Category Archives: Amish


I want to tell you about an upcoming conference and ministry that has a message that is near and dear to my heart and life experience.  Did you know there are mission fields right here in our own country, in local communities in both urban and rural settings?   There is a conference coming up that can help prepare you to be a local missionary to a unique cultural group here in the USA.  They are a large diverse group of about 250,000 people and their communities are currently located in 27 states.  There is a good chance there is a community living not to far from you.  

There are many people in our country who don’t know Jesus.  I have heard estimates of less than 30% of Americans have attended church regularly and heard the true message of salvation through Jesus Christ, though approximately 70% of Americans say they are Christians.   It seems strange to me to have grown up attending church, and knowing the country was founded on Christian beliefs, and to have had many Christian teachers during my childhood, to now realize that a huge percentage of Americans do not follow God or accept Jesus as their savior, and many have still never heard the message of Jesus and been given the option to choose one way or another to believe his message.  

The “American mission field” is quite diverse.  I have some special friends who immigrated here from Belgium to work in the American mission field.   Sounds kind of odd if you grew up thinking the mission field was only in third world countries overseas. But they were very clear in explaining how God called them to tend the American mission field.  They are right, there are many mission fields right here in this country. My Belgium friends are currently running a ministry to the biker community in North Carolina and minister to college students.  I have other sweet friends who reach out to youth in the inner cities.  There are widows, orphans, prisons, homeless, women’s shelters, runaways, drug users, alcoholics, foster children, and so many more populations right here in America, filled with hurting people who need missionaries to bring them the good news about Jesus.  

My husband and I served the International student community while in college until 1993, and this was a huge diverse group of young people from many different countries, cultures, and religions.  I spent five years in this mission field, teaching English, the bible, tutoring, teaching skills in acclimating to American culture, and more. My husband and I also worked with teens as youth pastors, and with foster kids. We have been involved in another American mission field, the Amish, since 1995. This is the mission field I want to share some information about with you today.


The Amish are a special cultural group in America (though there are communities in other countries too).  They are a branch of a larger historical group known as the Anabaptists originally from Switzerland and France who seperated from the main branch of the Christian church during the reformation in the 1500s.   The Anabaptists immigrated to America to find religious freedom in the 1700s and 1800s from various places in Europe where they had scattered due to war and persecution.  

The Anabaptists split from the larger church due to religious differences regarding infant baptism.  The Amish split off again from the Anabaptists because they wanted more control over the practice of shunning as a punishment, even to go as far as encouraging spouses to shun one another and parents to shun their grown children for disobedience to the group rules.  This drew a clear distinction in the followers.  They split into two separate groups called the Amish Mennonites (or just called Amish) and Mennonites.  The Amish took the practice of shunning to the extreme and though there are similarities in the two religions, the Amish continued to make strict rules year after year for their members to keep them submissive, and remove them from main stream society.  Though there are similarities, the Amish are a very different group from their origional heritage as Anabaptists.
Once immigrating to America, the Amish continued to split many times into numerous smaller cultural groups (perhaps as many as 40 different distinct religious groups) that live all over America.  The differences in various Amish groups may be difficult to distinguish from other Amish groups to outsiders who see all the Amish and other plain clothes religions as the same.  But there are various distinct groups of Amish, Old Order, New Order, etc.  and they keep within their own cultural group and usually don’t cross over into the other Amish groups. 

Many of the specific differences in Amish groups pertain to the group rules for behavior and possesions, and the amount of personal freedoms they allow their members, such as the kind of buggy they are allowed to drive, the brightness or darkness colors of their clothing, their hat styles, use of cell phones and technology, etc.  

Old Order Amish Of East Central Indiana

My experience comes from working with the Old Order Amish of east central Indiana. A community of Old Order Amish moved into Wayne County, Indiana area around the early 1990s seeking cheap farm ground and relocating part of their community from Pennsylvania. Farmland in PA was very expensive and cost too much for many families living there to expand.  As a family has more children, and the community grows, they expand and form into small clusters or districts.  Each district has its own church meetings and schools.  The number of people in the church district is controlled and when it reaches its maximum number they branch off and set up a new church district within a small geographical location.  

Many church districts in central Indiana are limited to about 200 +/- people (about 20 to 30 families) who live within a few miles of each other.  Part of the reason for this small geographic grouping, is the church meets in each other’s homes every other Sunday, they must drive their horse and buggy to the meetings (though they are allowed to hire drivers to take them everywhere they want to go any other day, just not church on Sunday), and it becomes difficult to fit more people into these house settings the larger the group becomes.  Most church meetings are held in the home, but some are held in a barn.  Each family in the community takes turns hosting the church service usally twice a year.  The community owns a wagon filled with church benches and tables and hynmals.  This wagon is moved from home to home for church service as needed.  For the sevice, men sit on one side of the room and women sit on the opposite side of the room.  They do not sit together.  The Amish try to remodel or build homes that have an open floor plan so that several rooms flow together to hold large groups.  But it in many smaller homes that don’t have a large open space inside, the men are seated in one room and women are seated in another room and the minister stands between the rooms so both can see him as he reads from the scriptures.  Each church district has two or three ministers that oversee the meetings, and the larger community as a whole has one Bishop and a few deacons that oversee the ministers and the larger community as a whole.  Ultimately, the Bishop holds the power over the church and school districts, and the people in his community.  A community might have several thousand members.  

Amish school in Wayne County, Indiana

The number of kids in each school, within each local church district is also controlled. Typically approximately 25 +/- students and one teacher meet in the schoolhouse for lessons.  The teacher is an unmarried young woman usually from the same community. If there are students with developmental delays there is also usually a teaching assistant or second teacher. She must also be unmarried and may be very young having just finished school herself.  Sometimes the second teacher is only there part time.  Grades 1 through 8 meet daily together and share the same school room from approximately September through mid April.  Amish children are not allowed to attend school past the eigth grade.  The school is closed from mid April through early September so that the kids and teacher are free to help with their family’s garden and farm chores.  School starts here at labor day in September, though I don’t remember the exact day in April that it lets out, but it seems like it is somewhere in the middle of April.

The Old Order Amish families want to help establish and encourage their grown children to earn a living farming, and some of the younger men also do carpentry or help with their parent’s business, until they can afford a farm.  Having carpentry skills in addition to farming is very valuable.  Usually men can earn a lot more money as a carpenter than as a young struggling farmer who often goes deep into debt to finance a farm and equipment.  Depending on the kind of farm they set up, many young farmers may not be able to earn enough money to repay the debts.  Farms such as dairies have income year around, but their expenses are greater in the winter when fresh grass is not available.  Farms such as produce have a short growing and harvest season and often the income from such a farm is not enough to pay for a farm.   Many Amish must be “bailed out” of bankruptcy by their family and the Amish church because they quickly get into a situation of being over their head in debt as
farming and weather etc, can be unpredictable with ups and downs.   But eventually, farming takes precedence and they are able to earn enough to care for the needs of their family.  

Some of the farms also have other business located on them, and these farms tend to be more financially stable and weather the storms of the ups and downs of farming much better.  Some of these other businesses on the farms might be greenhouses and garden supplies, farm equipment supplies and seed, hardware, livestock feed, flour and dry goods, bakeries (depending on the rules of the county), furniture, sewing goods and materials, butchering, etc.  There are also farmers who specialize in building Amish homes and are knowledgeable in all aspects of house building (except electrical wiring), and many younger non married Amish men will work on their crews and learn from them until they settle down with a farm of their own.  Sometimes Amish women will take on babysitting or sewing to earn some extra money, and almost always the youth are encouraged to work just as hard as they adults and earn money. All money the youth earn is turned over to their parents.

