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Community Supported Agriculture

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I’ve changed my blogroll to link (under Washington) to Choice Earth’s Blog. Lori and I buy a share in Choice Earth each spring and get locally grown vegetables all summer long. Think how much energy is saved by buying food grown here, rather than diesel-hauled from a thousand miles away! Jocelyn has links to help you find a CSA near you if you’re not from “these parts.” But her blog is worthwhile in itself. Here’s a sample:

Choice Earth CSA

Choice Earth is a Community Supported Agriculture group growing fresh, local, organic, heirloom vegetables for members in Fairfield and Washington area communities. … The mission of this blog is to tell all the day-to-day stories and action that happen on an organic vegetable farm…

Sunday, May 20, 2007:

What Am I?

Sometimes identifying a vegetable in the field can be tricky. Sure, we know what the vegetable looks like on the store shelf, but are we sure we know what it looks like in the garden? Frankly, I haven’t always been able to recognize the vegetables in their natural state. Here are some of my favorite “clueless vegetable” moments …[read more]

Drop by! And I hope you find such a food source near you, too.


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Written by Monte

May 26, 2007 at 3:40 pm

Pagan Abraham, father of three religions (part 1)

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A sermon (and a worship gathering sequence— Proper 8 A), preached in June of ’05 at home at New Oaks Church in Washington, IA.

Monte: [God] brought [Abram] outside and said, “Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” (Genesis 15 NRSV)

But how? And when? Ancients thought of time differently than we do – what did it even mean?  And why millions of descendants?

If you could have one thing from God, would you ask for millions of descendants? Is that what you were aching for as you came in this morning?

Abram’s world, 4,000 years ago, was almost incomprehensibly different from ours. The birth of Jesus, 2,000 years ago, in a world so different from our own, is only halfway back to Abram.

I wonder what God was really saying to Abram. I wonder how Abram understood it.

And now, after 40 centuries, I wonder how it could possibly speak to me?

Pray Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

June 26, 2008 at 3:47 pm

On freedom roads

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“On What Freedom Roads Do You Walk?”

Proper 5 A: Genesis 12:1-9, Psalm 33:1-12, Romans 4:13-25, Matthew 9:9-13, 18-26
June 6, 2005, at New Oaks Church of the Nazarene, Washington, IA

Night rotation of starsMonte: In Genesis: Last week Noah, today, Abraham. Father of three great religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Read you a bit, then we’ll sing.

Abraham – or Abram, was born, we think, in 2166 B.C. Farther before the birth of Jesus than we are after the birth of Jesus. He lives in Haran – not too far from the city in modern N. Iraq called Mosul. It’ll help you to know a couple things about life there.

1. Abram knows, as far as we know, nothing about God as we know him at the beginning of his story. He’s never heard of Jahweh. He’s never been to a synagogue or church – none exist.

2. Abram is a pagan man in a pagan culture. As much as any headhunter in Borneo ever was. As much as any ancient European ancestor of yours or mine ever was. He’d have household gods set up. The worship he’d participated in might have involved child sacrifice. It probably involved temple prostitutes. Your ancestors’ worship may have, too.

3. Abram’s home culture is sophisticated. It values stability and wealth and probably business over agriculture. It values staying put and getting rich.

And then God starts talking to him. Read the rest of this entry »

“Papa, I’m hungry”

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How US policy intensifies Haitian starvation

Saint Louis Meriska’s children ate two spoonfuls of rice apiece as their only meal recently and then went without any food the following day. His eyes downcast, his own stomach empty, the unemployed father said forlornly, “They look at me and say, ‘Papa, I’m hungry,’ and I have to look away. It’s humiliating and it makes you angry.” –

Thirty years ago, Haiti was an agricultural nation. It imported “almost no rice” and was an exporter of sugar. Today, almost all of Haiti’s rice is shipped in. So when imported rice prices soar—as they have recently—the poorest Haitians have little to eat. What happened? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

April 25, 2008 at 4:22 pm

The ethanol effect: When alt fuels go bad

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Iowa grows corn. Miles and miles and miles of it. We don’t eat it, of course—it’s not that kind. We feed it to cattle and hogs, and we send it by the trainload to processing plants that make it into that “high-fructose corn syrup” that’s in everything else we eat. Read the labels in your pantry.

And, this year especially (the angst of the times being as it is), we plant corn in every available corner in order to save the planet (and make pretty good money) by selling it to ethanol plants.

Trouble is, it’s a little like tobacco and Kentucky: government subsidies contribute to the growth of something that we’d probably be better off without. Check out MotherJones excellent explanation:

clipped from www.motherjones.com
EVERYTHING ABOUT ETHANOL IS GOOD, GOOD, GOOD,” crows Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, echoing the conventional wisdom that corn-based ethanol will help us kick the oil habit, line the pockets of farmers, and usher in a new era of guilt-free motoring. But despite the wishes of Iowans (and the candidates courting them) the “dot-corn bubble” is too good to be true.

Click the thumbnail below to see the larger image
The Ethanol Effect
  blog it

And it’s impact on soil conservation is not good.

Corn is a hot potato here in Iowa. Though not a lot of us are still farmers, our friends, our industry, and our economy are linked to corn in a big way. But in the long run, it’ll be a bust. We need another scheme for agriculture, and we need pioneers and politicians and professors who’ll help us get there.


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Written by Monte

April 3, 2008 at 10:48 am

Posted in Environment, Iowa, Politics