U.S. Denies Entry to former British Ambassador Craig Murray

U.S. Denies Entry to former British Ambassador Craig Murray

The U.S. government, for no stated reason, and after having approved his entry in the past, has denied Craig Murray the usual approval to enter the United States without a visa that is given to UK citizens. Craig Murray was British Ambassador to Uzbekistan from 2002 to 2004.

Murray was forced out of the British public service after he exposed the use of torture by Britain’s Uzbek allies. Murray is scheduled to chair the presentation of this year’s Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence to CIA torture whistleblower John Kiriakou, and to speak about diplomacy as an alternative to war at a World Beyond War conference planned for September 23-25 in Washington, D.C.

Please sign this petition to the State Department.
In 2006 Murray was himself awarded the Sam Adams Award, and the citation included the following: “Mr. Murray learned that the intelligence authorities of the UK and the US were receiving and using information extracted by the most sadistic methods of torture by Uzbek authorities. He protested strongly to London, to no avail. He was forced out of the British Foreign Office, but has no regrets. There are more important things than career…Mr. Murray’s light has pierced a thick cloud of denial and deception. He has set a courageous example for those officials of the ‘Coalition of the Willing’ who have first-hand knowledge of the inhuman practices involved in the so-called ‘war on terror’ but who have not yet been able to find their voice.”

Shocked by the denial of approval to enter the United States without a visa, Murray stated: “I shall apply for a visa via the State Department as suggested but I must be on a list to be refused under the ESTA system, and in any event it is most unlikely to be completed before the conference.”

“It is worth noting,” Murray added,” that despite the highly critical things I have published about Putin, about civil liberties in Russia and the annexation of the Crimea, I have never been refused entry to Russia. The only two countries that have ever refused me entry clearance are Uzbekistan and the USA. What does that tell you?

“I have no criminal record, no connection to drugs or terrorism, have a return ticket, hotel booking and sufficient funds. I have a passport from a visa waiver country and have visited the USA frequently before during 38 years and never overstayed. The only possible grounds for this refusal of entry clearance are things I have written against neo-liberalism, attacks on civil liberties and neo-conservative foreign policy. People at the conference in Washington will now not be able to hear me speak. Plainly ideas can be dangerous. So much for the land of the free!”

The following joint statement has been signed by members of the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence listed below:

News that former British Ambassador Craig Murray has been denied entry to the United States under the regular visa waiver program is both shocking and appalling. We Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence (SAAII) had invited Craig to be Master of Ceremonies at our award ceremony honoring John Kiriakou, the CIA torture whistleblower (more details at samadamsaward.ch ), this September as part of the ‘No War 2016’ conference.

Now we’re wondering which agency’s long arms have reached out to disrupt our ceremony and to try to silence Craig.

Whatever they intend, it will be bound to backfire, since it only makes the US government look like some sort of monolithic repressive apparatus out to mimic the world’s worst despotic regimes. Ambassador Murray notes in his blog that Uzbekistan — whose government apparatchiks are notorious for torturing its citizens — is the only other country to have barred his entry. Even Russia – which Ambassador Murray criticizes freely – allows him to travel there trouble-free. What are the implications for US democratic values?

We strongly urge the State Department to reverse its decision and allow Ambassador Murray freedom of travel and freedom of expression without hindrance in the United States of America.

William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA
Thomas Drake, former Senior Executive, NSA
Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.)
Matthew Hoh, former Capt., USMC, Iraq & Foreign Service Officer, Afghanistan
Larry Johnson, CIA and State Dept. (ret.)
John Brady Kiesling, former US diplomat
John Kiriakou, Former CIA Counterterrorism Officer
Karen Kwiatkowski, Lt. Col., US Air Force (ret.)
David MacMichael Ph.D., CIA, US Marine Corps captain (ret.)
Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Middle East, CIA (ret.)
Todd E. Pierce, MAJ, JA, USA (ret.)
Diane Roark, former staff, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (ret.)
Coleen Rowley, retired FBI agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel
Peter Van Buren, U.S. Department of State, Foreign Service Officer (ret.)
J. Kirk Wiebe, Senior Analyst, NSA (ret.)

World Beyond War has created a petition appealing to the State Department

World Beyond War, the organization behind the No War 2016 conference at which Murray is scheduled to speak, has created an online petition to the State Department.

David Swanson, Director of World Beyond War, said “This attempt to prevent a truth-teller from speaking in support of nonviolence is absolutely shameful. This is not a policy created to represent any view of the U.S. public, and we are not going to stand for it.”

Sign the Declaration of Peace.

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What is 11,000 times more dirty than a toilet

Hint: when you stop at a gas station, the grossest thing may not be the bathroom.
By Larry Schwartz / AlterNet

Photo Credit: Phovoir / Shutterstock
America is a gas-guzzling, car-obsessed, open-road nation. Few things appeal to Americans more than a (traffic-free, ideally) leisurely drive to a fun, kick-back-your-heels destination, all the while enjoying the passing scenery. Of course, in order to achieve this bucolic vision of paradise, we need to fuel up the car, and in order to do that, we have to stop at the gas station. A study by Kimberly-Clark in 2015 investigating bacterial hot spots in the workplace fingered gas pumps as one of the unhealthiest things you can handle, and a new survey recently corroborates those findings.
Admittedly, it’s probably no great surprise that gas pumps are not exactly pristine. Never mind the chemical contamination that comes from gasoline itself, think about the sheer number of people endlessly grabbing the pump, often after returning from a pit stop at the not-so-hygienic gas station bathroom. You get the idea. Still, the new study gives one pause and suggests a bottle of sanitizer might not be a bad glove compartment staple.
It’s not just the number of germs present on gas pump handles, but the quality of those germs. The earlier Kimberly-Clark study, led by a University of Arizona microbiologist named Charles Gerba (whom colleagues know as “Dr. Germ”), found that 71 percent of the pumps were highly contaminated with germs associated with disease. The new survey, conducted by Busbud, studied samples from three different gas stations, as well as three different charging stations, to see what we may be exposing ourselves to. The sample size is small, but the results mirror the larger earlier study and are eye-opening.
Based on laboratory results from swabs from the sample gas pumps, handles on gas pumps had an average of 2,011,970 colony-forming units (CFUs), or viable bacteria cells, per square inch. Worse, the buttons on the pumps (where you select the grade of gas you want), had 2,617,067 CFUs per square inch. To put that in perspective, money, which is considered quite dirty since it changes hands often, has only 5.2 CFUs per square inch. A toilet seat has 172 CFUs per square inch. That makes a gas pump handle about 11,000 times more contaminated than a toilet seat, and a gas pump button 15,000 times more contaminated.
OK. So there are over two million CFUs dancing around on the gas pump. What kind of germs are they? Luckily, about half of them are usually harmless. These are the CFUs known as gram-positive rods. (I say usually because gram-positive rods can sometimes cause some types of infections, but are not considered unusually worrisome.) But those other million or so CFUs are mostly of the gram-positive cocci variety, and these are nasty critters that can cause skin infections, pneumonia and toxic shock syndrome.
Does the type of gas you select safeguard you in any way? It would seem so, to some small degree. The sampling showed that the buttons for regular gas contained 3,255,100 CFUs per square inch, about a third of which were the gram-positive cocci (bad germs), and another third of which were bacilli, another type of bad-guy bacteria linked to food poisoning and infections in newborn babies. The other third were mostly the safer gram-positive rods, with a smattering, about 5 percent, of gram-negative rods. These latter germs are especially worrisome as they are linked to antibiotic resistance as well as meningitis and pneumonia. The premium gas button had about 2,022,034 CFUs per square inch, divided about half gram-positive rods and half yeast (and we all know about yeast infections).
Since a typical visit to the gas station involves pressing the gas grade button as well as lifting the pump handle, that means, for regular gas, exposure to about 5,267,070 CFUs per square inch, and for premium gas about 4,034,004 CFUs per square inch.
Tesla and Volt owners, rejoice! If you own an electric car, and use a charging station, you can breathe a lot easier. The typical car charger has only 7.890 CFUs per square inch.
If you want to minimize your exposure to these germs, use a paper towel to hold the handle and push the button, or keep that hand sanitizer around and wash your hands after filling up.
Read the full survey.
Larry Schwartz is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer with a focus on health, science and American history.

RT has uploaded ballot measure presented to state AG

RT America has uploaded ‘CALEXIT’ 2018: Ballot measure calling for secession presented to state AG

‘CALEXIT’ 2018: Ballot measure calling for secession presented to s…
RT America
A ballot measure calling for California’s separation from the US has been submitted to the state’s attorney general. If the measure can get 585,407 signatures in support of it, the initiative could be on the ballot in the Golden State in 2018. For more, RT America’s Brigida Santos speaks with the president of Yes California, Louis J. Marinelli.

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139 Countries Could Get All of their Power from Renewable Sources

Scientific American


Energy from wind, water and sun would eliminate nuclear and fossil fuels
By Mark Fischetti | November 19, 2015


Mark Jacobson and Mark Delucchi have done it again. This time they’ve spelled out how 139 countries can each generate all the energy needed for homes, businesses, industry, transportation, agriculture—everything—from wind, solar and water power technologies, by 2050. Their national blueprints, released Nov. 18, follow similar plans they have published in the past few years to run each of the 50 U.S. states on renewables, as well as the entire world. (Have a look for yourself, at your country, using the interactive map below.)

The plans, which list exact numbers of wind turbines, solar farms, hydroelectric dams and such, have been heralded as transformational, and criticized as starry eyed or even nutty.

Continue Reading →

Corporate deception in the fossil fuel industry threatens all life by denying climate change

Jul 15, 2015 by Casey Coates Danson
Catalyst Summer 2015
Climate denier dossiers
Leaked internal memos reveal a coordinated, decades-long disinformation campaign.
by Elliott Negin
When internal documents revealed earlier this year that ExxonMobil and other fossil fuel interests were secretly funding scientifically discredited studies authored by climate contrarian Wei-Hock “Willie” Soon, the news didn’t come as a complete surprise.
Back in 2007, a Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) report identified Soon—an aerospace engineer with little formal training in climatology—as one of a dozen scientists affiliated with more than 40 ExxonMobil-funded think tanks that then constituted the backbone of the climate change–denier PR machine. Soon, who erroneously claims the sun is largely responsible for global warming, produced work for at least five of these ExxonMobil-backed groups, including the now infamous Heartland Institute.
But the latest cache of documents, obtained by Greenpeace and the Climate Investigations Center through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, lays bare a wealth of detail that was not available eight years ago. For example, they show that Soon received his funding exclusively from fossil fuel interests, including ExxonMobil, utility giant Southern Company, and Charles Koch. He described his scientific work and congressional testimony as “deliverables” to his funders. And some of his contracts specifically dictate that the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, where Soon works, not disclose the names of his funders. These internal documents, on top of what UCS had already uncovered, indisputably establish Soon’s efforts as part of a calculated climate deception campaign.
Dossiers of Deception
Willie Soon, however, is just a small part of a much bigger story, according to a new UCS report, The Climate Deception Dossiers. After spending nearly a year reviewing and analyzing a wide range of internal corporate and trade group documents, a team of UCS researchers has, for the first time, compiled a broader tale of climate deception. The Climate Deception Dossiers draws upon evidence culled from 85 documents that were pried loose by leaks, lawsuits, and FOIA requests.
Spanning nearly three decades, these documents reveal that the world’s largest fossil fuel companies—BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, coal giant Peabody Energy, and Shell—were fully aware of the reality of climate change but continued to spend tens of millions of dollars to sow doubt and promote contrarian arguments they knew to be wrong. Taken together, the documents show that these six companies, in conjunction with the American Petroleum Institute (API)—the oil and gas industry’s premier trade association—and a host of front groups, have colluded to intentionally deceive the public; their corporate officials have known for at least two decades that their products are harmful; and their disinformation campaign continues today—despite the fact that most of the companies now publicly acknowledge the reality of anthropogenic, or human-caused, climate change.



By William Olkowski 6.2.12/7.25.12

Well this morning I am going to take on my current main daily subject: grief. The take will be conceptual rather than emotional although the emotional is the stronger, especially right now. That’s because grief can overwhelm the senses including the so called sixth sense of conceptualization. Some people think the sixth sense is telepathy which is a lot of fun to think about. Fun is great, if you can find it, in yourself and others. But the evidence for telepathy is rather weak, if there is any good evidence at all. Continue Reading →



by William Olkowski

republished again today 11.21.14 previously 2.1.12

“Consider the Ant” is good advice. After all, as social experiments go, ant colony life looks robust. Ants go back, way back, when Insects started in or before the Cambrian Geological period almost 400 million years ago (mya). So they must have experimented and learned a bunch over the million of years, right? Well, from my view it’s a heartless social organization, not worth emulating. But one can learn from almost any bad idea. But then again their survival over this long period tells something we may want to learn from. Continue Reading →




by William Olkowski, PhD 10.25.12

Globally, assisted reproductive techniques result in 350,000 babies a year, research shows.

5 million artificial matings worldwide since the first in 1978.  This is a travesty.  When we should be trying to stop unnecessary births we are encouraging people who can’t have a normal fertilization occur to have children.  We should be encouraging people, instead, to adopt children.  And take the resources from the fertility clinics, and put it into contraception aids of all sorts, and aid for people who adopt so they can be better parents.

But I don’t run the world.  I guess it’s not a rational world after all.  But that will not stop me from pushing along what rationality I can muster.



THE GMO HEALTH DEBATE: War of the Blogs by William Olkowski, PhD. 10.1.12

This so called GMO health debate is shaping up to be another David and Goliath Story, with the prize – all life. We have on the Right, Big Ole Goliath paid for by the well heeled Monsanto Group (Monsanto and Nine Others, Including DuPont). They have already started the cascade of lies, twisted reasoning, ad hominum attacks, reinterpretation and critiques of poorly funded studies, Jeffrey Smith warns us about in the book Genetic Roulette. But now I see an actual gas-type attack starting and the fog is coming our way. I call this a reasoning fog, the most deadly weapon in their arsenal. The poorly funded Academics are now certainly hard to see. And then there are people like me, volunteers, who can think critically and are able to connect the dots. They don’t know I am here.

David and Goliath Are Made Up of People There’s similarity in structure between the protagonists but the Giant has bad feet, the ground is quaking. But the beast will fight back fiercely. It’s now and it’s for all life, including us humans, a most vulnerable species, VS the thousands or so employees (of the Monsantoes and their untold numbers of stock holders).

Here is a Weak Blast from the PRO CROWD?

The blast comes from discovery magazine, no author is specified in the reference my Google Search Engine creates which delivers my GMO mail each day. Normally this survey tool documents a ground swell of great proportions for Yes on 37 the California proposition to label genetically modified foods. Plus, my recent sampling of an old rocker crowd of 5,000 here at the Santa Barbara bowl (Led Zeplin was playing) of 5,000 at least 1,000 gave me the thumb up sign, mostly women. The seats were selling for over $80 bucks on average. Some were going for $125, so a guard tells me.

Here is the citation, check it out yourself.

News 13 new results for Genetically Modified Organisms Under Controlled: Why the New GMO Panic Is More Sensational Than Sense Discover Magazine (blog). Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have always been a controversial topic. On the one hand are the many benefits: the higher crop yields from pesticide- and insect-resistant crops, and the nutritional modifications that can make such a difference in … See all stories on this topic.

Read the above announcement and then read the review with a critical eye, at least with the same level of scrutiny the author displays in her critique. She is saying yes there is a problem but your proof needs further work and better descriptions. No argument there. The conclusion stands, however, until another study confirms or challenges the conclusion with evidence. That’s real science at work. Evidence needs confirmation. At least the study shows a potential exposure route and really bad physiological effects. And there are many other studies showing potential harm in animal tests. These are not mentioned by this author neither is Jeffrey Smith’s book, Genetic Roulette. And the announcement implies great yield improvements are happening, something debatable, for sure.