But if no ground is available for farming, then many of the younger generation must buy small lots of land, perhaps only one or two acres if they can find it and afford it.  They can’t raise enough extra food on one acre to make a living or hardly to even house their horse and a few animals.  Many have to go into other lines of work that take them away from the farm, including working in factories, stores, shops, etc. and this puts them out into the world more, and could potentially be the outside influence that leads the people away from the Old Order Amish life and rules for living.  Farm ground, and becoming a farmer, is highly regarded in this cultural group as it helps continue the future of the Old Order Amish community.

Christian? Do they follow the teachings of Jesus?

Why would the Amish need a missionary?  Aren’t they Christian?  Well the answer is yes, and no.  The Amish do not believe in salvation through Jesus Christ.  They believe he is the son of God, but they believe their salvation is based on the merit of the works.  Are they good enough?  Did they follow the rules well enough?  Were they a good person in this life?  They ultimately don’t know if they are ever saved, but they try to earn salvation.  They are labeled and lumped into the category of Christian faiths, but they miss the very esscence of what a follower of Jesus really means and they are not truely free in their way of life.  

The Amish church holds their members in emotional, spiritual, relational, and financial bondage.  They observe Christian holidays, and speak of faith and hold many christian behaviors in high esteem such as service, fellowship, humility, modesty, subservient, etc, they first and foremost serve the rules and traditions of the Amish church first, and God second.  Jesus said “Your traditions nullify the power of God in your life.”  If you make your traditions and rules your god, then you have basically created an idol to worship, and left the true power of God out of your life. 

They call themselves new testament Christians, but they only follow part of the scriptures that perpetuate their lifestyle.  They are weighted down with a huge book of rules they absolutely must follow called the Ordnung. Each Amish group has their own rule book.  Though some do read the bible on their own, many do not read their bible, or understand it as it is written in an ancient language that is not spoken anymore. Some have reached outside of their community and purchased bibles in English but must keep them out of sight.  Reading a bible written in easy to understand English is how many have found the truth about the Christian faith, Jesus, and the inconsistencies in the Amish church.  

The Amish are baptized in allegience to the Amish church when they are around 20 +/- and ready to settle down and get married. They are not allowed to follow the bible verses that don’t support the Amish way of life.  They are not allowed to pray openly or out loud for each other.  They are not baptized as a Christian being baptized into the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are not allowed to be baptized for the remission of their sins and belief in Jesus as their savior or submersed in water to be born again.  They actually get into very big trouble if they get baptized this way.  Their big book of rules is essentially their code they live by, and it is very different than scriptures.  Salvation through Jesus Christ is freely given, not a reward for righteous living.  

Bishops from different states get together once or twice a year to go over the rules and reinforce them and write new ones if needed to keep their people under control.  Rules, church news, births, deaths, marriages, etc from the various districts are sent out monthly and this helps to keep the various communities united and updated on what is going on.

The Amish hold church meetings every other Sunday in each others homes.  On their off Sunday, they generally visit friends or family.  However, they are not allowed to discuss the bible with each other.  They are not allowed to attend bible study in each other’s homes.  They are not allowed to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in their life, instead they must choose to obey the Amish church rules even when it contradicts with their concience or their faith in God.  

The Amish are not allowed to ask questions about why the church follows some of the bible, but not all of it.  The Amish church has made strict rules about this and if any member breaks these rules, they are called before the church too choose to repent in front of their members, or choose to be shunned from the community forever.  If they are shunned they are forced to leave their family and way of life and not allowed to fellowship, eat together, or participate in Amish cultural life like the celebrations of weddings, births, birthdays, funnerals, holidays, etc.   This is so devestating and instills such fear in most Amish people, that they live in total emotional, physical, mental, spiritual bondage.  

The Old Order Amish see God as punitive and that they will be punished and loose their opportunity for salvation if they break a rule.  They believe they are the only group of Christians who will make it to heaven and do not believe non Amish Christians are worthy of heaven.  They believe all of the rest of the world, including other Christians are of the devil or the devil’s children, and live in the devil’s playground. They believe if they are shunned from their group, God will not
forgive them, and they will belong to the devil and will go to hell when they die.  

If the Amish learn about having a relationship with Jesus, and that Jesus sets them free from all condemnation with the heavenly Father, whether through their own bible study, or from hearing about it through a Christian (other secret Amish believer, Ex Amish, or Englisher (anyone not Amish), and they accept Jesus as their savior, and are baptized, they would have to keep it totally secret to remain in the church, because if what they have experienced would be made public, then they would be kicked out of the church. Many who have accepted Jesus as their savior and been baptized live in secret, chosing to remain within their group, but living secretly as a true believer and follower of Jesus.  Many others have chosen to leave the church because it contradicts the scriptures and they cannot share their faith in Jesus openly.  But many more have been shunned and excommunicated against their will because of the Amish church finding out that these individuals are acting on the truth of the scriptures.  There are so many who have been shunned and excommunicated for this that they now have large thriving communities of excommunicated Amish or Ex-Amish who want to continue to live in a close community of other belivers and carry on with the positive qualities they were raised with, yet worship God and discuss the bible openly.  There are also many Ex-Amish who do not join other ousted Amish, or join a church, and choose to remain alone and quietly blend into American society and leave behind their Amish way of life.
The Amish poeple need missionaries who care, who are sensitive to their cultural beliefs and traditions, but are willing to speak openly of biblical truth and love them. They don’t need fake hypocrytical Christians that fill the pews on Sunday mornings at various churches across the nation.  They also don’t need folks who put them on a pedastal or have some false romantic notion about the Amish way of life.  Truth is the Amish way of life has many great qualities, but no matter how great, it won’t get them into heaven.  They need genuine followers of Jesus Christ as a support in their life.  It is such a shock to them when they are shunned as their whole life has been about community, and now they are without it.  They need a loving Christian community and individuals surrounding and supporting them through adjusting to their new life.  I have known many who went through being shunned, and it is a difficult process and transition to create a new life for themself if they are alone and don’t have people they can trust to support them.


Perhaps you will someday meet an Amish person who is hungry to share in a friendship, and hungry to learn about biblical truth.  I hope you will see them as a person with real human needs instead of a novelty or tourist attraction.  

Or perhaps you might be interested in supporting a ministry or missionaries who help the Amish to hear about the saving message of Jesus, and help excomunicated Amish rebuild their lives.  If so, you might be interested in supporting or learning from a ministry called Mission to Amish People or MAP.  They are hosting an upcoming Amish Awareness conference April 10th and 11th.

You might also be interested in Light Of Hope Ministries and Blessings Of Hope who also have huge outreach ministries to the Amish, and are Amish themselves, but also have outreaches to churches, shelters, food pantries, and individual folks from all walks of life all over the country.  They travel nationwide holding trainings and church services, and also travel world wide sharing their faith in Jesus.  

Though they were shunned by the Old Order Amish church here in central Indiana, they have gone on to create a thriving Christian community of belivers in Jesus and live fullfilling lives helping set others free in whatever bondage they may be experiencing: physical, mental, financial, cultural, spiritual, etc.   They moved back to PA, and have maintained their cultural identity as Amish and continue to dress and keep many of the traditions they were raised with.  However, they serve Jesus first, and are led by the Holy Spirit, and no man made tradition or church stands in the way of their walk with the Lord. I am blessed to have been involved with several members of this large extended family when they lived in Indiana, and have watched their growth and the freedom and power they have found in Jesus.  They truly are servants of the Lord, living as true “New Testiment Christians” not leaving anything out of the scriptures, and they are truly the hands and feet of Jesus. 

I encourage you to learn about and pray for the Amish people.

Be blessed!

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Lego and Robotics Academy November Meeting

What a fun group we had today.  It was “hands on learning” and FUN all the way!  It is the week of Thanksgiving.  We had a small group of kids today as some families are away traveling for the holiday, and some families are dealing with illnesses too.  Though we were few in number, we were still able to have a fun time together and a great learning adventure.  My family had a terrific time at the club today.

