New here, been home baking for a long while.

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Breadman, Sep 6, 2019.

  1. Breadman

    Breadman Member

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    Worked in the commercial end for a while, which inspired me to start baking more at home. Owned and ran several food establishments where we baked various bread, desserts, and such, but retired now, so just baking for family & friends. Been involved in growing organics for decades, but only recently got interested in milling our own flours. We raise most of our own food and fats, or trade with like-minded friends for what we need, and generally avoid processed junk. Love my leaf lard (it's what Crisco wishes it could be) fresh chicken & duck eggs, grass fed Channel cow high-fat milk, yogurt, and butter. If you haven't tried it yet, you're really missing out. :)
     
    Breadman, Sep 6, 2019
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  2. Breadman

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Welcome! Homestead lifestyles of various forms have resurged in popularity of late. I think in part of our desire to reclaim some Control over the most fundamental aspects of our lives, mainly the quality of the food we eat.

    I’m actually just considering milling my own flours of late. I have a class tomorrow on ancient grain sourdough pasta. There will be some discussion on home milling. Among other things we will make einkorn fettuccine. I’m very interested in this ancient grain in particular because I cannot eat gluten, Or at least none of these modern hybrids. But I accidentally ate some einkorn crackers several years and did not become ill.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Sep 6, 2019
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  3. Breadman

    Breadman Member

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    I have a hard time resisting the temptation to bloviate on the evils of industrial agriculture, but the fact that we have experienced such a huge increase in the numbers of folks who suffer from various digestive disorders does magically parallels the increased quantities of economic poisons used in producing said products quite precisely, but I'm sure it's just a coincidence. (where is that eye roll emoji...)

    My usual response to people who experience what you have is that perhaps you're not so much gluten intolerant as chemical intolerant? The petroleum based chemicals that litter our so-called food chain are so common and voluminous these days that to suggest otherwise I think is disengenuous at best, but it is what our government and the manufacturers continue to deny. Most folks don't realize, for example, that wheat farmers today use glyphosate (Round Up's generic form) as a drying agent, something that it was never approved for when it was initially permitted way back in the infancy of the EPA. That means that it is applied just prior to harvest, which of course adds tremendously to the problem of why it persists and is now found in everything from pretty much all tested baked goods and honey, to even baby food and formula, but I digress.

    We're lucky to have a friend, and local farmer, who raises certifed organic small grains, as well as an organic flour mill that's not too terribly far away. The easy availability of the ready to use product was, in the past, prehaps a little too convenient, but once my neighbor friend turned me on to the difference of truly fresh milled flours, it was kinda one of those Eureka moments. So my latest quest is to begin milling my own, and to master a good sourdough rye, but the ancient grains are also quite interesting.

    Serendipitously, also got involved in brewing liquid bread, and the fella who owned our local homebrew store where I shopped and learned is good friends with the owner of Dogfish Head Brewery, Sam Calagione. Sam is pretty much completely nuts about experimenting and trying anything, and one of his many creative eruptions was to recreate old ancient beer recipes. One of these (the name escapes me) used emmer wheat, which I believe is the ancient 1st cousin to einkorn, so perhaps you'll encounter more varieties that will work for you as well? Any kind of sourdough pasta certainly sounds intriguing. Please share how it goes. Sadly, Boston Beer recently bought Dogfish Head, so they may decide to discontinue Sam's past experiments in brewing, but it might be a place to look if you happen to be a beer lover and can't drink the typical offerings. Not up on celiac disorders, just thankful that I'm not afflicted.

    As for the philisophical apsects of a returning interest in real food, I feel that the changes in western diets since WWII were initially instigated by the necessities of total war, and things just got out'a hand with all of this "convenience" and hurry up stuff. Microwave ovens, of course, haven't done much to ameliorate any if this, but the widespread onset of so many physiological disorders during that same time made it inevitable that people would eventually begin to kick their cognative disonance to the curb and seriously consider the most obvious causes. Naturally, the pharmaceutical industry would have us all believe that they "have a pill" for whatever ails ya, but thankfully more and more people are beginning to eschew treating symptoms and are seeking out healthier living on a more primal level, and it doesn't get much more primal than food.

