Jeff Cox

JEFF COX: Advantage of age…

 

 

From JEFF COX
Organic Food Guy
Kenwood, Sonoma County

Now that I’ve reached the advantage of age, I can see that time makes a circle around infinity. From the pinnacle, I can see the path of my life circling the mountain.

There’s that time when I was two and cried because the barber was going to cut my rich golden locks. There’s me at 10, total pals with my dog Debbie, inseparable from her and our wanderings in the fields and woodlands together.

And look, there I am at 25, sitting in the slot at a daily newspaper, the sleeves of my white Gant shirt rolled up, a cigarette dangling from my lips, writing headlines for hometown newspaper stories. I can see it all, at once if I wish, and from this place of heightened vision, I can dispense my version of wisdom.

I’m not saying that I’m right. I am saying that I can see for miles and miles. Nobody has the absolute truth, because nobody is infinitely wise. But I have the wisdom derived from my long life. Over all these years, the insights and lessons that I have distilled from my experiences are a brew that is worth something. Juice pressed from unripe fruit is sour. Juice from ripe fruit is delicious.

I suspect this is why the elders are respected in many societies around the world. When problems arise, why not go to those who have the long perspective and the wisdom that comes with it? They may not have the answer, but they may have an answer. And you can put it in your bag of possible answers. And eventually let them trickle through your fingers until one feels right for you, and can inform your own personal decision.

As I age, I find myself becoming less and less visible. Sales people and checkout clerks call me “honey,” or “sweetie,” of which I am neither. I am a towering, full-blown, mental repository of an entire life’s experience. You think you know things? You should inhabit my mind for an hour and see the kind of things I know. I’m sure it would blow your mind.

It seems obvious: respect your elders. Not because you should be in servitude to them, shackled to their past, but because they just may be miles ahead of you on the path, full of insight and wisdom, aching to share it with you, if you only respected them enough to ask.
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JEFF COX: Admitting Our Mistakes…

 

From JEFF COX
Organic Food Guy
Kenwood, Sonoma County

It seems as though we Americans have a hard time admitting our mistakes. And yet mistakes unadmitted tend to fester and eventually poison the system, much as a festering sore does in our physical body.

Take, for instance, our role in the rise of ISIS. Right off the bat, let’s agree that ISIS fostered a culture of violence, death, and unimaginable depravity. Its deep roots lay in Wahhabism and the Salafist strain of Islam that sees the world in two parts: the near world of Muslim societies and the far world of infidel societies. And radical Islam was always about eventually converting the far world into the near world—think of the Moorish invasion of Spain and the battles fought with the Crusaders. This radical strain of Islam was always about re-establishing a Caliphate, or overall governance of all Islam under one ruler, the Caliph.

But history chugged along until George Bush upset the apple cart by invading Iraq in 2003, detaining thousands of Iraqis both Sunni and Shia, and imprisoning them in places like Abu Ghraib, where many were beaten and tortured, sometimes to death, under the CIA’s rules of “enhanced interrogation,” or what Dick Cheney at the time called “the dark side.”

JEFF COX: Sorry, But Organic Food Really IS More Nutritious…

 

From JEFF COX
(October, 2010)
Organic Food Guy
Sonoma County

The conventional food companies still claim that there’s no difference between organic and conventional food regarding nutritional content. The way they put it is: organic food is no better for you than conventional and in fact, could make you sick. They claim that there are absolutely no scientific studies that show organic food to be nutritionally superior.

All of this is, of course, lies. (Yes, lies. It’s one thing to get your facts wrong by mistake, and it’s quite another to get them wrong on purpose. The latter is called lying, and Big Ag has been doing it for decades.) The evidence for organic superiority has been shown over and over again for many years. But now new studies are making it more and more obvious that the old canards against organic food are baseless. To wit:
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A multi-disciplinary research team from Washington State University conducted a two-year study that made side-by-side comparisons of 13 conventional and 13 organic strawberry farms in California. The study analyzed 31 chemical and biological soil properties and the taste, nutrition, and quality of berries from each farm. Researchers in the fields of agroecology, soil science, microbial ecology, genetics, pomology, food science, sensory science, and statistics comprised the study team. The findings included:

ORGANIC RECIPE: All About Chard (with Organic Tacos of Creamy Braised Chard Recipe)

 

From JEFF COX
Organic Food Guy
Kenwood, Sonoma County

Botanically chard is a subspecies of ordinary garden beets, bred for its leaves rather than its root, and packs the same kind of nutritional punch. The name “chard” comes from the French chardon, or thistle, although chard is not a thistle (the name came about cecause chard has a wide midrib similar to the cardoon, which is a thistle, and because of this physical resemblance the French word for thistle came to be applied to chard as well).

For some reason, chard also goes by the name of Swiss chard. While the vegetable is commonly grown in Switzerland, among other northern European countries, it’s the French and Italians, not the Swiss, who have done the most with chard, with the Spanish and Greeks running a close second. In southern Spain and out on the Balearic Islands, it’s cooked much as the Arabs of North Africa use it, with spices and hot chiles, or cooked with sweetmeats. In fact, chard’s history is long, going back before Rome (its subspecies name, cicla, refers to sicula, the ancient name of Sicily), before Greece, back to ancient Babylon. Various theories have been proposed for why the country of Switzerland has been associated with chard, but none of them seem worth repeating. I just call the vegetable chard and leave it at that.

The Organic Factor
Make sure your chard is organic. The high-nitrogen chemical fertilizers used in conventional agriculture can cause the plants to take up too much nitrate, which can change within the human digestive system to cancer-causing nitrites. Organic soils feed chard their nitrogen from natural sources, at just the rate the plants need it.

JEFF COX: ‘Dark Forces’ Are Coming for Our Organic Food

 

From JEFF COX
Organic Food Guy
Kenwood, Sonoma County

The Freedom Caucus is a rowdy band of GOP US House members most famous for triggering government shutdowns, pushing to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and driving former GOP Speaker John Boehner from his post on the theory he wasn’t conservative enough. And now they’re coming for your certified organic food, according to Mother Jones magazine, from which the following is excerpted.

Back in December, the Freedom Caucus released a “recommended list of regulations to remove.” Among its 228 targets—ranging from eliminating energy efficiency standards for washing machines to kiboshing rules on private drones—the group named the National Organic Program.

Operated by the US Department of Agriculture, the NOP was established by the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 to set uniform national standards for foods and agricultural products labeled “USDA Organic,” replacing the patchwork of state-level standards that had held sway for decades previously. The NOP ensures that food labeled organic really is raised without synthetic pesticides and fertilizers—it also oversees USDA-accredited organic certifying agents and takes “appropriate enforcement actions if there are violations of the organic standards,” according to the USDA.

As of 2015, annual organic food sales stood at $39.7 billion, representing nearly 5 percent of total food sales. And sales for organics are growing at an 11 percent annual clip—nearly four times the rate of overall US food sales.