Saturday, September 26, 2009

USDA Leafy Green Marketing Agreement (part one)

The USDA Leafy Green Marketing Agreement
A Sociological Overview
Part one

For those of you who have regularly been following my Green Collar Blue Industrialist blog and have taken the time to read the many essays I write and post on a fairly regular basis, I’m sure you know that my essays span a broad spectrum of both industrial and social issues pertaining to the successful development of our nations emerging 21st century green economy. The reason why my essays span a broad spectrum of issues is simple, I have a broad spectrum mind. Because of this, I have a remarkable capacity to address a multitude of 21st century green industrial, social as well as economic issues simultaneously.

Along with my essays are links to green websites and blogs created by people who also have broad spectrum minds and who also address a broad spectrum of 21st century green industrial, social and economic issues on their own green websites and blogs.

I believe in associating myself with people with broad spectrum minds, who in thinking this way, enable broad spectrum results to collectively unfold. As I believe in our potential as 21st century Americans, so do they, and, as I have and continue to take the time to understand the goals of those who like me feel the same, my essays’ hopefully, express that belief in a most powerful, compassionate and at times confrontational manner. As national victory comes from rational national discourse, proactive confrontation does at times give birth to new American progress.

Having said this, the focus of this particular essay is on the efforts of the Wisconsin based Cornucopia Institute, its’ co-founder Mark Kastell and the efforts of the United States Department of Agriculture who in working with many others are hoping to define a set of regulatory parameters together in the hopes of defining a universal language that successfully governs the rapidly maturing organic American agricultural marketplace.

Mark’s particular focus is on the rights of small American farmers. Mark’s particular concern is that those rights, defined as the ability of local and regional networks of family owned organic vegetable as well as dairy farmers to compete successfully in an open American agricultural marketplace will once again be supplanted by the larger corporate interests the USDA is also weighing as it considers this new legislation.

Essentially, Mark Kastell and his associates at Cornucopia are bringing up a very valid argument that unless the USDA structures this initiative properly, there is a very real possibility that those of us throughout America that have acquired vast amounts of highly educated knowledge on the subject of organic nutrition and who possess the expertise to produce an entire new century of regionally grown produce and dairy products quite capable of feeding America in a much more conscious manner run the distinct risk of being set aside by the traditional corporate producers of boxed and canned food that has over the course of more than a half century not only added to our nation’ health problems but added considerably more to our nation’s much larger economic problems.

While the affordability of organic food is one thing and the regulation of such food is still another, as an architectural designer, master builder and “urban farming planner”, my contribution to this subject is a bit broader in scope.

Within this vision of organic farming and the subsequent USDA regulation of the same, the alternative forms of sustainable energy that will make 21st century, technologically advanced American architecture viable is precisely what will make the regulation of regionally based organic farms possible and regionally based organic farming highly profitable.

If every regionally based organic farm and food processing facility were equipped with advanced farming technologies, both the growth and the regulation of organic farm products would most certainly take on a whole new industrial portrait. Thus, this essay is a socioeconomic blueprint designed to enhance that industrial portrait.

Due to the length and substantive nature of this particular essay, I will be dividing its’ content into three separate blog posts

• The USDA Leafy Green Marketing Agreement
A Sociological Overview

• The National Infrastructure of USDA managed Regional Organic Farming

• Proactive Leafy Green Agricultural Economics

In turn, I will break down this essay into the following subtitles:

• Tin Cup Economics

• The Big Organic

• The Architecture of Colorado

• Global Agricultural Bewilderment

• The Leafy Green Architectural Imperative

• President Obama and Agricultural Clunkers

• The United States Green Building Council and the USDA

If you have any questions pertaining to this essay,
I can be contacted via email at:

or by cell phone at:


Thank you for your time and eat well!

M. Patrick Dahlke


Someday soon, I want you to go out and buy enough second hand clothing to dress yourself in and in doing so, alter your physical appearance so much that virtually no one who has ever known you, recognizes you once you have.

After you have done this, I want you to go the busiest street corner you know of that is far, far away from your own hometown and spend the day sitting on that corner with a tin cup in your hand.

I don’t want you to sit there with a guitar.

I don’t want you to sit there with a book.

I don’t want you to sit there with your laptop.

I don’t want you to sit there listening to your favorite music…

…and, I most definitely don’t want you to sit there with a friend or friends.

I want you to go to that corner alone and by yourself with only a tin cup in your hand. I don’t care how old you are. I don’t care whether your male or female. All I care about is that you go to a second hand clothing store, pick up some rags, go to your favorite busy street corner in a town far removed from your own overly comfortable hometown for one day only and for that one day just sit there with a tin cup in your hand.

As you sit there, I want you to study the people who pass by.

As they pass by, I want you to come to conclusions about not what they do in their personal life (because it is none of your damn business anyway) but what they do in their professional life.

As you are watching these folks, I want you to ask yourself how many American dreams are walking by you on that busy street corner on that one special day you have reserved just for yourself as an American dreamer as well.

(hint: If you are as good as I am at looking at people who wear their daily costumes and in doing so express the intrinsic love they have for their careers, in the process, you will, within just one 24 hour day, soon discover the brilliance of your own broad spectrum mind.)

At the end of the day, I want you to go home and throw out the second hand clothing immediately.

In turn, I want you to keep the tin cup and its contents forever.

The reason for throwing away the clothing is simple.

Clothing does not make the man or the woman or the dream.

The contents of the tin cup on the other hand, shapes the character of the tin cup holder and in turn shapes the character of those who stopped, talked to the tin cup holder and put something worth remembering by the two of them into that tin cup.

Thus, the reason for the tin cup explains the reason for the costume and of course, explains the reason for the trip out of town in the first place!

As that reason is all about change, sometimes leaving the world you have become used to just for a day is all that is needed for change to occur.

Fifth and Jackson

I started growing and eating organically grown food at Fifth and Jackson in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania back in 1973. As a young Navy sailor waiting for my discharge and as my ship, the USS Connole DE1056 was being overhauled at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, due to the fact that the work on the ship was being done by a civilian labor force, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands in this post Vietnam, American military era.

Not one to ever be idle and after just coming off a tour of duty in the Mediterranean Sea where I had found myself as an American sailor and long distance runner journeying through the streets of the small towns surrounding Barcelona, Spain and Athens, Greece, I found myself on the streets of Philly doing the same thing.

On my runs through foreign hamlets, the thing that struck me the most was the remarkable wealth of produce being grown in the gardens surrounding the homes of the foreigners who planted these gardens. In turn, the remarkably subtle and quite peaceful social interaction taking place within these old world Spanish and Greek communities intrigued me.

In stark contrast to the American world I grew up in, the remarkably tender settings of the foreign villages I ran through and that framed these ancient gardens left an impression on this young American sailor’s mind. Needless to say, when I finally arrived back to the shores of my own nation, I was somewhat at a loss as to how to relate to it on one hand but on another, I continued to run.

Because I did so, what happened upon my path through the South Philly neighborhood at Fifth and Jackson enabled me to validate my recent European tour and in doing so, enabled me in turn to understand why remarkable American people did indeed embrace and retain the organic cultural values of their original European homelands.

As I found myself drawn to this particular neighborhood, on one of those runs, I met a fellow who was wholly immersed in running himself. Not only was he a runner, he was much like myself, an open eyed world traveler who had brought his experiences home and in doing so decided to fully imprint his global experiences on to and into the community of South Philly we both ran through every day. Needless to say, as time went on, Elliot Gevis and I quickly discovered that we shared the same bundle of both physical and “global philosophical energy”. We were as much younger men back then somehow connected to what I consider in retrospect now as being an “emerging whole life global consciousness”.

Elliot owned a three story walk up at Fifth and Jackson. As time went by and as Elliot and I became friends and working partners, the mutual energies we shared from both our running and global travels were transformed in the work the two of us did over the course of more than a few Philadelphia spring, summer and fall weekends.

What we did was deliberately interrupt the blacktop architecture that covered his backyard and transform it into the environmental architecture that existed in both of our early 1970s visionary young American, urban agricultural imaginations.

Removing the blacktop that covered the soil behind his walk up turned into:

• Hauling that asphalt to a local recycling landfill (yes these things did exist in the 1970s).
• Cleaning and replenishing the soil beneath that blacktop.
• Painting a three story tall mural of the Green Mountains surrounding the home of friends who lived in Vermont.
• Planting seeds and transplanting plants into our backyard urban garden.
• Acquiring a wealth of gardening knowledge that was consistently given to us (along with those seeds and plants) by the aging Italian master gardening women and men that lived in this particular South Philly neighborhood at the time.

