Sunday, February 24, 2008

Stop Buying It!

I was reading an interesting article today,
When Change is Not Enough, and in one of the comments after the article was this sentence: "Every individual may participate in the non-violent revolution to take back our society from the capitalists, by shifting our individual exchange/association away from the capitalists and toward our local communities of small farmers, craftsmen and merchants." by rtdrury. (By capitalists he/she means the large corporations, not small businessmen). And it made me think.

We've got a choice now; we can either make a peaceable revolution by changing what we do, or we will be involved in a violent revolution in years to come. Things cannot continue the way they have. We need to take back the power given to the multinational corporations. Voting has been singularly unsuccessful in taking back the power they have acquired by lobbying and political contributions. Protests, petitions, letter writing, talking to your Congressman, all just as impotent. The power we DO have is the power of the purse (wallet, for you guys).

Stop Buying It! Stop buying the lead-coated toys, the melamine-laced pet food (and probably protein powders eaten by humans too). Stop buying the CAFO meat, raised on GMO corn and soybeans, slaughtered in huge plants by overworked and underpaid employees. Stop buying the bottled water: stop drinking the water contaminated by plasticizers, and stop contributing to a mountain of empty plastic bottles in every landfill in the country.

Stop buying the clothes and shoes made by sweatshop workers and children (school-age but not going to school) in impoverished countries. Stop buying the coffee and chocolate sold for pennies per pound by farmers in Africa and Asia, and hawked here for 100 times the cost.

Stop buying the GMO crops, the hormone-polluted dairy products, the irradiated meats. The FDA and the USDA categorically refuse to listen to the 90% of American consumers that want these products labeled so that we can make our own choices. Your only recourse is either to buy organic, or to grow your own (Victory Gardens, here we come!) And we need to hold strong against continued corporate and USDA efforts to weaken organic standards to allow GMOs, hormones, irradiation, sewage sludge, and other horrors into our food chain.

Just as an experiment, try to buy non-food items (such as clothes, household goods, home improvement, toys, etc. etc. etc.) that are made in the U.S.A. You will find it VERY difficult to find these products. Somehow, we have shipped most of our manufacturing base overseas, where they actually MAKE things. Most of the jobs in the U.S. just push data around. Many of the rest are "service jobs" mostly poorly paid: house cleaners, fast food workers, day care workers, you know the list. "Farmers" have become such a small part of our employment base that I read that the Census Bureau does not have a listing for farming as an occupation any more. And most farm families have some member who works in town, because farming pays so poorly (though it is one of the most capital-intensive individual occupations in the country).

Not to get too many themes into this article, I'll sum up:

Best: grow it yourself! (Victory Gardens)
Second best: get it from a local small farmer
Third best: get it from your own state (Colorado, for me)
Fourth best: get it from the U.S., at least

If you must buy food from overseas, try to get it organic and fair-trade (such as coffee, chocolate, spices, tropical fruit).

Best: make it yourself, if possible
Second best: buy it from a local craftsman who makes it
Third best: buy it from a local non-franchise store
Fourth best: buy it from a "little box", a locally-owned franchise store
Fifth best: buy it from a "big box" store, but American made

If all of these steps fail, perhaps you DON'T NEED IT! Or perhaps you can buy it used, at stores like the Goodwill or Habitat for Humanity. However, in some cases, you will be forced to buy foreign-made goods from a big box franchise store, because you will have no choice.

Don't think that the spending by "one person" won't change the world, because it is not just "one person". There are more and more people who feel the same. If each us lives up to our conscience, our community, and our own enlightened self-interest, we CAN change the world. There is a peaceful revolution going on, and you can be a part of it.

Millet? Isn't that birdseed?

Actually, what my friend said was that if I got tired of eating the millet, I could always use it as birdseed! I bought a 50-lb bag of organic Colorado millet recently ("Grains and Beans--Some Success"). I've given away several pounds to friends, and put the rest into 1/2-gallon jars for longterm storage.

It's not a good idea to keep it in the paper bag it came in; we don't want "critters" to get into it, like mealmoths and flour beetles. After an infestation years and years ago, I got into the habit of putting grains and flours (and chiles) into glass jars for longterm storage. I've also jarred the anasazis, pintos and quinoa.

