Posted in DIY, family, lorieb.com, parenting

Scrapbook of Childhood Memories

My eldest son just turned 30, although sometimes it seems like he was just born yesterday.  His safe arrival was the best Christmas present ever, especially after the struggle we had the few years prior to his birth.  A few months ago I started thinking of something I could do to commemorate this special birthday.  I much prefer unique DIY projects rather than store bought gifts.  Over the years I have collected childhood memories in the form of ribbons, pictures, schoolwork, even teeth and hair from all three sons.  I planned to use this huge bucket of memorabilia to make a scrapbook for each son, eventually.  As I was wracking my brain for something to do or make, I remembered the bucket, stored with all of our other “stuff” in the basement, and the birthday scrapbook project took off.

I started with a catchy cover, but I guess you had to be there to understand just how significant it is.  When our boys were young, we always sang “happy birthday, birthday boy” to them on their special days.  I think they found it more annoying than funny, but I think it makes a perfect title for the scrapbook…

scrapbook
Happy 30th Birthday, scrapbook cover

First I had to wade through all the items in the stored bucket..  I swear I have saved every report card, birthday card, award and more.  Years ago, when scrapbooking was the rage, I was ambitious enough to divide the memorabilia into three separate buckets, one for each son, but that was as far as I got. I even purchased one large 18×18 inch scrapbook around the same time with good intentions.  It was still in its packaging, just waiting for me to put it to use.  A friend supplied lots of stamps, stickers, fancy scissors and other scrapbooking paraphernalia she had collected over the years.

My first page was dedicated to my son’s first few days of life.  I had a copy of his family tree (from his baby book) hospital bracelets, pictures of him with his grandparents, newspaper birth announcements and even a newspaper clipping of what was going on in the world in 1989…

Scrapbook
On the Day That you Were Born, the Angels got Together and Decided to Create a Dream Come True

 

Pictures and mementos from his early years were next, including a few baby teeth and a sample of his first haircut…

scrapbook
Early Years

 

…followed by pictures of him with most of his family members. Mom & Dad, brothers, grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles.

scrapbook
Family Ties

 

Next came Christmas memories, mostly pictures, with two personalized letters from Santa, courtesy of a friend’s father who spent hours writing back to children every year.  I had also saved a few decorations used at a New Year’s Eve street party celebrating the turn of the century…

Scrapbook
Merry Christmases

 

Another page was dedicated to birthdays.  Lots of party pictures, with a special “pocket” created to hold birthday cards, especially the hand made ones from friends and his younger brothers…

scrapbook
Birthdays

 

Hanging With my Friends was the next page, displaying pictures of accumulated friends from pre-kindergarten to university. The picture in the top left corner appears fuzzy due to the steam off the hot tub my sons and the neighbourhood kids used to love to hang out in…

scrapbook
Hanging with Friends

 

My son played many sports growing up and is a huge sports fan as well.  The next page contains many ticket stubs, Brier autographs, pictures of sporting events and stadiums visited, as well as two curling idols, Brad Gushue and Wayne Middaugh…

scrapbook
Avid Sports Fan

 

The next two pages are full of vacation memories: Texas, San Francisco, Florida, New Orleans, Dominican Republic, Cuba, NYC, and our family cottage here in Ontario, with the second page reserved for our trip to Hawaii.  Mementos include ticket stubs from various attractions, a boarding pass to Hawaii, and lots of pictures.

scrapbook
Family Vacations

 

scrapbook
family trip to Kona, Hawaii

 

My son attended both Beavers and Cubs within Kanata Scouts, so I had lots of memorabilia in those categories…

scrapbook
Beavers and Cubs

 

Soccer (outdoor and indoor) is a sport he played and still plays, 25 years and counting…

scrapbook

 

The other sport he started young and still plays is curling.  In fact, he met his wife at the curling rink way back in the Little Rocks program.  He has so many accolades in the curling world that I had to dedicate two pages to the sport…

scrapbook
early years of curling

 

scrapbook
later years of curling

 

Other sports played included volleyball, swimming, T-ball, and cross-country running…

scrapbook
other sports

 

