Happy New Year!

December 31, 2008

Have a wonderful, peaceful and happy New Year’s celebration. Good luck in 2009!

carrots for your eyes

December 24, 2008

Remember when our parents told us that carrots were good for our eyesight? We dismissed them with demands for scientific proof and accusations of “old wives’ tales”. There is more recent research that proves this may be true. According to Harold McGee, sunlight can cause free radicals in the eye that may lead to some forms of degeneration. Antioxidants (especially carotenoids) help reduce damage by joining with free radicals to neutralize them.

The best advice? – eat a varied diet of mostly vegetables, especially dark greens and reds. And don’t be so quick to dismiss older people’s knowledge – most of it comes from generations of trial and error. Within the last few decades, we have created elders who feel intimidated and insecure to pass on knowledge to us because we already know it all. What a silly world we are creating.

happy winter solstice

December 21, 2008

The shortest night just passed. The sun is shining today after many bleak days. The northern hemisphere is getting closer to the sun every day. Just three months until Spring. Yikes!

smells like rotting grapes

December 7, 2008

Why are Ontario wine grapes rotting on the ground? This year Ontario saw many growers who had tons of ‘uncontracted’ grapes – grapes without buyers. The Government of Ontario has provided a one-time limited “bailout” to assist grape growers who have uncontracted grapes. Steve Kocsis from Mountain Road winery had this to say:

“As thousands of tons of Ontario grapes are thrown to the ground to rot the Government of Ontario throws a bone for starving dog grape growers and farm based wineries to fight over. The bone is barely enough to feed a few, but hundreds will snarl and bite fighting to get a mouthful. . . .

Ontario grapes rotting on the ground while the shelves are filled with imported and imported/blended wines; shame on us all for not taking to the streets with pick axes and WD-40 ing up the guillotines. . . .

All I want to do is grow grapes, make wine, take it to market and make a living from the land. The only roadblock is the LCBO and the Government of Ontario and their co-opted industry associations purportedly representing our interests.”
-Steve Kocsis in a letter to the Grape Growers of Ontario

I support standards that limit grape production for quality purposes as is done here (VQA) and almost everywhere else in the world that has an official quality system. But, I don’t understand why these surplus grapes can’t be used for non-VQA wines.

It seems like Andre’s (the Giant) and Vincor would rather use less costly grapes from elsewhere than use Ontario grapes. This is hurting our farmers and adding pressure to lower farm worker wages in Ontario.

remember Montreal

December 6, 2008

December 6 is the day when Canada remembers the 1989 École Polytechnique massacre when 14 women (mostly in Engineering) were singled out for murder because they were women.

I also remember the day (a couple of years later) when Swift, the Catholic priest at St. Patrick’s church in Schomberg, incited his congregation to hate women who were independent – radical feminists he called them. He refused to acknowledge the Montreal massacre unless everyone started wearing a ribbon against radical feminism (whatever that means) and continued on his tirade against the 20th century.

Priests like Swift should be reprimanded by the Catholic church for their misogyny but we all know what the Catholic church does with priests who offend. They ensure that all communities have equal opportunity to be touched by their wisdom.

Today, remember Geneviève Bergeron, Hélène Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Maryse Laganière, Maryse Leclair, Anne-Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michèle Richard, Annie St-Arneault, Annie Turcotte, Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz and the thousands of women who have been killed in hatred.

giving

December 5, 2008

I remember something I read about the different stages to achieve selfless giving. I believe it is from a Buddhist teaching that is appropriate at Giftmas time.

1. Giving in public so that everyone is aware of your generosity.
2. Giving in private to someone so only she or he is aware of your generosity.
3. Giving anonymously to someone so she or he is unaware of your generosity.
4. Giving to someone so that you are unaware of who you gave to and she or he is unaware of your generosity.

The last two are difficult without letting go of your ego and the need for acknowledgement.

Organic is an abused word when it comes to food. Like the word green (as described by Sarika Cullis Suzuki) it has become diluted from it’s purer source. When big-box stores are doing it, I tend to become sceptical. Being aware of how your food is produced is the only way to remain true to the essence of organic food. Besides being almost free of pesticides, antibiotics and hormones, animals raised organically (at least in Canada) have more space per animal and have access to the outdoors. Everyone should be aware that organic animals may be killed in the same slaughter-houses as animals that have not been raised organically.

Does the food taste better? Is it better for you? Dr. Alan Greene is still finding out three years later: For Three Years, Every Bite Organic. Get to know your organic farmers. Visit them. Pay them well. Be nice to them. You may need them someday.