Fat. Children s brains are made of fat. So are adults. Growing brains grow by selecting building blocks of fat from the available diet. The most important brain fat is DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid. Human breast milk is loaded down with DHA, designed by nature to support brain health, growth, intelligence, as well as promoting good vision as DHA is a structural component of the retina. Numerous studies have been conducted that show that low amounts of DHA in an infant or child’s diet is related to permanent structural brain changes that diminish intelligence, vision, and behavior.

Going a step further….priming the body before the thought of pregnancy and during is as crucial and critical in this age as it was a thousand years ago. A well balanced diet including sources of DHA in the diet, such as wild salmon and pasture butter are immensely important not only for the mother-to-be’s nervous system and reproductive organs, but for providing a nutrient rich environment for the soul to be! Other sources of omega-3’s and heart necessary vitamin E are found in grass-fed meats. Being a Pacific Northwest habitat, our natural area is surrounded by lush grasses and pasture, nearly year ‘round! Unlike commercial grain-fed animals, who are often sick from the life of eating foods they cannot digest and thus riddled with bacteria, viruses, fungi, and low levels of omega-3’s, CLA (conjugated-linolic-acid, another necessary fat), vitamin e, and other nutrients, naturally raised pasture animals are easy on the environment, do not contaminate the watershed, provide natural fertilizer and food sources for chickens, meat that lasts twice as long then its conventional counterparts. What you feed your body, you put into your developing child’s body. What you put into your child’s body is what you put into the future of our society. Vitamin D, another necessary nutrient for the immune system and building bones, is in short supply in our short sun climate, and pasture fed eggs and butter are a significant source of these beautiful nutrients.

What about calories? Grass-fed meats are lower in calories, higher in B vitamins, vitamin E, vitamin A and other carotene’s, iron, and CLA (conjugated-linolic-acid) which is a metabolism booster by helping to ramp up fat metabolism in the body, as well as an anti-cancer nutrient, high in calcium, potassium, magnesium. Grass-fed animals produce less gas, due to their bodies being healthy and able to digest and assimilate the nutrients in grass, and 60 percent of the fatty acids in grass are omega-3 fats!

Antibiotics are needed in great quantities for feedlot animals, as they are sick, and eating a sick diet in a confined lifestyle makes people sick too. What we eat affects us, and our children, and making a move to support your local farmers who use traditional grass farming methods and perm culture principles is one way we can improve our health, our childrens health, support our local farmers, keep our water table clean, save more of the world’s grain for human consumption, keep our air cleaner, keep less chemicals our of farms and neighborhoods by using properly composted manure, help stop the autism epidemic and Alzheimer’s, and reduce levels of pro-inflammatory omega-6’s in our bodies.

We live in a world that is Holy, and it seems a shame to shred what is Holy for the sake of profit margins. However, by taking on our own responsibility and our own power to live the best and least harmful life possible, while contributing to our future communities and bring personal understanding of our particular climatic food sheds, will the future of resilient human beings and communities be reborn!

© 2011 Summer L. Farkas Takacs-Michaelson, CH

Azure Delivery, Pantry Pickup, Upcoming Classes and Barter Potluck!

Hi Folks!

Sending out a reminder for Azure order cut-off this coming Wednesday, November 2nd at 4 PM as well as a date correction below for the Pantry Pickup! Pantry Pickup in Corvallis is set for Saturday, November 12th. Many of you have sent emails about another food preservation workshop, and the date and place is being worked out and will be announced soon!

I am still accepting registration for the planned Arts of Poulticing workshop. One of the questions I have gotten is what is poulticing really about. Through a variety of techniques, one can heal burns, reduce abscesses, move the lymph system, kill infections, raise or lower fevers, and nurse sore organs and muscles, to name a few. These are old-fashioned techniques for at home self care that can be used on a day to day basis, in emergencies, simple sickness, at home or hospital births, or as companions to other forms of medicine. I had my son Ben in a hospital, and with the help of my Husband, used poultices to prevent complications in a complicated pregnancy. There are many types of poulticing and many ways to apply them, and they are an invaluable aid as well as a lost art that is being revived.

This week has been an at-home blast, I’ve been cleaning the nooks and crannies of my kitchen and pantry, organizing, rotating, finding hidden treasures, with all that wonderful before winter nesting energy! I thought up an idea for a fabulous get together. I have things that I do not need, or use very often, and I am setting them aside BECAUSE wouldn’t it be wonderfully cool to have a kitchen/household barter and trade gathering with a simmering potluck? We could schedule it for sometime after Thanksgiving but before December, so we all have time to dig through our kitchens, pantries and houses for treasures. Some of the things I have extras of are squash, organic tapioca flour, a cool wet/dry/solid measuring cup, bay leaves, foraged herbs and more. Something I am needing is ground nutmeg. If anyone digs this idea, send an email, and we can hammer out details for this swap and potluck! After the potluck, people can take their un-traded goodies home, or we can gift them in a box for a local Share Orchards shelter, that provides many services and facilities to people in our East Orchards location.

