The Joy of Heirloom Seeds


There is nothing more fun & heartwarming (and bone warming too) this cold time of year than planting what will become the year’s garden harvest.

I’ve mentioned our favorite seed company – Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds before (see Peruvian Heirloom Seeds Arrive in the US)

We’ve used their seeds (and seed saved from these rare varieties,) for many years now. This year we decided to go all out and replenish what has been an aging supply of seeds. We purchased their Large Southern seed collection of 50 packs with over 30 varieties, and here’s what we have:

Read more

2015 Resolution: Avoid GMO Foods


We find ourselves at a crucial moment in time. This is a moment where many of the policies that regulate our food and its future are being decided. It is key that we not only as consumers but most importantly as residents and stewards of the planet be educated on this subject, so we can be active and effective participants in these decisions. Otherwise the decision will be taken from us and will most certainly not be in our interest.  – Mathieu Asselin

via Monsanto: A Photographic Investigation.

A New Year

It’s the time of year where many of us reflect on our lives & some consider taking a more active stance in our own well being. It may be exercising more, quitting tobacco use, eating healthier, or maybe even making financial changes in our 401K or household budgets.

One thing for sure is that it is difficult to discover which foods contain GMO ingredients here in the US. Since food companies are not required to disclose the inclusion of GMOs in their products, we are forced to stick with organic items to even have an idea that we are eating healthy. In an environment such as this, having a garden is self defense.

Although gardening can fill an important part of our food consumption, most of us will have to continue to eat what we buy, here’s some tips on how to avoid GMOs:

Read more

Climate Change Threatens Quechua and Their Crops in Peru’s Andes


Published on Tuesday, December 30, 2014 Inter Press Service

PISAC, Peru (IPS)—In this town in Peru’s highlands over 3,000 metres above sea level, in the mountains surrounding the Sacred Valley of the Incas, the Quechua Indians who have lived here since time immemorial are worried about threats to their potato crops from alterations in rainfall patterns and temperatures.

“The families’ food security is definitely at risk,” agricultural technician Lino Loayza told IPS. “The rainy season started in September, and the fields should be green, but it has only rained two or three days, and we’re really worried about the effects of the heat.”

If the drought stretches on, as expected, “we won’t have a good harvest next year,” said Loayza, who is head of the Parque de la Papa or Potato Park, a biocultural conservation unit created to safeguard native crops in the rural municipality of Pisac in the southeastern department or region of Cuzco.

Read more

Holiday Reads: Some Great Links, Year in Review

Christmas 2014

Ahhh, 2014 is quickly coming to an end, and once again I wonder what happened to the year. It went by so fast.

Between watching world & financial events with open eyes & shuttling back and forth to Peru, I managed to accomplish a personal first, successfully importing over 3,600 pounds of specialty grade Peruvian coffee from the Chanchamayo region.

Now that really isn’t that much in the coffee world where the goal is to fill containers for shipping, each weighing 42,000 pounds, but for me it was quite an accomplishment to wade through the maze of customs regulations, not only in the US, but in Peru as well. It took quite a bit of time, and the jury is still out on how profitable it will be (if at all.)

It’s a little (actually a lot) of fear to overcome before moving ahead into the unknown. For years I had  been thinking that it would be an interesting business, that is providing high quality imported stuff to what I imagined to be eager buyers in the US. The problem was always that the sense of being generally clueless kept me at bay. I always thought about doing my taxes when I thought of Customs. Up there with getting a root canal.

Read more

Peru Hosts Highly Polluting Climate Change Conference

Peru Hosts 2014 Climate Change Conference 

Monday December 1, 2014

Today begins the 2014 UN Climate change summit being held in Lima, Peru. Over 190 Nations will be in attendance with a goal of reaching an historic new agreement to reduce carbon emissions which will be signed  in 2015. Negotiations have been ongoing for over 20 years, and recently US President Barack Obama & and Chinas’ leadership agreed to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Notable attendees will be Leonardo DiCaprio and Al Gore, as well as delegations from many nations. The meetings will take place between today and December 12th. This will be the 20th session of the UN Climate Change Conference.

Strutting & pontificating are nice, and so good in front of the camera, but what we need is real action & not celebrity endorsements from heavy polluters whose lifestyles contribute more to global warming than most of us.

Read more

Responsible Giving for the Tourist


As the ubiquitous lights & displays for the Holiday Season begin, many also think of gift giving. Donating to foster growth & empower communities is the far more effective manner in which to help. As the saying goes, “Give a man a fish…” so it goes with the many small impoverished communities in the Andes mountain regions and the rain forest areas. Here’s how to really support those in need:


Read more