As Elliot and I were at the time considered to be out of step with both the Vietnam War and the Peace Movement, not to mention the corporate world that was pitting both of these other worlds’ against one another, we simply found ourselves fully embraced by the organic world that was beginning to surface in America as well.

Supported by a seasoned staff of bread, pasta and sausage makers, our adopted Italian parents cared for us with fresh baked food filled with ingredients grown in their remarkably well nourished organic Italian family urban American gardens.

Needless to say, as we were successful in our achievement of transforming asphalt to Arugula, the two of us quickly became known in South Philly for our then quirky and obscure international organic gardening efforts.

While Elliot and I were by then not only long distant runners and officially certified Italian organic gardeners, we were as well becoming multi-ethic urban ambassadors who quite by happenstance also owned two American made Chevrolet Suburbans’.

As inadvertent pioneers in the very early field of organic urban gardening, we were as well becoming pioneers in the world of late 20th century alternative transportation.

Elliot owned a green 1968 Chevrolet Suburban carryall whereas I owned a blue 1972 Chevrolet Suburban panel truck.

How we used those Suburban’s back then was just as remarkable as how we did not use them.

In hindsight, I have to say that what was truly remarkable about Chevrolet Suburban’s back then was the fact that they could be used to transport asphalt and arugula as well as meatball dinners between neighboring Italians and local landfills just as easily as they could be used to transport troubled inner city youngsters to basketball camps in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania and southwestern New York State (yes we were both basketball players). In turn, they could just as easily be used to transport musicians and their equipment to music festivals.

These trucks were at the time uniquely American human carryalls. As I’ve stated that Elliot and I used them but also did not use them, back then, something called “common sense” ultimately determined whether we would get into our Suburbans’ and drive or stay home and play basketball with kids or recruit them to fix things that broke inside the homes of elderly Italians who played music and in the process of doing so, expose these kids that did not know anything at all about Barcelona, Spain, Athens, Greece our the elderly Italian urban arugala farmers, not in the least their own remarkably resilient African American roots (yes Elliot and I had adult friends who long before they were called American presidents were known as Negroes back them) that lived in the neighborhood surrounding the basketball courts of their rambunctious inner city youth experience up until that point.

Anyway, entirely unlike the suburbans of 2009, these trucks back then were manufactured with distinctive human sensitivities and sensibilities. If you’ve ever cared for a horse, you will appreciate what I mean when I say that back then you could talk to your Suburban just as easily as you could talk to your horse. As long as you cared for the two them, they in the process of those conversations would in turn give you insight into your daily life that was decidedly accurate.

Having said what I have just said and feeling the need to remind you of the fact that this essay is about “Leafy Green Marketing Agreements”, the efforts of Mark Kastell and his associates at Cornucopia Institute , the guys and gals at the USDA , and the guys and gals of corporate America, and given all that is clearly wrong with our economy today, I feel compelled to pose the following question:

Has anyone within their collective pursuit of attempting to solve the economic problems we are facing in American today, actually considered the notion of post traumatic stress disorder as that disorder pertains to both the horse and Suburban?

If you have, have you in turn considered the fact that horses have over the course of the last several decades come to hate Suburban’s?

In turn, have you ever considered the fact 2009 Chevrolet Suburban’s feel neglected and abandoned by horses?

I’m serious, I am not joking. I mean horses now have “Horse Whispering Psychoanalysts” to help them cope with the nationwide loss of their emotional horse powers.

While they are getting this help and attention to overcome their anger towards the Suburban, the Suburban has been implanted with a GPS chip that in the event they unfortunately get lost, GM workers will be able to technologically find them but not emotionally bond with them and their cargo of arugula or elderly Italians or young teenaged basketball players.

I mean really, in all of your travels, I’m sure you have seen horses with their owners in fields of alfalfa sharing a teachable moment, but have you ever seen a Suburban in that same field sharing a teachable and tender moment with a GM executive?

It’s sad I tell you. It’s just plain sad and no wonder for heaven’s sake that General Motors feels as if it has completely failed the horse.

What’s even sadder is that in its’ obsession over world dominance GM failed to realize its own demise and did so at the expense of the nation that helped it grow to begin with.

The Architecture of Colorado

At any rate, after my discharge from the “United States Navy” and after the South Philly garden had been completed, Elliot and I packed up our green and blue suburban’s with the tools of our intellectual organic philosophies and the manmade tools that helped shape the four hands of two good friends, hugged and departed upon separate journeys that would lead Elliot to join the “Peace Corps” only to become a worldwide community development advocate and I to follow along the “Appalachian Trail” in search of the blueprint that would ultimately come to shape my life as an American architectural designer and master carpenter and a quiet and thoughtful city planning and economic development pragmatist.

Stopping in communities along the trail that reminded me of both my European and South Philly experiences, each time I found myself drawn to towns that reminded me of those experiences, I would paint the names of those towns on the sides of my traveling light blue, tin cup, 1972 suburban and in turn etch the architectural and social blueprint of that town into the engineering and humanitarian corner of my brain that I today consistently refer to as I write.

On a wonderful journey to understand the inner workings of my somewhat complex version of the American dream, and meeting remarkable people upon the trail who were doing the same, eventually the Appalachians disappeared in my horse’s (early non dysfunctional Chevrolet Suburban) rearview mirror and I found myself settled in Boulder, Colorado.

Almost immediately upon my arrival in Boulder, one extraordinary situation after another began to occur in my life.

In no time, I was becoming involved with forming the Boulder Organic Food Co-op. This organization’s singular purpose was to purchase organic food in bulk, store that food in wholly unassuming wooden bins and sell it at remarkably affordable prices to members of that co-op. To become a member, all one had to do was volunteer at the store or somewhere out in the community that was benefiting directly from the food this co-op provided. The basic agrarian model of this co-op, and many others that were forming across our nation back then, had little to nothing at all to do with actually making a living in any traditional sense. Instead they had to do with shaping an organic farming ideological future, thinking that in doing so these members (including myself) would indeed make a living once the word got out that brown rice was far better for the human body than minute rice. Low and behold, almost four decades later this ideology has become somewhat of a benchmark for successful retail grocers such as “Whole Foods”

Being the lead visionary behind the formulation of the Boulder Work Co-op, I began recruiting small group of friends who like myself realized that the homes in Boulder just like the homes anywhere else in America needed work done to them on a regular basis. Unlike simple handymen or women however, we were artisans specializing in all aspects of the historical preservation of the many remarkable 19th century homes that dotted Boulder’s cityscape. Unlike handymen and historic preservations, we were also students of another burgeoning ideology. Thus by blending our hand wrought knowledge of 19th century trades with the far more technologically advanced notions of solar and wind powered as well as earth sheltered architecture, we soon found ourselves forming small regional manufacturing concerns that were able to reproduce and install such things as antique bathroom tiles and antique lighting fixtures into historic homes that we were also retrofitting with the modern technologies we were also manufacturing.

While all of this was occurring in Boulder as well as other late 20th century American hubs of visionary 21st century industrial thought, the war between corporate America and union America year by year and decade by decade was growing intensely more hostile. As that war was about preserving old money much more than it was about the inventiveness needed to create new money, needless to say, those of us who were attempting to create new money have had the distinct misfortune of waiting our entire, highly educated adult lives for hopelessly uneducated unions and corporations to put down their ancient 20th century swords so that we as a nation can once again invest our money into new shares of stock in companies that build 21st century, advanced technology plows.

As a young builder living in the visionary natural food and organic architectural environment of Boulder, I was as well the beneficiary of advanced technological training in the United States Navy. Whereas many of my counterparts in Boulder had extensive knowledge of woodworking, the production of stained glass, the fabrication of ornamental iron work and so on, I possessed the knowledge of the hundreds of mechanical systems I was charged with monitoring, maintaining and repairing aboard multi million dollar American military ships. Whereas a stained glass artisan was focused on the intricate detail of creating a singular stained glass piece, I would be focusing on the ability of that stained glass piece to draw and collect heat. Whereas an ornamental iron worker would be focusing on the artistic fabrication of a heat register, I would be focusing on the air that moved through that register. Where was that air coming from? Where was that air going? How can that air be utilized for the greater advantage of the building it was moving into and out of?

As it was obvious to me then that these collective skills would benefit many, unfortunately the battle between late 20th century unions and corporations over old money would again retard that benefit to the point where today in 2009, our America remains filled with anger over who gets the old money as opposed to actively engaging in the advanced 21st century air current dialogue that will actually make the new money we all so desperately need to get our collective hearts, minds, bodies and pocketbooks around.

