living and cooking for the planet, for the health, for the animals

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And the sad game goes on – Agropoly

Last week’s news: German drugs and crop chemicals group Bayer AG has offered to buy U.S. seeds company Monsanto for $62 billion. The tie-up of two of the six largest companies for agricultural chemicals and industrial seed (alongside Dupont, BASF, Dow AgroSciences and Syngenta) would result in the world’s biggest company in agricultural production. The question that arises now is: what does this mean for food sovereignty and seed sovereignty?

A conventional farm becomes habit-forming of the agricultural chemical producers and suppliers and international agricultural trade corporations (Nestlé, Unilever, Mondelez, etc.) as purchasers of their products. Especially the pesticide producers Monsanto, Dupont and Syngenta have, of course, an interest that alongside of the cultivation of their plants also their pesticides must be used.

“Food sovereignty” emphasizes the access to agricultural inputs such as land, seeds and water, and emanate from the right of all people and nations to define their own agricultural and food policies. However, because of the nature of capitalist industrial agriculture there are no free lands or areas. It deprives the planet of energy and other commodities, and it impacts the climate.

Also the “seed sovereignty” suffers from this trend. The industrial agriculture does not use locally adapted varieties and does not promote it either. On the contrary: Due to the proliferation of hybrid seeds and due to property rights on seeds  which prohibit the reproduction and seed exchange between farmers (in Europe the TOP 5 own half of the patents on plants) the conventional seed market is growing rapidly.

The acquisition of Monsanto is basically a 62-billion-dollar bet against a required change in agriculture, a change that argues against concentration processes within the separate sectors of feeding stuffs, livestock, seeds, fertilizers and pesticides. Bayer is betting that the industrialization of agriculture continues with more and more factory farms, genetic engineering and pesticides. But we do not want a mega-corporation, which has a monopoly on our food and promotes the industrialization of agriculture.

The point is rather to promote the proliferation of antique seeds and an agriculture that is not based on chemistry and mechanization but on biodiversity. This includes organic farming and permaculture. Food should be primarily produced and distributed regionally rather than exported to rich countries. Especially people who suffer hunger and malnutrition need to get access to resources such as land, water and seeds. Everyone needs to have the opportunity to feed him/herself in dignity – whether auto-productive or not.




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I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden…

Now is the time to pick some rosa canina which is commonly known as dog rose and a magical plant. Its main ingredients are: vitamin E, essential oil, vitamin C, organic acids, tannins, pectins and especially carotenoids bioflavonoids, natural pigments from the important antioxidant.

In medicine its internal use is in cases of colds, flu, gastritis and diarrhea. The fruits are used to prepare syrup, used as a food supplement, especially in the diet of infants and used by the pharmaceutical industry as a flavoring of medicines. The fruit extracts are added to the tablets of Vitamin C.

At this time of year we pick the leaves and buds and dry them to make tea. Herbal teas, decoctions and infusions made with leaves, flowers or rose hips roots are recommended for colds and infections, as well as being a mild decongestant and toning; the rose hips are also attributed immunostimulant properties and antiallergic.


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Garden Markers – Repurpose some very natural things

Since planting season is in full swing and most of it has been done we can move forward to some other points of the to-do list: aesthetics. Once we have crossed of the most important things we can focus (or just use our free time) on some projects which makes our vegetable garden look nicer and have even a structural function.

Today, I decided to make some stone vegetable garden markers which are very easy and minimalistic in design – just the way I like it. Our 3000 m2 are divided in four terraces of a hillside of a valley (just the typical Italian surrounding) close to a nature reserve and for this we have not only a very fruitful mother soil but also rocks ‘en masse’. So why not use some (because we have plenty of them) to make a nice decor that, at the same time, fits in perfectly to the natural habitat?…

You really don’t need anything else but the amount of rocks (and if course those ones that suits best according to your taste) and a permanent marker. Use your nicest or ugliest handwriting to paint the rocks and voilà! The labels are done.



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Why it’s important to connect to NATURE

Why it’s important to connect to NATUREhere exists e lack of information. You might want to say: Hold on! We live in the information age and considering the internet we can say that we ARE the evolution of technology, so how the heck can there be a lack of it? And I say you are right. However, this is the paradox of our time: we can create an enormous network of data sources and in no speed exchange information, but we do fail to connect to the one thing that is actually natural to us: nature.

