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How to Build an Herb Spiral: Part 2

Chris Martenson - April 10, 2014 - 16:13

An herb spiral is not meant for large scale production. It is meant to provide many different microclimates in a small space. This is beneficial because you can pack many different varieties of herbs into a small space close to your kitchen, so you can conveniently pick them as you need them. It is also garden feature that can be admired simply for its beauty.

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Categories: Economics

5 Simple Tips For Spotting And Treating Common Chicken Illnesses

Chris Martenson - April 10, 2014 - 14:10

Learn about some of the more common ailments that can arise in your backyard flock and how to identify them.

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Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 4/10 - Trailer Parks Lure Investors, Central CA Sinking as Groundwater is Depleted

Chris Martenson - April 10, 2014 - 08:10
  • Chris Martenson: “Oil’s not cheap anymore, and it will never be cheap again”
  • Australian network operators ready to ditch poles and wires
  • Monetary Insurance: Protect With Physical Silver Against The Financial Winter
  • Gold Q&A From Readers
  • U.S. Oil Imports Fall to Zero Over Next 25 Years
  • Trailer Parks Lure Wall Street Investors Looking for Double-Wide Returns
  • Oklahoma Suffering From Huge Increase in Earthquakes Near Drilling
  • How Long Until It's Gone?
  • Central California is Sinking as Groundwater is Depleted

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Categories: Economics

Video: Can We Create Living-Wage Jobs for Everyone?

What is a good job? Do tax breaks to self-proclaimed "job creators" actually create jobs and if so, what kind of jobs? How do we ensure that public money is spent for public good?

"We see too much emphasis on the concept of a job," Bettina Damiani tells host Laura Flanders in an interview with GRITtv. "We have more low-income jobs, but fewer in the middle where we really need the investment."

Bettina Damiani has worked as the Project Coordinator at Good Jobs First for the past 13 years, coordinating campaigns that fight for economic transparency, fairness and equality for all New Yorkers. She recently announced that she will be stepping down from her position this month to pursue other opportunities. As part of a bittersweet goodbye, we had the chance to interview her about her take on private-public partnerships, economic justice, and creating good, middle-class jobs for everyone.

"No one has been able to convince the academic world or the advocates—citizens that live in these neighborhoods—that these stadiums actually benefit the neighborhoods," Damiani says, recalling the building of Yankee stadium in the South Bronx, one of the dramas during of her tenure at Good Jobs First. "When the project was first proposed, we joked that throwing the money off the elevated train would have had a better economic return."

For more on organizing in New York City, check out our interview with Ana Maria Archila. For more on creating inclusive economic policies, watch Kelly Anderson's interview on gentrification in Brooklyn.

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Categories: Economics

A New Source of Jobs for India's Rural Women? (Hint: It's in Your Shampoo)

The author is a consultant at Future 500.

Women fasten young seaweed plants to rope in preparation for growing. Photo by Ganesh Vishwanath / AquAgri Processing.

Among the rocky beaches, mudflats, and lagoons that line the southeastern tip of India, it’s not unusual to see a group of women working together around a bamboo raft. These women are tending to young seaweed plants that, in just a month's time, will grow to five times their current size. One raft's harvest of seaweed is worth more than a fisherman’s daily pay.

For a variety of reasons, seaweed farming works well for women in places like rural India.

People are used to seeing seaweed in miso soup or wrapped around a sushi roll. But many don't realize that the real drivers of the seaweed industry are byproducts extracted from the plants. These include substance known as alginates, agar, and carrageenan, which give a soft, jellylike consistency to products like skin care lotions, fertilizers, toothpastes, ice cream, soymilk, and fruit jellies.

Analysts predict that the seaweed extract business will reach $7 billion by 2018.

That impressive figure is especially interesting because fishing—the traditional industry of rural coastal India—has not been a welcoming place for women. Fishing requires a great deal of capital and long hours at sea—that's a problem for women responsible for household tasks including taking care of children, collecting drinking water, and gathering firewood.

But women often play a large role in seaweed farming, which in many cases is the only source of cash income available to them and the first paid work they've ever had. Seaweed farming works well for women in places like rural India because it doesn't require a lot of money or expensive equipment to make it work, and requires women to be away from home for no more than 4 to 6 hours of the day.

Typically, a group of six to 10 women will grow a crop of seaweed in six weeks. The majority of the work is done on land, where women work together stringing small young plants through ropes, which are then tied to sections of bamboo that form a raft. When the assembly is complete, the women move the rafts into shallow water. Women will typically plant and harvest one raft a day. Both fresh and dried seaweed is sold to seaweed processing companies at a fixed rate determined by the farmers themselves at the beginning of each year.