In the midst of the personal artistic and engineering vision I was quietly and in many ways unknowingly pursuing came recognition that was wholly unexpected. Standing at the entrance of the Hotel Boulderado watching the annual “Red Zinger Bicycle Classis” I found myself next to a silver haired woman some thirty years my senior and chatting. Ruth Correl ,the former mayor and I found ourselves talking about of all things, the energy crisis President Jimmy Carterand the rest of us were confronting in the 1970s. Within a relatively short period of time, it was clear to the both of us that we were on common ground filled both with concern and excitement.

At the end of our conversation, Ruth asked me if I would be interested in becoming involved with the Colorado Affordable Housing Commission headed by then Colorado Senator Gary Hart and former Colorado Governor Dick Lamb. I said yes and shortly thereafter found myself as a young man of just twenty four who had barely managed to graduate high school in the midst of executives from IBM, Storage Technology Corporation, professors from the University of Colorado, scientists at NCAR and a host of others whose collective goal was to draft an economically and environmentally sustainable blueprint for Colorado’s and America’s 21st century future. And of all the things we discussed it was how to install the advanced mechanical systems found on board multi million dollar naval ships into the mainstream of Colorado’s future economy that brought us all together.

Having said all of what I have just said, it is amazing to me what actually draws people together into a conversation. While there are those in America today that can talk forever on the subject of human rights, environmental protectionism, the plight of mental health advocates, the conversation over advanced 21st century American reindustrialization and truly re-capitalizing America’s industrial marketplace seems to be perpetually lost in utter nonsense.

At about the same time I was involved in the Affordable Housing Commission, I was introduced to a fellow by the name of Mo Segul. Mo of course, was one of the founders of Celestial Seasonings Tea Company At the time, Mr. Segal was negotiating with Beatrice Foods for the marketing rights of Celestial’s newly developed organic iced tea beverages. As the issue was to define the marketing structure that would enable these cold drinks to be introduced to national markets that for all practical purposes had virtually no understanding of herbal tea or the higher social consciousness emanating from Boulder, our discussions were directly related to inserting an idea we all knew existed in the subliminal minds of most Americans but was unfortunately lost within the same mental framework that prevented most of America as well from seeing the writing on the wall of our nation’s first glimpse of living with the reality of what today has become the stark reality of our collective failure to embrace energy and industrial self sustainability.

As what was beginning to happen for the larger good of our United States of America back then in Colorado was remarkably exciting to myself and many others, we were collectively living in a bubble of fantasy as what was going on in Colorado was most certainly not going on anywhere else in America.

As all of these things occurred in my life while living in Boulder and my career was evolving, so to was my confusion over why I and the collection of strangers from cities and towns throughout America were in part drawn to Boulder, but in larger part drawn to go back home and share with our own families the nature of learning and caring we as a neighborhood back then in Boulder could not find in the actual neighborhood we were born into back home.

While still living in Boulder, I received a telephone call from my mother in Chicago. The context of that 2:00 am phone call was about my father. Dad had just suffered a massive heart attack, and mom was calling me her eldest son for help.

Needless to say, all of what I had gained from my global experiences up until the moment of my departure from Colorado was rapidly diluted upon my arrival back to the bastion of bigotry that personifies the south suburbs of Chicago I was born in.

Even though my journeys through America were always dotted with visits to my parent’s home and each of those visits personified the remarkable differences between my life experiences and those of my immediate family, this particular visit would take on a very singular and poignant essay on the future of not only my perspective on American organic farming, but on my much larger perspective on American architecture and more to the point, American nutrition, healthcare and proactive organic community development.

After my father’s heart attack and subsequent discharged from the hospital, this honorable (to the point of extreme stubbornness) man was forced to confront his personal physical health in much the same manner as he had to confront his World War II post traumatic stress alter ego. In a manner that no one in my family ever had to before, my father had to learn to listen to those that before his heart attack, he considered his soldiers.

As one of those soldiers was his own son, my occasional visits back home before his heart attack were often met with not only his but my entire family’s bemused disinterest in what they considered as my irresponsible personal lifestyle. In retrospect, the fact that my hair was down to my ass and I wore smocks, hiking shorts and sandals probably added to their Irish Catholic bewilderment. And given the fact that I never attended church anywhere else but in Chicago and dressed the way I was, it was not the least bit uncommon for little children to come up to me when I attempted to have an intelligent conversation with the parish priest only to have the children ask me if I was Jesus Christ?

Obviously, there’s not much more to say on this particular subject.

Anyway, having inherited my love for cooking from my own father and mother, each time I arrived in south Chicago to hopefully reconnect with my family, I did so in part thinking that my experiences in organic based gardening and cooking would in some way be celebrated and in some way open up a broader based family dialogue.

Unfortunately however, the recipes I prepared for my family were met with the same eyebrow raising, doubtful stares as my clothing and the conversations I attempted to have while wearing that clothing. In other words, I as a chef who had inherited my love for cooking from both my mother and father of German Irish descent was being confronted with the fact that what I learned to cook in Europe, Philadelphia and Colorado and was far more organic and ethnically geared to the actual health of my entire family ran headlong into the reality of being born from parents who themselves were born into the Great Depression and post World War II era of military prescribed K-Rationed, mess hall eating mentality. If it wasn’t in a can, most likely it came from a communist country.

As family meals throughout my childhood were served in more or less an eat until you are told not to environment, the casualness of my style of cooking when I came home as an adult was met with an uncomfortable sense that because of my casualness, I and the food and conversations I attempted to have was upsetting to the overall dulled silence of an entirely non existent organic family dialogue.

While my entrees were treated as such before my father’s heart attack, upon his discharge from the hospital, he was handed a list of foods and food preparation techniques that no one other than his doctor and I his eldest soldier knew would be essential to his recovery.

From being considered weird and strange in one moment in my ultra conservative and hopelessly cloistered south Chicago Catholic family, I was, because of my acquired European and organic American gardening and culinary experiences, quite suddenly exalted to the position of chief nutritional consultant to the family’s master chef, my father Al.

Life most certainly has a funny way of unfolding quite joyfully if we let it and in doing so forgive.

Having said this, are the nutritional deficiencies of our collectively unhealthy and equally unaffordable national diet and healthcare stemming still from the fact that we as nit wit Americans continue to allow a corporate food processing mentality to feed us military K-Rationed, World War II style packaged green beans or are we going to look at our national nutritional needs within the framework of the old world language of nutritional/medical health adhered to by our Italian, Spanish, Irish, German and many other ethnically diverse but none the less historically tuned family nutritional matriarchs? (My mother loved my cooking by the way, but, not as much as she loved my deceased father’s. And, believe it or not, the dear woman still prays for me.)

What is the actual definition of “Affordable American Healthcare”?

As it is in large part the responsibility of the USDA here today in 2009 to appropriately regulate the overwhelming emergence of new regionally based, organic farming networks that will assure wholesome national nutrition, is it as well, the responsibility of the USDA to assure holistic national healthcare? The two are one in the same and therefore inseparable.

Global Agricultural Bewilderment

There is a remarkable story unfolding in our United States of America here and today in 2009. As this story encompasses the emergence of literally thousands of 21st century green industrial and economic growth ideas, virtually every single one of them is benchmarked in the realization that prodigal sons and daughters who have returned from foreign lands or experiences foreign to the land they came from have ideas that if allowed to grow unhindered, would serve as blueprints for not only American family and community nutritional health, but the much larger blueprint of universal American Healthcare not to mention in the least, the birth of full spectrum American economic wealth as well.

On this blog and whether you are one of my regular readers or visiting for the first time, it is my hope that you take from my writing something of a significantly positive and both personally and professionally reinforcing nature. As I have over the course of years found myself in the midst of so many remarkable expressions of wholly unrestrained American inventive brilliance, it has been my association with people who moved freely about within the constraints of sameness for the singular purpose of painting a fresh picture of American ingenuity that have enabled me to not only create but write about my own as well.

As I am certain that true 21st century American artisans are as well organic farmers connected to the life blood that flows quite remarkably and fluidly through the veins, limbs and roots of our greater ancestral heritage, it is our responsibility as artisans to temper the hard lessons of life into soft essays of kindness. As the remarkable joy in knowing the skills I acquired to nourish my father nutritionally and emotionally came from the skills he gave me to become a master carpenter, his 20th century military approach to food preparation enabled me as his son to be able to dream of and build better days than he himself had not found in his generation.

Having said this, it is my firm belief that there are within the structure of our nation’s globally oriented free market economy today, far too many global food processing corporations that to this day in 2009 have no other goal than to continue to profit at the expense of World War II “typical American dog tag consumer profiling”. With profit as their only goal, “competition and victory” as their corporate mantra and high speed production and supply of our nation’s food chain as their moral imperative, they move along in our economy thinking as if World War II just like ground hog day is a perpetually reoccurring cause for continued national nutritional warfare.

