Northern New England Local Bread Wheat Project – Local Bread Wheat in Quebec

by  on Jun 1, 2011

Northern New England Local Bread Wheat project participants travel north of the border to see how Quebecois farmers, millers, and bakers are growing and using wheat.

Along with farmer/millers Jim Gerritsen and Matt Williams, researchers Ellen Mallory of UMaine and Heather Darby of Univ. of Vermont discuss what we learned. Agronomist Elisabeth Vachon explains her role connecting the Moulins de Soulanges mill with small farmers to improve bread wheat quality. Farmer Daniel Gosselin discusses how wheat fits on his farm, an organic dairy and artisan cheesemaking operation.

Northern New England Local Bread Wheat project participants travel north of the border to see how Quebecois farmers, millers, and bakers are growing and using wheat.

Along with farmer/millers Jim Gerritsen and Matt Williams, researchers Ellen Mallory of UMaine and Heather Darby of Univ. of Vermont discuss what we learned.

At La Meunerie Milanaise, proprietor Robert Beauchemin explains his operation, including grain testing and milling. Then, in Montreal, we tour Premiere Moisson, a bakery chain which is the major user of Quebec wheat.

Vermont After IRENE Looking Ahead to Sustainability

Hurricane Irene, who was down graded to a Tropical Storm, embraced Vermont on Sunday the 28th of August. The rain swelled the rivers over their banks; flooding downtowns, stranding many with road closures, destroying bridges, disintegrating mountain roads and taking down power lines leaving many without power. The 100 year flood plain is something that isn’t documented well enough nor heeded when it is.

In Permaculture observation is your number one “tool” and water is a key element to watch throughout the season and especially in instances like the flooding of Irene. In a sustainable whole system design, documented observations of waters movement through and over the land are invaluable.

We have issues in Vermont, with our many mountain rivers and streams that have very large river basins in comparison to their embankments. There are solutions to these issues, especially in our towns and cities, but these solution are extra investment. The short term prospectors could actually see this type of destruction as being beneficial, by having to rebuild roads and power grid etc. you boost the economy with federal funds and work. This is one of the grand issues of our times, Shortsightedness used as a tool for the Capitalist model of indefinite growth. Meaning it is more valuable to the capitalist market to make things that don’t last.

One of the largest design issues with flooding in populated areas is impermeable surfaces, namely asphalt. By not allowing water to penetrate into the soils it is collected and funneled from all these surfaces directly into the waterways, causing flash floods in the case of torrential rains. There are alternative materials like permeable asphalts but there are also innumerable ways the water can be diverted to areas where it will be used by “earth works” allowing it to peculate through the soils SLOWLY making its way to the streams and tributaries. One such system is called a Rain Garden, these can be installed in the middle of parking lots, the slope of the parking lot is such that it carries the water into the rain garden, instaed of heading right into the storm drains and culverts then directly into the waterways. There are many methods of “Dynamic Water Harvesting” which are the methods we need to implement.

Designing Rain Gardens PDF

In theory, approximately 0.62 gallons can be collect per square foot of surface area to every inch of rainfall. Lets take a 10×10 surface of asphalt  in the case of Irene’s 11 inch of rain, it collected 682 Gallons. This gives you an idea of how much water we are diverting directly into the waterways.

For more information – rain water harvesting manual PDF

Why is this such an important factor in designing our cities and towns? A number of reasons, human safety, saving costs on repairs and environmental damage through pollution are just a few. Our sewage treatment systems and storm water systems are a large issue in this design flaw where flooding is concerned. I am not an engineer and don’t claim I have all the solutions, what I am saying, is there is a need for Foresight in our design process through observation and implementation of proven methodologies.

This is an important part of being sustainable. If we require millions of dollars in Federal aid every time a 100 year flood happens (which could become every year), we are far from sustainable. I see this investment in town designing for longterm resiliency to weather just as important as renewable energy production in this age of climate shift. Mapping the flood zones, river basins, and town rain water surface collection and its course through the watershed is the first step. Now is a great time to gather this invaluable information, so we can put it to use in our future designs. If we just rebuild and repair everything returning it to the way it was, this level of damage will ultimately happen again.

Here is a video that describes the issue and some of solutions.

