Category Archives: Nature

Intercropping Is the Key to a Food-Laden Garden

Amy Allen
March 26th, 2022

It’s getting to be that time of year, at least in the Northern Hemisphere: garden planning! Drawings are made, seeds are being started, in warmer areas plants are either in the ground or soon will be. And intercropping can help you to be as efficient with your garden space as possible.

Not only does this ultimately boost your food production, but it keeps your plants healthier as well. So, just what does intercropping entail? Let’s take a look.

What is intercropping?

Intercropping is the practice of planting two crops in proximity to one another, thereby producing more food on the same piece of land. Common examples include planting a short crop with quick maturity, such as radish, along with a tall crop with longer time to mature, such as tomato or corn. The radish matures and is harvested before the tomato grows tall enough to shade it out. This is different from succession planting, where we harvest one crop, then plant another.

What are the types of intercropping?

There are actually a couple of different types of intercropping. They are:

  • Mixed intercropping: exactly what it sounds like. Crops are totally mixed within the grow space.
  • Row cropping: Component crops are arranged in alternate rows. Variations on this theme include alley cropping, where crops are grown between rows of trees, and strip cropping, where several rows of one crop alternate with several rows of the other. Some even plant between rows of photovoltaic cells, a practice known as agrivoltaics.
  • Temporal intercropping: growing a fast-maturing crop alongside a slow-maturing crop, as in the tomato/radish example above.
  • Relay cropping: the second crop is planted when the first is nearing the fruiting stage. The first crop is harvested to make room for full development of the second. This is very similar to succession planting.

What are the benefits of intercropping?

Nobody engages in intercropping solely because it looks pretty (well, maybe some do). The reason that intercropping is used is because of its benefits. Here are the top three reasons you may want to consider intercropping in your summer garden this year.

Resource partitioning: This involves taking advantage of the differing needs of the crops. You don’t want crops competing with each other for space, nutrients, water, or light. Examples of this include planting a deep-rooted crop along with a shallow-rooted one, or planting a tall crop next to one that requires partial shade.

Mutualism: Three Sisters planting would be an example of this, as is companion planting. We plan our plantings for the mutual benefit of both, such as giving structural support to climbing plants and adding nitrogen fixers to the mix, both of which are done in Three Sisters planting. Marigolds and nasturtiums keep pests away from a number of crops, including broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, and cucumbers.

Pest management: Certain companion plantings, such as marigolds and nasturtiums noted above, help repel pests from cucurbits and brassicas. Trap cropping is another method: planting a sacrificial plant to keep predators away from the plants you want. One example is planting a deer salad well away from the greens you want for your own table. Cherry tomatoes, for example, are very attractive to both stink bugs and leaf-footed bugs.

(With increased harvest with intercropping, you’re going to want a way to preserve everything. Check out our free QUICKSTART Guide to home canning to help.

Of course, nothing in Nature is free.

Intercropping tends to require more management and poses special problems in crop rotation, most notably in the area of timing. Weather will complicate matters, and both mulching & cover crops may be a bit less effective.

One thing to consider when planning our intercropping is taxonomic family. We don’t want to plant things together that come from the same family, for example tomatoes and potatoes, because they have similar nutrient needs and attract similar pests.

Also in this example, both are fairly tall and take the entire season to mature. Both prefer bright light, so tomatoes can easily shade out your potatoes, and that’s not what we had in mind! Tomatoes have a deep root structure while potatoes produce their tubers underground in a spreading fashion. For that reason, there will be competition for the soil space that can result in lower yields for both crops. Again, not what we had in mind!

Planting radishes or another short-time-to-maturity root crop would work, since you’ll harvest that crop well before the tomato root system is fully developed. Short-time-to-maturity (TTM) spinach and other greens would also be excellent choices in this instance.

A side benefit here would be weed suppression. There’s no room for weeds to grow while the short TTM crops are developing, and by the time you harvest those, the tomatoes are well enough developed to shade out the weeds.

Another great example is planting between your cabbage & cauliflower, since these take a long time to develop, allowing time to grow short-maturity items such as greens and herbs between them. The examples are endless, but I think I’ve made my point here.

As discussed above, avoid using plants from the same taxonomic family.

  • Group plants with similar watering needs
  • Choose plants with compatible root systems and light/water needs
  • Time-sequence so your plantings aren’t competing at the worst possible moments in their development
  • Include plants such as legumes, accumulators, and green manures that will help revitalize your soil
  • Include species, such as flowers and culinary herbs, that will help repel insects and aid in plant growth. Companion planting guides will be a very useful reference here.

Want some tips on intercropping?

This should give you a good baseline for getting started in intercropping this summer.

Fast growers

  • Arugula, bush beans, beets, broccoli raab, carrots, green onions, lettuce, mizuna, radish, spinach, and tatsoi

Slow developers

  • Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, corn, kale, tomatoes, collards.

Shade utilization

As discussed above, tall crops such as tomato and corn can be used to provide the partial shade that other plants prefer. Trellised squashes, cucumbers, and melons can also be used in this way.

Shade lovers that might do well include: arugula, beets, endive, lettuce, mizuna, mustard, pak choi, radishes, spinach, Swiss chard, and tatsoi.

Height differences

Three Sisters utilizes this strategy. The corn grows tall and provides structural support for the pole beans, while the beans enrich the soil for corn, a heavy feeder. Squash grows along the ground acting as a mulch and helping deter marauding animals interested in the corn and beans. As discussed above, root crops work really well here.

In addition to radishes, consider carrots and green onions. Those don’t require much space above or below ground. They can be seeded in among the broccoli, cabbages, peppers, and kale as well, or planted along bed borders. If you go for the mixed intercropping rather than sticking to rows, it’s possible to cram quite a bit into a very small space!

Intercropping, and its cousin succession planting, can be used to boost food production in many spaces big and small.

It does take some planning to find plants with similar but not too similar preferences, avoid taxonomic families, and keep garden maintenance manageable. Companion planting charts are also helpful here, since we don’t want to plant things together such as tomatoes and kohlrabi!

I found out the hard way that these two don’t get along well. My kohlrabi was growing well in the lower story, while my tomatoes were barely flowering, let alone setting fruit! By the time I pulled the kohlrabi it was too late in my growing season to undo the damage, and I ended up buying canning tomatoes that year.

Oh well! Garden and learn, right? Speaking of learning, this book can teach you how to use or preserve your homegrown produce. Combine your veggies with the shopping tips in The Flat Broke Cookbook for extra budget-stretching ideas and see how well you can eat on a very tight budget!

What are your thoughts on intercropping? Have you ever utilized this method before? Let us know in the comments below.

Will “Victory Gardens” Make Comeback As Global Food Crisis Worsens?

Spring in the Northern Hemisphere is two weeks away, and interest in planting gardens could rise as the breadbasket of Europe was choked off by the Russian invasions of Ukraine, jeopardizing global food exports resulting in skyrocketing prices.

Even before the turmoil in Ukraine, American households were under pressure due to soaring food and gas prices. The invasion just made things a lot worse, as commodity prices jumped the most last week since the stagflationary period of the mid-1970s.

New UN global food prices, released on Friday, showed global food prices in February surpassed a previous record set in 2011. About a quarter of the international wheat trade, about a fifth of corn, and 12% of all calories traded globally come from Ukraine and Russia. Food exports in the region have been halted due to conflict and sanctions.

This leaves us with a shrinking global food supply that may further increase prices. Since spring is just weeks away, Americans will be in for a shock at the supermarket as the latest round of food inflation makes it to the store shelves. To mitigate the impact of grocery bills tearing apart household finances — interest in farming and planting gardens could take off and help expand the food supply.