            The story below is about:
                    Demonstration: Robotics
                    Building Challenge
: Dilemma and Building Challenge Solution
                    The kids are learning to estimate mass and volume with Legos.
Show and Tell
                    Fellowship and Refreshments


The kids opened the meeting with saying the 4H pledge and the Pledge of Allegiance to the USA.  Two of the club boys led the group in saying the pledges.  Then we shared a few announcements about current goings on and upcoming events in 4 H.   


The kids got right down to the business of learning about robots.  We are having lots of fun learning about SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, and MATHEMATICS and furthering the STEM initiative. 

For our presentation today, I brought a couple of robots that have different functional abilities.  The kids learned to operate the doodle robot, and build and operate the robot duck. The doodle robot uses a method of vibration to accomplish it’s drawing tasks, and the robot duck uses a method of rotation to waddle and move forward.

We talked about some robot vocabulary words, and different areas of our lives where robots are used to make life better for humans.  Some examples are replacing humans in hazardous work environments or rescue operations.  There were lots of examples shared and the kids are full of ideas and conversations about the world of robotics.


Build A Robot

This was a great learning adventure for these budding engineers.  All of the needed robotic supplies come with these building kits.  We provided two AA batteries, and a phillips screw driver to complete the project.  Oh yeah…..and some very enthusiastic boys.

Robotic Duck

Step 1. Assemble the battery holder to the base plate.  Thread the red and black wires through the holes in the base plate. Screw the base plate and battery case together with screws.

Step 2. (no picture) Send the red and black wires of the batter holder through the metal eyes of the base.

Step 3.  Send the red and black wires of the motor through the metal eyes with the other wires and place a cap in the holes. The metal of the wires should touch the metal of the eyes.


Step 4. Attach the gear, axel, and knees to the base.  Line up the gear with the spiral screw shape that extends from the motor.  The axel will rest on the notched holder above the motor.

Step 5. Put the legs through the knees.  Add the feet to the legs.


Step 6. Add the motor cover and screw the cover to the base plate with the short screws.

Step 7. Thread the long screw through the base.  Secure the screw with a nut.  Cover the part of the screw that protrudes out past the base plate with a plastic screw cover.


Step 8. Place the batteries into the holder.  Line up the batteries opposite to each other, positive charge down for one battery, and negative charge down for the other battery. 

Step 9. Turn on the robot.



The robot duck is supposed to waddle across the floor like a duck.  We were able to get it to waddle in the air, but everytime we sat it down on a flat surface it did not want to waddle.  So we need to trouble shoot and figure out why.  But the kids had a lot of fun building it and it did work as long was we held it and didn’t set it down.  I try to teach the kids that engineering and science is full of trial and error and making modifications along the way.  This was a good opportunity to put this into practice.  We will make some modifications and hopefully get the robot waddling across the floor soon.



Check out the video we made of the club kids building ROBOT DUCK . The kids named it “Duckster”.

Video of how to build the robot duck kit.

Building Challenge

After a fun time of learning with robots, we “switched gears” for a building challenge. I love to present a life dilemma to the kids and challenge them to come up with a solution. This helps the kids relate the building challenge to real life.  It gives the kids opportunity to problem solve, engineer, design, make modifications, and work as a team.

The Dilemma:

Today, we discussed a group of people who are near and dear to my heart, the Amish.  We talked a little bit about their culture.  The kids learned that the Amish do not use electricity to turn on lights, or to power things in their homes, and they do not drive automobiles.  The Amish use gas lamps, oil lamps, and flash lights for light.  They drive a horse and buggy for transportation.  They usually only travel short distances in their horse and buggy, for example to the local farmers market, local shops, and to visit family and friends who live within a few miles of each other.  It would take a long time to go most places beyond a short distance, so they have to hire others (they call anyone not Amish, “English”), to take them to town, and take their products to market.  Most Amish people farm the land, but some work in Amish owned factories, and shops.

Almost all Amish people raise a garden, raise animals (for transportation, meat, eggs, and/or milk), and some grow crops, depending on where in the country they live.  Some crops they might grow include orchards, strawberries, potatoes, cabbage, watermelon, corn, hay, wheat, tobacco, and so on.  Most Amish farms are between 20 to 200 acres, and the average farm is about 80-100 acres.  It is very hard to make a living farming less than 100 acres.  Farmers must use intensive farming practices, and very good marketing of their products, to earn enough to pay for the farm and the needs of their family.

Here is one example of products an Amish farmer might raise, harvest, manufacture, and sell through out the year to earn money farming his 100 acres of land:  
January-March (fire wood, work in an Amish factory, harvest maple syrup, build sheds),
April-May (lettuce, strawberries, plant gardens, firewood, prepare fields),
June (plant the fields, harvest the first crop of hay, sell calves that were born in Jan. or last fall, sell early garden produce crops),
July (raspberries, summer squash, cucumbers, green beans, work the crops in fields and remove weeds, peaches),
August (harvest second cutting of hay, tomatoes, potatoes, beans, summer squash, watermelon, cantaloupe, apples),
September (corn, melons, apples,  )
October (harvest pumpkins, winter squash, third cutting of hay (possible fourth cutting if growing conditions were right),     )
November (continue final harvest of winter produce, butcher animals, plant winter rye or wheat in fields). 

In addition to all of this, he would be feeding his animals twice daily (365 x 2 = 730 times) all year long.  He might milk 40 head of dairy cattle every morning and night.  He might raise some additional cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, turkeys for meat and eggs.  He might help his wife with a house garden too.  He might have 20 acres of hay, 20 acres of pasture, 10 acres of house/ buildings/fruit trees/ and the garden, and 50 acres of crops of produce.  If he has more acres, then he can produce more products to sell.  This is just one scenario, other Amish farmers may raise other animals like dogs for sale, or some might work in a woodworking shop, or other venue.

We discussed that currently it is the fall season, and this is harvest season for most farmers.  One produce commodity some Amish grow large quantities of in the fall is pumpkins.  A single Amish farmer might put 40 acres or more of his farm into pumpkin patches.  He will farm all of this by hand and with the help of his horses.  He may hire his brother, or other young Amish laborers to help him bring in the harvest.  They will harvest the pumpkins when they are ripe in the fields and place them on horse drawn wagons and take them to the barn or unloading area.  They may sell some of the pumpkins to customers who come to the farm, and to a local farmers market. 


But the majority of the pumpkin crop will be sold to a large distribution center that serves specific stores (like a Walmart distribution center), a produce auction (where lots of stores can buy produce from), or to a factory.  Large factories or distributors might buy a large quantity of pumpkins from a single farmer, or from a community of Amish farmers.  Some Amish farmers form farming co-ops when they are working together to send a large quantity of a product to market that was produced by several farms. 

For our “Dilemma”, we pretended that a factory, aka Pumpkin Canning Factory INC.,  placed an order for 25 tons of pumpkins from this Amish community co-op.  They also offered the farmers a bonus if they could produce an extra 5 tons and get it to the factory on time.  The co-op needs to hire an “English” (non-Amish because the Amish won’t get driver’s licenses) driver to transport the pumpkins from the unloading area on the farm to the factory before Thanksgiving, so the factory could to turn them into canned pumpkin in time for the holidays.


The Building Challenge:

The kids were divided into two teams.  Each orange colored pompom and cube in our Amish display represented a ton of pumpkin. The kids need to build a vehicle to haul at least 25 to 30 of these “pumpkins”. They will have to estimate the mass (of the pumpkins), and volume (the volume capacity they need to hold) as they build their transport vehicles to complete this task.

They were given instructions to spend 3 minutes discussing amongst their team members their ideas for a transport vehicle.  Then they were given paper and a pencil.  They spent 5 minutes drawing their team’s ideas on paper.  