    Btw, we call it "In-steading". ;)
     
    Breadman, Sep 6, 2019
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  4. Breadman

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    In my case, I tested positive for wheat allergy and twice my celiac was non-conclusive. Non-conclusive for celiac is not the same as a negative. It’s a low positive. And celiac runs in my family. So either way I know I’m not supposed to ever eat gluten. But at my age I’m almost dead. So if I can fine some things that I can tolerate in moderation, I’m going to eat them. My choice.

    Living in the middle of wine country, and in the middle of a vineyard, I’m well aware of the hazards of pesticides and herbicides. But even organic is a deceptive label. In organic farming there’s an extraordinary amount of spraying that occurs. And the notion that a pesticide/herbicide is safe for humans or less harmful to the environment just because it’s non-synthetic is absurd. Rotenone is proof of just how toxic natural pesticides are.

    And too, Just because something is labeled organic doesn’t necessarily mean it wasn’t farmed without the use of conventional pesticide/herbicides. The law allows an organic farmer to use conventional methods as a last resort all other measures are tried and proved ineffective. While the independent farmer may not consider use of a synthetic, the truth is many organic brands are owned by big corporations. These large corporations are more concerned with profit, not the health and well-being of the consumers. And they certainly don’t have any sense of value and ethics in the use of pesticides/herbicides. What matters is getting the product to market and sold.

    The pasta was delicious. The baker is a master baker out of Germany. He talked about milling flour at home. The differences in grains, how milling is about all your senses. First thing is listening to the sound of the mill; the scent as the grains begin to grind; feeling the flour; looking at the flour. Then in our case because we were going to make a pasta, sifting and then re-milling the bran.

    The pasta was incredibly delicious. We blended einkorn and khorasan. We used strawberry yeast water and sourdough. We made a sauce with cherry tomatoes and kohlrabi. The fettuccine was so much better than regular pasta. And I do make great pasta. I learn to make pasta in Tuscany.

    We made spatzle as well. It was baked with 3 cheeses, and caramelized onions. I did not try the spatzle; class ran over and I had to leave.




    This list is 4 yrs old. So I’m sure big corporations own a greater number of the organic brands today.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/business/organic-brands/
     
    Norcalbaker59, Sep 8, 2019
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  5. Breadman

    Breadman Member

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    That was totally uncalled for - your description of the fettuccine (he says as he waits for the water to boil). Yeah, all of the sudden I'm starving. ;)

    My reference to organics should have included the fact that it's all worthless unless you know the farmer. Our grains and dairy come from like-minded friends who rely on trap crops and various other non-spray related methods, but you couldn't be more right. I mean when you see Perdue selling "organic chicken" you know the fix is in. Their organic feed, btw, all comes from China, so I do get a kick out of the impact that the brilliant Big Brrain trade war is having on them, but I digress.

    We were invited, as what they called "stake holders" to get involved in the writing of the organic standards, back in the day. Even then, Monsanto, Cargill, and the like were given numerous seats at the table, so we told them where and how far to stick it and walked away. Not fond of the tag, but we've been "beyond organic" ever since. Retired now, so not looking for another career, but most of our surplus goes to folks suffering through cancer treatments and serious health challenges (not unlike yours), so our tableau of acceptable pest control pretty much stops at trap crops, row covers, free-range guinea hens, ducks & chickens, & beneficial insect releases. Beyond that, we just plant a little more than we need, sorta like the "angels' share" in whiskey making.

    As for the corporate defiling of our food, the corporate gargoyles have been busy patenting open polinated heirloom seeds and any term that sounds even emotely healthy for years. "Pure" milk is one that comes immediately to mind, and of course, anything that says "natural" is typically the furthest thing from it. I think Perdue's Franken-chicken concentration camps are one of the best exampes of how they've usurped the "organic" and "pastured" labels. If they cut a hole in the side of one of their 40,000 bird warehouses and provide as little as a 10' x 10' patch of grass outside of that door, they have pretty much made the grade for pasture raised. I think they may also have to include a couple of bales of straw for them to supposedly "play on" as well, but if you've ever seen the creatures that they have bred to be their broiler chickens, they can't even walk, so the door to the outside and all of the straw bales in the world are meaningless. The birds just stand at the food delivery and watering supplies and eat and shit for 5 weeks before they're grabbed up in the middle of the night and hauled off to slaughter. If they aren't harvested on time most will drop dead in another week, so it's always a huge rush. If those same birds are fed up on that wonderful Chinese "certified organic" feed, welp, they're organic! About the only thing that that label does bring with it is a supposed assurance that no GMO crops were involved, but everything on the big corporate farms is a cheat, so I've little doubt that most of what they produce is tainted or outright counterfeit.