She does not take the conclusions of the study that GMO foods are causing tumors, but weakens the conclusion by saying its a small study of 200 rats, even though it ran for two years. Aparently its the longest known feeding study (from France). Note that our science establishment did not do the longest study so far.


It’s us good guys, outnumbered and outgunned against the giant with all the money, over $30 million so far poured into the No on 37 campaign. The fear that labelling, already done in 50 other countries will reduce purchase and use of such foods is the source of this money. We have a pittance in comparison. But remember the Giant has only one EYE, did you notice it? He sees movement like we do, but he has a haze around his head. The haze is created by money, and he must see through this haze to move around.

These Monsantoes are very smart, experienced, well paid mix of business types, and even scientists who have swallowed the business hook. The hook is this twisted sharp tool called money, one of the main roots of all evil. These Monsantoes, if they think, think that money is how you keep score in life. They think the profit motive is untouchable, and its the only reason one has for living.

We have Right and Truth on our side, however, and ultimately these helpers will win the battle. We have brains that are connected to our ethics, certainly our politics. As for behavior, I think GMOs are criminal and the whole lot of 10 Genetic Modifying Companies should be bought by the all the governments where the Monsantoes have property; bought at cost, and run as an interim non-profit, and phased out. We don’t need GMOs and never have. We all ate before GMOs and will do so again. The existence of organic farmers, who demand a higher price for their products should be proof enough that good food is great and possible. But this requires people who could think clearly.

If corporations are people lets use the death penalty, after all when the dust settles and I am right many people have and will suffer needless painful deaths from the poison these poison peddlers are peddling. Close the businesses is the equivalent of the personal death penalty, no need to actually hang, or inject the CEOs, etc.

And we will not demand an apology for contaminating us and the biosphere with corrupted genetic material. No, just get out of the business, retire everybody, let an international UN committee run the 10 corporation as a public corporation and wind down the stock of contaminated seeds. Go out of business, go away.

I wish it were that easy. And I hope I am wrong, but right now there is a stink so bad it dwarfs even Fukushima, certainly one of the biggest stinkers of all times. How many stinkers do we need to change things? Apparently we need too many.


There is also concern for contaminating the biosphere, including our gut fauna. A contaminated gut fauna will convert other normal gut bacteria to producing Bt poisons, proteinacious poisons, on a continuous basis. Round Up Ready corn has the herbicide in the corn. This happens when the herbicide is sprayed over the plants since the plants are resistance to herbicide damage. Don’t worry we will breed a human tolerant strain like the microbes do, by selection. Selection here means no reproduction process is safe from exposure to these microbial poisons and “cides”. And we also have the herbicide glyphosate offering synergistic effects in combination with Bt genes in the same corn plant. This adds fuel on a hot fire already. Let’s throw the fire back at that eye.


Cheaper than a bought-politician. Cardiologists start at least at $100 grand per year with benefits, a little above an entry policeman. My bet is that’s the salary level of a bench scientist in these companies. But I could be wrong. This group buys scientists by the bucket full, why they can even buy movies, certainly a science writer or two.


On this front however, surely the first effective blow was delivered by Jeffrey Smith in his book and movie, Genetic Roulette. Before that it was the Seeds of Deception. This Roulette movie could by itself take down the giant. He tells of test animals dying with disrupted guts, infections, tumors, a panoply of altered molecules producing organ changes and certainly not dying the best way, quick and fast, but slow and painfully.

The microbial poisons in Bt corn, for example, kill slowly acting like chronic poisons, like the blood thinner poison and medicine called Warfarin. This analogy is strong. To use warfarin against a rat, for example, the animals must be baited first to establish a habituary gustatory exposure route. Then after a day or two, the poison is introduced. Warfarin works very slowly, a few days after an effective dose is built up. With repeated ingestion the animal bleeds to death and dies from dehydration. During this time they wander and search frantically for water. After a “baiting” session or two dried carcasses, not picked up by the poisoner, can be found as the dying animals crawl deeper into their runways, die and dry up.


The biological issues Genetic Roulette alone raises, point to the need for a make over in FDA, EPA and USDA regulatory systems. Certainly a human health disaster OF MASSIVE PROPORTIONS is a potential outcome. It may dwarf Chernobyl reactor mortality cases, set at ONE MILLION. But genetic pollution is worse than even nuclear pollution. Genetic pollution is forever, while nuclear pollution is just a few hundred thousand years, for example. That makes genetic pollution potentially greater than nuclear pollution.


I take it that Gaia is doing some furniture moving. She could be working on chopping off a chunk of humanity. However, beneficial in any case this will certainly lead to another financial fiasco with its old shell game: The rich getting richer, the poor, poorer. That’s two positive feedback mechanisms going in opposite directions. But the medical industry loves disease, after all, they cannot make money when someone just ups and dies. They must suffer so at least can get pain medications.

If I had any stock in these companies I would sell it now, for they are going to loose. Even with surely some multiple of the pennies in our war chest they will loose. “You can’t fool all the people all the time.” But we have the TRUTH. With the Truth as David we will damage the giant. Even the $30 million that the Monsantoes are using to fight the Yes on 37 campaign is chicken feed with these companies PROFITTING billions, every year. More is needed to cure ourselves.


Are women smarter? I wonder how many women work for the Monsantoes? Employees for Monsantoes probably number in the high 3 orders of magnitude, but I bet a maximum of only 5 % are women. And they have the lower incomes of course. That figure will tell a lot. The upper income levels in these companies are probably all males. Competition and battle is what males do, females are responsible for the next generation. So ladies, wake up your guys. Your kids are being damaged by GMO foods and have been so for almost 15 yrs, now. We are now discovering we are all contaminated with a microbial toxin, it’s the new generation’s DDT coming around again.


What is at stake in this battle is not just WHO WINS THE battle, but all life for all future time. The GMO stuff is another set of world wide contaminants yes, but this poison in a new kid on the block. This one makes poison, like a small scale factory, you just have to get it out there into human guts. These inserted gene collections are molecule makers. These excrete proteins that are altering the genetics of the biosphere, BIGTIME.

Toxicants, like those produced by Bt destroy other molecules and tissues, certainly as they penetrate cell walls in insects, test animals and most probably any human who eats GMO contaminated foods. But it’s a slow acting poisoning process hard to detect. The food chains of the world are already contaminated by numerous pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, metals, and medicines. So are all the waterways, great areas of fertile soils, and air masses, ALL have their doses, like ours. Nobody is adding it all up. Nobody keeps tract of all the poisons. If they do, it should be public information, forget the patent laws.

We are not same people who fought Goliaths before, like Nazi Germany. We are distracted and poisoned to some degree, sometimes I think actually neurologically impaired. That’s how I account for the closeness of the political poll results. A lot of people even look neurologically impaired and can’t reason logically. I think neurological damage and political belief are connected but I am willing to learn differently. Please tell me that there is some brain power left in enough people to swing a moratorium. That’s what is needed now, stop all creation and production of GMO foods. We don’t know what we are doing with this technology.

This would not be the first time a halt was made in technological development. We have the stupid stop or brakes put on researching stem cells which was a big mistake. Before that the Supersonic Transport was stopped which was good. Now we must stop genetic food tampering.


Eat Organic Pay more now so you don’t pay later to the Medical Industry.

By processed foods I mean anything with corn, soybeans, sugar, canola oil, cotonseed, sugar beets, Hawaiian Papaya (most) and a small amount of Zucchini and Yellow Squash, for starters. GM alfalfa is fed to livestock and that includes hamburgers, milk and milk products.. Eat organic foods because they are subject to third party verification.

HYPOTHESIZING that people are being exposed to nerve poisons is not just a speculation, many pesticides are derived from poison gases used in WWII. Organochlorines and organophosphates are all nerve poisons, and now many have been found to be hormone mimics. Nerve poisons are among the worst poisons as they kill nerve cells. So one should examine nerve diseases for rate changes, or frequency changes correlated in time to about 15 years ago when the first genetically engineered (GE) crops were approved (First Bush to G.W. Bush, etc). I will begin a search but can someone help me here?

Further, I would check the rosters of all the advisory committees at EPA, FDA, and USDA appointments for former employees of these companies. Those are the generals for the Other side, the Monsantoes. Lets get them out. Establish citizen advisors and pay them for their time and representation. Select from the Sierra Club, for example. Why not, we select from Monsantoes now, why not plain old citizens?


I am rooting for David who is supported by volunteers like me. But Goliath is much bigger being supported by the Monsanto Group. The David and Goliath analogy is applicable here because a classic RESOURCE mismatch of epic proportions has started. This is certainly true if you count up the millions being poured into the impending misinformation campaign courtesy of the Monsantoe Group. Remember now, there are many scientists, certainly agronomists, horticulturalists, entomologists, physiologists, medical researchers, statisticians, and microbiologists working for the Monsantoes of the world. Some will lose their jobs if Yes on 37 passes and it cascades across the US. The strategy of the intricate defense can create a mental fog, in which the evidence gets obscured, all by design. Then our lawyers in Washington will all have a field day, talking to each other until millions more are threatened. Lawyers are not scientists, nor are all scientists biologists. Lawyers don’t examine biological data so just follow the authority they like. This is a risky way to make decisions affecting the whole Biosphere. 15-20 years of virtually constant human exposures to microbial proteinacious toxins and herbicides via the alimentary tract are turning up health problems in the simplest association, which is correlation. Even I can see the patterns after a few minutes of movie exposure watching Genetic Roulette. Percentages can be compared also. Even percentage comparison as indicators might show patterns for further examination.

And there are excellent theoretical indicators that physiological damage is very likely upon toxic exposure of living cells to Bt toxins, certainly those in the human gut. After all, Bt was discovered by insect pathologists and later showed great selectivity. There were different strains more effective in a pest control sense with different species, i.e., larval flies, Lepidoptera and Coleoptera. The toxin kills by disrupting the cell wall in the insect stomach, or at least somewhere along the alimentary tract. A tissue study can be done rapidly and monitored on a daily basis with chromatograph sampling and X-Ray diffraction (or whatever is now state of the art) studies to determine molecular structure. Toxicity evaluations based on low dose exposures with ability to detect genetic damage are vitally needed.

Consider a molecule able to tear through the alimentary tract in a wide range of insects. Consider the number of cells which would be needed to be killed to allow sporulation in the hemolymph of other insect species, mice and rats. An Ames Test would be low cost and can be used to evaluate if this toxic can destroy the same type of cells, i.e., to at least damage or kill the same number of cells damaged in an insect, in their guts. Now, proteinacious toxins able to kill insects, including hundreds of species are not innocuous. Just because feeding studies done with commercial Bt products show good safety margins, does not mean they are innocuous. The Bt spore and crystal protein toxin level required for ingestion by immature insects should be acknowledged as a poor indicator of safety when millions of people are eating the toxins.

Pregnant women and those just pregnant must be alerted to the potential teratogentic hazard. Proteinacious toxins can be expected to elicit immune responses. Opening gut tissues allows incompletely digested materials into the blood stream where they elicit an immune response, leading to inflammation, already associated with numerous aging diseases, like arthritis, heart disease, and even cancers. A real epidemiological study would have to compile all diseases associated with an immune response, so all microbial infections, especially West Nile Virus is a target, being so much in the news recently. Since 36,000 die each year from influenza, even an examination of changes in influenza cases might be useful. To this formidable list must be added allergies, attention deficit disorder, depression, mental diseases, liver and kidney diseases. These should also be evaluated individually and in combinations using multiple correlation analysis. Let’s use our big computers for such studies rather than collecting all the emails of the US into some huge building. Imagine now they will have robots reading our mail, including this message. I wonder what a machine would make of our stupidity.

Positive indicators in epidemiology indicate the need for emergency study of causes. So we must demand further study, but also demand a moratorium on new genetic food products while the issue gets examined. All sales of GMO products should cease.


Our government regulators are contaminated by former employees of the very companies they are tasked to regulate, and so is our government, right up to the not so Surpreme Court. From this sort of government impartiality we are told such genetically modified products are safe. Is it true that, THESE GMO PRODUCTS were approved with no evaluations, just assumptions? Nobody has told me other wise. It would be interesting to have a justice probe to understand the financial relationships of these companies to our elected officials and our civil servants, also.


Independent research costs money and whatever publically supported scientists are able to assemble by way evidence has already alerted us to a pending acknowledged health epidemic OF TRAGIC PROPORTIONS. Early results are important as they point in dark directions for millions of people who have been eating these poisoned foods.

Some FACTs for Review.

Millions of People Have been Eating a Tiny Bit of Pertinacious Poison for about 15 years since the first GMO product was approved. This poison is produced by some kind of mix of genetic material forced in the genomes of crop plants which are eaten directly, or as a processed food. Corn and soybeans are fed to cows, so beef, milk and milk products are worth examinations. Other genetic alterations are occurring on various animals (mosquitoes, pigs, some other domestic animals) as well. This should be stopped on logical grounds alone. These poisons will effect all future generations once released, because they do not stay in the plant, they move with the wind in pollens. I bet no one cleared the pollens of GMO crops for air contamination. I would hate to breathe on any GMO farm.

The potential is there for tragedy, so I would like to be shown evidence to prove me wrong. Prove to me that Bt toxin is safe for realistic exposure levels for the life of test mice, and rats, for starters. More study would be helpful. Who will fund this? Not the biggest research institutions in the world, certainly not the pharmaceutical industry. Public sources like CDC, NIH, USDA, EPA, FDA will fund such studies? Can we believe them now? I would also like tests done on fungi, bacteria, viruses, worms, in vitro. This could be a tiered test system, moving up to more complex forms of life once and if damage levels are detected in the lower forms. We are already ready for upper level testing. But why go on?

A moratorium now may be most critical. Since adequate testing was not done before registration, let’ s stop sales, and test. Such studies should not be held up to the best studies money can buy at this moment. Risks based on lower than the 95% level can be correct and aid preventative strategies as they can lead to prevention of further genetic contamination. Such strategies are not subject to the 95% rule when the stakes are so high. Even a 70% level in such a regulatory context should be enough to stop further registrations, certainly further sales. Stopping the production of more genetic modified seeds until evidence shows they are safe is rational.

Our Toxic Substances Control Act needs a drastic overhaul.


Of course we all know where all the money is, it’s in the military and in the chemical industry, Monsanto and their ilk. We must get over money as the way to keep score. How about a Nobel Prize for Compassion and Pain relief? How exactly was those first GMO products released? Who was paid off? Lets retire them to Lompoc Prison. =========== end

Does the Mayan Calendar Predict the End of the World?

Does the Mayan Calendar Predict the End of the World?

By William Olkowski, PhD. 9.22.12

I heard the Spindrift broadcast, on Thursday 9:30 am to 10:00 on 91.9 FM, and found it lively, informative and knowledgeable.  I learned that the peak of Mayan civilization was about 910 AD, when Europe was in the midst of the dark ages.  This Mayan civilization ran from 850 BC to 1050 AD, a period of over 1000 years.  Comparatively, this was a good run by an isolated people living out of jungle ecosystems with only underground fresh water cisterns for drinking and crop irrigation.

The mythological end of the world is said to be near the end of December this year.  But as is commonly discovered with such prophecies this one is illusory.   In this case the prophecy is merely the end of their calendar records.  This so called prophecy is based on a speculative interpretation of one major surviving monument. The speculation is a an evidence stretcher due to several factors, particularly a hazy interpretation of one surviving monument.  This momument, like the whole group of structures was hidden by jungle overgrowth until the early 20th century.

The discovery of the amazing structures hidden by jungle overgrowth for a thousand years created a sensation at first and many people still are transfixed by so many great stone buildings and temples arising out of the jungle. The pyramid-like structures were rediscovered and restored by intrepid archaeologists and rugged adventurers.  New discoveries are still happening as more recovery and interpretive work is done.

