to as CSA.

The modern CSA originated in Japan. In 1971, Teruo Ichiraku (1906–1994), a philosopher and a leader of agricultural cooperatives, alerted consumers to the dangers of the chemicals used in agriculture and set off the movement for an organic agriculture. Three years later, concerned housewives joined with farmers to form the first Teikei projects. That same year, Yoshinori Kaneko realized that his family farm, besides providing for the subsistence of his own family, could also supply other people… More at Chelsea Green
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Round 2


From DAVID ROUNDS
Ukiah

[A teachable moment. -DS]

To the editor:

Having read and studied Mark Albrecht’s and John Hendricks’ “Issues preference test,” in Sunday’s Journal, I’m inclined to give myself a grade of “Conservative, Republican.” But I have a few questions for clarification, just to make sure I’m understanding all the vocab on the test. Here goes!

Pro-life:

This is the one I had to work on first. I’ll admit it took me a minute or two. Everybody knows that being “pro-life” is a code-word for being against abortion, but sometimes women die in childbirth when abortions would have saved their lives. So sometimes pro-life means pro-the-opposite. Probably that explains why pro-life folks tend to support the idea that an unnecessary war can be good for the country — provided, of course, that it involves the death of a sufficient number of other people’s children. And, too, usually it’s the people who are pro-life who see no need for health care reform, because they know that if people without health insurance get sick or injured, there’s the comfort that death is always going to be right there ready for them. I put myself down as pro-life.

Rule of Law:

I’m certainly in favor of this one, because people who support the rule of law give thanks on bended knee once a month, as I do, for all the red-blooded American guys and gals out there who love to torture.

Rule-of-law folks like things to be official, and so that’s why they’re so totally behind the big new push to get beating up gay people adopted as an official Olympic sport.

Rule-of-law folks believe that terrorists should not be tried in open court because our criminal justice system is just too namby-pamby weak to handle this type of open-and-shut murder case. They also believe that when the founding fathers wrote in the Constitution that people accused of crimes had the right to a fair trial, they can’t have meant to include everybody.

Ban The Billboards! Go Phil!!!


From The Ukiah Daily Pablum

City Council urges Supes to ban billboards in the Ukiah valley area

The Ukiah City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to call on the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors to ban new billboards along the Highway 101 corridor that runs through the county and past the city.

Councilman Phil Baldwin called the number of billboards along the portion of the highway that borders the city “embarrassing,” and brought the issue to the council for discussion.

He said there are 27 billboards along Highway 101 between Hopland and Highway 20, compared to fewer than 10 along the 101 in Sonoma County, and only 10 along Interstate 5 through all of Oregon.

Baldwin noted that Ukiah banned billboards 40 years ago, and has only one inside city limits, but travelers passing through the Ukiah Valley on Highway 101 see “several dozen” CBS and Stott billboards.

“And while these huge placards aren’t in the city, out-of-towners and locals associate this shameless blight with Ukiah,” Baldwin wrote in his letter to his fellow councilmembers.

The city wrote a letter to the Board of Supervisors in 2000 asking the body to “become more rigorous in its efforts to protect the Highway 101 corridor,” but did not ask for an outright ban on new billboards, according to Baldwin.

Baldwin said the state and courts made it very difficult for local jurisdictions to get rid of existing billboards, but haven’t limited local government’s authority to ban new billboards.
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From ROSALIND PETERSON

Congratulations to the Ukiah City Council for urging the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors to Ban Billboards in the Ukiah Valley Area. In addition, Mendocino County should ban unsightly billboards throughout our county as many are unsightly, rusting, illegal with new width and height increases, and even advertise for making purchases outside of the County.

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