DIVERSITY

Five Ways Teachers Can Recharge Their Batteries This Summer

Public School Teaching is Stressful. There has always been a special place in my heart for teachers. My parents both taught in public schools, and my first career was in education. Those teachers who influenced my own life held a love for their subject matter and carried the best interests of their students close to heart. However, I sensed early ...

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What Exactly is a Biological Soil Crust?

Soil Crusts are Tiny Communities that Can Help You Build Healthy Soil Did you ever walk out in the desert following a rainstorm?  If so, you may have noticed a thin black or green layer  on the surface of the soil.   Of course. you may have noticed a sprinkling of dry, black powder on the soil surface on a sunny day too, ...

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Remembering the Past With Yerba de Alonso Garcia

 Did Native Americans Name Good Plants after Good People? My friend Andrea once told me that early Americans, like the Navajo and the Apache, named plants with beneficial properties after people they liked. It was sort of a way to compliment the good people in their lives.  She added that snakes, flies, and mosquitoes might be named after people they disliked. ...

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Resurrecting the Corn Mothers to Make Food Systems Sustainable

Sustainable Food Systems Drive Sustainable Economies In the industrialized world, corporate owned food systems have created low priced, readily available, empty calories with long shelf lives.  This biologically inactive foodstuff (emphasis on stuff) has come at the expense of family farms, rural communities, environmental health, basic human nutrition, and civil liberties.  As a result, the cost of health care associated with ...

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On Solar Powered Nitrogen Factories

Recently, I was invited into a discussion on the potential for “solar powered nitrogen factories”. The dialog dealt with using legumes and grasses as cover crops to increase soil fertility. This is of course, a great strategy which farmers are adopting at large scales. As the cover crops grow, they release sugars that feed soil microbes, nitrogen rich amino acids, ...

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Growing Organic Blackberries in the Desert Requires an Emphasis on Soil Microbiology

Who says you can’t grow blackberries in the desert?  South of the Organ Mountains, near Vado, New Mexico, soils are characterized by heavy calcium carbonate (aka caliche) deposits on or near the surface.  This caliche becomes sticky when wet, binding together to form an impervious, concrete-like layer that water cannot easily drain through. The natural soil pH is between 8 ...

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Best Ways to Enjoy the Nutrition of a Microbiome

Whole foods contain active enzymes and complex, living microbiomes Most health and wellness experts agree whole foods are the best source of nutrition.  Yet here in the US, we support an enormous dietary supplement industry.  Why?  Why do consumers buy supplements that provide one or a few nutrients at a time, instead of buying whole foods that provide everything they ...

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Chemical Dependency Starts in the Soil

Chemical dependence begins in the soil where our food is grown. Chemical Dependency Is About So Much More Than Recreational Drugs Growing up on the edge of Generation X, I learned early on about the most universally recognized forms of chemical dependency.  In our community, we were exposed to a number of people who drank too much, smoked too much, or ...

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What Endophytes Reveal about GMOs

As mainstream media in the US continue to downplay concerns about the safety of genetically modified foods, bloggers, independent news providers and social media groups continue to voice concerns in and beyond the United States.  Debate centers around the dietary and ecological safety of genetically modified organisms (hence “G-M-O’s”) in our food system. Figure 1.  Endophytic microbes like these blue ...

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