Thursday, January 29, 2015

Loretta Lynch is not the Attorney General for me--Sign White House Petition.

Drop Attorney General Nominee Loretta Lynch as nominee. Lynch has indicated she is against marijuana legalization. Please sign this petition to the White House if you think our next AG should not turn back the clock on marijuana legalization. We don't need another decade of inequitable enforcement of current marijuana laws. Please share widely.

Friday, January 2, 2015

New website for Flora's Organics

Hooray!  Flora's Organics finally has an online store showcasing our spring 2015 offerings.  You can find it on our new updated website at  Please come by and take a look around.  You will find organically grown herbs, flowers, and vegetables from a local and woman-owned business.

Now is the time to start planning that spring garden.  Hope to see you there.  While your on the site, sign up for our email list, and you will get announcements and specials before anyone else.  Happy New Year and wishes for a great spring gardening season.

Monday, December 1, 2014

53 Reasons We Cannot Support Monsanto & GMOs

1. I’d need to believe that pesticide companies have a right to contaminate our biological & cultural heritage with GMOs. Petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides are absolutely raping US farmlands. Corporate farming just doesn’t work.

2. I’d need to believe that as government and industry leaders have concluded, U.S. consumers are too stupid to understand GMO food labels. We’re smarter than they think. And getting angrier all the time.
3. I’d need to agree with the U.S. Supreme Court that organic & conventional farmers have no legal recourse or protection from genetic contamination. Since when did we decide to give corporations more rights than people?
4. I’d need to believe that GMOs really are needed to feed a hungry world. Many countries have already proven that you don’t need GMOs to feed the world. Small-scale, organic farms are the way to go.
5. I’d need to believe that GMOs really are substantially equivalent to their natural counterparts. Which means, of course, I’d need to believe they no more merit patent protection than their natural counterparts.
6. I’d need to believe that GMOs should be pushed & promoted onto world markets before long term environmental, animal & human feeding studies have been conducted. In other words, I’d need to believe that the Precautionary Principle is poppycock. If you want to know more about this concept, Nassim Nicholas Talib does a great job of explaining it and also why he calls the EU chief scientist a ‘dangerous imbecile’ for telling us we should all ignore the Precautionary Principle.
7. I’d need to believe that super weeds and superbugs are beneficial byproducts of GMO-based agriculture.
8. I’d need to believe that horizontal gene transfer is no different than traditional crossbreeding & hybridization processes. Farmers and gardeners have NOT been cross-breeding seeds like this for thousands of years, as they will claim within many a comment-section on anti-GMO articles. You can learn more about the difference between cross-breeding and GMO hybridization, here.
9. I’d need to believe that small-scale agro ecological family farms and their communities are best relegated to the history books.
10. I’d need to believe that Roundup is safe. Or if not safe, I’d need to believe that drinking and breathing Roundup, and feeding Roundup-contaminated breast milk to babies is more beneficial than not doing so. The stuff is 125 times more toxic than regulators admit. Enough said.
11. I’d need to believe that agrichemical poisons cease to be poisonous when we eat them. This one is one of the reasons I love Wilcox. In what world do the things we eat not affect us? From MSG to high fructose corn syrup, leafy greens to Vitamin C, everything has an effect on our biochemistry. Agrichemicals are no different.
12. I’d need to believe that good science includes bullying, shaming, belittling, intimidating, and silencing scientists and others who oppose GMOs.
13. I’d need to believe that good GMO related science includes sham research methods that produce sham research results.
14. I’d need to believe that pesticide companies have the right to control the editorial boards of scientific journals.
15. I’d need to believe that industry-influenced scientific journals have the right
16. I’d need to believe that killing super weeds and superbugs with ever more toxic chemicals makes moral, environmental, and fiscal sense.
17. I’d need to believe that GMOs really do have identifiable consumer benefits.
18. I’d need to believe that GMOs have never and will never contaminate their natural counterparts.
19. I’d need to believe that genetic contamination of native and natural plant and animal varieties benefits farmers, the environment, and human health.
20. I’d need to believe that chemical giants have no moral, ethical, or legal liability to the farmers’ whose crops and livelihoods are destroyed by GMO contamination.
21. I’d need to believe that turning plants into EPA-registered pesticide-producing factories provides lasting benefits to farmers, consumers, animals, and the environment.
22. I’d need to believe that privatizing seed through patents is ethical, responsible, and in the best interest of farmers, consumers, and the environment.
23. I’d need to believe that farmers have no right or business saving and replanting seeds.
24. I’d need to believe that Roundup resistant GMO crops really are safe for the environment, animals, and human health.
25. I’d need to believe that plant and animal biodiversity is of little value or importance.
26. I’d need to believe that agricultural imperialism that results from GMO patents benefits poor servant farmers more than it benefits chemical company masters.
27. I’d need to believe that turning GMO corn into ethanol is ethical and provides sound fiscal and environmental policy.
28. I’d need to believe that farmers should continue to grow GMOs in spite of the overwhelming consumer rejection of GMOs.
29. I’d need to believe that it makes sense for the government to burden organic farmers with fees, rules, and bureaucratic nonsense while subsidizing GMO farmers and the chemical companies that own the GMOs with U.S. taxpayer dollars for products that U.S. taxpayers neither need nor want.
30. I’d need to believe that pollinators are dispensable members of the web of life.
31. I’d need to believe that monocultures benefit the environment and reduce global warming.
32. I’d need to believe that doing business with and/or purchasing products containing GMOs is morally defensible.
33. I’d need to believe that Monsanto and the other chemical giants’ place the public good over their bottom line.
34. I’d need to believe that industry executives and scientists are wiser than Mother Nature and/or God.
35. I’d need to believe that the Earth’s seven billion inhabitants should trust Monsanto and gang.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Frackers pumping waste water directly into aquifers in Central Valley

