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As our readership grows, we're hearing from folks all over the world reporting the same kinds of problems we're witnessing here in the USA. A reader from Australia writes:

Dear Editor,

The idea of growing vegetables in containers is great, and I am already doing it. However, I use old rain water tanks that are cut in half, taking off the bottom and tops and putting them on the ground. Why do I do that? Because the block where my house sits is not big enough, and on top of that, it is very, very rocky and on a slope. I level the tanks by putting concrete blocks in the lower part, plus bricks and other rocks on the inside up to where it gets higher. Then I order a full truck of composted cow manure. I put cheaper soil in the first 20 cm at the bottom and then fill it up with this magnificent composted cow manure.

You have no idea of the amount of vegetables I get. I could share it with three families. Tomatoes, (and I made 25 jars of tomatoes sauce for mixing with pasta until next season. Simply the best sauce ever!) silver beets, radishes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach, parsley, even rock melons.

The beauty of it is that neither rabbits nor possums are getting to them (yes, we have that problem here and the prohibition to kill them). We have all the kind of restrictions you mention in your newsletter as far as opening a side street stop to sell produce - we are not allowed. Everything needs permits. Even fishermen are allowed a minimum quantity (very, very little) to keep for their family. Everything has to go to a center which sells the best to the Multi-Nationals and we then have to re-purchase from them the worst quality, mainly from the polluted waters of southeast Asia.

You may not know, my friends, but Australia is beating the USA as far as extra government rules to restrict our freedoms. We had Codex Legislation passed 6 years ago and we cannot import supplements from anywhere (penalty: $60,000). Our weapons were taken from us a dozen years ago after a government-organized massacre of 44 people in an outside coffee shop in Port Arthur, Tasmania. They framed a poor, mentally- challenged young man who was not even there. Witnesses who could dismiss the charges against him were never heard in court. An ex- Australian superior officer of our army, present during the event, said in an interview with an independent reporter that he had never seen such precision shooting in all his years of training soldiers. The one who did it must have been an "imported," extremely efficient sniper because he did not use a fully automatic weapon. Every shot was a precise killing shot (not an in injuring one) and then he disappeared. The entire police force on that day was 200 km away, seemingly in a conference (something that never happens). In fact, it took hours before the police arrived and the sniper had already disappeared. They framed this poor young guy who was living 20 km away and living with his mother and, of course, he is still in prison. Our Prime Minister, John Howard, lost no time to use the outrage of the people to get rid of all weapons from them.

And our petrol costs us $1.40 a liter, equal to $5.60 a gallon (or 4 liters) and we have great distances to and from work. All our fresh prime produce is first sold to Multi-Nationals and then, they sell us back cheaper quality coming from China at outrageous prices. We cannot buy raw milk, not even from a dairy farmer. He is forbidden to do so. The penalty? The closing down and loss of his farm. All milk must be pasteurized and homogenized.

I don't know if you heard the last news from USA - through the Internet of course - that there are 2 billion people in the world who go to bed hungry every day when 4 million tons of fresh produce is either incinerated or dumped into the ocean every day in order to maintain their high prices. 4 million tons equals to 4 billion kilos of fresh produce! Those 2 billion hungry people in the world could have 2 kilos each of fresh food per day if it wasn't destroyed purposely. No one of us eats 2 kg of food each day, do we?

Yes, it is the Multi-Nationals who will be causing famine everywhere because they almost control the entire food production, in collusion with various governments. They can withhold the food or destroy it and do what they want.

New Zealand had to accept Codex also, but it is not yet in the same situation as Australia. Australia has been used as the guinea pig of what is to come to see how far the government can go without people revolting. Actually, how can we revolt without weapons?

You better allow the Mexicans to get into the USA and you go and live there until this clears out, or in some of the Pacific islands, but do not consider Australia as a refuge. It is not!

Best wishes to all of you,
Tasmania, Australia

Editor reply: The challenges we are facing will be global in scale. It is foolish to think that just because you live in the U.S., the UK, or in Australia, that things will somehow be safe from suffering. In fact, those of us in the "first world" are likely to see a greater change in our lives because we have such a high standard of living and are so accustomed to the benefits of technology. Additionally, the threats from our governments are greater because of their greater reach, funding and organization.

Those of us in the developed world do have one advantage - information. We can see what is coming, and we have the means to prepare ourselves and our loved ones. Many of you email each week thanking us for the information, but unless you act, this information does nothing but give you a false sense of security that you are somehow more prepared than you were before. Please, make it a point to do something (anything!) every day to prepare yourself. Every little thing counts in a crisis!