What these corporations fail to realize however is that the children of these veterans have done what their parents hoped they would do, they have moved on and in doing so acquired an entirely new set of highly advanced regionally based American nutritional, agricultural and economically motivated organic national health values that have virtually no philosophical stomach for corporate canned green beans any longer.

None the less, as if we all were born with bar codes stamped to our foreheads, these corporations focus on our bar codes exclusively and in doing so attempt to usher us into their corporate retail cathedrals thinking that if enough of us pass through their doors, all of our nation’s economic ills will magically disappear. Setting aside entirely the fact that the vast majority of the products they present to consumers who have a tendency to eat daily, have little to no bearing on the actual 21st century nutritional potential we as a nation should be focusing our collective genius on. As their entire focus is to continue to capitalize on the narrow buying trends of our parents as opposed to fulfilling the much broader nutritional and overall healthcare needs of our children, the processed food born medical ailments of one generation simply get passed on to the next.

Fortunately, while these corporations are in their waning days of corporate wealth at the expense of national health, they remain as dangerous reminders of how clinging to our canned bean, World War II K-rationed past has led our nation into an economy that produces no jobs, no new technologies and purely unhealthy national nutritional standards that do nothing other than increase the cost of national healthcare and breed wholly unnecessary economic pain to American families. As these corporations are predators upon and suppressors of our otherwise unique and genuine American inventiveness and as what they sell benefits virtually no one in America (or the rest of the world) other than themselves, one would think that our national leaders would realize this and simply move to shut them down.

Having said this, let me remind you of a few facts:

First and foremost;

This essay has been written on behalf of Mark Kastell, cofounder of The Cornucopia Institute.


The Cornucopia Institute was founded for the singular goal of protecting the rights of an ever growing and remarkably dynamic American population of family owned and community by community based networks of regional organic dairy cattle and produce farmers.


I myself have been growing and eating organic produce for close to four decades.


The United State Department of Agriculture has brought forth an initiative entitled “The Green Leafy Marketing Agreement”.


This initiative has been brought for the singular purpose of creating a proactive agricultural dialogue that will assure among other issues, the national safeguarding of the organic foods that must feed our nation and our nation alone in the 21st century.


Feeding our nation’s emerging organic national nutritional needs is entirely different from feeding the world’s global bio-agricultural needs. These are two wholly separate, high definition socio-economic issues just as they are wholly separate high definition industrial and economic development issues. As they are, it is imperative that they are treated as such. If they are not, both our national nutritional health and our national industrial health will continue to fail.


As Mr. Kastell and his associates at the Wisconsin based Cornucopia Institute are fully engaged in the development of sustainable market oriented regulation of the USDA “Leafy Green Marketing Agreement”, both he and I are fully aware of the fact that “the philosophy of a fully engaged organic farming agreement” runs parallel to the larger national philosophy of organic industrial and economic growth within what should be the far more dynamic parameters of that agreement.


As Mark is compelled to work with both regional American farmers and the USDA, I am equally compelled to work with both the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) and the AFL-CIO to bring the 21sy century advanced technological and architectural goals of master tradesmen and women into alignment with the identical goals of the forward thinking American farmer.

As today in 2009 the pre-eminent focus of the survival of our market economy depends entirely upon the rapid rate of absorption of new industrial knowledge, organic farming and organic home building are essential elements that will directly allow such rapid absorption to occur. At a time when the regional American organic food industry has clearly moved itself into the larger dialogue of competing with corporate producers of America’s domestic food supply, a fully integrated mix of advanced regionally based economic development issues have surfaced as well.

Nationally based alternative forms of energy use and management, nationally based use of alternative energy powered forms of transportation, the subsequent development of alternative transportation and public utility grids, this dialogue emanates today in 2009 not from the wall street tickers that have for the past forty years charted and plotted the growth of corporate food processors and retailers but from the tickers of those who can clearly see the advanced technological writing on the wall of a new century of American progress. In a world of high tech and high speed wall street assumptions and predictions, the corporate food processor and retailer is in many ways fighting for their collective economic life. The problem of course is neither wall street nor the corporate food processor and retailer realizes that this life is and has been over and done with for quite some time.

USDA Leafy Green Marketing Agreement (part two)

The National Infrastructure of USDA managed
Regional Organic Farming
Part two


In a proactive 21st century industrial enhanced, regional based agricultural model, the success of the organic food industry within a given region is directly related to the success of all other industries associated with that enhancement within that region as well as within all regions that make up the greater whole of our nations’ total 21st century industrial economy.

If I am living in Wisconsin and for decades spanning multiple generations my family has done the same, our whole family regional nutritional as well as overall medical health needs ultimately can only be met if we eat the foods grown in the soil of our regional homeland by our regional friends and fellow farmers and are served by the regional medical practitioners who understand the genetic make of our historic, Wisconsin based medical family tree just as well as they understand that the juxtaposition of the nutrients found in the soil these families live and work on enable regional health and industrial commerce to flourish.

As the regional weather patterns that determine the success of the regional agricultural harvest of Wisconsin also have a direct bearing on the human medical architecture or the regional environmental health issues of those living in Wisconsin, they in turn have a direct bearing on the design and construction of buildings built by the men and womenwho residing in the state of Wisconsin, have the unique capacity to harness as designers, architects, engineers and master artisans, the technologically enhanced architectural environments they themselves as well as their neighbors should be living in and with daily.

Whereas someone living in Colorado might build an above ground home that capitalizes on Colorado’s vast amounts of both sunshine and wind and in doing so benefit by working in industries that produce both active and passives large scale solar and wind generated applications that serve to not only power those homes but power the public utility infrastructure that sustains the economic viability of those who own those homes in that region, in Wisconsin, earth sheltered architecture powered by geothermal energy systems supplemented by highly refined bio and fossil fuel relationships would in all likelihood become the benchmark from which Wisconsin’s 21st century industrial and economic success would flourish as well.

The point here is quite simple, national food retailers who have for decades insisted upon forcing an assembly line can of green beans down the throat of every American regardless of where in America they might live have succeed in driving up the cost of food and healthcare while at the same time driving down the educational standards and economic growth potential of America as a whole. Today however, no matter how any economist might have characterized the economic success in the late chapters of our 20th century industrial ideology, within the eyes of highly educated 21st century industrialists, living in an ancient isolationist driven 20th century corporate based market economy facing certain meltdown runs parallel to the fact that its’ leadership is devoid of both organic as well as ancestral American roots.

As our 20th century retail based American economy ran out of steam almost fifteen years ago (if not 25 years ago) and as we have attempted to no avail to sell that economy to unwitting third world nations essentially in the same can of beans that has caused our nation’s own economy to resemble the poor standards of living found in those countries, sooner or later we are going to have to confront the fact that what this author chooses to define as “Walmart Globalization Syndrome” which is the obsession with selling that can of beans over and over again between many multinational borders results in nothing more than discounted items being exchanged back and forth between many nations that have equally discounted economic growth potential as a result.

As I am writing this essay at the request of Mark Kastel of the Wisconsin based Cornucopia Institute, I am doing so only after taking the time to get too know the larger portrait of what Mark and his team have defined as essential to the regional success of small family owned and operated organic agricultural enterprises throughout our United States of America.

Clearly having the potential to become regional examples of combined rural industrial, agricultural and economic prosperity, his concern in writing me and many others in our nation, exists within the larger context of his simple request that his readers express their concerns over upcoming USDA legislation concerning the governance of the growth, production and processing of organically grown Leafy Green Vegetables here in our United States of America. As it will appear obvious that I am taking his concerns and placing them into a much broader economic dialogue, I am doing so knowing that the success of regional based organic farming runs parallel to the success of placing alternative powered vehicles on the roads of America.
Again, this legislation is formally entitled: “The Leafy Green Marketing Agreement” and the full context of this agreement can be accessed in its’ entirety on both the Cornucopia and USDA web sites.

To once again put this legislation into perspective, the USDA in response to the overwhelming growth of organic farms throughout every region (or state, we have fifty of them by the way) in America has concluded that the intelligent environmental management of these farms be regulated to assure the safety of not only our national organic food chain but the larger medical health of the consumer who in fact will bring this produce home to the American kitchens (be they private or institutional) that will ultimately become the processing entities from which this organic food will eventually be served in.

In short, the USDA is clearly aware of the growth of regional organic food networks and simply wants to assure that what is being produced, is being cared for properly and is being done so for the common good of all Americans. As the regulatory history of the USDA has for the past fifty years been confined to the regulation of multi-national corporate based food processors, the “Leafy Green Marketing Agreement” is a clear and definitive departure form the 20th century regulatory portrait of our collective national food safety.