The US government highly encouraged the planting of ‘War Gardens,’ commonly known as ‘Victory Gardens,’ in the dark days of World War II. People planted gardens in backyards, empty lots, and even city rooftops — people pooled together their resources and harvested all sorts of diversified vegetables and fruit in the name of ‘patriotism.’

The most abundant crops of Victory Gardens were beans, beets, cabbage, carrots, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, peas, tomatoes, turnips, squash, and Swiss chard because they were easily canned and stored.

Victory Gardens are not a thing of the past and could soon be revitalized as food supply chains are disrupted as conflict breaks out in Eastern Europe.

E-Course: Bio-Intensive Gardening

While empty shelves and supply shortages are still a lingering side effect of the virus pandemic, the call by the American people for NATO to erect a “no-fly zone” to protect Ukraine from Russia soars, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll on Friday. Russian President Vladimir Putin said a no-fly zone would be considered ‘an act of war.’ For more on what a no-fly zone means, read: “Reality Check: A “No-Fly-Zone” Over Ukraine Means WW3.” 

Better start planting those Victory Gardens as spring is just two weeks away. Also, you might want to load up on bread at the supermarket as prices may jump.

Where To Get Food When There Is None In The Stores

J.G. Martinez
March 1st, 2022

My family was lucky enough to leave Venezuela for Ecuador and Peru before things got to the peak of craziness, and people struggled with the question of where to find food. We didn’t experience many of the terrible things as other Venezuelans who stayed as a result.

We suffered mostly because we kept using our national currency rather than the US dollar, but there wasn’t much we could do to rectify the situation. Our useless fiat currency was everywhere. The USD was not. Hyperinflation blew everything, and people did not have the means to adjust. For a while. We’re now better, but far from going back on track.

As a result of this hyperinflation, those living in the larger cities had a VERY rough ride back in 2017-2019. This was to be expected. In the smaller towns, where vegetables, meat, poultry, beef, pork, grain, and fruits were raised, things were not as hard.

What are some basics of where to find food during a starving time?

Given the fair weather and our own culture appreciating freshly cooked meals, getting processed food is not that important. We can live without, say, bacon or commercially made ham.

With hyperinflation, raw ingredients will likely still be available. Brand products are going to disappear. Shareholders will close a plant long before any loss can affect their patrimony.

Therefore, the urban prepper should be already prepared to deal with this. Stocking up? Unless you have an extra warehouse to fill up to the roof and be stocked up for the next 5-6 years, I would say that you need to review your plan if this is your main option. Oh, and just for the record: gardening, raising livestock, and growing stuff is incredibly hard for those urbanite fellas.

My suggestion would be to give serious thought to decide what is better for you: investing in some patch of land far away where you can produce (which is NOT easy at all no matter what the permaculture people say!) at least some basic staples, or using that money to stockpile long-term supplies.

(For more information on how to stay fed during a disaster, check out our free QUICKSTART Guide on building a 3-layer food storage system.)

Here are my thoughts on where to find food in collapsed Venezuela…

Let’s take a look at each food product in turn:

Spices

Most houses here have an herb garden. If your plot is small, you could use raised beds to save on fertilizer, using scraps for compost, but you will have to learn a lot before you can produce anything else more than a salad per week for two people.

Those with patios here grow cilantro, basil, and common herbs as well. However, in my experience, even in our tropical weather, spice plants will be quickly depleted without external supply if you live in a place with limited space. So, getting a whole bunch in bulk in the harvesting season, drying, and storing for the whole year is the way to go.

Beef

It’s very important to have the needed connections to get fresh beef. Our experience with cattle thieves was bad, as you know already. This was because farmers didn’t have the means to defend their property. Calling the guards for help here in Venezuela means to be tied for life to pay them for “protection” in a Mafia-style racket. Some of our farmers don’t care because they pass this cost off to the customer.

But for the non-farmer prepper, purchasing live cattle and splitting the cost between 2-3 families was one of the best approaches we found to work down here.

Pork

Pigs don’t require the space that a cow does, so raising them is a much more viable alternative to most preppers than is beef cattle. A friend of mine has very little space, yet he survived the hyperinflation by raising pigs fed off of vegetable scraps he picked up here in town.

It was hard work. He walked 10 km with a wheelbarrow every day to feed those pigs. But he kept his family alive, putting in the daily maintenance for his pigs well over a year. It’s very likely people will be able to raise pork in the vicinity of cities without too much trouble, and derived products should still be accessible post-collapse where you are as well.

Poultry

Chickens are one of the most common protein sources you’ll find in South America. They’re easy to raise, can be fed with table scraps, and a bag of corn goes a long way in keeping them happy. They roam freely here the whole day, eating insects and plants.

E-Course: Backyard Chickens for Eggs

Venezuela is filled with “organic” chickens if you like that word. Really, it’s the same situation with pork here – maybe even easier. When I lived in Lima, people had chickens living on their roofs, and no one seemed to care.

Fish

This is a little bit tricky in areas far away from the sea or without rivers (obviously). I have heard reports our nearby lake is a nest of bad guys, and you can’t just go there and fish anymore. So, most of our fish comes from the coast: over 300 km away, by truck, once a week.

From time to time, though, a spontaneous seller roams the streets with a few catches from God-knows-where, but people hardly ever buy these. Why? They’re rotten. Our rivers are depleted of wildlife, and deforestation has diminished their volume. So, fish from these sources are not an option.

One of the most common ways here to preserve and eat fish all year long is by salting them, a very common practice in the coastal region. If you can get fresh fish and smoke it safely at home, so much the better.

Rabbits and other rodents

In my area, rabbits are seen as a delicate kind of cattle to raise. They don’t have much meat, so they’re not so appreciated. However, their fur is useful. People with limited space and who were willing to learn how to raise them properly have done a brisk business here. The speed of their reproduction is a great advantage, and the meat is a good alternative to chicken.

I remember reading signs in several houses around the neighboring subdivisions advertising rabbit meat. So, yes, in a real crisis, they indeed are a good alternative.

Goats

These are mostly raised for milk, as their meat is not really appreciated around here. However, these can be a good meat source and surely have a place in a prepper’s cottage. The goat milk here is being used by parents to replace baby formula. Commercial formula is quite expensive (all of it is imported!), and this has been the common recourse.

So yes, this is another good source that has been useful in this crisis.

Fruits and veggies never really disappeared here.

I don’t think you’re likely to have a problem finding them where you are at either post-hyperinflation. Really, the same went for dairy products. The cows didn’t disappear overnight, and people were still able to access dairy derivatives throughout the hyperinflation period as a result.

E-Course: Bio-Intensive Gardening

In general, countryside producers will keep producing after a collapse. The economy may change, the units of currency may change, but those animals are still going to produce food, and rural folk are still going to produce animals. 

Now, we have to ask two final questions:

First, do you have the means to reach those producers in your geographical area in an affordable, safe and relatively fast way? If you live downtown in a large city, driving 2 hours one-way trip just to get staples could be…uphill, especially if fuel is scarce. Producers may not be willing to take paper money. (Organizing a group to buy in bulk could mean those producers will be much more willing to come all the way to your location, saving you time, fuel and money.)

And secondly, what do you need to produce some of your staples? The answer is the following:

  • Space
  • Time
  • Knowledge – skills
  • Basic materials to start with
  • Connections

With those questions answered and dealt with, you’ll have a much better understanding of where to find food post-disaster. But, what are your thoughts on the situation? The above is what I’ve seen play out in Venezuela, but is there more you feel you can add to the story? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: The Organic Prepper

What is Amaranth? History, Benefits, and Uses

Ocean Robbins 
February 18, 2022

If you’re looking to expand your whole grain consumption beyond the usual suspects (wheat, rice, and corn), then the tiny, gluten-free “pseudocereal” called Amaranth is definitely worth attention. Prolific, resilient, and rich in health-promoting compounds, this ancient Mesoamerican grain is poised to feed the world. In this article, we’ll explore the history of amaranth, its benefits, and how you can use it.

