The Composter, newsletter of the Tucson Organic Gardeners
TOG InfoLine: 520-670-9158 has lots of interesting bits. The May issue has an article on What Those Food Labels Really Mean by Suzanne Havala Hobbs, DrPH RD (dietician & clinical assistant professor at UNC Chapel Hill): 100% Organic means something, Reduced means less, and Natural not much of anything. The seasons are very different from northern California – there are six, as you learn at Sabino Canyon nature preserve or Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, and summer temperatures average 100F from mid-May through late August, with lows in the low 70s. There is an article in the Sustainability Corner on Envelopes – reuse or recycle? And lots about gardening. Ads for free manure for the taking, and Barbara Kingsolver & Steven Hopp signing books at Grace-St Paul’s Episcopal Church in a benefit for Native Seed/SEARCH. Had a chance to visit Tucson Botanical Garden (aka Bernice’s house) especially its heritage, xeriscape, and Tohono O’odum areas. “Corn, corn, corn, bad, bad, bad!” does not apply so much when it is a native crop not mixed into industrial products.
And there is a carrot cake recipe, from the King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion.
We also had a wonderful visit with retired president of Arizona Historical Society, which gives you a broader perspective on how the people have lived on the land.
Woodbrook by David Thomson (1974) continues to give me new facts and feelings about farming in Ireland – he studied famine relief agency records. Incredible.
On Inishmore, westernmost of the Aran Islands, I saw “lazy beds”, raised beds for growing potatoes; there they are fertilized with kelp hauled up from the beach at low tide and dried on the limestone. …Most of the island seems to be limestone in flat long shelves that look like abandoned skyscraper foundations. The piled-up stones of the walls around the fields provide not only a place to put the rocks but wind shelter, some containment for cattle, and even a spot for the sun to warm. The enclosures are relatively small – though one brownie calf had a good quarter-acre to herself during weaning.
Dara Molloy, who farms traditionally, says that the islanders are trying to go green; e.g., using propane instead of petrol. And they continue to use not only mini-buses for tourist transport, but also the traditional “side car” with pony.
Enjoy this article from the Los Angeles Times about Reverend Billy (Bill Talen) and his bullhorn activism against consumerism, big box retail, the general Disneyficiation of the landscape....
And don't miss San Francisco Chronicle coverage of the Farm Bill