Friday, October 16, 2009

Women and Horses Program

“Women and Horses” is a unique program of riding lessons and retreats designed to help women understand and actualize the innate, intuitive and powerful understanding you have of the horse-woman relationship. All women are welcome - beginners and professionals; health-challenged, fearful, returning after years away from horses, horseless or horse-owning, competitive or pleasure, riders and non-riders. We use videographic, photographic, and art assessment, coupled with women's psychology and women's ways of knowing, to help you balance, center, and connect while riding. Our retreats explore the horse-woman relationship using the different ways we know about, learn from, and respond to horses — intellectual, experiential, spiritual, and mythic — to create a powerful, new, integrated understanding of women and horses — one that will make you a better horsewoman, on or off horseback! Lessons and retreats are held at our Elizabeth, CO, facility or we can arrange for lessons and/or retreats at your facility as long as it's along the Front Range, from Ft. Collins to Fountain. Visit our website to learn more and to register. Space is limited, so sign up now!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The LOOM, Spring 2009, now online

Tapestry's quarterly newsletter, The LOOM, is now online. You can download it as a PDF or view it online. Just visit The LOOM page to learn about our Horse-Human Relationship Program, ancient Roman cities, Polar Bears, and more.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Tapestry Institute Store is now open for business!

This holiday season, buy a gift that will not only make a friend or family member happy, but will also benefit Tapestry Institute. We will be adding gifts as the season progresses. Currently, we have examples of wonderful artwork by Carol Francisco that she is now offering for sale at her Earth Mosaics Store at Come visit the Tapestry Institute Store today to learn more. And send the links to your friends, colleagues, and family members!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Wildfire Support Pages

As the wildfires continue to burn in California, Tapestry Institute has posted Wildfire Support pages on our website. Please feel free to email, post and tell people about these webpages. We know what it's like to experience a wildfire and to live with the aftermath. Our prayers and thoughts go out to everyone in California right now. We hope that our pages will help you now and in the coming days and months.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tapestry Institute article about the horse-human relationship

As you may know, Tapestry Institute has been doing groundbreaking research into the different ways we know, learn about, and respond to the horse-human relationship. You can learn about some of the exciting issues we have been exploring by reading “Ancient Roots of Relationship,” a free, online article written by Dawn Adams, Ph.D. and myself that has just been posted at the new website Equesse is a new website and magazine devoted to the special relationship between women and horses. To read the article, simply go to and register (registration is free). Log in to the site and go to the “Life” section, where you will find the article.

Please feel free to repost this entry or send it as an email to people who you think may be interested in the article. To learn more about the work that we do, please visit our website at .

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Urgent Plea For Help

Greetings from Tapestry Institute!

I know that you care about Tapestry's mission and work of reconnecting people with the earth. We need your help. As you may know, the last two years have been quite tumultuous for Tapestry. The catastrophic wildfire, coupled with the loss of our ranch in Nebraska and relocation to New Mexico, could easily have spelled the end of our organization. Instead, it provided a powerful impetus for our work.

Since relocating to New Mexico, we have been working on the following projects:
-- A book about wildfire, written from within Indigenous worldview, that both shares our experience in Nebraska and provides individuals with important information about wildfire;
-- The Digital Library of Indigenous Science Resources ( has begun to get a site redesign, and we are seeking partners and supporters to expand the database of resources;
-- The Voice of the Horse Project is moving forward as we have begun to analyze the results of the horse-human relationship survey and to finish our research for the book, which will include information from the Voice of the Horse Conference (held in summer 2007). In addition, Dawn Adams, Ph.D., and Joanne L. Belasco, Esq., have written several articles for publication in major equine magazines concerning our research into the horse-human relationship;
-- Carol L. Francisco, Ph.D., has begun exciting research on the different ways we know about and experience spirituality;
-- Carol has been photographing nature in New Mexico and using the photographs to create complex digital collages; and
-- We have redesigned our website (, making it easier for first-time visitors to navigate, while retaining vital information on such topics as ways of knowing, Indigenous worldview, Indigenous science, and tornadoes.