Mayan monuments are called steles and were the focus of a long term decoding project by many scholars around the world. The monuments are limestone upright 4 x 6 feet structures which report on various dynasties, with records of battles, births and deaths of kings, and their families.  The glyphs displayed on these steels and buildings seemed to be Egyptian-like at first but were based on a novel language/symbol system which defied decoding for many decades.  They were finally decoded in the late 1900s. Most of the glyphs document various dynasties, roughly each about 400 years.

The written records of the civilization are largely lost due to one Spanish padre who took it upon himself to burn all 20,000 written codexes.  This is the sort of standard genocidal efforts made by the Catholic church and other conquerors on other civilizations around the world. Only three codexes survived. They were written on fig bark papers.  This catastrophe occurred during the brutal Spanish occupation in 1562.

The Mayans had two calendar systems one based on a 28 day cycle (moon), the other a 60 day cycle, the later believed is believed to  be modeled on the Venus annual circumnavigation of the sun.  An alternative explanation for the 60 day cycle is the period of maze development.

Jeanine Kitchel’s book  “Maya 2012 Revealed, Demystifying the Prophecy” promises to be a great read.  Kitchel informs us that the Mayans are still with us at 7 million strong spread out in a different Central American countries (Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, etc).  After the civilization crashed mysteriously the people scattered into the jungles where they carried on the same rituals and customs developed during their heyday.

The end date speculation is based on rather limited evidence, mostly from a broken Steele, the pieces of which were scattered in Europe andMexico. The paper and photo recreation of this steel is interpreted as announcing an end date because is reads something like: “God will descend after 13 periods (which was interpreted to mean the end of December this year); and then, there was to be a renewal.”


I like the idea of a renewal, it’s sort of promises a bright future for a world community.  This is something vitally needed today, but I hope not maintained by force of arms and bloody wasteful wars as our history so tragically documents. The Mayans are believed to have lost their cities about 1000 AD from a 200 year drought.

We in North America are now in a severe drought year (and trend) with large scale wildfires, dropping water levels and threatened farmers.  Drought and climate change is of vital interest today. Can we learn something from the Mayans? We don’t have a jungle to retreat into, however.  Lots of questions here that a 30 minute program cannot conceivably cover. Read the book for further details and maybe some guidance on survival.

Ice core data and other collaborating evidence shows that a long term drough sometimes lasting a 1,000 years or more occurred repeatedly in human history.  One of such long term drought almost snuffed out our species as it wandered North from Southern Africa.  Such a period can be triggered by climate change in as short 3 years.

end comment

Spindrift is hosted by Marika Davidek on 91.9 FM on the UC Santa Barbara campus (KCSB).  See the program announcement on the authors biographical notes and program description on the station website.


Dead Yesterday, Unborn Tomorrow,…


A Musing to Self.

By William Olkowski, PhD,  7.15.12.

Apologies to Omar Khayyam but …

this is how I remember the quote:

“Dead yesterday, unborn tomorrow,

Who cares, if today be sweet.”

I have been thinking about these lines ever since I read it.

Sure today is where the senses detect the world around each of us.

And sure, we all make whatever we will of that sensory information.

And if today be sweet who needs the past and who has time to muse about the future.  Today is where the action is.


While I live all who I can remember live again and again as I recall them.

Sure, what I make of these memories can change and even be improved as time passes and that is interesting.  That makes even a bad experience useful, sometimes.  And sure, the past is gone, so all the more reason to live today for that is all we have, ultimately.


Without a past, no learning is possible.  Yes, one can learn something new each day, maybe a new mix of colors, or to find a new great paint brush, even meet a new friend, which can change your life.   They can all be important.  But the past is always present, whether you recall it or not.  Its part of who you are.  Its part of who I am anyway.  Who can forget the beauties of living?  Why forget them if they can live again and again.  It’s easy to forget bad things sometimes, sort of as a deliberate act of neglect.  It’s probably a good thing too.  Why carry garbage around, why not recycle it into something useful?


To live without a future means  you are dead already.  Plant a tree and die if you have to.  Seeds in the ground can sprout without you.  Seeds into trees leave a memory for friends.  Who planted that tree?  Someone may ask.  I will say, I did and I didn’t care who gets the fruit.  An old teacher told me: “There is no limit to the good a person can accomplish if he/she does not care who gets the credit.”  It was directed at me, I thought erroneously, but that memory popped up while I was musing about the BIG THREE today.  The Big Three, The Past, The Future and Today are intertwined; we separate them with our words, which divide up inner perceptions for focus.  It’s OK to focus as long as you remember that all three make up a life.  And as for credit, well we can see by our fiscal disaster all can be wiped out in a flash, just like your life.


Like Woody Allen also says: “Whatever Works” to give some modest pleasure, grab it, cultivate it, see it for what it is, and be happy.  For this is all there is.  All life is in your hands, heart and mind.  Sing about it, paint it, mold it, store it, laugh with it all, love it all, for when you are gone, there’s nothing.  Emptiness will descend, and cover all your dreams and thoughts.  This everlasting vast moonscape will not know you or your thoughts and dreams.

“So tear your pleasures with rough strife through the iron gates of life;  and though you cannot make it stand still,  we will make it run.  (Another apology to Andrew Marvell (1621–1678), from To His Coy Mistress).

Khayyám at work:





By William Olkowski, posted 9.14.12

The Boy Scouts of America has reaffirmed its exclusion of known homosexual men from membership and as volunteer teachers.  As a former Eagle Scout and member of the Order of the Arrow, an honorary membership organization within the Boy Scouts, I am disgusted with the ignorance of the executive committee about a natural phenomenon.

Homosexuality is a natural phenomena and it is vitally needed now that our population is too high.  Homosexuals don’t have their own kids, but can help raise other people’s kids. Cutting out such people from being volunteers over the fear of pedophilia is unreasonable.  If that is the source of the fear of homosexuality it would be good to exclude all Catholics judging by the vast number of legal actions taken against the many priests of the Catholic church.

The following is excerpted from Wikipedia and tells a great deal more about homosexuality than any Christian church or any of its priests, ministers or church leaders.  Theology is not a good source for explaining natural phenomena.  This exclusion of a minority of citizens of the US is undemocratic, something the BSA should reaffirm.  Are we going to be a democracy or a theocracy?  If it’s to be theocracy get ready for the fight of our lives as history tells horrible stories about such conflicts.

Our country was founded on the separation of church and state largely because of the ferocious conflicts at that time from competing religious belief systems.  They are all divisive; each thinks they have the direct word from God, so they can’t all be right.  In fact, I think they are all wrong.  So, I can’t be proud to be a former boy scout and I say good riddance.  But I do so reluctantly as my memories were formative for me.   But I can see now what used to be a fine experience for young boys being changed into another religious institution.  We already have too many religious institutions; we need a secular non-demonized democratic educational organization with an emphasis on camping and knowledge of the natural world, just as its originator desired.

Homosexual behavior in animals refers to the documented evidence of homosexual and bisexual behavior in various (non-human) species. Such behaviors include sexcourtshipaffectionpair bonding, and parenting among same sex animals. A 1999 review by researcher Bruce Bagemihl shows that homosexual behavior has been observed in close to 1,500 species, ranging from primates to gut worms, and is well documented for 500 of them.[1][2] Animal sexual behaviour takes many different forms, even within the same species. The motivations for and implications of these behaviors have yet to be fully understood, since most species have yet to be fully studied.[3] According to Bagemihl, “the animal kingdom [does] it with much greater sexual diversity – including homosexual, bisexual and nonreproductive sex – than the scientific community and society at large have previously been willing to accept.”[4] Current research indicates that various forms of same-sex sexual behavior are found throughout the animal kingdom.[5] A new review made in 2009 of existing research showed that same-sex behavior is a nearly universal phenomenon in the animal kingdom, common across species.[6]Homosexual behavior is best known from social species. According to geneticist Simon Levay in 1996, “Although homosexual behavior is very common in the animal world, it seems to be very uncommon that individual animals have a long-lasting predisposition to engage in such behavior to the exclusion of heterosexual activities. Thus, a homosexual orientation, if one can speak of such thing in animals, seems to be a rarity.[7] One species in which exclusive homosexual orientation occurs, however, is that of domesticated sheep (Ovis aries).[8][9] “About 10% of rams (males) refuse to mate with ewes (females) but do readily mate with other rams.”[9]

The observation of homosexual behavior in animals can be seen as both an argument for and against the acceptance of homosexuality in humans, and has been used especially against the claim that it is a peccatum contra naturam (‘sin against nature’).[1] For instance, homosexuality in animals was cited in the United States Supreme Court‘s decision in Lawrence v. Texas which struck down the sodomy laws of 14 states.[10]





By William Olkowski, PhD. 9.14.12

Part of this report was aired on 91.9 FM, KCFM, on the University of Santa Barbara, CA, on 9.6.12. This update was created on 9.14.12.

It’s a simple formula: The more fear the less knowledge, and the corollary is also true: More Knowledge Less Fear.  This relationship occurs again and again across many issues.  Today we have a great example in the  West Nile Virus disaster and today our main story is this formula and how it applies to understanding how best to manage West Nile Virus.

First Some Facts:

West Nile Virus (WNV) is a virus transmitted by mosquitoes, different species in different areas

West Nile Virus was first found in theUSin 1999, and has since spread across the US.

The virus reservoir is birds, possibly horses and probably other wild species.

The origin is believed to be Africa.

WNV, was introduced to US, in 1999, probably in an infected bird.

Most cases are mild and undetected.

Old sick people mostly die from this disease; everybody else has probably been exposed and has at worse mild flue like symptoms if they exhibit at all.

In all cases of reported disease occurrence one must account for improved monitoring and reporting before assuming rising case numbers indicate an epidemic.  The word epidemic should be reserved for epidemics.


Like all invading organisms the first reactions are severe because the natural systems which would normally stop or reduce the invader are compromised or the invader is preadapted for exploitation in the new ecosystem.


From CDC website:

Since 1999, more than 30,000 people in theUnited Stateshave been reported as getting sick withWest Nilevirus. Infected mosquitoes spreadWest Nilevirus (WNV) that can cause serious, life altering disease.

201 2 West Nile Virus Update: as of August 21, 2012.

Thus far in 2012, 47 states have reportedWest Nilevirus infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes. A total of 1118 cases ofWest Nilevirus disease in people, including 41 deaths, have been reported to CDC. Of these, 629 (56%) were classified as neuroinvasive disease (such as meningitis or encephalitis) and 489 (44%) were classified as non-neuroinvasive disease.

The 1118 cases reported thus far in 2012 is the highest number of West Nile virus disease cases reported to CDC through the third week in August since West Nile virus was first detected in theUnited Statesin 1999. Approximately 75 percent of the cases have been reported from 5 states (Texas,Mississippi,Louisiana,South Dakota, andOklahoma) and almost half of all cases have been reported fromTexas.

  • Make sure you have good screens on your windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
  • Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets and barrels. Change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in bird baths weekly. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out. Keep children’s wading pools empty and on their sides when they aren’t being used.
  • wear long sleeves and pants at these times or consider staying indoors during these hours.


When a new invader is identified is when the first level of FEAR originates.  The FEAR is well founded as people who are stricken and die do so in a terrible manner.  But as ecosystem and health responses developed to the invading virus, things get better.  These natural factors do not usually fix the problems from the invader but lessen its impacts.  Time is needed for adequate responses to develop. This view is confirmed by a long series of invading organisms.  Some further background on mosquito control:

Throughout theUSalmost every county has a mosquito abatement district.  These are called MADs, a curious acronym to be sure, but it’s not mad to have these public agencies.  They were developed when the country was heavily beset with malaria, which was eliminated back in the 1940s and 1950s.  This is, by the way, an example of publically supported pest control which has paid massive dividends by first eliminating malaria and subsequently helped control various other pests like biting flies, rats and mice, and in some places snakes and other wildlife.  Do not fall prey to those who want to reduce government spending wholesale as this sort of simplistic thinking will certainly chop indiscriminantly MAD budgets.  With lower budgets for MADs the real effect will be loss of trained personnel resulting in more wholesale spraying.  Wholesale aerial applications will kill many things besides mosquitoes.  And such spraying will kill many species that eat mosquitoes.

Recently, the news was full of a large scale aerial spraying for WNV inTexasaround theDallasarea.  Something like 20 or so deaths occurred with a few hundred cases when aerial spraying was started on over 50,000 acres.

Now, as any good MAD manager knows aerial spraying is a last ditch approach to managing mosquitoes.  In the old days when I was a kid we used to have regular DDT fogging during mosquito season.  Us kids used to run through the fog, we thought it was fun.  I am glad today when people are alarmed about aerial spraying as it is probably ineffective, but ignorant political types want to do something to help out and this tactic is easy as there are always people who want to spray.

Today, being much wiser, MAD managers know that the first line of defense is what is called source reduction.  This means having inspectors respond to public calls about excessive mosquito numbers, they go out and find mosquito breeding sources and treat those before adults emerge to begin biting people.  Female mosquitoes bite for the protein rich blood source we and other animals provide.  Female mosquitoes do the biting so they can produce eggs as the protein is vital.  The males feed on flowers.

I joke that the males in characteristic fashion get all the perks.  They don’t have to brave a host who may swat them and do all the hard work to propagate the next generation.

End joke.  Its hard to imply a joke via just the written word so that is why I have made this ending.

So I wondered why aerial spraying was chosen and suspected something was amiss.

Recent reports fromHoustonindicate that the city has now made the effort to install a very competent IPM type program, emphasizing house inspections, trapping and virus sampling of mosquitoes, and spot treatments, along with ground treatment of known infested areas.  The question of just what is happening about the large scale aerial spraying has not been seen in the news since then.


Large scale spraying kills all sorts of living things, to say nothing about effects on humans.  So any large scale pesticide applications must include public assessments to obtain permissions.  It’s our right to know, especially if we are to be subject to a mass spraying episode.  Whether it is worthwhile to treat such a large area, and if this is the best way to approach this situation are two questions which need answers before going further should be provided to the public.

So what can be done now.  First we need to get SMART, and that is not the name of an old spy TV comedy but an educational and communication challenge.  Knowledge pushes against FEAR.  Mo

Knowledge and Fear are Inversely Associated

Knowledge means less FEAR, and less FEAR means rational thought can gain an entry to decision making.

To control mosquitoes means reduce their numbers before they become pestiferous.  Spraying late is what we call REVENGE TREATMENTS.  It is not desirable and impossible to eliminate all mosquitoes as they are key elements in many, many food chains.  Fisherman know that fish eat mosquito larvae – also called wigglers. Fish would starve without mosquitoes as food.  Frogs, birds, toads, bats, dragon flies, all sorts of things feed on mosquitoes.  Indiscriminate killing mosquitoes, as with large scale aerial attacks, kills these beneficial organisms and guess what, this makes things worse.  Education about the biology of the natural world must come first in managing mosquito problems.

Next is teaching people to avoid mosquito bites.  This can be done by inspecting homes to find water sources, close holes in window screens, fix screened doors to exclude the little biters, and use repellents when going out at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes like to bite.  This requires detailed attention, certainly possible, but more difficult than ordering a massive aerial spraying program.

When I was a mosquito inspector around WilmingtonDelaware, after graduating college back in the 1960s we were always finding mosquito breeding sources on people’s property.  We were responding to complaints, which usually took the form of “It’s the creek, pond, or some other nearby water body that is the problem”.  But a careful walk around the house and property would find, old tires, kids toys, and other containers, bad drainage areas harboring small bodies of water after rains, clogged gutters, unfilled tree holes, etc., right on the property.

Cemeteries were one of our favorite places to search for flower urns as people put flowers on graves with a few cups of water to keep the flowers fresh longer.  It was tedious work and we usually did an hour or so and quit after finding a few.  One such container can produce thousands of mosquito larvae and the adults can fly, sometimes a mile or so, even longer distances.  An old abandoned outhouse was a great source, millions and millions, like stars in the universe, can populate the local universe for months until discovered.