Vermont Aid: A guide to flood-relief help for Vermonters

A Vacationless Summer for Vermont Youth 2012? UPDATED

The trend of Public education seems to be yet another modern day battle of “David and Goliath”. On one hand there is a grassroots movement for “progressive education” and on the other the Capitalist push for privatization, standardized; test and evaluation methods.

The following excerpt from a UVM article on John Dewey illustrates what I mean by progressive education)

During most of the twentieth century, the term “progressive education” has been used to describe ideas and practices that aim to make schools more effective agencies of a democratic society. Although there are numerous differences of style and emphasis among progressive educators, they share the conviction that democracy means active participation by all citizens in social, political and economic decisions that will affect their lives. The education of engaged citizens, according to this perspective, involves two essential elements: (1). Respect for diversity, meaning that each individual should be recognized for his or her own abilities, interests, ideas, needs, and cultural identity, and (2). the development of critical, socially engaged intelligence, which enables individuals to understand and participate effectively in the affairs of their community in a collaborative effort to achieve a common good. These elements of progressive education have been termed “child-centered” and “social reconstructionist” approaches, and while in extreme forms they have sometimes been separated, in the thought of John Dewey and other major theorists they are seen as being necessarily related to each other.

Corporations don’t want to have, graduate class after graduate class, of open minded, problem solving, civic savvy, capable individuals that can enter into society and bring about systemic change. This would compromise their choke hold on public interest. There is another schooling approach sweeping the Globe “The Continuous School Year” Here is a an excerpt from a VPR  article. 08/26/11

(Host) As the new school year begins in many parts of Vermont, Education Commissioner Armando Vilaseca questions why the state continues to maintain “an outdated school calendar.”

As VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports, the commissioner thinks doing away with a long summer vacation would be good for many students.

(Kinzel) It’s an idea that’s being tried out in several parts of the country. Instead of having a ten week summer vacation, students would attend school on a year round basis with several smaller breaks.

Education commissioner Armando Vilaseca thinks this approach makes a lot of sense.

To say that, the only reason we still have a long summer break is because of our agrarian past and it holds no relevance today, is a joke. Most people I know say, they have learned more outside of the classroom than in it. For many people, these years of schooling are the most traumatic years of their life. Summer provides time for the youth to experience different dynamics of social interaction, like camp, family outings, staying with friend’s families, traveling to other countries and being exposed to completely different cultures. The list is infinite, for me it was the one time of  the year I got to travel to the other side of the country to spend a solid 2 months with my father. To take away Summer Vacation would be one of the worst structural changes we could make.

School is good and there are many ways we can improve the system for future generations, this is NOT one of them.

But, if you wanted an android work force, who is callous and indifferent because they have no experience of freedom or self-will, than this would be your best move.  “8 weeks on 2 weeks off”. This would be a crisis for the future generations, there is no doubt in my mind. Get involved and voice you opinion, Public Schools are one of the most important shaping force of our Society.

We need; Bright, Inquisitive, Curious, Self Confident, Self Directing, Expressive, Inspired,  Liberated, Fearless youth, if we want a brighter future.

Update: 8/28 I just saw Democracy Now did an piece on this issue.

Green Jobs For Vermont – Sierra Club

From VT Sierra Club – A healthy climate and a healthy economy are key parts of a healthy, sustainable Vermont. As we build our renewable energy future, we need to make sure that we are also creating livable wage jobs for Vermont families. 

Please join us in working with the Governor and the Public Service Board to mandate that Certificates of Public Good should only be issued for renewable energy projects when the developer agrees to hire local, and pay family sustainable wages with benefits.

Whenever a wind farm is built, whenever a large solar complex is erected, whenever a biomass installation is constructed, we need to know that these construction and continuing maintenance jobs are in fact Vermont jobs; the kind that pay liveable wages and provide good benefits.

Take action –

To answer brutality with brutality is to admit one’s moral and intellectual bankrupcy

Life…. It is The one “thing” truly precious upon this Earthly plane. To embody and broadcast Life’s “will” requires the selfless offering of ourselves. Universe, make me an instrument of your Love help me to demonstrate the creation and existence of a better world.

