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A Very Thoughtful Article About Agricultural Sustainability

22 Sep

Mother Jones:  Spoiled: Organic and Local Is So 2008 by Paul Roberts

This is a great article from ths March/April 2009 that discusses the reality of what we need to consider when it comes to the idea of sustainable agriculture.

…Fred Kirschenmann, former director of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. Real sustainability, he argues, is defined not by a food system’s capacity to ensure happy workers or organic lima beans, but by whether the food system can sustain itself—that is, keep going, indefinitely, in a world of finite resources.”

An interesting discussion about being “Green”

9 Apr

The Fur Council of Canada has recently started a new campaign called “Fur is Green!” I am really quite torn about this idea simply because I believe that if we are to kill animals for food, we should be doing our best to ensure that they are treated as well as possible during their life and use as much as possible of the animal and avoid any waste. I have personally never been against the use of leather as it tends to come from animals that are also part of the food supply, but fur often comes from animals that are not used for anything else.

Some are protesting this campaign and I am curious to see what the outcome is.

Fur is Green! Campaign
http://www.furcouncil.com/furisgreen.aspx

Matt & Nat: Speak Out Against Fur
http://blog.mattandnat.com/?p=161

Kitchen Garden at the White House

27 Mar

First lady Michelle Obama is scheduled to break ground Friday on a new garden near the fountain on the South Lawn that will supply the White House kitchen.”

Great news! I am still working on my own kitchen garden and it is good to see such a high profile garden!

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090319/ap_on_go_pr_wh/white_house_garden

Farmers and Food Advocates Urge Obama to Create a National Sustainable Food and Agricultural Policy

16 Dec

DemocracyNow.org
War and Peace Report

“A group of farmers, chefs and policy advocates called “Food Democracy Now” have submitted a letter to Obama’s transition team urging him to take on industrialized agriculture and promote a more sustainable policy. The letter urges the President-elect to nominate a Secretary of Agriculture who will advocate for independent family farms, nutrition, environmental protection, food workers’ rights and animal welfare.”

Read/Hear/See More Here

Also check out Food Democracy Now to sign the letter to Mr. Obama!

http://www.fooddemocracynow.org/

Have you heard of the Right Livelihood Awards?

8 Dec

This morning I was listening to DemocracyNow.org‘s War and Peace Report and heard that the founder and host, Amy Goodman, was broadcasting from Sweden as she is being given a Right Livelihood Award.

What a fabulous idea.

Learn more here: http://www.rightlivelihood.org/

Feeding a World in Crisis

6 Dec

NPR Weekend Edition Saturday, December 6, 2008 · For the United Nations’ World Food Program, it’s never easy trying to feed the world’s hungry. But in times of soaring prices and global financial crisis, the business of getting food to those who need it most becomes an even more daunting task.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=97905044

Reporter’s Notes: Food Safety

6 Dec

Reporter’s Notes: Food Safety

“Here’s another item for President-Elect Barack Obama’s to-do list when he takes office in January: food safety. Especially imported foods. Recent scares over melamine-laced cookies from China and salmonella-tainted Mexican jalapenos have raised stark questions: Who’s monitoring the safety of imported food? And does the system work?”

http://www.kqed.org/quest/radio/food-safety

Posted using ShareThis

Buy Nothing Day 2008

26 Nov

Brought to you by the Church of Stop Shopping

Check them out in the film What Would Jesus Buy.

Buy Nothing Day 2008: Dance Your Debt Away!

Free dance party at Union Square

Friday, November 28, 2008 3:00pm5:30pm
FREE
Take the L, N, R, W, Q, 4, 5, 6 trains to Union Square
Phone Contact: 917-825-3562
Email Contact: Michael@revbilly.com
Website: http://www.revbilly.com

Liberate your inner shopaholic from the excesses of holiday consumption and come boogie down instead! The day after Thanksgiving is the biggest shopping day of the year to some, but since 1997 it’s also “Buy Nothing Day”, a chance to escape the packed malls and aggressive advertising. So give your credit card a rest and put your rhythm to work by joining Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping for a free dance party at Union Square. Receive a special blessing (or exorcism) from the Rev for a “Debt Free Christmas!” Music makers and holiday costumes encouraged, all ages welcome! On Saturday you’ll be singing “Last Night A DJ Saved My Mortgage.”

