Archive for organic

Healthy Natural Beverage

Posted in Classic Sci-Fi, Lucerne Village, Organic Farming with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2012 by javedbabar

Bobby remembered starting work at the farm, but only vaguely. It was possibly a year ago. He used to live in the city; he had a brother there who was married, and parents who were old.

He also had somebody here… a sister, who had a daughter – that’s right! – Naomi, who he enjoyed spending time with. When was the last time he had seen her? He couldn’t recall. He should see her more often, and swore he would do that, but it was hard to find time; he was busy working “Farmtime Fulltime”, as the boss called it. He often snoozed in the forest at lunchtime, but other than that, he rarely left the farm.

He should know his fellow workers better, but he barely knew their names. Beyond “good morning,”, “good afternoon”, and “good night,” they exchanged few words. They worked alone in the fields, and then went to trailers to watch TV. It was a lonely life, but somehow pleasing. It must be, as Bobby had no desire to do anything else.

Beers in town? He had some in the fridge.

A restaurant meal? Why suffer the noise and expense?

Meeting girls? There were plenty on the internet, who were much less trouble than wining and dining a real girl just to get her into bed. Who could be bothered to expend energy on sex anyway? He wasn’t married and wanting kids. What was the point? Pleasure was readily available, if he could be bothered.

Bobby had come to the farm on the WWW programme, a Willing Waterer and Weeder. Though his official working day was twelve hours, he watered and weeded only for 4 hours in the morning and 4 hours at night. That was all he could manage. It was hot thirsty work.

The farmer encouraged them all to keep well hydrated, and there were vintage signs in many places saying Drink Tea. He’d told them that tea was better than water, as it was a healthy natural beverage with vital trace minerals. In the same way that we should eat food containing nutrients, not just empty calories, we should also consume nutritionally enhanced drinks. Their minerals ensured optimal physical functioning.

He didn’t tell them that the tea was Silva Sanguinarus, which had been given to soldiers in European wars. It was an anticonvulsant and sedative, and an anaphrodisiac.

The tea kept them working steadily but reduced their desire to do anything else. It was the perfect dietary supplement for the endless watering and weeding required for industrial organic production. After all, they were only one step away from machines. Right now people were more economical to use but that could change soon. The farmer would then switch from tea to oil.

Pet Project

Posted in Alternative Energy, Classic Sci-Fi, Organic Farming with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 11, 2012 by javedbabar

Sami wasn’t sure if he was ready to create life – or at least not human life. Maybe he could start with something smaller, like a pet, or even smaller than that.

Having a 3D printer to play with was fun but was also daunting. Was it really true, that with the right materials he could create anything? Meeting Alfred was a stroke of luck. The young entrepreneur had invited Sami into the experimental shop where he was testing his new integrated technology.

“So what did you decide?” said Alfred. “Still interested in using organic materials?”

“Well yes, but nothing ambitious. We could start with amoeba or bacteria.”

“I’m not sure that would work,” said Alfred. “They are simple organisms that are easy to make in theory, but they are fragile. I don’t think they would survive the process. Also, it would be better to make something more tangible; it’s easier than making things we can’t see. We could try making an insect.”

“What about a worm?” said Sami. “I’ve always liked them, and they’re resilient. I hope worms have forgiven me for the experiments I performed on them as a child, cutting them into two, three, four or more pieces, and seeing which parts survived. We could make a worm. Bring one to life. That would improve my karma!”

“Okay, let’s make a worm.” Alfred tapped away at his computer, and printouts appeared on a small desktop printer.

Sami said, “Why don’t you use the 3D printer?”

Alfred looked sheepish. “It’s not very good with paper.” He gave Sami the printouts, which showed worm dissections along various axes.

“What about its biological systems? Will they work properly?”

“Yes, if there is enough detail. I’m going to set up the 3D printer. Can you find some more information on worms? Photos, videos, textbook pages, anything else you find interesting, and we’ll feed it into the printer, and use the integration tool. It combines all of the data to create a holistic model for production.”

Sami collated details of worms’ long, legless, tube-like bodies, their range of sizes from microscopic to over fifty metre long marine worms, their variety of parasitic niches or living freely on land, in marine or freshwater environments, their hermaphroditism and asexual reproduction, their ability to sense light, their muscular hydrostatic structure, the transmission of parasitic worms by mosquitos, their need for food, moisture, oxygen and favorable temperatures, their hatching from cocoons, their ability to replace or replicate lost segments, their valuable role in food chains, and their sticky slime that holds soil particles together.

