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9 epic places in the US to visit on your first #vanlife trip

9 EPIC PLACES IN THE US TO VISIT ON YOUR FIRST #VANLIFE TRIP. The 'Winnebago'-van lifestyle has taken off during this pandemic. Time now for a little self-contained escapism. All corners of the USA are represented.
We can vouch for Mt Hood National Forest inclusion on the list. We were there in February in the old days. Caleb, Megan & Jim

"Vanlife is no longer for the nomadic one percent, creative 20-somethings handy enough to skirt outrageous rental prices and Airbnb costs. 2020 has taken this niche market into the mainstream: Van rental companies — the decked-out, traveling kind — are popping up all over, appealing to both locals and tourists alike as a second epidemic strikes: cabin fever."

9 epic places in the US to visit on your first #vanlife trip

Load up!


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NEW ‘WOOD PRAIRIE SEED PIECE’ IS NOW POSTED ONLINE! This new issue includes Farm…

NEW ‘WOOD PRAIRIE SEED PIECE’ IS NOW POSTED ONLINE! This new issue includes Farm Photos of Maine’s hot Summer.
This shot is of our ‘Small Pond,’ seasonally used for irrigation of our organic seed crops and – of course – swimming. Find our new 'Wood Prairie Seed Piece here: 'https://www.woodprairie.com/newsletters/071120.html
Caleb, Megan & Jim Gerritsen
Wood Prairie Family Farm
Bridgewater, Maine
(207)429-9765
www.woodprairie.organic




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Rural Attitudes on Climate Change: Lessons from National and Midwest Polling and Focus Groups

NEW STUDY EXAMINES RURAL CITIZENS' VIEWS ON CLIMATE CHANGE. Some of the viewpoints on Climate Change – in this polarized age – by rural residents are predictable.
However, when policies are farm-focused, rural support for dealing with Climate Change surges.
This new report from Duke University and Univ of Rhode Island examines rural attitudes.
Report highlights below are exerpted from Politico's 'Morning Agricuture.' Caleb, Megan & Jim

"Rural Votes Prefer Farm-Focused Climate Policies: Support for policies to combat climate change jumped by more than 20 percent among rural, Midwestern voters when those initiatives involved financial incentives for ag producers to adopt climate-friendly farm practices and technology…

"Putting farmers front and center swayed voters’ responses, with more than 80 percent of those surveyed saying the money would be well-spent on such efforts. When farmers weren’t mentioned, that support dropped to 63 percent…

"The research is a deeper dive into rural voters’ attitudes toward climate change with a focus on the Upper Midwest, and it’s based on a poll of more than 400 people. The study follows a report published earlier this year that found that rural voters across the U.S. care about the environment just as much as their urban counterparts — but deep skepticism of government and other institutions can override their support for policies aimed at improving water quality or slashing greenhouse gas emissions.

"…The majority of rural, Midwestern voters felt that it was important for the U.S. to take action on climate change, but the level of concern is highly polarized along party lines."

Rural Attitudes on Climate Change: Lessons from National and Midwest Polling and Focus Groups

Following a nationwide report of rural attitudes toward the environment and conservation published in February 2020, this report takes a closer look at attitudes about climate change among rural voters. We draw on findings from the national study and incorporate new research with a regional focus on…


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The Lost Art of Growing Blueberries With Fire

CARRYING ON THE TRADITION OF FIRE-CULTURE ON MAINE'S BLUEBERRY BARRENS. This very interesting article in 'Atlas Obscura' profiles our friend, Nicholas Lindholm, a wise organic Blueberry farmer on the mid-coast of Maine and examines his traditional way of managing wild Blueberry land.
Nicholas is an entrepreneur and in addition to selling locally at Maine Farmers Markets, his family's 'Blue Hill Berry Company' ships their fresh-frozen organic Blueberries to any address in the Lower 48 Sates. The new Blueberry crop is growing now and will be ready to ship nationwide beginning in September. Caleb, Megan & Jim https://www.bluehillberry.com/

"By the time Europeans first made contact with the Passamaquoddy tribe along the rugged coastline of what is now Maine, fire had been an agricultural tool there for centuries. Between summertime harvests, tribes burned the unforgiving, rocky terrain from which blueberries sprung forth, a custom that encouraged the new growth of what was, to many Indigenous people, a sacred fruit. Colonizers carried on the stark tradition, and burning blueberry fields by hand, with help from family, friends, and neighbors, became as much a fixture of the coastal Maine lifestyle as blueberries became of a new American diet.