The late comedian Mitch Hedberg observed that “Rice is great when you’re really hungry and want to eat 2,000 of something.” Had he known about amaranth, a tiny staple food about the size of a poppy seed, he might have amended the joke to “Amaranth is great when you’re really hungry and want to eat 100,000 of something.” And not just any something — amaranth delivers a powerful nutritional profile, has a distinctive, nutty flavor, and looks fabulous while growing.

If you prefer or need to avoid wheat, or just want to diversify your menu, amaranth is a gluten-free pseudocereal and falls into the same general category as other newly popular “ancient grains” such as quinoa, millet, and farro. Amaranth is easy to prepare and quite versatile, serving as a base for both sweet and savory dishes, so it might just become a staple in your kitchen as well.

If you’re new to amaranth, you might be wondering just what it tastes like, how to prepare it, and what kind of nutritional benefits it provides — as well as if there are any side effects to amaranth consumption. So let’s take a look at this tiny yet mighty whole food.

What Is Amaranth?

Vegetable amaranth flower with seeds, top view, blurred focus. Growing and caring for plants.
iStock.com/NataliaKokhanova

Amaranth is a grain that’s really a seed, so it’s technically known as a “pseudocereal — a distinction that makes less and less sense every time I write about it. Fortunately, your taste buds and digestive system don’t care what you call it. All they’ll know is that amaranth is delicious and provides comprehensive nutritional benefits.

Like quinoa, amaranth contains no gluten and is considered a whole grain. These similarities aren’t coincidental — both pseudocereals are members of the Amaranthaceae family, which also includes beets, chard, and spinach. (With that much dietary diversity, they must hold some wild reunions.)

When it comes to quinoa vs amaranth — quinoa has a richly deserved reputation as a nutritional powerhouse, but amaranth holds its own in comparison. While quinoa has eight grams of protein per cup, amaranth has nine grams. And while quinoa has three grams of iron per cup, amaranth has five grams.

Visually, when you’re looking at a pile of amaranth, you’re seeing a heap of tiny, pale, golden or tan seeds, kind of like if someone made a movie called, Honey, I Shrunk the Seeds. But amaranth is about much more than seeds. Not only is it a healthy gluten-free alternative, both whole and as flour, but amaranth greens are also edible. And you can heat amaranth seeds, turning it into puffed amaranth — a crispy, nutty snack like popcorn (“poparanth,” anyone?). Plus, amaranth seeds can be also germinate for sprouts and microgreens.

What Does Amaranth Taste Like?

While quinoa is famously mild and uncomplainingly takes on the flavor of whatever it’s cooked with, amaranth has some definite ideas of its own. When cooked, the taste of amaranth has been described as “nutty” by fans, and — in the interest of full transparency — “grassy” by some who don’t like its flavor. You’ll have to try it and decide for yourself.

Amaranth Uses Around the World

amaranth grain plants Peru
iStock.com/andyKRAKOVSKI

Amaranth is a group of more than 60 distinct species of grains that humans have cultivated for about 8,000 years. Most of these species are native to Central and South America, where they traditionally served as staple crops for the Incan, Mayan, and Aztec civilizations. The Aztec, in particular, considered the amaranth plant sacred and made religious offerings not just of the seeds themselves, but also of sculptures of their deities made from honey and amaranth dough.

As a result, Spanish conquistadors banned the cultivation of amaranth, which they saw as an obstacle to the establishment of Catholicism in the Americas. But native farmers resisted and grew amaranth, saving amaranth seeds in secret despite severe penalties that sometimes included having their hands cut off.

The plant proved worthy of its name — in Greek, amaranth, or amarantos, means “unfading” or “inextinguishable.” To this day, indigenous activists still regard the growing of amaranth as an “act of resistance.”

Amaranth plays an important nutritional and cultural role around the world. Ethiopians use the seeds to make an unleavened bread called kita, an alcoholic beverage called tella, and fermented porridge known as borde, which nourishes new mothers and their babies. Amaranth also features in Indian (where it’s referred to as rajgira), Vietnamese, and Mexican cuisine, including the calaveras or “skulls” with raisin eyes and peanut noses traditionally eaten in Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations.

Types of Amaranth

colourful amaranth
iStock.com/birely

Many varieties of amaranth exist, some of which are grown for their seeds, some for their greens, and others for largely ornamental uses. You’ll probably find at least one of five common varieties of the grain in your local grocery store.

Amaranth types include:

  • Red amaranth (Amaranthus cruentus), native to Guatemala and Mexico
  • Foxtail amaranth, also known gruesomely, if poetically, as love-lies-bleeding (Amaranthus caudatus), native to Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador
  • Slim amaranth (Amaranthus hybridus), native to Eastern North America, Mexico, Central America, and northern South America
  • Prince of Wales feather (Amaranthus hypochondriacus, which literally means “vigorous, upright plant” but sounds like the amaranth is constantly worried about wet rot or an infestation of pigweed weevil), native to Mexico
  • Joseph’s coat (Amaranthus tricolor), native to tropical parts of Asia

Amaranth Nutrition

Male cook removes rubber band from bunch of amaranth greens
iStock.com/Nebari

Amaranth is a rich source of the essential amino acid lysine, which can sometimes be challenging to get enough of on a plant-based diet. Other popular grains, such as corn and rice, are low in lysine, so adding amaranth to your diet — as well as quinoa and buckwheat — can help ensure that you get sufficient amounts. Symptoms of lysine deficiency can include frequent cold sores, high blood pressure, hair loss, and fatigue, so it’s a good nutrient to make friends with. In fact, amaranth is a complete protein, and has bragging rights for containing adequate amounts of all nine essential amino acids.

Aside from protein, amaranth is also a great source of many other important nutrients, including fiberB vitamins, and vitamin E. It’s minerally rich as well, sharing with us important compounds like calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese that the plant extracts from the soil. Amaranth appears to provide particularly bioavailable forms of calcium, zinc, and iron, making it a good choice for people who have difficulty keeping their levels up.

A half-cup of cooked amaranth seed also provides 2.5 grams of fiber. Researchers at Purdue University found that 78% of the fiber in amaranth is insoluble, which is the kind of fiber that keeps things running smoothly…

And for those lucky enough to have access to amaranth leaves, they are, like other dark leafy greens, nutrient-dense health superstars.

Health Benefits of Amaranth

Amaranth flour in a bowl, brown, green and purple flowers and leaves of a plant on wooden board background
iStock.com/rezkrr

With all those nutrients in a protein- and fiber-rich, gluten-free package, amaranth can be a boon to your health. It’s a great alternative for those who are avoiding gluten (if you have Celiac disease, be sure to check for gluten-free certifications to ensure that there is no cross-contamination and there are no problematic traces of gluten in the amaranth).

1. May help with weight management.

Thanks to all that fiber and protein, amaranth can support healthy weight management by triggering satiety — which means that it helps you to feel full, and reduces the urge to overeat.

2. Could benefit heart health.

Amaranth may also support heart health. There’s a lot of evidence that consumption of whole grains and pseudocereals can reduce the risk of heart disease, and indeed, death from any cause. Amaranth, in particular, appears to be helpful in lowering LDL cholesterol.

