You ever ask yourself some important questions and didn’t know where to search for the answers you sought? Frustrating isn’t it!

Why is it that so many kids under age 12 are overweight? Why is it that the foods we eat are linked to chronic illness? Why is it that its government law to have health coverage?

Kendrick Lamar asks the question “How much does a dollar cost?” According to him absolutely too much. He also says “I love myself.” Well if you love yourself and all living things. Just ask yourself “How much is nature worth?” Horticulture and Landscape Professor Robert Farnsworth says “He loves the fact that ecological revolution is happening right now and the cost are a lot less than the consequences that lay head if we keep pursuing the path we’re currently on.” He’s fully vested in his passion and firing on all cylinders for the cause.

His appetite articulates, “We’re collaborating with culinary arts on the farm to table project. Mainly because it’s unbelievable how far food travels.” He say’s “carrots travel roughly 1,600 miles,” leaving a colossal carbon footprint. The Nature Conservancy does the work to help undue the harmful trail of effects that human behavior bestows upon nature. They provide solutions to tough tasks focusing on issues involving maintaining freshwater systems, climate change, renewable energy, and migratory birds for the past five decades, salmon protection and they provide a calculator to help estimate your carbon footprint.

According to Farnsworth “Fruits and vegetables are grown with shipping in mind, for example tomatoes are thick skinned, harvested for longevity. The idea behind farm to table is to teach people how to grow their own food. There are many benefits to growing your own food including chemical management.” His dissent “The 70’s out lawed over 600 chemicals in the US. Some are still used on farming production in other countries we import from.” Ouch! Monsanto a major food producer and culprit contributes to some of the top 10 deadliest poisons on the list.

Just ask yourself how’s this possible. Naturally, there appears to be a conflict of interest. Monsanto in 1985 brought the artificial sweetener aspartame, which is linked to cancer and neurological disorders. In 1944 they manufactured the pesticide DDT – banned in 1972. However, replaced it with herbicide Roundup – supposedly more toxic than its predecessor DDT. The active ingredient in Roundup is linked to birth defects, reproduction failure and causing tumors and mortality in lab rats.

Then there’s Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) injected into livestock triggering rapid growth. Consumption of animal products associated with this hormone is linked to breast cancer in women. “Agent Orange” warfare was a most extreme chemical tactic used against the Vietnamese. It is shameful how 72 million liters of this lethal herbicide caused lifelong birth defects to millions of babies.

Just under two years ago Governor Jerry Brown signed anti-engineering bill (AB 504) banning the commercial production of genetically modified or transgenic salmon in California waters. Fear is that GE salmon could escape breeding lots putting native species at risk by interbreeding, competing for food and the spreading of foreign parasites and diseases.

The “frankenfish” as commonly known has the imminent potential to wipe out nature’s selection folks fear. In 2015 The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved it as the first animal authorized for human consumption in the US. The FDA declares “it/them safe” in spite of their growth patterns being twice that of its native genus. Which are akin to that of the species of meat finished at feeding lots. Animal Feeding Operations (AFO) lots is a type of intense animal farming model used for finishing livestock to fatten them up just prior to slaughter. The practice closely resembles the suffering a goose endures to fatten their liver for human consumption.

Alice Waters, restaurateur of Chez Panisse in the Bay area helped to launch the Edible Schoolyard (ESY, Berkley) project in Berkley that teaches sustainability. It’s a sticky model of The Edible Schoolyard Network. The farm to table presence is essential in bridging nutritional education, community health and vitality. The goal is to educate and change the way we think and feel about the food we eat through the widest lens possible. A conscious movement that is growing in a multitude of directions.

The Edible Schoolyard sponsors Cal State Berkley’s farm to table series overseen by Michael Pollan. Farnsworth contributes by adding “we must share an underlying theme of human wellness in each programs landscape design. Improving the spaces we share on growing our own vegetables in farm to table. Sharing art and dance we collaborate with environmental studies and more with architecture. His message “All programs are tied together for the human well-being whether it causes an enrichment of the human focus that being horticulture– architecture- culinary.”

Just Ask Yourself….

Myth 1- Bee’s don’t know they can’t fly, but fly anyway. Myth 2 – waters of the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean don’t mix in Alaska.

What happened to the local corner neighborhood friendly pharmacy that sold holistic products made to prevent illness and disease?
What’s really in the food we eat and seeds we harvest with?
Why does so many people develop so many forms of cancer?