So there’s a rational way to go about mosquito control and then there’s the wayTexaswas going, but now appears to have changed direction.  My Fear, until further knowledge surfaces, is that many other cities and states will react just like the pesticide companies want.  Shoot first and ask questions later.  But now with thisTexasexample, the way to fight WNV intelligently seems to be developing.  This is good news.  Good news seldom sells papers.

I am watching the Texas struggle and will continue reporting on it.

Some New Thoughts on the WNV Situation

Since writing the above I have continued to log onto WN news via Google searches.  Now I am developing another idea which still needs further work, requiring interviews with people on the ground, so to speak.  I have my experiences and attitudes and opinions and just how these hold up against realities needs further checking.  With that reservation here is my new thought.

West Nile Virus is now endemic in the US.  That means there is a smoldering but tiny fire going that occasionally flares up.  The reports of a few people dying here and there over theUS, means the public health system is working just right.  We are getting reports of infections, mortalities and cases.  Great.  The trouble may be with the media and how this phenomena is  being reported to a widely ignorant fearful audience.  Why do I say this?

Consider the fact that each year an average of 36,000 people die of common flu.  In comparison, that mortality rate is hundreds of times higher than WNV.  Yet, WNV is new and everybody pays attention to new things, especially if you can die from contracting the disease.  We all know that mosquitoes carry the virus.  We then assume the main problem is mosquitoes and therefore go about killing them with as much as money, time, and intelligence we can  muster.

An alternative view is that since WNV kills mostly old, infirm and compromised individuals it may be that these old sick people just get an WNV infection and it pushes them over easily. Or they had it as a mild infection but something else pushes them into fatal disease.

Meanwhile excessive spraying makes the real situation worse as it damages whatever forces exist to reduce mosquito populations.  Just why and who is dying needs to be understood.  Read the best source about WNV, which is on Wikepaedia.  Its better than the write up on the CDC website.  It has the history and from that information it is clear that WNV infections are normally mild, widespread and mostly benign, certainly tolerable, like a mild case of the flu.  This view is contrary to fanning the flames, adding fuel to a smoldering fire, as the media is wont.

With such a view what can be added to a treatment program?  Yes, mosquitoes must be managed, but not in a helter skelter manner spraying thousands of acres because two people die who are near death anyway.  It’s a waste all around and can make things worse.  Prventative work is needed by trained people who understand the biology of mosquitoes.  Publically supported systems need augmenting and oversight.  Forget cutting governent programs, better to redesign them to function better.  We need government, but maybe less foreign military action.

Next I want to interject a systems view which is usually difficult for most to understand.  If old compromised people are mostly the victims, just how they acquire the infections needs to be understood.  Are they alone and people rush to their help after things have already gotten hopeless? What could be done to prevent the conditions which predispose such people to the virus, in addition to mosquito control?  Why are their immune systems compromised? Is it HIV, other virus systems, hypertension, etc.  These other causal factors need focus and treatment.  Old trees die from multiple accumulations of conditions and pathogens.  The pathogen is easier to understand.

And then part of this analysis is what can be done to improve their immune systems?  Here traditional medicine fails as their focus is primarily on use of drugs, which in the largest view are similar to pesticides as they are mostly molecules which interfere with various biochemical processes.  Consider the suffix added to most drugs: “anti”.  For example, antihypertensives, anti-depressants, anti-coagulants, etc.  It seems we know gobs about how to stop and slow things down, but not how to improve immune systems.  Certainly anything which interferes with our immune response should be suspect.

Now comes a fact which could illuminate some dark places.  GMO crops are reported to affect the immune system.  This is not so far fetched as it may seem.  There are reports of massive increases in allergies when GMO soybeans were introduced into the UK.  If true, and I believe Jeffrey Smith (Genetic Roulette, 2007) then we have something we can alter.  We don’t need anything in our diets with such a threat, especially as it is unnecessary.  We can produce all the food we need without GMO crops, notwithstanding the lie campaign developing from the GMO companies with their massive bank accounts.

In any case all the toxicants humans in the US are exposed to in their foods, and their daily environments need to be examined.  Remember you can’t see toxicants with the naked eye, you have to see it with your mind.  In contract, nuclear disasters are visible, and so is climate change, toxicants are the most difficult to understand.


SEEDS, TYPES, WHY WORRY, and Heirloom Seeds.

Notes for a radio broadcast on 91.9FM, KCSB,

9.13.12, program Spindrift, 9:30 am PST.


BY Marika Davidek and William Olkowski, PhD. 9.13.12


This quote is by the political philosopher, George Kennan, (from the biography by Ronald Seal, 2004).


Please keep this quote in mind as we explore the subject of seeds in today’s broadcast.


The GMO companies, led by Monsanto have taken over 67% of the world’s supply of seed.

This means that most of the seed sources for most of the world’s food is in corporate hands, and we have no control over these companies.

This is direct threat to the world’s food supply.



Two aspects are important with these facts:

1) Why is this happening?  and,

2) What about the remaining 1/3rd of the world’s seeds?

1) Why is this take over happening?


The attempted take over of the commercial seed industry has only occurred recently and is primarily aimed at pushing Genetically Modified Seeds.  This is done by monopolizing all seed sources available to farmers, but only selling the GMO seeds.  The farmers who don’t participate are sued when the pollens from the genetically altered crops are blown onto their crops which then become contaminated.  These contaminated crops are then subject to patent law infringement and the farmer is sued.  This is a deliberate attempt to manipulate farmers by threat so they will only buy GMO seeds.

Certainly this is an unethical practice, but if you have only money in mind, ethics will always be dammed.

For thousands of years seeds have been passed from generation to generation ever since the development of agriculture in the Fertile Crescent about 10,000 years ago.

So, today, the corporate policy of about 10 companies controls the largest proportion of the world’s seed and thus the main proportion of the world’s food supply.  And these companies are polluting the human food supply with strange genes never before found in most foods. This is an unprecedented TAKE OVER FOR THE sole PURPOSE OF MAKING MONEY FOR THESE COMPANIES.  We were doing fine before these companies existed.

THESE COMPANIES use GENETIC technology to pollute the sources of the human life everywhere.

IN THE PAST SUCH MONOPOLIES WERE BROKEN UP BY GOVERNMENT ACTION.  TODAY, with deregulation being the zeitgeist, such action cannot be expected for the foreseeable future.

Let me explain further with some botanical facts.

A seed is the result of a pollination process which is a sexual means of reproduction.  Sexual reproduction is a genetic means for suppressing mutations and for creating variation without mutations.  Most mutations are deadly.

Only 10% of flowering plants are pollinated without animal assistance.[3]  The most common form of abiotic pollination is wind pollination.  This form of pollination is predominant in grasses, most conifers (LIKE PINES), and many deciduous trees.

Plants can also be propagated vegetatively, but this just extends the same genetic combinations without suppressing mutations.  It’s asexual reproduction, strawberry runners are an example.

The most important animals responsible for sexual reproduction in plants are insects, particularly bees, but others also occur, such as bats and birds.

The results of such pollination are seeds.

So seeds are a plant’s method to reproduce itself.  It is also a storage and dispersal agent. Many seeds require a certain period of incubation and some sort of weathering.  Seeds need to be stimulated to send out its stems and roots to produce the first true leaves.

In the human past since agriculture started about 10,000 years ago, seeds were passed from generation to generation by farmers.  These seeds are open pollinated varieties, which are now called heirloom seeds.  Being open pollinated means the normal pollination process was in effect.  This means either wind or insect pollination, although there are seeds pollinated by bats and birds.

In 1950’s hybrid seeds were developed and seed companies sold these as ways to create bigger yields.  Hybrid seeds usually do not produce the same benefits in the second season, because pollination of these hybrids create uncommon genetic mixes, called “throwbacks”, which means the orginal parental genes are expressed.  And they can have good and bad aspects.

To get stable safe passage form year to year one needs open pollinated varieties.


Knowing a little bit about seeds makes you a better gardener and farmer by helping you to make conditions right for your food plants and to discourage weeds.  For example, to discourage weeds from sprouting, don’t disturb the soil as turning will bring up seeds.  If you must condition compacted soil turn it at night when the light conditions are low.  Weed seed needs light to germinate, besides moisture.

Most of the vegetable seeds of WHATEVER THE TYPE can be planted in the spring in the soil, add watered each day to keep the area wet, and presto, you will see a small stem pop up through the soil surface.  A small root also is formed and grows downward.

Some seeds however need some more help.  That’s because they normally require passage through the stomach of a bird or another animal.  Seeds don’t have legs so have been cleaver in figuring out how to get dispersed in the environment.  Some require cold temperatures, some hot, even fire to sprout.  Some have special hooks and sticky stuff so they can attach to an animal which will carry them around, which is how they can expand their ranges.

Scarification is the term used to describe any process for treating seeds to speed up their germination.  Sometimes a shallow knife scrap, or a light filing or a rub or two on sandpaper will open a hard protective seed coat.  Sometimes just a few weeks in a cold refrigerator, sometimes a chemical can stimulate germination.

Pests of Seeds

All sorts of organisms destroy seeds.  Of course birds eat enormous numbers of seeds as just a few minutes of BIRD observation will show.  Many insects eat seeds, milkweed bugs feed on the pods and seeds.  But when you want a seed to germinate and you put it into the ground sometimes they do not come up.  This is more covert. Fungi in the soil are always present and with the right temperature and moisture they will eat the seed before it can make it up into the light.  Many seed companies therefore treat their seeds with a fungicide.  With the growth of organic agriculture the seed community has developed seeds without these fungicides, so to get food without poison look for untreated seed, they are now common and are clearly labeled.

Heirloom Seeds

Fortunately, TODAY ABOUT 1/3 rd of the seed sources are not owned by Monsanto and their ilk.  So these sources are a force to push against these rapacious corporations.  There are many seeds still passed from generation to generation by farmers and seed savers.  One can learn about these sources by getting seeds from Heirloom sources.  These people are having a gathering in Northern California called the Heirloom Seed Expo.

This second annual conference in Petaluma, CA is expected to draw over 20,000 people.  There will be lectures, films, discussions and information exchanges at the Solano County fairgrounds from Tuesday the 11th to the 13th of September.  Many speakers from all over are coming to this little town formerly famous for its chicken ranches.  Also, the fairgrounds will be displaying over 3,000 heirloom varieties, some available to taste.

An heirloom seed is one that breeds true from seeds and is at least 50 years old in passage from season to season.  The heirloom seed industry is big in Europe and is just starting to grow here in the US as more and more people are starting home and community gardens.

Heirloom seeds, unlike genetically altered seeds, can be saved and replanted year after year. These open-pollinated seeds depend on nature’s pollinators for fruiting and evolving, whereas genetically modified seeds have been tampered with in the lab and are often treated with pesticides and herbicides.

The fear in the heirloom seed industry is that genetically modified seeds, which are patented and cannot be saved and replanted from year to year, will dominate, pollute and diminish the biodiversity of any given area.

The GMO crops are already known to pollute weeds, hybrid and organic crops by wind blown pollens.  This pollution is used by the Monsantos of the World to sue farmers claiming they have stolen their patented product.  UNBELIEVABLE.

When you own the supreme court and populate it with biologically ignorant lawyers what do you expect?  We could do a lot better.

The Heirloom seed industry is part of the pure food movement which got its start as a trade movement in the 1870s. Made up of food industry members, its primary mission was to advocate for a federal law against food adulteration.  But this idea is only now coming back to the US.

More information about the festival at


A friend, Amigo Bob Cantisano, is one of the speakers and he will be talking about an early seed saver named Felix Gillet.  We visited a site about 10 years ago around Nevada City, in Northern CA where many American Chesnut trees are still living.  The American chesnut was devastated when a pathogen called Chesnut Blight was accidentally introduced to North American many years ago.  The chesnut blight virtually destroyed the entire Native forest of Chesnuts.

Bob showed me a stand of these trees and at the time I was wonder stuck for I thought they were all gone.  I also found a large American chesnut up in Oregonon a friend’s farm at another time.  This means we could bring back the American chesnut from such sources, something akin to restoring a long lost species like we are doing with the condor, for example.

Remember the quote at the start of the broadcast?  I paraphrase it as: If we had the vision there is nothing we could not do to alleviate man’s condition.  So lets have a vision of restoration.  With such a vision, heirloom seeds will play a big part.

Confirmed speakers include Bob Hornback speaking about Luther Burbank, Amigo Bob Cantisano speaking on Felix Gillet, and Ram Fishman talking about on Albert Etter. John Preece, Research Leader at the Davis Germplasm Repository of the USDA, will speak about the extensive fruit collection at Wolfskill experimental farm, including heirlooms from around the world. Axel Kratel, a fruit collector who has grown over 500 varieties of apples, and other deciduous and subtropical fruits, will speak on his experience with European heirloom cider and fresh eating apples.


1: Get GMO labeling passed in California.  As California goes so goes the Nation.

2: Grow your own food and learn how to save seeds.

Labeling is first because the election is coming up rapidly and this labeling requirement can be accomplished by passage of a proposition here in CA.  Over a million people signed the petition to place the proposition on the ballot.  And when CA passes the proposition (37) other states will follow.  Then by knowing which foods contain genetically modified ingredients one can make a choice.  Now most of the main sources of calories in theUS(corn, soy beans, sugar beets, canola oil, others) are contaminated with GMO genes and their derived proteins which have not been tested for safety.  Roughly 80% of our food supply is already contaminated.

The deregulation push and some careful insertions of people from the GMO industry helped the regulatory agencies (FDA, EPA, USDA) skip over the testing requirements.  The assumption is that these products were safe.  It’s regulation by neglect.  The widespread contamination of the food supply and its associated genetic pollution is part of the payback for deregulation. 


With labeling we will be in a position to avoid buying any seeds or products sold by these companies (see list below).  Over 50 countries have already adopted such laws.  Only Canada and the US have not passed a labeling law

NEXT, START TO GROW YOUR OWN FOOD, STARTING WITH VEGETABLES.  I have been teaching and practicing this for over 40 years.  Now this idea is rising to become a reality as thousands of people are now starting to grow their own foods.  By growing your own vegetables you get pesticide free food, at little cost, and can begin to save your own seeds.  Plus there is no transportation cost.


The following extract from The City People’s Book of Raising Food (by H. andW. Olkowski, now out of print but to be republished again in the spring).  This book is instructive about saving seeds.

“We have had particular luck with saving our own seeds from peas, beans, carrots, onions (leave them in the ground over winter, they will flower the second season), lettuce, coriander, New Zealand spinach, chard, cooking celery, parsley, upland cress, and tomato. 

With most of the above you can either collect the seed from the dried flower head, or, as in the case of chard, keep the entire branchlet of seed pods stored for the winter.  With tomatoes you’ll need to mash away the pulp from the seeds.  Then dry them thoroughly, spread out on a paper towel or screen, before you store them away.”+

Chaos Gardening – The Lazy Man’s Way

The lazy man’s way to grown your own seed is to let plants go to seed in the garden.  For example, just let a lettuce plant go to seed.  Then you can harvest seedlings to eat directly or weed them out where you want to plant something else.

In my SB garden, for example, I let borage, sweet allysum, cherry tomatoes, nasturtiums, and fennel seed in, but pull them out where I don’t want them to grow up.  Borage is a good bee plant, sweet alyssum feeds the beneficial insects, cherry tomatoes taste good right off the vine, nasturtiums flowers are edible and fennel is a nice spice and feeds a beautiful swallowtail butterfly.



FINALLY WE LEAVE YOU WITH THE FOLLOWING STORY FROMRUSSIA.  Would you think seeds are worth human lives to defend?  The following true story raises this idea in a most dramatic way.

It’s a story we can gain courage and direction from:

This story is one of courage in the face of totalitarianism from the Nazi disaster which arose inGermanyin the 1930’s.