Location

Union Square

New York, NY

http://www.revbilly.com/events/buy-nothing-day-2008-dance-your-debt-away

Eaten by the Chronophage

22 Nov

It’s been months since I’ve written anything of any interest, and much has happened: Slow Food Nation, an unexpected move, the presidential election and the Green Fest. All of which I will touch on at some point in this post. It’s been a tumultuous 3 months and I now feel that I am finally settling down a bit and after some periods of stress and worry, disappointment and disillusionment, I am now feeling hopeful and more inspired. Thank goodness.

Continue reading

Fleet Week 2008 – A Great Way to Reduce Military Spending and Fossil Fuel Consumption!

8 Oct

If you missed the post last year – read it here.

“A thought popped into my head today, October 4th, the first day of Fleet Week 2007 and my 32nd birthday: Why are we still having Fleet Week? Why do we continue to have air shows at all? In today’s world, when we complain about military budgets and our dependence on fossil fuels, why are we still having events all around the country, all around the world, where military personnel and various crafts and vessels are transported from place to place, flying and sailing around causing much air and noise pollution? It just doesn’t make any sense to me.”

Urban Farming in San Francisco

28 Aug

A couple of years ago, I was listening to one of the Deconstructing Dinner shows about Urban Farming and one of the guests was discussing the use of city backyards as a way to use the existing green space to grow crops. I have been fascinated with this idea ever since and have been trying to find information about a similar project in San Francisco. Today I stumbled upon Victory Gardens which, according to the website, is a pilot project funded by the City of San Francisco to support the transition of backyard, front yard, window
boxes, rooftops, and unused land into organic food production areas.

It is still early days yet, but I am very interested to see where this goes.

Health, Food and Human History: The All-American Banana?

7 Aug

As part of my move toward eating locally produced food, I have cut out certain fruits and vegetables from my diet. In an attempt to have some sort of balance, and in cases where they are available, I will purchase organic and fairly traded varieties of coffee, chocolate, tea and coconut products but have nearly cut out the consumption of all fruit that cannot be grown within California. This includes pineapple, papaya, mango, and of course: bananas.

I’ve recently become somewhat fascinated with the banana. I often wonder why it is so popular. Perhaps it is because the banana is so easy to carry and eat. But the banana is not a local fruit. Not unless you live in South America, Hawaii, or parts of Asia. How did it get here and when? And how have banana prices remained so low, even though the fruit travels thousands of miles to reach our markets and tables?

Not just Organic, but Fair Trade!

Most of us have seen organic produce varieties popping up in supermarkets across the United States. Though knowing how food is grown is extremely important, so too is knowing how the farmers and workers are paid and treated in the process. Finding Fair Trade coffee, tea and chocolate is becoming easier and easier and I find it interesting that there doesn’t seem to be as much of a movement to engage fresh fruit producers and distributors. I have no doubt there are many challenges with storage, shipping and USDA guidelines though I have not found any specific information as yet. Fair Trade fruit is available now, though can be difficult to find and I have not seen any form of labelling system to indicate that the fruit is in fact Fair Trade.

Below are some resources about the Banana and Fair Trade Fruit:

Banana: The Fate of the Fruit that Changed the World

Yes, We Will Have No Bananas

The Banana

Banana.com

Fair Trade Banana Cooperative

Fair Trade: Fresh Fruit Program

The State of Food in San Francisco

7 Aug

As many people know, San Francisco is one of the wonders of the foodie world. With it’s melting pot population, coastal location, climate that offers year-round produce and upwards of 10,000 restaurants, foodies are spoiled for choice.

San Francisco Magazine‘s recent issue focuses on food in the Bay Area. Though it’s not my favorite magazine it did definitely have some very good articles this month.

To eat local, kill local With just one slaughterhouse remaining within 80 miles of San Francisco, we stand to lose not only our local beef industry, but our grazing lands as well. Now a thick-skinned herd of ranchers and environmentalists are determined to keep the cows close to home.

The State of the Plate When it comes to dining out, is San Francisco becoming a Valhalla or a Vegas with hills? Josh Sens looks back on a confounding 12 months of meals and takes the measure of a region and its restaurants.

Moth Class What the light brown apple moth—and the pesticide shower it nearly unleashed—taught us about the future of our fruits and vegetables.

