Sunday, September 28, 2014

Small Farmers, Self Employed And Other Undesirables Ordered Into Slavery

Self Employed and Small Farmers And Other Undesirables Ordered Into Ukraine Slavery?

Being a farmer myself, the announcement, about the Ukrainian Ministry announcing official slavery to small farmers and others, caught my eye. 

If you research this, you’ll find reports of the US and Western backed Ukrainian government's official dabbling with the notion of forced labor camps.... under the guise of minor infraction punishments,  being reported as early as August of this year.  Reported by the New York Times on August 4th, 2014:
Glum-looking detainees, seized by the rebel authorities for minor infractions, dig ditches, fill sandbags, clear brush and peel potatoes. More serious violations have been met with summary executions, according to some rebel leaders.

Still…there is some modicum of precedent in unpaid “community service” being meted out as punishment, both historically right through to modern days in this country.   By the 1950’s chain gangs were outlawed in all 50 states. Then in the 1990’s, a few states reinstated the use of this form of slavery, notably Alabama.  

Almost all the states that tried to reinstate chain gangs in the 1990’s…literally inmates that are chained together and forced to work…gave up within about a year, with the surprising exception of the County of Maricopa in Arizona. Chained workers forced to work for the Sherriff’s office in that county continue on to this day. Wow, Maricopa!

Anyway, last week, on September 23, 2014 the Ministry in Ukraine’s government seat, Kiev… issued a convoluted statement headlined: “The Government has extended the list of community service under martial law.”

Mandatory community service here, is a euphemism for forced, unpaid slave labor of course, the term in the press release used “without mandatory consent.” OK, Kiev, so who’s on your Slave Labor List?

Here’s the list, folks:
Small farmers
All Self Employed
All Unemployed
And anyone already working under martial law that can be taken “in order to transfer such workers in an amount that will not lead to a complete stop of (of private industrial) production

Who’s Conspicuously Not On The List:
Government Workers
Politicians and their families
The Military

 Then, the very next day after Kiev made this slavery announcement…. September 25th, Germany, ever sensitive to fascist, scary, totalitarian ideology… proves to have been paying attention while the US is mostly too busy with reality TV and other more pressing issues rather than what American dollars are being used to support:  “The German Economic News headlines this:
“On the way into the authoritarian State: Ukraine introduces forced labor.”  
The new rules announced by the Minister for social policy of labor service would mean the introduction of forced labor, which violates the European Convention on human right” as(serted) Andrej Hunko, Member of the Bundestag and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe…”Yatsenyuk’s attempt to set forced labour now legally, is a further step towards an authoritarian society and must be stopped. This is the exact opposite of the supposed democratic development of Ukraine, as it is written by the Maidan movement.”

Here’s another article from a Latvian site:
“Ukrainians Forced To Dig Trenches,”
“The Ukrainian government has introduced the citizens’ obligation to work, obliging them to perform tasks of a defensive nature in wartime conditions. “
To Forced labor, it is planned to bring, in particular, the unemployed, students, farmers and individual entrepreneurs.

Confirming the Ukrainian governments’ use of slavery under the guise of minor infraction punishment.  Civilians are being forced into unpaid servitude for minor allegations like drinking in public, or breaking curfew.

And another from September 5th, Human Rights Watch’s website:

Here’s my point in all this:
It’s American tax dollar and America’s hard earned non partisan credibility and influence in the Ukrainian theatre that is currently supporting and actually paying for the newly imposed Kiev government’s very existence. They need us, we don’t need them.  Americans are well positioned to insist that those we support are guided by respect for human life and civil rights that American’s hold dear. American influence and purse should not be supporting a government that sees nothing wrong with slavery. Period.  This isn’t a political issue, and certainly spans the breadth and width of every American’s political viewpoint. None of us, no political party or belief system in this country supports slavery! So as well positioned Americans paying for the installation of a new, presumably better government in Kiev, after paying for the coup to remove the democratically elected former government in Ukraine… if we DON’T use our position to insist on a reversal of this slave policy, I’d like to know which American policy maker or decision maker is responsible, don't you? To whom shall the slaves lay blame?

And I leave you with this quote from the amazing black writer, speaker, and escaped  southern slave of the 1800’s; Frederick Douglass:

“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Harvest Shot 9.23.14

Morning Glories and Bees

For most of my life, I've shrugged my shoulders when friends asked me non-edible growing questions. If ya couldn't eat it, I just wasn't that interested. Over the years, even my home's landscaping utilized mostly edibles...sometimes a less than ideal game plan when living under the restrictive guidelines of a HOA as I did in my early 30's. Just saying....

