The Value of Homespun

With Mr. Trump’s current focus of rewarding billionaires and millionaires I wonder if it might not be prudent to take wisdom from the actions of Mahatma Ghandi. Ghandi was an unfaltering advocate for the poor, undertaking a number of hunger strikes to protest the oppression of the poor. In order to insure India’s economic independence from the Colonial policies of England he participated in and encouraged others to participate in an ascetic lifestyle. The most popular images of him are in a loincloth and a shawl. As part of his struggle to gain economic independence for India he advocated the manufacture of homespun cloth. He did this as an alternative to expensive imported textiles, effectively creating a boycott on items he felt disadvantaged India’s poor.

We are entering a new era of imperialism, one not unlike that of England in the beginnings of the 20th century. I fear if we are not careful we will see that a larger and larger percentage of our wages will end up in the hands of the wealthy imperialists in our country. That is why I advocate for keeping more of those wages for ourselves. To do this we must recognize the power we have to drive the economy. We must give ourselves a raise by buying local.  We must cut our costs by spending less, buying usedsaving half of what we make and growing our own food. The rising use of pesticides in the production of our food as an impact on our health. Growing our own food gives us the control over our health and it is neither expensive or time consuming. It also decreases our reliance on Big Pharma.

It will take time and commitment to change our world and with food and housing taking up more and more of our income we find that we have less time to engage in those things we love. The beauty of living on less is that we end up having more time for those things we love. We all suffered in the recession of 2008. Looking at the make up of the current administration it is very possible that the recession can happen again. Let’s prepare for that eventuality by following Ghandi’s lead and becoming more self sufficient. Let’s create our own homespun.


Micro-greens and RDA

The RDA, recommended daily allowance of vitamins A, C, E and K can readily be obtained from three homegrown micro-greens. These micro-greens are Dijon Mustard, Daikon Radish and Opal Basil. RDA was taken from the nutrient recommendations found on the National Institutes of Health website. The nutritional composition of the micro-greens was taken from a study done by Zhenlei Xiao in 2013. Following are tables which will show how much micro-greens are needed to fulfill RDA by age and gender:

Dijon Mustard

VitaminA_RDA dijon_mustard


Daikon Radish

VitaminE_RDA daikon_radish

Opal Basil

VitaminK_RDA opal_basil

video from Peaceful Desert Homestead shows you step-by-step how to grow micro-greens.

Growing Micro-Greens

cookbook_logo_b&wAs promised, in this blog we’re going to show you how to grow super nutritious micro-greens for pennies on the dollar. The micro-greens that we’re looking at today are broccoli, peas, kale, and mustard. A study done by the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry points to higher concentrations of nutrients in micro-greens. Between four and forty times more concentrated. A lay version of these findings can be found on WebMD.

At forty times the nutritional value you only have to eat one fifth of an ounce of micro-greens to obtain the same nutritional value of eight ounces of the fully matured vegetable. At four times the nutritional value you’d eat two ounces instead of eight. If you grow the greens yourself you’ll save from 40-90% of what it would cost to buy the matured vegetable in the store and you don’t have to drive to the store. As a comparison, eight ounces of broccoli will cost you about 63 cents. A fifth of an ounce of broccoli micro-greens will cost you three cents to grow. Two ounces of the broccoli greens will cost you 34 cents.

Micro-greens are extremely easy to grow. They have a short grow time, typically 10-14 days, take up little space,  you can grow them year round and you get the full nutritional value of the plant when you eat them right after you cut them. All you need to feed them is water and light. So in the middle of winter when the price of fresh produce skyrockets, you can have fresh micro-greens at a fraction of the cost of the matured produce.

If you have kids the benefits of growing your own micro-greens can be enormous. A study  done by the Copenhagen Consensus Center and reported on Freakonomics Radio indicates that if you get better nutrition to kids early in life, their brains develop more, they stay longer in school and they learn more. Good nutrition allows them to make three times the income when they become adults than they would without good nutrition. So they’re much more productive in society. Estimates are that for every dollar spent on good nutrition, kids receive about $59 worth of benefit.

Here is a list of what you’ll need to grow your own micro-greens: trays that drain, trays that don’t, paper towels, water jugs, a spray mister, hydroponic grow mats, potting soil (only needed for chard and beets), seed, some type of shelf, a shop light and full spectrum florescent bulbs. We suggest you get the paper towels, spray mister, shelf, light and bulbs from your local hardware store. All the other materials you can get at either Johnny’s Selected Seeds,  or Handy Pantry.

Chard and beets are the only greens that need to be grown in potting soil. In addition chard and beet seeds need to be soaked for twenty four hours before planting. All other greens can be grown in the hydroponic grow mats.

A video from Peaceful Desert Homestead shows you step-by-step how to grow micro-greens.

The Occupy Cookbook is a “do it yourself” program that shows you how to keep your hard earned cash out of the hands of the one percent.

Jim Sea has a Masters in Divinity, a Masters of Social Work, was a registered investment advisor and residential realtor.



cookbook_logo_b&wThe Occupy Cookbook is a “do it yourself” program that shows you how to keep your hard earned cash out of the hands of the one percent.