Next step was to start looking for millet recipes. I've come up with several. I'm Really liking the millet. I no longer feel bad that my rice is nearly gone. But there's a trick to cooking millet, especially at this elevation.

What worked for me: put 1 cup millet in saucepan, cover with boiling water, let stand for several hours. Then run some fresh water over it, drain, return to pan, and add about 1 1/2 cups of fresh water and a little salt. Bring to a boil, simmer 15 minutes, covered. The millet comes out all perfectly cooked and not gummy.

Now you can use it in a recipe.

Ukrainian Millet and Mushrooms

1 cup millet, soaked and cooked as above
1/4 lb non-cured bacon, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 to 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, chopped
(portabellas or shiitakes are nice)

Put bacon in a skillet and saute gently until done but not crispy. Add a little butter or olive oil if bacon is very lean. Then saute the onion and mushrooms for a few minutes. Stir in the cooked millet. Serve.

Vegetarians can omit the bacon and use 2 tablespoons of butter and 1/2 cup mushrooms. Vegans can substitute olive oil for the butter. Any of these variations would be good. This is good for breakfast too.

Localizing: Colorado organic millet, bacon from Rocky Plains, onion from a local CSA or grower, Hazel Dell mushrooms.

Quick Lunch with Millet

This assumes that you have cooked millet and roasted vegetables in your frig. Warm the millet with a little water and/or butter or olive oil. Top with some roasted vegetables. Done! This with a slice of local cheese makes a wonderful lunch. The combination of the sweetness of the vegetables with the millet is very nice.

Quick Lunch with Quinoa

This assumes that you have cooked quinoa and boiled potatoes in your frig. Heat the quinoa and chopped boiled potatoes with a little butter or olive oil. When well warmed up, make a little well in the mixture, add a bit more olive oil into the well, and crack an egg into it. Pop on a lid, cook for a few minutes until egg is set. Scoop into a bowl and top with a little salsa. The combination of potatoes and quinoa is very nice.

BTW, quinoa should be rinsed in hot tap water before cooking. It has a little bitter coating that rinses off.

The Sweetness of Winter Vegetables

Yes, it's "sweet" HAVING the winter vegetables to eat. But also, as these vegetables stay in storage through the winter months, they become more sweet as the sugars develop. This is not good or bad, but can affect the recipes you fix.

For example, I fixed the Chinese Napa and noodle dish in an earlier post ("More Winter Recipes") and took it to a potluck with a friend who is Chinese. She said, "it is so sweet?" I said I didn't add anything that was sweet to it: Napa, rice noodles, dried mushrooms and shrimp, and tamari. I later thought about it: It was the Napa itself that was sweet. A different dish than it would be when made with a fresh summer head of Napa.

And recently, I fixed roasted winter vegetables (recipe in earlier post). Turnip, parsnip, carrot and leek, roasted in the oven with a little olive oil and fresh herbs. They tasted great to me, but my husband complained that they were "sweet". He couldn't put a finger on why he didn't like it, but tried each vegetable, and then said "what's this?" "parsnip" "That's what I don't like."

Okay. I can save the parsnip for soups, where it is delicious. Turnip has sweetened enough in storage that it is truly yummy roasted. The next set of roasted vegetables will be just turnips. I'm looking forward to it. (And it gives me a way to use those 6 turnips waiting for me.)

Cabbage also sweetens some. The bitey nature of some of the Cruciferae mellows through the winter.

The apples I have stored in our cool garage are also getting sweeter and softer. I used to stew apples for dessert, with a little heavy cream (yum). Now it's enough to just cut them up and spoon on a bit of cream.

Note: if you keep your storage potatoes really cold, they will develop a sweetness that is definitely not potato-like. In this case, however, holding them at room temperature for a day or two before cooking undoes this change.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Another Beef Recall

The biggest yet, and the most horrifying. Industrial meat and poultry raising and killing practices are evil. Chickens and pigs in cages their whole lives, steers standing on mountains of manure eating foods that make them sick, and make us sick too. As long as we passively acquiesce in the insanity of CAFO operations, it won't stop. When we buy the very cheapest meat and chicken we can find, we tell these companies that we don't care what they do.