"In the frenzy of 19th-century industrialization, though, the ancient custom largely fell by the wayside. The communal task of burning uneven, rocky fields by hand was exchanged for mechanized burns of leveled, de-rocked, and chemically treated fields. Today, only a handful of Maine’s growers use fire to produce world-class, wild blueberries, but it doesn’t exactly bother them…

"'I do a lot of things by choice that people don’t do anymore,' says blueberry grower Nicolas Lindholm of Blue Hill Berry Company, 'and I’m only finding more and more reasons to keep doing them.'"

The Lost Art of Growing Blueberries With Fire

Using all four elements to grow the perfect berry.


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Dakota Access Pipeline to Shut Down Pending Review, Federal Judge Rules

BREAKING NEWS! FEDERAL JUDGE ORDERS 'DAKOTA PIPELINE' SHUT DOWN AND EMPTIED. Yesterday, a Federal judge vacated a federal permit which bassackwards allowed the pipeline to operate while the Army Corps of Engineers conducted its environmental impact research..
Unsurprisingly, pipeline proponents promise legal actions to try and overturn the ruling. Jim

"The Dakota Access Pipeline, an oil route from North Dakota to Illinois that has inspired intense protests and legal battles, must shut down pending an environmental review and be emptied of oil by Aug. 5, a district court ruled on Monday.

"The decision, which could be subject to appeal, is a victory for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other Native American and environmental groups who have fought the project for years…

"The ruling, by Judge James E. Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, is the latest twist in a long-running legal battle. It essentially vacates a federal permit that had allowed the pipeline to operate while the United States Army Corps of Engineers, which had granted the permits for the pipeline, conducted an extensive environmental impact review…

"The Dakota Access Pipeline has been carrying oil for three years. In 2016, it was the subject of monthslong protests, and legal battles and political campaigns continued after the remnants of the protest camp were razed.

“'It took four long years,' said Jan Hasselman, a lawyer with the environmental group Earthjustice who represents the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. 'But today justice has been served at Standing Rock.'"

Dakota Access Pipeline to Shut Down Pending Review, Federal Judge Rules

The ruling, a victory for the Native American and environmentalist groups who oppose the pipeline, said that it must be emptied of oil by Aug. 5.


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I believe Roundup gave me cancer. The Monsanto settlement is a slap in the face | Christine Sheppard

HEARTFELT FIRST-PERSON NARRATIVE OF WHY THE MONSANTO-BAYER PROPOSED SETTLEMENT IS A "SLAP-IN-THE-FACE."
Christine Sheppard's troubles began when she followed the bad advice of an Ag Agent to utilize Monsanto's "harmless" 'Roundup' herbicide on her property. She believes Roundup is responsible for her cancer and after engaging an attorney, she has been trying to hold Monsanto accountable. Caleb, Megan and Jim

"Last Wednesday was my 71st birthday, a low-key celebration in these Covid-19 times. Then I heard the news that the pharmaceutical conglomerate Bayer has offered a settlement to resolve several massive class-action lawsuits alleging that the company’s herbicide, Roundup, is dangerous and causes cancer.

"I’m one of the thousands of people who filed suit. The news of the settlement ruined my birthday.

"Should I have been happy? No. I don’t yet know how the settlement may affect me personally, but I do know it is a slap in the face. Bayer admitted no guilt, will continue to sell Roundup, and refused to label it as carcinogenic. People will continue to get cancer from it.

"This is where I am as a result of Roundup: I have non-Hodgkin lymphoma…

"How did I get here? In 1995 my husband and I bought an abandoned five-acre coffee farm on Hawaii. The weeds were so high that we could hardly wade through them. An agricultural agent at the College of Tropical Agriculture advised us to use a backpack sprayer of Roundup to deal with the weeds. The agent told us it was safe enough to drink. We sprayed it for the next five years.