    Food hubs that involve well vetted growers and conscienscious members are what really matters. People that welcome you out to their farm, so you can see up close and personal how your food is being produced, that's where the real difference is. There's a reason that corporate farms don't allow visitors. Think of that for a minute - the people who are growing most of what is sold as "food" in the western world, are terrified of letting people see what they are doing. Most have been struck down of late, but the corporate demons still persist in trying to get more of their anti-whistleblower "Ag-Gag" laws passed, and going back as far as George H., environmental activists have been kept at or near the top of the FBI & HLS watch lists (not the White guys that keep perpetrating the mass shootings), because naturally, the owners of our Congressional whores demanded it. It's not really hard to see or figure out, they do it right in front of us, and of late, seem to like rubbing our faces in it, but again, I digress.

    Yeah, the best food is that which you grow yourself, but aside from that, find a local farmer who actually cares about what they're doing. Very much like the folks who make the better wines I would imagine. :)

    Last thought on the corporate crony crapitalism and labels. The big three "domestic beer brands are all owned by foreign companies, so technically, the only real "domestic" beers are the ones being made by all of our micro-breweries. Sadly, as fast as they gain any significant market share they are "Morganized" and consloidated into one of the big three eventually. Not surprisingly, the first thing that the new owners do is find a way to squeeze a few more nickels out of their acquisition, and completely ruin the product along the way. Seen it happen over and over again, from ukeleles to underwear.

    Anyway, thanks for the update!

    Now where's the damn recipe? ;)
     
    Breadman, Sep 8, 2019
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  6. Breadman

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Given a world population of 7 billion and counting and the various social and economic structures that encourage population densities, food production and distribution will continue to depend on corporate agriculture. But I suppose this is a throwback to the earliest civilizations when the population allowed political and religious leaders to control the food supply chain. Strange how people accept these systems of food production and distribution.

    I think consumer education is essential in keeping the food supply chain as clean as possible. Wheat is a perfect example. American and Canadian wheat farmers would fill the markets with Monsanto/Bayer GMO wheat if left to their own devices. But thankfully the European and Asian consumers have held steadfast in their objections to GMO wheat. They’ve demanded legislation to ban GMO wheat. Imports are genetically tested to ensure it’s not GMO. And if any GMO wheat is detected in a shipment, trade is immediately shut down. Last June Japan detected Monsanto’s GMO wheat in a shipment and immediately suspended trade with Canada. When money is on the line, when the farmer knows their wheat shipment will be rejected, only then are they going to take care not to plant GMO wheat.

    In 2013 a farmer in Oregon found wheat growing in a field where he had planted none. So he sprayed it with Roundup. When it survived he immediately called the feds and reported it as suspected GMO wheat. And he was right it was GMO wheat.

    But the farmer didn’t plant the wheat. Monsanto’s last GMO wheat tests in Oregon were in 2001. No one can figure out how this wheat ended up growing on this farmer’s field 13 yrs later. Just goes to show you that once that monster is out of the bag, there’s no stuffing it back inside.

    The pasta is involved as it’s a sourdough. I have both the recipe and the formula (baker’s percentages). And instructions for yeast water. It assumes the cook knows how to make sourdough. Yeast water is like sourdough; it’s a starter, you can make bread with it. It takes 8 days to ferment so some pre-planning is involved.


    If you genuinely want the pasta recipe, I will type it out.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Sep 9, 2019
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  7. Breadman

    Breadman Member

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    That'd be great, if you don't mind.

