TRUTH ACTION and sexy lingerie

2 Comments

Part 2 of Habit Busting: Early to rise makes my thighs less flabby.

For the month of January, I developed a positive outlook by avoiding the main trigger of negativity in my life, procrastination, which I found to occur primarily in my comfort zone aka while lounging on the living room sofa. Therefore while I despise rules of any kind, I adopted one for my own good…NO STIITNG ON THE COUCH (until after 4:00 pm).

Having mastered the no couch zone I am ready to move onto a second challenge. For the month of February my goal is to get out of bed an hour earlier which for me will be 5am. And since there’s no couch time allowed I’ve decided to take an even bigger step…I am going to exercise for at least 30 minutes every morning.

If I succeed I am going to treat myself to a new outfit from my new favorite shop, Philanthropy.

This is a HUGE challenge for me people so any words of encouragement would be greatly appreciated.

————————————————————————————————–

I’ve come to realize with my recent experiment in habit busting that the term comfort zone is very misleading. A comfort zone is anything but comfortable. It’s more like a trap, a quagmire of excuses and the perfect breeding ground for procrastination and guilt. Comfort zones create mental barriers beyond which we hesitate to go or GROW.

We use our comfort zone as a retreat from the TRUTH and ACTION of living. It is a place of unfulfilled dreams and meritocracy. Its where we wear our sweat pants instead of our sexy lingerie or what have you…

I’m calling it quits on my comfort zone. To hell with it! Here’s to TRUTH, ACTION and sexy lingerie (or whatever our hearts desire).

Squash Every One!

2 Comments

Happy New Year yall!

Hope you started 2012 out with a bowl of black eyed peas and collards. If not, try throwing a pinch or two in some scrambled eggs with a bit of cheddar cheese. It’s the best!

Well today is day 3 of guilt busting and I think its going pretty well. I am following the methods described on zenhabits.net mainly because Leo has used them to transform his own life. He got out of debt, quit smoking, lost 70 pounds, and created a career, all in just a few years! I’ve come a long way myself but I’m not finished yet. There is so much more growing and learning to do. That’s why I am dedicating this entire month to getting rid of negative thoughts.

According to Leo I need to write down my plan, have a mantra, identify my triggers and make it public. So here I am doing just that. My guilt busting mantra is “Squash every one!” I am going to squash every negative thought and replace it with a positive one. I have identified the things that trigger me to have negative thoughts. My two biggest triggers are procrastinating and getting ready in the morning.

Procrastination is a habit in and of itself. I’m not sure if I can tackle that one just yet so I have decided to eliminate one component of my morning routine that makes procrastinating really easy, SITTING MY BUTT ON THE COUCH.

I’ve also invested some time in figuring out why I hate getting ready in the morning. What I realized came as surprise to me. I don’t feel confident about my appearance anymore and I actually CARE how I look to other people. I want to be pretty (er). So I have taken a few steps to remedy this problem which will hopefully eliminate the morning blues. After a few hours on the internet, I now know what hairstyles flatter a round face, what colors look best on a winter complexion and what types of outfits flatter a pear shaped body. Armed with these helpful tips I will have a MUCH easier time squashing those negative thoughts and replacing them with positive ones!

Avoiding the couch and knowing how to choose my clothes and makeup are the baby steps I am taking for week one of this project. I hope these two things will have a dramatic effect on my daily routine.

What is it that triggers your negative thinking? Any of yall super positive already? I’d love to know your good habits and your challenges too.

American Blues

6 Comments

I began calling myself the Outlaw Farmer because I wanted to make the statement that at this point in time, growing and eating real food is an act of civil disobedience in America. But over the brief course of my blogging career, I’ve realized there’re more layers to this story. Namely that I am somewhat uncomfortable being outspoken about my love for America and my patriotism.

This uneasiness stems from prevailing negative attitudes toward America among my peers and in the media. What has happened here? When did we get so down on ourselves? When did our flag come to represent domination, greed, racism, and other such evils? When did we give up on the American Dream?