It's Way past time to start buying your beef, pork and chicken from a local grower, where you know how it was raised, and that it was humanely slaughtered. It costs a little more, okay, but your conscience and your health, and your family's health, are worth the extra money. The fact that pastured and organic meats taste better is a little extra reward to you for doing the right thing.

Friday, February 15, 2008

More Winter Recipes

Here are a few more ways to fix the winter vegetables.

Napa--wonderful stuff
It keeps nearly forever. Our CSA, Cresset Farm, grows wonderful Napa, and we get to enjoy it all winter long.

Winter Napa Slaw
1/2 pound Napa cabbage, sliced fine
half a small head red cabbage, sliced fine
1/4 cup carrot, halved and sliced fine
1/4 cup lactofermented (pickled) vegetables (if you have them)
1/4 cup buttermilk, kefir or yogurt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar or honey
salt and pepper to taste

Sliced up vegetables and mix. Mix remaining ingredients and stir in. The red cabbage adds a welcome crunch to the slaw. If you keep it for several days, the dressing will turn slightly pink from the cabbage. I used Ursula's summer medley pickles; you could also use her turnip pickle, kim chee (sliced fine), or cucumber pickle (sliced fine). If you don't have any suitable pickles, you can omit them and the slaw is still very good.

Chinese Napa and mushrooms

1 pound chopped Napa cabbage
1 tablespoon cooking oil
2 tablespoons dried shrimp
6 dried shiitake mushrooms, or you could use fresh shiitakes
chicken stock or water
4 ounces rice noodles
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari

Place dried shrimp in small bowl; place dried shiitakes in another small bowl; pour boiling water over each, let stand 20 minutes. Then slice shiitakes, discarding stem. Drain shrimp, saute in oil a few minutes, then add cabbage, mushrooms and the soaking liquid, and stock to just cover. Simmer 15-30 minutes, until cabbage is tender. Meanwhile, bring a quart of water to boil, add rice noodles, and let stand with heat off, until tender. Then drain the noodles and mix with the vegetables, seasoning as desired with soy sauce or tamari. This dish is also good with some cubes of tofu added during the braising period.

Parsnip-Mushroom Soup
Parsnip makes such wonderful pureed soups. Here is another one.

1 pound parsnip, peeled and cut in chunks
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms (Hazel Dell portobellos are nice)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups chicken or beef stock, or water
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup milk
pinch or more of spices: I used ground cloves, nutmeg, and cardamon

Cut two mushrooms into very thin slices, for garnish. Cut the rest into thick slices.

Saute the parsnip and thick-sliced mushrooms slowly in the oil for 10 minutes or more, stirring frequently. You want the parsnip to start to brown a little on all sides. Then add the stock, and simmer covered for 10-15 minutes, until parsnips are soft. Cool a few minutes, then puree in blender. Return to pan, add milk, add salt and pepper to your taste, then add some spices (doesn't take much, probably less than 1/4 teaspoon, to your taste). If it's too thick, stir in a little water. Float a few mushroom slices in each bowl.

Grains and Beans--Some Success

The good news: I have 25 pounds each of Colorado-grown organic pinto and anasazi beans, and quinoa, and a whopping 50 pounds of Colorado-grown organic millet. All at a reasonable price. Time to figure out some millet recipes!

The bad news: None of it was grown within 100 miles. Yes, some grains and beans are grown within 100 miles, but they are not organic. The San Luis Valley is the source for most of the bounty I found this week.

Upshot: I am a realist, as well as an idealist. It will take some time to nurture an economic climate in northeastern Colorado that encourages local growers to grow organic grains and beans for us. Meanwhile, I am settling for Colorado-grown. I also like short food chains; I was able to find two Denver wholesalers that sell in (small) bulk quantities to individuals, and source their products directly from the farmers involved. Not so bad. Here is the story.