"In 2003, I became ill – extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, night sweats…

"The World Health Organization reported a likely link between Roundup and cancer in 2015. I contacted a lawyer, and filed a civil suit against Monsanto in December 2015. (Monsanto, which first manufactured Roundup, was acquired by Bayer in 2018.) In 2016, I was invited to testify at the Monsanto Tribunal at the international courts of justice in The Hague. I was shocked at the terrible suffering of the other testifiers, who came from all around the world.

This settlement offer by Bayer is a pathetic and insulting PR effort. The company’s attempt to paint themselves as responding to the suffering of thousands of people is so inadequate a response as to make me even more angry. I desperately hope that some of the sufferers from the company’s willful profit-over-safety negligence will feel better about it than I do."

I believe Roundup gave me cancer. The Monsanto settlement is a slap in the face | Christine Sheppard

I have to inject myself with needles just to stay alive. Still, Bayer will continue to sell Roundup, and refused to label it as carcinogenic


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Researchers find a western-style diet can impair brain function

AMERICA: YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT AND THAT'S A PROBLEM. Western diet? Junk food? Forget about it.
'The Guardian' explained the problem in an article a few months back. Caleb, Megan

"Consuming a western diet for as little as one week can subtly impair brain function and encourage slim and otherwise healthy young people to overeat, scientists claim.

"Researchers found that after seven days on a high saturated fat, high added sugar diet, volunteers in their 20s scored worse on memory tests and found junk food more desirable immediately after they had finished a meal.

"The finding suggests that a western diet makes it harder for people to regulate their appetite, and points to disruption in a brain region called the hippocampus as the possible cause.

“'After a week on a western-style diet, palatable food such as snacks and chocolate becomes more desirable when you are full,' said Richard Stevenson, a professor of psychology at Macquarie University in Sydney. 'This will make it harder to resist, leading you to eat more, which in turn generates more damage to the hippocampus and a vicious cycle of overeating'…

"Stevenson believes that in time governments will come under pressure to impose restrictions on processed food, much as they did to deter smoking. 'Demonstrating that processed foods can lead to subtle cognitive impairments that affect appetite and serve to promote overeating in otherwise healthy young people should be a worrying finding for everyone,' he said. The work is published in Royal Society Open Science.

"In the longer term, eating a western-style diet contributes to obesity and diabetes, both of which have been linked to declines in brain performance and the risk of developing dementia. 'The new thinking here is the realisation that a western-style diet may be generating initial and fairly subtle cognitive impairments, that undermine the control of appetite which gradually opens the way for all of these other effects down the track,' Stevenson said."

Researchers find a western-style diet can impair brain function

After seven days on a high saturated fat, high added sugar diet, volunteers scored worse on memory tests


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Who Bought the Farm?

"CAULIFLOWER IS CABBAGE WITH A COLLEGE EDUCATION." Mark Twain's witticism graces this eclectic historical article from North Fork, Long Island. Vinnettes offer insight about Long Island, New York's past glory as remarkable garden basket to the USA.
Long Island was famous for its fields of Cauliflower but that was just one of the crops – including potatoes – farmers produced in the unique long-season growing area. Caleb, Megan & Jim

"It's flower time in Long Island fields in October. Cauliflower farmers race against winter to gather the ivory heads before iron frosts take their toll. Riverhead and Southold streets are jammed with out-of-town drivers and truck drivers. The two sister towns saw the cauliflower crop of the island passing along the auction block in 1942. Back then, Suffolk County was America's cradle of the cauliflower industry. A million and a quarter cases would be harvested before the season ended…

"Long Island fields saw night still lingering as men and women move in and begin their day's work. There is flashing of cutting knives that twinkle in the obscure light. There is one thrust of a shining blade of the knife and the stump is cut close to the head and breaks in a shower of dew. The leaves are cut close to the curd…

"Land and climate combine to make Long Island land ideal for farming. This is the oldest land in America. Cutchogue farmer John Wickham said, 'It's still the best land in America' and 'second to none'…He remarked, 'I feel very strongly (his property) should remain producing food for people. I'm a farmer. My roots run deep.'"