But in the last few years, I have enjoyed adding non edibles on the farm, and have in particular fallen in love with the humble morning glory. The photo left, features three varieties' seeds tossed among a row of rosemary. Morning Glories are as easy to grow as radishes, and are a great canary in the cave if planted next to edibles because they show drought stress sooner than the edible plants we have them growing with. I've noticed that they're reseeding each year, so at least here...we haven't had to plant new seeds each year. They are annuals, rather than perennials which really was among the top reasons I didn't discover them sooner. I've always thought that if I was going to grow a plant that provided no food, at least it should last more than a few months for all the work involved in getting it started. But Morning Glories slide by my Annual Non-edible Nuisance Factor Rule by not needing to be replanted each year. Which is kinda, sorta, like a perennial. And as they twine and reach over stumps and rock outcroppings, their beautiful assortment of colors, sizes, and shades continues to amaze me.

Not that I'm ever going to be a non-edible aficionado, but adding ground cover retains valuable moisture, and in the case of flowering plants, gives our growing bee colonies an option when the occasional week arrives and nothing edible is in bloom. Like cats, bees are cared for or suffer. Yes, bees can be feral, but die-off can be dramatic if a caring beekeeper isn't keeping tabs on maintaining an easily accessible water source and making sure the hives actually have enough flowers to keep them well fed. One clue that our bees are struggling in the heat is when we see them congregating in every little puddle left behind after the irrigation has turned off. Uncool. We're hoping to add a tiny water feature near the hives so that our bees don't have to waste energy searching for water when it gets really hot out here.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Got Sprouts?

Lots of our amazing farm supporters have said they'd like to see more sprouts, more often, in their CSA boxes, or alternately...they'd like to learn how to grow their own. It's taken a while to get our ducks in a row, but we now are ready to offer both the automatic sprouting system we recommend (and use a professional version of ourselves) as well as the certified organic, laboratory tested seeds we use.

Here's the new link (it's not even up on our website yet...this goes directly to a secure URL just for this)

and here's the mobile friendly version:

Here's the thing about seeds that you intend to sprout and eat; the seeds you buy in bulk at some natural grocery stores are intended for using in soups...thus killing any lingering bacteria. The level of food safety practices that are required to keep seeds safe for boiling and eating, vs. sprouting and eating is quite different.  No matter where you source your sprouting seeds, do make certain that the seeds are intended for sprouting and are certified organic.

Some places in the world offer very cheap seed.. even if it's organic, it may have heavy metal contamination issues; particularly if the seed is sourced from China. I believe China will address their pollution issues as they go forward, but for now...eating a concentrated product sourced from China may not be our best bet. Additionally, there is the human waste issue. Certainly using human waste as a fertilizer is an age old method of feeding crops. But beside from the yuck factor, it's not safe. Human waste-grown food is allowed even here in the United States when the product grown isn't being labeled organic. Certified Organic crops are never grown that way. And certified organic seed that is intended for the sprouting industry demands post harvest handling practices that exceed even standard certified organic hygiene practices.

Tossing bulk, conventionally sourced seed into your sprouting system is never a good idea.

If you'd like to add a large volume of sprouts to your diet, and want to control exactly what you get...the Easy Green Sprout System cannot be beat. With 5 separate trays for the home user...each sprouter can give you two harvests a week of 5 different kinds of seeds or mixes. You can also use the single tray and grow your own wheatgrass.

What I love bout the Easy Green is the automated feature, and the fact that water is not recirculated (yuck.) Waste water is drained off into your sink or a bucket.

Upcoming Meetup Events Posted

I've wrestled for years with how to get the word out to our CSA members and local food supporters, when we'd like to announce an event....and am excited about the prospects of our new Farm Meetup group. You don't have to be a member of the farm's CSA to join the Meetup, participate in events, volunteer days, announced tours, and potlucks. We haven't had much interest in advancing gatherings such as potlucks for our farm CSA members, but I think by making it easier to find out about, perhaps we can change that.

Here's our Meetup link:

We have two upcoming events.
Morning Song Farm offers tours to the wholesale tour industry, and occasionally a tour company allows us to offer tickets to an existing event. Date: this Friday, September 12, 2014; 10:00-1:00.

We've scheduled our beginning Cheese Making class for this month for the last Sunday of September, which lands on September 28th. You can use the same link above to get there, as well.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Harvest Shot For First Week in September

Eggplant at last! We're growing two kinds here this year: the striped one in the image is Gandia, and the solid purple ones without stripes are Black Beauty. This week all peppers in the boxes are sweet, next week we'll have our hot peppers.