I had to go to Denver last Wednesday for other business, so I took the opportunity to visit Growers Organic. They are a distributor of Colorado-grown organic produce, grains, flours, and beans, and probably some other stuff too. Website:

I had the address as 3755 Wazee, which is just off Washington Street after it turns into 38th. I zigzagged back and forth a few times, trying to find it, and finally called them at 303 299-9500 for help. Here's how to find it. It's near the SE corner of Brighton Boulevard and 38th, where you turn into a little driveway-looking road by the giant Giambrocco produce warehouse. This leads you around the building, where you finally see the sign for Wazee street. Go to the Will-Call entrance. Growers Organic is upstairs (the only upstairs there is). There were three friendly and busy women in the office when I was there; the phone was ringing constantly. I bought 25 pounds Colorado-grown organic pintos for $27.50, and 25 pounds Colorado-grown organic quinoa for $49.50.

I've really been hoping to find quinoa, the "Colorado substitute for rice", as our rice stock dwindles to nothing. They said they have plenty. They asked if I was interested in potatoes, which I have a good store of. Dummy me, I should have asked about them so I could pass the information on. But I didn't. You can call them to see what they have. For Denver/Boulder people it's a short trip. For Loveland/Fort Collins people, it wouldn't pay to drive to Denver for five pounds of potatoes, but if you could get a load of stuff, or were already in the city, it would make sense.

They referred me on to Golden Organics, their supplier for many staple items, so off I drove to Arvada. Golden Organics is located at 4941 Allison St., suite 2, in Arvada. You find them by turning west on 52nd avenue from Wadsworth (just NORTH [this used to say south--thanks Susan] of the I-70 intersection). Drive west to Allison, then turn south. There are two blocks of offices; theirs is in the back. Very nice people. I talked to Denise and David. Their phone number 303 456-5616. Their email is

They are wholesale dealers of organic grains, beans, flours, nuts, etc. David told me they try to get Colorado-grown whenever they can, and buy directly from farmers. But many times they can't.

As David told me, they always want to source their products as close as possible, but they also need to have a steady source of supply for their customers. For example: A local organic food manufacturer needs corn, now, so Golden Organics find it where they can (Kansas, in this case). They keep careful track of the sources for all their products, so I could buy known-Colorado products from them.

David told me that most of the northeast Colorado growers just haven't gotten into organic growing yet; there is not a big price margin between organic grains/beans and non-organic. There are a lot of organic growers in the San Luis valley. The summer weather is cooler there too, and more conducive to some crops such as quinoa, a high altitude grain. In fact, the quinoa and pintos I bought at Growers Organic actually came from Golden Organic.

I bought a 25 pound bag of Colorado organic anasazi beans for $34.00, and a 50 pound bag of Colorado organic millet (they didn't have a 25 pound bag) for a tiny $23.50 (that's 46 cents a pound).
They had whole wheat and flour, and carry Wheat Land Farms flour. They also had unbleached white Colorado organic flour, but I passed on that, and oats.

They are working with local people on setting up a couple of food coops, one in Louisville. If anyone buys 300 pounds of their bulk goods, they will deliver it by truck in northern Colorado. It spurred my ideas of having a Loveland Local food cooperative. Contact me if you're interested....

I asked about sunflower seeds. Unfortunately they had a hard time sourcing organic sunflower seeds in the U.S. Their present stock comes from China! I told Ursula at Cresset Farm about this; she said that a neighbor of theirs tried growing sunflower seeds this year, and the birds got every one. Our climate is great for growing sunflower seeds, but there are significant logistical problems standing in the way. (I'm going to try sunflowers in my yard this year. With just a few, I can tie bags over the ripening heads to keep the birds off.)

Anyway, I now have 125 pounds of Colorado organic staples, for less than $150, and discovered two strong sources for local foods. I also discovered far we are from a 100-mile diverse organic supply of grains and beans. "Make the road by walking" (see early post); we need to supply the interest and demand, to make it feasible for our local farmers to grow the crops.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Month 3 - Handling Unusual Situations

Two things came up in January that required a little maneuvering. The first was our trip to New York to visit my son Eric and his wife Aileen (see post "Two Locavores on Vacation"). Our guide on vacation: explore for some local food, but don't be rigid about it; after all, you're on vacation.

