July 8, 2013
In Organic We Trust creates a conversation about where we want our food system to go…is all that “Organic Food” in the big box stores offering good nutrition and taking us in the direction we want to go?
What about local CSA or Farmer Market Food compared to Safeway? Is it worth the time to build community grown food systems? Let’s take a look.
Starting a discussion about organic food and our food system can be a powerful way to get your friends and family more involved with the growing food movement. These “Facts ‘n’ Stats” are great conversation-starters that will get people thinking (and talking!) about the important issues:
- The U.S. organic industry grew by nearly 8% in 2010, to reach $28.6 billion in sales (Organic Trade Association, 2011 Organic Industry Survey)
- 78% of U.S. families purchase at least some organic foods (Organic Trade Association, 2011 U.S. Families’ Organic Attitudes and Beliefs Study)
- Less than 1% of U.S. farmland is certified organic (USDA Economic Research Service)
- Annual health care costs associated with obesity total about $147 billion (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- 2 out of 3 U.S. adults are overweight or obese (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- 1 out of 3 U.S. children are overweight or obese (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Farm bill spending does not reflect public health priorities: over $33 billion is spent on commodity crops, while only $4.3 billion goes to fruits, nuts and vegetables (FoodTech Connect, A Clean Bill of Health)
- 78% of poll respondents said making nutritious and healthy foods more affordable and more accessible should be a top priority in the next farm bill (David & Lucile Packard Foundation)
- The number of farmers markets in the U.S. increased 17% between 2010 and 2011 alone, up to 7,175 (USDA, National Directory of Farmers Markets)
- Marketing of local foods grossed $4.8 billion in 2008 (USDA Economic Research Service)
- In 2010, 14.5% of households were “food insecure” at least some time during that year, meaning occupants do not always have enough food to meet basic needs (USDA Economic Research Service)
- Over 46 million Americans currently receive SNAP benefits (formerly known as “food stamps”) (USDA Food and Nutrition Service)
- Less than 20% of farmers markets have EBT terminals (USDA Agricultural Marketing Service)
- SNAP transactions at farmers markets accounted for a mere 0.008% of total SNAP transactions nationwide in 2009 (Community Food Security Coalition)
- 77% of Americans want more information about the food they buy (IBM)
- The total number of animals on factory farms grew by 5 million, or more than 20%, between 2002 and 2007 (Food & Water Watch)
- Slaughterhouses can process up to 400 cattle per hour (Fast Food Nation)
- There are 5 times as many hogs as people in Iowa, the #1 pork producing state in the U.S. (Iowa Pork Producers Association)
- More than 80% of U.S. beef cattle are slaughtered by just 4 companies (Mary Hendrickson & William Heffernan, Concentration of Agricultural Markets, 2007)
- The top 5 food retailers capture half of all grocery sales, double the share they held in 1997 (Grist.org)
May 7, 2013
Have you read it, are you too far ahead in the Good Food movement to get anything new from “Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation”?
I know it is long and at times giving us the same information we already know- but a breakthrough in book giving for those of us who have not already written this book, or one almost like it.
Anniegreenjeans is happy to see that we are in good company with Mr. Pollan offering insights using ancient cooking origins, from gathering to growing and – yes – the Elemental relationships of fire, water, air, and earth to our food – be still my Pagan heart!
“Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation” speaks for itself, maybe in too much depth for everyone…so my suggestion is read the parts you like! If you don’t want to read about roasting a pig, skip the first 100 pages, there is plenty else to entertain and delight, especially the much inspired fermentation bits. As usual- Mr. Pollan offers simple insights with great detail and humor, crafting new words and making a sweeping new movement for learning how to cook, and then asking us to actually spend time doing it…together!
What else could this “Fast, Fresh and Frugal” cooking teacher ask for?
A handbook for my next year of classes, written up and bound.
Oh, well- one big critique – yet another author has neglected to offer a way out of this food justice predicament we are in. A $9 roast pig sandwich is not going to work out for most families. So- yes, I am still in the business of promoting beans for the Proletariat.
June 21, 2011
“Democratic progress requires the ready availability of true and complete information. In this way people can objectively evaluate their government’s policy. To act otherwise is to give way to despotic secrecy.”