Most botanists and geneticists know the name Vavilov because he identified the centers of origin of cultivated plants.  His full name was Nikolai Ivanovich Vavilov -1887 – 1943).

Vavilov was an outspoken critic of Lysenko, a scientist elevated by Stalin to dominate Russian agricultural policy.  Lysenko’s ideas have subsequently been shown to be false, but not until they ledRussiaon a many decade farcical, miserable agricultural policy.  For his criticism of Lysenko, Vavilov was arrested and died in prison in 1943 near the end of WWII.  So he gave his life for his scientific beliefs.

Vavilov is famous for discovering the origin of the main centers of cultivated crops.

By the early 1940s inSt. Petersburg (formally calledLeningrad) then the focus of one of the turning points in WWII, Vavilov had created a seed bank which had in its vaults almost 400,000 seeds gathered from all over the world. While the city starved under siege from the Nazis, Vavilov’s staff barricaded themselves in the seed bank, protecting this precious resource from both the starving citizens ofSt Petersburg and their invaders. Over the 28 month period of the siege, twelve of those scientists starved to death while literally surrounded by food. Why? Because they believed that saving those seeds for future generations, was more important than their own lives.




94 Fold Increase in GMO Crops in US

94 FOLD INCREASE IN GMO CROPS in US from 1996-2011.

Crops include: soy, corn, cotton, canola, sugar beets (main source of sugar), squash, alfalfa (main source for meats and milk), and papaya.

50 countries already have labeling, including Russia, China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Australia.

This is a major problem because a 94-fold increase in GMO hectarage from 1.7 million hectares in 1996 to 160 million hectares in 2011 makes biotech crops the fastest-adopted crop technology in the history of modern agriculture.  More than half the world’s population, 60% or 4 billion people, live in the 29 countries that are currently planting biotech crops. These numbers are expected to grow. In some countries, GMO crops count as the majority of all soy, corn, cotton, and canola grown. Other GMO crops include sugar beets, squash, alfalfa and papaya. Everything including bread, cereal, frozen pizza, soup, soda—all sorts of processed foods—now contain GMOs. One concern is that we do not know whether GMOs are safe for humans to eat because the studies have not been done.

In 1998, a loud outcry among consumers in the European Union resulted in mandatory labeling of foods containing GM ingredients. Over the past 15 years the list of countries that require some form of labeling has grown to include Russia, Japan, China, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Indonesia, Brazil, Venezuela, India, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Czech Republic, Australia and New Zealand.

Read More:


An Open Letter to Governor Brown

By Wm Olkowski, PhD, republished from 10.24.11

Dear Governor Brown,

Re: Pest Control and Pesticide Use

I thought of writing you to reacquaint about a project your previous administration funded for our nonprofit the BioIntegral Resource Center (BIRC) to help implement an IPM program for the Department of Water Resources.  Huey Johnson and his staff at the time was our principle contact.  The project was moderately successful but only time will tell as innovations have a habit of reverting after the lights have gone.  I have not checked back on progress once our funding ceased after 4 years.  But now that you are again in the driver’s seat it might be good to reexamine the situation.  I will summarize below the projects objectives and accomplishments along with some observations that might be of use to you and your administration now.  I am now retired so am no longer in the IPM action.

We submitted long reports each year at year-end.  Basically we were working to develop alternatives to various practices as we learned more about DWR’s activities.

When we started the staff told us that ground squirrels were the biggest problem as they were the principle cause of levee breaks.  But as we learned more it seems that regular burning of the levees, ostensibly to monitor for possible excavations by the squirrels so as to see their holes, the burning made things worse.  Also the anticoagulant used were also damaging to bird predators.  Burning removes vegetation, which helps predators of the squirrels to get close to their colonies.  Burning also kills one of the major predators because it was done in June when the marsh hawk has its young in nests on the ground (on the levees hidden in vegetation).  We explored ways to establish vegetation that did not need burning and methods to monitor for ground squirrels burrow that were not destructive of levee vegetation.  Monitoring could be done via airplane aerial surveys as they look directly down from above into the vegetation and soil.  It would be cheaper than the current patrols then in use.

We also established low growing dense planted in special vulnerable areas, which appeared to successfully keep ground squirrels from establishing dense colonies.  This seemed successful and we published our observations in the IPM Practitioner, our principle publication at that time.

We also explored ways to reduce the use of herbicides on roadways applied to the levees in CA – I remember a figure of 30,000 miles for the state.  Most of these roadways were treated at that time.  We started our studies on the Sacramento City levees, by ceasing the applications of herbicides on a 1-mile stretch.  The first season no weeds emerged, nor did any emerge the second season.  With this observation alone we had reason to think that herbicide applications on dirt roadways could be cut by two-thirds, easily saving the cost of our contract.  And the 3rd year we only saw occasional clumps of weeds, which could be spot-treated.  Our estimate was easily 95% herbicide reduction.

I am sure you could get some clarity on the existing situation by just examining the herbicide and ground squirrel poison use.  We were pioneering at that time so I expect many of our efforts were not institutionalized, which was always our final objective.  I would be willing to communicate further about this project and any similar situation you can identify.  I am sort of trapped in Santa Barbara caring for my wife who is recovering from a stroke so I cannot go north if you would want to discuss this further.

We also did some good work on processing tomato farms in the Sacramento Valley.  We showed how to reduce the unnecessary pesticide use on the fall late season crop for the tomato aphid.  After 5 years of work we had a good demonstration that it was possible to greatly reduce pesticide use.  However, I made a great discovery regarding our approach to implementing IPM programs.  Yes one can introduce a new idea and even demonstrate its effectiveness but getting the important players together to cooperate and innovate is another story as I am sure you could agree.  But I have one observation and idea that might be of use today.  This concerns developing a publically available database on pesticide use in California, which could be a feather in your cap.

Let me elaborate.  All the fields in the Sacramento Valley are treated regularly and many times with all sorts of “cides”, which most people do not know about and probably do not know the full consequences.  My proposal is to make the existing pesticide use database one that can be accessed by individual field, farmer and pesticide.  It could be entered by a map location.  Pesticide use figures are already collected but not by specific fields where they are applied.  At least this information could be made public via a publically maintained database.  This could be added to the existing cide monitoring process at just the cost of website design.

Justification for such a website is to acquaint the public with the precise cide uses.  The farmer could pay the pest control companies he/she relies on to make applications.  Or the state could require pest control operators to make such reports with pain of finds and loss of license.  A hand held device to input data from the field would provide real time info.

One thing I learned is that many farmers are sensitive about cide use on their lands.  This could be the driving force to help implement IPM programs on all the farms of the state and all applications in urban areas.

With this sort of information priority efforts can be organized to provide alternatives.  University and others could be contracted to provide the necessary research, where the highest and most dangerous cides are used.

Thank you for your efforts in the past and currently to serve the people of the state.  I met you causally one time at Tassajara.  You did some important innovations back then.  Maybe these ideas can help again.


Fixing the US: A Reasonable Secular Radical Human Plan to Redirect our goals and values.  And a real tea party and a new rights of man declaration.

By William Olkowski, republished from 11/26/11

These words were Queen Marie Antoinette’s response when asked what the poor in will eat.  This occurred just prior to the French revolution.  I wonder what she said just before they cut off her head.  I bring this up for our analogous elites with their multimillion dollar incomes and palaces spread out over the landscapes of the world.  Will America wake up to the dreadful truth about our so called democracy? Breakdown of our economic system, will lead to horrible consequences and the signs are all over the place, especially in funding for our vastly unequal tax system, wasteful military, biased medical industry, and our excessive bloated lifestyles in the face of worldwide starvation and suffering.  Real patriotism means reestablishment of personal liberty not converting the government to a religious indoctrination system.  We should be measured as a society by what we do that is compassionate rather than blab about how great we are as a military and business power.

Population, energy, military, religion, congress, environment, climate change and voting are intertwined and in drastic need of new goals based on humanistic values and universal rights.  What values are you willing to compromise on, otherwise it’s an horrible death from environmental and economic collapse.  Unless we attain zero population growth and even reduce our population through benign policies the inevitable consequence is default population control through disease, warfare or large scale starvation.  It can’t happen here?  Think again.  The way forward is to change our direction from a squabbling rich and poor society loaded with inequalities and poor environment practices to a sustainable just society by establishing a more equitable income range, eliminate poverty and homelessness, separate church and state, and establish a reasonable short and long term response to climate change and potential collapse of our life support systems.

Among a long series of changes and repairs needed to redirect the US toward ideals of sustainability and increased social justice are those listed below.  This project was stimulated by ideas circulated by Warren Buffet, mostly about how congress should be changed.  I have added to his list from a wide variety of sources, listed below where known.  This is only a draft as I hope by listing a starting group of needed changes many more can be identified which could form the core of a movement I call Fixing the US Government (FUSG).

“Its better to light a candle then curse the darkness.” Right?

Please email me (at wo1615@gmail.com) with your ideas and we will build a Fix the US Movement. . All contributions will be acknowledged.

1.    Congress, Voting Systems and Participation in Government:

No tenure, no pension, no outside income while in office.  This also applies for all elected governmental positions from city to federal systems.  A congressman/woman collects a salary (congress – $175,000 per year) and receives no other pay when they’re voted out of office.  No elected official should receive income from another business, group, organization nor individual while in office.  Personal investments must be placed in a trust while serving the public.  Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.

All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system (SSS), and Congress participates with the American people. The funds in the SSS can not be used for any other purpose. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3% and be subject to publically voted referendum. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

No congressman/woman or senator can serve on any committee that even remotely is under consideration for legislation that will effect their personal income. No congressman/women can receive any gifts from businesses, groups, organizations, or individuals.

Universal voting means each voting age person receives their ballots and voting information at their registered residence via the post office. Establish a secure voting via computer from phone or computer.  If we can do business via computer we can vote the same way.  Make voting day a national holiday (a Sunday) and combined local, county, state and federal elections, all voters sent ballots by mail, failure to vote or acknowledge receipt of ballots results in a fine.  Create the option voting via computer, certainly by mail.  Move elections to every 6-8 yrs or adopt the British system for changing the government with a national referendum.  All lobbing by businesses forbidden, only individuals contact representatives.  We need to increase the number of congressional representatives to insure more diversity of opinions covered in the voting.  Institute national referendum system like that used in California and set up a faster recall via special elections (by computer and mail).

2.   Health Care – make a public system like Medicare for all citizens; eliminate the middle man insurance companies.  Create a universal comprehensive inexpensive health care service with a cap on salaries of all administrators.  Includes inexpensive drugs, home care, and medical advise via phone and home visits by nurses and doctors.  Provide universal abortion on demand.

3.   Climate Change/Energy – move to a solar economy, which means build an infrastructure, based on solar and geothermal energy sources without nuclear sources.  Halt all nuclear energy production systems until solar and geothermal sources are first maximized.  Expand mass transit systems much like Europe and Japan.

4.    Environmental – change the toxic substances Control Act to reflect new knowledge about the effects of low levels of toxicants.  Establish an expanded, ocean preserve system to aid reestablishment of our damaged and polluted fishing sources.  Begin creating a mass transportation system across the US based on high speed rail.  Expand by purchase our national park systems.  Stop the murder of wildlife on public lands by hunting for pleasure.

5.   Agriculture – Establish an urban extension service to help the public grow their own food and purchase solar and geothermal sourced systems for retrofitting residential electricity generation and feeds into the public systems. Create a real time publically available listing of all pesticide applications (above a gallon) by location, with address and map locations.

6.    Energy – Switch to a solar economy, by retrofitting with first hybrid automobiles while beginning to build an inexpensive mass transportation system across the US.  Ideally a high speed rail system. First step to convert all vehicles to hybrids.  Then the goal is again retrofit with hydrogen generated by solar capture.

7.     Religion in Government – separate government and religion.  Fight the religious influence in government by moving the US toward a fully secular society.  Stop mention of religion by any office holder and potential office holder.  A person’s religion should remain a private affair, like their sexual activities.

Eliminate tax free status for all religious businesses.  Eliminate all chaplains hired by military and other branches of the government; eliminate “Under God in the pledge of allegiance; take off “In God we Trust” on all our money. Eliminate all mention of god in presidential and other activities including prayer breakfasts, prayers before meetings and public statements.

8.    Emergency Services improve volunteer opportunities, create a Public FEMA volunteer force that can go to the sites of emergencies and perform work for hire when a national emergency is declared.

9.     Taxation, Economy and Banking – suspend all foreclosures, set maximums for personal income, and maximums for loan rates, under 5%.  Any democracy is compromised by excessively wealthy individuals who can manipulate by bribes, domination of media, or similar means.  We may have already lost to our oligarchs.

Taxation – remove all subsidies from businesses, except farming, supply and demand does not work for farming, and needs boundaries within to work any so called market system.  Increase the tax rate to 75% for all those who make over $1 million gross per year, 85% for over 5 million, and 99.9% for all over 10 million.  The British retired the oligarch princes in India by taking away their political power, we should do the same here for the excessively wealthy.  How much maximum money someone can make in the US should be debated and voted on.  The call for a financial transaction tax (FTT), sometimes called a “Robin Hood tax,” has inspired a global movement.

10. Drug Policy – full legalization of MJ and any addictions treated as medical problems.

http://blog.norml.org/tag/legalization/, Use the taxes derived from sale of products to support medical treatments.

11. Military – cut and streamline and redirect funds.  Redirect 50% to solarizing the military and all federal and governmental buildings, then all residences, and roof tops, parking lots, and businesses (see below).  By solarization of all military buildings and facilities first we retrain a whole large group of people who can next solarize all the residential and other public buildings in the US.  Reduce number of military bases outside US, close most bases in the US and around the world, reduce size of navy, concentrate air force bases, establish bans on use of mines.  Reduction in number of troops on active duty.  Reductions in overall military budgets by at least 50%, redirect funds saved to infrastructural changes needed to combat climate change and retrain troops into civilian jobs. Drastically reduce the number of missile silos with nuclear warheads.

12. Business – Taking corporate money and power head-on is the goal of the We the People campaign, which aims to bring progressive media and advocacy groups together to challenge the Citizens United status quo (a campaign I started with Jim Hightower and Jay Harris). The idea behind We the People, and central to the many groups that are participating, is simple: When our nation arrives at a level of corruption we cannot bear, we shouldn’t.



Compiled by Wm Olkowski, PhD and republished from 12.03.11


The Bronx currently has about 175 community gardens administered by Operation Green Thumb, as well as a number of community gardens operated by nonprofit entities, such as the Parks Council, and community gardens on private property.

From: http://www.ruaf.org/ruaf_bieb/upload/3304.pdf

What is Food System Planning?
Food system planning is the integration of food system issues into policies, plans, and programming at all levels of government work. It has recently become a recognized expertise within the planning profession and a growing network of planners and their partners are engaged in strengthening the community, regional, and national food systems.

As the metropolitan planning organization for the nine-county region, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) became interested in the food system when it became apparent how food
affects and is affected by many issues central to the Commission’s work, including land use, transportation, economic development, and the environment.

Food system planning can include the following actions:

• Building partnerships and consensus
• Visioning and goal-setting
• Assessments
• Plan-making
• Creating standards and guidelines
• Regulating and codifying
• Marketing, outreach, and education
• Supporting catalytic pilot or demonstration projects
• Targeting public investments
Source: American Planning Association

Examples of different compost holding units for backyards.
Source: Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service.

Next Steps in Regional Food Systems Planning at DVRPC

The tools and resources outlined in this brochure are ways that local governments can play a role in improving and strengthening the regional food system. Systemic change is possible with participation from all levels of government, from the private sector, and by individual consumers who, in turn, will create a more equitable, sustainable, and healthier food system.

More information about DVRPC’s food system planning activities, including work on a Regional Food System Plan, is available at www.dvrpc.org/food.

