Sunday, December 6, 2015

QuiviraCoalitionConference Nov16015

Cultivating Abundance with 
the Radical Center

ALBUQUERQUE … The Quivira Coalition has been working for the last 18 years to end the conflict industry between environmentalists and agriculturalists. They like to talk about the Radical Center where people come together to get things done. They’ve developed innovative tools, like Bill Zeedyk’s high-impact, low-cost stream restoration methods that folks have used here in San Miguel County. They focused on strengthening livestock economics, improving our food production systems, sequestering carbon on ranch lands, and sustaining the health of local ecosystems. The theme of this year’s conference was “The Next Wave: Cultivating Abundance” … I had been pretty disappointed in the difficulties we’d encountered in San Miguel County in trying to implement a Payment-for-Ecosystem Services (PES) Carbon Ranch project, following on the heels of the County’s successful Rare Plant PES of a couple years ago. With only one year left in my last term of public office, I didn’t see how we could make much progress … But Quivira’s annual conference always seems to come to the rescue and renew my sense of hope. Kris Holstrom, who’s also been working with the County on the Carbon Ranch concept, heard a lecture with me from Dr. Dave Johnson, a senior research scientist in molecular biology with the Institute for Energy and Environment. His focus on soil microbes was startling. He had developed a concept he called, BEAM – Biologically Enhanced Agricultural Management. It was a far cheaper way of sequestering carbon than expensive Carbon Capture technology. The latter technology being funded now by the Feds costs hundreds of dollars per ton of carbon sequestered. Dr. Johnson’s BEAM method, using specially prepared compost rich in microbial activity for farm and ranch operations, costs around $20 a ton … After the talk, Kris and I buttonholed Dr. Johnson, and when we told him about our situation, he expressed a willingness to come and possibly work with us to set up a demonstration project in San Miguel County. Suddenly the three-day trip to New Mexico seemed more than worth it.

FIBERSHED … Rebecca Burgess is on a mission. She wants to revolutionize the way we grow our clothes, not just our food. She wants our clothes to become carbon sinks, not pesticide banks. It’s a dazzling vision … Her talk at Quivira was titled “Wearing the Range: Soil to Soil Fiber Systems.” She outlined the hazards of wearing synthetic fibers next to one’s skin, absorbing the heavy metals, endocrine disruptors, and carcinogens present in most commercial fabrics. And the toxic, petroleum-based dyes that our ubiquitous in our textiles. She gave several examples of her projects in California trying to create climate-conscious fabrics and to go directly from healthy croplands to healthy clothing … Check out her website at <>

STONERS … It appears some cannabiphiles have taken over Montezuma County’s former ski run site upstream of Dolores and want to turn it into its own Stoner municipality. A town for the stoned. ‘Course, with a name like that, what else could it be? … I had the pleasure, on my return from New Mexico last week, to spend a night at First Inn of Pagosa. It’s kind of famous in the nation for its “420 Friendly” policy (and sign on its tourist marquee) – the first motel in the nation to advertise that policy publicly, starting back in the summer of 2014. It’s still their policy. It’s still on their sign. But, actually, I got a no-smoking room, as I was traveling on county business. And its combo of clean, cheap rooms and good reviews on Yelp steered me its way, even before I saw the sign … It was interesting, though, talking to the staff at the First Inn. They said cannabis smoke was easy to vent from the rooms and didn’t stain everything -- drapes, towels, etc. – and leave them with tobacco’s strong odor. So they didn’t mind cannabis use even in the non-smoking rooms. But tobacco was allowed only in one room in the establishment … Nice people. Clean rooms. And reasonably priced. Even without its “420 Friendly” policy, I’d recommend it when you’re in Pagosa Springs.

SHROOMERS … Remember all the warnings to avoid the deadly Amanitas – their Death Caps and Destroying Angels? Well, scientists have extracted the amatoxins from those particular toxic species and combined low doses in an antibody drug conjugate (ACD). Those lab studies showed that the ACD is very effective in treating tumors from colorectal cancer ... Speaking of poisonings, turns out (according to the recent issue of Fungi magazine) a Polish study found that over a 7 year period, 87% of mushroom poisonings (457 people) were from edible mushrooms, not poisonous ones. More than a third consumed mushrooms over two days old and a quarter had stored them in plastic bags. Good to remember -- even edible mushrooms can make you sick if improperly collected or stored.

On One’s Own

A sudden fall’s first snow
But it’s expected. In politics

outcomes surprise ceaselessly
because one’s ayes may be

the People’s nay. No sure
saddle trotting the public nag

Poetry’s simpler, McRedeye sez
It’s all your stable. Your ayes

Fast strides. Gold leaf. Clear skies
Forget the labels they attach, or

worse, libels in the papers. With
verse it’s all your caper. Your ride

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