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Real Life Crisis Survival, Part 1

Editor: This article is courtesy of Frank, a consultant from Phoenix who was doing mission work in Guatemala last week when a volcano erupted. Two days later tropical storm Agatha hit, devastating the country.

Guatemala is a beautiful country that has long struggled with poverty, famine, civil war and injustice. That's what motivated me to visit for two weeks on a church-sponsored mission to feed the hungry and teach people about the benefits of personal hygiene.

Little did I know what awaited me during my visit. On the 28th of May, a volcano that has long been active (but rarely dangerous) spewed thousands of tons of rock and ash more than 4,000 feet into the sky. Although the little town I was in was upwind and therefore not affected, the capital city was showered with up to three inches of black sand. We all know what three inches of snow looks like, but imagine three inches of dense, heavy, gritty sand covering everything!

The country came to a standstill as the four million people in the capital struggled to deal with sand that closed schools, brought transportation to a standstill and collapsed roofs. The airport was closed as well, and nobody could get in or out of the capital.

The resulting traffic chaos routed thousands of trucks, cars and buses through the little town that I was visiting, turning the dirt and gravel streets into muddy, rutted paths that were barely passable. Tens of thousands of people were now passing through this town that normally had just a few thousand residents, and as they passed through (slowly, given the road conditions) they consumed bottled water, food and toilet paper, none of which could be easily replaced since the capital (where locals all buy supplies in big box stores similar to Wal-Mart and Sam's Club) was closed to traffic. It occurred to me that, while much of the U.S. is not under threat of volcanic ash, suburban life anywhere in the U.S. would be similarly affected by disaster in a big city. After all, in the aftermath of Katrina, you didn't have to live in downtown New Orleans to have your life turned upside down, even if your small town in Louisiana didn't have serious damage.

As the country struggled to deal with the sand and the impact on traffic and commerce, our worst fears were realized; the low pressure front off the Pacific coast turned into tropical storm "Agatha" and it began raining... hard. The sand in the streets turned into sludge, and the sand in the gutters began clumping up, forming natural sand dams, causing gutters and sewers to instantly overflow, sending rainwater, trash, mud and sewage into the streets.

In this country of 14 million, 70% of the people live in cities of less than 250,000 people. None of these have first-world infrastructure, and so within a few hours of the rains starting, there was chaos. Roads instantly became rivers, and life came to a standstill. As the rain continued and even worsened (it would eventually rain up to 3 feet), a minor inconvenience turned into a major catastrophe.

The countryside is crisscrossed by rivers (one of the country's few abundant natural resources is water), and hundreds of bridges were destroyed as water levels rose with lightning speed and cars, trees and debris accumulated, acting like a weapon of unimaginable force.

My host family of permanent missionaries lives in a nice, safe neighborhood populated by lots of retired folks from Canada, the U.S. and the UK who live in Guatemala for the low cost of living and year round perfect temperatures. We were spared any real damage, but as the day wore on, even these nice homes started to show signs of wear under the power of the wind and rain. The pressure outside was so great that water was being forced through window frames and under caulking, pouring into our home.

Then the power went off.

For hours our mission group was on all fours, using every available towel, dirty laundry and anything still dry to attempt to slow the rate of the water (that didn't appear to be flooding so much as "leaking") that had covered the floor in two rooms within a few hours.

By nightfall we were cold, wet and exhausted. Everything in the house was wet (or at least damp) and without electricity, we couldn't dry anything and couldn't see much. Sure, the host family missionaries were well stocked with flashlights, candles and matches, but you wouldn't believe how little light those candles put out when you're accustomed to electric lights on demand.

Fortunately, the stove was gas powered, so we were able to enjoy a filling, warm meal while the storm raged outside. News reports said the rain might continue for another 24 hours, and we began to wonder aloud about the chaos outside, and all those people who weren't prepared for this kind of crisis.

Little did we know how our own situation was about to change.

(Part 2 next week)

Some Surprising Super Foods

Everyone knows that acai berries, broccoli and watercress are full of the vitamins and minerals you need, but what about the foods you truly enjoy, the ones you're not supposed to have? New studies show that the forbidden egg may actually be a superfood, considering that it's chock-full of nutrients and antioxidants. I'm happy now to reveal other shocking superfoods hiding in our cabinets.


