Posts Tagged ‘Sustainability’
Thank You McDonalds (by Lisa Frank)
Picture angry Italians protesting with bowls of penne at the base of the iconic and beautiful Spanish Steps in Rome shouting “We don’t want fast food… we want slow food! It’s not a scene from a Fellini movie, but how Carlo Petrini started Slow Food. He and his pasta-wielding compatriots were outraged that a McDonalds was going to open there (and it did.)
His protest against the commercialization of a beloved landmark with the “Golden Arches” turned into an international organization founded in 1989 that today has over 150,000 members in more than 150 countries.
Slow Food’s mantra is good, clean, fair food for all. They want you to eat what is seasonal and local; respect the farmer and the produce/product; nurture the earth. Sound familiar? They believe that food should taste like, well, food and eating should take some time. Slow Food calls it the “pleasures of the table.” And it is not possible when a clown is looking over your shoulder. Or a creepy looking king. Or in your car. Or at your keyboard.
Slow Food opposes the homogenization of modern fast food and life. Life is diverse. Culture is diverse. Food is diverse. It should not all look or taste alike. Preservation of traditional or heritage foods, methods of preparation, and the culture associated with them is a worth while effort. That is the entire focus of the Center for Biodiversity. The premise is that if unique and tradition food products that are endangered can have an economic impact they can be saved from extinction. Enter the Presidia – local projects that devise a pathway for bringing a food or method of preparation back from the brink of being lost. The Ark of Taste is a catalog of foods worldwide being preserved through the efforts of Presidia. And these projects are not somewhere else. They are here: Blenheim Apricot, Charbono wine or Sebastopol Gravenstein Apple sound familiar? Clarksburg’s Chenin Blanc grape is close to be being listed.
Petrini wanted to make the connection between the plate, the palate and the planet. He calles it an “eco-gastronomic” movement that connected environmental sustainability (eco) to the study of culture and food (gastronomy). He took this idea even further by creating the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy (full disclosure, I’m an alumni) to create a new type of food professional, one who understands the entire food-production spectrum, from agricultural origins through industrial transformation and distribution, with particular attention to environmental and sustainability issues. These leaders, or Gastronomes as he calls them (us?), understand how to connect food processes to economic as well as communication systems, and the relationships within food-and-wine tourism, marketing of high-quality products, and promoting of the rich value of regional food traditions.
On the local front, California is now it’s own Slow Food Region. Our local chapter, Slow Food Sacramento bestows their annual “Snail of Approval” award upon local businesses that best represent the Slow Food Principles of good, clean, fair food for all. And to toot our own horn, Local Roots Food Tours has received the Slow Food Sacramento Snail of Approval because of our commitment to support business using fresh, local, organic, seasonal and sustainable, or as we say FLOSS!
We congratulate our partners have also received a Snail of Approval for their use of seasonal, local and organically grown foods, including Centro, Café Bernardos, Hot Italian and Kupros.
Click to continue!
Imagine Sacramento offering a “People’s Garden” which would provide fresh organic produce for the area’s homeless and needy. The garden would also serve the people of Sacramento as an outdoor classroom and a community hub for all ages. What if Sacramento offered a garden project where their locally grown food is sold to restaurants, at Farmers Markets and community organizations with similar aims of improving neighborhood food security. Individuals who would be hired to work the large garden program would see the farm as a place for self-growth and healthy community development, while beautifying their neighborhood.
One company is offering a huge opportunity for cities like Sacramento to partake in such an idea. Nature’s Path Organic believes that urban farming is a model of sustainability that can help make fresh, organic food available to everyone.
“Our goal is to plant it forward”, notes Arran Stephens, founder and CEO of Nature’s Path. “By providing access to healthy, organic food and the education needed to grow it, we hope to encourage and cultivate socially responsible community leaders who will bring people together to feed those in need.”
In 2011 Nature’s Path is putting their money where their hearts are by offering GARDENS for GOOD program, providing $65,000 in funding to support 3 urban farm projects. Have a project in mind?
Here is how you can get involved:
1. Nominate: visit www.facebook.com/NaturesPath and “Like” Gardens for Good to enter an urban farming project into this year’s grant contest.
2. Participate: View applications and vote for the project that you believe is making the greatest impact on their community.
3. Activate: Spread the word and activate your community to support urban farming in your neighborhood. Help their mission go viral!
Sacramento – are you ready to make a difference and start planting your “People’s Garden”? Plant it Forward!!
