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.


Healthy Food Should Not Be a Privilege

Screen Shot 2013-11-06 at 7.59.11 AMThe Sustainable Life Project “partners with local organizations to recruit young adults transitioning out of the foster care system to participate in a 12-week culinary arts and agriculture internship program. Youth transitioning out of foster care face unique challenges that make them especially vulnerable. Distrust, abuse, neglect and general lack of access to resources and guidance often make navigating adulthood difficult. Without primary needs like housing, vocational training and legal support, these youth frequently don’t have the luxury of dreaming beyond finding a home and employment.”

Located out in Cali and run by the Tender Greens Restaurant Group, it’s an incredible initiative bringing teens out of inner-city LA, teaching them about food and training them with the skills necessary to enter the restaurant business.

Click here to see an amazing (and inspirational!) short clip of this project and how you can help fund the next steps of a documentary on it.

“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.

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.

Mark Bittman Article – “Going Vegan, If Only for One Day”

For our very first book club read we Mark Bittman’s Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating (and if you haven’t read it, I really recommend it!)

Screen Shot 2013-09-21 at 2.46.42 PMWell in this NYTimes article from last week, Bittman talks about “Going Vegan, If Only for One Day”. He, of course, created a diet that works for him, “Vegan Before 6“, and that doesn’t work for everyone, but his recipes at least sound interesting anyway!

Click here to read the article.

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.

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.

Mercury in Your Food – Do You Know the Source?

The author of our very first book club read, Mark Bittman, had a super interesting piece in the New York Times yesterday on the source of mercury in food, such as albacore tuna and rice (!), so we thought we’d share it. Here’s an excerpt:

If you’re like most people (including me, up until a month or two ago), you know that tuna and other top-of-the-food-chain fish contain unsafe levels of mercury and that childbirth-age women and nursing mothers, especially, are warned off these fish. What you don’t know, probably (I didn’t), is the mercury’s source, or how it gets in these fish.

Turns out that about three-quarters of it comes from coal-burning power plants; it dissolves in water, where micro-organisms convert it to methylmercury, a bio-available and highly toxic form that builds up in fish. The longer a fish lives, the more mercury builds in its flesh.”

Click here to access the whole article on the New York Times’ website.

TEDxManhattan Talk: Urvashi Rangan “From Fables to Labels”

In light of the recent food labeling crisis in Europe (and our upcoming book read–when you preserve food yourself, you know what’s actually in it!), we thought we’d share this interesting and informative lecture about food labeling in the US by Urvashi Rangan, Director – Consumer Safety and Sustainability Group at Consumers Union:

Synopsis from the website:

“In this video, 10 different food labels, including “natural,” “fresh,” “free range,” and other widely used labels–are critiqued by Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., who leads the Consumer Safety and Sustainability Group for Consumer Reports.

Rangan joined Consumers Union in 1999 and developed a website, called Eco-labels, to evaluate environmental claims on food and other product labels. Now this databased content is part of GreenerChoices.org and also is available as an iPhone and iPad app.”

To watch the video, click here.

To learn more about labeling to safety to nutrition from her website, click here.