Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Los Angeles County under a quarantine regulating the movement of citrus and closely-related plants

News Release
California Department of Food and Agriculture
Media Contacts:
Steve Lyle, CDFA, 916-654-0462,
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor
A. G. Kawamura, Secretary
Release #09-071
SACRAMENTO, September 2, 2009 �The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has placed all of Los Angeles County under a quarantine regulating the movement of citrus and closely-related plants.

The quarantine follows the detection of several dozen Asian citrus psyllids in the Echo Park area. CDFA is working with the USDA and county officials and growers to implement the quarantine in an effort to prevent the spread of the Asian citrus psyllid in California.

The Asian citrus psyllid can carry the disease huanglongbing (HLB). Tests on the psyllids detected in Los Angeles County were negative for the disease. All citrus and closely related plant species are susceptible host plants for both the Asian citrus psyllid and HLB. There is no cure for HLB once a citrus tree becomes infected. The diseased tree will produce inedible fruit and decline in health until it dies.

�The quarantine is an important step toward stopping the spread of this pest,� said CDFA Secretary A.G. Kawamura. �This action protects our state�s citrus farmers and also protects our backyard citrus trees, which are equally susceptible to the HLB disease that these pests can spread.�

The states of Texas, Mississippi and Alabama have detected the Asian citrus psyllid but not the HLB disease. Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Louisiana have detected both the pest and the disease. Since the disease was first detected in Florida in 2005, it has spread to all 32 citrus-producing counties throughout the state.

The quarantine area is comprised of approximately 4,000 square miles covering all of Los Angeles County. A map of the quarantine area is available at

All harvested citrus in the quarantine area must be commercially cleaned and packed before it can be moved out of the area. Nursery host plants may not be moved out of the quarantined area and the movement of cut greens, green waste and citrus fruit will be regulated and enforced by federal, state and county quarantine officials. Residents are urged to consume back yard citrus fruit at home and to refrain from transporting their back yard citrus, as well as citrus plants, out of the area.
A treatment program for the Echo Park area is still being developed. A public meeting to discuss details of the treatment has yet to be scheduled.

California�s citrus industry ranks first in the U.S. in terms of value and second (after Florida) in terms of production. California�s total citrus production has averaged 3.2 million tons per season over the past three seasons, about 24 percent of the nation�s total. California is the nation�s main source (80 percent) of fresh-market oranges, while Florida grows oranges mainly for juice. California also supplies 87 percent of the nation�s lemons (source: USDA Economic Research Service).


The California Department of Food and Agriculture protects and promotes California�s agriculture.
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California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Public Affairs
1220 N St., Ste. 214, Sacramento, CA 95814

Saturday, April 25, 2009

a quick update...

...the camera broke, but the garden is still growing! i am thankful for the wealth of pictures i took before its demise, and am sending it in to be repaired.

we should all get used to these types of setbacks because they are going to increase as the economy gets worse, but guess what? the plants will ALWAYS grow...even if the electricity is turned off, even if a weird smart bomb knocks out all batteries...even if the WATER is turned off, plants that we can eat will still grow. yes, Earth Momma is good to us indeed. and we have to remember, more than just our busy hands, the Sun and water grow plants. we got the Moon, the soil, the Energy of the seeds, the insects, the plants working together to protect & deflect for each other...the core truths about us and our relationships to what is around us cannot be taught in textbooks. we have to learn about the realities of life by living with and for the things we actually need. we dont need money and electronics. we need food, we need water and we need each other. 

i have a few blogs in the works right now, but in the meantime i have decided to be better about sharing my thoughts about what the gardening revolution is really about, because it's not just about the actions of "gardening" or even of "revolting" - it's more than that. i dont always have as much time as i would like, but i appreciate you taking this time with me to help realize our potential to sustain outside of dependency on money for food.

my son just declared that i am, "done, done, DONE! NO, NOT IN A SECOND!" so with that, i'm off! 

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

stir-fry rice with fresh oregon snow peas

it's not a gardening revolution if people aren't eating better! one great thing about vegetables from the garden vs. vegetables from the store is the flavor – nothing compares! the sweet, crunchy beans pulled directly from vines and eaten that night mimic the way all food is supposed to be consumed (in my humble opinion) – and that is my goal. as my garden grows, my family will be eating more meals exclusively grown from the garden, but for now each element gets to be a lovely feature in our push towards sustainability and healthy living.

my household is vegetarian (vegan for the most part) so we eat a LOT of stir fry. i am going to walk through this one step by step.

first, i sauté the vegetables a few rounds at a time. i started with red onions (the only onions my family really eats well) and both green and red bell peppers. i prefer peanut oil these days because it can get really hot without burning. i tossed in a little rice vinegar and a tad bit of Worcestershire for flavor.

next, i prepared my peas for eating. i stayed very basic with just some salty soy sauce to bring out the sugar of the peas. I cooked them for only a few minutes so they were still a little crunchy.

i threw some cabbage in – although a lot of people don’t appreciate cabbage because it seems bland, i have been enjoying it quite a bit lately. it acts as a sponge for spices, so i used it to soak up the garlic pepper sauce i used to spice up the dish and give it a different dose of sweetness. i also used a little bit of wine based teriyaki sauce.

next came the garlic & broccoli. i only use fresh garlic these days (and i can't wait to grow some!) and garlic has so many uses; i simply cant have enough of it around. i use soy sauce for the broccoli...and i will be planting broccoli after the full moon later this week :)

the scraps from each meal go to our worms, who are making amazing fertilizer for the garden. this process is called vermicomposting, and it is a popular way to foster sustainable living and waste less throughout the world. i will do an entire blog about the worm bin later...just thought i would share a picture of their meal too! i love it that our scraps can be used to feed worms that poop out dirt that can be used to grow more food that they can eat to make more dirt...yay nature!

