Heritage Wheat

It’s amazing that wheat has been a part of our society for over nine thousand years. Recognition of its presence and its first use were seen in the fertile crescent, throughout Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Persian Gulf. As our world moved towards becoming more globalized, societies across the world began to recognize the blessing that wheat was, adopting and adapting its cultivation. Traditional methods of growing and harvesting wheat have been lost through this process.

At what cost?

Let us look at some facts that expose the harsh reality of wheat production post industrial revolution compared to wheat grown and harvested prior to the industrial period.

Before industrialization, farmers selected their wheat for hardiness and flavor. Crop yield and durability in milling and storage ranked low among priorities because, at that time, all quality wheat milling and flour distribution was local.

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Whereas the modern baking industry’s descriptors for wheat flavor come to a screeching halt with a single adjective and a three-word phrase—“nutty” and “rich whole grain”—in early 19th century America, “nutty” was but one adjective associated with wheat, and “rich whole grain” flavor embodied a spectrum as diverse as vanilla-cream, honeysuckle, and faint black pepper, all against the backdrop of minerality and the distinct earthiness of terroir.

Pre-industrial wheat was very tall, its straw as valuable as the grain it produced for fodder, thatch, bio matter for healthy fields, fuel, bedding, tea, medicine, and dozens of other uses. The Brewsters selected entire wheat populations—not just varieties—for individual and combined taste, with special characteristics for brewing and bread baking, and for survivability. *Brewsters method known as landrace farming

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Roller milling– The process punishes grains to such a degree that thin-branned kernels of traditional landrace wheats are destroyed by roller mills; only wheat varieties with extraordinarily thick bran layers—many of which are the product of scientific development—can survive the operation. Produces ultraprocessed, refined flour, drop-dead consistent for baking and totally stable for distribution and storage.

Low tannin concentrations and lack of bitterness.

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The red landrace varieties used to develop modern wheats derive their color from highly tannic pigment that resides in the bran; thick-branned modern wheats, then, contain large amounts of tannins. Large amounts of tannins result in residual bitterness.

Deep roots extract a wider array of micronutrients from the earth—micronutrients that carry remarkable flavor to baking—and can withstand drought. The deep roots of ancient wheat also produce wheat kernels with high micronutrient and mineral content, and without irrigation, the plants produce smaller kernels, so the micronutrients are concentrated, resulting in outstanding flavor.

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With short stalks and roots, modern wheat throws maximum energy into producing big kernels that can be easily harvested by machine and accommodates a higher density of plants within limited acreage, a density in which plant and soil disease flourish. Need for extreme amounts of water and depletes non-replenishing aquifers. Residual minerals in the irrigation water concentrate and salinate, resulting in lands becoming toxic to horticulture.Need for chemical fertilizers to produce minerals and nutrients needed to flourish.

Anson Mills Website, Brief History of Wheat

As we prepare for our April 11th Day Prayer for Peace, let us reflect on the history of our wheat and the story and origins of our food. Let us remember the gifts of mother earth and our responsibility to care for her the way she continues for us.

In Peace,
Jackie Salas, SJW Justice Office Program Assistant

Just like Joseph.

Enjoy an entry from my blog, a new beginning. Happy Feast Day, everyone!

Last night was one of the most beautiful experiences I’ve had the opportunity to partake in. Today, we celebrate the feast day of St. Joseph, our community’s patron saint. It is tradition here in St. Paul to have a pre-celebration gathering–the CSJ Festive Table Prayer, which is held every March 18th. I was one of the lucky ones who got an invite and had the opportunity to sing at this beautiful event. It was a chilling experience, witnessing the word communion come to life. Members of the CSJ community, sisters and consociates, gathered in our Carondelet Center dining room. There were close to 200 people present–all gathered at different tables. In unison, we opened the night, singing the words, “…let us sing this song for the loving of the world that we may love as one….”

Different members of our community offered prayer that drew words from the 2013 chapter. A few that stuck out to me read,

“From the primordial flaring forth, everything has been, is, and will be forever in relationship. This is communion.”

In the few seconds that those words were spoken, I looked around the room, gasped and said to myself, “Yes….This is communion.” Looking back at the evening I find it a bit surprising that my initial reaction was just that. I was probably the only 20-something-year-old in the room. I was definitely the only person from Guam, the only St. Joseph Worker, and the only individual who didn’t have a consociate or sister title. Societal view would indicate that I stuck out like a sore thumb. But it’s so strange that my experience was the exact opposite.

