Planet Watch for February 2011 with Pamela Cucinell


Groundhogs and Rabbits
On February 1, use evening hours to make enthusiastic plans for the upcoming weeks. A New Moon initiates a networking cycle on February 2 (Candlemas and Groundhog Day). The Chinese New Year of the Rabbit begins on February 3, emphasizing strategy and diplomacy. February 4 awakens careful consideration of finances. Enjoy February 5 with water, snow or music to recharge you one hundredfold.

Share Food Together
February 6 is productive if you remember that overextension has repercussions. Make a beeline for your dream on February 7 and 8. February 9 supports inspired conversation around a meal. A battle of wills on February 10 is unproductive; table the discussion and break bread together instead. Lack of awareness on February 11 can invite a bad business decision or hasty purchase.

Share the Love
Favor spiritual development over individual goals on February 12. Visit friends, the library or a bookstore on February 13. Valentine’s Day can bring discord, but mutual respect keeps the boat afloat. If you’re not feeling love in your life, start with the source: your love for you. An optimistic frame of mind on February 15 inspires options. Consider the consequences of impulsive actions when the party mood hits on February 16 and 17.

The Fish Breaks the Ice
The Sun enters the sign of Pisces on February 18, indicating a possible thaw in frozen activities. The Leo Full Moon that day transforms dreams into practical applications. Get your house in order on February 19 to delight in little things. On February 20 create harmony and enjoy cultural pursuits. February 21 offers growth and communication when both sides look at the root of the issue. On February 22 consider financial, mystical or personal matters (which may all be related!). Follow through any idea with a logical assessment on February 23.

Lay the Groundwork
Don’t start big plans on February 24 until you’re confident that your faith can weather setbacks. February 25 is not the time for investments or chances, but for reevaluating and examining alternatives. Avoid getting into arguments on February 26; if they come out of nowhere, leave them there. February 27 offers the potential to work through a challenged relationship. February 28 is excellent for negotiations in partnership or finances, whether business or personal.

Pamela Cucinell

Get Pamela Cucinell’s in-depth daily forecast delivered to you via email at InsightOasis.com. To gain perspective to make decisions with confidence through personal revelations, call 917.796.6026.

200 Hour Foot Reflexology Certification Begins February 5, 2011, in Westchester, NY

A 200-hour certification program in foot reflexology will begin February 5-6, the first of six weekend sessions that wrap up in May. Upon completing the series, students will be eligible to sit for the national certification exam offered by the American Reflexology Certification Board.

Reflexology is a non-invasive, drug-free, holistic modality recognized by the National Institutes of Health and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine as a body-based practice. “Reflexology supports and enhances the body’s innate ability to balance, repair and restore itself,” explains Susan Raskin, a registered nurse and certified reflexologist. “It is used in hospitals, clinics and private practices as an effective technique for managing stress, anxiety, pain, chronic illnesses, insomnia and the side effects of chemotherapy.”

The upcoming program is highly recommended for allopathic and integrative healthcare professionals, family caregivers, massage therapists, spa personnel and holistic practitioners, Raskin says. “Individuals interested in reflexology for self-care and health promotion are also encouraged to enroll,” she says, noting that previous experience in health-related fields is not required. “The program is comprehensive, providing the foundation of knowledge and practical skills necessary to provide reflexology services safely and competently,” she says. The program instructor is accredited through the American Commission for Accreditation of Reflexology and Training.

Class schedule is as follows: February 5-6 and 19-20; March 5-6 and 19-20; April 9-10; and May 14-15. Classes run 9 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information or to register, call 914.649.5262, email SCRaskin@gmail.com, or visit IntegrativeHealthPractices.com.

Tomorrow’s Farmers: Hilltop Hanover Farm’s Most valuable Crop by Far is the Next Generation of Farmers

By Tracy Basile

U-pick organic veggies at Hilltop Hanover Farm and Environmental Center

The average age of the American farmer is 57 years old, raising the important questions: Who will grow our children’s food when these producers no longer can? And who will be the next generation of farmers?

Most of us never stop to think about where our food comes from and who grows it. In the industrial model of agriculture that is so pervasive today, farmers and consumers rarely meet, and apples sold in New York can come from as far away as New Zealand. But finding the shortest route from farm to table is the key to finding solutions to many of the problems we face today, including health and environmental issues, energy and water dilemmas, and the need for more green jobs.

Perhaps there is no greener job than being a farmer, and no better way of learning to love the land than by nourishing and nurturing it. But as older farmers retire, their ranks are not being filled. Recognizing this potential shortage, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said in a recent NPR interview that, “…we have to begin to discuss ways in which we can encourage younger people, the next generation, to be interested in and create the opportunity for them to be farmers. And that’s farmers of commercial size, but also the small and medium sized operations.”

Organically-grown seedlings at Hilltop Hanover Farm

This presents a very real dilemma because, in the areas where most people live—urban and suburban regions—farming is typically viewed with nostalgia as a thing of the past. If we have fewer and fewer farmers, we’ll have fewer and fewer farms. We must therefore ask ourselves if this is the kind of world we want to leave for our children. And, if not, what are we going to do about it?

For starters, we can bring the farm to the people. Imagine if everyone could have access to a working farm where they can easily and affordably learn how to plant a backyard garden, build a green roof, harvest rainwater, conserve energy, keep bees, or compost household scraps. Hilltop Hanover Farm and Environmental Center in Yorktown Heights provides all these services and more to residents of Westchester County, opening doors in ways that spark lifelong vocations and avocations.

Best of all, Hilltop Hanover Farm belongs to each of us since it was purchased by the county in 2003. It’s also the only U-pick organic farm in the region. U-pick is a great way to build community by exchanging recipes with new acquaintances while harvesting beets, kale and tomatoes. The staff and farm interns ensure that everyone who comes to the farm has an enjoyable experience and leaves with valuable new knowledge about growing healthy food.

Unfortunately, in a wave of budget cuts that swept across the county last fall, Hilltop Hanover Farm lost 25% of its already lean budget. This has spurred the farm to initiate a bolder strategy for a greener tomorrow. The newly formed nonprofit, Friends of Hilltop Hanover Farm, is working hard to fill a $100,000 budget shortfall and make the farm self-sufficient in five years. According to Friends of Hilltop Hanover Farm President Helen Brady, much of this funding will come from new income-generating projects, such as Community Supported Agriculture and expanded programming in money-making areas like composting.

Fortunately for New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo understands that agriculture is a critical sector of our economy. Many of his new initiatives regarding energy and agriculture have much in common with Hilltop Hanover’s mission, especially the “NY Cleaner, Greener Communities Program,” the “Share NY Food” Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, and a new $3.2 million grant program to help farmers reduce energy usage.

Our future depends upon farming and the future of farming depends upon the vision of places like Hilltop Hanover. That’s where we’ll find tomorrow’s farmers, learning from the ground up.

For more information about Hilltop Hanover Farm and Environmental Center, visit  hilltophanoverfarm.org, email hhf.farm@gmail.com, call 914.962.2368 or search for Hilltop Hanover Farm on Facebook. The farm is located at 1271 Hanover Street, Yorktown Heights, NY.

Tracy Basile teaches English and Environmental Studies at Pace University in Pleasantville, N.Y and serves on the board of Hilltop Hanover Farm and Environmental Center. She and her students have enjoyed volunteering at the farm.

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