Photo Essay


Dirt bag


I would never have gone down this road if it were not for my wife Ann. Her interest to eat healthy and avoid the disease caused by poor eating habits, obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, and possibly even certain types of cancer. Now after a few years I've discovered it's way more about the environment and chipping away at the industrial food chain for the way they treat the earth, misinform and confuse the public.

The industrial food chain.

Without a doubt you will find corn products included... modified starch, unmodified starch, glucose syrup, maltodextrin, ascorbic acid, crystalline fructose, lactic acid, MSG, caramel color, xanthan gum, to name a few all from corn.

Corn is taking over the North American Mid-West. I grew up in Iowa and remember seeing fields of corn and alfalfa and green beans and broccoli and soy beans + many other plants of which I did not know but knew they were not corn. The last time I was there all I saw was corn. Freakn' corn!!! Mile after mile of corn. Well as it turns out the reason processed food is so cheap, is corn!. It's government subsidized ...and used to feed cattle, poultry, farm raised fish and the many ingredients listed above. Corn is also used in pharmaceuticals, dang, I even found out that it is the fibrous portion of the stock used in wall board not to mention our gas tanks. A wonderful and useful plant for sure. Problem is that 1) huge amounts of fossil fuels are used in its production and 2) huge amounts of pesticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilizers are sprayed, poured and injected on prime top soil. I've also found out that it takes 10 units of fossil fuel energy to produce one unit of caloric energy...something wrong with that ehhh...Just imagine how many acres in the midwest are being totally abused for the sake of high fructose corn sweetener for the extra big super sized drink from the local fast food eatery or an attempt at making a cleaner burning fuel for our autos, trucks, boats, etc. they are still dumping the fossil fuels on the land???? all made possible by the powerful food / agriculture lobby in the USA.

This is not news but the small individual farmers can not produce enough to make a profit and the more they produce the less they make. Once a upon a time there were many people employed on the farm. Now farms are corporate behemoths with robot farm machinery and very few people employed on the farm. Big business, ADM, ConAgra, Monsanto lobby congress, government in turn subsidizes the raw goods corn, meat packing companies Tyson Foods, Inc., Smithfield Foods, Inc., Cargill Incorporated produce, cheap factory meat, they sell to Mcdonald's, Burger King, Wendys, Subway, etc., and Mega grocery chains. Processed foods are relatively cheap to purchase, but the down side is increased health problems and less nutrition.

Sorry for the rant ( I could go on about super sizing and the like ) back to the garden.

With a desire to begin cutting down on fossil fuels and increase freshness and health, my family and I installed the dirt bag. A heavy duty felt bag with the wonders of life, the organic matter included. I re-plumbed the the irrigation system to irrigate the dirt bags. We are also composting. So now we get the chard and kale from the garden, lettuce for our salads, broccoli, tomatoes, radish, arugula etc.. The growing season in Florida is long, October - June.

Carrot juice and Green smoothies

We had a glass of carrot juice daily for about 8 years...Ann even traveled with her juicer, we ran the course with carrot juice. Enter "Ann of Green Smoothies". We purchased a Vita Mixer, a top shelf blender and the only one with the power and speed to accomplish the Green Smoothie. The smoothie ala Ann...bout a third to a half of frozen Pineapple (we buy them whole and cut them up into pieces and freeze in portion sizes), six to eight juice oranges juiced, two frozen bananas, agave to sweetness desired, a bunch of greens. I mean fill that blender, pack it full as much as you can possible jam in the container, your choice..Chard, Kale or Collard, or mix and match all raw and organic (WARNING:don't use the conventional greens they are loaded with the above mentioned chemicals and raw just makes them dangerous). Into the Vita-mixer "Viola!" the Green Smoothie. Delicious because of the fruit and extremely nutritious because of the raw organic greens.

About that same time we were off dairy, so I started using an organic butter substitute and vanilla flavored soy milk. I only used it in my coffee, then we realized that these products were not all that healthy and quite the contrary. Corn and Soy are the largest crops in the world and heavily produced and protected with synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. We're back on to dairy but raw from the farmer (still flashed to 150 degrees). Local with a fraction of the fossil fuel. We also make cultured yogurt and kefir, with the raw milk. I have also been brewing my own Kombucha tea. All these home made products are filled with pro-biotics which in turn aid in the elimination process and revitalize the body.