when i mixed the rice in with the vegetables i added some rice vinegar, soy sauce and ground ginger. if i had more time, i would have chopped ginger...but i thought i was doing good as it was so i decided not to push it.
this is how the stir fry looked once completed:

this big eater ate two bowls:

this picky eater ate two bowls...of plain white rice:

the price breakdown (from the small neighborhood market down the street):

stir-fry rice with fresh oregon snow peas
red pepper - $0.50 ($0.99/lb)
green pepper - $o.75 ($1.30/lb)
broccoli head - $0.50 ($1.20/lb)
red onion - $0.12 ($0.25/lb)
1/4 cabbage - $0.20 ($1.00/head)
3 cloves garlic - $0.05 ($0.20 a bulb)
2 cups of rice - $0.50 ($1.00/lb)
soy / vinegar / garlic pepper sauce / peanut oil / teriyaki / ground ginger - $1.00
6 servings
total cost = $3.62
restaurant estimated cost - $7.00 / plate = $42.00 + tip

*note - these are obviously not organically grown produce prices...i will be sure to include how much a meal from Whole Foods produce section & chains like Ralphs and Vons cost as well...but for this exercise i decided to use the actual cost of the food i used.

*i prepped the peppers & onions the night before, storing them in a container in the fridge. this cut my cooking time in half, and allowed me to take the time and energy on each portion of the cooking process.

this meal was mildly spicy, and pleasantly sweet. the oregon snow peas were amazing, as i knew they would be and were definitely the central focus of the flavor.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

art-deco snow peas

snow peas are perfect to plant when the ground is getting warm during the day but the weather is still dropping below 50 degrees at night.

in my garden, the oregon snow peas are doing fantastic, climbing up the trellises i make faster than i can extend them. i made the climbing structures out of the long dead branches pruned out of one of the of the trees & some natural twine.

the leaves are getting eaten a little by some moths & the occasional slug or snail around the lower leaves, but for the most part they are healthy and thriving. the delicate white flowers attract a variety of bees and butterflies & the white and green leaves with strong but thin tendrils are different everyday and are a joy to check on with the kids. these vines add life and green abundance to any yard, and are easy to grow.

young snow peas can be eaten in salads raw, but larger ones are best cooked in stir fries or curries. it is best to water before harvesting, and harvesting often allows the plant to produce more flowers and more peas most easily. expect yields to increase as you begin to harvest. the first few harvests will be small.

there are no rules when it comes to building structures for plants to climb on. i have snow peas in my large garden plot and on the side of the house (above). the peas on the side of the house were planted first, but are producing less all around. they did, however, survive and eventually produce through a huge flood of water for several weeks when it was raining relentlessly with chilly weather.

this trellis was built with a few random pieces of wood from old trellises, a few long sticks trimmed from the tree and the grated walls of a dismantled storage cube.

now, back to the garden!

gardening revolution - the garden project

there is a garden project out there that everyone is a part of, perhaps not everyone understands their role yet, but it is a project that can start now.

the project is simple. it consists of one main component:

*people planting seeds to grow food.

i have a lot of ideas about how this can happen on a large scale, but as i research and connect with other like-minded people, we begin to build this garden each day through our every action. each time we visit the grocery store we must remember that the components to each meal are grown, and if you eat meat...the animals consumed eat plants that must be grown to sustain them.

the cycle of feeding a being to be slaughtered with food we could be eating directly breeds dependency and helps the capitalist economy by creating "jobs", waste and excess. the water the animal we slaughter to eat drinks could be being consumed directly by a human needing clean water to drink. this cycle of consumerism (profiting corporations) encourages a lack of sustainability in cultural eating customs.

the food we eat that we buy from the grocery store is inherently tied to the money system. when the money system fails, the grocery store system in turn fails --> this means people who rely 100% on food purchased from a grocery store with money will have nothing to eat when the stores close.

the best way to avoid being dependent on store bought food is to grow your own. any place where there is public land is a place you should be able to grow food. no matter where you live, you can grow food. containers, back yards, front yards, around trees, in abandoned plots and anywhere there is dirt. why plant flowers in your front yards when you could plant something that you could eat? and if you dont need it to eat, why not give it to someone who does?

our ideas about money and food are unhealthy for a variety of reasons. a person should not need to be rich to eat healthy. access to clean, healthy organic food should not come with a certain skill set or IQ parameter. the government should not get to "grant" someone the right to eat through a series of papers pushed around by a caseworker given a job so you can feel tied to the government for your right to feed your children in an economic slump. there should be apple trees in the parks and grapevines on the library lawns so the kids have something healthy to snack on while reading instead of red40 dyed popsicles from the icecream truck. but of course, that sounds ridiculous because if you look at the books for the children you will quickly find that most books contain references to cookies, cakes, icecream, sweets, chicken wings, hamburgers, pizza...before ever mentioning a vegetable. we gasp and use the obese children as afternoon entertainment on talk shows, exploiting corporate profits through negligent parents making decisions for children who just want what "tastes good" -- msg / high fructose corn syrup / sugar, sugar, sugar / mystery chemical x...and the list goes on.

i recently moved into a home in south los angeles with a beautiful, sizeable yard that i am turning into my personal gardening revolution (phase 1). i will delve into what i talk about here in more detail, but i will also share the details of my personal back yard garden. i would love to exchange tips, ideas and gardening revolutions!!! we are all in this mission together. more food planted means more food for us, and for our future generations. when we embrace food as a right for everyone, not just a privilege for the rich, we embrace one key to our true freedom -- not the manufactured "documented" ideological freedom fed to you along with poison from the propaganda machines.

*fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers...are beautiful additions to any living space or yard. make your space edible!

- get your daily tips & garden talk from me (lady t) at