Friday, July 24, 2009

Yet another recall showing why we need to encourage MORE local food production

A plum treePlum tree laden with fruit. With some creative thinking, Salem could create a vast supply of healthy & inexpensive food for the Food Bank and for the Saturday Market just by putting fruit trees in parking strips and starting an "adopt-a-tree" program to ensure the fruit is tended and harvested. Image via Wikipedia

Another industrial phood nightmare, another reminder that what people in Salem need is more encouragement and support for growing or buying locally grown food that has never joined the industrial phood system.

That means encouraging backyard and frontyard gardening, replacing street trees with fruit trees, community gardens, support for small market gardeners just starting out, and, yes, allowing residents to keep some hens.

Don't know how to get started? Call Your Home Harvests.

UPDATE: Great article on how the industrial phood system has mastered the arts of using our evolved tastes against us.
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Federal money City of Salem staff should pursue

"I saw the dollar signs, man" at San...Image by Trig's via Flickr

One of the most frustrating things about the whole misguided effort to permanently (as in forever) lock up rare and productive agricultural acreage within the Salem urban growth boundary on Minto-Brown Island is that it was totally random, spur-of-the-moment lunge in an entirely new direction for the park, prompted only by the promise of some fast cash (borrowed money).

Salem originally went to the feds seeking money for an easement at Battle Creek, not Minto. It was the feds in Portland -- people with no knowledge of Salem or concern for its needs -- who came back with "No, but what about Minto?" (The feds want the biggest chunks of acreage because that's easier for them to administer.)

City staff, instead of consulting the Master Plan for Minto and saying "Well, gee, there's nothing in here about wanting to reduce agriculture in the park, I don't think we're interested," entered into discussions with the feds about just how much acreage to turn over to federal control. No notice to the public about this huge change in direction for the park, no discussion with the city council (the thing was hidden in the Council's consent agenda until a citizen happened to inquire about farming on the island and learned that there was this proposal being fast-tracked to chase these "stimulus" dollars).

Meanwhile, there's a river of federal stimulus dollars flowing into Portland for energy conservation work, work that Salem desperately needs. Getting a lot more of this kind of stimulus money is what city staff should be focused on--improving the energy efficiency of all structures in the city, because money sent out of town for energy leaves forever. Whereas money spent on weatherization and solarizing buildings not only creates jobs here but permanently improves our economy. Salem's small energy efficiency award ($1.5M) is just a drop in the bucket of need down here.
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OSU prof to speak at Peak Oil Conference in Denver in October

Click on the graphic to go the conference page.

Not that people should incur the carbon emissions or use the energy needed to travel to a conference (Nearly all the organizations should reject the "conference" model, but ASPO should be a leader here, figuring out how to use our resources to provide a "distributed conference" in hundreds of cities at once, spreading the knowledge and reducing the energy use.)

However, what's most interesting is that peak oil awareness is ever-so-slowly making its way onto the agenda of Oregon institutions. But if you look at ODOT's plans, you'd see that those plans presume infinite cheap oil for the next century or more (see here and here for just two of the most expensive current examples).

System Reset: Global Energy and the New Economy

Sheraton Hotel, Denver, Colorado
October 11-13, 2009
New!! Optional Workshop October 10

Early registration ends Aug 7, 2009!
Register now and save $100!

ASPO-USA, in concert with ASPO-International, invites you to join energy experts, investors, utilities, representatives from federal, state, and local governments, and others in Denver, Colorado for ASPO-USA's 5th annual Peak Oil Conference.

Session Topics Include:

  • The Great Recession and Energy Markets
  • Natural Gas Game Changers
  • Charting a Sustainable Future
  • Analysis from "The Oil Drum" Writers
  • Climate Change, Carbon Capture and Sequestration
  • The Media: On the Watch or Asleep at the Wheel?
  • Navigating Competing Priorities In Energy, Food, and Water Policy
  • Well, Don't Just Sit There! Examples from the Forefronts of the Transition
  • Stalking the Wild Taboo: Population, Carbon Taxes, and Nuclear Energy
Saturday Pre-Conference Optional Workshop:
Survive & Thrive After Peak Oil: Creating Personal Plans for the Coming Decades
Learn More

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Matthew Simmons, leading peak oil analyst and author, "Twilight in the Desert"
  • Kevin Phillips, author, "American Theocracy: The Peril & Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, & Borrowed Money"
  • Tom Petrie, Founder, Petrie, Parkman, Inc. / Merrill Lynch
  • Susan Capalbo, Chair, Dept. of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Oregon State University
  • Marcio Rocha Mello, President, HRT Petroleum, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • David Shields, journalist, author "Pemex: The Oil Reform, Mexico City, Mexico
  • Chris Martenson, creator, "The Crash Course"
  • Ray Leonard, Vice President of Exploration, Kuwait Energy
  • Robert Hirsch, energy consultant, US DOE, author of the Hirsch Report
  • Lisa Margonelli, author, "Oil on the Brain"
  • Peter Maass, writer, The New York Times, author "Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil"

The world is at a major crossroads - the convergence of peak oil and climate change. Despite challenging economic times, our nation is moving forward with sweeping initiatives to deal with climate change but ignoring the need to mitigate and plan for the peaking of world oil production. Our conference speakers, which include leading financial analysts, international oil industry executives, and peak oil observers, will offer new data and forecasts of our changing resources.

ASPO's four days of information-packed events appeals to a broad spectrum of people in business, public policy, and members of the public concerned with resource supply challenges. Register now to ensure your space and save $100.

For more information and details please visit

Run, do not walk to Salem Cinema to see and hear "Sita Sings the Blues"

This is the best movie shown during the recently concluded Salem Film Festival. AMAZING. Totally worth the money to see on the big screen with the great sound in the beautiful Salem Cinema. Roger Ebert agrees.