By having a Non-Violent and uncompromising resolve to following the Golden Rule, we will see Eden where dissolution was perennial. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

As fallible as each one of us may be, our True nature is unaffected, as we increase our desire to live and create a world  in harmony and Peace, the functional Civil Society we dream of unfolds. Standing in the face of indignity and greed with compassion, will evaporate them like dew in morning sun. Including the views and opinions of our own selves.

Are we truly separate? Can life be divided and held in an isolated vacuum? What is our common bond? The thread that holds Life together….

Is it truly the most ruthless and evasive Genes that are the chosen genetics of Nature? Is the present barbaric hostility of global politics the direction of our evolution?

We can do Better!

Two Nuclear Reactors Taken Off Line After Virginia Earthquake

RICHMOND, Va. — Federal officials say two nuclear reactors at the North Anna Power Station in Louisa County, Va., were automatically taken off line by safety systems around the time of the earthquake.

The Dominion-operated power plant is being run off three emergency diesel generators, which are supplying power for critical safety equipment. The NRC and Dominion are sending people to inspect the plant.

A fourth diesel generator failed, but it wasn’t considered an emergency because the other generators are working.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman Roger Hannah says the agency was not immediately aware of any damage at nuclear power plants in the southeast.

Hannah said he knew of no other shut reactor but that unusual events were reported at a dozen other plant sites

link –

New Data Supports Previous Fairewinds Analysis, as Contamination Spreads in Japan and Worldwide – Fairewinds Update

Newly released neutron data from three University of California San Diego scientists confirms Fairewinds’ April analysis that the nuclear core at Fukushima Daiichi turned on and off after TEPCO claimed its reactors had been shutdown. This periodic nuclear chain reaction (inadvertent criticality) continued to contaminate the surrounding environment and upper atmosphere with large doses of radioactivity.

In a second area of concern, Fairewinds disagrees the NRC’s latest report claiming that all Fukushima spent fuel pools had no problems following the earthquake. In a new revelation, the NRC claims that the plutonium found more than 1 mile offsite actually came from inside the nuclear reactors. If such a statement were true, it indicates that the nuclear power plant containments failed and were breached with debris landing far from the power plants themselves. Such a failure of the containment system certainly necessitates a complete review of all US reactor containment design and industry assurances that containments will hold in radioactivity in the event of a nuclear accident. The evidence Fairewinds reviewed to date continues to support its April analysis that the detonation in the Unit 3 Spent Fuel pool was the cause of plutonium found off site.

link (full text) –


Saving Money at the Cost of National Security? The Smart Grid and Cloud Computing

Below are excerpts from a few articles about “The New Paradigm” of Information Security within our soon-to-be wireless infrastructure. Do they really expect us to believe that putting our National weapons systems, top secret sensitive information, and our entire energy grid onto a wireless infrastructure, accessible through shared servers, won’t be a threat to National Security?

The value of Black Hat for smart grid security

By Andy Bochman – Aug 16, 2011

When it comes to spotting flies in the energy sector security ointment, perhaps regulators are too polite to utilities, and utilities too polite to their suppliers. No such problem with the security hackers who jump up on Black Hat’s global soap box every year and show the world what they’ve found.

The conference wrapped up last week, and I’ve got two completely different types of findings for you. One has to do with huge vulnerabilities in the systems related to home networks at the edge of the smart grid. The other is targeted at the heart of the legacy grid itself: SCADA systems and the programmable logic controllers (PLCs) that run important transmission and distribution equipment.

  • Click HERE for the home network piece
  • And HERE for the grid equipment vulnerability demo

Two years ago it was smart meter vendors who found themselves embarrassed, in the cross hairs of security pros, who showed how easy it was to exploit weaknesses in their products. Now attention has shifted to other grid elements. And the beatings continue!…

full article –

Common Ground Between the Grid and the Cloud

December 9th, 2010        by Jeff Huegel 

The smart grid and cloud computing have a lot more in common than you might think…

The smart grid accomplishes these tasks by incorporating distributed computing, or the use of multiple autonomous computers that communicate through a computer network. Cloud computing technology is distributed computing. In cloud computing, when a customer needs more of the service (software, infrastructure, or platform), the cloud provider adds resources to the environment. In a smart grid, power resources are generated based on capacity and allocated where the power provides the most benefit in price and performance. Coordinating a power grid is similar to organizing data in a cloud-computing infrastructure. Both involve matching usage with processing power and delivering the service on-demand, quickly, and efficiently.

full article –

DOD’s move to the cloud keeps security experts up at night

By John Edwards           Aug 22, 2011

Now DOD officials have a new set of risks to worry about as they push forward with plans to overhaul the way the military uses IT. They want to move to a cloud-computing model in which computer, network and software resources are standardized and shared among many parties, thereby reaping cost and operational benefits that the old approach of duplicative but incompatible IT systems could never deliver.