Values identified by DVRPC’s food system Stakeholder Committee as part of a vision setting process (9/29/2009).
Source: DVRPC 19

R E D U C E  O R  R E U S E  F O O D  W A S T E  F O O D  S Y S T E M P L A N N I NG


Urban Agriculture Notes
by City Farmer – Canada’s Office of Urban Agriculture

Now Celebrating Our 33th Year!
Mayor of Vancouver Proclaims November, 2003 “City Farmer Month”!!
Established 1978, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Prepared by Michael Levenston, Executive Director
On-line on the World Wide Web since October 15, 1994.
© Copyright City Farmer 1994-2011
E-mail us at: cityfarmer@gmail.com
Mailing Address:
City Farmer – Canada’s Office of Urban Agriculture
Box 74567, Kitsilano RPO,
Vancouver, B.C. V6K 4P4 Canada
Office Phone: (604) 685-5832
Map showing the location of our garden at 2150 Maple Street.
Garden Location:
Vancouver Compost Demonstration Garden
2150 Maple Street, Kitsilano, (6th and Maple)
Vancouver BC, V6J 3T3 Canada
Garden Phone: (604) 736-2250
City Farmer runs the Vancouver Regional Compost Hotline: 604.736.2250
Email the Hotline at: composthotline@telus.net
On January 1, 2008, we created a new web site “City Farmer News” at (www.cityfarmer.info) where all our new stories are featured.

This site, “Urban Agriculture Notes” (www.cityfarmer.org), which has been running continuously since 1994 with its hundreds of pages of urban agriculture information, will remain online and will be updated when necessary with corrected emails, URL’s, etc. It is still a gold mine of useful resources.
March 23, 2008

Sign up for City Farmer’s Email Updates

Search the City Farmer Website.


Go to our new City Farmer Web Site – “City Farmer News” (www.cityfarmer.info)
Most Recent Pages and Links Added (by Date)

Introduction to Organic Food Gardening – City Farmer’s 2011 Classes in March
Learn how to grow your own vegetables in an urban environment. City Farmer’s hands on organic food gardening course includes: site selection/design/soil preparation seed sourcing and starting; planting/harvesting/composting; organic gardening techniques/natural pest control; container gardening; waterwise gardening.
Posted March, 2010
Save money on flowers by using silk flowers from Silk Flowers Warehouse.
Designs Review helps you get unbiased user website feedback.
Find great Halloween Costumes for 2011. We carry Halloween Costumes for adults, kids, and even your pets!
Little Giant,  Liberty and Grundfos Pumps and other popular pump brands are distributed by PexUniverse.com. Products include submersible well pumps, jet pumps, aquarium, fish tank, centrifugal, condensate, effluent, grinder, irrigation pumps, magnetic drive, pool, sump, waterfall pumps, sewage, utility, water removal and jet well pumps.
The Nature Conservancy advises Andrew Liveris on sustainable land practices and resource consumption regarding surrounding land.
Artificial silk plants and topiary from silk plants direct
City Farmer’s Step-By-Step Photo Guide to Composting in a Backyard Bin
“Alternate layers of green and brown materials; keep the layers 2″ – 4″ deep. Common green (nitrogen) materials are grass, food scraps (uncooked fruit and vegetables, coffee grounds, filters, tea bags and egg shells) (wet), garden trimmings. Common brown (carbon) materials are, fall leaves, straw and newspaper strips (dry). Chop up larger materials for faster decomposition.” Posted March 31, 2005
City Farmer’s Step-By-Step Photo Guide to Worm Composting
“Harvesting: You can dump the entire contents of the bin onto a large plastic sheet and separate the worms manually. Most children love to help with this process and you can turn it into a fun lesson about worms for them. Watch out for the tiny lemon-shaped worm cocoons which contain between two and twenty baby worms! By separating the worms from the compost, you save more worms for your next bin.” Posted March 21, 2005
Metro Vancouver Composting Brochures
Download “How To” brochures in PDF format here: Here’s the Dirt – Backyard Composting; Here’s the Dirt – Worm Composting; Compost Bin Construction Plan (Single Bin System) and (Three Bin System); Natural Yard Care; Waterwise Gardening. Revised January 9, 2009
How to Worm Compost: Comix Style – How to Backyard Compost: Comix Style
City Farmer has produced two, new, teaching flyers in comic-book format. These are based on images from our How-To Slide Shows.
Posted January 8, 2008
One Year of Time-Lapse Photos of the City Farmer Demonstration Garden
Graham Clark chose one web cam photo from every day over the past year, November 2006 – October 2007, and put 360 of them in this time-lapse movie. You’ll see the garden slowly come to life and also see some of our visitors.
Sharing Backyards in Greater Vancouver
Grow your own veggies, herbs, flowers, and soft fruit. If you have a garden and want to share it with someone, or if you are looking for a space to garden, this page is for you.
Updated March 5, 2008
Use quick links for Vancouver residents:
European Chafer – A New Turf Pest – Now in Greater Vancouver * Grow Natural * City Farmer’s Waterwise Garden * Community Gardens in Greater Vancouver and Victoria * Instructions for Backyard Composting * Home Composting* Worm Composting * Grasscycling and Natural Lawn Care *Waterwise Gardening and the City Rain Barrel Program
* Organic Landscapers/Gardeners in Greater Vancouver * Other Rain Barrels and Water Wisdom From Around the World * How to Set Out Your Yard Trimmings * Worm Suppliers * Pet Waste Composting *Farm/Garden Land For Rent in Greater Vancouver and Elsewhere * Wholesale and Retail Native Plant Nurseries in BC * Drought Tolerant Plant List for Vancouver City Boulevards * Fruit Tree Projects

Composting’s New Appeal
“Vancouver is a perfect climate for a worm bin,” Levenston explained, speaking of a bin filled with about 500 worms working to break down kitchen scraps on an apartment balcony. “You set up this bin with a bedding of newspaper and other materials and the worms will process the food waste and within three to four months you will have a finished compost,” he said.” Posted August 24, 2007
City Farmer Was Born At The Vancouver Community Conservation Centre in 1978
During a six month federal energy conservation project, City Farmer was created. Read about the group’s formative months in a report written by the project’s leader. “The first issue of City Farmer came out at the end of July (1978) and the second at the end of August. Both received a very positive response. The paper attempts to interest the public by showing them examples of successful Vancouver city farmers. It also reports on political issues that affect the city farmers (there has been a great deal of controversy lately about a particular woman in Vancouver who raises chickens in defiance of city by-laws), and products and information that are of use to them.”Posted August 13, 2007
City Farmer’s Pig-tailed Gardening Dynamo Teaches Kids About Bugs
Keating, an enviro-science grad, who works at the City Farmer compost demo garden, and runs her own biological control consulting company, teaches kids about the important jobs bugs have; why we have them; and if they are good or bad bugs. Her high-energy bug classes, which typically run from 45 minutes to an hour and a half, include interactive games, glossy flash cards, the always-popular bug song (“two antenna and six legs and don’t forget the wings”) and, of course, lots of live bugs!” Updated August 20, 2007
Water Features
Bean Bag Chairs
Electric Fireplace
Gel Fireplaces
Wall Fountain

Nature’s Way of Recycling
Sharon Slack (of City Farmer) is not squeamish about worms. She encourages people to get their hands dirty and slimy, all for a good cause. “These little guys do a very good job for us,” she says. “They’re called red wigglers. They’re not the same as the big worms you see in the garden.” Posted June 6, 2007
Using Compost to Make a Container Garden: Step-by-Step Slideshow
“Balconies, Rooftops and Decks. City Farmer Head Gardener, Sharon Slack, shares her recipe for starting a container garden.” Posted July 17, 2006
Fly From Space to Community Gardens in BC Using Google Earth
City Farmer created ‘place-markers’ in Google Earth, which allow you to fly from the sky to different garden sites; that is virtually. You can visit individually chosen sites or you can push the ‘play’ button (an arrow under the Places window) to automatically fly to all the gardens. See Victoria’s Capital City gardens for instance and then fly back to UBC’s Acadia gardens. Simply click on our link to download a tiny ‘kmz’ file (unzip the .zip file first) and then open the file in your Google Earth program. Updated September 27, 2006
BC Community Gardens Up Close – Aerial Photos
We’ve created a slideshow of aerial photos of community gardens in British Columbia; most of these are higher resolution images than can be found on Google Earth. See the Fraser Street Garden in Vancouver, or visit us in the Compost Demonstration Garden next to our neighbours, the Maple Street Community Garden. We’ve also included photos of some of the gardens at ground level for those who don’t like heights. Posted September 27, 2006
Pristine Outhouse a Compost Outpost
Features City Farmer’s Toilet – “There’s a lock on the outhouse door, so the toilet is used only by staff and garden visitors willing to abide by the rules: ‘Please place toilet paper in toilet after use but do not add other hygiene products; Please sprinkle a cup of shavings from the green container on solid waste after use; Please mark on the calendar an X for liquid waste or an O for solid waste after using the toilet.’ ” Posted September 4, 2006

Meet City Farmer Staff at the Garden or call our Compost Hotline
“City Farmer staff both garden and teach at our Demonstration Garden all year long. They give workshops, attend ‘outreach’ events in the community, speak to the media, develop educational material for our web site, answer the Compost Hotline, look for new varieties of plants and search out the ‘greenest’ gardening techniques. Here’s a brief summary of their expertise.” Posted August 10, 2006
City Farmer’s Pesticide Reduction Resources
“On this page you will find a growing list of resources to help you replace pesticides with natural pest control techniques. BC biological suppliers, organic fertilizers for your lawn and garden, organic landscapers in Vancouver and a look at insects we see at our garden and how we respond are published here.” Posted April 9, 2006
Free Online Dating
See City Farmer’s Fabulous Coldframe
Graham Clark built this attractive and useful mini-greenhouse for us. The used skylights (double glazed so you get two for one) cost us only $25 at a used ‘stuff’ store. Updated December 4, 2005
Garden Warriors of ‘Yesteryear’ – Photos Slideshow
We are building on the ideas and work of past generations. These photos are from the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington and one from the Archives of Canada, Ottawa. Posted November 15, 2005
School Children Gardening – Photos 1914-1918: Slideshow
These wonderful photos are in the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington. They remind us that earlier generations were as excited as we are today about the potential of teaching kids about food gardening. Posted November 7, 2005
City Farmer’s Bugshops – The “5Ps” : Slideshow
“Pollinators, Predators, Processors, Pests, Parasitoids. Photos © by Maria Keating” Posted October 4, 2005
Using Compost to Start a Food Garden: Step-by-Step Slideshow
“Compost is an essential ingredient for making fertile soil. We’ve used it for 25 years at our Demonstration Garden. Sharon digs over-wintered leaf mulch and compost into the beds. She seeds some plants indoors in flats. First she adds sifted compost.” Posted July 25, 2005
Design for Food: Landscape architects find roles in city farms.
Short excerpt from the June issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine “There are many different ideas about what constitutes an urban farm. Michael Levenston, executive director of City Farmer, one of the oldest North American organizations devoted to urban food production, says: “An urban farm can be a pot of herbs grown on a balcony or a large market garden. If it involves something you eat, and you’re growing it in the city, I’d call it an urban farm.” Updated August 18, 2005
Insect Life at 2150 Maple Street
“At City Farmer, we show visitors both beneficial and pest bugs as part of our “natural yard care” tour of the garden. By introducing people to the fascinating life of a wide variety of insects, we believe people will come to appreciate rather than fear them. Less than 1 percent of garden insects actually damage plants.” Posted May 15, 2005
Wise Water Use at our Demonstration Garden: Step-By-Step
Reducing water use in the garden and managing stormwater runoff are priorities at the Vancouver Compost Demonstration Garden.Posted May 8, 2005
Natural Gardening Posters in Chinese
We’ve translated five large gardening posters, featured at our Demonstration Garden, into Chinese: backyard composting, worm composting, waterwise gardening, natural lawn care and grasscycling. Posted April 29, 2005
City Farmer’s Step-By-Step Photo Guide to Natural Lawn Care
“No pesticides. No wasted water. No air pollution. No trucking grass clippings to the landfill.” ” Posted April 20, 2005
City Farmer’s Isabelle Speaks from the Garden
(Needs Real Player on your computer, 46 second clip.) Isabelle tells CBC why she likes to work at our Demonstration Garden.” Posted April 13, 2005
A Bug Lady’s Observations at Vancouver’s Compost Demonstration Garden
“Today I saw mothflies in the composter. They are neither moths nor flies, but are members of the the same order as aphids. In the compost they are not considered pests, but their numbers can skyrocket. When that happens the best thing to do when opening the lid is to keep your mouth closed. To reduce the numbers, cover the top layer of the compost with baking soda and a newspaper.” Updated September 28, 2005
Urban Sustainability Tours at City Farmer’s Garden

“City Farmer’s garden has been open continuously since 1982 at 2150 Maple Street in Vancouver. We demonstrate urban agriculture and various “green” technologies, all of which can be practiced by residents in the city. Urban Agriculture, Backyard Composters, Worm Bins, Water-wise Garden, Natural Lawn Care, Rain Barrels, Compost Toilet, Country Lane, Cob Shed, Garden Gates and Animals in the Garden.” Posted September 16, 2001
City Farmer’s Cob Shed – It has a Living Green Roof
Sculptor, George Rammell, donates Haida artist Bill Reid’s clay to our cob project. “The clay I provided belonged to Haida artist Bill Reid. It provided the form for many of Bill’s sculpture projects including the Whale at the aquarium, and the huge bronze Spirit Canoeat the airport.” Updated October 9, 2003
City Farmer’s Green Roof on the Cob Shed
Photos of the roof planted, our goat, and Arctic roof gardens from long ago. Posted October 9, 2003
City Farmer’s Country Lane
Vancouver City Council passed a report to fund three demonstration “Country Lanes”. These lanes have permeable surfaces that allow stormwater to flow into the earth rather than drain into the sewers. Updated October 9, 2003
City Farmer’s Waterwise Garden
“Waterwise gardening is not synonymous with xeriscaping. Waterwise gardening is a more appropriate explanation for gardening in mesic climates like Vancouver and incorporates the collection and storage of rainwater, soil health, maintenance techniques and the choice of appropriate plant species to create healthy, beautiful gardens. ” Posted February 14 2004
City Farmer TV – 2007 – 2008
Video Blogging! These short clips will bring you up close and personal with the kind of work we do at the Vancouver Compost Demonstration Garden. See how we trap rats in a compost bin and plant our cold frame with over-wintering salad greens. Our videoblog will put you in touch with what happens at our garden. We talk to our gardeners, to visitors and also visit other urban agriculture projects in Vancouver. You can watch these short films on your computer.
City Farmer TV – 2006

City Farmer TV can also be seen on YouTube

LA Times Story: Vancouver Envisions Radicchio on its Rooftops
“The Canadian city sees food-producing gardens in urban residential developments as the wave of the future. … The Southeast False Creek conditions require shared garden plots for 30% of the neighborhood’s residential units that lack access to balconies or patios of at least 100 square feet. False Creek buildings also will have a maximum of 12 stories to increase green space and sun exposure. Plans call for fruit trees and raised beds on rooftops, courtyards lined with blueberry bushes, and balcony trellises to support fruit-bearing vines.”Updated August 26, 2007
Farming In The City 2
(Guests: Steve Pedersen – Coordinator, Public Health Association of BC. Michael Levenston – Executive Director, City Farmer. Peter Mcallister – Woodlot Director / Mushroom Grower, Lofstedt Farm.) “This broadcast marks the second of an ongoing series that will explore urban agriculture in British Columbia, Canada, and around the world. Featured on the broadcast will be the launch of an on-line community of gardeners with the hope that every lawn in British Columbia will contain a food producing garden. We will learn of an innovative project that links up underutilized backyard garden space with those willing to urban farm it. When we think of urban agriculture, rarely do we think of growing mushrooms! The steps on how to go about becoming an urban mushroom grower will be shared on this broadcast.”
Posted May 13, 2007

In Memoriam: Arthur Wesley “Wes” Barrett, 1937 – 2007. Wes was Head Gardener at City Farmer for over ten years. He was loved by everyone and will be sorely missed by all of us who worked with him at the Vancouver Compost Demonstration Garden.
On his retirement from City Farmer in 2000, this song was written about him.

