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Sugar: History, use and misuse

Sugar is known to have been domesticated and used in New Guinea since approximately 8000 BC. During worldwide travel by the ancients, its cultivation spread to the hot, moist climates of southeast Asia, China and India. It was transported throughout the Muslim world, and later Europe. During the centuries of European colonization, sugar was cultivated in many Caribbean colonies, often using slave labor. Cul ...

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Opposition to urban agriculture is irresponsible

Growing food in an urban atmosphere creates different challenges than those associated with rural farms. One of the challenges is city dwellers expect farms to be hidden — many are not happy with idea of there being a garden or farm on the street on which they live. Residents have voiced fears about neighbors having livestock, about rodents, and about growing sites not being attractive to potential homebuye ...

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RIP General Baker and Yuri Kochiyama

We’ve lost two more stalwarts in the ongoing struggle for a new world of peace and social justice: General Baker and Yuri Kochiyama. Our hearts go out to Marian Kramer, Gen’s wife and comrade, and their children and grandchildren. The last time General and I talked was four years ago on June 19, 2010. It was the night before the opening of the 2nd U.S. Social Forum. ...

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Ready set go its farmer market season

In case you have not heard, farmers’ markets around the city are opening, bringing lots of fresh fruits, produce and other goodies. Detroit is fortunate to have 13 community markets working to bring food, education, activities and other resources to increase access to healthy food. One resource is the Fair Food Network Double Up Food Bucks program which begins June 1. Double Up Food Bucks stretches food dol ...

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Benefit or betrayal?

Who benefits? If we answer this question by looking at the lives of our children, it is obvious the policies of our nation, states and cities are failing miserably. As the policy elite gather this week in Mackinac, they should look beyond Grand Bargains, political posturing, bankruptcy and bond ratings to the state of our children. Nothing more starkly reveals the failure of the reigning economic and politi ...

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Detroit youth transform their community, challenge others

Denby High School seniors have challenged the residents in their community to join the youth in cleaning up and redeveloping their district to have a high quality of life. In March, the students along with volunteers, cleaned up 16 blocks around the school, boarded up 11 vacant homes, and knocked on residents’ doors to advocating for them to join the Denby Alliance. The DA was set up to create blocks clubs ...

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RIP William Worthy, 1921 – 2014, Vincent Harding 1931 – 2014

This month, the world, the movement and I lost two irreplaceable comrades: William Worthy, the trailblazing journalist, and Vincent Harding, the historian, theologian and movement activist. The media including the New York Times, had a lot to say about Worthy. They wrote about how Bill, defying all kinds of government restrictions, had gone to China and Cuba. “Democracy Now” replayed its WWII interview with ...

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Climate challenges

As the economic, political and media elite prepare for their annual gathering on Mackinac Island, they should stop and take a close look at the water. Coast Guard cutters only recently freed it from ice three feet deep. Tim Hygh, the director of the Mackinac Island Convention Bureau said he had never seen anything like the ice encasing the island this winter. “Some of the locals,” he said, “will tell you th ...

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Jackson Rising

The first weekend in May, I was able to attend the Jackson Rising: New Economies Conference in Jackson, Miss., with an incredible Detroit delegation. The conference was birthed out of the vision of late Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba (Baba Chokwe), the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM), which he founded, and the Jackson Peoples’ Assembly. ...

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Detroit area civic leaders rally in support of abducted Nigerian schoolgirls

Southfield Mayor Brenda L. Lawrence and Vice Chancellor Dr. Omobonike Odegbami of Wayne County Community College District along with concerned citizens held a rally May 10 to demand the return of more than 270 abducted Nigerian school girls to their families. Agents of Hope, a Detroit-based non-profit committed to education freedom and financial literacy, was also a key supporter of the rally and movement. ...

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