We all have a ‘Right to Know’ before we make decisions that will effect our health, happiness, lives & future. it is that simple. Get educated. Take a stand. It is your RIGHT 2 KNOW! This new category of posts & information will bring attention to current issues that we all have a ‘Right to Know’ about.
The theme for the Sustainability Road Show tour this year is Right2Know – so I am inspired to start a blog with themes of Right2Know that they could use! Zack sez to think about this…
…we have the right2know about GMO’s.
We have the right2know that .51 cents per every tax dollar goes to fund military initiatives
We have the right2know the environmental effects of chevron’s drilling in the Amazon.
The R2K moment has been around for years – all over the world – mostly to do with Freedom of Information, Government Legislation & Hazardous Substances facts.
SO – Let’s stretch the definition back, back – to the common commonsensical right to know what we are putting into our mouths, what we are drinking & what we are breathing. The commons includes the Earth, the Air, The Water. it is our Right to Know when they have been changed or altered from the pure sources of life that all beings on this planet rely on.
Right to know is a concept that is both common sense as well as crucial to the health and stability of a community. Individuals in communities around the world are exposed to harmful pollutants and in some cases disasters in which were cased by corporation’s neglect. As a result, many have died and even more have been injured or have been stricken with detrimental health problems. Due to the demand for a decline in tragic events as well as safe living environments, Right to know has been pushed to indirectly restrict the harmful actions of corporations. With the ability to research one’s pollutant emissions, corporation are less inclined to pollute and carry out harmful environmental effect.
Here are some R2K websites & links to give you background for our discussion.
“Right to know“, in the context of United States workplace and community environmental law, is the legal principle that the individual has the right to know the chemicals to which they may be exposed in their daily living. It is embodied in federal law in the United States as well as in local laws in several states. “Right to Know” laws take two forms: Community Right to Know and Workplace Right to Know. Each grants certain rights to those groups. The “right to know” was a movement made popular by Rachel Carson with her book Silent Spring.
The Right2Know Campaign (R2K) is a South African nation-wide coalition of people and organisations opposed to the Protection of Information Bill – also known as the Secrecy Bill – currently before the South African parliament. The Bill will threaten hard-won constitutional rights including access to information and freedom of expression.?? R2K believes a responsive and accountable democracy able to meet the basic needs of our people is built on transparency and the free flow of information. The R2K campaign statement – “Let the truth be told. Stop the Secrecy Bill!” – demands that the Bill be drastically rewritten to bring it in line with constitutional values, or thrown out.
Australia’s Right to Know is a coalition of 12 major media companies formed in May 2007 to address concerns about free speech. The coalition is working with the Commonwealth and State governments to establish new policy and best practice to improve Australian’s relatively poor world ranking for freedom of speech. Australia’s Right to Know has also commissioned independent research into freedom of speech issues.
Canadian RTK is about information accessibility. Freedom of information legislation refers to the regime for accessing public information held by a government. It generally indicates what information is accessible by the public and what is not, such as, personal information or information related to national security in times of war.
The Right-to-Know Network is one source, helping advocates push for improved access to government-held information on the environment, health, and safety. The Right-to-Know Network provides free access to numerous databases and resources on the environment. With the information available on RTK NET, you can identify specific factories and their environmental effects; find permits issued under environmental statutes; and identify civil cases filed.
Back to the USA…What do you want to know about? To discuss? Corporate power, GMO Food labels, tax allocation, raids on raw milk producers, the effects of bottled water usage in your body? It is possibly endless…ok, so we prioritize>>>
What topics are the most pressing…should we specifically address first? Fuel useage, fracking, rail funding cuts, CIA control of Facebook? [Just kidding...not!] etc, etc…so many things happening…sheezz, how about a new discussion category called “we’re in deep shit”
Solution based ideas & comments invited, I always need a positive reason to get out of bed in the morning.
April 10, 2011
Addicted to GMO?…the word is now out – GMO foods are bad for us medically as well as making things tough for organic farmers, destroying our bee population, our seed diversity & a host of other sins. The years of banging drums in the dark are over…it can be stated in public that GMO corn & soy are slowly killing us. Of course, the warnings have been loud & clear for awhile – the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, Union of Concerned Scientists, Huffington Post, Institute for Responsible Technology, and others have been trying to get our attention. But, the seeming need in our recession for more & cheaper food has outweighed the information & the public airwaves ignore this subject.
