Way back in 2003, The Children’s Sangha was established for two reasons. The first, becoming a “community networking organization with children at the center” so that parents would not have to duplicate efforts in finding programs and services that worked for their kids. Our efforts were focused primarily in relation to “Kids in the Middle”, those with average to high cognitive abilities which includes “Twice-Exceptional” or “2e” kids with gifted abilities, both groups having “disabilities” (such as ADHD, Dyslexia, etc.) which can get in the way of successful experiences. Food allergies not being uncommon amongst the children I have had the privilege to know. The second was to reconnect children with the natural world, understanding the calming effects and elevation of consciousness that nature yields. When introducing my own children and others to nature-based programs that I developed and taught at organic farms, I watched children reconnect with nature and witnessed children reconnecting with themselves! Other benefits grow from there… including knowing where our food comes from and considering the ingredients in our food.
Positive steps have been undertaken by various individuals and organizations on behalf of the well-being of our children. We are very lucky to have more local farms and gardens taking root on Long Island. And, there are various environmental groups who have been striving to make a difference since 2003. Yet, there have been many steps backwards influenced by corporations and politicians which have been detrimental to the lives of our children. One person working to expose the issues is rock and roll artist, Neil Young! I had the opportunity to attend Neil Young and Promise of the Real’s “Rebels Content Tour” at Jones Beach last evening. As a long-time Neil Young fan, I loved the concert! But, more importantly, I loved the messages in songs from his new album, to be released, called “The Monsanto Years”.
Monsanto is a pesticide company responsible for Agent Orange (chemical used during the Vietnam War), DDT (mosquito pesticide used throughout the 1940’s – 1960’s+), and Roundup (herbicide/weed-killer). What all of these Monsanto products have in common is that they are dangerous, cancer-causing agents. Their utilization was never monitored and its negative impact has been hidden from the public over the years! The latest issue with Monsanto is their creation and patenting of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) which are in many of the foods sold in supermarkets today… Neil Young’s concert, songs and messages are geared to educate and unite people to rebel against the greed of corporate giants such as Monsanto that are harming life on Earth. I’ve provided some links below for those interested in learning more. The first article connects Neil Young’s humanistic goals with those of Pope Francis… They both believe that our children’s lives and futures are in the balance. We can act NOW, at a minimum, by supporting Vermont’s efforts to label food. Other information provided offers current and historic background (all involving Monsanto).
- Neil Young and Pope Francis work to promote a healthy food system for all: http://ecowatch.com/2015/07/01/neil-young-pope-francis/
- Here’s what’s happening with food labeling in Vermont (and connected to other states): http://news.yahoo.com/rocker-neil-young-offers-support-vermont-food-label-210215565.html;_ylt=A0LEV7q8IK9V8RgAPBcnnIlQ;_ylu=X3oDMTE0cmIwaXVzBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDUFJEQkNLMV8xBHNlYwNzYw–
- Yes, I love Starbucks, too! But putting pressure on companies that use GMOs in their products is necessary for change to occur: https://www.yahoo.com/food/neil-youngs-new-music-video-mocks-starbucks-120456832731.html
- Detailed article explaining the GMO situation: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ronnie-cummins/monsanto-and-big-food-los_b_5161220.html.
- The film Food, Inc. lifts the veil on our nation’s food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government’s regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation’s food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. See the film and visit their web site to learn more: http://www.takepart.com/foodinc.
- “Earth Democracy connects people in circles of care, cooperation, and compassion instead of dividing them through competition and conflict, fear and hatred”. Find out more about Vandana Shiva, Seed Freedom and Food Democracy: http://vandanashiva.org/
- Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp organized the first Farm Aid concert in 1985 to raise awareness about the loss of family farms and to raise funds to keep farm families on their land. Dave Matthews joined the Farm Aid Board of Directors in 2001. Farm Aid has raised more than $45 million to promote a strong and resilient family farm system of agriculture. Learn more: http://www.farmaid.org/site/c.qlI5IhNVJsE/b.2723595/k.EE67/Family_Farmers_Good_Food_A_Better_America.htm
- New York Times Magazine article about Rachel Carson and how her landmark book Silent Spring ignited the environmental movement. Carson’s research first implicated the environmental damages by Monsanto in the 1950’s and resulted in John F. Kennedy’s initiative to form the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/23/magazine/how-silent-spring-ignited-the-environmental-movement.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0