A few days after we got home, my husband came down with the flu. He just wasn't hungry for a day or two, then wanted very mild foods. I suggested chicken soup. To give him something quick while I defrosted and cooked a local chicken, I bought a can of organic chicken soup, and another of chicken broth, plus a head of (California) celery. I's still using the celery, a stick at a time, in other dishes. It is a nice flavor we haven't had for a while. Next year, I will try to find some and dry it for soups.
Our guide on illness: just do the best you can. Try to stay away from junk foods (they're pretty indigestible anyway); go for real food, organic if possible, and don't sweat it. (If I got too sick to cook, we'd have to make some accommodations too.)

And in early February, we had our countertops done, replacing an old DIY blue tile installation with Formica and a new tile backsplash. Very nice; much easier to clean. This meant the kitchen was unusable for lunch on two days. We ate a simple lunch at a restaurant, and didn't worry about it. I really felt OK about this, because we're usually having homemade pizza on the Saturday nights we could have gone out; we're way down in restaurant meals since the 100-mile changeover.

Other than this, we're eating probably 90% local foods--meat, poultry, eggs, dairy products, fruit from our yard (apples, dried peaches and plums, plus a little frozen fruit I bought last summer), and the wonderful winter veggies from Cresset Farm. Maybe 10% is On Hand items. I'm rapidly running out of pantry items: various flours, beans, and grains; commercial canned tomatoes are gone; commercial frozen vegetables are gone. I still have a lot of lactofermented pickles on hand in the frig; they taste very good in the winter.

Maybe 1% is Exceptions. In the Exceptions, I bought a bottle of California olive oil (not Italy), and a pound bag of Utah salt (Real Salt) in January.

I also bought some bulk herbs to make herbal teas; these are items I will be able to grow this summer, when we can retire the exception. I make a nice teapot full of "soothing tea" with a teaspoon or so of chamomile, and a little less of dried lemon balm and peppermint leaves. Better than those commercial teabags, and much cheaper. The spent leaves go out onto my dooryard shrubs, with a little water.

Things I'm not counting: yeast, cheese/yogurt/kefir cultures, and baking soda. I bought one jar of commercial yogurt this month to restore my yogurt culture, which was getting a little tired. Whole milk, with NOTHING added other than the culture. Now I've got fresh culture to use for the next couple of months (making the new batch from a little of the old). Kefir also has to be restored after 7 batches, with a new envelope. Kefir is a combination of culture and yeasts, which gives it the special flavor. After a number of batches, the critters get a little unbalanced, and you have to start fresh.

Baking soda is bicarbonate of soda, produced from natron, of which 95% of the world's supply is in southern Wyoming. Amazing, but true. It's a chemical, actually, and at my present rate of usage, the box I have will last a year.

February food is looking pretty much like January. Lots of soups and cooked vegetable dishes. I'm digging into my recipe books to find new ways to prepare the winter vegetables. We'll have pretty much the same ingredients to work with until the early greens show up in April and May (and will they taste good!).

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Cincinnati Chili--Making It Local

On our way back from upstate New York in January, we had a layover at the Cincinnati airport. Since the airlines seldom feed you any more, we were there lunchless, with all the usual franchises. But there was one more booth: Gold Star Chili. It had a large bulletin board next to it, describing how four brothers had scraped together $1,200 in 1969 to start the business, which is now a franchise in Ohio and several neighboring states.

Well, I thought, might as well try it while I'm here: "Local Food", right? Cincinnati chili in Cincinnati. So I ordered the chili on french fries, topped with grated cheese. Oh boy, belly bomb. But it was delicious. The chili had a definite flavor of cinnamon, spicy but not too spicy. The serving was just the right size to be filling without overfilling. Great experience. Thanks, Cincinnati and Gold Star.

Here at home, I found a recipe for Cincinnati Chili in a cookbook, and set to work localizing it. Here is my result.