Next, the teams were given a box of Lego pieces to build with, and a cookie sheet to set out their projects on.  I call these boxes my “Building Challenge Kits”.  

I have two boxes that I put together in clear storage containers that are exactly the same. They hold a lot of Legos with a lot of building potential!  Each box contains about 12 Lego Creator “3 in 1” projects, a few Lego City projects, and several mini figures.  We can build countless building challenges with these.  Having two boxes work out great for setting up two teams with building challenges. 


Initially, both teams were told they had to build their project in fifteen minutes.  But both teams needed a little more time and were given an extra five minutes to finish.  Then they had to carry their finished project to the display table and check to see if it could hold 25 tons of pumpkins.

Team One’s Solution is a modified “sporty” semi truck and a deep wagon style trailer.  They said it could haul a lot of pumpkins in a short amount of time.


Team Two’s Solution is a truck with a detachable wagon that has additional modules to lengthen the design, and hold a bigger load, depending on the load it needs to carry.  They also designed a lid type cover for the wagon, depending on if they needed to keep the products it hauls dry and out of the rain.

Now for the moment of truth!  Which team’s solution to the challenge can haul 25 tons or more?


Team One was able to load the 25 tons, plus the additional 5 tons.

Team Two was able to load 22 tons in the wagon they had.  They could hold all 30 tons with the additional extension they had built for the wagon, but for some reason, they did not think to install the extension for the competition. Their extension was laying on the tray, and they used it to demonstrate the potential of their vehicle. But when loading up, they neglected to instal it.  Team One was the winner of today’s building challenge.

Additional Learning:

What Lego MBA techniques did you use to build your mode of transportation?


Why is it important to make sure none of the load of produce is lost to damage? 


How would you talk to an Amish person about the service you have to offer to haul their load of produce?


What would you do if the farmer wanted to ride along with you for the delivery so they could collect their pay before they could pay you for your services?


If the canning factory was 750 miles from the farming community, and you charge .95 cents per mile from the time you pick up the load, until you make the delivery, how much money will you earn for this job?


If your vehicle is completely loaded by 9am and you travel an average speed of 50 miles per hour, approximately what time will you arrive at your destination?

Show and Tell

Show and Tell time at our meetings is always a fun time of sharing creativity and interests of each child.  We had a smaller group today and it felt like it went by so fast compared to our larger meetings.  Each child takes about 3 to 5 minutes to tell us about what they brought to share.  It is a good opportunity for them to practice communication skills.


Fellowship and Refreshments

Well, after all of this learning fun, these kids are famished!  Thankfully, we have a great group of parents who bring a variety of foods to enjoy during our fellowship and refreshment time.  Many of the parents help watch the younger children (babies, toddlers, and preschoolers), help out as the club kids build projects, help me set up for the programs, and clean up after the meetings.  Everyone working together makes it a success!


I am really grateful for the families who share their lives with my family through this gathering. 
I enjoy teaching this learning adventure, and my children are better for it and love the experience.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Sugar Cream Pie

When I married my husband, I adopted a few of his holiday traditions, including his family’s favorite Sugar Cream Pie.  At most family gatherings, whether it was a holiday, a reunion, a birthday, or just a get together, we always had this delicious treat.


We currently live far away from family, and have missed those wonderful family gatherings for the past four years.  So I am teaching my children how to make this pie so they will know in the future how to pass on this special tradition, and the stories that go with it, to their own families in the future.

This pie is very easy to make with kids in the kitchen.  I have simplified the instructions into three easy steps, and my kids enjoy making this delicious treat.


The history of this pie is fascinating! Sugar Cream Pie came to Indiana from North Carolina when the Quakers migrated there in the early 1800’s. My husband’s maternal family were Quakers several generations ago. The Quakers brought the original Sugar Pie recipes over from Europe. The Sugar Cream Pie is also known as the Indiana Pie, Finger Pie, Sugar Pie, Hosier Pie, Hosier Sugar Cream Pie, and the Indiana Farm Pie.

The Amish people in Indiana have also contributed to the popularity of the pie and have made it a staple food in their culture too. By selling it in their local shops, they helped popularize the pie even more as the tourism interest in the Amish people has increased.  Check out the
wikipedi for more history about this pie.

There are lots of variations to this pie. So don’t be afraid to do an internet search and check out the variety of recipes available and find a recipe you enjoy. Check out all these
pictures of Sugar Cream Pie I found on the internet to see some of the variety.

The color of this pie may change based on what ingredients you make it with.  For example, depending on what kind of sugar you use, and if you use nutmeg, butter, cream, milk, or buttermilk, all of these choices will all affect the color of this pie.
One way is a light colored cream pie made with milk and white sugar like Wick’s Pies makes it in Indiana.  Another way is using all cream and no milk.  Another old fashioned way is with brown sugar, or with maple syrup. The version I made in the picture below is with fresh whole raw milk, brown sugar, sea salt, flour, vanilla, and I left out the optional nutmeg and butter.  Isn’t it lovely?

How To Make

Sugar Cream Pie

1 cup sugar (you can use white, brown, or maple syrup).
3 Tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
(I use Celtic Sea Salt).

1 cup milk (I use fresh whole raw milk straight from the cow.  It is 1/3 rich with cream and really tastes great.  But you can also use store bought whole milk, or half cup milk and half cup cream, or 1 cup of cream, or 1 cup buttermilk.  The variations are endless!)
1 tsp vanilla
1  8″ unbaked pie crust

Optional: 2 Tbsp butter (Broken into small pieces and dropped around the filled pie before baking.  If you leave this step out, you still have a really good Sugar Cream Pie and save on a few calories too).
Optional: 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (Sprinkled on top of the filled pie before baking. I leave this out due to one of the children is allergic).

Step 1
Gently stir ingredients together and pour them into an 8 inch unbaked pie shell. 

Or if you prefer, stir together the old fashion way by placing blended dry ingredients (sugar, flour and salt mixture) into the bottom of the pie crust and lightly stirring in the blended liquid ingredients until it is all mixed together. If you use your finger to stir it, then you can call the pie “Finger Pie”.  Funny name for a pie, don’t you think so?

Step 2
Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, and reduce heat to 350 degrees for 30 minutes. 

Step 3
Remove from heat, and allow to cool before serving.

It can be served warm, or cold, and with whipped cream or no whip cream. But no matter what it looks like in the end, I can promise it will turn out great and be delicious!

This has to be one of the simplest and most delicious pies there is. It is a true old fashioned comfort food and a tradition worth keeping. Yummy!

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Your Right To Eat Healthy Living Food

You are at RISK! 

The risk is not a disease.  It is not a germ.  It is not a crime. 

No, you are at risk of loosing your right to eat!  

You are at risk of loosing your very health and wellbeing.  You are at risk of loosing your constitutional right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  You are at risk of loosing your most basic freedoms.

The FDA arm of the government has decided to take away your right to eat fresh nutrient dense whole food from the farm.

Please read this article with all seriousness.  Your very right to life depends on it.

This article below was written by Dr. Mercola, and is reprinted with permission.

On May 16th, Representative Ron Paul asked,

“If we are not even free anymore to decide something as basic as what we wish to eat or drink, how much freedom do we really have left?”

Paul was talking about the FDA ban on the interstate sale of raw milk for human consumption — milk that has not been pasteurized. The ban began in 1987, but the FDA didn’t really begin enforcing it seriously until 2006 — when the government began sting operations and armed raids of dairy farmers and their willing customers.

The New American reports:

“Even if the FDA were correct in its assertions about the dangers of raw milk, its prohibition on interstate raw milk sales would still be, as Paul termed it, ‘an unconstitutional misapplication of the commerce clause for legislative ends’ …

Saying he is ‘outraged’ by the FDA’s raids on peaceful dairy farmers and their customers, Paul has introduced legislation … ‘to allow the shipment and distribution of unpasteurized milk and milk products for human consumption across state lines,’ in effect reversing the FDA’s unconstitutional ban on such sales.”