Of all the emerging technologies — including mobile devices, wireless networks and social media platforms — cloud computing is widely viewed as the one that most often keeps DOD’s information assurance experts from getting a good night’s sleep…

full article –



Bernie Sanders – Say No to Big Oil

A 1,700-mile pipeline called the Keystone XL  would carry crude oil from Canada’s Alberta tar sands to the Texas Gulf Coast. Calling it “a bad deal for America,” Sen. Bernie Sanders urged the Obama administration to reject the proposal. “Why in the world would we ever consider approving a new Big Oil pipeline to carry dirty fuel and keep America addicted to oil, when we could save money, create jobs, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil by moving to stronger fuel economy standards?” Sanders asked. He made the case against the pipeline in a video for Tar Sands Action, an organization headed by Vermont environmentalist Bill McKibben.  “The State Department will decide whether to approve or reject the pipeline by the end of the year,” The New York Times said in an editorial published on Monday. “It should acknowledge the environmental risk of the pipeline and the larger damage caused by tar sands production and block the Keystone XL.”

Roundup May Be Damaging Soil and Reducing Yields, Says USDA

(Beyond Pesticides, August 22, 2011) A US Department of Agriculture (USDA) official speaking at an agricultural conference said that the heavy use of Roundup, an herbicide manufactured by Monsanto and used heavily on “Roundup Ready” genetically engineered (GE) crops, appears to be causing harmful changes in soil and potentially hindering yields of crops that farmers are cultivating. Reuters reported that Robert Kremer, PhD, a microbiologist with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, told the audience at the August 12, 2011 conference sponsored by the Organization for Competitive Markets that repeated use of the herbicide glyphosate, the key ingredient in Roundup herbicide, impacts the root structure of plants, and 15 years of research indicates that the chemical could be causing fungal root disease.

Dr. Kremer first warned us about his research and questioned the government’s response last year. “This could be something quite big. We might be setting up a huge problem,” Dr. Kremer told Reuters last year. “Science is not being considered in policy setting and deregulation. This research is important. We need to be vigilant.”

Monsanto created “Roundup Ready” crops to withstand its Roundup herbicide (with the active ingredient glyphosate). Growing previous Roundup Ready crops such as soy, cotton, and corn have led to greater use of herbicides. It has also led to the spread of herbicide resistant weeds on millions of acres throughout the U.S. and other countries where such crops are grown, as well as contamination of conventional and organic crops, which has been costly to U.S. farmers. Because of GE crops, Roundup has become the most popular pesticide ever.

Problems with Roundup Ready GE crops don’t stop with soil problems and superweeds. Researchers are finding impacts on livestock that eat GE feed as well. Michael McNeill, PhD, an agronomist with Ag Advisory Ltd. in Algona, IA, told Boulder Weekly that he and his colleagues are seeing a higher incidence of infertility and early-term abortion in cattle and hogs that are fed on GMO crops. He adds that poultry fed on the suspect crops have been exhibiting reduced fertility rates too…..

full article –

For more news and information on “Roundup Ready” and other GE crops, see Beyond Pesticides’ genetic engineering page.


Another Home-made Cancer Cure

Using Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate) and Molasses Vernon Johnston changed his urine PH to over eight and is a “terminal” cancer survivor.

Special Note:In Sodium Bicarbonate – Rich Man’s Poor Man’s Cancer Treatment, it is stressed that baking soda should not be considered a standalone cancer treatment. It should be used in conjunction with a full protocol.

Article –

Vernon Johnston’s site

Previous post  – Treating Cancer at Home?