The flag and America Herself are symbols not of imperialism and capitalism but of freedom, opportunity, and the individual. The flag represents humankind’s God given rights to worship and speak freely, to protect ourselves and to pursue happiness.

I have concerns about many things politically speaking. But it all boils down to one final question; will we trade our freedom for false security? Will Americans willingly exchange personal sovereignty for short term creature comforts? I fear many will and thus seal our future fate. So many are ignorant. So many are helpless. So many are dependent. So many are unhealthy. This is not the recipe for freedom.

And we carry on with our bottled water, our ipods, our cell phones, our cable TV and our prescription medications. We carry on with diets that are killing us. We carry on with credit card debt. We carry on with domestic violence and brat dolls and disposable vacuum cleaners.

Those of us who are desperately trying to salvage America from the hands of global oppressors, those of us who are going to great lengths to be healthy productive members of society; those of us who still believe in the American Dream… we’re vilified, portrayed as a bunch of  extremist haters. Our resources are plucked away one at a time by illegal taxes, restrictions, regulations, road blocks…by any means possible to usurp our power over our own destinies.

Thus the Outlaw Farmer is born an outcast in her own beloved country because she believes in the freedom on which her country itself was founded. A tad ironic wouldn’t ya say?

This is my Soap Box Saturday post on Bleustockings

Slay the Dragon of Thou Shalt

5 Comments

At some poignant moment (one that I barely remember), in the fog of my early twenties, a friend whom I will most certainly stumble upon again in some future lifetime, gave me a little book called Reflections on the Art of Living: A Companion to Joseph Campbell. I read it from cover to cover, gave it to another friend, then bought it again, read it, and gave it to yet another friend. I went on like that with this book which had become my favorite, always giving it away only to buy it again and reread every page.

Its message haunted me, “Follow your bliss as a man whose hair is on fire seeks a pond”. Every fiber of my being yearned to run urgently toward my destiny with love and gratitude. To save myself from the shallow mediocrity of philosophical waxing over cocktails and cigarettes. And so one day, many years later, instead of turning right into the parking lot of my favorite pub, I took the road less traveled…a left turn down the path which led me here, to “slay the dragon of thou shalt”.

The Call of the Outlaw: A Farming Revival

10 Comments

Hardly a week goes by that I don’t receive a link to a news cast featuring some cool looking chap in overalls and a cowboy hat sporting his latest bushel of kale. Its kind of fun being in the “in crowd” for once in my life. But I hope this farming revival thing sticks around for more than just my ego.

The thing is, America needs to reconnect with our land and our food. There are so many reasons why: to renew our health, to address the needs of the land itself and the plants and animals that inhabit it, to regenerate our economy and create jobs. But in the immediate short term, I believe farming can help us heal from the pains of war.

As most of us have gone about our regular routines these last 10 years, our soldiers have been deployed into battle over and over again. And what sacrifices have the rest of us been asked to make? Spend more money on crap from China?! That’s pretty much the advice we’ve been given from our country’s leadership.  Whatever you do don’t stop spending. Is that what America stands for these days? Are we just a bunch of spenders?

I believe the farming revival is an organic response to the hollow empty promises of a globalized economy in a world at war, even though many entering the fields aren’t even aware of why they are so compelled. Its like we intuitively know we must change and the earth is calling out to us. As we help heal her, she brings healing to us as well. This is a movement no corporation can co-op, mimic or replace and no government is capable of regulating. But they will try.

If you are new to farming beware, there are inherent risks involved. You will find fewer friends than enemies. But the rewards come as your life is transformed and your soul uplifted. Together we are more than just the cool kids; we are the momentum behind the change we’ve been longing for. This change is not an empty promise but a real force that is already in motion. It is the call of the Outlaw. Are you ready to answer her?

Growing Power Kicks Butt & Will Allen is a Hero

Leave a comment

Welcome to Chapter 2: Positive Changes in America

A Good Food Manifesto for America
By Will Allen
Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Growing Power
5500 W. Silver Spring Dr.
Milwaukee WI 53218
Phone: (414) 527-1546
Fax: (414) 527-1908

www.growingpower.org
will@growingpower.org

I am a farmer. While I find that this has come to mean many other things to other people – that I have become also a trainer and teacher, and to some a sort of food philosopher – I do like nothing better than to get my hands into good rich soil and sow the seeds of hope.