From the Desk of Jac Smit – “Urban Agriculture”
Jac Smit will be contributing his thoughts here from time to time. “Jac has contributed to plans for agriculture in cities as diverse as: Abidjan, Asmera, Bogota, Dar es Salaam, Karachi, Philadelphia, Vancouver and Washington DC. Some of his most satisfying urban agriculture effort was in refugee camps in India, Bangladesh and the Ivory Coast.”
Urban Agriculture Magazine from the RUAF
18 wonderful issues have come out so far, and they all can be read on the internet. Some issues are available in Espanol, Franais, Arabic, Chinese, Portugus, and Turkish. “The Urban Agriculture Magazine is an initiative under the RUAF Programme. It functions as a platform for exchange and discussion of grounded information on urban agriculture: research results, project experiences, and critical analyses of conventional and innovative policies on urban agriculture.” UA Magazine no. 14 – Urban Aquatic Production; UA Magazine no. 15 – Multiple Functions of Urban Agriculture; no. 16 – Formulating Effective Policies on Urban Agriculture; no. 17 – Strengthening Urban Producers’ Organisations; no. 18 – Building Communities through Urban Agriculture Posted August 21, 2007
Go to our new City Farmer Web Site – “City Farmer News” (www.cityfarmer.info)
Food Urbanism: Urban Agriculture, Food Security, Local and Sustainable Food Systems, Grow-Your-Own, Polyculture, Urban Food …
“When I was in Vancouver a few months ago for the Bridging Borders Toward Food Security conference, I visited a number of Urban Agriculture projects, the most significant of which was City Farmer. City Farmer has been focusing on Urban Agriculture for almost 30 years and their web site is, for many people, the main portal into the diverse world of growing food in a city.” Posted January 18, 2007
All-You-Can-Grow Buffet
Broken Pencil #33 The Food Issue, October 2006. An excerpt from the article on this web link; 800 more words in the hard copy issue.” ‘Food is essential for us, so it only makes sense we should know where it comes from,’ Levenston says matter-of-factly. But where to start? He recommends growing sprigs of parsley and handfuls of oregano at first, something small that can be put in a pot on a balcony. Progressing further means securing a swath of land to grow vegetables, fruits and even grains if the space allows.” Updated October 19, 2006
44 Urban Agriculture Photos
Finding new photos that illustrate city farming is an exciting occasion. You’ll find something to surprise you in this collection. “Queen Elizabeth II in lively discussion with gardening enthusiasts on their garden allotment.” and “With their garden implements held on their shoulders these blind children form a ‘V’ for victory gardening.” Posted July 27, 2006
National Post article: Worms dine just outside my kitchen
City of Vancouver – City Farmer Program. “I recalled my wife’s expression from earlier that day, and also her parting words. But it was too late to bail. The instructor had already dumped a bucket of worms onto a composter lid. From this pile of damp earth emerged a swarming mosh. Suddenly, it was our turn to handle worms. We hived off into groups and got to work. My team prepped its black plastic compost box, filling it halfway with a supply of straw and shredded newspaper. Using a watering can, we more or less soaked the bedding.” Posted July 23, 2006
Agricultural innovation responds to market forces just like the stock market, and all of the others in between. Issues like water, nitrogen, phosphorous, synthetic fertilizer, local foods,aquaculture, pests, and the move toward organics all need to be addressed in order to gain attention from potential ag investors. There certainly exists plenty of room for agricultural improvements, which also yields the underlying potential for agricultural innovation to transform into the next hot investment sector. Take a quick peak at what currently has Silicon Valley investors and bankers buzzing.
IDRC reports…Vancouver’s Urban Agriculture Resource Centre
“A group of five writers, supported by IDRC through its Focus City Research Initiative, toured Vancouver’s City Farmer, a demonstration site and resource centre for urban agriculture (UA). In addition to its public education programs, City Farmer offers a Web site that has become a information clearinghouse for UA information around the world. During WUF, City Farmer provided material and staff to demonstrate some of the innovative programs the City of Vancouver funds.” Posted July 8, 2006
Soild Waste Branch Vancouver BC – Experience over 15 Years
“As sophisticated, beautiful and livable Vancouver is, there exists an element of poverty and pollution in the raw underbelly of our City that demands leadership, innovative thinking, and aggressive strategic policy and planning, combined with a healthy dose of compassion on the part of our civic leaders. ” Posted June 27, 2006
Compost Chef Shares Recipe for Composting Success – at World Urban Forum
“It’s like a cake,” she said, “you layer it – green, brown, green, brown.” The green Costa is referring to are moist materials, like kitchen scraps that are high in nitrogen. Brown materials, like leaves, are drier and high in carbon. Costa is with City Farmer, a long-time IDRC partner.” Posted July 8, 2006
Lure of the Urban Veggie Garden: Digging for love, money, fame and sex appeal.
“The various efforts in Vancouver are what make the city feature prominently on the international urban gardening stage, says Michael Levenston. “We’re it: Vancouver, Canada,” he argues. Levenston is the seasoned guru behind the local fixture City Farmer, and he’s witnessed his life-long obsession go from the fringe to the mainstream since he started out in 1978.” Posted May 29, 2006
Grow your own, Big City
“People like Levenston believe there is an enormous and untapped potential to turn concrete jungles into abundant food producers. According to a mapping project undertaken by City Farmer, one third of a typical residential block in Vancouver is landscaped, and could be growing crops.” Updated June 6, 2006
Urban Agriculture in Vancouver: Slideshow by City Farmer
“Vancouver is recognized as one of North America’s most liveable cities. It is no coincidence that 25% of British Columbia’s food is produced within an hour of downtown Vancouver and more than 40% of Vancouverites grow food in yards, balconies, and community gardens. The city is home to 1000 community garden plots at 22 active sites.” Posted June 6, 2006

Vancouver’s New Pesticide Reduction Bylaw – January 1, 2006

“As of January 1, 2006, the use of outdoor pesticides on lawns and in gardens will be regulated by section 5.17 of the Health By-Law No. 6580. Application of pesticides, including insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides, will be restricted. Certain conditions will need to be met before pesticides will be permitted provided they are listed in Schedule A to the by-law.”

You can read about the new by-law on the Grow Natural web site:
Pesticide Use Restriction By-law for 2006

The Good, the Bad and the Bugly
“Keating says many people are afraid of ground beetles because they’re quite large, but she explains they serve a very important function in biological control by eating the eggs of snails, slugs, cutworms and grubs. She blames science fiction movies about giant bugs for promoting people’s fear of them. ‘You have to realize they’re not 10 feet tall and they’re not coming to get us.'” Posted April 27, 2006
Parks board says: bugs not drugs
“The ladybugs were at the City Farmer garden with other environmentally friendly methods to illustrate a new city bylaw banning the application of pesticides. Dessureault said pests and weeds can be prevented without using harmful chemicals. She said the parks board, city and Vancouver Coastal Health are encouraging residents to ‘get their yards off drugs.'” April 9, 2006
Sign up for City Farmer’s Email Updates

City Farmer’s Step-By-Step Photo Guide to Making a Dog Waste Composter
This waste biodegrades and flows into the subsoil. It is not used as compost in garden beds. “Collect the dog doo and drop it into the hole. Sprinkle a packet of septic tank starter on top of the dog doo and add a litre or so of water. Cover the hole with the lid. Within 48 hours, the septic tank starter, which is non-caustic, and promotes natural bacterial growth will have begun its work and you can add more dog doo. You can then begin to add it daily.” updated August 17, 2005
Tours of Urban Agriculture Sites in Vancouver, BC
Visitors coming to Vancouver have a wealth of interesting urban agriculture sites to visit. Perhaps the most important sites, from City Farmer’s perspective, are people’s home gardens. Back lanes are useful for studying urban agriculture. They display the private back yards of homes, making it is easy to see what gardeners are growing.
Posted January 24, 2005
25 Years of City Farming, 1978-2003 – City Farmer’s Story
In 1978, a group of young environmentalists working at the Vancouver Energy Conservation Center stumbled across a book called The City People’s Book of Raising Food by William and Helga Olkowski. It described in everyday language how the authors grew all their own food right in the middle of the city of Berkeley. This inspiring book led us on an exploration of urban food production, which continues today, twenty-five years later.
Posted January 25, 2005

Vancouver’s Worm Program Written-up in Der Spiegel Magazine
“Der Spiegel magazine published a story about Vancouver’s worm composting program in their well-read magazine on page 182 of issue No. 39, dated September 20, 2004. Their circulation is around 1.1 million and the magazine is distributed in Germany, Switzerland and Austria, as well as all over the world at foreign language newsstands.” Posted September 26, 2004
Worm Bins Turn Kitchen Scraps Into Compost
National Geographic’s web site features a story on Vancouver’s wormbin distribution program. Their on-line site publishes roughly 60 stories a month, and has on average 1.3 million readers a month. This is wonderful coverage and shows the world our City’s commitment to a healthier environment. Posted September 14, 2004
Virtual Tour of City Farmer’s Demonstration Garden
This virtual tour was created by Graham Clark in April 2004. You will need QuickTime and the On2 codec installed to view the tour. This software is free and can be downloaded once you click on the link. If your QuickTime software and browser won’t play the tour, go to this site and download the On2 QuickTime plugin. On2 Plugin Updated September 13, 2005
Cob Oven Cooking Event at City Farmer
Played on CBC radio on August 29, 2004 … the City Farmer show, recorded on location at the City Farmer garden in Vancouver. Guests include James Barber, Eve Johnson and Assefa Kebede cooking in the cob oven…” Posted September 5, 2004
Green Roof on our Cob Garden Shed (see Cob Oven and Cob Slideshows 1 and 2 as well)
44% of Vancouver Households Grow Food says City Farmer
40% of Toronto Households Grow Food

News Flash … March 1, 2005 … “Angola” and “Suriname” are the 199th and 200th countries to visit our web site since we began tracking visitors! (See City Farmer’s country count.) Almost 5 million hits were recorded on our site during the year 2004!

Urban Agriculture
Books For Sale

How to find information on our site. Our web site includes both local (Vancouver) City Farmer stories and urban agriculture information from around the globe.

1. Use the search engine:


The “Recent Pages” link just below is updated almost daily. That’s where you’ll find all the latest stories. Don’t miss it!
2. See most recently added pages:
Most Recent Pages and Links Added (by Date)

3. Use the topic links:
Africa * Asia * Europe * Latin America * Middle-East * North America * South-East Asia/Australia * South Asia

Allotments/Community Gardens * Books/Media * Children * City Farmer * Entrepreneurs * Growing Food *Health/Nutrition * Hydroponics * Insects * Livestock – Fish * Policy/Planning * Rooftops/Containers * Solid Waste/Composting * Urban Forestry * Water

4. Use quick links for Vancouver residents:
European Chafer – A New Turf Pest – Now in Greater Vancouver * Grow Natural * City Farmer’s Waterwise Garden * Community Gardens in Greater Vancouver and Victoria * Instructions for Backyard Composting *Home Composting* Worm Composting * Grasscycling and Natural Lawn Care * Waterwise Gardening and the City Rain Barrel Program
* Organic Landscapers/Gardeners in Greater Vancouver * Other Rain Barrels and Water Wisdom From Around the World * How to Set Out Your Yard Trimmings * Worm Suppliers * Pet Waste Composting *Farm/Garden Land For Rent in Greater Vancouver and Elsewhere * Wholesale and Retail Native Plant Nurseries in BC * Drought Tolerant Plant List for Vancouver City Boulevards * Fruit Tree Projects

5. Some popular pages on this site:
The “Recent Pages” link just below is updated almost daily. That’s where you’ll find all the latest stories. Don’t miss it!
Most Recent Pages and Links Added (by Date) * Jobs in Urban Agriculture * Bulletins/Conferences * UA References

Welcome to City Farmer’s home on the World Wide Web. After 28 years digging in the fields of Urban Agriculture, we want to share with you what we have learned. The Web makes it possible for us to reach a much larger audience than we were reaching before the arrival of on-line publications.
Our non-profit society promotes urban food production and environmental conservation from a small office in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia and from our demonstration food garden in nearby Kitsilano, a residential neighbourhood.
Map showing the location of our garden at 2150 Maple Street.
Virtual Tour of City Farmer’s Demonstration Garden
This new virtual tour was created by Graham Clark in April 2004. You will need QuickTime and the On2 codec installed to view the tour. This software is free and can be downloaded once you click on the link. Posted May 2, 2004
Urban Agriculture is a new and growing field that is not completely defined yet even by those closest to it. It concerns itself with all manner of subjects from rooftop gardens, to composting toilets, to air pollution and community development. It encompasses mental and physical health, entertainment, building codes, rats, fruit trees, herbs, recipes and much more.
Our Office wants you to know about some of the issues we deal with from day to day. There are very few offices in the world that have our experience serving city farmers all year round or have done so for as many years as we have.
These pages will grow as we select the latest breaking information that comes to us, as we review our large library of resources for useful documents to put on-line, and as we hook you up with other Urban Agriculture Web sites that most certainly will emerge.
Urban Agriculture Notes is written for those who want to start up their own “Office of Urban Agriculture”, for those who have already done so, and for gardeners who are curious about what we refer to as political horticulture.