Prior to the breaking of the bread, we gathered around our tables and sang together Michael Joncas’ TABLE PRAYER: The Winter Name of God. (For those of you who haven’t heard it, youtube is your gift. It’s a beautiful piece and even more beautiful when sung by close to 200 people.) Our singing voices blessed the bread and the wine we were about to receive.

“We come before you around this table to taste the kingdom in the feast you spread…..We come to know him in the breaking of the bread….Give us communion with all the searching, with those who bear the cross of Jesus on their way…”

These words preceded the breaking of the bread at our tables. Each of us, one at a time, broke a piece of the whole and gave blessings to the other next to us. We did the same with the cup that we shared. You can imagine how surprised and unprepared I was as it was my first time at this gathering. I was beyond nervous as I was to bless Mr. Boyle, a consociate and dear friend of the CSJs….I wanted it to be thoughtful and meaningful, but had no time to prepare. As it came my turn to break the bread and offer a blessing, my anxiety disappeared and words flowed from my mouth as if it was another person speaking…This was the trend of the night…In moments feeling displaced and unfamiliar, communion came to life.

Today, we celebrate St. Joseph, husband of Mary, step-father to Jesus. Last night I witnessed the word communion come to life. The experience speaks volumes about the community that calls Joseph their Patron. It speaks to why we gathered. It speaks to why we celebrate today.

Not much is written about Joseph, but all that is written illustrates the same story I was a part of only hours ago…

“A common worker,

no name but carpenter this

Joseph

yet one wonders how each person

each place was neighbor to him

for the child he called Son

treated none as stranger.”

Can you imagine the life that Joseph led?

His fiance was going to bear a child that was not his. But his faith and trust in God gave him the courage, strength, and capacity to love and not question all that was and all that would become.

Joseph was the example of loving the dear neighbor without distinction. He is rarely heard speaking in scripture, but it is through this sacred silence that Joseph is able to listen, to trust, to know God. He is able to respond to God’s call and to do it willingly–without question, without hesitation. The call Joseph answered was to love. It was to bring communion to all those he encountered. And wouldn’t you know, he did just that, for it says, “the child he called Son treated none as stranger.” 

In this day and time we are so consumed with “loudness”…My previous blog about me “screaming” is a testament to this. We are constantly in roaring dialogue with one another or with ourselves. Our minds are ever racing. We are always moving to the next meeting or event. We always seem to be in a constant state of worry.

And then in the midst of all of this we ask God to listen to us–to answer our questions–to hear our cries.

It is interesting to ponder this next thought….We often ask God to hear us, but when do we ever stop and say, “Speak God, I am listening?” We are silent, too rarely. We are still, too rarely. We question, too often. And dissimilarly to Joseph, the loudness we embrace moves us further away from answering the call that’s intrinsic to us all–to love and bring communion to all those we encounter–the dear neighbor without distinction.

In a large way, I feel like i’m a living paradox–being aware of this call yet, still embracing all that prevents me from answering it…I often think that everyone in some way, shape, or form experiences this.

So today as we celebrate the feast day of St. Joseph, let us create intentional time to pause–to be silent–to be still. Let us be just like Joseph–the example of right relationship, the love that embraces the dear neighbor without distinction, the one able to bring communion to all that are encountered.

Happy St. Joseph’s Day, everyone!

In Peace,

Jacqueline Salas, SJW Justice Office Program Assistant

11th Day Prayer for Peace: Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity

On Wednesday, March 11, 2015, the Justice Commission of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and Consociates in collaboration with St. Catherine University (SCU) International Students and Taiko Drum Group sponsored 11th Day Prayer for Peace at our Lady of the Presentation Chapel, celebrating International Women’s Day 2015–Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture It!

The evening started with a welcome by CSJ Justice Coordinator, Ginger Hedstrom as she gave the history of the CSJ presence as a non-governmental organization at the United Nations in New York and the community’s continued global presence, especially around women’s rights.