When he wasn’t playing or watching a sport, he was at piano lessons or practicing at home. At the time, he was the youngest to take lessons at Music For Young Children, starting at the age of 2.5 years old!  His first recital was just before he turned 3 where he nailed Row, Row, Row Your Boat.  We discovered his love for the piano when he would often go across our street to play the neighbour’s piano.  She just happened to make puppets for MYC, so knew the founder, convincing her to let my son try the lessons at such a young age…

piano lessons

I had lots of memorabilia saved from the three schools my son attended from kindergarten through high school.  There are four pages for Castlefrank Elementary School with two of them exhibiting his early artwork and writing journals. The pink piece in the top right corner of the first picture is a cupid, on a valentine card he gave to us.  One page is dedicated to Katimavik Elementary School where he attended grades 7 and 8.  A fourth page is for Earl of March Secondary School, grades 9 through 12. The awards in the packets are for his honor roll and math contest achievements…

scrapbook
elementary school artwork and journals

 

scrapbook
artwork

 

scrapbook
Castlefrank Elementary School with pouch for class pictures

 

scrapbook
Castlefrank report cards and achievements

 

scrapbook
Katimavik Elementary School

 

scrapbook
Earl of March High School

 

After high school my son attended Queen’s University in Kingston Ontario, graduating in 2011 with a degree in Civil Engineering.  I didn’t have as much paraphernalia from those four years, most likely because he did not live at home.  The next page combines items from his jobs over the years as well as the Queen’s stuff I did mange to accumulate, including a false ID.

scrapbook
part time jobs and Queen’s

 

The last page is entitled “the Next Chapter” with mementos from his new house, engagement, wedding, the birth of his daughter and his new, expanding family…

the Next Chapter

This scrapbook was lots of work, but definitely a labour of love and a sentimental walk down memory lane for me.  I knew I saved all that stuff for a reason!  I hope I have inspired some of you to put your collection of memorabilia to good use too.

After you’ve read all about this project, please take a few extra minutes to check out my other bog where I make gardening my business.

 

 

 

Posted in lorieb.com, nature, travel

Tropical Sightings

Recently returned from a vacation, I cannot help but notice how quickly reality reinstates itself.  In fact, today the sight outside my window is decidedly whiter and frostier, my tropical view has disappeared…

 

There were lots of tropical sightings throughout our two weeks immersed in the warm weather of Casey Key and its surrounding area on the gulf coast of Florida.  These included the vegetation, local beaches, wildlife, sunsets, Christmas decorations and of course the margaritas.

Vegetation

As I’ve said before, you can take this gardening girl out of her gardens, but you can never take the (love for) gardens and plants out of this girl!  Wherever my travels lead me, I cannot help but notice the variety of plants and the design of gardens.  Succulents are my favourite, here in Canada and anywhere else I find them, although most plants do seem so much more spectacular in tropical climates.  For example, I have planted yuccas (Adam’s Needle variety) here in my local gardens and their 4 foot stalks of white, bell-shaped blooms are beautiful. I did not witness their tropical cousins in bloom, but am willing to bet they definitely outshine (and outgrow) the northern varieties…

 

Wildlife

I love all wildlife, but I find the tropical species especially interesting. The variety of birds alone kept my camera clicking, from pelicans to gulls, terns, ibis, sandpipers, egrets, herons and osprey.  Their antics and routines were fascinating. The saying “birds of a feather flock together” was evident, especially at sundown.

 

I realize that some of these birds are not exclusive to tropical locales, but I have never before seen an osprey patiently waiting for fishermen to donate their catches.  Apparently osprey were just removed from Florida’s endangered species list in January 2019.  This particular beauty would perch on a nearby pole, emitting a piercing chirp occasionally to let his donors know he was there, and wait for the fishermen to leave a fish on the jetty.  Much to their chagrin the more common pelicans and egrets hovering nearby were shooed away so the osprey could literally swoop in to retrieve the offering, then soar away…

 

Other tropical wildlife species included dolphins, sea turtles and even more birds, all beautiful in their own way…

Sunsets

A great argument for preferring the west (Gulf) coast of Florida to the east (Atlantic) coast is the abundance of gorgeous sunsets.  Every single night we watched the sun sink into the Gulf of Mexico, with the cloud formations making each sunset unique…

 

Beaches

The plentiful beaches along the Florida gulf coast are all spectacular, each featuring something different.  Siesta Key, near Sarasota, offers an extra wide expanse of soft (my granddaughter called it “squishy”) white sand, with a firmly packed strip close to the water’s edge perfect for walking, biking, jogging, and even strollers or wheel chairs. This beach is lined with miles of hotels to choose from.