Who Bought the Farm?

One of your neighbors posted in Neighbor News. Click through to read what they have to say. (The views expressed in this post are the author’s own.)


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Fading Winters, Hotter Summers Make the Northeast America’s Fastest Warming Region

WHAT CORNER OF THE USA IS WARMING MOST QUICKLY? If you guessed the Northeast, researchers say you'd be right.
While the pandemic has shifted our attention away from Climate Disruption, it hasn't gone away.
Farmers are increasingly believers as their outside work causes them to observe stubborn weather patterns and witness extremes of hot and cold, wet and dry. Caleb, Megan & Jim
https://www.politico.com/…/12/09/farmers-climate-change-074…

"Connecticut is one of the fastest-warming states, in the fastest warming region, in the contiguous United States. An analysis last year by The Washington Post found that neighboring Rhode Island was the first state among the lower 48 whose average annual temperature had warmed more than 2 degrees Celsius since 1895. New Jersey was second, the Post found, followed by Connecticut, Maine and Massachusetts.

"The Post analysis also found that the New York City area, including Long Island and suburban counties in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, was among about half a dozen hot spots nationally where warming has already exceeded 2 degrees. The others are the greater Los Angeles area, the high desert in Oregon, the Western Rocky Mountains, an area from Montana to Minnesota along the Canadian border and the Northeast Shore of Lake Michigan.

"Climate scientists don't fully understand why Connecticut and the other Northeast states have warmed so dramatically, but they offer an array of explanations, from warm winters that produce less snow and ice (and thus reflect less heat back into space) to warming ocean temperatures and changes in both the jet stream and the Gulf Stream…

"Across the planet, temperatures have warmed 1 degree Celsius since the late 19th century. But globally, warming has been far from uniform. The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, and Alaska is the fastest warming state in the U.S…

"One assessment projects that average summer and winter temperatures in Connecticut will increase 2.8 degrees Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels within the next 60 years.

"If that happens, the summer climate in Connecticut by the end of the century will be the same as it is in present-day South Carolina. Temperatures in Hartford would exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit for 28 days a year…

"The higher temperatures, warming oceans and increase in extreme weather events, all linked to climate change, will produce a daunting array of impacts in Connecticut, particularly along its coastline, which will likely experience sea level rise of more than 1 meter (3.3 feet) by 2100, according to a University of Massachusetts report."

Fading Winters, Hotter Summers Make the Northeast America’s Fastest Warming Region

Connecticut’s average temperature has risen 2 degrees Celsius since the late 19th century, double the average for the Lower 48 states.


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This double-decker plane seat design could be the future of air travel

IS A DOUBLE-DECKER 'ZEPHYR SEAT' IN YOUR FLYING FUTURE? Some 'norms' won't be missed.
Megan's friend works at a top-flight college in Maine and amid the pandemic needed to convert a planned recurring in-person conference into a Zoom conference. The budget had been pegged at $23,000. The Zoom conference alternative lined out at just $300.
Now 'Zephyr Aerospace' envisions providing innovative accommodations for 'Economy Plus' class airplane passengers with NO loss of seating density for airlines.
The photos tell the comfortable story. Caleb, Megan & Jim

"The design, the brainchild of designer Jeffrey O’Neill of Zephyr Aerospace, would allow Economy Plus Class passengers to lie flat or sit upright with their legs fully extended in their own cocoon.

"In a conversation with CNN Travel, O’Neill explained, 'We basically retrofitted a whole other seat on top of another. So it’s essentially two levels, it’s not as tall off the ground as people might imagine, it’s only four and a half feet off the ground from the entry point to the lower seat to the upper seat.'

"The concept makes use of the space between a standard seat and an overhead bin, resulting in more passenger legroom and space between passengers. The design promises no loss of seating density for airlines but a lot more room and privacy for Economy Plus passengers.

"The Zephyr Seat would permit Economy Plus passengers to social distance more easily as each seat is a private individual cabin, and it would provide 78 inches of flat lying space."

This double-decker plane seat design could be the future of air travel

It’s a plane-bus hybrid.


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