When We Are Willing to Talk

A new U.S. farm bill comes along every five years or so and I am yet to witness a national dialogue or debate on it. Farm bills not only affect our national debt, but also what we eat and how much it costs. They determine the price of rice in Vietnam and the price of corn in Mexico.They make up our strategy for feeding ourselves. We, as a people, do not take time to talk about them!

Most of us, including our legislators, consider them boring, incomprehensible, and unimportant.

We don't have to be this way. We can educate ourselves. We can create bills that are much easier to understand and we talk-over the issues and our policy. When we find the bills easier to understand we will find them more interesting. As a result we may find ourselves giving our children a better chance to eat well.  

Our farm bill is important. We can benefit, for example, by putting our agricultural policy in better alignment with our health needs and our environmental needs. When we car enough we could make it easier to feed ourselves and our children higher quality fresh food with less poisons added. We could make sure that our farmers got fairer prices and fewer distorting subsidies.

When we get willing to talk with one another we can get our issues on the table where we can look them over.

Among people who are not slaves, it seems important to expand the circle of citizens who decide how we shall get the food we need and want.

Thanks to Michael for his inspiration.


by Richard Sheehan

for Mago Bill


Have you ever "Felt your oats?" At a horse race I have heard it said of a winner, "That horse really felt it's oats."

    Most people in northwest Europe, Iceland, and the Ethiopian highlands have probably felt their oats: oats were felt in those locals from very early times. That is,, they grew there at least as early as the Early Bronze Age. Some upper-class Scot and English youth wished to never see another oat.

    Today great growers of oats include: Canada, Poland, Finland, Russia, Australia, the US, and Spain. Russia has grown about 4000 metric tons of that grain a year. The US has grown about 900 metric tons of this fine grain.

    Students of the oat call it Avena Sativa. Its kingdom is unranked. It is also an unranked angiosperm. Is there a mystery here? Its an unranked mono cut and and unranked commelinid! The order of Avena Sativa is Poales. Its family is Poaceae Granineae, Its geneus is oats ad its species Avena Sativa. The wild ancestor of oats and of the closely related minor crop Avena byzantina, is the hexaploid wild oat, Avena sterilis. Ancestral forms of Avena Sterillis probably grew in the Fertile Crescent of the Near East.

    Oats are healthy vigorous growers and are particularly rain tolerant grain. They are a common animal feed. I have often eaten them for breakfast. They have long been used to make beer. Some use them to Soften their bathwater others as a cure for osteoporosis.