Recent testing in Europe ..by feeding normal diet of these ”foods” – caused liver & kidney damage in lab rats – and as we know from years of this type of testing, the effects on humans are almost parallel! By reviewing data from 19 animal studies, Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini and others reveal that 9% of the measured parameters, including blood and urine biochemistry, organ weights, and microscopic analyses (histopathology), were significantly disrupted in the GM-fed animals. The kidneys of males fared the worst, with 43.5% of all the changes. The liver of females followed, with 30.8%. The report, published in Environmental Sciences Europe on March 1, 2011, confirms that “several convergent data appear to indicate liver and kidney problems as end points of GMO diet effects.” The authors point out that livers and kidneys “are the major reactive organs” in cases of chronic food toxicity. The Institute of Responsible Technology has lots more to say…take a peek!
We could list the newer GM foods & the ones coming on line soon, just to get more worried…GM Salmon, GM Alfalfa, and even GM Wheat! But – let’s stay focused on the big boys…Monsanto’s own seeds into eternity…our field corn & soy…and I know we can find alternatives to chips & sodas!
Just say NO to GMO! It’s fun & easy – get your self some organic cornmeal, make tortillas with your kids have a fun & clean meal your garden & the local Farmer’s market can provide. It won’t cost much today & You will save money at the hospital later.
August 15, 2010
THE VANISHING BEES
From the dawn of human society, the nature and origin of the honeybee has awakened the curiosity and interest of man. For the past five million years, this furry insect has been a creature of special sanctity, representing many things such as the human soul, industry, cooperation and the sacred feminine. Our relationship with bees also denotes the most ancient form of agriculture. Pre-historic petroglyphs depict women on honey hunts and Ancient Egyptian farmers floated beehives on rafts down the Nile to pollinate their crops.
And yet today, we live in a state of disconnect. The average consumer has no idea where things originally come from, not even something as vital as our food. They think edibles come naturally shrink-wrapped on a shelf and that the bees are merely stinging insects that make honey, when in fact these prime pollinators are responsible for one third of the food we eat, including most of the fruits, vegetables, nuts and even alfalfa used to feed livestock. In America, this amounts to about $18 billion in annual sales.
Imagine half a million adults skipping town and leaving their children behind. Picture an opened suitcase filled with bundles of cash at a bus stop and yet no robber wants to snatch it. The apiary science mystery known as “Colony Collapse Disorder” displays these very symptoms. Not only do the bees abandon their hive, but the queen and the brood as well. Unnatural. Unheard of. Even the predators that usually raid the hive for honey stay far away. At first, this occurrence sounds like an urban legend or an exaggerated tale. Except it’s not. The situation is both dire and all too real. Bees are disappearing all over the planet and no one knows why.
CCD – Colony Collapse Disorder…what is it? It is disappearing hives, not just dead bees…but, what causes it? Is it from the habits of commercial beekeepers & the overuse of agricultural chemicals? If so – why does a thriving hive in a backyard in our area – with no ag & no hive stress suddenly experience this…
Beekeepers and scientists are still unsure what is causing the loss of so many bees, but the fact is that bees are disappearing at alarming rates all over the world. In the UK, around one fifth of honeybee hives were lost in the winter of 2008/09.
In the USA, approximately one third of hives have been lost over the last two years – around 800,000 colonies in 2007 and 1,000,000 in 2008. If bees continue disappearing at this rate, it is estimated that by 2035 there could be no honeybees left in the USA.
US hive losses have been blamed on Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a collection of symptoms including large-scale disappearance of bees from the hive, to which a singular cause cannot be attributed.
No-one knows for certain what is causing the hive losses; however there are many theories including:
- pests (such as varroa mites), viruses, bacteria and fungi
- pesticides such as neonicotinoids
- importing of non native bees unsuited to climate
- lack of nutrition and loss of habitats – related to urban sprawl and farming methods
- bad weather, including spells of particularly wet weather or sudden cold spells
- poor husbandry – for example in the USA beekeeping is a large industry, with bees trucked vast distances across the country to pollinate different crops.
A new movie is addressing this pressing subject – in a very engaging way too!