So, spring always enlivens me and gives me the energy to make haste, to feel confidence, to take full advantage of another all-too-short Wisconsin summer.

This spring, however, much more so than in past springs, I feel my hope and confidence mixed with a sense of greater urgency. This spring, I know that my work will be all the more important, for the simple but profound reason that more people are hungry.

For years I have argued that our food system is broken, and I have tried to teach what I believe must be done to fix it. This year, and last, we have begun seeing the unfortunate results of systemic breakdown. We have seen it in higher prices for those who can less afford to pay, in lines at local food pantries, churches and missions, and in the anxious eyes of people who have suddenly become unemployed. We have seen it, too, in nationwide outbreaks of food-borne illness in products as unlikely as spinach and peanuts.

Severe economic recession certainly has not helped matters, but the current economy is not alone to blame. This situation has been spinning toward this day for decades. And while many of my acquaintances tend to point the finger at the big agro-chemical conglomerates as villains, the fault really is with all of us who casually, willingly, even happily surrendered our rights to safe, wholesome, affordable and plentiful food in exchange for over-processed and pre-packaged convenience.

Over the past century, we allowed our agriculture to become more and more industrialized, more and more reliant on unsustainable practices, and much more distant from the source to the consumer. We have allowed corn and soybeans, grown on the finest farmland in the world, to become industrial commodities rather than foodstuffs. We have encouraged a system by which most of the green vegetables we eat come from a few hundred square miles of irrigated semi-desert in California.

When fuel prices skyrocket, as they did last year, things go awry. When a bubble like ethanol builds and then bursts, things go haywire. When drought strikes that valley in California, as is happening right now, things start to topple. And when the whole economy shatters, the security of a nation’s food supply teeters on the brink of failure.

To many people, this might sound a bit hysterical. There is still food in the suburban supermarket aisles, yes. The shelves are not empty; there are no bread lines. We haven’t read of any number of Americans actually starving to death.

No, and were any of those things to happen, you can rest assured that there would be swift and vigorous action. What is happening is that many vulnerable people, especially in the large cities where most of us live, in vast urban tracts where there are in fact no supermarkets, are being forced to buy cheaper and lower-quality foods, to forgo fresh fruits and vegetables, or are relying on food programs – including our children’s school food programs – that by necessity are obliged to distribute any kind of food they can afford, good for you or not. And this is coming to haunt us in health care and social costs. No, we are not suddenly starving to death; we are slowly but surely malnourishing ourselves to death. And this fate is falling ever more heavily on those who were already stressed: the poor. Yet there is little action.

Many astute and well-informed people beside myself, most notably Michael Pollan, in a highly persuasive treatise last fall in the New York Times, have issued these same warnings and laid out the case for reform of our national food policy. I need not go on repeating what Pollan and others have already said so well, and I do not wish merely to add my voice to a chorus.

I am writing to demand action.

It is time and past time for this nation, this government, to react to the dangers inherent in its flawed farm and food policies and to reverse course from subsidizing wealth to subsidizing health.

We have to stop paying the largest farm subsidies to large growers of unsustainable and inedible crops like cotton. We have to stop paying huge subsidies to Big Corn, Big Soy and Big Chem to use prime farmland to grow fuel, plastics and fructose. We have to stop using federal and state agencies and institutions as taxpayer-funded research arms for the very practices that got us into this mess.

We have to start subsidizing health and well-being by rewarding sustainable practices in agriculture and assuring a safe, adequate and wholesome food supply to all our citizens. And we need to start this reform process now, as part of the national stimulus toward economic recovery.

In my organization, Growing Power Inc. of Milwaukee, we have always before tried to be as self-sustaining as possible and to rely on the market for our success. Typically, I would not want to lean on government support, because part of the lesson we teach is to be self-reliant.

But these are not typical times, as we are now all too well aware.