During a recent trip to India, I witnessed this process firsthand. Many women in coastal villages have turned to seaweed farming, bringing them economic opportunities while contributing to their families' income—not an easy thing to do in a male dominated society.

And this is not just any income. Women earners are more likely than males to save their money or spend it on their families, according to government officials and seaweed industry insiders.

Keeping women's income safe

Since the 1960s, agricultural crops cultivated by farmers in hard-to-reach villages in India have tended to go through a number of intermediaries, or “middlemen,” before getting to the market. Historically, farmers have struggled with middlemen taking advantage of their role and pocketing more than their fair share of earnings.

If rural women are benefiting from the seaweed industry, what's happening to make sure that money is secure? The answer, at least in India, is quite a lot.

AquAgri also works directly with farmers to make sure the money it pays out goes into local hands and helps to build long-term livelihood.

Engaging in contract farming ensures the entirety of a farmer’s harvest will be sold directly to a company at a prearranged price, without going through middlemen. According to a recent report by the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization, nearly 5,000 rural poor from a single southeastern district alone engage in farming, transporting, and selling seaweed through contract farming.

Their efforts are supported by private investors, industries, NGOs, and financial institutions like the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development and the National Fisheries Development Board. The Indian government has also been proactive in encouraging environmentally sound and socially responsible seaweed farming.

On the private industry side, the company AquAgri Processing has helped lead the effort to provide rural women with seaweed growing contracts. AquAgri was created when its current managing director, Abhiram Seth, left PepsiCo—which had initiated the contract farming model for seaweed farming in India in 2000—and started his own company in 2008. Currently, women comprise 75 percent of AquAgri's workforce.

AquAgri also works directly with farmers to make sure the money it pays out goes into local hands and helps to build long-term livelihood. Through its "Growers Investment Program," the company deducts, saves, and matches 5 percent of each seaweed worker's pay. This is especially helpful for farmers during the monsoon season, when for three months the seas are too unpredictable for farming.

Policy makers around the developing world are often stumped when asked how to ensure that rural women have access to income. As the demand for seaweed-based products increases, they might consider learning from what India has done with this industry.

Shilpi Chhotray wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions.

Shilpi is a consultant at Future 500, a global nonprofit organization specializing in stakeholder engagement and building bridges between parties at odds–corporations and NGOs, the political right and left, and others—to advance systemic solutions to environmental problems.


Read more:

Women's Knowledge: Three Reasons We Won't Solve Climate Change Without It

Women Farmers Feed the World

Women Are Vets, Too: Meet the Organization that Acts Like It

Categories: Economics

China's Demand for Gold Has Trapped The West's Central Banks

Chris Martenson - April 9, 2014 - 15:12

Every once in a while, an Off the Cuff interview is so important that we decide to make it available to the entire public. This is one of those occasions.

In this week's Off the Cuff podcast, Chris and Alasdair Macleod build on the insights laid out in Chris' recent mega-report last week on gold: The Screaming Fundamentals for Owning Gold. And specifically, they delve deeply into the poorly-understood topic of why Chinese demand has become such a game changer in recent years.

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Categories: Economics

The Tale of Two Sharing Cities, Part One

Shareable Magazine - April 9, 2014 - 13:02

Old Utrecht, bicycles everywhere. Photo: Neal Gorenflo

There’s something telling in the handlebars of old Dutch bicycles. They jut out a bit from the stem, then curve sharply back to meet the hands of a relaxed, upright rider.

When walking in the old district of Utrecht this past February, a gaggle of riders whizzed by me four abreast on this narrow, cobbled lane. They were nearly shoulder-to-shoulder.

Categories: Economics

Comprehensive Disobedience: Occupying the Sharing Economy in Spain

Shareable Magazine - April 9, 2014 - 10:25

Photo credit: Olmo Calvo

Spanish war tax resisters and activists from the 15-M, or indignados, movement (the Spanish version of “Occupy”) have joined forces to organize a sharing economy network and to nourish it with redirected taxes.

Categories: Economics

Shareable's Top 50 Quotes About Sharing, Collaboration & Social Change

Shareable Magazine - April 9, 2014 - 08:45

Social change is hard work. It can also be scary as hell – a leap of faith into the unknown, a risky challenge to the status quo. Sometimes even the most dedicated (me included) are unsure of how to realize our dreams, or are overwhelmed by seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

Categories: Economics

Coworking is Awesome, Let's Keep It That Way

Shareable Magazine - April 9, 2014 - 08:13

Talking with Tony Bacigalupo about coworking and the future of work turns out to be a very meta experience. With me calling from a bustling coworking space in Santa Cruz, California and Bacigalupo, who’s the co-founder and mayor of the coworking space New Work City, doing the interview from a New York City street, we’re embodying what we’re talking about: that for a growing number of people, work no longer means being tethered to a cube or rigid schedule. Amidst city sirens and coworking chatter, we get down to business.

Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 4/9 - Venezuela Rationing Food, Russia Cuts Growth Forecast

Chris Martenson - April 9, 2014 - 07:37
  • Snyder to Detroit pension funds: Time to settle
  • Europe’s Many Jobless See Little Light Yet From Glimmers of a Recovery
  • Pressure on France to reduce deficit in line with EU target
  • Survey: Nearly 40 Percent Of Americans Can’t Come Up With $2,000 For Emergency
  • IMF: World economy gains but faces threats from too-low inflation
  • US warns China over yuan depreciation and market intervention
  • China's next bond default looms as polyester firm declares bankruptcy
  • Argentina Expands Price Control Program as Inflation Rages
  • Venezuela rationing food to combat shortages
  • Russia cuts 2014 growth forecast, ministry calls for stimulus

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Categories: Economics

Big Brands on the Rise in the Collaborative Economy

Shareable Magazine - April 9, 2014 - 07:05

The above frequency chart (up until April 2, 2014) shows the instances of corporations who’ve deployed in the Collaborative Economy, based on this growing list. Article cross-posted from Web Strategist.

Categories: Economics

The 10-Step Guide to a Successful Coworking Space

Shareable Magazine - April 8, 2014 - 11:56

With well over 2,000 coworking spaces now operational worldwide and new spaces opening their doors almost every day, it is imperative that owners and community managers set high standards. This is important not only for the fulfillment of the space's mission and the delivery of a positive coworking experience, but also the longevity of the business.   

Categories: Economics

160 Uses for Coconut Oil

Chris Martenson - April 8, 2014 - 08:35

Great for cooking, personal care and healthful, here is a great list of uses for coconut oil and a whole lot of reasons to keep some on hand.

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Categories: Economics

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Community Currency Magazine - April 8, 2014 - 07:33

Franz Hörmann Unser Geldsystem ist eine geheime Staatsreligion
Lebensqualität Österreich leistet politische Aufklärungsarbeit über den absoluten Wahnsinn und mögliche Alternativen www.facebo...
Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 4/8 - 16 Major Chains Closing Stores, Rare Goat-Hybrid Born on Irish Farm

Chris Martenson - April 8, 2014 - 05:39
  • 16 major retail chains closing stores across America
  • Federal Snipers Train Guns on Family For Filming Cattle
  • U.S. Navy 'game-changer': converting seawater into fuel
  • Technological breakthrough? U.S. Navy says it can now convert seawater into fuel
  • Secret Service launches probe of O.C. coin dealer Tulving Co.
  • Cities to Carpoolers: Sharing Your Car is Illegal, We Will Seize Your Cars 
  • Geep, Geep! Rare Goat-Hybrid Born on Irish Farm
  • A Mudslide, Foretold

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Categories: Economics

How to Build an Herb Spiral: Part 1

Chris Martenson - April 7, 2014 - 15:33

Herb spirals are synonymous with permaculture. Most people even vaguely familiar with permaculture have encountered the famous herb spiral. The idea is to create a structure, the spiral that will have many different types of microclimates in a small easily harvestable area that looks beautiful. Herb spirals are meant to be very close to your kitchen, so you can easily go outside and pick a few fresh herbs while you are cooking. I like the idea because it adds function, beauty, and texture to the garden.

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Categories: Economics

Legalize Sharing in Your City - Create Your Own Petition

Shareable Magazine - April 7, 2014 - 14:30

When Hayley Ortner moved to San Francisco to pursue a career working with tech workers with autism, she turned her car from a liability into an income generator by carsharing it through the app Getaround. She now earns enough money from sharing her car to cover her car payments and insurance, while still being able to use her car for errands and trips out of town.

Categories: Economics

Natural Air Conditioner

Chris Martenson - April 7, 2014 - 11:27

An interesting concept to create small space cooling using simple technology and natural materials.

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Categories: Economics

After Mayor Dies, Mississippi's Capital Wrestles with Economic Vision

Shareable Magazine - April 7, 2014 - 08:58

Top image: astudio/Shutterstock. Article cross-posted from YES! Magazine.

On his way into work every morning, Chokwe Lumumba, the late mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, used to pass a historical marker: “Jackson City Hall: built 1846-7 by slave labor.”

Categories: Economics