Letters to Slingshot


I was just reading the “Urban Harvesting” story in issue 93 and decided to share some information.

Your article referenced wanting to learn how to can produce, so I thought I’d share a great resource with you- the Ball Blue Book of Preserving. It’s printed by Ball, the can manufacturer, and is absolutely marvelous. I think it cost $7. Most of the recipes are vegan, and are very easy to follow. These recipes are great because Ball has figured out the ratios of acids necessary to help preserve foods, so you end up with very few fermented cans. The recipes include salsas, jams, pickles, canned fruit- everything you could imagine. The cans (glass jars) can be purchased for less than a dollar each, and can be reused forever. The only thing you need to continue to purchase is the lids, which cost less than 10 cents.

The canning process is relatively easy, and you only need a pressure canner for low acid foods. For things like jam and tomato sauce you can can in a normal cooking pot. The book outlines everything, and is focused towards the low budget DIYer– maybe initially directed at an audience other than punk kids– but the ideas remain the same, and if you ever need to learn how to can squirrel– this is your resource– ha-ha.

Another great resource for food to can is your local farmers’ market. This past summer I was without a garden, so I purchased tomatoes from the market- I bought around 40 pounds, and they charged me something like $1.50 a pound for local, organic heirloom tomatoes. I cooked these down into sauce, and canned around 20 or so jars of tomato sauce- no buying shitty store bought sauce all winter! This would work even better if the tomatoes came from your own garden, as they would be free. What a great way to insure the quality of your food, and remove the necessity of relying on exploitation of factory workers to help you eat through the winter.


This is a response to “Put That Bottle Down” by Magnolia in issue 92.

The reason to filter your tap water, even in areas that do a good job of providing supposedly good water, is that the water agencies add chemicals to the water. There is virtually nothing you can do about fluoride, because it takes a special filter to get rid of it, and because filtering it would also filter minerals which, if not present, would cause the water to leach them out of your body. Fluoride is a waste product of the aluminum industry, which convinced the government to add it to water so they could sell it instead of paying to have it hauled to toxic waste dumps. It is inconclusive whether fluoride helps with tooth decay (http://www.fluoridealert.org/news/2520.html), but fluoride can cause osteoporosis and other medical problems. It should be avoided if possible, but the only way to do so is to buy spring water, which means consuming those environmentally destructive plastic bottles, which also are not healthy to drink from. Such is the dilemma of an environmentalist who wants to avoid ingesting chemicals!

However, in order to prevent cholera, East Bay MUD and San Francisco add chloramine to their water. Chloramine is a combination of chlorine and ammonia, but is much longer lasting than chlorine and does not smell anywhere near as much. For those who do not wish to ingest any more chemicals than we can reasonably avoid, filters that take the chloramine out of the water — they don’t all do, you have to check — are a good option. Depending on how much water you use, filters generally last one year, so you don’t have to consume a bunch of plastic bottles, just one replacement filter yearly.

There are many misconceptions about drinking water and bottled water, due both to the lies in advertising and to people’s priorities in what they wish to avoid or don’t care about avoiding. I just hope this clears some of those up.



i noticed that in this year’s planner (2007) you commemorated march 24, 1918 as the date that Canadian women won the right to vote. This is only partially accurate, and i thought it was important to clarify. 1918 applied only to non-indigenous women, and even then, only on a federal level, not provincially. Non-indigenous women still could not vote in the eastern provinces/territories (the Maritimes) and northern provinces/territories until 1922, and non-indigenous women in Quebec could not vote until 1940. First Nations women finally won the right to vote in the 1960s. i am not sure of any exact days, but i could find out for y’all if you’re interested.

Anyway, thanks for all your work, and for the planner. Its great. Have a lovely day.


MR Montreal QC