In one animal study, hamsters were given a high-cholesterol diet supplemented by either nothing, amaranth oil, or amaranth grain. Those fed amaranth lowered their very-low-density LDL cholesterol (the “very bad cholesterol”) by up to 50% compared to controls. (Our view on the use of animals in medical research is here.)

3. Can help with inflammation.

Amaranth also possesses anti-inflammatory qualities, as was demonstrated by this 2014 study, which concluded: “Amaranth hydrolysates inhibited LPS-induced inflammation in human and mouse macrophages by preventing activation of NF-κB signaling.” Aren’t you glad that it’s my job to read these articles and just share the punch line with you.

4. Contains antioxidants important for disease prevention.

Amaranth is also rich in antioxidants such as phenolic compounds, which have been shown to reduce the risk of certain cancers and neurodegenerative diseases.

How you process and prepare the amaranth seems to matter. The highest antioxidant activity has been found in the amaranth seeds, compared to amaranth flour or popped grains. And while soaking amaranth may increase nutrient bioavailability and absorption, it  appears to reduce amaranth’s antioxidant potential.

Other Amaranth Benefits

Amaranth is not just good for individuals, but potentially for the entire planet. Those tiny amaranth seeds produce huge yields. And the entire amaranth plant can be used in some way, from the seeds to the leaves to the sprouts and microgreens. Able to withstand droughts, heat, and most pests, amaranth can survive in terrain that most other high-calorie staple foods would find inhospitable. Some food activists actually view amaranth as a food that could help to feed the world in the face of climate change.

Potential Amaranth Side Effects & Downsides

Gastrointestinal Effects

As with any high-fiber food, amaranth can take some getting used to for folks who currently consume low-fiber diets. If you’re just transitioning to a plant-based diet full of unprocessed and lightly processed foods, avoid potential gastrointestinal distress by slowly adding to your diet. Eat a modest amount to start, and make sure you drink enough water to help the fiber flow through your system in a peaceful and loving manner.

Antinutrients in Amaranth

Amaranth contains so called “antinutrients” that may potentially inhibit the absorption of certain minerals. Some of these antinutrient compounds include oxalates and lectins, which are present in a wide variety of healthy plant foods, like grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

Since this is a topic of considerable controversy, I want to make it clear that for a variety of reasons, most people do not need to worry about avoiding or limiting these compounds in their diets. In fact, these so-called “antinutrients” offer health benefits themselves, which suggests that the label “antinutrient” is misleading. (For a full review of the research on these compounds, check out our articles on lectins and oxalates.)

Taste and Smell

Also, as I mentioned earlier, amaranth has a more potent aroma and taste than quinoa and other ancient grains, which may be off-putting for some people. Food is all about personal preference (and I would never judge you for not being a fan of amaranth), but give it a try, and let us know what you think.

Amaranth Uses

Healthy Eating – gluten free, organic porridge with quinoa, wolfberries, blue berries, raspberries and popped amaranth
iStock.com/Rocky89

Pseudocereals like amaranth tend to be versatile since they can either be cooked and prepared in their whole form, or ground into flour to use in cooking and baking. And amaranth boasts a flavor profile that works well in both sweet and savory dishes.

How to Cook Amaranth

The simplest way to cook amaranth seeds is to simmer them in liquid, such as water or vegetable broth, like you would cook rice or quinoa. Amaranth cooks relatively quickly (roughly 20 minutes simmering on low heat, or just a few minutes in a pressure cooker). For a dry pilaf, add 1.5 cups of water to every cup of amaranth. Add savory ingredients like onions and garlic, mushrooms, and chopped veggies for a tasty and filling amaranth side dish.

For a wetter cereal or amaranth porridge, use 2.5 cups of water per cup of amaranth. Season it like oatmeal, with dried, fresh, or frozen fruit, cinnamon, raw nuts, and seeds.

Popped Amaranth

You can also “pop” amaranth by dry roasting or toasting seeds in a saucepan or wok. Just keep the heat low and shake the pan constantly so the tiny seeds don’t burn. And keep a lid on it, so the popping amaranth seeds don’t make an unintended visit to the floor. I’ve read that you can use an air popper, but I tried it once, and the results were disappointing. You won’t eat the popped amaranth as a snack like popcorn (they’re just too small — it would be like trying to stick handfuls of airy poppy seeds into your mouth). Instead, you can add the nutty, crispy grains to salads, morning porridges, plant-based yogurtssmoothie bowls, and desserts; mix them into energy balls; fold them into baked goods; or stir them into homemade or store-bought granola.

Sprouted Amaranth Seeds

You can also sprout amaranth seeds, which can reduce the concentrations of “antinutrients” like oxalates and lectins. To do this, rinse the grains, then cover in cool water and soak for 30 minutes. Rinse and drain the amaranth thoroughly 2–3 times per day. At room temperature (which is a pretty unspecific term; as comedian Steven ​​Wright points out, “It doesn’t matter what temperature a room is, it’s always room temperature”), sprouts should begin to form within 2–4 days. One pound of seeds will yield around two pounds of sprouts.

Baking with Amaranth Flour

When baking with amaranth flour, limit the amount to a quarter of the total flour in the recipe. This is because amaranth flour is heavy (though flavorful) and can cause the final product to become very dense. Try combining amaranth flour with another flour, like organic oat, millet, whole wheat, or almond flour — or using it as a thickening agent in soups and creamy sauces. You can also use amaranth flour as a breading or coating for tofu or avocado wedges before cooking.

Where to Find Amaranth & How to Store It

close-up shot of amaranth
iStock.com/Malachy120

You can find amaranth and amaranth flour in many grocery stores, often in the “health-food” section (if one section is for “health food,” what does that say about the rest of the store?), and can also be purchased from various online retailers. It’s usually sold in bags of one, five, or 10 pounds, as well as in bulk. If you want to be sure to avoid potential exposure to glyphosate, which is sprayed on some crops before harvest to dry them out, opt for organic amaranth products.

To store amaranth, keep it in an airtight container (or the closed plastic bag that it came in) in a cool place, away from bright light to prevent it from going rancid. Kept correctly, whole uncooked amaranth can last up to four months in the pantry or eight months in the freezer. Amaranth flour will stay fresh in the pantry for 2–3 months and in the freezer for up to six months.

How to Grow Amaranth

young plant celosia flower in the garden
iStock.com/tsingha25

Because amaranth plants are so hardy, environmentally friendly, and beautiful, I would be remiss if I didn’t encourage you to grow amaranth in your garden — if you’re in a hardiness zone between 2 and 11. Some varieties grow up to eight feet tall, which would be great if you wanted to create an amaranth maze for Halloween. But the veggie and seed varieties reach only 3–4 feet high and may be more manageable for a home garden. The Organic Hopi Red Dye variety is a great option if you want to eat the seeds, microgreens, and leaves (and/or do a little dyeing, as well).

Plant your amaranth seeds in full sun 4–6 weeks after the last frost date, as amaranth plants do best in warmer and moister soil. Don’t overwater them (no more than an inch of water per week, including rain) to avoid root rot or fungal diseases. You can thin the small plants after two weeks and use them as microgreens. After six weeks you can harvest the amaranth leaves, which you can eat and use like spinach and chard.

Visit your amaranth bed frequently to enjoy the riotous colors of the flowers — red, burgundy, pink, orange, or green, depending on the variety.

You can start harvesting the seeds after 3–4 months. Simply cut off the flower heads and let them dry in the sun. Once dry, put them into a deep dish and crush them using a rolling pin or your hands to make the seeds pop out. To separate the grassy chaff from the seeds, use a hair dryer on the cool (no heat) and low-airflow settings. A single amaranth plant can produce half a million seeds, which sounds pretty impressive — although it is actually just about two pounds worth.