For Immediate Release, October 6, 2014

Contact: Hollin Kretzmann, (415) 436-9683 x 333 or

Documents Reveal Billions of Gallons of Oil Industry Wastewater Illegally Injected 

Into Central California Aquifers
Tests Find Elevated Arsenic, Thallium Levels in Nearby Water Wells
SAN FRANCISCO Almost 3 billion gallons of oil industry wastewater have been illegally dumped into central California aquifers that supply drinking water and farming irrigation, according to state documents obtained by the Center for Biological Diversity. The wastewater entered the aquifers through at least nine injection disposal wells used by the oil industry to dispose of waste contaminated with fracking fluids and other pollutants.

The documents also reveal that Central Valley Water Board testing found high levels of arsenic, thallium and nitrates  contaminants sometimes found in oil industry wastewater  in water-supply wells near these waste-disposal operations.

“Clean water is one of California’s most crucial resources, and these documents make it clear that state regulators have utterly failed to protect our water from oil industry pollution,” said Hollin Kretzmann, a Center attorney. “Much more testing is needed to gauge the full extent of water pollution and the threat to public health. But Governor Brown should move quickly to halt fracking to ward off a surge in oil industry wastewater that California simply isn’t prepared to dispose of safely.”

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

My new fall project - Flora's Organics.

Well, I haven't really been writing at all for about the past six months or so.  Please bear with me as I get my writing wings back in shape.  My daughter and her four children moved in with us in September of 2013.  Her boyfriend moved in a couple of weeks later.  Our household has been in the usual disarray that accompanies four very small children.  I really just didn't have time to do any writing for a while.

Not that I felt like writing.  I struggled all through this past winter and spring with severe pain.  I fell down several times due to pain in my feet, which caused me to break my right ankle and injure both feet seriously, as well as both knees.  Taking more pain medication makes me tired and more depressed, so it wasn't until my feet and ankle got a little better that I've been feeling more like myself again.  However, during this period of time I spent a lot of time trying to come up with a possible way for me to make more income.  With our daughter and her family here, our financial situation became almost overwhelmingly meager, and I was trying to think of anything I could do to help.

I don't have the ability to work full-time, or even part-time really, on a regular set schedule, because my disabilities keep me down and out some days.  I never know when those days are going to be, but I know I will eventually feel better again.  I lived on a farm most of my life, and I thought a lot about what types of things I used to do as a young mother to make extra money for my children's school clothes and supplies.  Many of those things, I don't do now for ethical reasons.  For example,  I used to raise rabbits, chickens, ducks, and turkeys for meat and egg production.  I no longer feel killing animals to eat is something I want to participate in.  I wouldn't mind raising a few chickens for the eggs for my family, but not on a scale large enough to make any money off it.  I live in a city, but I am located on a county island within the metropolitan area.  This makes zoning laws much more flexible, but my neighbors probably wouldn't appreciate a lot of chicken or other livestock noises.  I want to be a good neighbor, so I knew that this wouldn't help me now.