Nokomis Beach on Casey Key (20 minutes south of Sarasota) boasts miles of sandy shoreline, a rock jetty at one end, lots of seashells and spectacular waterfront homes to admire.  We looked up one (smaller) home that is up for sale. A 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom fixer-upper located on the inland waterway side of the road with deeded access to the gulf is going for a cool $2.2 million USD.  I can’t afford that, but if any of you can, I will promise to come visit! Many of these gorgeous homes were damaged in a 2018 storm, so many are still under renovation.  One of the best features of Casey Key (we think) is that it is largely non-commercialized. Family owned homes and motels are restricted to two stories, supporting a more natural feel.

Venice Beach, 5 minutes further south, also sports miles of sandy shoreline as well as a massive wooden fishing jetty.  It too is dotted with high rise apartments and hotels, but offers a quainter shopping district nearby.

 

Christmas Decorations

Even the Christmas decorations have a tropical feel, although I had a hard time conjuring up any Christmas spirit without snow and cold weather.  A Santa Claus parade featured decorated boats, ranging from tiny sailboats to huge luxury yachts, floating down the intracoastal waterway one evening.  Many businesses, including our favourite Mexican food restaurant, are lit up for the holiday season too.

Weather

We were fortunate on this vacation as the weather was awesome, with the daytime temperatures hovering between 20 and 26 degrees Celsius.  Definitely more tropical than the weather here in Canada.  As you can see from some of the pictures, we did see lots of storm clouds, but only experienced rain on the very last day and even then only for a few moments.

 

 

 

Posted in health and wellness, lorieb.com, parenting, rant

Political Correctness: Out of Control

political correctness
John Cleese

John Cleese, the English actor and comedian of Monty Python fame, has a theory on why political correctness is getting out of hand.  This theory was originally published by Jon Miltimore on Intellectual Takeout.

He’s hardly the first comedian to say so, of course. Funny men such as Jerry Seinfeld, Mel Brooks, and others have complained that political correctness is killing comedy.  Cleese, like Seinfeld, says he no longer performs on America’s college campuses, where political correctness enforcement is particularly strident.

In a recent monologue with Big Think, Cleese said the effort to protect people from negative feelings is not just impractical, but suffocating to a free society.

“The idea that you have to be protected from any kind of uncomfortable emotion is one I absolutely do not subscribe to,” Cleese says.

Cleese, who spoke to psychiatrist Robin Skynner about the phenomenon, posited an interesting theory on why many people feel compelled to control the language and behaviors of others.

“If people can’t control their own emotions, then they have to start trying to control other people’s behavior,” Cleese says.

You can watch the entire monologue below. What do you make of Cleese’s theory? Is he right?

 

I agree, political correctness is getting way out of hand in our culture, and not just comedians are noticing.

For example, it is ridiculous that in our children’s sporting events everyone gets the same award, just for participating.  No winners and no losers, everyone must be treated the same.  Competition can be healthy and should not be discouraged, especially if a child shows interest in an activity.  Kids should be taught that some people will be better than others in all of their endeavours.  This includes sports, scholastic abilities, job skills and any other activity. You excel at some, others not so much.  You learn to win graciously and accept defeat just as graciously.  That is a healthy skill that all kids need to learn.

My three sons were (are) very athletic and good at any sport they chose to play.  Were/are they the best?  No, but they learned to recognize and respect those that were/are better, more successful than they were/are.  This is an important life lesson and important for developing self esteem.  Sadly, it appears that this valuable lesson is low on the priority list these days.

It is no small wonder that more teens today suffer from anxiety and depression than ever before. Teen suicide too is rampant, doesn’t it make you wonder if there is a connection to our current excessive demand for political correctness and the rise of anxiety and depression?

 

 

Posted in lorieb.com, Ottawa

Donating Used Household Items

Cleaning out our double garage recently so we can fit at least one vehicle in there this winter, we realized we have lots of gently used household items that could be donated.  From bikes to furniture to garden supplies, donating these items is easier than ever.  I googled each item to find out where to drop them off, discovering lots of options for each.