Alfred reviewed the information before processing. “They are small but quite complex,” he said. “It will take two days to produce the worm.”

After 48 hours they examined the machine. There was nothing there.

“Damn!” said Alfred. “I don’t know what happened. Everything seemed to be working fine. All the key indicators were…”

“Uh-oh,” said Sami as he squashed something on the floor.

Sustainable Sandwich Specials

Posted in Lucerne Village, Organic Farming with tags , , , , , , , , on June 10, 2012 by javedbabar

Danny was hungry. He wouldn’t normally have considered going to the Lucerne Valley Hotel, but had heard that their diner was under new management by some kids from the City. Maybe their service had improved since his last visit, and their ingredients, and their cooking. He recalled a spongy patty with plastic cheese and cardboard bun, served with slimy greens and oily chips. Where had they got them from, the transfer station?

Things were better the moment he entered. The walls were painted dark grey, and stained carpet had been ripped out to reveal original floorboards which were sanded clean. There was a smart new glass counter manned by hip staff. He tried not to stare at their piercings and tattoos, which featured Greek letters and Celtic patterns entwined. There was a large blackboard saying SSS, but with no further details.

“Hi, I’m Joho,” said a cheerful twenty-something with a ring through the centre of his nose, and blonde dreadlocks bearing beads and shells. “Welcome to Sustainable Planet. Have you been here before?”

“I have when the hotel guys ran the joint.” Danny raised one eyebrow, and they shared a smile. “This place is looking great now. I can’t wait to try the food.”

“Shall I run through the menu with you? Okay, SSS stands for Sustainable Sandwich Specials. That’s all we’ve got right now – the full menu’s coming next month. We have meat, fish, veg, and fruit options; that seems to cover most people’s needs.”

“Well, what’s on the menu for today?” Danny felt good about this place. It was just what the village needed; a progressive, friendly place where you know your money is supporting the environment rather than its destruction.”

“The meat option today is CAFO beef. Do you know what that stands for? It means Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation, a place where hundreds of thousands of cattle are crowded together, often up to their knees in their own excrement. They are disgusting places that lead to much distress and disease.”

Danny’s mouth fell open. “How is that a sustainable option?” Was the dreadlocked kid taking the Mickey?

“I thought you may ask that question. You see, we rescue as many cattle as we can from the feeding lots; this removes them from the industrial food chain plus highlights their plight to our customers. It’s served rare, on rye, with wholegrain mustard.”

Danny felt he was missing something but didn’t want to be difficult. These kids were trying their best to promote an earth-friendly philosophy. He asked, “What’s today’s fish option?”

“It’s dolphin,” said Joho.

“I’m sorry, do you mean dolphin-friendly tuna?”

“No, it’s Pacific White-Sided Dolphin, Lagenorhynchus Obliquidens. Japanese trawlers kill them accidentally and it would be a terrible thing to waste them, so we buy them up wholesale. We choose our ingredients very carefully to make customers think.”

This guy’s logic is pretty messed up, thought Danny. Maybe non-carnivorous options would be more palatable. “What about the veg and fruit choices?”

“Today’s veg option is High Fructose Corn Syrup reconstituted into corn chunks, and the fruit choice is oranges sprayed with Agent Orange; nice irony don’t you think? They’re salvaged from chemical field trials.”

Danny got up to leave. “I’m sorry pal, I can’t eat anything here. Everything you’ve offered me sounds disgusting. How is any of it sustainable?”

“Now we’re getting somewhere, my friend. Nothing we do on earth is sustainable. Sustainable development is an oxymoron; all human activity leads to environmental degradation. That’s what we want to tell you. This joint is a public interface for our policy; what we are really providing is food for your mind.”

Fresh Foods

Posted in Classic Sci-Fi, Lucerne Village, Organic Farming with tags , , , , on February 22, 2012 by javedbabar

“Darling will you get me some mint?” said Claire.

“Sure, how much do you want?” said Daved to his wife, cheerful despite nursing a hangover. “Just a handful?”

“One of my handfuls, honey – not one of yours.” Daved clipped young stalks from the container using chained-up-scissors. The rush of freshness cleared his head, but the dullness returned. “Oh, and while you’re there, can you get some cilantro?”