However, I also used to raise watermelons and other types of melons, tomatoes, or other specialty crops and sell them beside the road on the farm for extra money.  Unfortunately, my current property has no good garden soil, and putting in raised beds would only net us about enough produce to fill our own needs, and wouldn't save us much money when we factored in the price of the supplies and labor necessary to carry that out.  It would be more nutritious, and organic.  I do grow tomatoes and herbs each year, and a few other things in tiny beds, but I wouldn't have the physical stamina needed to harvest and prepare a large amount of produce every day in the summer time, so again, this didn't fill the bill as far as my current situation goes.

I have also propagated plants I have on my property and sold those from time to time on a very small scale, but I thought this would be something I would be able to do if I kept the scale small enough.  This might actually work.  And the physical labor can be done when I was at my peak energywise and painwise, because I could work from my home, and make my own schedule.  I was also motivated by the dire situation of our wild pollinators and honey bees, who are dying all over the globe in significant numbers.  If I could grow organic transplants, maybe I could save some of them, as well as make some money.  I tried to get funding for a kickstarter project to support me financially in my start-up, but the funding was unsuccessful.    I was pretty depressed that the project didn't get funded, but it forced me to start thinking on a much smaller scale.  I managed to scrape together enough cash, including a loan from my brother, to buy seed and supplies to start 600 six-packs of transplants for the fall planting season.  We garden year-round here in Southern California, so there is always a time to be growing something.  I chose all certified organic, open-pollinated seed, mostly heirloom varieties, of vegetables, herb, and flower seed for fall planting.

So now, I am in the process of filling pots with dirt, and planting seeds.   I am feeling fairly well again, and my daughter moved out the first week of August, so I find myself with much more time available again.   I am much happier in the garden anyway, so spending a little extra time out there is good for me, and helps reduce my pain level, up to a certain point.  I know if I overdo it, I will pay later, so I pace myself very carefully.  I am thrilled that I am able to be doing this now, and hope it continues until the payoff, when I actually begin selling my transplants.  Some of the seed I'm planting now, like some herbs for example, will not be large enough to sell until this coming spring, but most will be ready the middle of October or a little later, depending on the weather.  It is still touching 100 degrees most days right now, and that is just too hot to plant some fall crops, because they won't germinate in weather that hot.  This necessitates me waiting a week or so until the weather cools down for most of them.  If I plant them too soon, the heat could kill them.  If I wait too late, everyone will have already bought their plants for fall, and I won't find any customers.

I am working on coming up with vendors right now, too.  This gets me out in the community and talking to people again, which is also good for me.  If you are in the local Bakersfield area, and would be interested in purchasing plants just email and I'll email you a flyer with more information about them.  I'll try to keep you updated about the project without spamming you to death with it.  If you want, you can also follow Flora's Organics on twitter or facebook at @FlorasOrganics and and you will automatically receive updates on the project, as well as cool organic gardening advice and tips.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Support Bakersfield's first certified organic nursery

Situation: Non-organic nursery stock has been shown to kill or damage individual bees, beehives, and native pollinators.  Beehives are collapsing at an unprecedented rate. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that beekeepers have been losing approximately one-third of their hives each year.  But word of hive losses in the 70-90 percent range were reported last winter.  Of the 55 nurseries in Bakersfield and Kern County (8,161 square miles), none are certified organic. This leaves a dearth of certified organic nursery plants and seeds for the local organic gardener to choose from.  This lack of access to certified organic nursery stock leaves the whole county's bees vulnerable, and local homeowners and gardeners without options.  Here in the breadbasket of the nation, this is just unconscionable. 
Our Solution: Stop killing native bees and other pollinators due to the use of conventional nursery stock.  By using certified organic nursery stock, seeds, and supplies you can eliminate the risk of your garden poisoning native bees and pollinators. Organic, open-pollinated varieties of native and pollinator attracting plants will bring new wonders to your garden, increase the nutrition and decrease chemicals in your food, and let the bees and other pollinators thrive.
For more information on this project, please visit our kickstarter page here: