Saturday, January 27, 2018

Fungicide Attracts Honeybees

When given the choice, honey bee foragers prefer to collect sugar syrup laced with the fungicide chlorothalonil over sugar syrup alone, researchers report in the journal Scientific Reports.
The puzzling finding comes on the heels of other studies linking fungicides to declines in honey bee and wild bee populations. One recent study, for example, found parallels between the use of chlorothalonil and the presence of Nosema bombi, a fungal parasite, in bumble bees. Greater chlorothalonil use also was linked to range contractions in four declining bumble bee species.
Other research has shown that European honey bees have a very limited repertoire of detoxifying enzymes and that exposure to one potentially toxic compound -- including fungicides -- can interfere with their ability to metabolize others.
"People assume that fungicides affect only fungi," said University of Illinois entomology professor and department head May Berenbaum, who led the new research with postdoctoral researcher Ling-Hsiu Liao. "But fungi are much more closely related to animals than they are to plants. And toxins that disrupt physiological processes in fungi can also potentially affect them in animals, including insects."
Continue Reading.

NOTE:  The annual Local Food News Updatefood update is underway!  
We hope that this is a great New Year for all creatures!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

the Heirloom Expo - September 2017

 the Heirloom Expo - September 5th – 7th, 2017 in Santa Rosa, CA2017

7th annual National Heirloom Exposition on September 5, 6, 7 in Santa Rosa, California.  We are again seeking volunteers to help us spread the word. We need your help especially if you live on the West Coast and would like to distribute brochures to let people know about the expo, please email us at  Please consider sharing the info with your garden groups, educational organizations, churches, pure food societies, etc.
The National Heirloom Expo features three full days of nationally and internationally acclaimed speakers that include Vandana Shiva, Ronnie Cummins, Jeffrey Smith, Robert Kennedy, Jr., along with many more.  More than 4000 varieties of local produce will by displayed.  Purchase gardening supplies, seeds, sustainable living goods, and so much more from 300 vendors.  The exhibit hall will be home to more than 150 heirloom related exhibits.
Please email us at and let us know how many brochures you can distribute to let more people know about this exciting event.

Why send them photos and stories pertaining to your or another’s garden.
Please email your photos and stories to and to the attention of Kathy.
Local Food is Asking the question:

“Why is seed preservation of great importance to all Eaters?”. 

Hope you, or someone you know makes it to 

Heirloom Expo 2017!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Will GMO Mustard Be On Your Table?

 The beauty of local food for body and appreciation is everywhere in richly colored flowers and ripening fruits!  Each year greater numbers of people, young and old take to growing some of their own food with most throwing in a few flowers.  They may grow in deep raised beds or in pots hight up on a second story balcony.  Not only gardens but chickens.  More and more when walking through neighborhoods you can expect to hear the soft clucking of hens or get glimpses of the small, uniquely designed chicken  houses.  Speaking of birds, Bloomington is now designated as a Bird City! 

Summer definitely arrived early in Indiana.  Many June plants are in resplendant glory, while others have already exited the scene, chickory is beginning a season of full on bloom, perrenial Butterfly Weed, Asclepias tuberosa,  joins the color show with its dynamic orange!   The early heat and many heavy storms has been a challenge to plants and local growers.  One good thing thus far is that farmers have already had one early harvest of their hay fields.

So why the title?  Read on.

“Monsanto and Bayer, Dow and Dupont, and Syngenta and ChemChina. They control more than 65 per cent of global pesticide sales. Serious conflicts of interest issues arise, as they also control almost 61 per cent of commercial seed sales.”

Say no to GM mustard

There are formidable social, economic and environmental reasons why it should not be cultivated

The manner in which the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) recently cleared the proposal for genetically modified (GM) mustard is extraordinary to say the least. It makes a mockery of the commitment in the Bharatiya Janata Party manifesto that “GM foods will not be allowed without full scientific evaluation on the long term effects on soil, production and biological impact on consumers”. The Prime Minister had delighted consumers by lending his weight to the promotion of organic food. On the other hand, GM and organic are completely incompatible.
The alluring promises of higher yield and lower pesticide usage which induced many, including myself as Textile Secretary to the Government of India in the 1990s, to welcome Bt cotton have now been belied. Despite increased fertilisers and irrigation, the expectations of enhanced cotton yield have not been realised. Most of the countries that have higher cotton yields than India do not grow GM cotton. The package of promises sold to us did not reveal all of this. If I had an inkling of the future at that time, Bt cotton would not have been introduced in India.

Yields as a touchstone

We would now be foolish in accepting the yield promises of the GM variety of mustard, a crop which is an integral part of every Indian’s food. Ab initio the yield claims on which GM mustard has been cleared are not even remotely reliable — being based on comparisons with 30-year-old cultivars, and not on more recent high-yielding hybrids. The highest yields in mustard are from the five countries which do not grow GM mustard — U.K., France, Poland, Germany and Czech Republic — and not from the GM-growing U.S. or Canada (see graph based on FAO data). If India is desirous to increase its mustard yield rapidly and safely, this can be done by adopting the practice of System of Mustard Intensification, for which successful trials have been done in Bihar through a World Bank project. Results showed higher yields and better income. All this without the spraying of any toxic herbicides, which is the undisclosed story of GM mustard.
GM mustard’s yield increase claims have been successfully challenged now, prompting the crop developers and regulators to retract on that front — it is another matter that many reports continue to claim that GM mustard will increase yields.

Gaps in evaluation

There have been numerous severe deficiencies in the evaluation process of GM mustard. The risks to health, environment and agriculture have not been evaluated even through those inadequate tests which were conducted at the time of Bt brinjal examination, though mustard is far more extensively grown and consumed than brinjal.
HT (herbicide tolerant) GM crops have been condemned by a number of medical professionals and other scientists for increasing chemical herbicide use, leading to serious health conditions — at all stages, but most worryingly at the foetal stage. A scientific report from Argentina found a fourfold increase in birth defects and a threefold increase in childhood cancers in HT soya areas. Shockingly, the GEAC has conveniently omitted to have any herbicide-related studies. A small committee was constituted to “examine” the safety dossier — the tests that were done and the deliberations of GEAC were shrouded in secrecy. After a scathing order from the Central Information Commission, the GEAC made a sham of public consultations, through an opaque and perfunctory eyewash process.


The U.S. is a prime example of a country which has galloped into the GM mode of agriculture. Studies have shown a strong correlation between growth of GM crops, the herbicides they promote, and diseases such as acute kidney injury, diabetes, autism, Alzheimer’s and cancers in the past 20 years in the U.S. Seventeen of the 20 most developed countries — including Japan, Russia, Israel and most of Europe — refuse to grow GM crops. An unacceptable marketing trick, that of promotion of a “swadeshi” GM, is being used to break down resistance to GM crops in India’s vast market, ignoring that safety concerns are the same — swadeshi GM or not.

Losses and pernicious effects

The GEAC had itself rejected a similar HT GM mustard proposal by Bayer in 2002. The same reasons apply now. A herbicide-tolerant crop promotes constant exposure to a single herbicide — which eventually results in weeds becoming resistant. Over 20 species of weeds in the U.S. are now resistant to Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicide. As desperate farmers tried to control these “superweeds”, there was a tenfold increase in use of glyphosate in 16 years.

Please continue reading.

T.S.R. Subramanian is a former Union Cabinet Secretary
This article originally appeared in the

For more on GM Read the Food News articles at

Thank you!  May we each have an abundance of healthy, regenerative foods and environments!

Food Fairy

Monday, April 17, 2017

Local Food News Update

 Image from Wikicommons

Hello and thank you for coming to this page.  I hope that you will visit Local Food and read some of the news.  We've titled this year as the year of Food Heritage - Opportunities and Choices.  Because you are paying attention, you are aware of the importance of seeds, bees, water and other factors that directly impact the quality of our health and the environment.  Yes, there is something every one can do to say YES to what remains of of our local, national and global food resources.  We have the opportunity to support, develop and enrich regenerative and sustainable food systems.  As eaters, it is our job to expect the healthiest food for everyone, because to be a great community or nation recquires healthy minds and bodies at every stage of life.  Healthy food, air, soil  and water systems are necessary because what is in the water, air and soil is in every bite we consume.

Since 2001 LOCAL FOOD BLOOMINGTON has been offering information 
on where we eat; community resources, regenerative gardening and food news
  that directly applies to the how, and the why of what we have available on our
tables and how it connects each of us to our national and global food systems.
 Baking, Coffee Shops, Breweries, Wineries, Restaurants, Food News, Blog,    
 Community Food Resources for those in need, Food Education, Food Words,
 Food Books, Recipes, Farmers Markets, Gardening Resources, Wildcrafting  

 You will find articles or connections to these topics and more!

~The Difference Between Open Pollinated Seeds, Hybrids and GMO's
~What is a Seed Bank?
~Community Seed Libraries
~States and Counties Can Ban GMO Crops Despite Federal Laws
~Milwaukee County To Be Home To Largest Urban Organic Fruit Orchard In US
~Franklin Electric Acquires US Groundwater Distribution Companies in Indiana
~Chef Interview with Chris Swartzenruber Upland’s Executive Chef
~Swanton Strawberry Farm
~Cuba's Organic Honey Exports Create Buzzas Bees Die off Elsewhere
~Indian Traders Boycott Coca-Cola for
Straining Water Resources'
~Free Food Education

Read the updated Food News at
Visit the updated Local Food site at

Thank you,

“The nation’s fiscal health is dependent upon the health of the next generation. When we consider the cost of inaction in a matter of national security, lives are at stake.” Debra Eschmeyer, Co-Founder of Food Corps

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Spring Update for Local Food

 Spring Salad of Dandelion, Kale, Cleavers and Redbud Blossoms

I am finally be getting the Local Food Bloomington website updated! It seems that there are more things to juggle or as I age, am getting a bit slower.   There is tweeking to be done as well as my completion of Food News which I hope will be published by Sunday.  It will continue its look at seed and their importance, establishing seed banks, bees; our connections through the Indiana Holistic Health on open-polinated seed and heirloom plant resources -  Edible Education, Science and Cooking, and more.

Abundance of Local Food to you!
Local Food Fairy Patricia

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

The Beauty of Bees And Self-Reliance: A Conversation with Author Susan Brackney

Hello Local Food Readers,

Local Food Bloomington is delighted to introduce our readers to Becky Holtzman.  

The Beauty of Bees And Self-Reliance: 
A Conversation with Author Susan Brackney

At the very start of her funny and fact-packed 2009 book, PlanBee: Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About theHardest-Working Creatures on the Planet, Bloomington author Susan Brackney asserts her interest in self reliance. It was this desire for self-reliance that led to home ownership and fueled a hankering for chickens, which in turn became a path to beekeeping.

For ten years, from the mid-90s to mid-2000s, Brackney moved every single year. As a student earning her Bachelors in English at IU, the annual moves were not so unusual. But after graduating, she still found herself moving from one awful rental to another. Landlords aren’t typically amenable to allowing renters to dig garden plots, so she had abundant—but unsatisfying—container gardens; her spare time was spent reading about homesteading. As Brackney says, she was “pining for land.” Her first homestead was an 850 square foot house on a half-acre inside the city limits.

“My realtor explained that a property like this was only a step above camping, but there were these huge old walnut trees….” (You can hear affection for those trees in her voice.) Family helped build a 144 square foot greenhouse, which was cozy on snowy winter days. Brackney started growing much of her own food, canning, and cultivating loofah gourds.

“Because,” she says, “why not?”

Brackney really wanted chickens, but a civic battle was raging at the time: chickens were personae non gratae inside the city limits. Honeybees, however, were considered to be “invertebrate livestock.” When a friend gifted her the beekeeping equipment he found at a yard sale, a beekeeper was born.

Brackney has an  of her great-grandfather and grandfather peering into a hive, knee-deep in summer grass. She’s not sure that any beekeeping skills were passed down to her, though. In fact, she ruefully laughs about being beehive-less this winter, following major bee challenges last autumn.

“Have you ever experienced laying workers?” she asks, laughing. “That was a hot mess of a hive.” Laying workers are an unholy disaster, in which the female worker bees decide the queen is no longer up to the job of laying eggs, and start laying their own—unfertilized—eggs. This results in a bunch of (mostly) useless drones, and spells the demise of the hive. Brackney tried the “shake out and forget” trick, dumping the laying workers away from the hive, but to no avail. February 2016 finds Brackney bee-less, but planning for spring.

“My beekeeping mentor was very old school—he had many, many tricks up his sleeve for ‘working the girls,’ as he put it, to maximize honey production. I’m more hands-off.” Brackney says she’s not in it for the honey, and that she’s more likely to put her ear up to one of her hives and give a it a gentle knock, listening for the bees inside, than she is to open it and start poking around.

“Opening a hive is like cracking open a chest for heart surgery. I really don’t want to, unless absolutely necessary.”