“Sure honey,” he said, and moved to other containers.

“Is my hunky husband in the mood for some heavy digging” said Claire, her trailing arm circling his waist. “Some spuds and carrots please. Not too many. Just what we need for the weekend.” Daved pushed his hands into the soil and rooted around. He yanked up ten medium-sized russets, and a dozen purple carrots. The freshness of food these days was astonishing. Since the implementation of Local Food Laws, supermarkets grew produce right on their shelves. It was all fresh, local, healthy food. What could be better for you?

“Perfect,” she said. “Let’s get some tomatoes. Where’s the hothouse section? Why do they keep moving it around? Oh, there it is, I think. Or is that exotics?” She ambled over and pulled open a flap. “No, it’s tomatoes.” Claire snipped off a pound each of Black Princes and Green Zebras. The peppers looked good, and she decided to get some of those, selecting ripe Hungarian Wax, Jalapeno, Cayenne, and – what the hell! – Habanero peppers; all conveniently growing on the same bush.

“What else do we need, love?” she called out of the hothouse.

“I fancy fish today,” said Daved. “What about you?”

“Ok, go catch something Ahab. I’ll be in the dairy.” Claire was still pulling the Gau MataTM  udders – invented by the great Indian scientist Dr. A.W. Cooraswamy-Muchilinda-Moghlai – when Daved appeared with his catch.

“He had some spirit, this one,” he said. “Zipping around the tank like crazy. I couldn’t get him with the line so zapped him. Anyway, we have grilled wild salmon with coriander potatoes and minted carrots on the menu for tonight.”

Claire finished her milking. She loved the feeling of pulling these udders, it was so authentic; just like the rosy-cheeked farm girl in the ads. She wiped her hands and said, “Ok, just some beef now. I think we’ve got everything else.”

The meat section was always quieter in the afternoons. People liked “fresh” beef grown overnight – they said it was more tender – but Claire had never noticed the difference. She felt that they were kidding themselves; they just didn’t want to pay the extra for Veal. Daved carved thick strips of soft red flesh from the block, each piece well textured. That Indian Doctor was a genius, he thought– it’s a shame he was assassinated; think what else he could have invented. The meat block shook and made a squealing sound. The Butcher rushed over and said, “I’m so sorry Sir. Some of these meats are restless this morning. I’m not sure why.”

“The fish are pretty spirited too,” said Daved. “I felt like I was chasing Moby Dick.”

The Butcher smiled and said, “Well Buster here’s not going anywhere. Would you like me to finish carving? How much do you need?” He wrapped up their bloody meat and said, “Enjoy your meal. By the way, have you visited our new Fair Trade Department? It’s across the other side of the store.”

“No, we haven’t heard about it,” said Claire.

“We’ve kept it quiet deliberately; we don’t want any trouble. Look what happened to Dr. Cooraswamy-Muchilinda-Moghlai. That SFPF is dangerous; they say that they don’t condone violence but every terrorist incident seems to involve one of their members. Anyway, good folk like you won’t cause any trouble, I’m sure. Why don’t you take a look?”

A uniformed security guard allowed them entry to what must have been a previously unused warehouse at the back of the store. Daved and Claire gasped in amazement. It was ten degrees hotter than outside, and pretty humid; the lush green area was divided into continents. In “South America” they saw tattooed Amazon tribesmen picking Brazil Nuts. In “Africa”, red-blanketed Maasai warriors tended coffee bushes. In “Asia” Saffron-robed Sadhus picked orange pekoe tea. “Australia” had ochre-smeared Aborigines tending mangoes. “North America” featured Navajo squaws growing corn, beans, and squash. “Europe” had men in black berets and women in bright dresses treading barrels of grapes.

“What do you think?” said the Manager, catching up with them. “We need to fine-tune the costumes, I know, but not bad, eh? Sorry I didn’t welcome you earlier, but I was keeping my eye on the protest outside. It’s those Slow Food People’s Front extremists. Some people just don’t see progress when it slaps them in the face. Whatever we do is never enough for them. I mean, ten years ago who would have thought that our entire food chain would be fresh, local, and organic?”

He chatted with Claire and Daved for a while, and then asked if he could show them something special. “We always like to run things by our customers first.” He showed them a device that the grocery store was testing, called MORE (Modern Organism Replicator Engine). “Wait till we get this going next month. You’ve never tasted food so fresh!”