The “Food Safety Modernization Act” that was enacted earlier this year gives the FDA almost unlimited authority to decide if food is harmful, even without credible evidence. But farmers who have been persecuted by the FDA for selling raw milk, like Amish Farmer Dan Allgyer, are not backing down. Allgyer’s case is going to court.

Citizens are irate that the FDA allows damaging junk food, but prevents people from making an educated, informed food choice in purchasing raw grass-fed milk.

According to the Washington Times, Attorney Jonathan Emord, who has defeated the FDA in court eight times, is focusing on the deeper issues that this case stems from. Emord says:

“We would not be here today were it not for the fact that over the past seventy-five years, the Congress of the United States has delegated away to some 230 independent regulatory commissions the power to make law, the power to execute the law, and the power to judge law violation. That delegation of governing power from Congress to the unelected heads of the regulatory agencies violates the Constitution, which vests exclusively in Congress the obligation to make law”.



Dr. Mercola’s Comments:

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The war on raw milk, which is really an unconstitutional assault on one of your most basic rights, i.e. your right to choose what you want to eat and drink, is now in full swing and will likely intensify in the days ahead.

Amish Farmer Raided at Gun Point

Dan Allgyer, an Amish farmer, was recently caught in an FDA sting operation, after the agency planted a spy in local buying club he supplies, “Grassfed On The Hill”, back in October of 2009 to gather evidence against him. His farm was raided at gun point, and eventually the Department of Justice, at the behest of FDA, filed suit in Federal District Court to obtain an injunction prohibiting Allgyer from transporting and selling raw milk across state lines.

This isn’t the first time the FDA has spent US tax dollars to violently clamp down on “illegal interstate commerce,” by raw milk farmers, all under the guise of doing their job and protecting the public’s health…

Any level-headed person would argue that this is a poorly shrouded sham, seeing how the FDA has continuously allowed known toxins into the food supply, and those who willingly choose to harm their health are free to do so by consuming too much sugar, artificial non-food-based items, alcohol, and toxic cigarettes.

Logic notwithstanding, food safety chief and former Monsanto lawyer Michael Taylor recently defended the FDA’s spying and gun-toting tactics against raw milk producers, stating that they’re simply doing their job, calling the campaign “a public health duty” based on “statutory directive.” And it may actually get worse than it already is, if we don’t stop it. A recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle explains:

“The FDA is in the midst of writing the critical regulations that will implement the Food Safety Modernization Act Congress passed last year with applause all around from the Obama administration, Democrats and Republicans despite ferocious opposition from small-farm advocates. The sweeping new law gives the agency extraordinary powers to detain foods on farms. It also denies farmers recourse to federal courts.

On July 3, the agency will issue its new rule to detain any food it believes is unsafe, or, more critically, “mislabeled.” In Allgyer’s case, the entire FDA case rests on a technical violation of a ban on interstate commerce in raw milk and alleged mislabeling.

Before the new law, the FDA could only impound food when it had credible evidence the food was contaminated or posed a public health hazard. The detention powers are part of what Taylor described as a new agency focus on preventing food poisoning outbreaks rather than responding to them after the fact. Taylor described the new law as giving the agency “farm to table” control over food safety.”

Taylor also stated that he will seek a “high rate of compliance” with the new rules. Compliance will be made all the more “effective” once the FDA gets its new and improved tool kit of enforcement, which will include:

  • Access to farm records

  • Mandatory recall authority

  • New administrative enforcement actions

  • Ability to revoke a farm’s mandatory registration (which will be a new requirement under the law)

Support Bill to Legalize Your Right to Choose!

Allgyer taking on the FDA in court is a classic case of David vs. Goliath. At stake is the issue of consumer choice and food freedom — something most people would agree is an absolute, basic, and unalienable right.

The case has even brought the ire and attention of Congressman Ron Paul (TX), who in response introduced House Bill HR 1830: To authorize the interstate traffic of unpasteurized milk and milk products that are packaged for direct human consumption.

The incident is just one in a long string of raids on small farms, indicating that the FDA is quite serious about its attempt to eliminate food freedom for all Americans. And as feared, the “Food Safety Modernization Act,” which was enacted earlier this year, gives the FDA the jurisdiction and near unlimited authority to single-handedly decide if a food is harmful, without having to produce credible evidence to support their case.

Ron Paul’s bill would undo at least some of the damage, as it would make it legal for farmers to sell and distribute raw milk across state lines to those who wish to obtain it.

I cannot urge you strongly enough to support Ron Paul’s bill, HR 1830, and inform everyone you know. This issue has nothing to do with whether or not you want to drink raw milk, and everything to do with whether or not you want the right to chose what you feed your family. If we allow the US government to remove our right to raw milk, who knows what’s next?!

They could decide you don’t have the right to obtain or eat fresh vegetables, or no right to buy or drink water.

Sound ludicrous? So is the idea that you do not have the right to drink raw milk, a natural food that has been consumed for thousands of years and has proven health benefits. Considering the fact that we’ve seen more and more outbreaks of the rare virulent forms of E.coli and other pathogens being traced back to fresh produce, I see no reason why the FDA might not decide to make fresh vegetables illegal. Ditto for water, as water shortages may eventually become a reality, prompting the need to dramatically curb water consumption, and what better means than by force of law backed up with firepower?

The Farm-to-Consumer Defense Fund has created a petition page for HR 1830 that also automatically faxes your message to your US Senators and House Representative. You can even choose to send your message to your nearest daily newspaper.

I urge you to take a moment to sign the petition right now!

How Did We Get to This Point?

During a recent peaceful demonstration in D.C. in support of Allgyer, attorney Jonathan Emord explained how we got to the point where we must now FIGHT for our right to ingest a healthful food.

“We would not be here today were it not for the fact that over the past 75 years, the Congress of the United States has delegated away to some 230 independent regulatory commissions the power to make law, the power to execute the law, and the power to judge law violation. That delegation of governing power from Congress to the unelected heads of the regulatory agencies violates the Constitution, which vests exclusively in Congress the obligation to make law.

Nine-tenths of all laws are no longer the product of our elected representatives; they are created by the unelected heads of the bureaucratic agencies. Those agency heads are unaccountable to the courts, the Congress, and the American people. One such agency that engages in this unconstitutional governance is the Food and Drug Administration. It is the action of that agency that we examine today, because it offends the very foundation of liberty of our Republic.”

In short, we as Americans have failed to keep our eyes on the ball. We grew complacent; lulled into non-action and non-participation by the illusion that “Government is taking care of our needs.”

Meanwhile, our rights to life, liberty and freedom have eroded away, and this is the end result: An agency of the government, paid for by your tax dollars and the drug industry, claims you have no inherent human right to eat any particular food. Yes. That’s not a misinterpretation. They now declared that this is exactly their position, and it’s written in black and white…

FDA Claims to have God-Like Authority Over Your Life

Attorneys for the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF, a not for profit organization founded to protect the right of farmers and consumers to engage in direct commerce) helped to draft the text of HR 1830. FTCLDF has also filed a lawsuit against the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on behalf of eight plaintiffs, challenging the legality of the FDA ban on interstate distribution of raw milk for human consumption.

FTCLDF president, Pete Kennedy, stressed that the FDA is making it clear that even individual consumers crossing state lines to purchase raw milk and bringing it back to their home state are violating the law. The ban is not just limited to farmers selling the milk.

