It’s the time of year when we get to make predictions. It’s a fairly irresponsible task for writers because few readers go back to check and see how the pundits did in predicting this past year. Full disclosure: This writer was just ambiguous enough with 2011 predictions to fall outside the margin of error! But let’s see what was “predicted” in our January, 2011 column and how we fared: “With the 2010 Food Safety Act, the demise of natural food continues.” True. 2011 did indeed see heavy-handed government interference with people trying to grow or produce their own food or medicine. There were multiple armed raids on milk-producing farms and produce growers in Pennsylvania, Missouri, California (several), Minnesota, Wisconsin and Georgia among others. The Obama Administration went against its previous declarations and the DEA stepped up raids on medicinal marijuana farmers in California and Colorado. Americans for Safe Access, a medical marijuana advocacy group, reported on hundreds of dispensaries being forced to close across California, denying thousands of sick people access to legal medicinal herbs.

 “2012 Mayan prediction becomes news.” We missed on this prediction. It seems all of us ignored the ancient Mayan calamity claim in 2011, including the movie. “Gas prices soar.” We got this right. Gasoline went from $3.04 a gallon in January, 2011 to $3.97 by May. It’s modulated some but expect it to rebound rapidly in 2012. “Food prices follow.” Missed on this one. Food prices went up but didn’t soar. “More pharmaceutical drugs will be found to be deadly and withdrawn from market.” Got that one right. “The McDonald’s Happy Meal Hamburger still won’t decompose.” Got that right, too.

Now some predictions for 2012.

Politics: Let’s start with immediate news. A big surprise is brewing in our neighboring state of Iowa. By the time this issue hits the street, we’ll have a clear idea what the Hawkeye State caucus has in store. Why is this important to us? Well, a candidate who fully supports alternative medicine choices is the frontrunner as of deadline.

The Return of the Mayans. Well, we ignored it in 2011 but as the calendar creeps closer to December, 2012, the actual date of “the end” predicted by most sources from Mayan records, we’ll likely see more attention to this one. Of course, like all things in the news cycle, coverage depends entirely on what else is spiking at the time. If there is a new iPhone coming out or Lady Gaga gets engaged then all bets are off. Even a solar nova wouldn’t dent the news cycle if Charlie Sheen goes nova again.

More home births and fewer doctor-attended births. Shouldn’t it always be good news when medical intervention is unnecessary? It should be, anyway. And birthing a child is a natural event that human mothers have been accomplishing for eons. With the emergence of a new birthing center in the Omaha area that emphasizes natural childbirth and midwifery, expectant mothers will find support that is of a different nature than that seen in the typical OB/GYN scenario. It may not be easy to gather data to prove this prediction true by January, 2013 but we’ll cross our fingers and do our best.

Local grows again. As if it didn’t grow enough in 2011, the “Buy Local” movement will sprout anew in 2012. A word of caution, though: As with all perceived trends, keep an eye out for those organizations and individuals seeking to simply capitalize on the public perception of “local.” Are the burgeoning number of so-called farmers markets full of real farmers or simply flea market venues riding the coattail of a sincere movement? Are they more interested in government grants than the philosophy they supposedly espouse?

Direct-to-Consumer. Few freeloaders on the “buy local” bandwagon realize the real impetus behind farmers markets and the “buy local” trend is the philosophy of buying direct from the producer. The safest food chain is a short food chain and the model of buying from the person who grew your food gives the consumer the opportunity to know exactly what that food is. If you’re at a farmers market booth and you’re not shaking hands with the person who grew the food, you’re not at a farmers market — you’re at a grocery store.

Grow your own grows. The home gardening trend will increase in 2012, both of necessity and desire. The necessity will come from the increased difficulty of finding clean, affordable, nutritious food in the supermarket. The desire will come as more people discover the satisfaction of growing their own food. If you’re one of the many who are thinking of getting started, right now is the time to order seeds, get your grow lights at Paradigm Gardens in Omaha, and put some seedling trays in the basement or closet or spare bedroom so you can place them outside in the spring.

Hotter than the Fourth of July. Plain and simple, 2012 will be the hottest on record. That’s what it says here. 2011 was the hottest summer, though not the hottest year, but lookout for 2012. When we’re lollygagging around in mid-50s on New Year’s Day here in Omaha, what do we have to look forward to? If I had covered my Swiss chard for a week or so, I’d still be growing dinner in Dundee.

More pinpoint medicine. There are exactly 11 licensed acupuncturists in Nebraska as of this writing; that according to Health and Human Services. Let’s just predict that the number will be higher on this date in 2012. Acupuncture (the real, traditional Chinese medicine type,) is a time-tested and proven alternative to drugs and Western medicine. So if you’re tired of going from pill to pill without results maybe it’s time to think it over. Like they say at Betty Ford, “How’s that working for you?”

Peace. Less a prediction than a prayer, for 2012, let there be peace.

Be well.

Heartland Healing examines various alternative forms of healing. It is provided as a source of information, not as medical advice, and it is not an endorsement of any particular therapy, either by the writer or The Reader. Access past columns at

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