Mostly-Local Cincinnati Chili

1 pound ground buffalo (Rocky Plains, Grover producer)
1 pound ground pork (Rocky Plains, Kersey producer)
1 cup chopped onion (Cresset Farm)
1/2 cup chopped celery (not local in winter)
1/2 cup fresh chopped green pepper, or 2 Tbs dried (Cresset Farm)
2 tablespoons your favorite chili powder (Native Seeds, AZ)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper (or black would work as well)
salt to taste
4 cups water
1 cup tomato sauce (not local this year, but will be next!)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey (Clarks, Fort Lupton)
grated cheese (Windsor Dairy)

Brown the ground meats, adding the onion and celery, stirring. Add the chili powder, cinnamon, allspice, pepper, salt, tomato sauce, water, and lemon juice. (Yes, it's a lot of water). Simmer together at least 1 1/2 hours. Stir in honey, check for seasoning. You should be able to taste the spices, and just a bit of sweet-sour taste from the lemon juice and honey.

Traditionally served on spaghetti or on French fries, it is also good on baked or boiled potatoes. Top with grated cheddar or other cheese. You can also add well-cooked beans either in the chili toward the end of cooking, or at serving time.

Native Seeds/SEARCH is based in Arizona. The organization works to preserve native plant varieties of the southwest, selling seeds, and also sells chili powders and other traditional southwest foods. So although they are not a Colorado company, they are working hard to preserve local foods for our benefit. The chili powder I used in this recipe was on hand in my kitchen, half Hatch mild, and half Ancho, flavorful but not extremely hot.

Your Victory Garden, Part 1

My sister sent me a marvelous post by Bob Waldrop, who moderates RunningOnEmpty2 Yahoo group. Bob has graciously allowed free distribution of his Rant to Encourage Local Food Production, so I am reproducing it here. Feel free to pass it along to your friends, and publish on your own blog, if you have one.

Bob lives in Oklahoma City, and has organized the Oklahoma City Food Coop, which is a major force for good, local, inexpensive food in his locality. I am reprinting his message in its entirety--I wouldn't want to cut out anything.


From: Robert Waldrop

Let's just cut right to the point:

Growing vegetables in your back yard (or your front yard) is an excellent way to develop some part-time income and provide your family with great food.

Growing vegetables in your back or front yard will increase your quality of life and your economic security and your physical and mental and emotional health.

Growing vegetables in your back or front yard provides exercise which is important for good health.

Growing vegetables in your back or front yard provides food that tastes very good and is full of nutrition.

We need people willing to start part-time, micro-businesses, growing food and distributing and selling it into the local market.

Lately there has been a lot of news talk about economic uncertainty. Entire sectors of the debt industry are in near-melt-down mode. The economic chattering class is going on and on and on about The R Word (recession).

Our government says the 2007 inflation rate for the year was 4.1% and energy price inflation was 17.4%.

But in the last quarter of 2007, inflation took a sharp turn up.

The inflation rate for all items Oct-Dec 2007 was 5.1% -- and for energy it was 37.1%. Primary data is at .

The globalized economy means that when Shanghai, or Hong Kong, or Washington, or London, or Moscow sneezes -- everyone gets a cold, even us'ns here in Oklahoma City.

Just as we are not in complete control of our food destiny right now, we are not in complete control of our economic destiny. Changing our food destiny is what the Oklahoma Food Coop is about. And economic viability is as important as social justice and environmental sustainability. By working together, we can change our food destiny and our economic destiny and our environmental destiny.

Given how important "economic viability" is to most of us, now is the good time to explore creating a part-time business that produces something for the local market.

Consider it a hedge against the possibility of economic and food disasters.

Local food production grows in a very sustainable way -- many small enterprises, spread over a large area, cooperating with each other in a local circle of trade and enterprise. No "one big operation" that monopolizes everything.

Nobody should quit their day job. I'm not. But within a month or two, I plan to bring to the coop market my product -- bulgar wheat, made with certified organic wheat bought from another coop producer. And also Hotter Than Hades Homemade Habanero Sauce. (HTH3.)

I recently pointed out to the producers that we may sell a million dollars of local food products in 2008. I asked them, "What are you going to do to make sure you contribute to that million dollar in one year benchmarket?"

Now I would like to ask our general membership -- "What could you do -- something new -- to increase local food production while at the same time creating yourself some part time income?"