Farm Direct is a growing trend in our global economy. Going directly to the farmers, cutting out the middlemen who seem to find any way to hike prices higher than need be. Many agricultural communities are already offering CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture). CSA’s thrive in areas where consumers who are so passionate about direct farmer relationships that they become stakeholders in a farm’s harvest. These food lovers go beyond the farmers’ market to buy weekly, monthly or annual shares in local, seasonal fruits, vegetables, flowers, meat, dairy and even seafood. Coffee beans are not locally harvested so how does one support global coffee farmers?
The good news is that today CoffeeCSA.org launched the world’s first coffee CSA, connecting America’s coffee lovers with coffee farmers around the globe via the web.
CoffeeCSA.org is a community supported agriculture model that allows consumers to subscribe to regular deliveries of fresh-roasted coffee from small-scale farmers. CoffeeCSA is a project of Pachamama Coffee, the first global cooperative of coffee farmers, consisting of more than 140,000 small-scale farmer-owners in Peru, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico and Ethiopia. Founded in 2001, Pachamama is the largest farmer-owned co-op based in the US. This authentic connection with consumers is unprecedented in the coffee industry, empowering farmers to differentiate outside of the commodity crop model and deal directly with consumers. All coffees are shade-grown and Fair Trade Certified, hand-roasted in small batches and available on the CoffeeCSA website; http://www.coffeecsa.org.
By offering CSA subscriptions to independent, family-owned coffee farms, CoffeeCSA gives coffee lovers the opportunity to invest in and enjoy the harvest of small-scale coffee farmers, helping them earn more money and preserve family farms for future generations. 140,000 farmer-owners grow coffee for CoffeeCSA on small farms whose size ranges from from one to 10 acres. “For people who treasure their coffee experience, CoffeeCSA is a powerful way to make a direct connection to the farmer,” said Thaleon Tremain, CEO, CoffeeCSA.org. “Subscribers secure their own personal share of a specific coffee harvest and support an individual farmer who works hard to grow the finest single-origin coffee available today. This is a real relationship, and a commitment which goes far beyond a label on a bag.”
Small-scale coffee farming is financially risky. Direct relationships with American coffee lovers can ensure stability for growers who struggle to cultivate a sensitive agricultural crop in a volatile global market. “I am proud of the coffee I grow, and I am proud that I make my own independent decisions as a coffee farmer.” said Catarina Yac, coffee farm owner from Santa Clara Laguna, Guatemala. “But I also like to learn from other people. I look forward to connecting with Americans who buy my coffee!”
There are so many advantages to taking walks in a city’s urban neighborhoods. Seeing the changes in landscaping; the beauty of the summer plants and flowers, bird baths filled with fresh water for the singing birds and most of all new sprouts in GARDENS. Front lawn gardens! As a tour guide walking through the tree lined streets in Sacramento four times a week, I have been noticing GARDENS popping up in homeowners front landscapes of their homes. Tomato and pepper plants, Swiss chard, beans….you name it, I am seeing it transpire into a beautiful modern victory garden and it sings to my heart! Communities are rallying together to overcome the higher food prices creeping up in the stores as well as the higher gas prices to travel to get the fresh produce. Yes, we have wonderful farmer’s markets surrounding Sacramento’s beauty but there is nothing like growing your own. It is such a sense of accomplishment for oneself to know they are taking a very old concept dating back into the WWI and WWII era with Victory Gardens and putting a modern spin on it.
A Grassroots Food Revolution – The Modern Victory Garden
Grow What You Eat – Eat What You Grow!
I think we are already moving toward that place. Urbanites are showing us that fruit and vegetable gardens can be beautiful while making a statement. The lawn as landscape icon was a declaration that you didn’t have to farm anymore. Perhaps we can replace it with a front-yard veggie garden that declares the age of the lawn over. What a proclamation that would be for thrift, self-sufficiency, horticultural skill, concern for the environment and the world we pass on.
Prince Charles said the other day that “we have to put nature back at the heart of the equation.” I think we should put every gardener at the center of it, too.
The Wisdom of the Radish: And Other Lessons Learned on a Small Farm tells the entertaining, enlightening (and often humorous) tale of our first year of farming vegetables in Sonoma County. http://wisdomoftheradish.com
The inspiration for the book sprang from desire to share the nitty gritty details of what it’s actually like to try to grow and sell food for a living. We love reading great books like Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma and Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, but felt like there also needed to be a book out there that told the story of local food from the perspective of the people behind the farmers market stalls, and in particular the perspective of young, inexperienced farmers like ourselves–who will be the future of food in this country. And now that it’s all finished, if we may say so, the book is a great read for anyone who grows food or is interested in knowing where their food comes from–especially the farmers market shoppers among you.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to start farming? Not just as an experimental hobby or an idyllic-daydream, but as a down-to-earth lifestyle change where you put your economic future on the line? If you’re at all like Lynda Hopkins was just a few years ago, you’re a suburbanite who knows little, if anything, about growing produce or taking care of farm animals. Yet Lynda and her then boyfriend (now husband) did what many adventurous young couples have done in recent years — they started farming.
