Ann Slater of the Ecological Farming Association of Ontario takes on CropLife Canada, a trade association for the manufacturers, developers and distributors of pesticide and GMO products that has been working on a smear campaign targeting organic food production.
Why is CropLife Canada so keen to smear organic? According to their survey of Canadian women, 77% sometimes buy or consider buying organically grown fruits and vegetables. Twenty-one percent say they buy organic because they are concerned about pesticides on their food and 22% believe organic produce is more nutritious. On top of that, 14% say they sometimes feel guilty about buying cheaper conventional produce when organic is available.
- Full article here
Her argument references this article by two market farmers from Oklahoma who carried out an experiment to tackle the question: “Are supermarkets cheaper than farmersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ markets?” Their results are interesting.
The results reveal that perceptions rather than facts influence the false assumptions that grocery store food is always cheapest.
…grocery store food is not as cheap as some customers believe it to be. Nor is local simply for the wealthyÃ¢â‚¬â€œit is competitively priced since our research showed grocery storesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ low posted prices tend to hide lower weight and quality.
What: Knit or crochet up beautiful, warm woolies for charity. Mittens, arm warmers, hats, and scarves are all fantastic. A YGG forum member suggests keyhole scarves as anything that wraps around the neck can be uncomfortable and even unsafe for women coming from violent experiences.
New items made by you only please.
To Support: Redwood Women’s Shelter, a terrific shelter located in Toronto, Canada that supports battered women and their families. They run primarily on support from the community.
When: Please mail your items by Dec 1. Email me at gaylaatyougrowgirldotcom for details.
UPDATE: I just spoke with a contact at the shelter and she provided a Wish List:
- Long Scarves – So I was wrong (above). Winters have been cold here in Toronto and they have need of warm scarves that can wrap around twice for bundling up.
- Women’s Mittens – They recieve plenty of mittens for children but need larger mittens for adult women.
- Baby Blankets – For bundling babies inside strollers.
- Larger Items – If you were planning to make a couple of scarves, make one large item instead. She said they have need for shawls and ponchos.
I want to add that she was very enthusiastic and appreciative. They support a lot of women and children so the need is great.
I am a strong believer that gardening does not, and should not, require a lot of “stuff”. Container gardeners especially can get along with their hands, or a fork, spoon, and kitchen shears if need be. However, the right tool can make you feel like you’re ready to kick some ass even when the only ass you’re about to kick is a small pot of basil on your window-ledge.
That said, about three years ago I wrote a glowing review of the Cobrahead Precision Weeder & Cultivator. It’s sharp blade, and versatility (useful for weeding, digging, planting, cultivating and more) made this a tool I could get behind. Years later and I am still using the same Cobrahead. It’s seen it’s day ripping through all kinds of soil conditions and looks pretty much like it did on that first test run way back when — albeit underneath the dirt and despite a complete and utter lack of care or maintenance on my part. I just wipe it off with my glove, throw it in my tool bag, and done.
Inventor Noel Valdes has just come out with an upgraded Cobrahead model and I was sent a fresh new tool to try out. The accompanying promotion material boasts of a new handle made of 100% recycled material, a heat-treated steel blade with a heavier zinc coating making it more bend, break, and rust-resistant. Despite all that I didn’t notice a difference during a test run in which I tried both my old and new tool in the same conditions at my community garden. To be honest as a user I didn’t think it needed upgrading since my old model is still kicking loads of compacted soil ass. The new improvement I did notice is the new blue handle that is easier to locate in the garden although I think a hot pink handle would be even easier to locate in the grass.
CONTEST Headsup: I’ve got one, new Cobrahead as a prize give-away. Sign up for the mailing list. On September 29, 2006, I’ll be sending out entry details through the list only.
* You Grow Girl is not being sponsored or paid to promote this product. I just like it.
At a Toronto area You Grow Girl meet up last week we discussed our gardening successes and disappointments of the last year. Beth, a rooftop container gardener mentioned that she was most disappointed by her container-grown ‘Chinese Five Colour’ (or color for the Americans) Hot Pepper plant, stating that the plant was boring and the peppers bland, and tasteless. I was surprised since my experience with this variety has placed it onto my list of current favourites and a plant that I will definitely grow again if not promote to other gardeners, especially container gardeners. This is one of those discussions that reminds me how varied our gardening experiences can be, even with the same varieties and seemingly similar growing conditions. I sometimes forget in my enthusiasm when reviewing a plant that my outcome isn’t universal. I am reminded that what works for me might not work for someone else, and vice-versa.
And knowing this I still feel an irrational obligation to defend the plant like I’m defending my taste for souvenir picture trays or cheesy poutine. “You don’t know!”
And so, I give you:
In Defense of ‘Chinese Five Colour’ Hot Peppers
- I grew this plant as an experimental comparison to last year’s favourite, “New Mex Twilight’ hot pepper. The plants are very similar in that they are both produce gorgeous green foliage with purple stems and veins, with small hot peppers that start out light purple and evolve into a rainbow ending in bright red when fully mature. In comparison, the plants were very similar but the ‘Chinese Five Colour’ produces larger fruit. The larger fruit stood out sharply in contrast to the leaves. It was really stunning!
- I will say it again: gorgeous green foliage with purple stems and veins that produced an abundance of rainbow-coloured fruit.
- My peppers are indeed HOT!
- One plant produced enough fruit to braid an attractive string of drying peppers. Everyone I know will be in hot peppers for eternity.
- Grew easily into a large plant in a medium-sized container.
- Colette of Urban Harvest (whom I purchased the plant from) informed me that this variety is rare while ‘New Mex Twilight’ is not. I am a sucker for a good back story and admit to being completely duped by the term “rare.”
With Kitty aka “Voltron: Defender of the Universe” who comes running whenever the camera is out.
My passionflower vine grew a passionfruit! This may seem like small hat (or other small things) to those of you living in the warm, Southern regions of the world, but it’s a BIG deal to a Northern gardener like me. I have grown passionflower vine many times in the past. In fact I grew one plant for many years, cutting it back and bringing it inside every winter until I grew tired of tripping over it in the hallway and let it succumb to the cold outdoors one fall. That vine grew large and abundant with flowers every summer but it NEVER once even toyed with the idea of making fruit.
I first discovered the tiny passionfruit back in July and watched it eagerly for about a month hoping against hope that it would grow into a brag-worthy fruit. Today, on my daily plant inspection I noticed that the tiny fruit — a fruit that has not grown a millimeter since July — has changed colour from dark green to light green. I cut it open to find that it is mostly hollow inside with six, small but mature seeds. I ate two of the seeds. They are completely tasteless.
But so what. I successfully nurtured a tiny, tasteless, passionfruit. My garden kicks boatloads of ass-kicking ass!
Passionflower. Grown in a container I garbage picked in one of Toronto’s “finer” neighbourhoods.