On April 26, 2010, the FDA submitted its initial response to this lawsuit, in which the FTCLDF asserts the unconstitutionality of the ban on raw milk in interstate commerce. In its answer, the FDA clearly states its position on the “freedom of food choice” in general, and your right to obtain and consume raw milk in particular. Their answer reads in part:

  • “Plaintiffs’ assertion of a new ‘fundamental right’ to produce, obtain, and consume unpasteurized milk lacks any support in law.” [p. 4]

  • “It is within HHS’s authority . . . to institute an intrastate ban [on unpasteurized milk] as well.” [p. 6]

  • “Plaintiffs’ assertion of a new ‘fundamental right’ under substantive due process to produce, obtain, and consume unpasteurized milk lacks any support in law.” [p.17]

  • “There is no absolute right to consume or feed children any particular food.” [p. 25]

  • “There is no ‘deeply rooted’ historical tradition of unfettered access to foods of all kinds.” [p. 26]

  • “Plaintiffs’ assertion of a ‘fundamental right to their own bodily and physical health, which includes what foods they do and do not choose to consume for themselves and their families’ is similarly unavailing because plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to obtain any food they wish.” [p. 26]… “Even if such a right did exist, it would not render FDA’s regulations unconstitutional because prohibiting the interstate sale and distribution of unpasteurized milk promotes bodily and physical health.” [p. 27]

  • There is no fundamental right to freedom of contract.” [p. 27]

Essentially, while the fight currently revolves around your right to obtain and consume raw milk, the FDA claims to have the power to restrict your access to any kind of food it deems harmful, because you have no fundamental right to obtain and eat any particular food whatsoever!

The statements made by the FDA truly challenge the rational mind and rattle the core of any freedom-loving soul.

Aside from the fact that most people assume they have the right to ingest any food they see fit, United States law has also given us the freedom to enter into private contracts as we choose. In the case of raw milk, increasing numbers of people have elected to obtain their milk through contractual arrangements such as buyers club agreements and herdshare contracts. Here, the FDA claims that there is no fundamental right to freedom of contract in the United States!

As the FTCLDF states on its website:

“As for the agency’s contention that there is no fundamental right to obtain any food, including raw milk, here is what the ‘substantive due process’ clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides: no person shall “be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”

Obtaining the foods of your choice is so basic to life, liberty and property that it is inconceivable that the ‘right of food choice’ would not be protected under the Constitution…”

Kentucky Raw Milk Consumers Get a Rude Awakening

A recent blog post by Kimberly Hartke highlights the sense of shock felt when people suddenly realize that the government’s over-reach now affects them personally. A food club based in Louisville, Kentucky recently got a visit from the county health inspector, who promptly issued a cease and desist order when he saw that raw milk was being sold. He also placed all the milk on the premises under quarantine.

The members of the club have leased cows from a Kentucky dairy farm and have ownership rights in the milk produced. To say they were shocked when they were told they could not pick up their personal property would be an understatement, but once the fear subsided, they turned angry, and then resolve set in.

Hartke quotes one of the club members, Dr. Joslin:

“We had heard about government actions against other farmers, but it didn’t hit home until last Friday. My wife turned to me and said, ‘we could lose our milk, and I am ready to fight this’.”

She goes on to write:

“When asked how he felt about the health inspector’s visit, he said, “I felt violated. This is my freedom, my choice. You don’t have any right to tell me that I can’t feed my family something that has been consumed all over the world for thousands of years. Pasteurization is something new, in fact, fresh milk may be more commonly consumed worldwide, than processed milk.”

More than 90 percent of the club members responded to the threat by ignoring the quarantine and picking up their milk. But they also signed a document of their own. Affirming their legal right to enter into private contracts, their document included the following passages from the Kentucky Constitution:

Section 1: Rights of life, liberty, worship, pursuit of safety and happiness, free speech, acquiring and protecting property, peaceable assembly, redress of grievances, bearing arms. Section 10: The people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers and possessions, from unreasonable search and seizure; and no warrant shall issue to search any place, or seize any person or thing, without describing them as nearly as may be, nor without probable cause supported by oath or affirmation.

Section 19: No ex post facto law, nor any law impairing the obligation of contracts, shall be enacted. Section 26: To guard against transgression of the high powers which we have delegated, We Declare that everything in this Bill of Rights is excepted out of the general powers of government, and shall forever remain inviolate; and all laws contrary thereto, or contrary to this Constitution, shall be void.

Hartke goes on to write:

“Dr. Joslin and his wife are typical of the consumers that choose local, fresh milk to feed their families. They are well educated, they did a tremendous amount of research before making the transition, and they had a compelling health reason (their children) to do so. They also are typical in the sense that they believe in the American ideals of personal liberty and right to private property, limited government.

“I do not hate our government or system of government,” stresses Joslin, “Rather, I am a patriot, a flag waver, and I thank our veterans. But, my priority is to protect my family’s liberty. I will not lie down.”

Motives, Misconceptions, and Ignorance

“The ban on raw milk crossing state lines is an economic regulation disguised as a health regulation,” Pete Kennedy points out. For those who cannot understand what this has to do with economics, you must understand that Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO’s) simply cannot compete with grassfed raw milk farms, and therefore stand to lose a lot of money as raw milk becomes increasingly popular.

They cannot compete because in order for milk to be safely consumed raw, it should come from cows fed a forage based diet that includes pasture. CAFO-derived milk should not be consumed raw given the elevated risk of hazardous pathogens in the milk—an inevitable side effect of the environment in which these cows are raised.

The reason why they’re trying to shut down raw milk farmers is because so many people consume raw milk and raw milk dairy products, and the numbers are growing every year. One 2008 survey conducted by the CDC found there were over nine million raw milk drinkers in the US, and today, the number of raw milk consumers is estimated to be in the neighborhood of 12-13 million. When you consider that each family can consume a few gallons of milk per week, it all starts adding up, and Big Dairy is losing business.

Additionally, Kennedy stated that raw milk can be a “gateway to small farm prosperity”. Families who initially set foot on the farm to obtain raw milk typically end up purchasing other farm products such as produce, eggs, poultry and meat.

The CDC’s study also highlights the error of the claim that raw milk poses a significant health risk. With that many millions of raw milk consumers, it’s quite clear that grassfed raw milk is extremely safe, because there are so few foodborne illness outbreaks attributable to it.

Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, while the FDA has the authority to declare foods safe or unsafe, they do not have experts in their employ with the intellectual aptitude to find the relevant research and data to help them understand the food. It’s quite clear that the FDA still has no understanding whatsoever of the differences between the production of raw milk intended for pasteurization by a CAFO or other conventional dairy and the production of raw milk intended for direct human consumption by a small farm.

Conventional CAFO milk must be pasteurized in order to conform to the distribution process and elimination of the elevated risk of pathogens that are present because of the conditions in which the cows are kept. But milk from a healthy cow that is fed a balanced diet that includes pasture and has access to clean and comfortable shelter has a lower risk of a pathogen presence and has a different quality profile than that of CAFO milk.

FDA enforcement actions have not been limited to raw milk farmers. Recently the agency cost award-winning cheese makers Kelly and Anthony Estrella their business.

Without a shred of evidence that her hand-crafted cheeses had made anyone sick, the FDA was able to shut down the Estrella Family Creamery based on environmental and cheese sample test results that were positive for the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes (L. mono.). There are many subtypes of L. mono., most have not been found to cause illness in humans. Instead of determining whether the L. mono. found at the creamery was a virulent subtype—something the FDA had the capability to do—the FDA shut down the dairy through a seizure order without any further testing.

And so, the agency put out of business cheesemakers that had won numerous awards both in the US and internationally based on nothing more than a misconceived suspicion that her methods of cheese production and storage might be “unsanitary.” Never mind the fact that high-quality raw cheeses MUST undergo certain fermentation processes and storage conditions in order to encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria and so on…

Cheese making is an art form that has been perfected over numerous generations, the products from which have been consumed and valued for their superior taste and nutrition for ages. The FDA has considered raising the aging requirement for raw cheese from sixty days to ninety days further limiting the amount and variety of raw cheeses in this country. Europe has no aging requirement.