Scroll down for trailer of “The Vanishing Bees”
Here is one story…from my Bee Journal…
I was making the rounds that day of our hives…and, eerily got a call…
David Partch’s hive is dead – gone – disappeared! A thriving colony reduced to several frames of comb with bits if pollen & some uncapped nectar. How weird. Was it the cold, rainy spring – they ate everything & then starved to death? If so – wouldn’t there be bodies in the hive? Is that hive the “swarm” that was caught in my neighbor’s yard, not so unlikely – only a couple of blocks away. The hive was a stack of ready frames, about 20 frames showing comb development, many with pollen stores, some uncapped nectar, the bottom deep box & first shallow box had been brood chamber for awhile – well developed black comb with lots of old cocoons, pollen & yet – now – with a spotty brood pattern of only a few dozen capped cells, & no queen cells.
By the time I saw it today – the wax moths are already at work in one section. Partch puts the exodus at after May 31st, last time they can remember seeing bees making regular forage entrances. David says he saw lots of fighting around the entrance before then, and it appeared that they were using the top as an entrance also. Some aggressive behavior toward him as well. .. I have taken the boxes home to expose them or freeze to rid the wax moths, and will create a storage until they are needed or David wants to try again. Too sad. I have taken pictures of the odd white stuff I found on several frames, in most boxes. I thought it was the cappings from the upper boxes, as they were robbed empty. Will I ever know?
See the movie, I am going to as soon as it is out!
And – here is a word on CCD – a short film from Burt’s Bees…
They are a corporation also wanting to help save the bees! I think we are all in this together..the bees are collapsing our culture & economy is collapsing…grow borage for the bees & a garden to feed yourself..NOW!
And – if you need more reasons to support the bees & use honey – here is another video (NPR) about honey – as medicine…
Honey is all right with me! In fact, I am going to open a hive this afternoon…hope I see some extra honey… I might just have a taste…
February 1, 2010
My last post pictured a basket of commercial snacks. If we had looked at the labels, chances are – they ALL had high fructose corn syrup ingredients. Here’s the story on that…
By now, you’ve more than likely seen one of the ads put out by the Corn Refiners Association. The ads tell the story of a “natural” sweetener made from corn. They go on to insinuate that high fructose corn syrup has been unfairly portrayed and that this truly American ingredient is fine in moderation. But what are the facts about high fructose corn syrup? How is it made? Is it healthy in moderation to the body and the planet? Here are the facts…
1. The Process of Making High Fructose Corn Syrup is Pretty Weird
First of all, there’s nothing natural about high fructose corn syrup and it most certainly does not exist in nature. The process starts off with corn kernels, yes, but then that corn is spun at a high velocity and combined with enzymes: alpha-amylase, glucoamylase, and xylose isomerase, so that it forms a thick syrup that’s sweeter than sugar and VERY cheap to produce. That’s why it’s poured into a huge majority of mass produced processed foods.
2. High Fructose Corn Syrup – “CAN’T STOP EATING IT”…
High fructose corn syrup interferes with the body’s metabolism so that a person can’t stop eating. It’s truly hard to control food cravings because high fructose corn syrup slows down the secretion of leptin in the body. Leptin is a crucial hormone in the body that tells you that you’re full and to stop eating. That’s why it’s so closely associated with obesity in this country. It’s like an addictive drug.
3. There Might be Mercury in Your Corn Syrup
… according to MSNBC in one study, published in the Journal of Environmental Health, former FDA scientist Renee Dufault tested 20 samples of high fructose corn syrup and found detectable mercury in 9 of the 20 samples.
4. The Environmental Impact of Corn products & High Fructose Corn Syrup!
Corn is grown as a monoculture, meaning that the land is used solely for corn, not rotated among crops. Most corn is GMO,(genetically modified) so that toxic cocktail of pesticides is used to reduce the pests which love large monoculture crops. Monocultures can deplete the nutrients in soil and lead to erosion. In addition, the pesticides pollute our soil and ground water.
Skip the High Fructose Corn Syrup
Make Your Own Snack Foods…instead of buying the prepackaged variety. This way you can control your ingredients and use safer sweeteners. You can also save some major dough and reduce the amount of packaging that your family throws away. You won’t be eating as many snacks because they take time to create. Make some homemade cookies together – it is fun!