In other words, as much as I experienced organic gardening for the first time in the early 1970’s, in all likelihood, so too did the guys and gals who are currently working at the USDA to assure that a simple understanding of the broad spectrum of issues facing our combined efforts to produce regional grown organic produce evolves in a manner that does not encumber the larger issues of either our national organic health or national organically based 21st century economic prosperity. Simply put, as a rolling stone gathers no moss, the rolling stone of our nation’s emerging organic agricultural marketplace must not as well.

Regional based agricultural commodities must be regulated. Yet within the willfully poor legal conceptualization of 20th century USDA regulation, redundant corporations are free to advertise the fact that the food products they sell are organic due simply to the fact that while they themselves don’t have to certify this fact, and their suppliers must, legal loopholes still exist to allow all who are involved to escape taking any responsibility for the assurance any if not all of our nation’s entire agricultural crop actually is.

Within the belief that hope ultimately springs eternal and within the midst of chaos, technological advancement in virtually every American industrial sector not only demands but assures that such regulation will ultimately become the benchmark of our advanced 21st century agricultural potential.

One only needs to look at what is actually happening in all regulatory sectors of our nation’s federal government to realize that this is taking place holistically across the broad spectrum of agencies charged with blueprinting anew the foundation of laws that have within the larger conceptualization of “national organizational unity”, always made America resilient.

The same of course is true in the private sector. The traditional fossil fuel sector is successfully wedding itself to the alternative fuel sector. The housing sector is realigning itself with the manufacturing sector. The food production sector is aligning itself with the food growing sector. The automotive sector is aligning itself with the alternative automotive sector. The public transportation sector is maturing and merging its’ separate entities into a cohesive unit. The public education sector is merging with the private educational sector. The above and below ground public utility sector is merging for the singular goal of accomplishing technologically enhanced management of all utilities. Everything is essentially wonderful in theory and on paper. In reality however, we remain in the midst of a massive American 20th and 21st century transitional industrial cluster fuck (as my former U.S. Navy drill instructor would often call the barracks of forty five young American sailors in basic training). As a result and within the constitution of our impotent papered essays, nobody in America actually has a job even though everyone in America has access to the technology that will create the job(s).

In as much as President Obama has within all of his philosophical brilliance and truly humanitarian compassion successfully brought together the imaginations of American’s, thus far the only tangible across the board measurement of his success at harnessing this imagination has come from of all ideas, the “Cash For Clunkers” program.

I am being somewhat facetious of course when I say this. But I am saying this to underscore the larger point; nothing that can be defined as even remotely resembling the collective and all-inclusive industrial dialogue that was supposed to engage every American he spoke of during his campaign has surfaced thus far. As a result, his presence in the White House has come to symbolize nothing more than nationwide shouting matches. While these matches are far more intelligent than bar room brawls, the bar rooms are still filled with highly educated Americans looking for 21st century green industrial jobs, tangible black and white industrial blueprints and a government that is actually leading as opposed to still trying to design the blueprints that will enable those jobs to be transformed from the mind into the physical motions of the truly healthy American body.

As this author chooses his words and phrases quite carefully, an industrial cluster fuck is precisely what it is.

While the Obama administration is extraordinarily well intentioned and has many highly educated economic and legal as well as scientific theorists helping it shape some form of leadership, the fact of the matter is that none of them have ever actually held a hammer in their hands and made a living as a direct result of doing so. Thus as Americans that have are becoming increasingly more disenchanted with the golden tongue of intellectual nonsense coming from the White House, they are as well becoming entirely fed up with what they see as a government run industrial cluster fuck growing ever more expansive in theoretical nonsense while costing workers jobs and driving our economy even further into a totally confusing state of socio-economic impotence. Yes, we are a nation of very smart people, but, because we are led by over smart leaders that hold only half of the equation, we remain collectively stupid.

Having said this, my “Combined Organic Waste Shaping Hidden Industrial Teamwork“ initiative might just help in the furtherance of a genuinely productive, complete and happy American cause.

Yes, we do have the right to be happy in America.

If you have followed the plight of The Cornucopia Institute, Mark Kastell’s 2006 concern over corporate over breeding, over corporate herding and over corporate penning of supposed non corporate organic American dairy cows that supposedly produced quasi-organic American milk for supposedly ordinary organic American consumers, compelled him and his associates to file a formal complaint with the USDA in hopes that corporate entities such as Walmart would be prevented from engaging in such practices and in doing so establish a genuine competitive marketplace from which regionally based organic farmers could actually compete in the rapidly emerging organic farming marketplace here in our United States of America.

When all was said and done however, Walmart escaped any disciplinary action from the USDA and the issue was dissolved once again into the great limbo that has come to symbolize the larger failure of American government to “organically govern and structure” a proactive transition between two equally caring and concerned but none the less disjointed representatives of two separate centuries of American agricultural experts.

Within the structural parameters of my initiative that of course would be fully regulated by the USDA, the dynamic, multi-industrial nature of this initiative would demand regulation by a number of other organically governed and structured federal agencies working in conjunction with the USDA to assure this initiatives’ overall success.

As the short lived “Cash For Clunkers” program implemented in August of 2009 revealed to both government and industry some rather remarkable statistics, the dominant statistic was the fact that this effort actually created “JOBS” that were not foreseen by the architects of this short lived but otherwise brilliant endeavor. Not only did this program create jobs, but it validated the much larger fact that American consumers weren’t actually born with either modern bar codes or old fashioned wall street ticker tape permanently attached to their forward thinking heads. Seeking only and finally national leadership on all fronts of emerging 21st century technological profitability and fully aware of the fact that clunker gas guzzlers being replaced by state of the art automobiles produced better gas mileage that in turn produced better economic growth mileage to the industries that manufacture the autos, that manufacture the advanced fuel blends, that manufacture the jobs, that fuel the manufacturing economy, that makes the whole organic manufacturing thing actually work in the first place?


Yet with all of its’ success the program was done away with in forty five days and once again Americans who have the potential to hold a new century of advanced technology hammers in their hands don’t have jobs, cash or cars and while the architects that are supposedly drafting the blueprints for the industries that will create those jobs dawdle in an intellectual abyss, the industries that should exist to create those jobs simply don’t.

To put the lost potential of this short lived program into perspective let me propose a simple “what would have happened if” scenario.

What would have happened if FDR created the architecture of the New Deal at the beginning of August and by mid September he changed his mind and never got back to it due solely to the fact that he was stressing out over the details with his overly analytically and therefore totally dysfunctional staff of would be national economic saviors?

Think about this for a moment folks and when you do, you can see how President Obama’s long windedness is coming up short on the list of what Americans want or have the patience to continue to hear.

Think about this as well.

As virtually every one of his staff has been educated at the universities that also educated the economists that drove our nation into the Great Depression, their combined obsession over preventing such a disaster from occurring again is indeed what is crafting a scenario that could very likely do so anyway.

Think about this as well as well.

Today in 2009, the very universities that taught his advisors and are taking hundreds of millions of dollars from the government as well as the students that rely upon them simply are not producing the industrial development they supposedly have the responsibility to provide both the industrial client and the apprentice student with.

As the success of the New Deal was in its’ immediate and across the board capacity to be implemented, whatever new deal Barack’s team is attempting to implement must be as well but so far is most certainly not.

USDA Leafy Green Marketing Agreement (part three)

Proactive Leafy Green Agricultural Economics
Part three

Cash For Clunker

As the only real concern in America today in 2009 is exactly the same as it has been throughout our history and that concern is the creation of sustainable jobs, my “Combined Organic Waste Shaping Hidden Industrial Teamwork“ initiative should serve to do just that.

Affectionately dubbed “Cash For Clunker COWSHIT” and being of sound mind and body and fully realizing that for the sake of being politically correct, this title would most likely have to be renamed, it none the less gives the USDA the full responsibility of regulating any and all industries that are evenly remotely related to the safe and secure development of our nation’s entire 21st century advanced technology, organically based agricultural food sector.

To put the concept of the last statement’s thoughts into perspective, let’s look at two machines. One of these machines is the American dairy cow milk making machine, the other is the American dairy cow milk milking machine.

More to the point, let’s look at a collection of these machines.

Even more to the point, let’s look at the total combined industrial and economic interaction of these machines.

Still even more to the point, let’s look at the people (dairy cow farmers and dairy cow consumers) who constitute the trades that make, use, maintain, improve and ultimately invest their daily wages in these machines to assure they can healthily consume the food these machines help plant, nurture, harvest, process, distribute and ultimately re-process and in turn help reprocess their daily wages into sound future dairy cow industrial investments.

