Lichen June is a Writer, Director, Producer, Educator
and Stuntwoman.  Her book,
Wild Magic: Celebrating
the Earth Throughout the Year
, has been praised as,
"Inspirational" and "Fun" with "Crystalline texts."  Take
a look inside the
book.   You can catch a glimpse at
future writing projects
here.  Below you can read her
whimsical review of Neil Gaiman's,
Blueberry Girl, and
her latest published piece about living soil and the
necessity of sustainable agriculture.


As a director and producer her favorite work was on
co-producing the Portland production of Howard Zinn
and Anthony Arnove's,
Voices of a People's History.

Accidentally getting work as a stuntwoman in the New
Zealand Film and Television industry led to an
extraordinary adventure that is being turned into a
book, but you can
an early look inside the "stuntee"
journals
here.

For more information about Lichen June, her other
projects, and frequently asked questions click
here.
"It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society"          - J. Krishnamurti

"We live in a technological society that creates many illusions of reality... it's the most irresponsible behaving entity that ever lived on this
planet.  This civilization is not about responsibility, it's about guilt, sin, blame and aggressive bad behaviour.  That is the shadow world...  
The real world is about fulfilling our responsibility to life."          - John Trudell
Blueberry Blessings For Your Wild Child,
a review of Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess' Blueberry Girl,
by Lichen June


Lovers of art and lovers of whimsy,
lovers of words, the magical kind
this is a review for a Blueberry Girl
a tale from Neil Gaiman's mind

A book filled with prayers and hopes for a child
to guide and watch over her play
to protect her from troubles and woes of all kinds
add kindness and delight to her days

Words can be blessings, words can be curses
when spoken with the firmness of truth
Neil's words have intent, filled with love and bright purpose
to protect a child's trust and her youth

Lovers of dreams, lovers of nature
lovers of mysteries told
this is a rave for a Blueberry Girl
for teaching her to be brave and be bold

The pictures are beautiful, vibrant and strong
watercolor to dazzle the eyes
the verses enchant the young and the old
at turns graceful and really quite wise

Buy this book for your loved ones to grow on
to imagine, share and inspire
to teach the dance of great joys and deep sorrows
the balance her life will require

Lovers of sunlight, lovers of starlight
lovers of “shadows that fall”
this is rejoicing that Blueberry Girl
is here to be enjoyed by us all

Thanks Charles Vess for your love of the natural
Neil Gaiman for your love of this child
you've both interwoven vast talents to create
a present most wondrous and wild

Truth is a gift we must find for ourselves
“precious and rare as a pearl”
but it comes just a little bit easier now
with a gift like the Blueberry Girl
Gardens and Micro Farms are Cost Inefficient and Fail to Feed Society
by Lichen June

People keep telling me that gardens and micro farms are cost inefficient and fail to feed society. Sometimes this information is
delivered loudly and firmly with great emphasis on profit, and great personal attachment to the idea of its being true. There
are a lot of myths and misconceptions about how modern chemical agriculture feeds the world. This is to be expected
because so few people are even beginning to understand the complexity of the relationships between bacteria, fungi, and
plants that create living soil. Less than 1% of the organisms in living soil have been identified and named let alone given any
study for us to begin to grasp their roles. This frontier is just opening up in science right now. The reason it wasn’t studied
earlier was the myth that NPK: Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium, were all that was needed to grow plants. Modern
agriculture is balanced entirely on this myth. You can grow plants that way for a number of years, so long as you can afford
the fossil fuels to do it and you don’t mind the lack of nutrients in your food, however, there are two catches.

The first catch is that the N, P, and K are stabilized in salt and watered into the soil. A normal plant in healthy soil chooses
which nutrients it needs from a long, long list and does starch exchanges at the hair root level with the bacteria and fungi who
are dealing in that necessary nutrient. Plants have no choice but to drink water. So, when NPK based fertilizers are applied
to the big mono crops, the plants are force fed those fertilizers through salt and watering until they become so bloated (more
pounds = more money) that they are like beacons for pests, fungus, and weeds.