 

Bikes

Three sons and two adults can accumulate a lot of bikes over the years.  These bikes have been in our garage for many years although I’m pretty sure we didn’t purchase all of them.  So now we are donating other people’s used items too.  All to a good cause.

I learned there are several places in the Ottawa area that accept donations of used bicycles.  They repair or recondition the bikes then sell them keeping them out of the landfill sites.  Check out their websites for donating rules and hours of operation.

  • Cycle Salvation is located at 473 Bronson Avenue at Gladstone
  • Heartwood House is located at 404 McArthur Ave.
  • Recyclore is located at 275B Britannia Rd.
Furniture

Gently used furniture is another popular item for donating.  I discovered Matthew House, a wonderful initiative offering furniture, support and even shelter and a sense of community to refugees.  Their furniture bank is located at 340 Leggett Drive in Kanata, door #53.  Check out the website for hours of operation, drop off and pick up schedules and other ways to help.

Donating

Other Donating Options

Previously I donated most of my used items to CP, CDA or Value Village.  Recently though I have found both CP and CDA frustrating in that they never picked up my items on the scheduled days.  There was always an excuse, but after a while I gave up.  When I decide to donate (or my husband agrees to part with) an item, I want to do it in a timely fashion, before either of us change our minds.

Another place I have donated items to previously is Value Village.  Mainly because they have a drop off location conveniently close to our home.  However, my brother recently pointed out some suspicious details regarding their business, so I thought I would look elsewhere.

Regardless of where you choose to donate your used household items to, it is easy to do and beneficial to many.

 

Please take an extra minute to visit my other blog where I make everything garden related my business.

Posted in family, lorieb.com, sports

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Many of my blog posts here are inspired by things that happen in my daily life.  For example, yesterday I was reminded, by my 21 month old granddaughter no less, how actions speak louder than words.

She loves to sit at my desk where I keep track of the paper part of my gardening business.  You know, a computer, files, pens, receipts, articles for new ideas, and elastics, lots of elastics.  You see elastics are perfect for organizing the receipts from the plants I purchased for clients.  These receipts are important for warranty and income tax purposes.

Back to the elastics and how they apply to the actions speak louder than words theory.  You may remember from pictures of my son’s wedding that my daughter-in-law has the most beautiful, long, thick and wavy hair.  Well, she often wears this glorious hair tied up in a pony tail, bun, or braids.  What she may not realize is that when she does wear it down, she often gathers it up and twists or knots it.  Sometimes she secures the tie up, sometimes she just lets it fall back down.  She always seems to have an emergency elastic on her wrist for this tie up purpose.  Well, guess who picked up on that habit?  You got it, my granddaughter, the elastics she found on my desk immediately went around her wrist.  Then she pulled one off her wrist and tried to put it in her hair.  The cutest part was she does not (yet) have the volume of hair her mother does, so the elastic just wouldn’t stay put.  A fact that I just couldn’t explain (to her) with words.

Another, not so cute, example of how actions speak louder than words is the fiasco with Don Cherry and Hockey Night in Canada.  Everyone (well apparently there are a few people that are not aware) knows that Don Cherry’s actions over the years prove that he is a caring, kind and compassionate man both in and out of hockey arenas.  Yet, a few unscripted words were his downfall last week.  His life time of actions should have spoken louder than his ill-fated words.  In no way should he be labelled as a racist.  Maybe an old man, incapable of getting his point across in the (overly) politically correct environment we find ourselves in these days, but not a racist.

Many people, believing Cherry’s comments to be inappropriate and racist, were quick however to defend and forgive our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for his inappropriate and racist actions over the years.  Why is that?  Because Trudeau has apologized profusely for every and any action he has offended anyone with and then some, just in case he missed anyone.  The problem (in my opinion) is that one can only apologize so many times before the apologies become hollow and insincere.  Words can be cheap, glossed over, forgotten; actions are much more lasting.

Actions speak louder than words, good and bad!

 

Please take an extra minute to visit my other blog where I make everything garden related my business.

 

 

 

 

Posted in food, lorieb.com, Ottawa, pets

Sweet with Me Christmas Baking Auction

It’s almost time for the annual Sweet With Me Christmas Baking Auction!  Anyone in the Ottawa area can participate as a baker, bidder or both, so no excuses!  Please feel free to share this event with all the baking buffs and Christmas goodie aficionados in your life, not to mention the dog lovers!  All proceeds go to Sit With Me Shelter Dog Rescue.