But according to the FDA, you don’t have the right to eat high-quality unpasteurized cheese—because they say so.

Farmageddon Premiere

Farmageddon: The Unseen War on American Family Farms is a documentary by Kristin Canty that will likely make the government’s overreach an even hotter topic. It premiered on June 17 at the West End Theater in Washington D.C. For a full list of scheduled venues, please see the film’s screening page.

The film’s synopsis reads in part:

Farmageddon tells the story of small, family farms that were providing safe, healthy foods to their communities and were forced to stop, sometimes through violent action, by agents of misguided government bureaucracies, and seeks to figure out why.

… Instead of focusing on the source of food safety problems — most often the industrial food chain — policymakers and regulators implement and enforce solutions that target and often drive out of business small farms that have proven themselves more than capable of producing safe, healthy food, but buckle under the crushing weight of government regulations and excessive enforcement actions.

Farmageddon highlights the urgency of food freedom, encouraging farmers and consumers alike to take action to preserve individuals’ rights to access food of their choice…”

I encourage you to view this film if you can. The DVD release is expected in the late fall or winter.

I also encourage you to consider making a donation to the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF). This 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization enables targeted farmers to keep their businesses open, whereas they would otherwise have no choice but to close down due to insurmountable legal and financial pressure. Your donations, although not tax deductible, will be used to support the litigation, legislative, and lobbying efforts of the FTCLDF.

Additional Action Alert!

I also want to alert you to yet another related and important action item, namely the natural versus industrial trans fat labeling in restaurant food. There’s a provision in the new health care act that requires nutrition labeling of standardized menu selections at restaurant chains with 20 or more locations.

The FDA is currently accepting public comment for this proposed regulation, which would require natural and healthy trans fats from ruminant animals to be labeled in the same manner as health-damaging industrial health fats such as partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.

As explained by the Weston A Price Foundation:

“Partially hydrogenated vegetable oil contains harmful trans fat, known to increase the risk of heart disease, cancer and type two diabetes. But ruminant animals (cows, sheep, goats) also make trans fat, which is stored in their fat and butterfat. Ruminant trans fat is transformed into conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which can prevent cancer and has other health benefits.

Because there is little or no cooked meat in most packaged foods, and because serving sizes are modest, the ruminant trans fat present in these foods is usually less than 0.5g per serving. Below this amount the trans fat is labeled as 0g per serving. But a hamburger made with a quarter pound of 20 percent fat ground beef has a trans fat level of about 0.6g. And with a slice of cheese it is 0.8g. The fat in beef has about 5 percent trans fat and milk fat has about 3.5 percent.

As proposed, the trans fat in natural animal fats will be declared on menus. This is because the regulations make no distinction between industrial and ruminant trans fat..

In Europe, the regulations do not mandate trans fat labeling for ruminant trans fats, as scientists there recognize the difference between healthy trans fats in butter and meat fat, and unhealthy industrial trans fats.”

The FDA is accepting public comments through July 5. I urge you to contact the FDA and voice your concerns. Please tell the FDA that all trans fat is NOT the same. A new category: “Industrial trans fat” should replace trans fat for nutrition labeling as this would not subject healthy ruminant fats to pejorative labeling.

To submit a comment electronically, please follow these instructions:

  1. Open the website, and click Submit a Comment.

  2. Enter docket number FDA-2011-F-0172 in the keyword space.

  3. Click Search.

  4. Go to the far right on the screen labeled 1 result for FDA-2011-F-0172 and click submit a comment.

You may also submit your comment via U.S. Postal Service:

Send your letter to:

The Division of Dockets Management
Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fisher Lane
Rockville, MD 20852

It is important to write the docket number FDA-2011-F-0172 on each page.


If you would like to know more about the health benefits of fresh raw milk, please visit Dr. Mercola ,  Real Milk , and the Weston A Price Foundation websites. 

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How To Store Bulk Food

Do you use grains, seeds, nuts, sugar, sweeteners, spices, teas, coffee, and pasta in your day to day cooking? 

Do you use a lot of sugar, nuts, flours, and more during the holidays?

Do you have a large family to feed?

Do you enjoy making gifts of food to give away to bless others?

Do you buy supplies for your local church meetings or other group meetings?

If so, then buying in bulk would be a good option for you.

In a year, how much of these items do you use?

If you know about how many pounds of different foods your family uses in a week, with a little math, you can easily calculate how much you need for a month, six months, or a year, and buy in bulk and save a huge amount on your family food bill.   Some families keep a month, six months, or a years supply on hand.  Typically, the larger the size of package you buy, the more you save per pound.

Using a freezer, and a little extra storage space to store some containers, I am able to store a years supply for my family’s needs for many of these items.  In the freezer I can store bulk items such as meat, broth for soup, grains, flour, ground nuts, yeast, butter, frozen fruits and vegetables, etc.

In the pantry, I can store canned produce from the garden, canned produce I find on sale or case lots, staples such as sea salt, raw honey, beans, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds in the shell, spices, dried herbs, pastas, baking supplies such as baking soda and baking powder, corn starch, potato starch, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, cereals, and various sweeteners.

Some items are easy to store for several years at a time such as whole grains, beans, rice, and whole seeds.  Coconut oil can be stored for 5 years or so.  Olive oil, grape seed oil, and safflower oil should all be used in six months or so.  Raw vinegar can store indefinitely.  Honey can store forever, never throw it out.  Raw honey is best.  On the rare occasion you got fermented honey (basically it naturally took on a little moisture), don’t throw it out, it is even better for you and sells for a high price if you can find it for sale. 

Here is a picture of 10lb of organic spaghetti pasta:

For ground flours, shelled nuts, pasta, and most oils, I try to maintain at least a three month to six month supply of most of these pantry items because it really saves a lot of money to buy them in larger sizes.  My flour, or shelled nuts, I will refrigerate them of I have a few months supply.  If I have more than 3 months supply of flour, or ground grains, shelled nuts on hand, I will freeze the extra to prevent the oils from going bad.  I always like to refrigerate any shelled, raw, chopped, or ground nuts to protect the oils.


Here is a chart and more information on how long you can store pantry foods and what methods are best for long term storage.

Here is a chart to help you understand how much food per person, the average family will use:

Decide where you will store your bulk food items:


Possible pantry storage spaces would be a closet, cabinets, a spare bedroom, a garage, a storage shed, dry basement, dry root cellar, a spare wardrobe, a dresser, a blanket trunk, a spare freezer, or under the bed. 

3 basic considerations that you should have for storing pantry items:

        moisture (safe from too much moisture and mold)

        temperature (safe from extreme temperatures)

        pest proof (safe from insects and rodents)

There are several great options to make a “pantry” depending on your storage space.   The best choices would be spaces with stable temperatures in the range of 50 degrees to 75 degrees fahrenheit.  But many foods can handle frozen temperatures just fine.  The extreme heat temperatures, above 100 degrees, will cause break down of viable enzymes and nutrients and reduce the amount of time you can store most foods.  A grain may go from an indefinite life span in dry storage in the best temperatures, versus a one or two year life span in extreme heat temperature storage. 

There are pros and cons for different pantry space choices.  For example, attics are not a good option due to high heat in the summer months, but they may be a viable option in the winter.  

If your climate is fairly stable, with little seasonal temperature change, garages are a good option.  But if you have severe seasonal changes it may not be a good option for some products.  If your garage gets extremely hot in the summer, it would not be a good option for some heat sensitive items such as whole grains.  However a garage would be fine for other items.  If it freezes hard in the winter, it would not be a good option for liquids in glass containers, such as home canned peaches, stored in the winter, as your jars are likely to freeze and break.