Here’s to a Happy Holiday season with much love to each other and our community!

(c) 2011, Summer L. Farkas Takacs-Michaelson, Community Herbalist

You Are What Your Animals Eat

by Jo Robinson 

(article from Eatwild.com)

In my investigation into pasture-based farming, I’ve stumbled upon an alarming state of affairs: few animal scientists see any link between animal feed and human food. “Feed animals anything you want,” say the experts, “and it makes no difference to their meat, milk, or eggs.” Because of this mindset, our animals are being fed just about anything that enhances the bottom line, including chicken feathers, sawdust, chicken manure, stale pizza dough, potato chips, and candy bars.

Here’s a glaring example. A 1996 study explored the desirability of feeding stale chewing gum to cattle.(1) Amazingly, the gum was still in its aluminum foil wrappers. Wonder of wonders, the experts concluded that bubblegum diet was a net benefit—at least for the producers. I quote: “Results of both experiments suggest that [gum and packaging material] may be fed to safely replace up to 30% of corn-alfalfa hay diets for growing steers with advantages in improving dry matter intake and digestibility.” In other words, feed a steer a diet that is 30 percent bubblegum and aluminum foil wrappers, and it will be a more efficient eater. With a nod to public safety, the researchers did check to see how much aluminum was deposited in the various organs of the cattle. Not to worry. The aluminum content was “within normal expected ranges.” As always, there was no mention of the nutritional content of the resulting meat.

When I first read the bubblegum studies, I assumed that no one would actually feed bubblegum to their animals, despite the “positive outcome” of the research.. Then a professor of animal science drove me by a Beechnut gum factory in upstate New York where dairy farmers bought truckloads of bubble gum to feed to their cows.

The view from the other side of the fence is just as sobering. Most experts in human nutrition are equally blind to the feed/food connection. To them, beef is beef, eggs are eggs, and milk is milk. Thus, when the USDA says “eat less red meat,” the edict applies to all red meat, whether it’s a fatty steak from a grainfed cow, or a lean steak from a grassfed cow with its invisible bounty of omega-3s, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and CLA.

I’ve spent the past four years trying to forge the missing link between animal and human nutrition. It’s been tough going, especially when it comes to pasture-raised animals because virtually all the studies focus on feedlot animals. To fill in the gap, I’ve searched through yellowing journals published before the advent of factory farming, pieced together small studies financed by farmers, and combed through the research from Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand—parts of the world where animals are still kept home on the range.

Finding the amount of vitamin E in grassfed meat has been one of my biggest challenges. I began tthe search when I learned that grass has 20 times more vitamin E than corn or soy. Given the magnitude of this difference, I reasoned that meat from grassfed animals must have an extra helping of vitamin E.

At long last, I located one American study that broached the subject. The impetus for the study came from disgruntled Japanese buyers who complained that American beef spoiled more quickly than Australian free-range beef. Knowing that vitamin E helped prolong shelf life, the American researchers investigated the amount of vitamin E in the two types of meat. Lo and behold, they discovered that the meat from grassfed cattle had three to four times more vitamin E than feedlot beef, thanks to all that vitamin E-rich grass.

Now, what did the researchers do with this finding? True to form, they began studying how much synthetic vitamin E to add to synthetic feedlot diets. I doubt that it even occurred to them to investigate pasture-based ranching.

Why this lack of interest in the natural model? Much of our animal research is funded by commercial interests—specifically the grain, chemical, pharmaceutical, farm equipment, and meat-packing companies. Together, these vertically integrated behemoths have a multi-billion dollar stake in perpetuating factory farming. The USDA, meanwhile, aids and abets the feedlot industry by focusing virtually all of its efforts—and our tax dollars!—on tweaking the system. For example, the USDA Meat and Animal Research Center in Lincoln, Nebraska, is more willing to spend $100,000 researching how quickly feedlot manure seeps into the water table than to spend a similar amount of money investigating pasture-based ranching, the holistic model that keeps the contamination from happening in the first place.

What will it take to draw more scientific attention to pasture-based ranching? Pressure from an enlightened public. And what will it take to enlighten the public? The national media.

I have a fantasy how this might happen. First, a prominent media source such as “60 minutes” or The New York Times will decide to spotlight pasture-based farming. Building on this ground-breaking work, an award-winning TV producer will create a documentary that deepens the discussion. The program will conclude—as it must—-that raising animals on pasture is better for consumers, the animals, the environment, and small farmers. Before long, dozens of news shows, newspapers, and magazines will follow suit.