As soon as it became clear that Congress would pass the National Recovery Act, I and members of my staff brainstormed ideas for a meaningful stimulus package aimed at creating green jobs, shoring up the security of our urban food systems, and promoting sound food policies of national scope. The outcome needed to be both “shovel-ready” for immediate impact and sustainable for future growth.

We produced a proposal for the creation of a public-private enabling institution called the Centers for Urban Agriculture. It would incorporate a national training and outreach center, a large working urban farmstead, a research and development center, a policy institute, and a state-of-the-future urban agriculture demonstration center into which all of these elements would be combined in a functioning community food system scaled to the needs of a large city.

We proposed that this working institution – not a “think tank” but a “do tank” – be based in Milwaukee, where Growing Power has already created an operating model on just two acres. But ultimately, satellite centers would become established in urban areas across the nation. Each would be the hub of a local or regional farm-to-market community food system that would provide sustainable jobs, job training, food production and food distribution to those most in need of nutritional support and security.

This proposal was forwarded in February to our highest officials at the city, state and federal level, and it was greeted with considerable approval. Unfortunately, however, it soon became clear that the way Congress had structured the stimulus package, with funds earmarked for only particular sectors of the economy, chiefly infrastructure, afforded neither our Congressional representatives nor our local leaders with the discretion to direct any significant funds to this innovative plan. It simply had not occurred to anyone that immediate and lasting job creation was plausible in a field such as community-based agriculture.

I am asking Congress today to rectify that oversight, whether by modifying the current guidelines of the Recovery Act or by designating new and dedicated funds to the development of community food systems through the creation of this national Centers for Urban Agriculture.

Our proposal budgeted the initial creation of this CUA at a minimum of $63 million over two years – a droplet compared to the billions being invested in other programs both in the stimulus plan and from year-to-year in the federal budget.

Consider that the government will fund the Centers for Disease Control at about $8.8 billion this year, and that is above the hundreds of millions more in research grants to other bio-medical institutions, public and private. This is money well spent for important work to ensure Americans the best knowledge in protecting health by fighting disease; but surely by now we ought to recognize that the best offense against many diseases is the defense provided by a healthy and adequate diet. Yet barely a pittance of CDC money goes for any kind of preventive care research.

In 2008, the Department of Homeland Security approved spending $450 million for a new National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility at Kansas State University, in addition to the existing Biosecurity Research Institute already there. Again, money well spent to protect our food supply from the potential of a terrorist attack. But note that these hundreds of millions are being spent to protect us from a threat that may never materialize, while we seem to trivialize the very real and material threat that is upon us right now: the threat of malnourishment and undernourishment of very significant number of our citizens.

Government programs under the overwhelmed and overburdened departments of Agriculture and of Health and Human Services do their best to serve their many masters, but in the end, government farm and food policies are most often at odds between the needs of the young, the old, the sick and the poor versus the wants of the super-industry that agriculture has become.

By and large, the government’s funding of nutritional health comes down to spending millions on studies to tell us what we ought to eat without in any way guaranteeing that many people will be able to find or afford the foods they recommend. For instance, food stamps ensure only that poor people can buy food; they cannot ensure that, in the food deserts that America’s inner cities have become, there will be any good food to buy.

We need a national nutrition plan that is not just another entitlement, that is not a matter of shipping surplus calories to schools, senior centers, and veterans’ homes. We need a plan that encourages a return to the best practices of both farming and marketing, that rewards the grower who protects the environment and his customers by nourishing his soil with compost instead of chemicals and who ships his goods the shortest distance, not the longest.

If the main purpose of government is to provide for the common security of its citizens, surely ensuring the security of their food system must be among its paramount duties. And if among our rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, we are denied all those rights if our cities become prisons of poverty and malnutrition.

As an African-American farmer, I am calling on the first African-American president of the United States to lead us quickly away from this deepening crisis. Demand, President Obama, that Congress and your own Administration begin without delay the process of reforming our farm and food policies. Start now by correcting the omission in your economic stimulus and recovery act that prevented significant spending on creating new and sustainable jobs for the poor in our urban centers as well as rural farm communities.

