Ted Talk – Tristram Stuart: The global food waste scandal

Another interesting Ted Talk, in light of our current read.

Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 11.10.37 PMSynopsis from the website:

“Western countries throw out nearly half of their food, not because it’s inedible — but because it doesn’t look appealing. Tristram Stuart delves into the shocking data of wasted food, calling for a more responsible use of global resources.

Tristram Stuart sounds the warning bell on global food waste, calling for us to change the systems whereby large quantities of produce and other foods end up in trash heaps.”

Click here to access the talk.

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Generation Food Project

Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 10.22.13 PMRaj Patel, author of our next book read, is an award-winning author and activist, who has worked at the World Bank and the World Trade Organization and has protested against them on four continents. He is affiliated with UC Berkeley’s Center for African Studies, the School of Development Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, and the Institute for Food and Development Policy, also known as Food First. He is also an IATP Food and Community Fellow, at Utne Reader Visionary and has testifed to the US Congress on the causes of the global food crisis.

And on top of that, he is working on a new documentary, book and multimedia project, called Generation Food!

“Everyone knows we live with a broken food system, but often it is easier to focus on the bad news rather than the good. In fact, we are surrounded by communities that already know how to feed the world for our generation, and for generations to come. From Malawi to Michigan, people and organizations are building better ways to eat today so that all of us can eat well tomorrow. This knowledge demands to be shared and spread.

Changing the food system couldn’t be more urgent. All signs point to that conclusion, whether you consider the droughts, floods and fires caused by climate change, the rise in global food prices, or that the health effects of our current food system is predicted to shorten children’s lives. Better, SMARTER ways of growing food, and feeding the world are needed, now.”

Click here to learn more about Generation Food Project.

2014 – The International Year of Family Farming

imagesDid you know that the UN General Assembly named 2014 the International Year of Family Farming?

According to International Year of Family Farming Campaign’s website, it “aims to become a tool to stimulate active policies for sustainable development of agricultural systems based farmer families, communal units, indigenous groups, cooperatives and fishing families. All this work is being made from the perspective of effectively combating poverty and hunger and the search for a rural development based on the respect for environment and biodiversity.”

Learn more on by clicking here.

NPR Segment: “Dinner: An Author Considers the Source”

What exactly is Michael Pollan talking about when refers to “the Omnivore’s Dilemma” in his book?  Find out in this interesting segment from NPR, which came out back when it was published.

NPR Screen ShotSynopsis from the website:

“Journalist Michael Pollan’s new book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, follows industrial food, organic food, and food that consumers procure or hunt for themselves, from the source to the dinner plate. It also examines the importance of corn in all of our food products. Pollan is a professor of science and environmental journalism at University of California at Berkeley. His previous books include The Botany of Desire and A Place of My Own.”

Click here to access the podcast.

Treehugger Article – “The GMO debate is about more than Monsanto”

We thought we’d share another interesting article on the GMO debate.

Click here to read Chris Tackett’s article, “The GMO debate is about more than Monsanto” from Treehugger.

I was making the mistake of using the term GMOs as short-hand for Monsanto’s Roundup resistant crops and the unethical practice of making crops that don’t produce seeds so farmers are forced to buy more seeds each year. Basically, I made the mistake of generalizing an entire field of science as being equivalent to the bad practices of one company. Not good.

As Johnson’s series explains, there are different types of genetic engineering and it isn’t fair to judge all of these methods in the same way we would those of Monsanto.

As this is basically a review of Nathanael Johnson of Grist’s series on the subject, you can read his take on it by clicking here.

Do you agree with Tackett and/or Johnson?

Barry Estabrook on NPR

Tomatoes are available all year long, but at what cost? Well, at the cost of taste! Which led James Beard Award winning journalist Barry Estabrook to look into the tomato industry and ultimately write, Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit, the read for our July 23rd meeting.

When the book came out back in 2011, Estabrook was featured on, among other notable programs, NPR’s Fresh Air.

Click here to read the article and listen to the 37 minute segment on NPR.org. It’s really interesting, informative, and will probably make you want to read the book to learn more!

15 Great Websites to Learn about Our Food System

Ever wonder where you can find the best sources of information on food issues and basically everything wrong with our food system? Well, Food Tank has made it easy by compiling their favorite 15 websites. (which includes one of the authors we’ve read! I guess we’re doing something right! 😉 )

Click here to learn more about what they consider to be great resources for “knowledge of how food choices impact the environment”.

Food & Water Watch NJ’s Hudson River Group Kickoff Meeting

Our friends at Food & Water Watch NJ reached out to invite us to learn about their legislative campaign to require mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods in New Jersey. It’ll take place right here in Jersey City, so hope you can make it!

images (1)Get together with your Jersey City community for an exciting discussion on how we can empower the movement for clean drinking water and healthy, sustainable food!

Food & Water Watch New Jersey’s
Hudson River Group Kickoff Meeting!

May 16th from 6:30 to 8:00pm

Barrow Mansion (83 Wayne Street, Jersey City)

 Organic snacks and refreshments will be served!

Sign up for the event by clicking here. For more information or to get involved email msmith@fwwatch.org

Chapter 4: “Slow Food for Cultural Survival”

imagesSlow Food (the topic of Chapter 4 of our current read, Sandor Ellix Katz’s The Revolution will not be Microwaved: Inside America’s Underground Food Movements) is a movement that started out in Italy in the late 1980’s and has spread worldwide. Not only the antithesis of fast food, the slow food movement “advocates for food and farming policy that is good for the public, good for the planet, and good for farmers and workers.”

The closest chapter is Slow Food NYC, although there are a few around the garden state. Interested in learning more? Check out their website, where they have some interesting events and programs going on, by clicking here.

Ted Talk: Crop Biodiversity & Food Security

“According to Indian crop ecologist Vandana Shiva, humans have eaten some 80,000 plant species in our history. After recent precipitous changes, three-quarters of all human food now comes from just eight species, with the field quickly narrowing down to genetically modified corn, soy, and canola.” ~Barbara Kingsolver: page 49 of her book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. (and the next read for our April 16th meeting!)

The loss of agricultural (and general) biodiversity is one of the greatest environmental challenges we are currently facing.

To learn more, click here for a Ted Talk featuring Cary Fowler, Executive Director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust.

Click here for more information on the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.