As the momentum builds, grassfarming will become the talk of the town. Serving organic meat won’t win points in Los Angeles anymore unless it’s grassfed as well. Meanwhile, Ted Turner will stop sending all of his bison to feedlots to be fattened like cattle, and by 2005, his “Turner Reserve Grassfed Bison” will be the thing to serve at celebrity gatherings. Propelled by this groundswell of interest, private and government institutions will finally devote more time, money and energy to exploring pasture-based farming.

Will grassfarming ever become the darling of the media? Only time will tell. But even if the media misses the boat, the good news about grassfarming will keep spreading on the grassroots level, one satisfied customer at a time!

Jo Robinson is a New York Times bestselling writer. She is the author or coauthor of 11 nationally published books including Pasture Perfect, which is a comprehensive overview of the benefits of choosing products from pasture-raised animals, and The Omega Diet (with Dr. Artemis Simopoulos) that describes an omega-3 enriched Mediterranean diet that may be the healthiest eating program of all. To order her books or learn more about grassfed products, visit http://eatwild.com.

1) Wolf, B. W., L. L. Berger, et al. (1996). “Effects of feeding a return chewing gum/packaging material mixture on performance and carcass characteristics of feedlot cattle.” J Anim Sci 74(11): 2559-65.

Note: I wrote this article in 2000. Since then, pasture-based farming has been featured in:

      • The Smithsonian
      • The New York Times
      • The Washington Post
      • The Wall Street Journal
      • The Dallas Morning News
      • Mother Earth News
      • Wine Spectator
      • The Oregonian
      • The LA Times
      • The San Francisco Chronicle
      • CBC News Marketplace
      • Delicious Living
      • House and Garden
      • The Atlantic Monthly
      • The National Review
      • National Public Radio

It’s Azure Time! :)

Hello! It’s Azure time! Ordering cut off is Wednesday, November 2nd at 4 PM with delivery the following Monday, November 7th.

The Willamette Valley Pantry Pickup is scheduled for November 12th, a fantastic Oregon Farmer get together! A beautiful event that demonstrates what is possible when farmers and eaters join together to make a community. Click on the “2011 Fill Your Pantry Market” in the right hand column to see what is available. Many of us went down there last year to obtain really fresh, just harvested grains, seeds and beans in addition to other heirloom foods. The whole event was friendly, joyful and inspiring!


Upcoming workshop plans! Dates to be announced, accepting registrations now for:

The Arts of Poulticing (learn how to patch up and keep a body going)
Preserving the Autumn Harvest (a focus on old fashioned ways of preserving food, alongside some modern techniques.)


I can’t say enough about the wonderful foods currently available from Velvet Acres Gardens, many of you have heard me bubble up or surprise you with a sudden phone call (and for those who know me, I’m not a fan of phones unless it is urgent or an emergency, lol):


Love to all this Colorful October!!! Been waiting for the leaves to change, and now, HAPPY DAY!

Summer L. Farkas Takacs-Michaelson, Community Herbalist

(c) 2011, Summer L. Farkas Takacs-Michaelson, CH

Serendipity Plant Lore Workshop on Poulticing and Tonics, Saturday, October 22nd!

Come and prepare yourself, before the wintertime blues whisk you away! Come for an evening of hands on poultice and tonic makings to help smooth those winter blahs as well as enjoy companionship and stories of folk methods about community healing. This class is a ‘happening’ and hands on work-shop, so come prepared to roll up your sleeves and play! This class is also potluck, so please bring a dish to share, as well as your own mug, fork, spoon and napkin.
Be prepared to smell interesting smells, taste interesting tastes, and get your hands dirty with folklore!
When: Saturday, October 22nd, 2011
When: 6:30-8:30 PM
To register, please send an email to:
(c) 2011, Summer L. Farkas Takacs-Michaelson, CH

Tea with a Friend

I was having tea with a friend, chatting on a gloomy, October day. I looked outside the window smeared with dog kisses, and wondered about the state of the world. We’ve had less sun this autumn, and this has made the colors paler. My friend mentions that it hasn’t been cold enough to make the tree leaves turn vivid colors this fall, instead, just gradually and grudgingly turning from green to soggy brown. Hasn’t been cold enough for the cell walls to die quickly, yielding colors. We haven’t gotten much squash this year due to mold. There are so many things happening in the world, the world is at a great tipping point! I try to do small things in my home, family and community, use less, eat local food, minimize wants, but the problems in the world seem so great compared to my small trying.