According to the information we received from Sister Marianne, in the early 1980’s several Sisters of St. Joseph of Brentwood began considering the importance of having a UN NGO.  These sisters brought their to 1982 Chapter of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Brentwood, New York their belief that is was important for them to have a presence at the United Nations.  The Brentwood Congregation agreed and created this vision statement. I quote:

“We believe…

That we create the future

As we move with the Spirit

In giving full expression

To our giftedness as women in the Church

Sharing equally in its mission –

In living a life that is simple

Prayerful

Courageous and

Compassionate-

In proclaiming with prophetic voice the Gospel

To all people-

In strengthening our corporateness

As women in community-

in demonstrating our belief

in the dignity of the human person

and the call to secure this dignity

for all women and men –

in expressing our solidarity

with the poor and oppressed

IN FAITH AND HOPE

WE ACCEPT

THE CHALLENGES THESE BELIEFS IMPLY”

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, where the Platform for Action – Human Rights of Women, known as the Beijing Declaration was created. Representing the CSJ community were five sisters: Susan Oeffling (SP), Barbara Dreher, Patrice Coolick, the late Tobias Hagan (SL) and Jane Bernadette Comerford (AL).

The International Students from SCU led the evening as they told the story of our CSJ UN-NGO Ministry in NY and offered a reflection, calling us all to celebrate the struggles, accomplishments, and future of women in our global society. All in the room were energized by the talent shared that evening through– the SCU Taiko Drum group and Regina M. Laroche from Diaspora Dance & Word.

March is dedicated to celebrating Women’s History around the world. Let us continue to remember the distance that we have traveled to get to where we are, and the miles more that we will continue to go–even after this month.

Enjoy a few pictures from our March Peace Prayer celebrating International Women’s Day 2015–Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture it!

In Peace,
Jacqueline Salas, SJW Justice Office Program Assistant

11 March 2015 117
Peace Prayer participants offer a sign of peace.                         pc: Julianne Slate
11 March 2015 085
SCU Taiko Drum Group             pc: Julianne Slate
11 March 2015 106
SCU International Students and Regina M. Laroche       pc: Julianne Slate

United In Faith, United In Love, United for Justice: It was a beautiful ‘Day On The Hill’

Yesterday, over 700 people attended Joint Religious Legislative Coalition’s (JRLC) annual event, Day On The Hill. The Saint Joseph Workers were among the crowd of people present. The conference room was filled with people from all different parts of Minnesota, from all different faith backgrounds. We gathered for a common purpose– to put our faith into action–being a presence, becoming informed, and lobbying at the MN State Capitol for issues that affect our neighborhoods, our cities, our state, our lives.

Here is a little history about JRLC:

JRLC is the largest and most inclusive interfaith public interest group in Minnesota — people of diverse faiths bringing vision and wisdom to the public realm for the well-being of Minnesotans. JRLC is authorized and governed by four Sponsoring Members: the Minnesota Catholic Conference, the Minnesota Council of Churches, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, and the Islamic Center of Minnesota.

When JRLC was founded in 1971, it was the first interfaith public-interest lobby group in the United States. JRLC now has an extensive body of public policy statements and continually influences Minnesota legislation in many policy arenas including: welfare reform, housing, health care, human rights, criminal justice, environmental stewardship, tax policy, ethics in government, gambling, economic justice, bias crimes, firearms regulation, and other policy areas.

JRLC’s Day On The Hill is an opportunity for all people of faith to gather, bringing the collective voice of social justice to the Capitol. The morning program allowed participants to hear from Joan Rosenhauer, Executive Vice President of Catholic Relief Services. She spoke of the importance of being a faithful citizen, how all our faith traditions call us to be present and influential in the decisions that our government leaders make for the people they are elected to serve. Joan stressed the importance of our values and beliefs, deeply rooted in our faith traditions. She reminded us that it is our values and beliefs that should drive our everyday actions, even those around civic engagement.

Before we made our way to the State Capitol to lobby and meet with our legislators, we went through a policy briefing that covered a wide array of social issues. Some of the key issues that we focused on involved increasing funding for early childhood care, trafficked youth services, low-income family car repair services, and the restoration of the vote for previously incarcerated persons. Subsequent to briefing, people grouped by districts met with their legislators. It was a energizing, chaotic, and wholesome experience being lobbying at the Capitol. We the people had the opportunity to voice our concerns, frustrations, and appreciation as we sat met with our legislators in person.

It truly was a beautiful ‘Day On The Hill’ yesterday. The beauty and sound of the collective voice of social justice was definitely seen and heard at our Capitol yesterday as the sun continued to shine and warm all those who were present–united in faith, united in love, united for Justice.

Enjoy a few pictures from the day!

In Peace,
Jackie Salas, SJW Justice Office Program Assistant

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Justice Office Team!
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SJWs at the State Capitol
JRLC
SJWs at JRLC Day On The Hill

Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture It!

On March 8, 2015, millions around the world will be celebrating International Women’s Day–the struggles, accomplishments, and future of women around the world.