Climate Justice Protestors Arrested at the White House

Washington D.C. — August 22, 2011

A Vermont Law School professor and a well known Vermont environmentalist are behind bars for creating a big scene outside the White House.

Bill McKibben and professor Gus Speth were among 65 protestors arrested Saturday for demonstrating against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oil from Alberta to Texas.

Environmentalists say the pipeline would transport 700,000 gallons of oil a day across waterways that are vulnerable to spills.

They’re hoping President Obama will deny permits for the project.

Another 45 people were arrested Sunday as part of the two-week-long protest.

link to article – WCAX News

Bill McKibben passed along this statement from jail through the Tar Sands Action legal support team:

“Hello everyone! We don’t need sympathy, we need company. It’s clear to us that police were hoping to deter this action, and it’s equally clear to us the opposite will be the result.

I’m looking forward to seeing everybody over the next 2 weeks. It has been a little hot here in central cell block, but not as hot as it will be if we don’t stop this project. People here have been in good spirits, and there has been a great deal of learning. We are thinking ahead to this weekend to share stories about Dr King and freedom movement.

Even though uncomfortable, this experience has given us a greater sense of that part of history. Come on in, the water is fine.”

If you’re looking to jump in to the water, sign up here:

We expect that the 45 protestors who remain in jail from Saturday’s demonstration will be released early Monday afternoon.

From August 20th-September 3rd, hundreds of people are sitting-in at the White House to tell President Obama to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

Gus Speth passed along this statement from jail through the his wife:

“We the prisoners being held in the Central Cell Block of the D.C. Jail need company and encourage the continuation of the protests against the tar sands pipeline. Help us stop this disastrous proposal! I’ve held numerous positions and public office in Washington but my current position feels like one of the most important.”

sign the petition –

Another Video from 2009  – Indigenous activists from Canada lead climate campers through central London protesting BP and Shell’s oil extraction from tar sands in Alberta, Canada, which is leading to the destruction of indigenous lands in addition to contributing to climate change

Who should be steering the course on our expedition into a better Future?


What do NGO’s, Think tanks, and Lobbyists all have in common? Legislation… creating “law” and getting it passed by government officials they “sponsor”. This wouldn’t be a problem if these groups were working for the best interest of society and humanity as a whole, unfortunately there isn’t a maximum “profit” to be gained in that arena. Yes, they work for “special” Corporate interest who work for increasing their value for their stake-holders at almost any cost.

In turn this means that Multi-national Mega-Corporations are persuading our elected representatives on multiple fronts using money as their “1st amendment Free Speech right” to get it enacted as “law”. Their goal is to decrease regulation of their own industry, create regulation of their smaller counterparts, creates tax loopholes and any other  benefit conceivable for them to reap the maximum profit, even if it means destroying the Earth and making the populace sick and poor. This is the Global Trend of the “Free Market” and “Democratic Capitalism”.

The people have had enough around the World and are rising up in the name of “We The People” standing against Government corruption, meaning Corporate Collusion with Government.  These uprisings from the G8 and the G20 to the recently implemented Austerity Measures are increasingly advocating a Non-Violent method of protest. The people are learning that rioting brings no change except the loss of Civil Rights and expanded Government control. In many of the videos from around the world you can see the non-violent protest being met with batons swinging, riot gear, tear gas, rubber bullets and even sonic weapons. It is disheartening to see the blind submission of these police and “security” agents to the will of protecting corporate interests, yet, it is inspiring to see people’s strong resolve to remain non-violent in the face of extreme brutality. 

This September 17th many of these Global Activists are uniting their efforts to occupy all the major economic centers around the Globe, in a stance of Civil Disobedience resolving to remove the parasitic grasp corporations have on our governments.

These activists are calling for the occupation on September 17th of Wall Street and any other major financial centers to mirror the Tahrir Square occupation in Egypt and the Plaza de Sol occupation in Madrid, meaning it will be; Non-Violent, Organized, Egalitarian, Consensus, Respectful and Creative.

We can have a balanced, progressive, abundant world and a healthy Earth, it is a matter of steering. Who should be steering the course on our expedition into a better Future? 

Blessings and Peace to the Activists who are sacrificing life an limb for the future of humanity, may the conscience of those called to beat them down awaken so they may fulfill their oath and protect the people’s 1st Amendment rights.