Downsides to Growing Amaranth

Not all is love and light in the relationship between amaranth and gardeners, however. There’s a variety of amaranth known unflatteringly as pigweed, which grows tall, with a deep taproot, as a yard weed. You may not want or like it, but you kind of have to admire its spirit and tenacity, especially its resistance to the dangerous Bayer-Monsanto herbicide, glyphosate.

Another concern for gardeners who aren’t ready to commit to amaranth — the plants will readily self-seed, which means that the crop you planted last year may very well reappear this spring, despite your desire to plant something different in that bed. With all those millions of seeds, you’re bound to drop a few thousand (if not a few billion!) into the soil.

Amaranth Recipes

Are you inspired to experiment with this nutrient-dense ancient grain? Next time you’re in the grocery store or online, look for whole amaranth, amaranth flour, or puffed amaranth — or all three! — and start having fun with the recipes below.

Apple Pie Porridge replaces traditional oatmeal with a combination of amaranth and teff to make a delicious, rich porridge that is reminiscent of — you guessed it — apple pie! Pumpkin Spice and Amaranth Smoothie Bowl is perfect for cooler months with its warming spices, though it can certainly be enjoyed year-round. And finally, get your (clean) hands dirty by diving into the Amaranth Potato Paratha, a traditional Indian bread that is both good for you and gluten-free.

1. Apple Pie Porridge

Picture this — a delightful apple pie aroma captivates your senses and gently nudges you in the morning as you move to start the day. And all you need to do is walk into the kitchen to serve yourself a bowl of this comforting and nourishing breakfast. It’s waiting for you because you prepped it the night before! Amaranth and teff take the place of oats to add variety and inspiration to your recipe repertoire. Enjoy all their nutty flavors, nutrition, and fun texture to start your day.

2. Pumpkin Spice and Amaranth Smoothie Bowl

Fruit doesn’t have to be the only star in a smoothie bowl. Vegetables and grains deserve their chance to shine, too! As you now know, gluten-free amaranth ranks as one of the highest protein-containing grains. And while smoothie bowl could be a perfect choice for the fall season, you can certainly enjoy the nutrients, textures, and flavors that amaranth and pumpkin offer year-round.

3. Amaranth Potato Paratha

Dine-in but feel like you’re dining out with this homemade Indian paratha bread made with whole-grain amaranth flour and potatoes. Amaranth flour is commonly used in Indian cuisine not only for its nutritional value but also because it’s gluten-free — and amaranth is ideal for all bread lovers. Pair the paratha with your favorite Indian dishes like Chana Masala or Bhindi Masala.

Amaranth Is a Unique & Nutritious Grain

Amaranth is a unique pseudocereal with a rich history and, hopefully, a great future. Don’t let its size fool you though — the tiny seeds are packed with nutrients and full of flavor. It can be used in both sweet and savory dishes, ranging from breakfast porridge to thick stews or even puffed kernels. Amaranth can also be ground into a flour for nutritious, gluten-free baking. While you’ll probably only find one variety of amaranth in your local grocery store, you can source other varieties online, and maybe even grow your own. If you enjoy other ancient grains and seeds, consider adding amaranth to your rotation.

Germany Goes “Green” by Clear-Cutting 1,000-year-old Forest to Build Wind Farm

Ethan Huff
February 15th, 2022

One of the most unique and biodiverse forests in the world is about to get clear-cut to make room for a massive new “wind park.”

The Reinhardswald, located in the beautiful hilly region west of Göttingen in Germany, is widely recognized as the “treasure house of European forests.” Some people also call it “Grimm’s fairy tale forest” because of how enchanting it is – though not for too much longer.

According to reports, 2,000 hectares of what is considered to be one of the last undisturbed forests in the world are being destroyed to make way for a “green” energy monstrosity that will include the construction of large windmills.

The behemoth metal structures, which supposedly produce “clean” energy, will replace untold thousands of mature trees and other life-giving forage that have rested on that land untouched for millennia.

The State of Hesse government continues to ignore pleas from local citizens to leave the forest alone and build the power plant park elsewhere. Construction of access roads has already begun, and some of the trees are already being cleared, chopped up, concreted over, and eventually built on.

Sadly, if the forest was located just a few kilometers away in nearby North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony, it would have been protected as a historical site worthy of protection, especially for its biodiversity. But not in Hesse.

“From the very beginning, this project in the Reinhardswald forest district was rammed through in a manner of an overlord against all protests from municipalities, groups, initiatives, associations and, in any case, over the heads of the people affected, as a prestige project of the Hessian state government,” reports explain.

“For years, the project developers have been able to rely on the political and technical support from Wiesbaden – right up to the approval process. The Regional Council of Kassel, which is bound by directives, only needed to implement them.”

“Green” projects like this are destroying the planet, not saving it

Once completed, the wind turbine project will be the largest in Hesse with over 14 kilometers’ worth of new and upgraded roads capable of carrying heavy loads. The local ecosystem, conversely, will become that much smaller as a result.

“The area is the largest contiguous forest area in Hessen in a virtually uninhabited, undisturbed and therefore in itself an extremely valuable natural area,” reports further explain.

“Its beauty serves as a recreational area of outstanding importance in the midst of a landscape that is partly classified as cultural-historical and of the highest value. Even according to Hessian Environment Minister Priska Hinz (Greens), it is one of the most scenic regions in Germany.”

The Reinhardswald was so untouched by industry up until now that the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation describes it as “Landscapes that appear close to nature without technical influences that must be preserved.”

The advocacy group Action Alliance is calling the project “shockingly wrong” and an example of yet another politically motivated move by politicians who could not care less about anything but themselves and their interests.

“We are already announcing that we will document all events in the Reinhardswald and make them public, as well as all existing expert reports and expert authority statements,” the group announced.

“In addition, we are already asking all supporters who take photographs and film to contact us so that we can coordinate the work if necessary. The clearing began immediately today as over one-hundred-year-old beech trees have already fallen.”

Various environmental groups and possibly even local municipalities have announced lawsuits that could still stop the worst of the damage from occurring. (Related: Germany would not be in an energy crisis had it left its nuclear industry intact.)

The latest news about “green” energy can be found at Climate.news.

Natural Covid Immunity Discovered in Unvaccinated Adults up to 20 Months after Infection

ARJUN WALIA
FEBRUARY 11th, 2022

A new JAMA study published on Feb 3, 2022 titled “Prevalence and Durability of SARS-CoV-2 Antibodies Among Unvaccinated US Adults by History of COVID-19” has found evidence of natural immunity to COVID in unvaccinated healthy US adults up to 20 months after confirmed COVID-19 infection. It will be interesting to see studies examining natural immunity years down the road to see if it lasts beyond this point.

One of the authors, Dr. Marty Makary from Johns Hopkins, recently tweeted the following.

Yes, science regarding natural immunity throughout this entire pandemic has been ignored and not included in health policy. It’s even been censored. I recently published an article about a paper published by nine academics from various institutions explaining how government health authorities, legacy media and politicians have completely misled the public when it comes to the science of COVID. This includes natural immunity.

This particular study regarding natural immunity found evidence of natural immunity in unvaccinated healthy US adults up to 20 months after confirmed COVID-19 infection.

The authors used three equal sized sample groups. Including a group who reported a test-confirmed COVID-19 infection (“COVID-confirmed”), a group that believed they had COVID-19 but were never tested (“COVID-unconfirmed”), and a group that did not believe they ever had COVID-19 and never tested positive (“no-COVID”).

These groups were invited to undergo antibody testing at LabCorp facilities nationwide.