If you don't think you can make money out of a relatively small plot in your back yard, go to and read all about how these folks in Canada gross $50,000/year on one-half acre in a city -- and its not even one contiguous half acre, it is scattered around town in 20 plots. We have their guides. There's a lot of expert advice available. You're not going to make $50,000 your first year, or even in your first several years. But you will earn income and as your skills, production, and customer base increase, you will earn more economic and food security.

We even have a structure handy and already operating to help you market. You can become a coop producer yourself, or you can hook up with the City Farms Coop founded by food coop member David Rushton, and sell through the network they are establishing, which includes a producer membership in the Oklahoma Food Coop. Check out their producer info at .

In an economy as uncertain as the present, diversifying your income sources is more than a bit prudent. The Oklahoma Food Cooperative can help you do that. By 2012, we could be selling a million dollars of locally produced foods every month. But to do that, there must be a million dollars of locally produced foods available for us to sell.

So we're not talking "we need five or six", I'm saying we need hundreds, and then thousands, of new local food producers (or existing producers who re-orient their focus). In the next 4 years.

This month, 63 producers have something to sell through the coop, and many of the more in demand products are already sold out. 82 people opened baskets in the first hour of today's order (I call this the Oklahoma Food Coop Land Rush, although it's really an Egg Rush.) 258 people have ordered thus far today.

Four years from now I bet that thousands of people order on the first day of the February 2012 order.

And in 2016? We will be even more popular. If you're going to bet, this is where you should lay your money.

That's where this train is headed. I hope we're all on board for the ride. I am sure it will be bumpy at spots, but the food is something to write home about all along the ride.

So ponder those apples in your cider and see what you come up with. (That's an official directive from the head office, so I hope everyone is paying attention.)

Y'all have a bon appetitin' good time ordering these 2,461 great Oklahoma foods and artisan products that are on sale this month.

Bob Waldrop, Oklahoma Food Cooperative

PS. One final note. Every day people are dying in wars in Iraq and elsewhere. Ultimately, they are fighting over oil. Thus far, in the midst of our global troubles, we tend to forget that there are things we need to do here on the homefront to contribute to a world of peace and justice. During World War I and II, "Victory Gardens" made an important contribution to local economic and food security. In those days they remembered the truth of this children's rhyme:

Little drops of water, little grains of sand,
Make the mighty ocean and the pleasant land.

In 1918, 1/4 of the US population was cultivating a Victory Garden.

Ninety years later in 2008, we here on the home front send our petro-dollars to pay for the bombs and bullets that terrorists use to kill civilians and our soldiers. The more money we send to OPEC, the more death and suffering there will be. That's obviously not our intention, but that is the unmistakable and unavoidable consequence.

It's a bad picture, and we need to get a better one. And everyone needs to contribute something, somehow --

producer, customer, advisor, teacher, cooperator, entrepreneur, researcher, distributor, investor.

-- all these are necessary for a functioning local food system that rewards environmental sustainability, supports social justice, sustains rural and urban communities, and is economically viable.

More local food production helps break our destructive petroleum dependence on the good graces and "friendship" of OPEC et al. It positions us to meet the energy realities of the future (higher cost, less availability) and thus insulates us from potential economic shocks. It reduces the flow of money to the enemies of peace and freedom.

It's really unlikely that the complex world situation is just going to muddle along for the next 50 years the way they have for the last 50. We're building towards what the sociologists call a "punctuated equilibrium" -- that is, big fundamental changes. During all of my lifetime until recently, gasoline has been cheap. My first car, a 1960 Ford Falcon, I could fill up for 23 cents/gallon, and like all of us, I just got into that car and went anywhere I wanted to go. One gallon now costs the price of a fill-up in 1964.

That was then, this is now. The tank is much more empty than it was then. The price of fuel will continue to increase.

Meanwhile, back at the drawing board, our entire built infrastructure, agriculture, and transportation systems are predicated on cheap energy. Oops! We need built infrastructure, agriculture, and transportation systems that can cope with future energy realities and we need that sooner rather than later.

"Not meeting this challenge" is not an option. The only thing we can do to moderate the price of energy is to use less fossil fuels and more renewable energies. Growing a local food system is an essential aspect of our region's energy transition.

Procrastination is the thief of time.