It will be an irony, certainly, but a sweet one, if millions of African-Americans whose grandparents left the farms of the South for the factories of the North, only to see those factories close, should now find fulfillment in learning once again to live close to the soil and to the food it gives to all of us.

I would hope that we can move along a continuum to make sure that all of citizens have access to the same fresh, safe, affordable good food regardless of their cultural, social or economic situation.

End of Chapter 1

3 Comments

I’ve taken time off from the Outlaw blog to do some thinking, observation, and listening. I’ve found sometimes life speaks to me through people’s actions and reactions…I have also found serendipity to be a powerful force and one that is at work in my life at this juncture. So it is through others’ responses to my writings and recent opportunities to grow in new directions that I have decided to end this chapter of my blog, This chapter being the one in which I have enjoyed many a rant and indulged myself in the guilty pleasure of poking fun at all of us silly consumers.

At first read, some may interpret this chapter as condescending, one sided, high-horsey foolishness. Some may be outraged, although it was all in good fun as far as I’m concerned. What I hoped and attempted to convey is something along these lines. I believe the American economy is going to fold in the very near future. I believe we have passed peak oil production and that we, average American consumers, refuse to accept this fact. We go about our daily lives in denial that our actions, especially what we chose to buy and the amount of energy we use, drives government policy AND the actions of important companies (like BP). I believe we are being brainwashed by the media to maintain unsustainable lifestyles because if we change…the consequences for our economy would be devastating.

Americans say we want change. But our actions tell a different story. We really want things to remain convenient. We want near instant gratification without having to work all that hard. We want to keep buying cheap food wrapped in plastic and to feel good about ourselves for recycling the wrapper. OR we want the world to know we went the extra mile to shop at a trendy overpriced market for our “certified organic” groceries. The thing is, patting ourselves on the back for recycling our plastic water bottles and driving our designer SUV’s to Whole Foods is, in my humble opinion, missing the mark.

My message is there are alternatives and options the average American may be unaware of. For example, lots of folks sell farm eggs in reused cartons for less that you might expect. You just have to put in the effort to find them because regulations make it hard for farmers to advertise what they have available.

For example, a farmer free ranges some chickens, gathers their eggs and sells them in donated eggs cartons for $3 a dozen…all of which is illegal. The person buying those eggs can see with their own two eyes the chickens running around having happy little lives. That means the eggs are filled with nutrition and really healthy stuff. You can easily see the difference in the color and texture of the yolks and shells. The original egg carton doesn’t have to be shipped to China where it is recycled into a new carton for the exact same purpose and then shipped back to the US where it is refilled with more eggs. Your farmer skips the whole ship it to China thing and just puts some fresh eggs in the preused carton.  And the eggs themselves are produced less than 30 miles away from your front door.

The end result of buying from a farmer has many advantages over purchasing “free ranged” eggs at the store: 1. Large egg producers have lobbied to use the words free ranged to describe something very different from what most consumers assume it means. When you buy from a farmer you can see for yourself how the chickens are raised. This not only has consequences for the lives of the animals but it also affects the quality of the product you are spending you hard earned dollars on. Real farm eggs are really healthy. 2. Buying from a farmer creates important community ties and furthers growth of the local economy. Your egg farmer will know where to get local produce, dairy and meats as well. I believe we will need to have inroads into farming communities in the future as it becomes more and more difficult to transport food from thousands of miles away. 3. Farmers are great at finding ways to reduce and reuse packaging materials. That’s great for the earth and cuts down on prices. There’s no need to pay $6 for a dozen eggs!!!

Finding a farmer is just one of the many radical changes I believe each one of us needs to at least consider as we barge ahead into an uncertain future. I pray for open-minded-ness and outside-of-the-box thinking/solutions to the physical and economic health of our country. I do not believe bailing out failed systems or replicating outdated expensive projects is productive. It is my opinion surviving and healing from unsustainable industrial models is going to come with innovations from local, small companies and individuals who understand the unique needs and demands of the communities in which they live and serve. We need to know one another better, communicate in person more often and take time out to shoot the shit.

End of Chapter 1.

Older Entries