Horticulture and Landscape Design Professor Ken Lee tells us “Design has to be functional. It is no longer about traditional aspects focusing only on ornamental features. Design must focus on aesthetic values that are visually pleasing as well as operational.” How nice that we can put our art to work, stretching its value. He adds “By redefining horticulture and landscape as contemporary – with the key concept being sustainability.” In doing so this will “lead to well-being. Growing organic food that is chemical free. The idea is to replace fertilizer with compost.” Fertilizer has a

whole other warfare story. A strong history used to manufacture bombs. As seen in the Timothy Mc Veigh Oklahoma Bombing of the Federal Building.

When it comes down to it transparency in truth reigns first contender like royalty. When it comes down to the food supply people have the right to know what is in the food. We all understand that optimum health is the highest asset a person can have at any age.

Every day we hear lots of information about the risks of eating a fast food diet and processed foods are no’s, no’s. The artery clogging specialty restaurants and the latest wave of new diets and along with it comes the bad news – poor and failing health. Landscape design professionals like Lee have come up with creative ways to use design to enhance healthful living by building gardens that serve both as an aesthetic feature with living function. By growing vegetables, fruits and herbs in any large or small size space.

That’s right – it’s now considered proper to grow some food right inside your home. Just ask yourself wouldn’t it be cool to be able to reach over and pick some lettuce and herbs for your salad right off your kitchen wall that is draped in various plant textures and colors, framed all pretty looking? Lee say’s this feature “increases the esthetic value with long lasting effects.” Sounds like we’d all get inspired to make more salads, eat more raw foods, incorporate other healthy lifestyle habits and ultimately live healthier lives. Viva la Vida!

The flip side to the story is embracing the truth about the American diet and who gets to tell the truthful story. We consume diets so dense in unhealthy food choices that the government made it the law all persons should have health coverage. Just ask yourself why? Well it has a lot to do with food. Two years back Californians rejected Prop. 37. Which would have made it the law for food manufactures to include truth in ingredient list on food labels.

Company’s Monsanto and Hersey dumped 44 million dollars in spending to miseducate voters. Sixty other countries worldwide mandate food labels to identify GMO substances, so why not us. In the US seventy-five to eighty percent of packaged food contains genetically modified ingredients.

The FDA stands its ground that GMO’s are safe and people have no right to know what is in the food (or water, in Flint, MI). This July 2016 Vermont is scheduled to champion the move towards mandatory foods labels and become the first state to require truth in labels. Hats off to them! A few years back Natural News wrote “Science journal hires former Monsanto scientist to decide which papers should be accepted or rejected.”

Don’t you wanna just ask yourself can they really do that? “Just months after a study was published showing that two Monsanto products, a genetically modified (gm) maize and Roundup herbicide damaged the health of rats, the journal that published the study appointed a former Monsanto scientist to decide which papers on GM food should be published.” Seriously scary?

Another important functional feature in contemporary landscape is being knowledgeable about composting. It is essentially one of the best methods to enhance garden soil nutrient adding vitality to plant root life. Lee says “major part of

landscape design centers around native plants. California soil produces a great diversity

The students of Professors Farnsworth and Lee built the vertical rain barrel. The project’s tenacity is to demonstrate the idea that gardening can have a combined purpose that is both functional and visibly pleasing, growing edible vegetables and herbs with a fountain. The function occurs using water captured by rain barrel then cycled through a trough providing hydration to the organics. The Vertical Garden will be on permanent display in the Therapeutic Garden – hopefully by Fall 2016 inside the Greenhouse.

Just Ask Yourself….
Why are so many seniors losing their quality of life after retirement age?

Full-time Student Johnny Patterson is in his second year. Pursing a complex educational program consisting of Landscape Architecture with emphasis on Ecological Sustainability. His basic involvement in the vertical garden build was phenomenal. Patterson explains “Currently he’s professionally engaged in finished carpentry, and volunteered his skill sets that enabled him to lend a large inventory of tools that helped to create the build.

Patters says he “Has general interest in a shared experience with other students.” Giving back is needed. For him it’s the coolest part of the experience. He asserts “Working with students with a passion to create something of that magnitude was exciting.” And that he “Really enjoyed seeing how personal and intimate both Farnsworth and Lee are with their students encouraging their learning experience.” Patterson explained his plan to use his education “Academic achievement is to build a business servicing both public and private sector community – specializing in native organic plants utilizing the gardening techniques and landscape design.” Bravo!

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