I recently stumbled upon a book by Galina Schatalowa whom particularly German raw food activists will know very well. The book Fylosofyya zdorovʹya, 1997 (The Philosophy of Health) has been, luckily, translated into German and is an approach that brings together scientific research, practical experience and a holistic perspective about health. Without going into details I want to share what I found fascinating. Schatalowa explains that the major characteristic that distinguishes her approach of natural healing from any other system is its intense use of natural information. In this context I thought of the importance of connecting to NATURE and that we cannot forget that the exchange of information not only determines the life of human community, it is also a condition for the existence of living organisms, the living matter at all.

Unfortunately, today the exchange of information between nature and human beings has a less important role. The information we get is based on the fact of socialization per se, of being part of a human society. Only a small portion of the information comes from nature. However, we need to bear in mind that hundreds of thousands of years ago the sensory organs of human beings have been programmed for the accumulation and processing of information directly from nature. Who thinks that it does not matter for our eyes and ears what type of natural data they receive is very much mistaken. The self-isolation from nature of the modern man results in a chronic lack of information, and is reflected in his physical, but especially in its mental health.

New technology means of course progress and new innovations which I am totally in favor of. However, we do let us distract ourselves from the ringing, vibrating and buzzing of our phone, tablet, TV and computer. Right now I do work at my Laptop and I don’t want to miss this commodity but I need to get away from it and find my balance in nature. How else can I listen to my body signals or to what my body needs during e.g. winter or summer? How it reacts to humidity or dry weather conditions? What is the effect of eating meat vs being vegetarian or vegan? Is there a difference in life quality in the smog of a city or the clean air in the countryside? … I need to find tranquility in order to be capable of hearing what my body is telling me.

I, on the other side, decided to be very caring and loving with my body. I respect my body, my health, my fitness because there are two great attributes I cherish very much which Galina Schatalowa also highlighted to explain that we human beings need them in order to be “guardians of life”: reason, which increases our knowledge and gives us the ability to see far ahead, to foresee the consequences of our actions (what we eat or drink), and benignity that manifests itself in our willingness to share with others the most valuable thing we have – our knowledge. In this respect I really appreciate the internet and the new technologies we have. We can share knowledge and be also inspiration, and hopefully, give impulses to (in my case) connect to nature in order to find our balance.




Handmade and upcycled – stop overconsumption 

Today is Black Friday. Sadly, it’s true that shopping and consumerism keeps our economy growing; that’s the system. It targets our perspective even more when there is one special day every retailer and consumer awaits. The line between what you truly need and what you want (because you’ve been tempted to) is blurred and we might end up thinking that materialism is the fundament to happiness. How wrong!

Happiness to me is when I use my brain and let myself go into my creativity. There are so many things you can recycle and upcycle, all the while maintaining your goal of living sustainable. 

My recent upcycle were to beer bottles turned into vinegar and oil bottles. It looks very elegant and cost zero money. I used a cap for wine bottles and one specific for oil. Both I already had. I couldn’t wait to pour this year’s biological olive oil extra vergine into the bottle for serving. Bread , oil and salt – this is all you want!


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Topinambur – it’s time for the harvest of tubers 

Today was a beautiful day and because it’s Monday there was something about being very productive in the air ☺️ And because it’s time for the harvest of tubers we went for picking some spontaneous topinambur. 

Topinambur, (Helianthus tuberosus)
belongs to the family of tuber building plants from the genus of the sunflower-plant also named as Erdbirne, Weißwurzel, Jerusalem-artichoke, diabetics-potatoes or the ur-potatoe.

The plant of is similar to the sunflower and can grow up to 3 meter and has a little yellow flower. In contrast to potato (which has starch as the main substance) or beet (which has sugar as its main ungredient) the main component of its tuber is inulin.

We picked the roots and have the seeds for next year, however, we are still looking for creative recipes of how to prepare topinambur. Do you have any suggestions?     



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An homage to a cat 

This is to pay homage to a great cat named Tonys. While being busy making gnocchi di patate (potato pasta) he was hiding under the table to rest in the shade. Of course, he did the most reasonable thing on a hot day like this. However, it’s also most convenient when it’s busy in the kitchen. His absence is noticed! His rare appearance is much appreciated!

Cats are interesting creatures: so independent, loving, arrogant and elegant. They definitely are a part of a life on the countryside. They do what they want to do and bring a peaceful atmosphere to the place called home. Also I think that cats are also intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a meaning or purpose. They are experts on the art of lingering!