    Regarding the Monsanto/Bayer atrocities, here's a group that we belong to that helps protect independent producers from the market monopoly enforcers. Lots of interesting stories, legislation, and actions involving people trying to exercise their food freedoms.

    https://www.farmtoconsumer.org/blog/2019/06/12/farm-to-fork-raid/

    As to Monsanto, since their merge w/ Bayer, their assest are being widley diluted and further protected from attack from the recent exposure from civil litigation over their numerous economic poisonings. Big surprise, not. Same thing going on with the DuPont moves, now that they're half century of deadly C-8 pollution for profit nationwide is being exposed. It's all rather insane, but thankfully the diversification of news providers in this digital age have made it impossible for the corporate cleptocracy to continue to control the narative.

    Way off topic, but ultimately still representative of the greater problem at large, here's more on the C-8 debacle, just in case you've not heard about it. All part of the same problem of what happens when the nuts run the asylum.

    https://theintercept.com/2015/08/11/dupont-chemistry-deception/



    And the C-8 gambit has been a repeat of the same games played by the Tobacco giants, the asbestos industry, auto makers, fracking proponents, and way back when, pretty much begun in defense of lead being added to gasoline. The story of Dr. Clair Patterson is as remarkable for how well it has been buried as for the terrible abuses that it exposed.

    https://mentalfloss.com/article/945...st-who-determined-age-earth-and-then-saved-it

    Don't get me started!

    Oops, too late. ;)
     
    Breadman, Sep 9, 2019
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  8. Breadman

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    The food industry as a whole coordinates efforts with Congress to obstruct consumers’ access to information about our food.

    Some years ago I worked as the executive assistant for an executive at a major trade organization in DC. They have a staff of Ph.Ds who prepare white papers for Congress to ensure any and all legislation aimed at transparency in food production, labeling of ingredients and additives is quashed. Their annual convention includes training modules on tactics to litigate against liability for any food borne illnesses and deaths. Their members are the biggest food corporations in the world.

    Over the years several trade associations representing different areas in the food industry merged to form one powerful lobby called the Grocery Manufacturers Association. Food labeling is an never ending meeting topic. They know they have to comply with current law so they do train members on compliance. But the association’s legal arm is constantly lobbying to quash labeling laws. And they have a very powerful lobby. Eighteen years ago when they were a fraction of the size they are today, they were paying their then CEO close to half a million a year. And it’s both sides of the aisle; revolving door; CEOs have come from both parties.

    So it’s not just Monsanto/Bayer. It’s our everyday food producers and it’s our government. I’ve seen it firsthand. In fact, 18 years ago, today I was in that office in Washington DC working.


    I have a busy few days, but I’ll try to get the recipe written out for you this weekend.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Sep 12, 2019
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  9. Breadman

    Breadman Member

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    Not realizing your level of familiarity with the corruptness of our food system, Monsanto was simply a widely known low hanging fruit when discussing the topic. The overall effect of the ag chem producers is actually much worse than simply what they've been involved in, and the list of players is deep and wide. From Kraft Heinz (whoever owns them today) to McDonald's to Frito-Lay/Pepsi and beyond, they all work together today in one gloriously well oiled machination with the GMO seed and economic poison developers, but the "everyday food producers" are for the most part just insignificant cogs who've unwittingly embraced serfdom while still trying to cling to the independent images of their ancestors. It's called cognitive dissonance, and it is well practicedall throughout the ag sector, especially in the field.

    The fact is that the large growers today, be they crop or critter, are typically mortgaged to the hilt risk management devices in the industrial food web. Again, the chicken industry is one of the clearest examples, but it's not much different for the other animal protein, row crop, and cereal grain producers. The grower takes all of the risk for the imagined benefit of having a guaranteed market for their immense harvest, thereby allowing them to focus on doing what they want to do, and supposedly do best. At least that was a big part of the sales pitch, especially since Nixon's USDA head, Earl Butz, came out with his guidance for farmers to "go big", or basically get out. Farming has been under constant and accelerating pressures to consolidate ever since, which suits the gov't. and their pimps just fine since it means that there are fewer farmers that they have to manage, bribe, and extort. It's all about control and keeping the peasants from lighting those torches.

