Wednesday, April 1, 2015

#FastFoodNation Workers Plan #April15 Strike

from time.com: U.S. fast food workers are planning a major one-day strike on Tax Day, April 15, their latest action in a two-year campaign for a $15 hourly wage and the right to unionize.Workers will walk off the job at fast food restaurants in more than 200 cities across the U.S. to demand higher pay, and protests will be held in as many as 40 other countries the same day.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

.@HeinzKetchup_US buys @Kraft in Mega-Merger for Big Food

Heinz buys Kraft in Mega-Merger for Big Foodfrom washingtonpost.com: The corporate kings of sugary ketchup and processed cheese, under assault by consumers’ growing love for fresher cuisine, are making a major gamble to revive their fortunes in the face of the changing American appetite. H.J. Heinz and Kraft Foods Group, two of the most iconic names in the nation’s kitchens, said Wednesday they would merge through an estimated $45 billion deal to form one of the world’s biggest food empires.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Anti-depressant Microbes In Soil: How Dirt Makes You Happy

from gardeningknowhow.com: Prozac may not be the only way to get rid of your serious blues. Soil microbes have been found to have similar effects on the brain and are without side effects and chemical dependency potential. Learn how to harness the natural antidepressant in soil and make yourself happier and healthier. Read on to see how dirt makes you happy. 

Natural remedies have been around for untold centuries. These natural remedies included cures for almost any physical ailment as well as mental and emotional afflictions. Ancient healers may not have known why something worked but simply that it did. Modern scientists have unraveled the why of many medicinal plants and practices but only recently are they finding remedies that were previously unknown and yet, still a part of the natural life cycle. Soil microbes and human health now have a positive link which has been studied and found to be verifiable.

Soil Microbes and Human Health
Did you know that there’s a natural antidepressant in soil? It’s true. Mycobacterium vaccae is the substance under study and has indeed been found to mirror the effect on neurons that drugs like Prozac provide. The bacterium is found in soil and may stimulate serotonin production, which makes you relaxed and happier. Studies were conducted on cancer patients and they reported a better quality of life and less stress.



Saturday, March 7, 2015

Big Agra Descends on Cuba to Spread GMOs

from startribune.com:: A delegation of 75 top U.S. agriculture leaders organized by Minnetonka-based Cargill Inc. will arrive in Cuba this weekend on a trade mission to explore the potential for increased business between the two countries.


Leaders said the trip will be a “learning journey” to understand what Cuba may need from U.S. farms, including corn, soybeans and rice, and what products the United States might receive from Cuba if less restrictive trade policies are adopted by both countries.

“It’s really about just having a good exchange with them on the state of the agricultural economy in Cuba,” said Devry Boughner Vorwerk, director of international business relations at Cargill, which has taken a lead in lobbying Congress to lift the trade embargo with Cuba.

Vorwerk and others started the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba early this year, weeks after President Obama announced he would pursue normal trade and diplomatic ­relations with Cuba following more than 50 years of restrictions.

The trip will begin with an orientation on Sunday, and a set of meetings with Cuban government import officials and others on Monday. The delegation will split into six smaller groups on Tuesday to visit Cuban farmers and agricultural cooperatives, Vorwerk said, to learn about their production capabilities, ­challenges and innovations. Wednesday will be a wrap-up day that includes discussions of the "larger issues" ahead. [emphasis added]

Thursday, February 26, 2015

More U.S. Children Doing Yoga, Taking Sleep Supplements

from channelnewsasia.com: A growing number of American children are bending into downward dog and other yoga poses, according to a new report on complementary health practices.

The report analyzed National Health Interview Survey data on practices outside of mainstream medicine and found significantly more kids and teens practicing yoga, tai chi and qi gong in 2012 than in 2007.

The study also showed a significant increase in the number of children using melatonin supplements as sleep aids. Melatonin is a natural hormone known to play a role in sleep.

Yoga originated in India more than 5,000 years ago, and the mind-body practice has become so popular in the west that yoga studios are as common in parts of California as Starbucks coffeehouses.

The new study, published in National Health Statistics Reports, included 17,321 interviews with adults about their 4- to 17-year-olds.

Overall, 3.1 percent of kids did yoga in 2012, up from 2.3 percent in 2007.

Industry data shows a nearly 8 percent increase in the number of yoga instructors during the same five years, the study authors write. In addition, they say, public schools are beginning to incorporate yoga – which fosters stretching, relaxing and developing strength – into fitness programs.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Marijuana Is Officially Legal In Alaska

from huffingtonpost.com: Marijuana is now legal for adults in Alaska.

Alaska on Tuesday becomes the third U.S. state to end prohibition of marijuana, officially putting into effect Ballot Measure 2, approved by 53 percent of state voters in November.

Alaskans age 21 and older may now legally possess up to one ounce of marijuana, grow as many as six marijuana plants in their homes (with no more than three flowering), and possess any additional marijuana produced by those plants.

Shops selling legal recreational marijuana aren't likely to open until 2016, after the state legislature establishes a regulatory framework. State lawmakers have begun introducing legislation to that end.

"State laws allowing adults to use marijuana are becoming less and less of a novelty," said Mason Tvert, communications director for drug policy reform group Marijuana Policy Project. "It won’t be long before it’s the rule instead of the exception nationwide. Colorado and Washington are proving that regulating marijuana works, and soon Alaska will, too.”

The Marijuana Policy Project, a backer of the Alaska ballot measure, is launching a public education campaign reminding marijuana users to "consume responsibly," with ads that read: "With great marijuana laws comes great responsibility.”

“Most adults use marijuana for the same reasons most adults use alcohol,” Tvert said. “We want them to keep in mind that it carries the same responsibilities.”

Voters in Alaska, Oregon and Washington, D.C., passed similar marijuana laws last year, joining Colorado and Washington state, which legalized recreational marijuana in 2012 and opened retail shops in 2014. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Australian Farmers Lobby Gov't For Clearer Labeling Of Supermarket Food

from apperspective.net: Tasmanian farmers are calling for greater transparency in supermarket food labeling, lobbying the Australian government to introduce clearer identification of imported goods.

The call for action on Monday comes on the back of a major hepatitis A scare in Australia, prompted by frozen berry imports from Chinese suppliers.

The Australian government has vowed to tighten regulations of labels which do not currently state a country of origin. But it has stopped short of agreeing to ban frozen imports.

Farmers have said that consumers are being left in the dark, and are often under the illusion that they are getting local products when they're actually eating imported food.

Tasmanian vegetable grower and deputy chairman of Ausveg, David Addison, told The Hobart Mercury on Monday that current regulations are "meaningless" and not strict enough, often causing confusion in supermarket aisles.

"People are increasingly wanting to know where their products are coming from," he said.

He said the current acceptable standard - "made in Australia from local and imported ingredients" - was misleading, and recommended a ban on the term. The issue will be examined by a parliamentary inquiry into foreign food sources.

Federal Agricultural Minister Barnaby Joyce announced last week that changes to labeling laws could be reviewed, but no steps have since been taken to implement any modifications.

Addison said that while eradicating imported foods would be an extreme step, clearer labeling would give Australian consumers a much better idea of what they were buying.