While all of this work is very exciting, we have encountered two unexpected - and unrelated - hurdles that we cannot get over without your help:
-- We must move to a new location in New Mexico by August 31; and
-- One of our computers and our external hard drive have both crashed. We already replaced one computer earlier this year and need to have the other one up and running so that we can submit grant applications to support our work.

To overcome these hurdles, all we need to raise is $7000. We know these are difficult financial times, and we would not ask for donations now if we did not absolutely need them to keep our work alive. We have not put out a call for donations since our relocation, but now we are pressed to the mat and must ask for help. All we need are 70 people who make a $100.00 donation; or 100 people who make a $70.00 donation; or 1000 people who make a $7.00 donation. Can you help us with a donation? Any amount that you can send to us will help us reach our goal by August 31. Can you ask your colleagues, friends, and family to help? Ask 10 of them for $10 each, and you have $100 right there! All donations are tax-deductible. Because of the urgency of our need, we are asking people to make donations via Paypal, if they are able. Just go to and enter the email address as the recipient. You will receive a receipt within a day of your donation. If you'd like to send a check or money order, please make it out to "Tapestry Institute," and send it to Tapestry Institute, Hc 34 Box 2c, Sapello, NM 87745. Please feel free to send this email to anyone whom you think might be able to help us out right now.

Thank you for any amount of money that you can donate to us, and thank you for spreading the word of our need. We would not be able to weather the storms that have buffeted us lately if it were not for the wonderful support of people like you!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Science, Hunger, and Oil

The mix of politics and science has been troubled throughout the Bush Administration tenure, and groups such as the Union of Concerned Scientists have worked with courage and diligence to prevent misappropriation, misrepresentation, censorship, and outright hijacking of scientific works by people determined to bend scientific data to their own political agendas. So it was with real anger that I read the guest editorial in the April 25 issue of the journal Science I got in the mail today.

Dr. Nina Fedoroff, Science and Technology Adviser to the U.S. Secretary of State and the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, is a plant geneticist who specializes in genetic engineering. She writes, in an editorial designed to introduce a special issue of Science on plant genomics, about the existence of "perfect storm" conditions in the work of feeding the world's hungry. In this editorial, she writes: "Last December, the New York Times quoted a top United Nations food and agriculture official as saying that 'in an unforeseen and unprecedented shift, the world food supply is dwindling rapidly and food prices are soaring to historic levels.' Josette Sheeran, executive director of the World Food Program, was quoted as saying: 'We're concerned that we are facing the perfect storm for the world's hungry.' She said that poor people were being 'priced out of the food market.' In the months since, there have been food riots in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, the former Soviet Union, and Central and South America."

In the lead paragraph to this editorial, Fedoroff had said that "More people, rising affluence, and expanding biofuels programs are rapidly pushing up the prices of grain and edible oil." Yet, when she finishes telling us about the honestly terrifying increase in food shortages and the food riots already breaking out as a result, she asks, "How did this happen?" and takes off in an entirely different direction: "Genetically modified (GM) cotton and corn with built-in protection from boring insects, and herbicide-resistant soybeans, have been adopted very rapidly in some countries, particularly the United States and Canada, increasing yields and decreasing the use of pesticides and herbicides. But despite a quarter-century's experience and a billion acres of GM crops grown worldwide, there are many nations that remain adamantly opposed to food from plants modified by molecular techniques. Others hesitate to adopt them for fear of losing markets in nations that reject GM technology."

I got to this point in the editorial and had to shake my head and double-check my new tri-focals. Had she said what I thought she said? Had this scientist who's in a position as science advisor to The U.S. Secretary of State actually blamed the world's hungry for their own problem? Had she said their problem was that they were afraid of genetically engineered foods (and non-foods like cotton?), so they were not making use of the foods (and fibers?) that had been so beautifully prepared for them by U.S. geneticists? And had she really implied that "despite" all the evidence, these apparently foolish souls were starving themselves because of their own ignorance?

