Tag Archives: food

Why Victory Gardens Still Matter — Bonnie Plants

22 Feb

We need our own gardens so we can be victorious against agri-business.

Today, people are gardening for all sorts of victories: saving money, sharing with others, teaching themselves or their kids a skill, fighting hunger, promoting physical well-being, helping the environment. Gardening is the perfect cause and the perfect solution to many personal and larger-scale issues. Gardening is victory!

via Why Victory Gardens Still Matter — Bonnie Plants.

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Simple Gratitude

9 Oct

I prepared a pot roast yesterday for the first time in two or three years.

Most of the time my dinner preparations are embarrassingly primitive. Yes, I do eat out of get take out—mostly cheap take-out the year and a half I lived in Hoboken. But for most of my adult life I’ve prepared dinner.

Two or three times a year I’d do a pot roast. Certainly nothing elaborate or fancy. Still, it’s a step above rock-bottom basic. After all, it does require that you peel onions, carrots, and potatoes—though I didn’t peel them this time. I do like the skins. You have to dredge the meat in a flour and spice mixture. It’s got to cook for several hours, so you’ve got to watch it, help it along.

There’s enough to do that one has a sense of involvement with the food. It’s something you think about, tend to, and care for.

It felt good.

And when I put the food on my plate, I blessed it. I didn’t say anything, but I felt something. That something was a blessing.

Which I realized only as I composed this note. That blessing is the point of the note, it’s why I set out to write it. But the specific word wasn’t in my mind when I sat down to type.

It’s one I associate with Coleridge, his poem “This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison” at the very end:

My gentle-hearted Charles! when the last rook
Beat its straight path across the dusky air
Homewards, I blest it! deeming its black wing
(Now a dim speck, now vanishing in light)
Had cross’d the mighty Orb’s dilated glory,
While thou stood’st gazing; or, when all was still,
Flew creeking o’er thy head, and had a charm
For thee, my gentle-hearted Charles, to whom
No sound is dissonant which tells of Life.

The FDA Enters Withdrawal: The Future of Antibiotics on Farms – Robert S. Lawrence – Health – The Atlantic

30 Mar

As long as low doses of antibiotics may be continuously fed to food animals to prevent disease, the industrial operations that produce the majority of food animals in this country will continue to serve as giant incubators for antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

It is unclear whether the FDA still considers the use of antibiotics to prevent disease safe. The agency has acknowledged that feeding antibiotics to entire herds or flocks, for disease prevention and other purposes, “poses a qualitatively higher risk to public health” than treating individual sick animals. the FDA has nevertheless termed the preventive use of antibiotics “necessary and judicious.”

The use of antibiotics for disease prevention is only necessary because companies have chosen to raise food animals using methods that make them especially susceptible to infectious diseases. If we improved the diets and living conditions of the animals, we could prevent disease without compromising the effectiveness of antibiotics and putting the health of the public at risk.

via The FDA Enters Withdrawal: The Future of Antibiotics on Farms – Robert S. Lawrence – Health – The Atlantic.

The birth of food-phobia – Food – Salon.com

24 Mar

At the root of our anxiety about food lies something that is common to all humans — what Paul Rozin has called the “omnivore’s dilemma.” This means that unlike, say, koala bears, whose diet consists only of eucalyptus leaves and who can therefore venture no further than where eucalyptus trees grow, our ability to eat a large variety of foods has enabled us to survive practically anywhere on the globe. The dilemma is that some of these foods can kill us, resulting in a natural anxiety about food.

These days, our fears rest not on wariness about that new plant we just came across in the wild, but on fears about what has been done to our food before it reaches our tables. These are the natural result of the growth of a market economy that inserted middlemen between producers and consumers of food. In recent years the ways in which industrialization and globalization have completely transformed how the food we eat is grown, shipped, processed, and sold have helped ratchet up these fears much further.

So maybe more of us have to start our own gardens, or till a plot in a community garden. And maybe we need to rethink our way of life, top to bottom so we have more time to prepare our own food.

via The birth of food-phobia – Food – Salon.com.