Then comes the second catch. The farmers must throw on massive amounts of pesticide, fungicide, and herbicide to try and
help their very weak but large crops survive what would have been their natural demise. Think about that for a minute… The
companies that are creating and profiting from crops that attract pests, fungus and weeds, are also profiting from the sale of
pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides to manage those problems that they exacerbate. All of these poisons kill the living
organisms in the soil. Those living organisms were there ready to not only feed current plants, but also to continue doing the
exchanges that would create the food for future plants. (Not to mention all that living soil does for us in carbon
sequestration.) Nutrients in the soil are finite when the soil is dying/dead. In fact even with nutrient rich soil, if you don’t have
the right pH and combination of living organisms to do the exchanges with the plants, those nutrients are as unavailable to the
plants as if they were locked away in a safe. So, eventually, the only way to yield a crop is by moving to new ecosystems
and fresh living soil somewhere else that hasn’t yet been depleted and killed. Well, that is the only way other than growing
your crops in ways that encourage rather than kill that soil life, in ways that help plants grow strong, healthy, and nutrient
dense year upon year.

Fossil fuel issues aside, modern farming can only move over to the next field so long before all the soil is dead. Game over.
Big chemical agriculture and GMOs can only continue so long as more and more cash is thrown in and more and more soil is
killed. So the problem is not that chemical agriculture is just unsustainable from an eco friendly perspective, it is literally
unsustainable, and leaves us with soil unable to grow food without high inputs. It is magical thinking to assume that science
even has the time to solve this collapse of billions upon billions of different living relationships in the soil that have barely
begun to be studied.

When Cuba lost access to fossil fuels in the early 1990s people began to starve. In desperation, everyone, everywhere
began growing food. They survived precisely because of the emergence of gardens and small farms. This story is detailed in
the documentary film, “The Power of Community, How Cuba Survived Peak Oil,” directed by Faith Morgan. The reality is
that gardening and small farms which build living soil are the only way humanity will be able to continue to feed themselves
and the sooner we switch over, the more likely more people will survive when modern chemical agriculture reaches its end
game.

The idea that third world people need the innovations of modern agriculture in order to eat is also a myth. First, there is more
than enough food in the world, made unavailable by markets and profits, not scarcity. For more info on this read, “Hope’s
Edge, the Next Diet for a Small Planet,” by Frances Moore Lappe and Anna Lappe. Second, a lot of those starving poor
became so as western chemical agriculture and corporate interests colonized and pushed peoples off of their land where they
were previously feeding themselves just fine from living soil ecosystems and home gardens. This shift was graphically
documented in the book, “Ancient Futures, Lessons from Ladakh for a Globalizing World,” by Helena Norberg-Hodge.
Also, it is impossible to ignore the tens of thousands of third world farmers who have committed suicide because of the high
costs and subsequent failures of GMO crops and other farming practices based on killing the soil. They often commit suicide
by drinking the same poisons that killed their soil and destroyed their families ability to grow a diverse and nutritious diet. On
the heels of these sort of tragedies, and deficiencies in access to nutrients, 1st world solutions like Golden Rice are an
offensive and blind gesture. If their soil was still alive they could grow crops that were far more nutrient dense and available
locally. But then that would cut out the corporate middle man, and point out that “The Green Revolution” of chemical
agriculture and depleted soil is actually what is depriving people of nutrients in their food supply. But Westerners keep
making themselves feel better offering poor people modified rice. Kind of like offering a crippled person a flimsy cane while
continuing to kick them down hill.

Gardening and micro farming are only inefficient when your priority is profits for the few big agro corporations, rather than
many local family farmers making profit off of many separate smaller acreages. Micro farms can make well over $1,000 per
acre, while big chemical agriculture makes about $25 per acre. If you start to look at the pounds of food per square foot,
and nutrient density in food grown in living soil, industrial agriculture comes up shamefully inefficient. Not only are big agro
business and GMO farming inefficient at the amount of nutrient produced per acre, they are also the most inefficient of all at
creating the soil life that will guaranty that we can eat next year and the year after that, etc. So, the question is which matters
more, deficiency in profits for a few, or deficiency in life?

Lichen June is the Director of the Northwest Permaculture Institute in Oregon, USA

http://permaculturenews.org/2014/09/24/gardens-micro-farms-cost-inefficient-fail-feed-society/