Bees boast a social structure that’s both fluid and organized, with most bees having the chance to work at different jobs during different life stages. The youngest bees care for brood, graduate to housekeeping, serve a stint as an undertaker hauling out dead bees, and then move on to foraging in the wider world. Some bees become entrance guards. A honeybee sting means death for the insect, and it’s their last resort when feeling threatened; a honeybee will typically buzz an intruder several times before stinging.

Brackney maintains that discretion is an important skill in beekeeping: while immediate neighbors absolutely should know there’s a beekeeper at work, ideally the bees are managed so efficiently that nobody even knows it’s happening. Checking bees during the week, when neighbors are at work, is a great way to stay on the down low. If one diligently keeps the hive from swarming, and gives away plenty of honey, chances are good that bees will be welcome in the neighborhood.

The pollination of local gardens and orchards is an added benefit of keeping bees. Large commercial orchards—think the acres of almond trees in California, or the orange groves in Florida—truck in mass quantities of beehives seasonally, paying thousands of dollars for pollination services. In fact, this is how many larger-scale beekeepers make their primary income; honey and beeswax are secondary products.

I once heard an older beekeeper, one of the gentlest men I’ve ever met, insist that the way to restore the honeybee is to train thousands more hobby beekeepers, and not have so many giant commercial beekeepers. Who knows if that would do the trick, but many scientists do think that large-scale commercial beekeeping has helped contribute to honeybee decline, by encouraging the spread of disease to already-stressed-by-travel colonies.

Small is sweet.

The more we can do for ourselves and our communities (human and ecological), the better, and everyone benefits when we invest in our local foodshed Brackney points out that the expensive spinach trucked in from California has lost some of its nutritional value by the time it gets to our plates. Paying a bit more for locally grown food that is in the prime of its nutrient-rich life might save us more in the long run, from the fossil fuels used for transport, tothe value of keeping our dollars in local circulation, to the personal well-being we support when we eat the freshest food possible.

As for the honeybees: you don’t have to keep a hive to support these hard-working pollinators. You can plant blossoms that bees love, in large swaths of your yard. Honeybees practice flower constancy, which means that once a bee finds a flower variety she likes, she’ll work it until there’s nothing left, to the exclusion of other plants. Make it worth her while to visit your yard. Susan created this awesome garden map to give you ideas, and it’s great for welcoming pollinators of all

kinds, including native bees and even hummingbirds. You can also provide a water dish – a shallow saucer with small pebbles for bees to perch on will do. And naturally, you’ll want to stay away from herbicides and insecticides that can harm bees.

Beekeeping is a humbling art—the “right” answers are sometimes elusive, and often you just do the best you can, that moment. Brackney confesses she’s not religious, but when she looks inside a beehive, with its order and systems, she feels awe.

“It’s hard not to believe something powerful is at work,” she sighs. By supporting the bees in their efforts, we all can participate in that “something powerful.”

Find Susan Brackney:

Other Great Books about Bees:
HoneybeeDemocracy, Thomas D. Seeley (Princeton University Press, 2010)
Top-BarBeekeeping: Organic Practices for Honeybee Health, Les Crowder andHeather Harrell (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2012)

Becky Holtzman is a painter and Reiki practitioner in Bloomington, Indiana. A keeper-of-bees from 2011-2015, she hopes to have a beehive or two in the near future. You can find her art at and her Reiki practice at

*NOTE:  Read More about bees in the Food News

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Local Food Updates and Food News

Hello Local Food Readers,

A lot has happened since the last posting of food events.  It is now easy to see the updating that I have been speaking of for many months.  Many of Local Food pages have been updated (more to come), including  Food News  that has of information about food both in the Bloomington area, but global connections of interest.

2016 is the Year of Pulses which are legumes, beans and peas.  The intro page to Local Food has a list of some remaining heirloom seeds; some names are familiar and many are not.  Following are links to a few of the Food News Articles.  Disturbing article on 90% of the certified organic corn now sold in the US comes from Europe!  A pleasing interview with Executive Chef Padraig Cullen of the Upland in Bloomington, Indiana as well as a luscious pear processing article by Glenda Breeden who has been processing food for her family table most of her life.   There is lots going on in the EU as more than 50% of countries have now banned Monsanto and many others pulling Roundup and other products off their shelves.  We continue to keep a focus on bees, fraking (as water must be protected) and much more.  

Follow us on this blog and explore the Local Food website
Follow us on Twitter  though new to this, we hope to regularly post.