Today we’re going to look at food. We all know that good nutrition is essential to our health and well being. In fact, a good healthy diet coupled with exercise can contribute to a healthy heart, stronger bones, an increased sense of well being and lower health costs. Exercising lowers our risk for many types of diseases including cancer, diabetes, heart disease and lung disease, just to name a few. It also has been proven to reduce depression as evidenced by a study done by JAMA Internal Medicine.

Now many people think that eating healthy is more expensive. It is. A study done by the Harvard School of Public Health puts that added cost at $1.50 per day or almost $550 per year. But, if you craft a good wellness program for yourself a study done for the Harvard Business Review shows that for every dollar you spend on a wellness program you end up saving $2.71. So, by eating healthy and exercising regularly you actually save $1.21 per day or over $440 per year.

But what does eating healthy look like? After watching leading experts in the fields of health and healing at the Seeds of Doubt conference in 2014,  I have to say it’s not eating genetically modified foods.

From 1997-2002 there was a doubling of peanut allergies. In 2006 one in seventeen kids had a food allergy. In 2014 it was one in thirteen. The CDC reported that from 1998 to 2008 there was a 265% increase in the rate of hospitalizations due to food related allergic reactions. This 265% correlates to the first ten years of the introduction of genetically modified foods.

Currently 1 in 68 children have autism, 1 in 10 have asthma and 1 in 3 have allergies, ADHD, autism or asthma. And cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in American children. Rates of autism have increased 30% from 2012 to 2014. The CDC estimates that of the kids born in the year 2000, one in three Caucasion kids, and one in two Children of Color will be insulin dependent. Now I’m not saying that all of these things are caused by genetically modified food but if by eating healthy and exercising regularly we can save money, be happier and live healthier lives I think it pays to stay away from GMOs.

But, trying to figure out which products are made from GMOs and which aren’t isn’t easy, especially when according to Nation of  in 2007 Monsanto owned 87% of the world’s genetically modified seed and spends billions of dollars lobbying to avoid GMO labelling. So why don’t we have someone else do that work for us.

Enter your local food co-op. Food co-ops around the country focus on providing healthy local food. As for carrying non-GMO food they are probably the leaders in the food industry. A study commissioned by the National Co-op Grocers shows that co-ops generally carry 82% organic compared to 12% at conventional grocers. Organic produce has to fight disease to survive as compared to chemically supported produce which needs chemicals to survive. That means that organic produce is healthier. So you’re more likely to get healthy food at a local co-op than you are at a conventional grocer.

Unlike conventional grocers food co-ops are owned and governed by their members. Which means they serve and benefit their local communities more than conventional grocers. For every dollar spent at a co-op thirty eight cents is returned to the community versus twenty four cents for conventional grocers. Food co-ops are almost always regionally based. They invest in local farmers at a rate of 2.4 times that of conventional grocers.

When you look at produce, local produce is going to be fresher and provide you more nutrition. A study done through the University of California at Davis,  shows that fruits and vegetables are the most health promoting when harvested close to peak maturity. In North America produce can spend up to five days in transit after harvest. Produce grown in the southern hemisphere may take a few days if shipped air freight or several weeks if transported by refrigerated ship. At the retail store produce may spend 1-3 days on display before purchased and up to seven days before consumption.

The longer produce is separated from the plant the more nutrition it loses. In some instances produce is harvested prior to reaching it’s full nutritional value then loses more of it’s nutrition in transport. This is all to say that the most nutritious produce is, that which you pick in your own garden, bring to the table and eat right away. The next most nutritious is that picked at a local farm that morning. And when you consider the value of nutrition lost from farm to supermarket (2-55%) those non-organic, early harvested, transported products actually cost more.

Now we’ve shown you that eating healthy doesn’t have to be more expensive. And that local produce is more nutritious. But there are other costs here that we tend to ignore. One of those is the carbon footprint of food grown out of state compared to that grown locally. Food grown out of state has to be trucked in state. That requires labor and transportation costs. Locally grown food has lower costs in both of these categories. Buying from the big guys means you’re contributing to global warming more than if you buy local.

Another advantage to buying at the food co-op is the recycling factor. At a co-op you can buy in bulk and reuse your own containers. And co-ops recycle 96% of their cardboard versus 91% by conventional grocers, 74% versus 39% of food waste and 81% versus 29% of plastics. So you cut down on waste, which again decreases your carbon footprint.

Well, there you have it. Shopping at a food co-op saves money, increases your health through better nutrition, supports your community, keeps you away from doctors, the medical industrial complex and keeps your hard earned cash out of the hands of the one percent. And many food co-ops pay you a dividend at the end of the year. They figure how much money they’ve made and spread it out amongst their members. Crazy, huh?

That’s it for this version of the cookbook. In our next blog we hope to show you how to supercharge your nutrition for pennies on the dollar by growing your own micro greens.

Jim Sea holds a Masters in Divinity from the Iliff School of Theology, a Masters in Social Work from the University of Denver, was a registered investment advisor and a residential realtor.