If you are interested in donating Christmas baking or homemade goodies please send a personal message to the Sweet with me Christmas Baking Auction Facebook page. Click on the blue “send message” box at the top right side of the page and send the following information :

  1. A description of what you will be baking/making and the amount (eg. one pan or one dozen)
  2. A list of the ingredients (no measurements necessary)
  3. A picture of what you plan to bake/make.  This can be from a cookbook if you don’t have your own picture.

The process is pretty simple:

  • offers of donated goodies will be accepted until November 30th by private message to Sweet With Me Facebook page (link above) This is just a promise to donate, actual baking is not necessary until later. Of course you can bake ahead and freeze for later.
  • the auction will go live on December 1st on the Facebook page
  • To bid on an auction item, scroll through the available items on the Facebook page. When you see something you are interested in, type the dollar amount you are willing to pay for the item as a comment.
  • A word of warning; comments are not always in order so keep a close eye out for the highest bid. And remember, the bids can (and do) change right up until the last minute!
  • there is no limit to what items can go for.  So, keep bidding to raise money for a great cause!
  • the auction will close on Thursday, December 19th at 7pm
  • winning bids must be paid for via etransfer or paypal through Facebook messenger, ASAP after auction closes (before delivery)
  • all items must be baked and ready for pick-up by December 21st
  • please choose a sturdy, disposable container with a tight fitting lid to pack your donated goodies in. You will not get your pan back and drivers are not responsible for flimsy containers that wont hold up in transit.
  • all items will be delivered to successful bidders on December 22nd and 23rd

Gluten-free baked goods are welcome and popular, but be sure to include a disclaimer with the ingredient list. Here is a good example of such a disclaimer:

“As a gluten intolerant baker, I bake with gluten free ingredients. However, I do not bake in a dedicated gluten-free kitchen, so I can only provide a 99.9% gluten-free product.”

Sweet With Me Christmas baking auction is a terrific upcoming fundraiser for Sit With Me Rescue Dogs in the Ottawa area.  In the meantime, a fall auction is currently underway with hundreds of items up for grabs. Please read the rules BEFORE bidding on this fall auction. lt closes Sunday, November 24, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.   All the proceeds of both fantastic fundraisers go to Sit With Me Shelter Dog Rescue!

Sweet With Me

Please check out my other blog called Gardens4u about all things garden related.  And my business website with the same name.

 

Posted in Canada, lorieb.com, sports

Don Cherry, racism, and freedom of speech

Anyone in Canada and hockey lovers elsewhere in the world know who Don Cherry is.  By now you have probably heard that he was fired from his Coaches’ Corner role in Hockey Night in Canada by Sportsnet for his comments during last Saturday night’s NHL game.

The rant went like this…“You people … you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey, at least you can pay a couple bucks for a poppy or something like that. These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada, these guys paid the biggest price.”

don cherry

Many people found the comments discriminatory, divisive, racist and over the top.  Even though he never said the word “immigrants” that’s who it was assumed he was referring to.  To me, the people offended by the so called racist remarks are the worst racists.  If Cherry had backtracked, confessing to merely defending veterans and what they stand for, his rant might have been swallowed more smoothly.  Instead he stuck by his words.

Others (those with thicker skin who are harder to offend) feel that he was indeed just defending veterans and voicing his opinion.  We do live in a nation where freedom of speech is accepted don’t we? Don Cherry has always been (on and off the show) supportive of veterans, even visiting them overseas.  Although his cohort Ron McLean gave a thumbs up at the end of Cherry’s rant, McLean was quick to apologize when the complaints started piling in, some say throwing Cherry under the bus.

We should remember too that Don Cherry is 85 years old.  It is not unfathomable that Canadians (and others around the world) of that era might be more sensitive to the sacrifices veterans made (and current soldiers continue to make) for their country.

At almost 60 years of age I have vague memories of older relatives and heard stories of ancestors that were directly affected by war.  My children and grandchildren don’t though.  We try to explain the horrific times, especially around Remembrance Day, but I have to admit the memories are just not there and so hard to envision. That doesn’t mean we don’t wear a poppy every November or don’t respect those that have “paid the price” as Don Cherry said.  That’s because I was taught otherwise, from my parents who (like Cherry) do/did have the memories.  Some people never had that respect instilled into them.