This basic movie snack could keep you from getting cancer and help you lose those few extra pounds. It's a little known fact that popcorn as a wholegrain has the ability to reduce your cancer and heart disease risk. Downing a 30g serving (a half of a small popcorn box) is equal to eating a normal portion of whole wheat pasta or brown rice, said Catherine Collins, a chief dietician at London's George's Hospital.

In terms of weight, popcorn has three times the fiber of sunflower seeds, making you feel fuller much longer. Popcorn also helps balance your blood sugar levels. This makes you less likely to crave sweets and prevents mood swings. This helps you lower bad cholesterol, and it has plenty of vitamins for energy. A 2009 study shown to the American Chemical Society hinted that the health benefits of popcorn could be attributed to high polyphenol levels. Polyphenols are antioxidants that are believed to wipe out free radicals - chemicals that are have long been associated with severe health problems, such as heart disease and cancer.

Be careful, however, not to load up on extra sugar and salt.


As a source of non-saturated fats, peanut butter has long been a great dietary choice, because it contains low levels of monounsaturated fats. It is also high in protein, which helps you stay full and helps regulate the digestive system. This aids in preventing heart disease and colon cancer, Collins said. It is believed that nuts reduce inflammation inside the body and help blood vessels flowing to the heart remain healthy. Researchers at Harvard Medical School said recently that eating peanut butter five days per week can reduce your risk of a heart attack by 50 percent.

Even better than that is the fact that you don't have to diet to reap the health benefits of peanut butter. Studies have shown those who snack on peanut butter tend to snack much less than others.


The underestimated baked bean has many nutritional benefits, including iron, fiber, calcium and protein. This helps promote bone and muscle health. They also have a lot of low Glycemic Index (GI)-carbohydrates. Low GI-carbohydrates slowly break down energy, which makes you feel full longer than you would normally.

In addition to lowering your cholesterol and maintaining steady blood sugar levels, baked beans are filled with insoluble fiber. This fiber moves quickly into the colon and large intestine. It is here that bacteria break down the food, Collins said.

As a result, fatty acids are produced. Fatty acids line the colon and help prevent colon cancer from developing. Women who consume 80g of baked beans fulfill one-fifth of a woman's daily fiber needs, a quarter of her iron needs, as well as one-tenth of the protein she needs daily.

The tomato sauce found in baked beans contains a lot of lycopene, an antioxidant needed to fight prostate cancer and ward off heart disease.

One serving of beans gives you the recommended five servings of fruits or vegetables you need each day. Three heaping tablespoons equal the amount of vegetables you need daily. However, canned baked beans can be rich in fat and sugar, so you should opt for those with less fat and sugar levels.


Marmalade contains pectin, an ingredient that turns to gel and helps cure constipation. It can also soothe a sore throat, according to a study by the Institute of Food Research. Studies also indicate that it slows the development of tumors. Marmalade can also lower cholesterol.

Marmalade also contains natural sugars, which are healthier than the sugars found in traditional jam and jelly. There are 20 times more antioxidants in one gram of marmalade than there are in a glass of orange juice, making it healthier than a glass of orange juice. Though honey has been touted as one of the best natural sugars, marmalade is better in the sense that it is higher in antioxidants, according to Rebecca Foster at the British Nutrition Foundation.

Marmalade is also high in sugar, so eat small portions, and look for sugar-free versions.


Containing more potassium than a banana, russet potatoes are believed to keep blood pressure low. They also have a lot of soluble fiber, which helps regulate heart and colon health. One russet potato contains only 135 calories and much of the fiber and protein your body requires each day.

If you eat the skin, you are getting half the amount of B6 and C vitamins experts say are needed to improve mood. They also contain beta carotene and folate, which fight cancer and fulfill your daily need for folate and iron, Collins said.

A U.S. study on antioxidants found that russet potatoes contain 13.2 capacities of antioxidants, making them better for you than tomatoes, kiwi and many other fruits and vegetables.

Keep in mind that frying these with butter will offset the health benefits you would otherwise gain!


Most of us wouldn't feel comfortable asking for pork scratching, but surprisingly, they are very healthy for you.

Two-thirds of the fat found in pork scratching is polyunsaturated and monounsaturated, which boosts heart health. Much of this fat comes from stearic acid and healthy saturated fat that keeps cholesterol levels steady, Collins said. Scratchings contain collagen from the skin; it is high in protein, which makes you feel full. This also keeps your muscles and bones healthy. The 2g of protein found in 20 grams of pork scratching is more than is present in eggs! This is one-fifth of your RDA.