Industrial organics and true organics and local.

Industrial organics from the green section of the supermarket or whole foods market. This is basically produced the same way as conventional without the pesticides/herbicides and synthetic fertilizer. Which means that there is less of these substances being put in the soil. The down side to industrial organics is that the same amount of fossil fuels are involved in the planting, cultivation, delivery and packaging.

This is where we're at at the moment. Eating local as much as possible, from our garden and friends, wild fish and on very rare occasion grass fed beef. Industrial organics when our garden, friends, or local do not provide. Raw live food like sprouts, nuts, berries, etc.. We are trying our best in our own little contribution to a greener planet and live a healthier lifestyle, it is hard sometimes but a lot easier than a hunter gather lifestyle.

added 2/17/2012

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19 responses

  • John Linton

    John Linton gave props (24 Feb 2010):

    Hell YEAH! Rad!


    JOE FAILK gave props (24 Feb 2010):

    Great series of photos!!!

  • Michael Risenhoover

    Michael Risenhoover (Deleted) gave props (25 Feb 2010):

    A great journey!

  • Ann Reece

    Ann Reece   gave props (26 Feb 2010):

    Interesting photo essay, I'm looking forward to reading your update on this and perhaps more photos. I voted!

  • eithne mythen

    eithne mythen gave props (1 Mar 2010):

    Great shots, loving this, voted..

  • Christopher J Chalk

    Christopher J Chalk gave props (2 Mar 2010):

    Bring it on David:) Great series and images! Voted.

  • Sonia Adam Murray

    Sonia Adam Murray gave props (12 Mar 2010):

    Oh YEAH/RAD!

  • Karen Foto Fiddler

    Karen Foto Fiddler (Deleted) gave props (12 Mar 2010):

    VOTE! YOu and your sweet wife really aer making a difference..a small way but who knows how many you can influence by example?

  • Regenia Brabham

    Regenia Brabham (Deleted) gave props (12 Mar 2010):

    An excellent essay!! Terrific images. I learned the hard way about additives when my oldest turned out to be allergic to baby food. You would not believe the stuff (corn) put in baby food. I started making my own.

  • Lanis Rossi

    Lanis Rossi gave props (13 Mar 2010):

    Great story and photos! Well Done! Voted!!

  • Deborah Downes

    Deborah Downes gave props (13 Mar 2010):

    Truly a well written and inspirational essay, dp, and wonderful shots to back it up. Sure gets my vote.

  • Bruce Miller

    Bruce Miller (Deleted) gave props (17 Mar 2010):

    Publish this? Oh yes, of course. Great story db

  • Ron LaFond

    Ron LaFond gave props (20 Mar 2010):

    Very enlightening! "Yeah!" R

  • Andrea Petersen

    Andrea Petersen gave props (22 Mar 2010):

    I truly loved your essay and I agree that we all need to eat healthier...What we eat is what we are and sometimes we don't get that second chance in life...You definitely have my vote!

  • Litz Go

    Litz Go gave props (5 Apr 2010):

    great photo essay, dp! My husband plans to do this gardening when he retires. A great idea you presented here. I'll take a look at your link. My vote. Sustainability is the best idea on this decade!

  • Michele Randell

    Michele Randell gave props (2 May 2010):

    This is a great story and photo essay David..My mother was diagnosed with cancer 18 years ago and I suspect her diet played a part once I read lots of literature. It was an eye opener that changed my life and I have been growing organic vegetables for the last 15 years...Naturally grown food is only way of ensuring purity if you want to live a long and healthy life. I hope your essay opens others eyes to the truth about the impurities that millions continue to consume blindly on a daily basis..

  • Litz Go

    Litz Go gave props (12 May 2011):

    have to come back and read these again. It is very inspiring. I wanted to do this too! I'm with you. Wonderful photo essay. Now, you have to teach me how to make a solar panel!

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