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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.”

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Getting Local Food, Locally Part II: Chipotle

20 Jun

Chipotle is a chain of Mexican Style fast food restaurants in the United States – and they don’t buy their pork from factory farms. That is only the start! While they are not 100% organic or sustainable yet, they have a fantastic “Food With Integrity” philosophy which includes “unprocessed, seasonal, family-farmed, sustainable, nutritious, naturally raised, added hormone free, organic, and artisanal” foods.

There is a great Nightline Segment from 6/16/09 all about this Chipotle philosophy with a cameo from Joel of Polyface Farms.

The craziest thing about all this is that I have not yet been to this restaurant! Fortunately, we have two in San Francisco. We sent an email to Chipotle asking about their produce and rice as this is not discussed on their website as much as their meat and beans. They sent us a great response!

“We have currently committed to buying 35 percent of one bulk produce item for all of our restaurants, when seasonally available, from local farmers. We’re looking to build on this program for the future. Last year, when we began the program, we sourced 25 percent of one bulk produce item used in each store from a local farm. This year we have upped our goals to 35 percent so we are making some progress.

We need a lot of ingredients. Unfortunately these better suppliers are more of a niche than a mainstream. Our plan is just to start small, just as we did with our naturally-raised meats, and to grow the program from there as supply increases to meet demand.

With our program, our produce is generally coming from within 200 miles or less of our restaurants. This might also be on a seasonal basis. As you might be able to imagine, it would be quite a challenge to buy certain items, such as romaine lettuce in Minneapolis, in the middle of the winter.

Unfortunately, I cannot give you specifics for rice, lettuce or tomatoes as different restaurant are focusing on different things that will work better for that region. However, we are really focused on making a difference. As part of our Food with Integrity initiative, we are trying to operate our restaurants in a manner which is better for the environment, better for the animals, and better for the farmers who raise the animals and grow the produce. We also happen to think fresh food tastes better. In this way, we hope it is also better for our customers.”

www.chipotle.com

Spotlight: Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market: A Photo Story

9 May

Though the farmers’ market I usually shop at is the Heart of the City, I stop by the Ferry Plaza a few times a year. This is not so much for the produce, as I find that the fruit and vegetables at the Heart of the City are quite fabulous and much less expensive, but for the items that are harder to find, The Ferry Plaza Market is great!

Since today was such a lovely San Francisco day, I decided to head out early to see if I could get to some of the market goodies that tend to vanish before 10am, beat the lunch crowd and take some photos.

I am also starting to keep a list of the farms that I learn about and how far they are from San Francisco. To see a map of North California farms that travel to or sell in San Francisco markets click here: Northern California Farms

http://www.massaorganics.com/ Chico, California

Massa Organics

Massa Organics

I have been a fan of Massa Organics since I first encountered them. They are one of the few grain producers in the area (currently brown rice and red wheat berries) and their almonds are wonderful too! You can even follow them on twitter now @MassaOrganics and get updates direct from the tractor. Which, if you are an agro-nerd like me, will make you giddy. But maybe that is just me. ..

Continue reading

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

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