Although speaking his mind is Cherry’s claim to fame, especially in the hockey world, it appears that these days (especially in some media, CBC in particular) you have to choose your words very carefully.  He has been reprimanded for his choice of words many times recently, although some claim that was his charm on Coach’s Corner.  Once again I think that goes with advanced age.  The older we get the less we care what others think of us and our opinions. Unless we need the paycheck. In that case we turn the thumbs up to thumbs down and apologize to those we (possibly may have) offended.

The fact that he never apologized for the wording of this rant was his (final) downfall. After all, one politician in particular has been (well) known to make insensitive, foolish, politically incorrect errors in judgement. But he gets away with it because he apologizes (charmingly and sheepishly) when called on his actions, regardless of how he really feels. Don Cherry does not have the acting skills necessary to do that. Nor does he care to or should he have to!

So much for freedom of speech!

 

Please check out my other blog called Gardens4u about all things garden related. And my business website with the same name.

 

Posted in lorieb.com

Regenerative Agriculture

This post is an excerpt of the story by Gosia Wozniacka, produced in partnership with Civil Eats, a nonprofit news organization focused on the American food system. Read on to put regenerative agriculture in your vocabulary…

More than 20 years ago, Will Harris was a cattle farmer who relied on common industrial tools like pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and antibiotics. Today, his 2,500-acre ranch in Bluffton, Georgia, is a holistically managed, no-waste operation with 10 species of livestock rotated to graze the rolling pastures and fertilize the land without chemicals, resulting in rich, healthy soil.

Known as regenerative agricultural practices, those methods have not only improved the land of his ranch, they also have led to the land becoming a carbon sink, pulling carbon from the air and storing it in the ground. As a result, Harris’ ranch has been able to offset a majority of the emissions related to its beef production. A key supplier of General Mills’ EPIC Provisions brand, the ranch has become a model of how to transition to a form of farming that the company says can provide a solution for climate change.

“I’ve literally bet the farm on it working,” Harris said.

General Mills, the packaged food giant, is one of several Big Food corporations jumping on the regenerative agriculture bandwagon, escalating the buzz around the idea that capturing carbon in the soil could reverse climate change. The company took the lead when it announced this spring that it would apply regenerative agriculture to 1 million acres by 2030 — about a quarter of the land from which it sources ingredients in North America.

 

Regnerative Agricultural Practices

Undisturbed soil naturally contains carbon and microbes, but once it’s tilled for farming, for instance, the carbon is released into the air. Regenerative agriculture, a term that is often used synonymously with “carbon farming,” is a set of practices that builds organic matter back into the soil, effectively storing more water and drawing more carbon out of the atmosphere. Examples include applying compost and employing managed grazing, as well as planting cover crops, which protect the soil in winter and prevent erosion while adding nutrients. Though scientists generally agree the practices, especially when used together, work to draw more carbon, there’s an ongoing debate on how much carbon can be stored that way and for how long.

General Mills has since rolled out a pilot project for oat farmers, as well an open-source self-assessment app available to anyone interested in implementing regenerative practices. Soil health academies and individualized coaching for farmers are in the works, as is the conversion of thousands of conventional acres into organic production.

“We’ve been looking at these farmers as the examples of what is possible in terms of soil health, diversity and farmer resilience,” Mary Jane Melendez, General Mills’ chief sustainability and social impact officer, said. “Imagine what you could get if more farmers were implementing these practices. It could be revolutionary.”

Danone, Kellogg, Nestlé, and a dozen other companies are not far behind. At the recent United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York City, they announced the One Planet Business for Biodiversity (OP2B) coalition to advance regenerative agriculture, rebuild biodiversity and eliminate deforestation. And Land O’Lakes, the dairy and animal feed behemoth, is also touting its soil conservation efforts, including a new initiative to help bolster sustainability on 1.5 million acres of U.S.-grown corn.

It’s Pretty Magical

The focus on regenerative agriculture is just the latest in a slew of climate-related strategies coming from Big Food, which also include efforts to minimize food waste, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the impact on land by offering plant-based meat alternatives, and marketing organic or non-GMO product lines.