Weapons of Moth Destruction How the Bay Area maneuvered to beat back an impending pesticide assault.

Update: California Green

6 Aug

Here are some interesting stories I’ve collected over the past few months about California and the San Francisco Bay Area. Thanks to Green Daily!

Fresno-Yosemite International Leads Green Airport Movement

San Fran tests new parking technology to decrease traffic, emissions Visit SFpark website!

San Jose, CA’s Green Vision

San Francisco’s New Solar Program

Mayor Newsom trying to make S.F. recycle

San Francisco’s First Grease-To-Biodiesel Facility

Conservationists win battle on key California land

Downtown Garden

22 Jul

SF’s Civic Center Welcomes Fresh Veggie Garden

“For the first time since 1943, the first edible garden was planted Saturday at San Francisco’s Civic Center, with the hopes of encouraging residents to eat healthy food.”

http://www.kcbs.com/pages/2588388.php?

Some additions to the blog.

20 Jul

I have added a few RSS feeds of my favorite podcasts and articles in the sidebar. I hope you find them interesting and informative!

Deconstructing Dinner http://kootenaycoopradio.com/deconstructingdinner/

The Ethicurean http://www.ethicurian.com

The Food Chain http://www.metrofarm.com

Indy Bay http://www.indybay.org

Eat Feed http://www.eatfeed.com/

Edible San Francisco http://www.ediblesanfrancisco.com

California and Water

15 Jul

I’ve been thinking about water a lot lately with the drought and all of the fires that are still burning around the state as I type. I am not the only one thinking about this, of course, and there’s a great, locally produced 30 minute program about the future of water in California:
State of Thirst: California’s Water Future
“Are we in danger of running out of water? California’s population is growing by 600,000 people a year, but much of the state receives as much annual rainfall as Morocco. With fish populations crashing, global warming, and the demands of the country’s largest agricultural industry, the pressures on our water supply are increasing.”

Is “green” a religion?

13 Jun

By my good friend over at the Lighting Fires blog:

“Is green a religion? Umm, well, not totally. Actually, no, not at all. It’s what a religion SHOULD be.  Let me explain. “

http://ecadvocate.blogspot.com/2008/05/is-green-religion.html

The Foodchain Project..

8 Jun

The Case for Reducing Soy Consumption

8 Jun

As mentioned in my first post on this blog “You are what you eat.. a Vegan Food Activist” I discuss the fact that I stay away from processed food as much as possible. Frankly, this has become even more important to me since then with the top reasons being health: knowing what’s in the food and that is it fresh and full of nutrients, social and economic justice: knowing that everyone involved is getting paid a decent wage and being treated fairly as well as putting money into the local economy, and environmental justice: knowing where the food came from and knowing its impact on the environment.

With this in mind, it can make life difficult when not eating meat. Most people automatically assume that eating soy-based meat substitute products is par for the course and when I tell them that I generally don’t eat those products, they have trouble imagining what I could possibly be eating for a protein. First, I tell them that there are many wonderful proteins available in beans, nuts and grains. Second, though I do occasionally eat organic tofu and soy sauce, I tend to avoid soy products as a rule.

As someone who, first and foremost, avoids processed food, this automatically cuts out soy that is somehow made to look and taste like sausage. I used to be quite impressed with how the companies were doing this. How could you possibly make soy look and taste like sausage? Well.. exactly! The more ingredients on the list, the more manufacturers involved, the more people involved in the process, the more likely it is that the ingredients came from a large variety of sources and locations, and the less information we have available to us for an informed decision.

When walking through a grocery store, take a look at the ingredients of the products you pick up. Especially with foods like crackers and breads; how many of them have some sort of soy product listed? Sure, soy has proven to be one of the most versatile and nutritious plants on the planet and because of this the demand has skyrocketed. We are vegetarians and vegans (or trying to have a more healthful diet), but we still want our meat and dairy. And our soap, cosmetics, plastics, inks, solvents, clothing, alcohol, oil, biodiesel, flour, livestock feed and many other products.

Our desire for soy and beef and exotic woods are the primary causes for the depletion of one of the world’s greatest sources of biodiversity and oxygen: The Amazon Rainforest. Yes, people are cutting down the amazon for soy production.

Keep that in mind the next time you reach for that soyburger.

More information:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soy

http://www.ajc.com/news…amazon_rainforest_shrinking.html

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