Among 295 reported COVID-confirmed participated, 293 of them (99%) tested positive for antibodies up to 20 months after a reported COVID diagnosis. Among 275 reported COVID-unconfirmed participants, 152 (55%) tested positive for antibodies, and among 246 reported no-COVID cases, 11% of them tested positive for antibodies.

We know that vaccine efficacy wanes between 4-6 months, so to see high levels of antibodies in some people up to 20 months after infection is quite encouraging.

Another recent paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine had similar results. According to their research, the effectiveness of a prior COVID infection in preventing reinfection is, for Alpha: 90.2% Beta: 85.7% Delta: 92.0% Omicron: 56.0%.

Natural infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARSCoV-2) elicits strong protection against reinfection with the B.1.1.7 (alpha), 1,2 B.1.351 (beta(,1 and B.1.617.2 (delta) 3 variants.

I emailed one of the authors, Dr. Laith Jamal Abu Raddad with a question regarding the duration of the immunity. He responded,

Hello Arjun,

Thank you for your interest in our study. We have been following people for >18 months, and so far natural immunity remains strong with little waning, apart from the drop in protection against Omicron. Our studies continue for us to see how long this will last. My guess natural immunity protection will wane against infection over-time, but slowly over few years. However, natural immunity against severe COVID-19 will last substantially longer, perhaps even for a lifetime (as we see for other common cold coronaviruses.)

There are now well over 130 studies (including a recent CDC study) attesting to the power of natural immunity, which goes far beyond just antibodies. Natural immunity provides a robust level of protection, and even those who do not test positive for COVID antibodies can still have protection. The absence of specific antibodies does not mean an absence of immune memory. We cannot forget the contribution of B cells and T cells to immunity to SARS-CoV-2.

Natural Healing: Medicinal Plants You Can Find in Various Regions of North America

Divina Ramirez
February 01, 2022

 Native Americans have been using medicinal plants long before the European conquest of America. Today, medicinal plants are still widely used in the United States, and for good reason. For starters, they contain potent compounds that can help with a wide variety of ailments and health problems.

Medicinal plants are also all-natural and don’t carry with them the risk of adverse effects associated with conventional medicines. As such, they appeal greatly to health-conscious consumers.

Today, medicinal plants can be found growing in almost every state. Some medicinal plants may be found everywhere in the country, while others can only be found in specific states or locations. Read on to learn about some of the most widely used medicinal herbs in the U.S. and in which states they can be found.

Medicinal plants found throughout the US

The following medicinal plants can be found throughout the United States:

  • Yarrow – Yarrow is commonly used to treat wounds and infections, as well as relieve digestive issues. It is also used as a natural sedative.
  • Mint – Mint can soothe headaches, relieve nausea and reduce fatigue. It can also protect against colds or the flu because of its antiviral properties.
  • Alfalfa – Alfalfa is a great natural remedy for kidney stones and nausea due to morning sickness.
  • Catnip – Catnip can be applied as a poultice to stop swelling and bleeding. It can also help ease an upset stomach and migraines.
  • Sage – Sage is typically used to relieve cramping, fight colds and expel phlegm.

Medicinal plants in the Northern US

Medicinal plants can be found growing in most of the northernmost states, including Massachusetts, Michigan, New York and Washington. Many of the plants listed below grow further south into the central states as well.

  • Blackberries – The leaves, stems and roots of blackberry shrubs are effective remedies for dysentery.
  • Wild licorice – Chewing wild licorice helps relieve toothache and sore throat.
  • Lesser burdock – Lesser burdock is highly effective in treating poison ivy, poison oak and other skin irritations.

Other medicinal plants that can be found in most of the northernmost states include black birch, hawthorn and stinging nettle, to name a few.

Medicinal plants in the Southwestern US

Medicinal plants found in the Southern U.S. vary greatly from east to west. Below are plants you’d find in Utah, Nevada, Arizona and other dry places in the Southwestern United States:

  • Butterfly weed –Butterfly weed helps reduce inflammation and relieves breathing difficulties. It can be used to treat diarrhea and dysentery as well.
  • Mormon tea – Mormon tea is a shrub whose leaves are used to treat urinary tract infections (UTIs) and colds.
  • Prickly pear cactus – Prickly pear cactus can help reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol, as well as regulate blood sugar.
  • Agave – Agave is a cactus with antibiotic, antiviral and antifungal properties. (Related: Agave fiber found to improve gut health, help maintain healthy weight.)
  • Mesquite – The sap of this small tree has antiseptic properties and is used to treat sunburns.

The following plants can be found growing along the Pacific Coast of California, Oregon and Washington:

  • California poppy – This opioid plant can help relieve pain and anxiety.
  • White willow – White willow is well-known for its use in pain relief. It can also reduce inflammation.

Medicinal plants in the Eastern US

The Eastern U.S. includes Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Kentucky, Ohio, Maryland and Mississippi.

Below are some of the medicinal plants found in these states:

  • Broadleaf plantain – Also called common plantain, broadleaf plantain can be used as a poultice for treating skin problems, stopping bleeding and healing wounds.
  • Virginia snakeroot – Virginia snakeroot is effective against snakebites and stomach problems.
  • Mountain maple –  Mountain maple is typically used to treat wounds and skin infections.
  • Unicorn root – Also known as star grass, unicorn root is often used to treat anemia.
  • Jack-in-the-pulpit – Jack-in-the-pulpit is a natural remedy for sore eyes and headaches.

Medicinal plants in the Western US

Below are some of the medicinal plants you’ll find growing in the Western United States:

  • Rocky mountain maple – Rocky mountain maple was used by Native Americans to treat rheumatic pain and reduce swelling.
  • Western valerian – Western valerian is typically used to treat restlessness and insomnia.
  • Night-blooming cereus – The flower and stem of this cactus is used to relieve chest pain (angina) and to stimulate the heart.

Watch “Natural News” on  Brighteon.TV  to know more about medicinal plants and how to use them.

Where Can You Legally Take Magic Mushrooms? List Of Regions And Countries


By Mayukh Saha

The chemical in magic mushrooms that gives it the “magic” is known as psilocybin. This compound or some form of it is found in approximately 180 species of mushroom. But these hallucinogenic fungi are not new substances. Rather, they are one of the oldest substances used and recorded in humanity’s history to increase levels of consciousness.

As such, magic mushrooms have remained among the most common and popular psychedelic substances even today. They are quite popular in South America, Europe, and North America. But, as with all psychedelic substances, there are concerns over their usage and legality, and many places prohibit these special mushrooms.

But, that mindset is changing. Studies have recently claimed that mushrooms containing psilocybin can actually help the patients in some specific cases. In a 2017 study, they were found to have some effect when it came to treating mental health conditions. This was a big step forward for advocates who wanted to legalize psilocybin mushrooms.

As for the present situation, there are a handful of countries where it is completely legal to own and use magic mushrooms. Here is a list of them according to the major regions. However, be aware that the use of these substances in most cases is still dangerous. Moreover, in some cases, the law forbids the chemical “psilocybin” while not mentioning magic mushrooms themselves, which makes it very risky. As such, we will leave out the nations where magic mushrooms are not openly sold.

Oceania

Samoa: In this country, you can find magic mushrooms openly in nature. Additionally, the national law does not have any particular mention of its usage, so for now it is legal. However, the Samoan government is planning to bring in some enforcements about them in the near future.

Asia

Nepal: The country has no law whatsoever regarding magic mushrooms. Visitors are allowed to freely purchase and eat them as much as they want.

Europe

Austria: Here, you can own and grow them. But you cannot harvest and/or sell the fungi. As such, stores in Austria and online have “grow kits” for sale. Also, the law allows possessing mushrooms you find growing in nature.