Big Food Must Go: Why We Need to Radically Change the Way We Eat | Labor | AlterNet

3 Mar

“Occupying the food system” has emerged as a rallying cry as activists and movements across the country, from Willie Nelson to more than 60 Occupy groups are turning up the heat on “big food” in nationwide actions today. Across the US, online and offline, thousands will be protesting icons of corporate control over food such as Monsanto and Cargill, and literally occupying vacant lots and tilling long-ignored soils in a mass-scale rejuvenation of community-led food production. (Find out more about the day of action here.)

“We want to ignite a robust conversation about corporate control of our food supply,” says Laurel Sutherlin, communications manager for Rainforest Action Network, a lead organizer in this growing coalition of food system occupiers. “Occupy has opened a national dialogue about inequality and the dangers of surrendering our basic life-support systems over to corporate control.”

via Big Food Must Go: Why We Need to Radically Change the Way We Eat | Labor | AlterNet.

Becoming Locavores, One Locally Grown Meal at a Time – Aliso Viejo, CA Patch

28 Feb

“Connections create resilience,” said Leeds, an Aliso Viejo resident. “We’re going to have to re-evaluate how we live our lives. When oil gets really expensive, food costs will rise. We are not sustainable at this point.”

In September 2011, Leeds started holding potlucks to raise awareness about “creating community through resilience.” With a steering committee of nine members, she introduced the Transition Movement to Aliso Viejo….

To help residents become locavores, people who eat food that is grown locally, members of Transition Aliso Viejo are helping each other install backyard gardens. Under the guidance of Karen Wilson, a master gardener with the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, a workgroup of 10 Transition members performs the labor for each garden.

Leeds admits that each homeowner can’t grow everything they need, so she is encouraging them to share or trade what they grow with their neighbors.

via Becoming Locavores, One Locally Grown Meal at a Time – Aliso Viejo, CA Patch.

McDonald’s Will Phase Out Gestation Crates – NYTimes.com

14 Feb

On Monday, after years of internal and external pressure, the company announced a laudable course of action regarding the sows (female pigs) in their supply chain: McDonald’s is requiring, by May, that its suppliers of pork provide plans for phasing out gestation crates. Once those plans are delivered, says Bob Langert, the company’s vice president of sustainability, McDonald’s will create a timetable to end the use of gestation crates in its supply chain. “Considering that 90 percent [of the pregnant sows] in the United States are in gestation stalls, this is a huge issue,” he says, and he’s right.

MacDonald’s is so large that this move will force the entire pork industry to improve living conditions for pigs.

via McDonald’s Will Phase Out Gestation Crates – NYTimes.com.

Farmers March with Occupy Wall Street: Sowing the Seeds of Hope and Democracy

28 Dec

According to AlterNet, more than “500 rural farmers, urban farmers, food laborers, community activists and former occupiers” showed up for the beginning of the day at an East Village community garden, which began with Bronx urban farmer Karen Washington telling an energetic crowd of her journey over the past two decades to create a healthy food environment for her neighborhood.

Washington, who helped found the City Farms Markets, a series of community-run farmers markets, was stunned to hear that “food was a privilege and not a right”. So she set out to change that, mainly by putting her hands in the dirt, planting seeds and feeding her community. Through her work in the Bronx, Washington is helping combat the major issues of obesity, diabetes and lack of access to healthy food faced by underserved communities. …

Over the past three decades, the U.S. has adopted economic policies promoted by Wall Street investment banks and agribusiness monopolies that have led to massive concentration in food and agriculture. Today market concentration is so great that only four firms control 84 percent of beef packing and 66 percent of pork production, which has resulted in forcing more than 1.1 million independent livestock producers out of business since Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980.

via Farmers March with Occupy Wall Street: Sowing the Seeds of Hope and Democracy.

Welcome to the food justice movement – Grist – Salon.com

14 Oct

Consciously modeled on the Freedom Rides of the 1960s civil rights movement, the Food Rides aim to shine a light on issues of “food justice” — a catchall term that focuses on “ecological and community revitalization and reorganization” as it relates to diet and agriculture. Julio’s workplace travails represented a kind of food injustice — part of a larger system that deepens racial and class divisions, contributes to surging rates of obesity and diabetes, and weakens the traditional relationship between farmers and the land across the globe.

via Welcome to the food justice movement – Grist – Salon.com.