What ever location you choose, sturdy shelving and/or sturdy drawers are very important because bulk items are heavy.  

Decide what you will store your bulk food items in:

One option is to store your bulk foods in 5 gallon buckets with a tight fitting or gasket seal lid.  The 5 gallon bucket with a gamma seal lid is a nice option, because the gamma seal lid is very easy to twist open.  It has two parts, and the outer part has the gasket seal and the inner part twists open.  It is much easier to use than the standard lids, but costs extra.   The bucket is a great storage option because it is stackable, moisture proof, crush proof, and pest proof.

Here is a picture of a 5
gallon bucket and a 1 gallon bucket for food storage.

If you are storing buckets with several years supply of wheat or beans, it is the best idea to use oxygen absorbers in your buckets and storage containers.  But for shorter storage, this step is not necessary. 

You can also store items in glass jars of various sizes,  in airtight containers, in reused containers, or ziplock bags.   Some plastic totes are ok, but be sure they were intended for food storage, because some plastic materials could cause cross contamination and would make the food unsafe to eat.  

Here are some of my smaller containers I refill from my larger bulk storage of specific items I use every day such as sucanat, sugar, rice, and oatmeal.  Most of these hold 5lb and 10lb of various products.

Some bulk items come already packaged in containers, and if they do, I use and reuse them.  Some bulk items come in plastic bags.  These may or may not need to be repackaged.  For example, you can leave 5lb and 10lb bags intact and just slip them into your larger bucket or on a shelf in the pantry.   Depending on where and how you store them, you can make use of a combination of options.

Here are some 10 lb bags of natural flour, 10lb ziplock bags of sucanant sugar, evaporated cane juice, brown rice, sunflower seeds, and oats, and 5lb bags of nuts, popcorn.  I can store these like this on a shelf, or if I have double or triple this amount, I can put these bags into 5 gallon pails or put them in the freezer.

When I lived on the farm, I turned one of the spare bedrooms into a food pantry.  I lined the walls with shelving units and left the corners open for stacking buckets and larger items.   The shelves also stored my canning, dehydrating, and food prep equipement.

I got the idea for using the spare room from some of my Amish friends.  They often had a spare room next to the kitchen, and a room in the basement used for food storage. 

One Amish friend had her husband build a unheated room off of the kitchen that she used as a pantry, and it doubled as a cooler in colder weather.  It had a screened window that she would leave open in the fall and winter time to keep meat she was butchering or curing before she canned it.  She would cool her pies and cakes in there too.   She had a generator to power freezers that she sold meat from they raised on their farm, thousands of gallons of apple cider she bought in bulk, and she rented freezer space to other Amish.  Typically the Amish do not have freezers on their farms, they keep them at a “non-Amish” neighbor’s house as they do not use electricity.  But this family had a huge industrial generator and they were able to have several freezers.

Usually, all my Amish friends had a room they created in their basement that held 2,000 quarts of food or more.  Also crocks of sour kraut, vinegar, vanilla extract, sour dough starter, aging cheese, fresh root vegetable, fresh apples, buckets of honey, buckets of eggs, souring milk, and more.  If they did not have a basement, then they had a spare room they used for this purpose.  All of my Amish friends also took advantage of cold and freezing temperatures outside to store additional foods in unheated rooms such as garages, sheds, or barns.

I lived as neighbors with the Amish for 15 years and spent a lot of time learning from them.  For nearly two years, before having my own children, I spent two to four hours daily with an Amish woman twice a week, working along side her in her home and garden.  This was done in private, because if the “Amish church” had known of it, they would have stopped the intimate friendship with an outsider.  But thankfully, they never knew, and my friendships with many Amish women spread into a 15 year span in many homes through out their community.   In many ways this blessed my life.  One way in particular, was in learning how to grow, harvest, and store food.  

As a young girl, I also watched my grandma store foods.  She used the space under a stairway as a pantry to store her canning.  She used an unheated screened porch as a refrigerator in the colder months to cure her meats and have extra cold storage.

As a young woman, I also met an elderly couple who raised a huge organic garden, fruit and nut trees.  Even in their 70’s, they produced enough food for themselves, many neighbors, and sold all their surplus to the local nursing home in Albany, Indiana.  They used the space in an unheated upstairs room to store lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, cultured milk, and canned foods.  One thing that really stood out to me was each fall the wife would meticulously wrap each fresh pear in newspaper before setting it in place to store.  This prevented the pears from ripening too fast and kept a long storage life.   The husband was always so proud to show me his refrigerator.  It only had eggs, raw milk, butter, and strawberry freezer jam.  But his wife could cook up a feast in minutes from the food they had stored.

How To Buy And Store Bulk Sugar

Let us use this example as your introduction to your first bulk purchase. 

First, estimate how much bulk sugar you would like to store. 

Next, find a bulk food club or bulk food store in your area.  In our local area there are several options.  I run a discount buying service for bulk foods, and facilitate a local homschool buying club through Weiser Natural Foods

Let’s say you connected with a local bulk food club, and just bought your first 50lb bag of bulk sucanat (sugar cane natural) or evaporated cane juice (AKA natural sugar).  

The 50lb bag of natural sucanat was approximately $96 including shipping, and you saved an average of  $105 over buying it in smaller bags.  Hum, I can think of a lot of ways my family can use that $105 savings.

The 50lb bag of organic evaporated cane juice was approximately $60 including shipping, and you saved an average of  $25 over buying it in 5lb bags.

Additional savings were gained in not paying for gas to go to the store each time  you needed a small bag of sugar.

Now what do you do with it?  Read on….

How To Store Bulk Sugar

It will store just fine in a sealed 5 gallon bucket.  You can pour it all in at once, or put it in smaller ziplock bags and put them into the bucket or pantry.  Ziplock bags and airtight containers will also hold this product just fine in the pantry closet, freezer, or cabinet.  A two gallon ziplock bag will hold 15lbs of sugar.  I generally put 10lbs in that size bag and it fills them 3/4 full.  So a 50lb bulk would be reduced to 5 of the 2 ga
llon ziplock bags.  

Set your bag in a stable position that is comfortable to work with.  I like to set mine on a kitchen chair so it is at a good height for me to work with.  With scissors, carefully open your bulk bag.

Use a sturdy scoop, or measuring cup, to lift out the product.  I like to use a stainless steel 2 cup measure.  I have also used a food scoop, drinking glass, and a small sauce pan as a scoop before too.  It doesn’t matter as long as it feels sturdy, feels good in your hands, and can hold the weight of the product you are scooping.  A disposable plastic cup will not hold up to scooping sugar.

Carefully fill the container of your choice.

Here is a picture of 50lbs of sucanat divided into 4 ziplock bags and two 2.5lb reused plastic containers.  I put 25 lbs in two bags.  The other two bags had 10lbs each. 

Now store the bags in a safe place, in a closet, in buckets or totes, the freezer, or whatever space you have.   And enjoy the savings !!!

More Links and Information:

Pantry LIst From The Stallion Stores

Pantry List from Whats Cooking America

Pantry List from The Urban Homemaker

Ideas on How To Plan Your Pantry

Food Planner

This is an absolutely fabulous resource for cooking affordable meals using items in your pantry you bought in bulk or on sale.

Menu Plan Monday Challenge From $5 Dinners

Eat From the Pantry Challenge Blog Linkup

Weekly Meal Plans from $5 Dinners

Free Printable Planners for Grocery Lists, Pantry Storage, Freezer Storage and a whole lot more.

Pictures of Food Pantry Storage On AOL
I found over 600,000 pictures on AOL in this search and you can click through the thousands of images to build your plan of what will work best for your situation.
Click on this link to see  PICTURES

How do you store your food?

Please stop in and leave a comment on how you store your bulk foods. 

Please share.