Having looked at all of this, what is the one thing the dairy cow, the dairy farmer, the dairy consumer and the dairy machine need in order to work effectively?

The picture above is of a single dairy cow milking machine. In its’ most simplistic description, this machine in and of itself milks dairy cows. Those who purchase this machine are presumably doing so because they have cows to milk. Those with a few cows might purchase one dairy cow milking machine whereas those that have many cows will probably purchase many dairy cow milking machines. Either way the dairy cow milking machine exists in our American economy. Because it exists, those that have milking cows benefit from both the purchase and use of this machine whereas those who consume the milk do as well.

While all of this is clearly obvious, the point is that even though this machine exists, nobody in America can within the constraints of the 20th century economic logic it was originally invented in, afford to actually purchase and more importantly operate the damn thing here and now in our 21st century economy. While we in America clearly had the capacity to invent the machine in our 20th century and in our 21st century have already demonstrated the capacity to invent and make many even more remarkable machines and in fact we literally have thousands of machines that are fully advanced and fully equipped and prepared to operate in our 21st century green economy, we can’t as of this very moment in 2009 operate the machinery we have invented nor operate the factories that these machines are supposed to be manufactured in.

Think about this.

Think about a scenario that casts the largest industrialized nation in the world as the parent of an all but still born 21st century industrial baby that through lack of family focus refuses to boom?

As there is something entirely out of whack with the overall dormant nature of our national industrial based economy, that something resides in the fact that we have failed to wed the isolated machinery of our 20th century to the equally isolated machinery of our 21st century. As a result, the dairy cow milk milking machine invented in our 20th century cannot operate for precisely the same set of reasons as the dairy cow making machine, the dairy cow farmer and the dairy cow consuming machine cannot operate in our 21st century. That reason is simple, even though we are all angry and our anger is clearly generating an awful lot of hot emotional air, emotional fuel is simply not the same as biofuel. Thus the answer to the question of what cow, man and machine need to operate efficiently within the hot air environment of emotional anger is a fuel source that turns that hot air into holistic nationwide industrial productivity.

To achieve this goal, and realizing that there are indeed thousands of 21st century green machines ready to come on line, the larger question is of course, how do we do turn intangible emotional anger into tangible agricultural productivity?

Defining how the milking machine is actually powered and who is benefiting financially from the fact that power to this machine is actually being provided is of course, the larger answer.

Without getting into an all but ridiculous diatribe over what power source will eventually fuel our nation’s dairy cow milking machines, the fact of the matter is, multiple energy sources do exist. But, as the dairy cow milking machine needs a power source to operate and in fact we don’t currently have a combined national energy source blueprint in place that would assure it’s operation for decades to come, how on earth can we expect to have an economy that produces the ultimate end product of organic milk in the first place?

Think about our current dismal 2009 national economic scenario.

The idle milking machine sits in a barn along with the equally idle organic cow.

Due to our inability to operate the milking machine, the organic cow is equally unable to produce organic cow shit. As that organic cow shit is an agricultural commodity in every bit the same manner as the milk the organic cow produces, the machine and the cow sit in a Wisconsin barn staring at one another and wishing they both had the capacity to communicate more effectively with the sadly non organic economists who have never figured out how to either milk the cow or make the milking machine.

None the less, on the roof of the barn that covers the cow and the machine is an expanse of space that could potentially house solar collectors just as on the peak of the barn is a point that can potentially harness wind energy whereas on the eaves of the barn hang rain gutters that could potentially collect and direct rain water to a storage system located at the foot of the barn. And of course, next to the rainwater storage system is an organic cow shit collection system that stores potentially high grade biofuel raw material whereas beneath the barn lies the potential of harnessing naturally occurring geothermal pressure that will produce heat for the organic cow, the milking machine and the farmer, his family and the family of barn cats that for one reason or another seem to enjoy organic cow milk just as much as the organic consumer of organic cow milk enjoys having a job in the cold, harsh winters of organic economic discontent.

As one would be hard pressed to find an American consumer here in 2009 that does not possess at least some theoretical knowledge of the technologies I have just described and that do have the potential of being incorporated into the physical structure of that barn, universal application of this knowledge remains locked in organically redundant theory.

If however, you have read and followed carefully the entire content of this essay, then you will be able refer back to the section where I wrote about regional organic farming and regional organic architecture. As you do so, let me remind you that advanced public utility infrastructure is very much understood by those who work in the public utility sector. Unfortunately, those who work in the public utility sector are designing massive public utility grids to facilitate the energy needs of millions while all but failing to realize that the organic cow has to be milked.

Think about this.

Having in turn floated the notion that the USDA should be fully in control of all industrial aspects even remotely related to the growth of our agricultural economy, the micro technologies that enabled us a nation to invent and produce the dairy cow milking machine are directly dependent upon the micro technologies of the public utility sector to be put into place on top of, outside of inside of or beneath the barn before anyone in America at all can even remotely expect to enjoy the whole organic benefit of cow shit.

Having said this, if our public utility companies are fully aware of the types of energy a specific region in our nation has the capacity to generate, then why on earth are we not through intelligent government oversight, installing the micro technologies that will “eventually” lead to the production of large scale regional public utility management?

Think about this.

If my understanding of our nation’s industrial history is correct, wasn’t the light bulb invented before a nationwide public utility grid was either invented or installed?

Think about this.

If my understanding of our nation’s economic history is also correct, wasn’t the Great Depression caused by our failure to envision that grid?

Having said this, with the emergence of so many new energy management technologies all of which are attempting to come on line simultaneously, wouldn’t it be beneficial to reinvent the process of application? If the first light bulb came before the first grid system and now today in 2009 we have many new light bulbs, let’s focus on the installation of these many new light bulbs rather than focus to the point of combined national and economic depression on the national public utility infrastructure that will “eventually” be required to coordinate, harness and effectively manage the economic system that supports the development of these many new light bulbs.

Think about this.

In as much as our industrial predecessor’s experienced economic collapse for their failure to actualize a nationwide public utility infrastructure, will we fail because we have failed to effectively “microtize” that infrastructure here in 2009?

Is the yin of one generation of public utility infrastructure totally at odds with the yang of the next?

Think about this.

Are the gods of our nation’s oil and natural gas companies and the gods of our nation’s coal and nuclear companies along with the gods of our nation’s solar and wind and geothermal and biofuel companies willing to be directed by the United States Department of Agriculture as opposed to being directed by the United States Department of Energy?

I mean could these gods be taught how to milk dairy cows and grow leafy green organic produce and in doing so come to the conclusion that a national public utility grid is actually a small concept as opposed to being a grand concept?

Could these gods also be directed by the United States Department of Transportation?

Are we collectively stupid, dumb, lazy and arrogant or are we simply having a difficult time overcoming our inbred 20th century alter egos that still worship ancient 19th century oil barons and equally ancient economists? I mean when do we actually get our very own and very dynamic 21st century green industrial stone rolling?

Within the wholly negative alter ego dynamic of America’s economic yesterday, every energy company was at odds with the other just as every department within the U.S. government was isolated from one another. Having every bit the same amount of knowledge of the history of American politics as I do American industry and American economics, I have to ask why it is that a politician from a farming state was constantly battling with a politician from a lumber state or a coal state or a state that produced national defense industries when every state all along had cows that needed to be milked and dinner tables that needed fresh lettuce?

In turn, I have to ask.

If the micro infrastructure of our larger national public utility infrastructure was first put into place barn by barn and house by house, would it not also be apparent that the micro infrastructure of our nation’s future transportation grid would naturally evolve as well?

I mean as America’s big three automakers are all but financially insolvent yet are still insisting there is some sort of need for blasting down the high way, when’s the last time anyone saw a dairy cow in a Corvette?

And, does the maker of the Corvette, or the Mustang or the Ram become a corporate stake holder in high grade organic corporate cow shit?

Where is Henry Ford and his simple Model T, organic assembly line methodology when we need him?

As we are unfortunately living in a time when debating the chicken and the egg has turned into a global essay on our collective national stupidity, the great irony in 2009 is that the coop that holds the chicken has a clearly defined need to be powered by advanced 21st solar energy technology today. As that chicken just like this author might on occasion have a desire to escape that coop and cross the road, if the road that it’s crossing is filled with vehicles on a decidedly more organic mission, might not the farmer who owns the chicken coop eventually be able to take his dairy cow for a ride in that Corvette?