Keep in mind that pork scratching can be high in salt, so monitor your intake accordingly.


Nutella is high in lecithin, a soy extract that is rich in protein, iron and calcium, each of which promotes bone health, helps you feel full, and gives you more energy, according to dietician, Sonia Kakar.

Cocoa contains antioxidants that regulate blood pressure, has fewer calories than jam and releases energy slower than many other foods. It is also rich in calcium, which keeps bones healthy and strong. The cocoa found in Nutella contains antioxidants that decrease blood pressure and cut down on your risk of developing clots. The nuts found in Nutella also promote good health and boost the immune system with folic acid.


Cheese can provide you with 25 percent of the calcium needed for a balanced diet, says the British Nutrition Foundation. It is also chock- full of the nutrients you need to strengthen bones and teeth. It contains zinc for skin health and also boosts fertility.

Eating a little cheddar after a meal helps neutralize mouth acids and produces saliva. However, cheddar should be eaten in small amounts because of its high fat content.


Horseradish belongs to the same family as Brussels sprouts and broccoli. Horseradish sauce contains large amounts of compounds that improve liver function and boost heart health.

Other vegetables contain great nutrients, but horseradish has nutrients that are healthier than those found in broccoli, including lots of B vitamins.

It is also thought to promote a healthy immune system because of its high vitamin C content.

Some fruits and vegetables are better than others. For example, blueberries are great for you, but black currants are even better, according to experts. Sweet potatoes and spring greens are also great choices, as they contain the vitamins your body needs to function properly.

Curly kale and papaya are two other healthy food options. Curly kale reduces your risk of going blind. Both of these are packed with antioxidants.

A Garden in a Tire!

There is a new wrinkle on the old "Victory Garden" that was so popular in the U.K., the U.S., Canada and Germany during the world wars. Private homes, public parks, and even the occasional balcony served to boost morale and to make a small contribution to the overall food effort during war times. New times bring new solutions to the same problem.

Today, it is not merely contributing to the shrinking food supply, but to be mindful of the ecological consequences of wasted space and energy. Have you ever been close to a burning land-fill full of tires? Instead of dumping your otherwise useless old tires, consider creating a "tire garden" in your back yard, or wherever you have some extra outdoor space.

Whether you're a "survivalist," a member of the Peace Corps' food security program or an urban resident, a "tire garden" can accomplish both functions of the victory garden of yesteryear and more. Best of all, tire gardens are free and easy to build. I bet you can even involve your kids and give them a few, fun-filled hours. Kid love to play with dirt! You can also bring education into play as they eagerly await sprouting seeds later on.

First, of course, you need to find one or more old tires. Make sure that it is soft and truly unfit for its normal use of transporting your old pickup! Also, check to make sure that none of the tire's wire or metal is sticking through the rubber so you (or the kids) don't get cut.

Reserve this part for yourself, preferably when the kids are not present. Cut the tire's rim and leave two handles on opposite sides. This helps in lifting the tire, especially if you cut some loops through the handles.

To create more room for planting, you will need to flip the entire tire inside out. This creates a bigger wall for holding your garden dirt. This will be the most difficult part of the endeavor, and you might need someone to pull or push on the opposite side of the tire. If you simply can't get it done, stop by a mechanic's shop and they can flip them inside out for you.

Now it's time for the kids! Get them to find a dozen healthy sticks to make a bottom or floor over the tire's center hole. If you'll cover that with fabric (it can be nylon or polyester), it will help to let water escape but keep your dirt in place.

Come on kids, get that dirt!

If available, use a mixture of dirt and compost. Keep it moist but not wet, and fill the tire nearly to the top.

It's time to plant!

Start with an easy herb garden. You always need herbs, and it will help you estimate the types of other vegetables you can grow. Cucumbers and tomatoes are always in demand. Try for cauliflower, broccoli and spinach. Invest in a little book for growing seasons. Annual plants are, of course, a natural to boost spirits and add a few accents of beauty anywhere.

Keep your garden soil moist and don't let it dry out. If you live in a regular, rainy area, let nature take its course.

If you live in the country and have little critters like rabbits or deer nibbling on your new sprouts, build a little stick-fence around your tire garden. Tire gardening proves you don't have to have expensive or fancy trappings to start a garden... anywhere!

Liberal Quote of the Week

"Never let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean by that is it's an opportunity to do things you couldn't do before"
- Rahm Emanuel

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