About 50 percent of General Mills’ greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture, Melendez said. So after a decade of investing in various sustainability practices, she said, the company realized there was a better approach. The epiphany came in 2015 at the U.N. Climate Change Conference, when her predecessor heard farmers talk about the impact of a changing climate on soil health. “What they have seen on their farms, how they’re getting economically resilient…we thought it’s pretty magical,” she said.

The company acquired the well-known organic brand Annie’s in 2014 and faced criticism that it was watering down the mission-driven company in its quest for growth. Then, in 2016, General Mills supported The Nature Conservancy in developing a Soil Health Roadmap, which made the case for investing in building healthier soil on U.S. croplands.

It later commissioned research on Harris’ ranch. The assessment, which has not yet been peer reviewed or published in a scientific journal, showed that the ranch offsets a majority of its emissions by capturing and storing soil carbon through the application of compost and use of rotational grazing, which moves cattle between paddocks of pasture for short periods of time, stimulating the growth of carbon-storing perennial grasses.

To expand such practices, Melendez said, General Mills decided to focus on its North American brands and key ingredients, including oats, wheat, corn, dairy feed and sugar beets. The company will provide farmers financial assistance to change their practices, including paying for monthly one-on-one coaching, soil sampling/testing and the creation of a custom transition plan. It is betting that once regenerative principles are implemented, the farmers will save money on fertilizers and pesticides, making them more profitable.

The first pilot project, which spans 50,000 acres of farmland, began this spring with a group of 45 oat farmers in North Dakota and Canada. A second pilot program, with 35 large-scale Kansas wheat farmers, will kick off in November.

The training is led by Gabe Brown, a North Dakota farmer, regenerative no-till pioneer and author of the 2018 book “Dirt to Soil.” Rather than prescribe a single approach to regenerative agriculture, Brown stresses that every farm is unique and requires its own set of solutions.

For Harris, whose White Oak Pastures began making the transition two decades ago, the support of a large corporation has been critical.

“The difficulty for any farmer trying to step out of the industrial model … is the risks they take,” Harris said. “A company like General Mills is in the position to mitigate some of the risks by guaranteeing a market for their product.”

 

Please check out my other blog called Gardens4u about all things garden related. And my business website with the same name.

Posted in lorieb.com

A Real Job, What is Yours?

What does a real job mean to you?  I read this powerful message on Facebook the other day…

The other day, someone very dear to me said, “Charlotte, promise me this. Promise me you won’t go back to waiting tables, frothing coffees or tending bars. When you graduate uni, you’ll get a real job, won’t you?”
Hmmm. ‘Real’. What does ‘real’ look like? Does it wear a suit? Boast a briefcase? Does it drive a ute? Fly a plane? Is its hands dirty, or clean? Does it save lives, or suck the life right out? Does it do your dry cleaning? Keep our streets clean? Your coffee cravings at bay?
So many people chase ‘real’, the ‘real’ that seems to be etched into our skin by society’s blade, and find that they don’t belong to their own life.
The way we have been conditioned is a travesty. The pressure I am under, as a 25-year-old, to make decisions that will supposedly ‘make or break me’ is crushing. The truth is, there are no rules here. Success is highly subjective. It’s traumatising to measure your success against someone else’s, yet we do it to ourselves every day.
The person who said the above said it out of love, and I love them for that. I get it. They want to see me succeed, but under whose guidelines? They want me to move up in the world, but who sets the bar?
Whether you’re a barista or a barrister, university graduate or world traveller, business owner or garbage collector. It doesn’t matter! What matters is that you make the rules. It’s your life.
Take it back!

a real job

 

Charlotte May McLeod (@lottiemaymcleod) posted these words of wisdom in Australia in frustration for the situation she is in.  Well said Charlotte, good for you for recognizing that a real job can be anything we want it to be.  Students and parents alike today (over) focus on the pursuit of the perfect education in preparation for the equally perfect job upon graduation.  The problem is that a job deemed perfect for one person is often not even close to perfect for another.

Education is important, that will never change, but keep in mind that there are all kinds of education available to prepare you for your very own real job.  Remember that every job you take on is an education of sorts, even those that are not considered real jobs.  Many of these so called not real jobs open doors for exciting and lucrative opportunities.  By lucrative I mean both financially and emotionally rewarding. Sometimes you just have to be in the right place at the right time.

As Charlotte so eloquently stated, a real job can be anything you like these days, don’t settle for something that will please or impress anyone except yourself.

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