Yeah, I think so. I really, with horror, think that's exactly what she did.

What happened to her lead statement that "expanding biofuels programs are rapidly pushing up the prices of grain and edible oil"? I sat there looking at the contradiction between the two statements she'd made in different parts of a single editorial, and felt like I'd been sucker-punched. You know, you want to believe that a good scientist is not going to play politics that way -- to use something like a brewing disaster in mass starvation to play a card for big agribusiness and its efforts to market GM (genetically-modified) seeds and related agricultural products to small farmers and mass markets.

See, you need to know (if you don't, and you might) that right now the small farmers of the world are the ones who still save their own seeds and replant them the next year. Small farms are in fact the repository of most of the world's crop biodiversity. But not if they're forced to grow genetically-modified monoculture (cloned) plants in the name of "feed your own selves, dummies." And this is apparently the bottom line on the whole editorial. The articles in the special issue are typical science: here's what we did and this is how it came out. The politics, and the move of big agribusiness agendas, is right here in the editorial.

There are well-known and exceedingly relevant facts and figures about crop biodiversity I won't go into there, that are nevertheless vitally important to this issue. There are equally well-documented and important publications on the relationship between small farms and big agribusiness on one hand, and local economics and politics in Third-World Nations on the other -- and I'm not going to go into those now either. Instead, I want to come back to Dr. Fedoroff's statements and simply rip off the trappings of "humanitarian science" with which she's wrapped herself in order to use starvation to serve the purposes of someone in our country who's got a political agenda rather than a scientific one. And I'm going to do it by showing you the unethical way in which she used the name and words of an important non-U.S. political and humanitarian authority to apparently support the argument and agenda she put forth in the editorial.

Look. She started this whole editorial by quoting Josette Sheeran, Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Program. She even used Ms. Sheeran's "perfect storm" reference to craft the title of her own editorial. And by the placement of Sheeran's quotes and statements, she implies that the United Nations in general, the World Food Program in specific, and all the legions of humanitarians out there trying to literally keep children from starving to death are also shaking their heads, saying, "tsk, tsk, If only these foolish uneducated people would use the GM crops we made for them, then they wouldn't be starving. What we have to do to solve the problem is get a new Green Revolution of genetically-modified food crops out to the starving masses."

And that, more than anything else, is what made me so furious I had to write this.

It doesn't take much to look up public speeches and statements made by Josette Sheeran. Even if Fedoroff had only seen the words published in the Times, she could have easily done the research to find out more for herself. The website for the U.N. World Food Program has them online as downloadable PDFs. When you read her most recent (April 18) speech (“The New Face of Hunger”; Keynote address to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington DC), you will discover that Sheeran talks about the impact of war on delivering food through pipelines to starving people, and the courage of the truck drivers who die doing it. She talks about the world's poorest people being unable to afford seed and fertilizer -- basic seed, and basic fertilizer -- to plant at the very time that they most need to plant in order to simply survive. And you will read cogent, solid, well-supported statements that summarize the five factors most responsible for the current crisis in food world-wide at this time:
• the economic boom in some parts of the developing world, that has caused people in some "emerging economies, including in China, India, Brazil and more than ten growth leaders in Africa" to increase the amounts of meat and dairy products in their diets, thereby diverting grains from human consumption to less efficient livestock-then-human consumption;
• the price of oil: "as the head of WFP, I look to the price of oil every day to determine how much hunger there will be in the world. It has reached record highs this week at $115 a barrel. This drives up costs across the entire value chain of food production – from fertilizer, to diesel for tilling, planting and harvesting, to storage and shipping. High oil prices also make food a financially attractive input for industrial use."
• "global linking of food and fuel markets. As farmers all over the world know, advanced production techniques for biofuels and biodeisel, combined with the high price of oil make feedstock an increasingly attractive input for industrialized use. This is a global phenomenon, affecting markets for wheat, maize, sugar, oil seeds, cassava, palm oil and beyond."
• "increasingly severe weather. According to USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, the total number of disasters worldwide on average is now 400-500 a year, up from an average of 125 in the 1980s. This has affected WFP. In the 1980s, 80 percent of WFP’s work was developmental and 20 percent emergency. We have now reversed that rate – 80 percent of our work is emergency, often responding to natural disasters.
• "The dramatic increase in futures markets and hedging on agricultural products is increasing the price volatility and reactive policies are creating even tighter supplies by shutting down exports. Today, one third of the globe's wheat suppliers, have banned exports."