“The one small garden of a free gardener was all his need and due, not a garden swollen to a realm;
his own hands to use, not the hands of others to command.”
Sam Gamgee, The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien

The “Recent Pages” link just below is updated almost daily. That’s where you’ll find all the latest stories. Don’t miss it!
Most Recent Pages and Links Added (by Date)

City Farmer’s Urban Agriculture Survey
Please help us learn more about your involvement in city farming by filling out this short survey form. Thank you!
Posted March 25, 2000
City Farmer’s Survey Results No. 2 – Second 100
See our summary. “14 people said they sold some food at farmer’s markets, retail and wholesale, a coop, restaurants and caterers, traded food for services or other food, reinvested income back to an organization, sold eggs at work and to neighbours and friends.”
Posted December 27, 2001
City Farmer’s Survey Results No. 1 – First 100
See our summary. “People from 16 countries submitted surveys – Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, England, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Kuwait, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, Spain and the USA. The vast majority were from the USA (56%) and Canada (26%).”
Posted May 20, 2000
Participating in Urban Gardening, or “City Farming” – Results of an Online Survey conducted by City Farmer
This study is based on a survey conducted by one of the organizations working to encourage participation in urban gardening and urban greening activities in general – City Farmer, based in Vancouver, B.C. City Farmer conducted an online survey over the course of 4 years. The survey asked respondents about their interests and experiences with gardening in urban areas (“city farming”) The survey garnered 500 responses at the time of writing. Each respondent was asked 19 different questions about their experiences with gardening.”
Updated August 5, 2007
Resource Centre on Urban Agriculture and Forestry (RUAF) Stories: City Farmer is honoured to be a partner in this five year project.
“During recent decades, Urban Forestry has been developed as integrative and interdisciplinary approach encompassing the planning, establishing and management of those urban green areas in which trees are the main element, such as woodlands, parks, gardens, cemeteries, derelict land and former industrial sites, and roadside and square plantations.” Posted March 3, 2004

January 31, 2004 Application Deadline for the AGROPOLIS Awards
“AGROPOLIS International Graduate Research Awards in Urban Agriculture – application forms can be obtained from the Cities Feeding People website in English, French, and Spanish and also in Arabic (not yet posted)”. Posted November 11, 2003
Urban Agriculture and Food Security (PDF)
and Urban Agriculture Magazine for the World Summit on Sustainable Development(PDF)
“Two special issues of the UA-Magazine have also been published. The first one, Urban Agriculture and Food Security, was distributed at the FAO World Summit on Food Security, held in June in Rome, Italy. The second, has been prepared for the World Summit on Sustainable Development, which will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in August 2002. Both specials can be downloaded as PDF files.” Posted October 6, 2002
RUAF: Resource Centre On Urban Agriculture And Forestry
“RUAF is a global information and communications programme implemented by seven regional institutes and coordinated by ETC-International, based in Leusden, The Netherlands. RUAF is a five-year programme that is funded by DGIS (the Netherlands)and IDRC (Canada)and initiated in October 1999. The general aim of RUAF is to facilitate the integration of urban agriculture into the policies and plans of city authorities and to enhance the active involvement of all local stakeholders.”
Updated October 6, 2002

City Farmer Stories:
44% of Vancouver Households Grow Food says City Farmer
“This is the first time in Canadian history a question of this sort has been asked by a professional pollster and the result is significant,” says Michael Levenston, Executive Director of the 25-year-old non-profit society based in Vancouver. “That figure represents more than three-quarters of a million people in Greater Vancouver who live in households growing vegetables, fruit, berries, nuts or herbs in their yard, balcony or community garden.” Posted October 6, 2002
City Farmer Uses the Latest Aerial Photos To Find Out How Much Food is Grown in the City of Vancouver
“Looking down from the sky it’s easy to see where city farmland lies. Roofs, driveways, sidewalks, swimming pools, trees, lawns and gardens are all clearly visible. The photos on this page were taken of homes in South Vancouver between Fraser and Clarke Avenues. The excellent resolution of the shots (15cm = 1 pixel) allows us to close in from an airplane-view to an almost tree-top view of homes and gardens.”
Updated October 31, 2001
Current Photos from the Demonstration Garden
“Wasup”? We get excited about new crops, visitors from other countries, creatures both pest and beneficial — and because Mike has a new digital camera, this page exists.
Posted September 14, 2001
The Christmas Tree Shredding Ceremony
“Look, all I’ll say is this. People want to know that their trees’ lives haven’t been sacrificed in vain; that they’ve served a purpose greater than a light rack. Over the years, we’ve recycled hundreds of thousands of Christmas trees and their remains are composted in our yard trimmings composting facility here at the Landfill. That product is then spread around Vancouver parks and sold to landscapers and residents as a rich organic fertilizer. If that isn’t a higher purpose, I don’t know what is.”
Posted December 29, 2001
City Farmer’s Grasscycling and Natural Lawn Care Project
“Once a week, a gentle pull of the lever starts the quiet machine – there’s no gas or oil to mess with, no fumes to breathe in. A simple squeeze of the lever by the right front wheel adjusts the mower height and in minutes the lawn is cut, all the clippings are out of sight, blown as tiny pieces into the lawn where they will break down and nourish the grass.”
Posted May 13, 2001
Roots of a Political Plot
“The growing international movement known as urban agriculture has its origin in a 2,500-square-foot Vancouver garden”
Posted May 26, 2001
Results In! – The Best Food Garden In Vancouver Contest
“Filled with, at different times, chicory, radicchio, basil, tomatoes, kiwis, figs, grapes, prunes, pears, and corn, Calogero’s garden occupies two back yards and much of the front yard. It produces something different every week, says his daughter Lucy: “[My father] has been growing vegetables since he moved from Italy over 30 years ago. My mother makes enough tomato sauce for the family year-round, and sends some to my sister in Victoria.”
Updated September 22, 2000
City Farmer’s Demonstration Garden: Detailed Plan Showing Plants and Features
Collin Varner has drawn a beautiful plan of our garden showing exactly where everything is located. Posted August 28, 2000
Photo Tour of City Farmer’s Demonstration Garden
See it all! The vegis, the compost toilet, the worm corner, the office in a greenhouse, and much more. Posted November 3, 1999
Introduction to the Demonstration Garden
Many media events take place at our beautiful garden. Sesame Street shot a segment on worm composting. And the Mayor of Vancouver cut fresh artichokes before the cameras. Updated November 3, 1999

The Easiest Way
To Predict The Future
Is To Invent It

**More Urban Agriculture Stories Can Be Found Here**

City Farmer’s Garden Gate
Metal artist, Davide Pan has created a distinctive front gate for City Farmer’s Demonstration Garden. Posted June 28, 1999
City Farmer’s History: The First Ten Years 1978-1988
Filing cabinets, desks and high shelves of books overflow with a paper record of our efforts from the past 21 years. We have chosen various documents from this archive and placed them on the following pages to give the reader a brief glimpse of our past.Posted June 6, 1999
Red Celery In the Sunshine – An Urban Eden: transforming hopeless backyard hardpan into a lush organic plot
First published in 1984 in Harrowsmith magazine, this article describes City Farmer’s Demonstration Food Garden. “I thought for years that just compost and the occasional load of manure were enough, and I had perfectly adequate gardens, but now, I’m not satisfied with adequate. I want Brassicas that are four feet high and three feet wide.” said first Head Gardener, Catherine Shapiro. Posted May 6, 1999
City Farmer Newspaper 1978 -1981
“25 cents was the street price for our ‘rag’. If a copy sold in a corner store we’d get half that back from the proprietor as our share. More often, we’d never find our way back to that store, and if we did, we’d find our paper had turned yellow with age.”Posted May 13, 1998
We Have a Compost Toilet!
“But how do we use it”, the staff wanted to know? “There’s no water in the bowl, no handle for flushing. What can we throw in it, how do we keep track of how much human waste goes in, and what words should we use to describe our waste?” Posted November 12, 1998
Composting Toilets
In Vancouver, British Columbia, a 30,000 sq. ft. office complex, utilizes composting toilets and urinals for human waste disposal. City Farmer has links to toilet manufacturers from around the world. Updated March 11, 1999
Urban Home Composting, City Farmer Style
If all our urban organic waste was turned back into crop nourishing humus, think how fertile the ground would become.
Dealing With a Rat in a Compost Bin
An individual who calls the Compost Hotline is usually quite shocked that he has a rat on his property.
City Farmer/City Of Vancouver Wormshop Program
“Half a pound of writhing red wiggler worms are included in each worm “kit”. The bin will accommodate up to 1500, so participants are encouraged to make up a second bin for themselves or a friend (they make excellent wedding gifts, shower gifts and Christmas presents!).”
Worm Suppliers
The world’s largest list of worm sellers. Updated January 4, 2002
More about the City’s Distribution of Worm Bins!
Newsweek magazine, Feb. 12, 1996, reports “Entire cities are getting into the act. Vancouver sells worm bins, wrigglers included at half price.” (Kitchen Help: Wrigglers Under the Sink, page 76)
Composting With Red Wiggler Worms
The great advantage of worm composting is that this can be done indoors and outdoors, thus allowing year round composting. It also provides apartment dwellers with a means of composting.
Jerry Seinfeld’s Worm Bin
“What’s The Deal With Worm Composting?”
Kramer’s friend, a kooky zoology Professor at a New York museum, is leading a secret expedition into the sewers of New York to search for a new species of worm that will speed up the process of decomposition in the bin.
City Farmer Donates Garden Produce To Vancouver Hospice
“The visual appeal alone was enough to stimulate the resident’s taste buds and heighten their interest in food. This is important, as often we have to work at tempting the appetites of our residents.” Updated November 8, 1998
Mayor Opens Water-wise Garden
This unique water conservation garden was developed by the City of Vancouver, in cooperation with City Farmer. The project, funded by Environment Canada, demonstrates the principles of water-wise gardening. It is located on the street front and will be open to the public year-round. Updated August 22, 1998
Waterwise Gardening
Principal Wholesale and Retail Native Plant Nurseries on the BC South Coast and Islands (PDF format)
Vancouver Begins Disconnecting Downspouts
Disconnecting residential roof downspouts from the combined sewer system may be an important way to reduce water pollution caused by Combined Sewer Overflows.
Rain Barrels and Water Wisdom From Around the World
“Here in Bermuda all residential properties catch rainwater on the roof. Roofs are constructed of lapped limestone slate on a timber frame. The water collected drains down into a water tank which is located beneath the house.”Updated October 5, 1998

The “Recent Pages” link just below is updated almost daily. That’s where you’ll find all the latest stories. Don’t miss it!
*** Most Recent Pages and Links Added (by Date) ***

In 1979, almost 20 years ago, City Farmer’s founding directors spoke at the 20th International Science Education Symposium about our vision of Urban Agriculture.
“Ideally we believe that simply by changing from suit to jeans, digging up a bit of lawn, and planting vegetable seeds, the city person will begin asking questions about his environment and about his urban behavior and thinking patterns.”
• “To most city people soil is simply mud or dirt, not a substance in which food is born.
• “Rain, means ‘no beach’. It is not seen as a drink for thirsty plants.
• “Sunny days are ‘tanning days’, not givers of food energy.
• “There are no such things as ‘beneficial insects’. They’re all big game for a can of ‘Raid’.
• “Big toothed dogs are nice animals to feed. Egg producing chickens are not.
• “Left-over food, minutes after a delicious meal, becomes garbage to be trucked away out of sight rather than a valuable homemade soil conditioner.”
More About City Farmer’s Work – Update December, 1996
• Our Compost Hotline has received 17,000 calls since 1992.
• 3000 visitors a year come to our Demonstration Garden.
• Since 1992, City Farmer has taught 431 children’s wormshops for a total of 9771 “contacts”.

Go to our new City Farmer Web Site – “City Farmer News” (www.cityfarmer.info)
The ideal project is one where people don’t have meetings,
they have lunch.
The size of the team should be the size of the lunch table.
Bill Joy, cofounder of Sun Microsystems


Readers in the following countries have accessed our web site since February 12, 1996. We will be looking at our web stats every day to see what new additions can be made to this list.
News Flash … March 1, 2005 … “Angola” and “Suriname” are the 199th and 200th countries to visit our web site since we began tracking visitors! (See City Farmer’s country count.) Almost 5 million hits were recorded on our site during the year 2004!

Afghanistan Albania Algeria American Samoa Andorra Angola Anguilla Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Austria Australia Azerbaijan BahamasBahrain Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Brazil Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina FasoBurundi Cambodia Canada Cayman Islands Chad Chile China Christmas IslandCocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Congo Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote D’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) Croatia (Hrvatska) Cuba Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark DjiboutiDominica Dominican Republic East Timor Ecuador Egypt El Salvador EritreaEstonia Ethiopia Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia Gabon Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Great Britain (UK) GreeceGreenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guam Guatemala Guernsey Guinea GuyanaHeard and McDonald Islands Honduras Hong Kong Hungary Iceland IndiaIndonesia Iran Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jordan KazakhstanKenya Korea(South) Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Laos Latvia Lebanon LesothoLiechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macau Macedonia Madagascar MalaysiaMalawi Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius MexicoMicronesia Moldova Monaco Mongolia Montserrat Morocco MozambiqueMyanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands Netherlands Antilles New CaledoniaNew Zealand (Aotearoa) Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island NorwayOman Pakistan Palau Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru PhilippinesPoland Portugal Qatar Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Lucia SamoaSan Marino Saudi Arabia Senegal Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Slovak Republic Slovenia Solomon Islands South Africa Spain Sri Lanka St. HelenaSuriname Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syria Taiwan Tanzania Thailand TogoTonga Trinidad and Tobago Turkey Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu UgandaUkraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay USSR (former) Uzbekistan Vanuatu Vatican City State (Holy See) Venezuela Viet NamVirgin Islands (U.S.) Yemen Yugoslavia Zambia Zimbabwe


Recognition Of Our Site
We have received lots of awards and are noted in many places. Visit the trophy room.

What would you like us to add to Urban Agriculture Notes ® ?
Tell us about Urban Agriculture activities in your city.
revised, Nov 4, 2011
E-mail us at: cityfarmer@gmail.com
Mailing Address:
City Farmer – Canada’s Office of Urban Agriculture
Box 74567, Kitsilano RPO,
Vancouver, B.C. V6K 4P4 Canada
Office Phone: (604) 685-5832
Map showing the location of our garden at 2150 Maple Street.
Garden Location:
Vancouver Compost Demonstration Garden
2150 Maple Street, Kitsilano, (6th and Maple)
Vancouver BC, V6J 3T3 Canada
Garden Phone: (604) 736-2250


In addition to production for their own consumption needs, large amounts of food are produced for other categories of the population. It is estimated (UNDP 1996; FAO 1999) that 200 million urban residents provide food for the market and 800 million urban dwellers are actively engaged in urban agriculture in one way or another.
These urban farmers produce substantial amounts of food for urban consumers. A global estimate (data 1993) is that 15-20% of the world’s food is produced in urban areas (Margaret Armar-Klemesu 2000).

2. Economic impacts
Growing your own food saves household expenditures on food; poor people in poor countries generally spend a substantial part of their income (50 – 70%) on food. Growing the relatively expensive vegetables therefore saves money as well as on bartering of produce. Selling produce (fresh or processed) brings in cash.

Besides the economic benefits for the urban agricultural producers, urban agriculture stimulates the development of related micro-enterprises: the production of necessary agricultural inputs and the processing, packaging and marketing of outputs. The activities or services rendered by these enterprises may owe their existence in part or wholly to urban agriculture. Other services may also be rendered by independent families and groups (e.g. animal health services, bookkeeping, transportation).

Input production and delivery may include activities like the collection and composting of urban wastes, production of organic pesticides, fabrication of tools, delivery of water, buying and bringing of chemical fertilisers, etc.)

Transformation of foodstuffs may include the making of yoghurt from milk, or the frying of plantains or yams, chicken or eggs, etc. This might be done at the household level, to sell at the farm gate or in a local shop or market, and larger units to sell in supermarkets or even for export.

Several examples exist of municipalities or NGOs that have initiated urban agriculture projects that involve disadvantaged groups such as orphans, disabled people, women, recent immigrants without jobs, or elderly people, with the aim to integrate them more strongly into the urban network and to provide them with a decent livelihood. The participants in the project may feel enriched by the possibility of working constructively, building their community, working together and in addition producing food and other products for consumption and for sale.

In more developed cities, urban agriculture may be undertaken for the physical and/or psychological relaxation it provides, rather than for food production per se. Also, urban and peri-urban farms may take on an important role in providing recreational opportunities for citizens (recreational routes, food buying and meals on the farm, visiting facilities) or having educational functions (bringing youth in contact with animals, teaching about ecology, etc.).
4. Contributions to urban ecology
Urban agriculture is part of the urban ecological system and can play an important role in the urban environmental management system.
Firstly, a growing city will produce more and more wastewater and organic wastes. For most cities the disposal of wastes has become a serious problem. Urban agriculture can help to solve such problems by turning urban wastes into a productive resource.


For Your Information and Pleasure

Compiled by William Olkowski and republished from 12.11.11

Main article: Cannabis (drug)

See also: Tetrahydrocannabinol, Cannabidiol, and Effects of cannabis

Cannabis Museum in Amsterdam.

Comparison of physical harm and dependence regarding various drugs.[83]

Cannabis is a popular recreational drug around the world, only behind alcohol, caffeine and tobacco. In the United States alone, it is believed that over 100 million Americans have tried Cannabis, with 25 million Americans having used it within the past year.[84]

The psychoactive effects of Cannabis are known to have a biphasic nature. Primary psychoactive effects include a state of relaxation, and to a lesser degree, euphoria from its main psychoactive compound, tetrahydrocannabinol. Secondary psychoactive effects, such as a facility for philosophical thinking; introspection and metacognition have been reported amongst cases of anxiety and paranoia.[85] Finally, the tertiary psychoactive effects of the drug cannabis, can include an increase in heart rate and hunger, believed to be caused by 11-Hydroxy-THC, a psychoactive metabolite of THC produced in the liver.