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.

“Food Sovereignty: Power, Gender, and the Right to Food”

Raj Patel, the author of our next read , writes often on social justice, economic, and food issues.

To get you thinking about the next meeting, we thought we’d share his 2012 article, “Food Sovereignty: Power, Gender, and the Right to Food”, which was commissioned for the PLoS Medicine (a peer-reviewed, open access journal) series on Big Food. This series examines the activities and influence of the food and beverage industry in the health arena.

Click here to access the article.

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.

GMO Resources & The World According to Monsanto Documentary Link

Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 10.41.01 PMMany thanks to Tachair for hosting tonight’s meeting of Eat Local, Read Local!

….and thanks to Matt from Food and Water Watch NJ for sharing some great information on their efforts to get labeling for genetically engineered food (and ban fracking) at both the state and federal levels! They have a lot of great resources on food issues ranging from country of origin labeling to factory farming to food safety on their website. To learn more about genetically engineered foods, click here. Did you know that 90% are owned by Monsanto? Food and Water Watch also has a great company  profile on them, the “cheat sheet” for those who haven’t read tonight’s book, which you can access by clicking here.

Interested in learning how you can get involved or show your support to make GE labels the law, click here.

If you don’t have time to finish, The World According to Monsanto, did I mention it was made into a documentary? Click here to watch it in its entirety on youtube.

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?

The Gene Revolution, The Future of Agriculture: Dr. Thierry Vrain

Screen Shot 2013-08-14 at 3.50.31 PMDr. Thierry Vrain, formerly Head of Biotechnology at Agriculture Canada’s Summerland Research Station, gave a great talk about the problems with genetic modification for TEDxComoxValley.  In it, he identified six major problems he now has as a former bioengineer:

  • funding for studies is largely coming from the biotech industry
  • superweeds
  • contamination
  • superbugs
  • genetic pollution
  • allergens

Click here to access the talk.

NPR Article – “Colorado Vault Is Fort Knox For The World’s Seeds”

In light of our next meeting, we thought we’d share this recent article, “Colorado Vault Is Fort Knox For The World’s Seeds” by Luke Runyon for NPR’s The Salt.

“Even though it is rare, privately owned, genetically modified seed does make it into storage. That’s how all eyes fell on the vault’s doors when news broke in June about Monsanto’s glyphosate-resistant wheat, commonly called Roundup Ready, found growing in small volunteer patches in a field in Oregon.”

To read more, as well as listen to the story as featured on Morning Edition, click here. To learn more about the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation, click here.

You can also learn more about crop diversity and the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway from a previous post, by clicking here.

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!

NJ Assembly Bill A3192

Have you heard of NJ Assembly Bill A3192? A3192 is a bill sponsored by Rep. Linda Stender (D-Union, Middlesex, and Somerset Counties) that requires the labeling of all genetically modified foods. Introduced in July of 2012, it advanced in the assembly last week.

Learn more in the article, “On Genetically Modified Foods, Give Consumers a Choice: Opinion” that Rep. Stender wrote for the Star Ledger on Tuesday, June 25th. Click here to read the actual legislation.