Well, did you hear about those giant vortexes of plastic trash in the ocean? There’s a great big one in the Pacific, and others gyres have been spotted in the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, and because of photo-degeneration, the plastics break down into molecular sized pieces that form a thick floating gunk in and on the water, smothering everything in its reach and releasing toxic chemicals into the ocean. Well, we need to recycle and use less plastic as humans. What can we do about this? What about those people living in material poor countries around the world who are wishing for miracles of owning refrigerators and having food to eat and plastic bottles to drink from? How can we begrudge others wanting this dream? What do we need to do as humans?

The world is in the middle of a vast and large extinction. When will people wake up? What exactly has happened these last one hundred years or so of progress?

Why do so many troops come home these days with post traumatic stress disorder, even those who did not see blood? Well, maybe its because we do not bury our dead anymore, nor acknowledge those who come home. Didn’t that attitude increase with the Vietnam War? I think it did, as many at home were protesting the war, so there wasn’t much of a welcoming home attitude in our culture. We don’t bury our dead anymore, and we do not see the cost of war up close, it’s all like a push button video game of sensationalist news, full of elect me and I will do this or I won’t do that agendas, insiders and outsiders, full of choice. We do not bury our dead any more, we do not even see them. There is no side, we’ve all been tricked!

Well, what about Hiroshima and the bomb that bombed us all? Or the use of depleted uranium in weaponry used in Iraq and in dental implants and yellow painted glass? What about government containments of other governments, when all people want to be free, and people are responsible for their selves and their own countries? But, didn’t the invention of the atom bomb change all that? The boundaries between humans no longer exist. The technology has grown so large and wide in scope, with the potential to be harnessed and used for healing and advanced solar technology, or to ruin and decimate life. We’re at such a point!

What about communism, socialism and democracy? None of them exist, in my humble opinion, because they all carry the same flaw of humanity, a desire of a few to enforce the will on the many, a desire for control. As long as there is this desire for control and the individual doesn’t take responsibility for their own sphere and power, there will be these power struggles…and one of the key issues of our time is that there is no “over there” anymore, our globe has gotten so small that it affects all. Our technology has grown so fast, that it has outpaced the evolution of the human heart, it has been separated. As Albert Einstein said, “The release of atom power has changed everything except our way of thinking…the solution to this problem lies in the heart of mankind. If only I had known, I should have become a watchmaker.”

Well, maybe it will save the world for a brighter day if the human heart evolves in short enough order to use it with technology instead of destruction. However, the trash and resource problems cannot be solved with such great disparity in the world, and political problems cannot be solved with humanity thinking it is so separate. The minute the atom bomb and other such technology was invented, was the minute that humanity consciously became one organism. Actually, it rightly was on October, 24th, 1946, when we saw the first pictures of Earth taken from Space, this was the moment of self conscious awareness, it’s taken this long for the awareness to realize itself!

All this, better than a TV show, and cost no less than a cup of tea with a friend and with a minute environmental impact. The sun came out shining, the grass is green and life is fulfilling.

© 2011, Summer L. Farkas Takacs-Michaelson, CH

I thank Thee


For everything that I see

For you

For me

The One world



© 2011, Summer L. Farkas Takacs-Michaelson, CH

Serendipity Plant Lore Tonic and Poultice Workshop Saturday, October 22nd!

Come and prepare yourself, before the wintertime blues whisk you away! Come for an evening of hands on poultice and tonic makings to help smooth those winter blahs as well as enjoy companionship and stories of folk methods about community healing. This class is a ‘happening’ and hands on work-shop, so come prepared to roll up your sleeves and play! This class is also potluck, so please bring a dish to share, as well as your own mug, fork, spoon and napkin.
Be prepared to smell interesting smells, taste interesting tastes, and get your hands dirty with folklore!
When: Saturday, October 22nd, 2011
When: 6:30-8:30 PM
To register, please send an email to:
(c) 2011, Summer L. Farkas Takacs-Michaelson, CH

A Dock Full of Love

A Dock for you, a Dock for me

A Dock for all the splendid company

You’re bitter to your root

You sting my buds

You’re best well cooked

In a change of fluids

Your roots make tea

An extract you see

The leaves are a potherb

Just to give a little blurb

The seeds can be thrashed

To be smashed, toasted

Popped and roasted

They grow everywhere

Wild and weedy

A poultice for stings

Are just the right thing

Baby leaves are bopping

To make a salad topping

Stalks dry out good

For burning like wood

If you’re in need

Go harvest some seed!

© 2011 Summer L. Farkas Takacs-Michaelson, CH

Heart Full

You cannot think straight with a heart full of fear, for fear seeks safety, not truth… A heart full of love, on the other hand, has a limbering effect on the mind.

— William Sloane Coffin

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