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What, Where, Why and How?

21 Feb

Recent conversations with others have made me think again about why I decided to start this blog and naturally that led me to think about where I was, where I am now and of course where I’d like to be.  When I started writing here in 2007,  my life was quite a bit different. I was starting over again in many ways due to the end of a relationship, the end of running a business, and the brink of financial disaster.  Running a small business was one of the most challenging and stressful situations I have ever been in (and not one that I intend to repeat) but working for myself did give me the opportunity to do things like teach myself to be a better cook than my mother and go to events and farmers’ markets on days when I would normally be working if I’d had another job – not to mention time to read and do other interesting things while I was working from home.

It was during this time when I went into Survival Mode and I did whatever I could to keep our costs down to a minimum. I was feeding two people on a budget of around $50 a week. Of course this sounds like a ridiculously small amount, especially for the Bay Area, but I learned that if you cut out all of the processed food, reduce consumption of meat, and make everything yourself, it really can be done.

After the business closed I decided to try a vegan diet – but not just any vegan diet – this one would be without any processed food and yes, that included all meat substitutes like tofu, tempeh or any similar products. Of course I must be honest here and remind the reader and myself that I did use some processed food products such as salt, sugar, flour and olive oil, but tried to keep them to minimum and if at all possible, I made sure these produced were locally produced.

So there I was:  single, broke, vegan-for-financial-environmental-health-and-various-other-personal-reasons, and looking for a new life and new friends with whom I might share my interests. I really had no idea just how difficult that would be. You see, being vegan-for-financial-environmental-health-and-various-other-personal-reasons (and don’t forget: not eating meat or protein substitutes) not only confused the hell out of people, but made it practically impossible to socialize.  And THAT is why I started this blog. I wanted to have a place where I could discuss my thoughts and ideas as well as lament the fact that, even in progressive San Francisco, people’s heads would catch on fire if you even suggested that they may want to learn more about the soda they were drinking or the candy they were eating and, heaven forbid, consider not buying it!

It just seems very sad to me from a cultural perspective that many of our parents would reminisce about the days when people in their family would make pies from scratch but my generation and those that are younger tend to remember cookies, cereals and candy bars. These are our shared food experiences? In more ways than one, we are a manufactured culture.

So What now? Well, it has been more than two years since my first post and though I still consider myself the same food activist I was, I find it very difficult to maintain the momentum.  With a full-time, challenging job, a relationship and debt from the business (not to mention various family issues) I often do not have the energy to cook my own dinner, nevermind making everything from scratch or tending to my neglected garden.

My goal for 2010 is to be a bit more in balance and bring back some of the things I was doing a couple of years ago. I had more head space for it at the time so some serious mental spring cleaning is needed. I must remain mindful of my own actions, intentions and what makes me happiest. From here on I’d like this blog to be more about discovery and sharing those discoveries with the people I care about most. And yummy food.

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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

California: LGBT Farmworker Discrimination

29 Mar

Fri, Mar 27, 2009

The California Report Magazine –  LGBT Farmworker Discrimination

“Many California farmworkers are so desperate to keep their jobs that they rarely complain when there’s a problem at work. When those farmworkers are gay, lesbian or transgender, they may face harassment or even earn less pay because of their sexual orientation. Now, a new project is helping them learn about their rights under California law.”

The whole show available in both MP3 and RealMedia:
http://www.californiareport.org/archive.jsp?date=20090327

The segment available in RealMedia only:
http://www.californiareport.org/archive/R903271630/c

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/

Alternative Christmas

16 Dec

Here are some links for those of us interested in a less consumer-driven holiday season…

http://www.buynothingchristmas.org/

http://www.redefine-christmas.org/

http://free-christmas.org/

http://www.pinkchristmas.org/

Happy Holidays! May they be full of love, companions and compassion!

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/