    Gov't. subsidies, (be they through publicly underwritten crop insurance programs or outright crop payments), have become an integral part of the entire corporate welfare trap that ensnares many, but of course, in order to partake of that Mother's Milk, your farm must be duly registered and "compliant". You have to file nutrient management plans, acquire and maintain pesticide applicator's licensing, develop an acceptable farm plan, get a federal premise ID, just to enter their sand box. Again, all designed to freeze small producers out. All guidance provided by the state and feral ag extension agencies and outreach are completely owned and directed both phlisophically and financially by the industrial food complex processors and chemical companies. The PhD's running the land grant university ag programs, and hence their outreach, are without exception all tied to a funding tit, and the hog that provides that tit are companies like the aforementioned, and they will get the science that they want and need, or your funding will simply stop. PhD's have mortgages too, so peer reviewed or not, the quality of our science has devolved to a state of essentially being for sale. Getting back to Monsanto for a moment, they actually bought their own so-called peer review journal, just to put a finer point on it.

    So a chicken grower borrows hundreds of thousands of dollars to put up one of the newest Franken-chicken concentration camps, using his generationally held family farm as colateral and following the Chicken King's very specific engineering requirements for everything from the building itself to the feed and water delivery systems, as well as the heating and ventilation systems. None of this is especially cheap. The Chicken Kings will even proffer a builder for them, and in more recent times, even offer a nice cash bonus for new suckers or those stupid enough to build multiple units at one time, they are just that helpful. Then they provide the chicks and deliver the feed into the farmer's huge automated bins and the farmer just sits back and rakes in the dough, so they say.

    Ya see, the farmer's contract offers zero guarantees. The size of the chick delivery is so huge that it's nearly impossible for typically labor limited farmer to accurately check, but that's just the beginning of the bamboozle. When the feed is augered off of the tractor trailer up into the farmer's bins he has to rely on the Chicken King's truck driver for transparency regarding just how much is delivered, If you've the audacity to request that he get scaled before and after each feed deliverey, you won't be one of their what they call "implimenters" for very long, 'cuz nothing pisses them off so much as a serf that asks questions or puts a kink in their closely run time tables, which allow no time for drivers to get scaled before and after each delivery. So now the farmer has a building that was designed by them, filled with their birds that they hatched out (and already inoculated with who knows what except them, but the list is long all the same), and a butt-load of whatever they call the stuff that they concoct for feed. It could be marigold petals and unicorn poop for all he knows, and he also has no idea just how much there is, but the good news is, they have promised to buy all of whatever he manages to keep alive.

    And that's where the fun begins, 'cuz the farmer now gets to spend his days shuffling through the crowded throngs of mutant chickens picking up the dead ones as they drop from any of a litany of diseases and genetic physiological disorders that are common among them. These he gets to compost on his property (which is why we have such a healthy population of buzzards here) and eventually spread back onto his land, as prescribed by his USDA compliant nutrient management and farm plan (which none of them ever follow and no one ever checks or audits, and the same goes for their pesticide spraying). The accumulated and persistent chemicals and unidentified pharmacology present in those carcasses (along with that which is in feces that will soon follow) is simply ignored, 'cuz who doesn't need more arsenic, super-phosphated compounds and time release pharmaceuticals in their soil, air and water, right?

    Weeks later the Chicken Kings send in their catchers to grab up the birds, stuff them into crates, and load it all onto open trucks to haul across the county to the processing plant. What half dead birds don't succumb to the weather during the trip all end up dead in a few hours anyway, so no big deal. I would add that should you ever find yourself traveling in a rural chicken raising area and see one of these trucks, stay well away from it, as they are a veritable font of contaminated liquid chicken feces, which you can actually see as a kind of hazing fecal aura when they stop for a traffic signal - so God help the unknowing biker or convertible passengers that might follow too close or pull up alongside, and so much for all of that crap from the CDC on managing disease vectors. The great avian flu derived pandemic that supposedly has them all flumuxed will no doubt be spread by this 24/7 operation in support of "eat more chicken", but again, I digress.

