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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Will Feeding Ourselves Be the Crime of the Century in Wisconsin and Elsewhere?

Wisconsin: No Right to Produce or Eat Food

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

In scary legal news a Wisconsin judge had gone completely loopy declaring that citizens have no right to produce or eat the foods of their own choice.

In response to a request from the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, the judge issued a clarification of his decision last week regarding his assessment of the constitutionality of food rights. The judge expanded on his original statement that such constitutional issues are “wholly without merit.”

He explained that the FTCLDF arguments were “extremely underdeveloped.” As an example, he said the plaintiffs’ use of the Roe v Wade abortion rights case as a precedent does “not explain why a woman’s right to have an abortion translates to a right to consume unpasteurized milk…This court is unwilling to declare that there is a fundamental right to consume the food of one’s choice without first being presented with significantly more developed arguments on both sides of the issue.” Gee, I thought they both had to do with the right to decide what to do with your own body.

As if to show how pissed he was at being questioned, he said his decision translates further that “no, Plaintiffs to not have a fundamental right to own and use a dairy cow or a dairy herd;

“no, Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to consume the milk from their own cow;”

And in a kind of exclamation point, he added this to his list of no-nos: “no, Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to produce and consume the foods of their choice…”

You have to wonder if maybe even the regulators are getting a tad uncomfortable with the rulings coming from the nation’s judiciary on food rights. Many of these individuals, biased as they are against raw milk, dabble in farming to some extent, or grew up on farms. This judge has gone way beyond what many of them have come to assume–that everyone has the right to own a cow and consume its milk Even in places that ban raw milk sales, there’s nearly always a provision in state law that anyone who owns a cow has the right to consume its milk.

It seems Judge Fiedler is saying it’s not a “fundamental right,” but rather a right granted us by the state.
-The Complete Patient

The original judgement can be seen here. To quote from the main points:
1) no, Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to own and use a dairy cow or a dairy herd;
2) no, Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to consume the milk from their own cow;
3) no, Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to board their cow at the farm of a farmer;
4) no, the Zinniker Plaintiffs’ private contract does not fall outside the scope of the State’s police power;
5) no, Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to produce and consume foods of their choice

Across the nation armed government SWAT teams arrest private citizens for buying and selling fresh whole foods from each other. This leads us to ask…

This Saturday at 9am Pacific, the Food Chain Radio show with Michael Olson hosts Mali McGee from the Milk Mama Goat Farm for a conversation about private food clubs.

Topics include how private citizens are organizing to feed each other; why government is raiding these private food systems with armed SWAT teams; and how Mali’s milch goats inspired one county to recognize the right of people to grow and eat their own food.

Listen on your radio, computer or IPOD: Food Chain Radio

Monday, October 17, 2011

Order Your Bare Root Fruit Trees Now for January 2012 Delivery

The UNCE Orchard is taking orders for fruit trees to be delivered in January. These will be bare root fruit trees selected from our list of recommended fruit trees for our valley. Please email me at Extremehort@aol.com for more information.

Fruit trees will include peaches, plums, apples, pears, almonds, pluots, and others. We will only be ordering from our list of recommended trees due to ordering restrictions that varieties must be ordered in multiples of fives. All trees will be shipped from Dave Wilson Nursery.

Chill Hours May Not Be As Important As We Think When Selecting Some Fruit Trees

Q. I am in the process of ordering a couple fruit trees online. What are the chill hours for Sun City Anthem in Henderson?  I thought it was 300 hours or less. A couple of apricot trees you have recommended have been 400 and 500 hours (Blenheim and Royal Rosa) and I am wondering if that is too many chill hours of my area.

Apricots grown at the UNCE Orchard
A. Chill hours are the number of hours at low temperatures during our winters so that the tree “recognizes” that winter has arrived. It can be important in commercial production but in home orchards it seems to be less important on some types of fruit trees.

            On peaches and apricots in particular we have not seen a big impact from a lack of chill hours in our area. We have varieties in the 800 to 900 hour range that have done well.

            I would be most concerned with how the fruit develops in our climate. The recommendations on my list have all proven themselves for a decade at the orchard. I do not release names of those varieties that have a track record of only a couple of years. They remain under test even if they show extremely good potential.

            One variety of peach has been recommended by volunteers at the orchard because of some good qualities in the first year of production. This is way too soon to tell. I prefer at least five years of good production. I hope this helps.

Tree Dieback after Converting Lawn to Desert Landscaping

Q. I am writing because of a problem I have with my 20 year old, long needled pine (I forgot the name). The needles are 6-7 inches long and fluffy.

Long needles of chir pine
            When I converted my lawn to drip, the pine began to turn brown in several areas.  I added more and more drippers. After four years, this poor pine, once a beautiful, fluffy tree, is now in serious trouble.

Dieback of large tree after converting lawn
to desert landscaping

            Many small branches and a few medium sized ones have died back. Every spring, it has rallied and I think it will be okay but, by the end of the summer, it looks very sad. Is there anything more I can do to save this tree?
A. I am guessing you have Chir pine. This pine is beautiful and does very well here provided it gets enough water and at the right times. When they are growing in a lawn their roots can extend long distances from the trunk and in home yards typically close to the soil surface.

            If they were growing in a turfgrass landscape converted to desert (drip) they frequently do not get enough water after the conversion. They first suffer needle drop resulting in a thinned canopy, needle tips brown, growth slows and then limb dieback begins. I think this is what is happening to your tree all due to the conversion resulting in the big trees not getting enough water.

            The water previously supplied by watering the lawn is frequently substituted with six to eight drip emitters placed fairly close to the trunk. You will need to provide more water to the tree and in many more locations to compensate.

            These are big trees and big trees require lots of water even if they are considered lower in their water use than perhaps other large trees. There is no research to tell us how much water this tree will require during an irrigation but I would assume it would probably be in the 100 gallon range or more per irrigation, evenly distributed over its root system.

            I personally don’t think trees that get over 20 feet tall should be on drip but on bubblers with a basin (depression or moat) surrounding the trunk. This depression should be large enough to hold enough water to keep the tree in good health and penetrate to a depth of 24 inches after an irrigation.

            Some people have suggested using inline drip irrigation in concentric rings around the trunk. Perhaps. But devices do not apply water, people do and people must make the decision about how much to apply and where to apply it. Drip irrigation can be deceiving because it takes hours to irrigate instead of the minutes we are used to when we water a lawn.

            Another possible approach would be to plant other plants heavily under the dripline of the tree for additional water. No one likes to do this because you have to fight with tree roots to plant.

            To save the tree you need to be proactive now. Apply water under the canopy to a depth of about 24 inches during each irrigation. Couple this with an application of fertilizer next February. You will not see improvement at this time of year from applying more water as most trees are going into dormancy. With properly placed, deep irrigations you should see a change next year during the growing season. You should see a big change in 2013.

            As it sounds to me, if you do not change your irrigation system and how you are watering you will lose the tree. We have lost MANY trees in this valley when landscapes are converted to desert landscapes principally because the irrigation system supplied to established large trees is under engineered. Most do not understand this or will not do it right because it is “too expensive”.