“International Women’s Day first emerged from the activities of labour movements at the turn of the twentieth century in North America and across Europe.”       ~UN Women Watch

The first National Women’s Day was celebrated in the United States in 1909, honoring the garment workers strike in New York. A year later, an International Women’s Day was dedicated “to honour the movement for women’s rights and to build support for achieving universal suffrage for women.” 

Since these early movements, international bodies like the UN have made it a priority to address gender equality for all women. In 1945, the UN Charter became the first international agreement establishing gender equality as a principle.

This year, we celebrate 20 years since the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action was signed, the efforts that have been moved forward as a result of the Declaration, and the framework that it continues to provide for ongoing and future efforts towards gender equality.

“The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action of 1995 is a visionary agenda for the empowerment of women. It still remains today the most comprehensive global policy framework and blueprint for action, and is a current source of guidance and inspiration to realize gender equality and the human rights of women and girls, everywhere.”    

~Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action 1995

The world has made tremendous progress as many women today have the right to vote, access to education, and equal treatment in the work place. However, no country can claim that they have achieved gender equality in its entirety. The struggle for women is as real as it was in 1909 and many many years before that. This is WHAT we will celebrate on March 8th. This is WHY we will celebrate on March 8th.

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and Consociates will host 11th Day Peace Prayer on March 11th at 6:30pm in the Our Lady of the Presentation Chapel. Please join us as we stand in solidarity–rejoicing, mourning, remembering, and celebrating with and for ALL women around the world.

Please click link below for more detailed information.

11th Day Peace Prayer: Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity

In Peace,

Jackie Salas, SJW Justice Office Program Assistant

TPP ‘fast-track’: more harmful than hopeful

In the coming weeks, Congress will introduce a Bill proposing ‘fast-track’ for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement. As citizens of a country that prides itself on democratic principles and as a community responsible for the protection of universal human rights, we MUST reach out to members of congress, letting them know that ‘fast-track’ is NOT okay–that it is an act of injustice.

Here is some information that will help you to understand what the trade agreement and ‘fast-track’ approval will mean…

“The TPP is a massive, controversial “free trade” agreement currently being pushed by big corporations and negotiated behind closed doors by officials from the United States and 11 other countries – Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.”    ~Public Citizen

In the coming weeks, Congress will introduce a bill to ‘fast-track’ this agreement. If this measure passes, it will mean that all details of this proposed trade agreement will NOT be discussed and voted on by Congress. Members of Congress and the Public will NOT have access to full details of the agreement–its impact around environmental sustainability, economic equality, public health, and on populations of the people in participating states, especially those who are considered minority and economically oppressed. If the ‘fast-track’ bill is passed, it will give the President executive authority, needing not to go through our democratic process (congressional debate and vote), eluding our checks and balances system.

The TPP claims that the US economy and the US people will benefit greatly from the proposed trade agreement. But historical legacy is proof that what is promised is not always guaranteed. Past agreements like NAFTA and CAFTA allowed for the displacement of thousands of US jobs, affecting a countless number of Americans. In addition to this, the US economy took a downward spiral as our trade deficit with China grew. Past trade agreements did not only negatively affect US citizens; they affected the lives of so many people in developing nations as well. In fact, (our) U.S. Trade Policies were and continue to be key reasons why people of developing nations continue to migrate out of their countries as they no longer can provide livable wages.

The TPP and the ‘fast-track’ proposal is the mother of all past trade agreements. It will have an enormous global effect that we will have no say in if Congress votes ‘yes’ to fast-track. More than trade negotiations, there are conditions of the TPP that will affect medicine prices, privacy laws, and corporation authority over public and domestic matters. These details are not available to the public in the capacity that is necessary for our safety and for the safety of our neighbors oversees. We need to take action NOW. Congress will be acting in the coming weeks, and WE need to let our representatives know that ‘fast-track’ is NOT okay–that it is an act of injustice.

Below are links to more information on the TPP and the proposed ‘fast-track’ Bill.

Let us pray for our world leaders, especially those who will be voting in Congress in the upcoming weeks.

http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/foreign-policy/234014-we-need-a-voice-oppose-fast-track-for-the-tpp

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jacob-devaney/conservatives-liberals-ag_b_6181938.html http://www.citizen.org/TPP

http://www.networklobby.org/news-media/press-release_FastTrackPressReleaseFeb17_2015

http://www.citizen.org/TPP

In Peace,

Jackie Salas, SJWJustice Office Program Assistant