Sunday, May 24, 2009

Our Daily Bread: A movie review

"Our Daily Bread" had been staring me at the DVD rental shop for months, and I kept rejecting in favor of something else, because I had a feeling I knew what would come, a full on indictment of industrial food production. I rented it Friday, and that is what I got. A kind of Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance experience completely about the industry that manufactures much of the food we eat without the cool Philip Glass music. In fact there is no music at all; the only speaking one can hear is the very quiet speech of workers from a distance, and there is little other background noise other than machine or animal sounds.

The blurb for the movie says:

OUR DAILY BREAD is a wide-screen tableau of a feast which isn’t always easy to digest - and in which we all take part. A pure, meticulous and high-end film experience that enables the audience to form their own ideas.

We may have been enabled to form our own ideas, but the images left me with very little wiggle room. My conclusion is that if the results of the industry portrayed in this film were my only source of nutrition, there would be no need for my continued existence. Fortunately I have other sources, and am struggling to create my own, so I still have a place here.

The food industry degrades the existence of everyone that comes in touch with it. There is often a disclaimer at the end of movies, something to the effect of "No animals were harmed in the making of this movie." My son chuckled that the disclaimer at the end of this one should read something like, "No animals were unharmed in the making of this movie." From birth the babies were raised to live the most miserable lives imaginable, only to be killed in the end so their bodies could be consumed by humans. The humans involved faired only slightly better, the odds being good that their lives would not end at the hands of another person, and less likely that their bodies would be consumed by canibals. Thier working lives were either as drones serving the mutant plant food, or right out of the first ring of circle 7 of Hell in the river of blood to which we are all doomed if Dante was right. This Hell in Phlegethon is Dante's name for the river of hot blood that serves as the first ring where spillers of blood themselves, violent offenders are submerged to a level corresponding to their guilt.

My convictions about the food industry and my choises were reenforced, and it was ironic that today a friend questioned my decision not to feed my children meat, as they ate spaghetti with "meat sauce," whatever that may be. I wanted to tell them about the film, but didn't think it would be a good idea to ruin their meals. I just said that I don't want to feed my kids the industrial food products any more than I want to eat it myself. 

Thursday, May 21, 2009

roof and roost from front

roof and roost from front
Originally uploaded by touzanka
This is a shot of the roost and roof from the front. It is getting heavier all the time, so I hope it is still mobile in the end.


Originally uploaded by touzanka
The roost. Hoping it will be long enough for three birds to hang out on.

coop roof

coop roof
Originally uploaded by touzanka
This is a shot of the roof. I made it a kind of lid that will fit neatly on top so as not to blow away in the early spring winds, and to allow it to be lifted off for added ventilation in the hot summer.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Assembled frame front

Originally uploaded by touzanka
This is a photo of the assembled frame from the front.

This is all I could do with the time that I had today. Gotta work sometime. I will continue to photograph the progress here and keep updating this project.

Assembled frame 2

Originally uploaded by touzanka
This is a photo of the assembled frame, with triangular supports on the front end of the play area.

coop parts 2

Originally uploaded by touzanka
These are the two sides of the coop with the lateral supports in the middle.

coop parts 1

Originally uploaded by touzanka
This is a photo of one of the sides fitted loosely.

Mobile chicken coop plan

Originally uploaded by touzanka
This is the plan for the chicken coop we are working on. In the upper left corner, you can see the measurements and the numbers of the main beams for the main frame. We used 4.5x4.5cmx4m lumber for the main frame, and put it together with wood screws. Guess it may save some time in maintenance.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

The newest swine flu isn't as new as you might think, and is a direct result of the way we grow food

According to an article in The Charleston Gazette, a newspaper from my home state of West Virginia, the new strain of swine flu is not new, and came as a direct result of the way we grow our food.

From a link in the paper, one can read at The News and Observer site

"This virus was found in pigs here in the United States," Rabadan said in an interview. "They were getting sick in 1998. It became a swine virus."
 Then from the Gazette article itself you can read

And therefore you’ve got a lot of hosts available to exchange a pathogen, which is one of the processes by which viruses and bacteria evolve and acquire mutations. And then the way in which these operations are run – and I want to stress that this is a worldwide issue, it is not peculiar or restricted to Mexico.

People have also isolated influenza virus from the legs and feet of flies in the vicinity of these operations. This was noted in some outbreaks of avian influenzas, for example, in Japan.
This new disease is neither new nor inevitable. We can start to change this global health issue ourselves by changing the way that we choose the food we eat. Eat locally grown food from farmers who use sustainable, humane methods.