As I have been designing alternative energy homes for close to four decades, the path to realizing the remarkable potential these homes have not only for our economy but for the health of the average American who has hired me to build them has much more often than not been blocked by local building officials who absolutely refused to accept the notion that such things as alternative forms of construction framing techniques or alternative forms of electrical wiring and plumbing, insulation, heating and cooling techniques had any viability whatsoever. Because of this refusal to embrace change in the housing industry, its’ failure simply mirrors the overall failure of our 20th century industrial economy.

Due to the extent to which the overall failure of this industrial sector implies the much larger failure of the American dream, the revival of this sector in many if not in all rationales being floated for the recovery of our nation’s economy is the single most important piece of our nation’s 21st century green industrial puzzle.

As the shift from a fossil fuel based market economy is benchmarked in the success of integrating various sources of energy with one another to produce a fully interactive national public utility grid and that same shift is benchmarked by the success of integrating a fully interactive fleet of vehicles that will ride upon a fully interactive national transportation grid, ultimately, the success of all grids comes down to the construction of homes.

Referring once again to the Great Depression and more specifically, referring to the year of 1937 and in turn referring to the emerging domestic lives of American military personnel after World War II, I will refer as well to Hollywood to narrate my point.

In the movie “It’s A Wonderful Life” Jimmy Stewart plays an affable but determined building contractor whose feeling of insecurity over not being able to join his brothers and others in fighting overseas was transformed into becoming both a carpenter and community activist building a neighborhood filled with affordable housing for returning veterans that before the war, more or less had nothing.

In his role, he was pitted against the miserly banker who held the purse strings of a private bank as opposed to the savings and loan association whose purse strings were held by homeowners. As the miserly banker represented the banks that failed and caused the Great Depression, the savings and loan association represented the success of the United States of America Department of Commerce to establish in 1937, Standard Industrial Classification (S.I.C.) Codes.

(Please note: nobody in America knows the history and combined evolution of both S.I.C. codes and the Standard and Poors Industrial 500 Index better than this author. As I have studied the multiple tiered interrelationships of these remarkably resilient entities for almost four decades, this is a direct invitation to anyone in America who thinks they do to prove the fact that they might. I also have an odd sense of humor benchmarked by an ego founded in fact as opposed to fiction. Having said this, what do you think of the NAICS? Is it filled with flaws or is my imagination running wild?)

As the S.I.C. codes were established for the singular purpose of preventing another Great Depression, they were as well designed to not only connect the invention of the light bulb and nationwide public electric utility grid I mentioned earlier, but in turn connect our larger and much more organized industrial economy to an equally unified national industrial dialogue all of which in unison ultimately enabled us victory in World War II.

Having said all of this, and, once again comparing the times we are going through today with the times then, the singular difference between then and now is the fact that before the establishment of S.I.C. codes, it was a crap shoot that determined whether or not anyone in America owned a home at all. As S.I.C. codes disciplined and shaped the industrial structures that enable us to manufacture and mass produce the industrial weaponry of World War II, after World War II that same structure enable us to design Uniform Building Codes (UBC) which of course conformed to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) all returning veterans ultimately relied upon to shape the very self discipline that has made America America.

With all of these codes in place and with being victorious in WWII, our nation underwent a period of economic and industrial expansion that was unparalleled in the history of mankind.

That of course was then…

…and, I could go on and on and on and blah and blah, blah, blah and more blah, blah and blah…

…but this is now.

Now that everyone in America owns a home (or at least they thought they did up until 2006 when this severe recession first started taking on clearly definable symptoms of 20th century money tree root rot) all of these homes which of course are as architecturally dated as the wonderful life, post WWII manic depressive duffel bag dreams of property valuation we cling to, the real industrial value of these homes is zero.

Did you hear me?

Did you hear what I just said?

Homes across America are valueless. The reason they are of no value is that they were built with 20th century technologies that have no value as well. In turn, the mortgages held on these homes are of no value because the financing mechanisms of these homes remain attached to 20th century industrial investment portfolios that have virtually no financial legitimacy. Essentially we are all living in make believe, American Dream dollhouses.

Think about all of this for a moment, a very long and looming and tenuous moment.

“Hi! My name is Betty and I’m your Century 21 real estate broker here in Salem, Massachusetts, and yes indeed I do have the perfect little Cape Cod for you. It was built right after World War II on the very grounds that Matilda the Witch was burned at the stake on. Yes I know it’s a little dated but it’s well built and I have a friend who owns an antique shop and I just know she has the perfect little hurricane lantern that’s just right for this cute little nook over here. The electric? Well I know your concerned about fires but I have a friend on the historic preservation committee who has a friend in the city building department that will (wink) come over and check it out (double wink) forya. Oh, you mean electric to power technologies? Well, I’ve heard about that, but, well, let me just look into that (wink) forya. The price, “oh the owner is very flexible”. I think (wink) we can probably negotiate him down. How about 3.7 trillion. Fine then, let me make the call. Oh, speaking of hurricanes, can I have a copy of your Lehmann Brother’s investment portfolio. Do you like witches? I like witches. Do you like witches? I like witches. It sure seems cold and drafty in here. It must be Matilda’s Ghost. She seems to come around every time I show this place. I have do go now. Do you like coffee? I like coffee. Let’s have coffee. Do you like witches? I have to go now. Oh, look they have tulips. Do you like Tulips? I like Tulips. Did ya (wink) know Tulips are green? I just feel so totally organic today. Let’s hug. Do you want to see my Ruby Slipper’s? Oh, look at that foundation. It appears as if it is melting. Do you have a bicycle? I smell smoke. Do you like mirrors? I like mirrors.”

Is it any wonder at all why we are experiencing financial problems?

In as much as our president and his team, all of whom I completely support and believe in are attempting to override the post traumatic affects of these post WWII manic depressive industrial wounds, the greater masters of our 20st century make believe dollhouse universe don’t reside in Washington D.C. These clunkers instead reside in the city halls of communities throughout our nation that they and they alone control.

Within this political control they are virtually assured their economic control of the community as well. Regardless of any national building standards that are designed to foster legitimate nationwide dialogue over the construction of modern, energy efficient housing and in turn provide an otherwise sensible mechanism for both nationwide industrial and economic expansion, these people instead adopt what I call either the “It’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood I Am Special Prozac Syndrome” or the “Hillbilly Pet Elephant and Donkey Playing Bingo Syndrome”.

The former of course is relegated to those who happen to live in a socially progressive and better educated urban community that happens to house one award winning, LEED certified, Platinum house costing ten times more than any of the other over priced and over financed homes in their community. These are the folks who are the ultimate proactive, socially conscious environmentalists who with their collective team effort could easily legislate the placement of organic toilets on every street corner in Oak Park, Illinois, co author add on legislation that would assure Ernest Hemmingway’s signature was etched in every toilet seat and in turn assure additional legislation that would provides the architects of the Wright Foundation exclusive license to design prairie style foundations for these toilets and of course offer Beatrix Potter signed organic toilet paper to visiting world dignitaries.

The later boasts double barreled fifty five gallon wood burning stoves allowing the owner of such a devise to claim both energy and political as well as financial independence from the United States of America. Hillbillies specializing in the fine art of bar room brawling assert their political independence daily by visiting the local liquor store while in between their daily jaunts from the bar to the liquor store occasionally stop by the empty union hall to share deeply touching and equally philosophical soap box stories crafted from outhouse memories shaped by a cousin with a steel plate in his head from Korea.

American flags abound in such communities, but with both the local republicans and democrats half drunk, the position of the flag is directly determined by the contents of the truck tire that serves as the base of the flagpole. Filled with floating mosquito larvae, half full or half empty floating vodka bottles, the sobering political moment for these communities come on veterans day when collectively these folks finally manage to figure out that not only is the American flag red, white and blue, but it actually does have a proper and patriotic position to fly in which unfortunately is always at half mast.

All of what I just described would be really funny if in fact it wasn’t so God awful true and so God awful dangerous to our national defense.

Having said this, there are some things and some dreams both of these community stereotypes have in common. The first is access to the internet. Both of these groups have access to the internet and as a result, both of these groups have a considerable amount of knowledge about alternative forms of energy. Both of these groups also have dreams of owning homes that are as unique and beautiful as the ones that cost millions they see on the internet. But neither group has access to these technologies, the industries or the jobs that should be making their own homes just as technologically advanced but much more affordable and clearly more drug and alcohol free.

My point here is simple. Just as a broad spectrum of nationally focused economic initiatives surfaced after the Great Depression and as these initiatives had an industrial base firmly attached to them, Through the all encompassing leadership emanating from FDR’s wheel chair and the White House he rolled through, every American got busy building something that was good for every other American.