Italy: Another country where the chemical is banned but owning, selling, and buying kits to grow them on your own is legal.

Poland: Similar to Italy, one is allowed to grow the fungal species should they wish to. But the substance is banned.

Spain:  The country allows possession and cultivation of the mushrooms but selling the chemical psilocybin is banned.

Central & South America

Brazil: As with several other countries, even though the chemicals are prohibited, the magic mushrooms are not. As such, you can find special websites that exist solely to sell these mushrooms.

The Caribbean

The Bahamas: The island nation allows possessing, selling, and using magic mushrooms completely, even if they had signed the 1971 UN Convention on drugs.

The British Virgin Islands: You can own and use the fungi here, but selling or buying it in any form is illegal.

Jamaica: The island nation has no particular laws regarding any psychedelic drug. As such, magic mushrooms are only one of the various psychedelic substances you can openly find and use there.

North America:

The USA: Oregon is the only state, so far, to allow the usage of magic mushrooms for medicinal purposes. But the law is still being processed, and the residents can only use it for therapy. Some other major cities have a softer outlook but even spores of these mushrooms are still mostly illegal.

Read: Oregon May Become First US State to Legalize ‘Magic Mushrooms’ 

Canada: Cannabis is legal in Canada, but magic mushrooms are not yet there. But you can buy and grow spores from easily available “grow kits”. You can harvest naturally occurring ones.

There are some other countries worldwide and regions in the US where some kind of a loophole exists that lets people enjoy magic mushrooms. For instance, in Mexico, tribes are allowed to use them, but not officially. Since it is still a matter of legality, we have stayed away from places and regions where there can be even a hint of trouble.

Finally, you should always check with your local authorities about how legal a drug is to ensure the law is never broken. Remember that you will be the only one responsible for your actions. As long as you are legal and careful, there should not be any problems in these places.

About the Author:

Hey! I am Mayukh. I help people and websites with content, videos, design, and social media management. I am an avid traveler and I started living as a digital nomad in Europe since 2019. I am currently working on www.noetbook.com – a creative media company. You can reach out to me anytime: justmayukh@gmail.com Love, Mayukh Read More stories by Mayukh Saha

How Reconciliation With Native America Can Save Us

By Neenah Payne

Native American Day: Learning The Way of Earth explains that  Dr. Zach Bush warns we are in the Sixth Great Extinction and human survival depends on the urgent restoration of our soils (earth).  So, the world — led by the West — is in very grave trouble now.  However, we are facing not “just’ an ecological crisis. America is facing constitutional, political, and economic crises so severe there are growing predictions of a second Civil War. How did we get this far off course? Is there a principle that can unite us?

If so, where and how can we find it? Perhaps it’s with the guidance from Native American nations that our Founding Fathers sought to follow — but failed to go deep enough.

Capitalism ignores that endless growth is not possible on a finite planet. Where will we find the inspiration to change our relationship to the Earth on which we depend for survival?

Philip P. Arnold, a member of Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation (NOON) and associate professor of indigenous religions at Syracuse University, says:  “How we in the larger society regard indigenous peoples — who have an ongoing relationship with the living earth — will determine our ability to survive.” The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the rich ancestry of Native Americans.

Iroquois Chief Canassatego Advised US Founding Fathers

How an Iroquois Chief Helped Write the U.S. Constitution explains:

“There was nothing inevitable about 13 separate colonies becoming a single, united nation. In fact, one generation before Thomas Jefferson put his pen to paper to declare independence from Great Britain in 1776, the idea of such a union was all but unthinkable. For decades before the American Revolution and for at least 13 years thereafter, the colonies squabbled with one another, in some ways just as they had with the British Crown.”

How the Iroquois Great Law of Peace Shaped U.S. Democracy explains that Canassatego (c. 1684–1750) was a leader of the Onondaga nation, one of the then five nations in the Iroquois Confederacy. He was a prominent diplomat and spokesman of the Confederacy in the 1740s. Chief Canassatego is now best known for a speech he gave at the 1744 Treaty of Lancaster, where he recommended that the British colonies emulate the Iroquois by forming a confederacy.

Chief Canassatego addressing Continental Congress members including Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock and Patrick Henry in Philadelphia on June 11, 1776, promoting peace and friendship as advocated hundreds of years earlier by Hiawatha and Deganawida.

The Origins of the Idea of a Democratic Confederacy says:

“Canassatego became a prominent diplomat and spokesman of the Iroquois Confederacy in the 1740s. He served as the speaker for Onondagas at another conference in 1742.

Near the end of the conference, Canassatego gave the colonists some advice: ‘We have one thing further to say, and that is We heartily recommend Union and a Good Agreement between you our Brethren. Never disagree, but preserve a strict Friendship for one another, and thereby you as well as we will become the Stronger. Our wise Forefathers established Union and Amity between the Five Nations; this has made us formidable, this has given us great weight and Authority with our Neighboring Nations. We are a powerful confederacy, and, by your observing the same Methods our wise Forefathers have taken, you will acquire fresh Strength and Power; therefore, whatever befalls you, never fall out with one another.’”

What US Founding Fathers Forgot

The Secret History Of The United States 🇺🇸 | Chief Oren Lyons

We Can’t Live Without This | Chief Oren Lyons

Haudenosaunee: World’s Oldest Living Democracy

Two great Native American leaders named Hiawatha and ‘Peacemaker’ united five tribes, changed America. “Peacemaker” Deganawida and Hiawatha convinced five tribes to stop fighting and live in peace with one another, forming the Iroquois Federation.

Bill Moyers interviewed Chief Lyons on the Haudenosaunee land in 1991. Chief Lyons explains that despite 500 years of opposition, the Haudenosaunee and their traditions are still intact. The Haudenosaunee are a sovereign a nation and travel on their own passport.

Chief Lyons tells the story of the founding of the Iroquois Confederacy. He explains how over a thousand years ago, the Peacemaker taught the five warring tribes how to cooperate for survival. These are lessons America needs to hear now as we are so divided that there are growing predictions of a second Civil War. Will we be wise enough now to listen and learn again from our Native American neighbors?

The US Founding Fathers studied with Native Americans for 30 years. It was only enough time to scratch the surface of these profound cultures. We must integrate this study into our curriculums at every level now to understand and adopt the values of Native America. Nations that have survived thousands of years have much to teach us — if we will only listen now.

Values Change For Survival

Values Change For Survival shows that Chief Lyons said in his report to the United Nations the West must shift our values now to survive. Reconciliation can guide us in adopting those values. Chief Lyons warned, “You’re either going to change your values or you’re not going to survive!”

We were told we would see America come and go — and in a sense, America is dying from within because they forgot the instructions of how to live on Earth.” – Floyd Red Crow Westerman.

November is Native American Heritage Month, an opportunity to learn from the many rich traditions of Native Americans.  There are 500 Native Nations in this hemisphere — many of which have been here tens of thousands of years. Can these ancient wisdom keepers guide us now? Many Americans seem to think so as they flock to the Amazon to drink ayahuasca with shamans. However, although many of our states, cities, and rivers carry Native names, most Americans ignore Native America and know little about these cultures. We were told that Europe had a “Manifest Destiny” to take over this hemisphere because it brought a civilization vastly superior and Native American cultures were “primitive”.

Mikki Willis is the creator of Plandemic: The Hidden Agenda Behind COVID-19 and Plandemic: Indoctornation that when viral in 2020. He said that Plandemic 3 which is coming out this year will recommend that we adopt the Native American system of counsels. However, without a shift in values, that would lead us to repeat the mistake the US Founding Fathers made — copying just a part of the form of the Native American systems. We must now understand the spirit of these cultures.