That's it. Do you see GM foods on that list anywhere? In fact, the final item listed is that a key problem is suppliers who shut down exports, not importers who turn up their noses at genetically-modified foods or seeds. And, lest you think (as I wondered, and so was careful to search for) that the GM-foods concern is somehow hidden in Sheeran's agenda somewhere (maybe in the catastrophic loss of crops to natural disaster?), she had this to say at the end of her speech: "Defeating hunger is achievable; it requires no new scientific breakthrough. We know how to do it."

That's most definitely not what Fedoroff says in her editorial. Beneath the banner of Sheeran's own words, co-opting the tragic consequences of rising oil prices, the use of grains as biofuels and for industry, and increasingly violent weather powered by global warming, Fedoroff had the nerve to say the solution to the world's hunger problem is worldwide support for the distribution and use of genetically-engineered crop plants: "A new Green Revolution demands a global commitment to creating a modern agricultural infrastructure everywhere, adequate investment in training and modern laboratory facilities, and progress toward simplified regulatory approaches that are responsive to accumulating evidence of safety. Do we have the will and the wisdom to make it happen?"

"Simplified regulatory approaches that are responsive to accumulating evidence of safety." That's what she said. The government wants to use the crisis of world hunger to lower regulations on genetically-modified crops and literally shove them down the throats of people everywhere. And what about the fact that these people could eat the corn that's being sent to make plastics or ethanol? Ahem. What about the fact that the world's hungry could eat the crops being used to make fuels and plastics as oil supplies dwindle? What about the fact that they could afford the crops being sent to them if the prices hadn't been driven up by lowered availability due to diversion of grains to fuel and industry? The solution isn't genetically-engineered foods and it isn't using a world crisis of starving children to force countries that have so far resisted U.S. agribusiness pressures to give up their resistance. The solution lies in places our current administration does not want to discuss or even consider:

1. We have to reduce our use of oil.
a. Reduce demand, prices go down -- which means the poor will be better able to afford gas for their tractors, fertilizers for their fields, and transportation costs to distribute foodstuffs to their communities.
b. Reduce demand, and we won't need ethanol from grains -- so the corn and other grains can be consumed by human beings instead of by cars.
2. We have to pay attention to climate change, especially the rapidly increasing conditions of climatic instability and drought worldwide.
a. We need to reduce our use of all fossil fuels to cut down the amount of Carbon in our atmosphere.
b. We need to preserve the genetic diversity of the world's crops so that especially the poor will have "genes in the bank" for conditions we can't even foresee at this time.

The symbol of the U.N.'s World Food Program is a red cup. Such a cup is literally used to feed children in schools around the world, where the rice or other grain put in that cup is the only food that child receives to eat for that entire day. But studies have shown that most of the children who receive that small portion of food take part of it home -- to share with siblings too young to go to school, who have literally nothing to eat. It costs 25 cents to fill a red cup for a child. If you go to the website, you can do it.

Now let's go back, one last time, to the second sentence in that entire editorial. It reads: "More people, rising affluence, and expanding biofuels programs are rapidly pushing up the prices of grain and edible oil." Edible oil. I presume that you, like I, know what the other term is for this, right?

It's "burnable food." While millions starve.

Dr. Fedoroff, you should be ashamed of yourself.

Dawn Adrian Adams, Ph.D.