Given the fact that local building officials are for all legitimate purposes hired by local governments to certify the fact that the homes in their communities meet certain national building standards and given the fact that the prerequisite for establishing those standards is to bring industries into communities that will enable both the private business and labor sectors to flourish, these standards are as well designed to keep the public service, safety and utility sectors of a community healthy as well.

While there truly are many remarkably exciting technological transformations taking place in every sector of American industry and government here in 2009, There is not yet in place the architecture of actual human communication as opposed to absolutely useless theoretical electronic communication that will insure these transformations are assimilated into the every day lives of every day Americans. While these entities of assimilation actually do exist and have existed for many moons, none of these entities rising moons are at present in conjunction with one another.

As I began this essay on behalf of The Cornucopia Institute, I stated as well that I just like so many other Americans operate from within a broad spectrum mindset. Within this mindset is the realization that many if not all existing entities that make up the regulatory body of our federal government must adjust this mindset to accommodate basic American economic growth.

The United States Green Building Council is clearly one of these entities and as far as this author is concerned, the establishment of this council will go down in America’s industrial history as the single most successful economic paradigm of our 21st industrial century. The architecture of its’ structure is brilliant as it adds substantial meat to the bones of the meal that will in no uncertainty bring affordable state of the art energy technologies into every building in America.

But, its’ architectural potential at this point in time is unfortunately still on the drawing board. More theoretical in substance than successful in practical application, the drawing board is in actuality a chess board and the USGBC is the hour glass sitting beside that chess board watching and waiting for the ongoing 20th century pet elephant and donkey wars in Washington D.C. to finally come to an end.

Once it does, the army of the true elephant, which is the United States Chamber of Commerce will merge once again with the army of the true donkey which is the AFL-CIO , under the disciplined (is morality any different than discipline?}, educationally based governance of the United States Green Building Council.

The United States Green Building Council enables all such dreams to be fertilized and all such ambitions to be realized. Working in conjunction with the United States Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO, the legal benchmark and thus the greater moral purpose (yes it’s perfectly okay to talk about collective American morality) of the federal USGBC is the establishment of a regulated and compassionate 21st century proactive industrial economy that can be immediately injected into every single city and town in America.

The chambers of commerce in every city and every town and every village in America are suffering for precisely the same reason as the unionized workers of America are suffering - while dialogue abounds, spell checking remains redundant.

But, again there is the solar collector. In this author’s mind, every home in America should have four solar collectors attached to it:

The first and most important collector is the one that links every home in America to the public utility grid that has throughout our nation’s industrial evolution served to harness separate industrial power producing processes into a collective grid of sustainable economic growth for all.

The second solar collector is the architectural envelope that every American family within the context of a fully actualized American Dream of home ownership can live quite comfortably and leisurely inside off.

The third solar collector is the ability of local businesses to thrive as a direct result of outfitting their businesses with the products and technologies local, well educated master tradesmen and women have the capacity to install into the architectural envelopes that house the sleeping babies of our next generation.

The fourth solar collector is the financial institution whose analysis of both mortgage lending and local community investment is benchmarked by the assurance that within the average American housing envelope, resides an investment portfolio fully backed not only by the federal government but by the much larger industrial blueprint the federal government has proactively legislated as being paramount to the greater financial good of the thousands of communities that make up the organic regions of our nation’s casual and friendly but none the less hard working network of 21st century industrial processes.

As far as the 20th century corporate model is concerned, what on earth is the point of continuing the discussion unless of course one studies the notion of community reinvestment? Within this model, all viable corporations remain fully intact whereas those that are not simply turn into low grade retailers of highly discounted, non organic cow shit.

Eat your leafy greens!

M. Patrick Dahlke

Friday, September 4, 2009



I have a mother who is extremely old. In fact, she is so old that she is actually young. Not only is she really old and really young but she as well owns a very successful greeting card company, which over the years has made her very wealthy.

As I think of her and as I think of this Labor Day weekend, I find myself wondering why the people of America create national holidays. And, as mother does indeed own a successful greeting card company, I wonder why I have never in my worldly travels ever received a “Happy Labor Day” card from her.

I receive happy birthday cards, happy valentine cards, happy Easter cards, happy thanksgiving cards, happy anniversary cards, happy fathers’ day cards but I never receive happy labor day cards.

Do you?

I mean, when was the last time you received a “Happy Labor Day” card or experienced a hallmark, Labor Day moment via the United States Postal Service? When was the last time you stood in line on Labor Day Eve waiting for dozens of people in front of you to post their labor day greetings and gift packages before the postal clerk finally closed the door? Did you ever get your hair done or buy a new dress or pair of trousers a few weeks before Labor Day for the singular purpose of being in your finest for the merriment and joy this national holiday represents to both loved ones and friends? Did you ever send or receive a Labor Day fruitcake? Did you ever go around with a group of friends and sing Labor Day Carols?

Never, right? I mean never to all of the above questions.

Well, given the fact that I tend to think about things like this and my mother actually owns a greeting card company, my thoughts on this particular Labor Day are tending towards creating such cards, carols and fruitcake Labor Day hallmark moments. Given the fact as well, that I am a writer, I thought that it would be nice to create a couple of Labor Day theme cards that would serve to enhance the overall festive moment Labor Day conjures up in this particular writer’s mind.

Here’s the first:


May the Joy of the Day Bring Forth
The Fulfillment
Of Timely Employment
To You and Yours.

Inside this Happy Labor Day Card would of course be a timely personal note concerning the warm wishes of the sender (my mother who is really old):

Dear Marge and Herb

Just a brief note and a hello before I rush out to the hair dresser. Al is busy with the decorations once again (you know how he is), and the kids of course are busy with their friends and well, here I am a little bit older and perhaps a little bit wiser doing my usual Labor Day card writing campaign.

Any way I thought I’d just jot down a few last minute notes before sealing up this card and dropping it in the mail.

John and Carol are expecting their next child “very soon”. I mean Al and I might very well be the grandparents of a Labor Day baby. I’ll call you with the latest. Mrs. Johnson from across the street fell last week and is now recovering, ever since Ed fell off the roof, the two of them have had a rough go of it, but with Ed working once again, I’m sure that in no time soon they’ll be back on their feet.

I just don’t know about this younger generation, why Ed was up on the roof remains a complete mystery to me. He keeps talking about this solar collector idea

and he still spends all of his spare time up on that roof. It seems like since he graduated from Purdue ten years ago all he ever talks about is solar collectors. I just don’t understand why these kids don’t just go out and get a real job. I mean he spent eight years at Purdue getting an advanced degree in engineering and all he does is sit up on his roof. I don’t think either of them are on drugs but I do wonder why the two of them are always doing such odd things. When Ellen fell, she was on a ladder adjusting her

wind turbine (WHATEVER THAT IS) and of course she landed in their vegetable garden. I just don’t know why they don’t just leave their front yard alone. Who ever heard of a vegetable garden in front of a house with a wind turbine in the middle of it? I really don’t even know what a wind turbine is but they have one. And, why they have the garden in the front yard is mystery to me.

They do have very tasty vegetables I have to say and Al and Ed are always talking. I worry about Al though. Last week be brought home a bunch of things from the hardware store and said he was going to use this stuff to collect rain water for our garden. Why he doesn’t just use the hose like everyone else is a complete mystery to me.

Anyway, this is just a brief note to say high. Is Herb happy about his upcoming retirement? The last time we talked you said he was thinking about taking up a new sport. What is parasailing anyway? You said something about flying.

Why is it that every time I turn around, people are everywhere but on the ground? Anyway, I just hope the economy turns around and people can just get back to being normal once again.

Martha just graduated this last spring and is now working at Subway. They have the nicest young people working at that place. They all seem so bright, but for the life of me, I just don’t understand why Subway requires their employees to have advanced college degrees.

It seems like all they do is make sandwiches.

Anyway, I have to go because I have to stop at Diane’s house to pick up her kids and take them over to the school to deliver a science project. They’ve built some sort of an electrical device or something. I love my daughter very much but sometimes I have to wonder. Why isn’t she just normal like us? Apparently this device is called an “alternative energy vehicle” whatever that is. I just pray that whatever is going in our country, sooner or later people will get serious and get real jobs.

Happy Labor Day and with love,


P.S. Do you know anything about Tia Chi? Al keeps on talking about this, Apparently, its some sort of exercise. He keeps on talking about relaxing his mind. Why would anyone want to relax their mind? I have to go. By the way, Sally got her job back at Walmart.

My mother is so old that she is young. Having said this and having drafted my first Labor Day Greeting card, I can’t for the life of me understand why no one sends greeting cards on Labor Day. I said I was going to draft a few labor day cards in this essay, but something tells me that one is enough.

M. Patrick Dahlke