    So the plant processes the half-dead chickens and a tally is generated, which the farmer's intermediary, a sort of personal banker in reverse who works for the Chicken Kings, includes in his final settlement calculations. The farmer received X number of chicks, Y amount of company supplied feed, and now they're going to pay him for Z number of birds - all numbers that they alone control and concoct. The farmer has to take whatever they decide, and there is no appeal. Actually, again, if you mutter too loudly, well, see ya. Yeah, that's the best leverage of all, for the Chicken Kings that is. You see, even though the farmer still has a 20 year mortgage to pay on that giant building, along with the utility bills from the running of it, there is absolutely no guarantee that you'll ever get another flock. Best of all, the chicken companies have developed what they call a "tournament" styled bonus system, and basically, if you don't make bonus, you're lucky to break even on just the base value of whatever they feel like paying you for. This is a system where the top 50% of producers (according to all sorts of metrics that the company controls) are awarded a bonus payment that comes out of the bottom 50%'s money - it costs the company nothing, so your livelihood depends upon you out-performing your neighbor. Can't tell you how easy that makes farmers to manipulate and keep from ever organizing against the system.

    Bitch about it or protest too loudly and you'll never see another bird, or, before ya know it the auctioneer is putting the hammer down on another great modern farming success story. We have them pretty regularly around here, but it's all good since that's what keeps feeding the need among the survivors to get even bigger. And what happens when you get so big that only one or two even bigger companies have the capacity to take your end product off of your hands? Well, you dance to whatever tune they play.

    Sorry again for the TL;DR, but it's complicated, and that doesn't meld well with a world run on 280 character Tweets. ;)


    Thanks again for your thoughtful reply.
     
    Breadman, Oct 1, 2019
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  10. Breadman

    Breadman Member

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    Who knew there was a word count limit? lol
    Had to cut this to fit:


    The crop growers experience much the same sort of swindle, it's just not quite as capital intensive, but it's every bit as incrementally insidious. The farmers start into the relationship thinking that they are being smart by adapting to all of the latest and greatest technology and science, but it's not until after they've invested in millions of dollars of debt laden equipment to spread and spray the economic poisons, along with extensive well and irrigation systems to keep all of their fragile GMO crap alive, that they begin to learn that none of it really works as well as advertised. GMO crops are NOT superior plants, they just have the ability to tolerate more and more of their manufacturers' chemicals, and selling chemicals is what modern ag is all about.


    Things like insect and biological organisms' ability to adapt and evolve as resistant varieties or strains happens a lot faster than the GMO breeders and chemical makers can react, so their guidance quickly devolves to "just spray more" when a particularly stubborn usurper appears in the fields. The land grant educated PhD agents and ag dept. directors all continue to espouse more and more of the same. The system learned a lot from Hitler actually, with his get 'em young program known as the Hitler Youth. The industrial ag sector has a similar program today known as FFA, for Future Farmers of America, and all of its programming is designed to train and inculcate rural kids interested in growing up to be just like Dad. That training of course also fully integrates all of that latest and greatest chemical use startegy, 'cuz "we've gotta feed the world!".

    What a load of total crap.


    If our land grant universities had remained true to their origins and past, we would have been investing at least equally in continuing to develop open pollinated plant varieties that are even more high yielding, drought, pest and disease resistant than any of this current GMO crap, but academia sold out, and it sounds like you had an unusually rare opportunity to witness this along with just how completely money can corrupt any system.



    Your insights on the GMA are already pretty well known to our community, but it's extremely interesting to hear it directly from someone who actually worked on that side of it. I do so love this internet thing. :)
    Here are a few of the groups that we rely upon to keep us up to date:


    https://usrtk.org/about/


    https://www.farmtoconsumer.org/resources/


    https://www.ewg.org/



    Just a word of caution, as you may or may not have already been made aware, people who support things that are contrary to the profits of the industrial food complex are literally considered by our government's domestic surveillance and enforcement goons as actual "domestic terror threats", so think before you click. That threat thing IS an actual reality btw. Just by virtue of our embracing a contrarian view we are actually ranked as a higher level threat (among the top three I last read) not the people with the bombs and guns. Yup, our words and ideas, in the wrong hands, are more dangerous than a 747.
    Welcome to the monkey house.
     
    Breadman, Oct 1, 2019
    #10
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