Reconciliation With Native America Is Key To Our Own Survival

We need to learn the truth of our history now to ensure our own survival.

Truth and Reconciliation is a form of restorative justice, which differs from adversarial or retributive justice. Retributive justice aims to find fault and punish the guilty. Restorative justice aims to heal relationships between offenders and victims. Those involved in Reconciliation seek to uncover important facts to establish the truth. The process allows for acknowledgment, public mourning, forgiveness, change, and healing for all. These are steps to end 500+ years of colonialism.

Several countries have implemented Reconciliation:

  1. South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission established in 1996.
  2. Reconciliation Australia established in 2001.
  3. Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commissionestablished in 2008.

What Is Reconciliation?

Two Rivers Film: Inspiring Reconciliation In Washington State

Two Rivers is an award-winning film about an American couple in Washington state who initiated reconciliation with the Native Americans who had been pushed off the land there. Within five years, many more people had joined, and together they launched social and political reconciliation initiatives that changed their community and race relations across the Northwest. See the trailer.

The Story explains that Glen Schmekel was taking a walk on his property in Washington State in 1999.

I felt like I heard a word in my heart that was asking two questions,” recalls the school district executive.  “The first question was, ‘Have you considered my host people?’  And the second question was, ‘Have you been planting any seeds that would grow up to a harvest?’”

Schmekel was living with his wife Carolyn, an interior designer, in the small, upscale, predominantly White town of Twisp, located at the confluence of the Twisp and Methow rivers in Washington. Schmekel knew the first question referred to the original inhabitants of the valley — The Methow Indians, a Plateau Indian tribe which had been decimated by historical White policies and practices.  The few Methows who had survived had been shut out of their valley for decades, shunted onto the nearby Colville reservation and forbidden to fish, hunt, or harvest their sacred food and medicinal plants.

Glen thought the second question referred to a feeling he and Carolyn had that something was missing in their community.  The idea of initiating something that might expand and enrich community life in Twisp was exciting to the Schmekels. Through a series of coincidences, the couple met Spencer Martin, a spiritual leader of Methow, Squaxin, and Colville Indian descent.  As they came together and drew in other Native and White Americans from the Methow Valley, a remarkable journey unfolded.  Two Rivers,  a 60-minute documentary, traces this moving journey of discovery, connection, reconciliation, and lasting social change.

By 2003, the two groups felt it was time to take their private reconciliation process to the larger community — and the community was excited to receive it.  The first Two Rivers Powwow, held that August at the confluence of the Twisp and Methow rivers, was a public reconciliation ceremony acknowledging the changes that had occurred between the local Native and White Americans.  A ripple effect begins as other White townspeople and reservation Natives are drawn to the ceremony.

After the first annual “Heart of the Methow” Powwow in 2003, local ranchers and farmers ceded 300 acres so Indians could harvest their sacred medicine plants and foods, Methow teachings were integrated into the school curriculum, and 2.5 acres were donated for the Methow Valley Interpretive Center for a permanent place to honor the Methow people.

Methow Valley Interpretive Center

The Methow Valley Interpretive Center provides lots of videos and other information.

The video below discusses the 2017 book Lost Homeland: The Methow Tribe and the Columbia Reservation. There are several other videos on the site.

We’re All Tribal Peoples

The Shamanic Odyssey: Homer, Tolkien, and the Visionary Experience by Robert Tindall explains that the West faces a choice between two paths. The one we are on leads to death. The other is reconciliation with our own indigenous roots which leads to transformation of consciousness and a new Garden of Eden. Time is very short now to make this choice. Reconciliation leads to a communion with ourselves, all peoples, all species – and Spirit.

What Happened to the Tribes of Europe

Spencer Martin: In this universe, all things are connected: “The Whites from the Methow Valley….[their] ancestors back in Europe were once indigenous—and they were exterminated, just as we were exterminated. How much of the genocide that  was inflicted on us was the result of the nature-worshiping religions of Europe being destroyed before us?

If Europeans couldn’t keep their indigenous ways, how were they going to allow us to keep ours? Without dealing with their own anger, they keep projecting it onto other people….Most of the people who settled this country weren’t all that popular in the countries they left.…They were persecuted, abused, they weren’t treated with respect. Most of them don’t remember why they’re angry; they’re just angry.”

National Day of Transformation

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed individuals can change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Meade

“Decolonization Starts Inside of You”: Colonization is about creating separation—separation among people and separation from spirit and our connection to the Earth. Humans have been taking more than we need, and we haven’t been giving enough back.

I’m Dreaming About a Modern World That Doesn’t Erase Its Indigenous Intelligence
In over 80 nations, oppressive domination has been dismantled.

Why We Must Be Honest This Thanksgiving shows that Thanksgiving is a Day of Mourning for many Native Americans. Just as “Columbus Day” has become “Native American Day” in a number of cities and states, Thanksgiving may become a “National Day of Transformation” that allows Americans to reconcile with Native Americans and create a more enlightened world.

The National Day of Transformation Flip Book provides an easy way to get started.

The National Day of Transformation site is designed to assist Reconciliation by providing information on topics not covered in the media or our educational system.

This App Can Tell You the Indigenous History of the Land You Live On

Whose land are you on? Find out at native-land.ca.

Shift Of the Ages explains “It’s about time”.

Neenah Payne writes for Activist Post and Natural Blaze

West Coast Wildfire Smoke Makes It to Michigan: NOAA

JACK PHILLIPS 
September 13, 2020

Wildfires in California, Oregon, and Washington state have created hazardous air conditions across the West Coast of the United States as smoke travels thousands of miles.

A satellite image that was published over the weekend shows smoke from the West Coast stretching as far as Michigan, located thousands of miles away.

“Here is a visible satellite image valid at 2pm PDT showing the vast extent of the wildfire smoke,” the Weather Prediction Center wrote on Twitter Saturday. “The area in the orange contour is smoke in the mid-upper levels of the atmosphere that has reached as far east as Michigan! The red contour is the dense smoke near the West Coast.”

International air quality monitoring website IQAir.com reported that air quality in Portland, Oregon, was the worst in the world on Sunday. It said that Vancouver in Canada, Seattle, and San Francisco are in the top 10—beating out massive cities like New Delhi, India; Jakarta, Indonesia; Beijing, China; and Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Oregon cities like Medford, Corvallis, Albany, Eugene, Salem, and Bend all had worse air quality than Portland, according to OregonLive.

The National Weather Service has implemented air quality alerts for much of the West Coast, including parts of California, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington state.

“Air pollutants can cause breathing difficulties for children, the elderly, as well as persons with respiratory problems. Those individuals who are sensitive to increased particulate matter or smoke are encouraged to avoid prolonged or strenuous outdoor activity during this alert. It is also recommended that all other individuals limit prolonged or strenuous activity outdoors,” said the weather agency.

Late Saturday, the Jackson County Sheriff’s office said that four people had died in the wildfire that burned in the Ashland area. Authorities earlier this week said as many as 50 people could be missing from the blaze. But they said the number of people unaccounted for is now down to one.

At least 10 people have been killed in the past week throughout Oregon. Officials have said more people are missing from other blazes, and the number of fatalities is likely to rise. Twenty-two people have died in California, and one person has been killed in Washington state.

Among the people killed was Millicent Catarancuic, who was found near her car at her five-acre home in Berry Creek, California. At one point she was ready to evacuate with her dogs and cats in the car. But she changed her mind as the winds seemed to calm and the flames stayed away. Then the fire changed direction, rushing onto the property too quickly for her to leave. She died, along with her animals.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.