Archive for July 2011

Orange Juice’s Dirty Secret

Reposted from

Do you buy orange juice at the store? If you do, I’m sure you’re careful to buy the kind that’s 100% juice and not made from concentrate. After all, that’s the healthier kind, right? The more natural kind? The kind without any additives? The kind that’s sold in the refrigerator section so it must be almost as good as fresh-squeezed orange juice?

If I’m describing you, then you’re either going to hate me or love me by the time you’re done reading this post. The truth is, that orange juice you feel so good about buying is probably none of those things. You’ve been making assumptions based on logic. The food industry follows its own logic because of the economies of scale. What works for you in your kitchen when making a glass or two of juice simply won’t work when trying to process thousands upon thousands of gallons of the stuff.

Haven’t you ever wondered why every glass of Tropicana Pure Premium orange juice tastes the same, no matter where in the world you buy it or what time of year you’re drinking it in? Or maybe your brand of choice is Minute Maid or Simply Orange or Florida’s Natural. Either way, I can ask the same question. Why is the taste and flavor so consistent? Why is it that the Minute Maid never tastes like the Tropicana, but always tastes like its own unique beverage?

Generally speaking, beverages that taste consistently the same follow recipes. They’re things like Coca Cola or Pepsi or a Starbucks Frappuccino. When you make orange juice at home, each batch tastes a little different depending on the oranges you made it from. I hope you’re hearing warning bells in your head right about now.

The reason your store bought orange juice is so consistently flavorful has more to do with chemistry than nature.

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The Nitrogen Predicament: Why Agriculture’s Got To Change

Reposted from

By Lauren Welker

Nitrogen (N2) is an essential nutrient for all living organisms, and it’s one of the most important nutrients needed for plant growth. Without it, plants are unable to produce complex organic molecules like amino acids, proteins, and nucleic acids.  For something that comprises 78% of the Earth’s atmosphere – and is so critical to living organisms – one would think plants and animals wouldn’t have a problem obtaining nitrogen. However, it turns out life can only absorb nitrogen once it’s “fixed” – meaning, confusingly, “broken apart” – and bonded to another element.

It’s almost miraculous that we have life at all on Earth, because nitrogen fixation can only occur two ways: lightning and bacteria. The energy from the lightning has the ability to rip N2 apart, allowing the freed nitrogen to bond to oxygen molecules and form NO3- (nitrate) which then rains down on plant life.

Particular types of bacteria in the soil can fixate nitrogen via respiration (energy production). One of the easiest ways farmers facilitate this process is by planting legumes, which have a special symbiotic relationship with the bacteria Rhizobium. Tiny microorganisms can do the same thing as lightning – how cool is that?

The nitrogen absorbed by the plants is passed through the food chain to animal life, and then put back into the soil and atmosphere through animal waste and the decomposition of plant and animal matter – this is totally that Circle of Life Mufasa was talking about.

Read the full article at

Converted silo makes novel dream house

What a great way to reuse an old grain storage bin! This Manitoba man has converted an old, destined for recycling, grain storage bin into an innovative and energy-efficient home.


Read the story at The Winnipeg Free Press.

Progress Delay :(

We have hit a bit of a snag in our production. A garage is going to be built now in the spot we have built the aquaponics. We had to move everything to a different corner of the yard. So that has slowed things down on finalizing the builds. But the organic dirt crops are coming along nicely and are going to start producing soon. I’ll gets some pics on here as soon as I can.

We are enjoying a lot of success without small worm bin and the compost tea we get from it. My brother and aunt come by regularly to tap off a few bottles to supplement the nutrition of their home plants. My aunt swears our compost tea has saved her potentillas. Also our clematis in the back were not doing well at all. A week of compost tea and they are doing extremely well. I’ll try to get a video of the compost tea production in action!


Annual Inner City Community Garden Tour

Annual Inner City Community Garden Tour

Thursday, August 25th, 5:30-8:30pm

Meet at Orioles Community Center 444 Burnell St. at 5pm for snacks and a stroll around their gardens built on an old hockey rink before taking off on a bus at 5:30 for a tour of 8 inner city community gardens!

Take the low floor bus or bring your bike for an evening of garden wisdom, inspiring stories, and to see some of the incredible changes that come with greening a community!

Strollers, kids and all welcome!

Donations accepted at the door for the Community Gardens that we visit.

Sherbrook Street Festival

Sherbrook Street Festival


Saturday, September 10 · 12:00pm – 11:30pm


Sherbrook between Wolseley and Westminster

Plans are under way for the 7th Annual Sherbrook Street Festival.

The family area features facepainting, a bouncy castle/slide, games, hula hoops and crafts with Wolseley Family Place, Art City and Darlene Drewniak. New this year is an interactive reptile display and an open mic jam stage.

There will be an artisan village and community information tables.

The Flaming Trollies Marching Band Parade.

Mainstage is still being finalized but confirmed so far is Guerrillas of Soul, The Empty Standards, Wolfbirds, Smokey Tiger and the Dusty Roads Band. Mark your calendar and stay tuned for updates.

Where to Find Fruits & Veggies in Winnipeg

The Daniel McIntyre-St. Matthews Community Association has put together a great list of local markets, stands and produce co-ops. Visit the page by clicking on the image below.

Also they have a Facebook page where they keep us all updated on community events!

Start a 1-Acre, Self-Sufficient Homestead

reposted from

Your 1-acre homestead can be divided into land for raising livestock and a garden for raising fruits, vegetables, plus some grain and forage crops. Illustration: Dorling Kindersley

By John Seymour

Mother Earth News

Everyone will have a different approach to keeping a self-sufficient homestead, and it’s unlikely that any two 1-acre farms will follow the same plan or methods or agree completely on how to homestead. Some people like cows; other people are afraid of them. Some people like goats; other people cannot keep them out of the garden. Some people will not slaughter animals and have to sell their surplus stock off to people who will kill them; others will not sell surplus stock off at all because they know that the animals will be killed; and still others will slaughter their own animals to provide their family with healthy meat.

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Neotame, New Neurotoxic Sweetener

FDA Says No Label Needed, Not Even in Organics!

reposted from

A Monsanto-created chemical, Neotame is likely more toxic than Aspartame. The FDA has quietly decided that we don’t have the right to know if it’s adulterating our food, not even if the food is labeled USDA Organic.

by Heidi Stevenson


Read the full story here at

An in-the-works brewery goes off the grid

When I read this I was astonished at the level to which these two brothers have taken the concepts of aquaponics and sustainability. I wish these two the best of luck and look forward to reading more of their successes.

reposted from

“The idea is to turn the whole compound into a zero-waste facility. The heat for brewing New Chicago’s beer will come from an anaerobic digester, which uses bacteria to convert organic waste—produced in the building and by neighboring food businesses—to biogas (and sludge, which becomes fertilizer). The gas is then cleaned, compressed, and run through a high-pressure turbine (repurposed from a military fighter jet engine) to create electricity and 850-degree steam. The brewery, in turn, will produce spent grains—which can be used to feed the tilapia, grow mushrooms, and feed the digester—and carbon dioxide—which will be piped to the plants in the building to make them grow faster.”

Read the whole article HERE