In The Wisdom of the Radish, Lynda shares stories from her first year as a newbie farmer. And let me tell you, it’s far from idyllic.
Her stories aren’t very romantic or glamorized, but they are thought-provoking and honest. Crop failures, unpredictable weather, and animal predators may seem like bad news, but thankfully those aren’t her only stories. A steep learning curve is aided a bit by the advent of the internet. Perhaps the most meaningful story woven throughout the book is her growing acceptance of what it means to belong to the farm — how tending to the plot of land and routinely caring for the animals roots her, grounds her, and transforms her sense of identity.
The greatest plus to this book? Lynda Hopkins’ storytelling. She’s gifted. Really gifted.
Green Festival is about you. Your first Green Festival experience may be discovering how to grow your very own organic vegetables, or laughing and interacting with our children in the Green Kids’ Zone. Or, after finding a new career last year in the Green Business Pavilion, your experience this year may be learning how to build your new home. You might return to Green Festival year after year to indulge in responsible shopping, organic vegetarian cuisine and fair trade chocolate. With 125 visionary speakers, 300 green exhibitors, live music, organic wine and beer, hands-on workshops and so much more, Green Festival is where your community comes together. Recharge your batteries with all the hope, inspiration and practical ideas you’ll find at the one and only Green Festival. The Nation’s Premier Sustainability Event: San Francisco April 9-10, 2011 at the CONCOURSE EXHIBITION CENTER. Visit: www.sfvenues.com or www.GreenFestivals.org for more information on this great event you and your family won’t want to miss.
Food prices around the world are surging. Local organic farmers across the nation are less affected by the growing rise in food price swings precisely because they consume much of what they harvest, and they sell the rest to local markets. These farmers have achieved at the household level a “food democracy,” and what the small farmer coalition, Via Campesina, calls “food sovereignty” at a national level.
A country has “food sovereignty” when its people consume safe and nutritious food largely grown by their own small farmers. Significantly fewer countries sustain this sovereignty today than a generation ago. The reigning development model pushed by World Bank and other experts has left many countries exporting more cash crops like flowers and gourmet vegetables, and importing more of their staple foods. But there is more to food sovereignty than freedom from imports. In richer countries, food purchases make up a relatively small percent of household budgets. Here in the United States, we spend an average of only seven percent of our budgets on food, although that number rises in poor urban neighborhoods.
Between July of last year and this January alone, the price of wheat has doubled. Indeed, the cost of food has now passed the record levels of 2008, when angry citizens staged huge protests in dozens of countries. Currently, protesters across the Middle East include lowering food prices among their demands. When prices go up even a bit, millions more people starve.
In Tunisia and Egypt, the average person spends more than a third of their household budget on food, and thus more people feel food price hikes daily in the pits of their stomachs. The food markets in poorer nations feel the consequences of these price hikes immediately.
While millions are suffering as the result of volatile development models, the food emergency of 2011 can convince more countries to reject conventional “wisdom” that says exporting and importing more is the right path to food security.
There are food sovereignty lessons to be learned from countries all over the world who don’t rely on exporting or importing as their means of survival. Countries that rely on their local roots; crops and local businesses seem to be not as affected by the spiraling prices. In addition, there is evidence that, as food costs have risen people are returning to native-grown crops in place of expensive imported food.
Reports support that the world will not stop hunger and climate change with industrial farming on large plantations. The solution lies in supporting small-scale farmers’ knowledge and experimentation, and in raising incomes of smallholders so as to contribute to rural development.” In many countries like the Philippines, local farmers growing healthy and chemical-free foods are on the rise and are taking over increasing shares of local and national markets. It is time to say “no” to food vulnerability and to reinvigorate rooted farms all over the world.
- Farmers Markets could be considered the foundation of the safe food movement. There are more Farmers Markets than there are Walmarts. More than 50M people are influenced by their local farmers market.
- Every Farmers Market has 50-100 vendors. If each market and Vendor or supporting Farmer reaches out to 100 people that is an immediate audience of 46,000,000 people.
- How to take part in your community’s safe food movement and why:
- Local food sources are fresher
- Supporting Local food sources improves a regions sustainability
- Take Action at your local farmers markets. Sometimes there are petitions there on safe food and water issues.
- Many vendors at Farmers markets are Organic.
- Plant a fruit tree in your yard.
- Get in a CSA with the farmers for produce you love.
Check out your local famers market or what is growing in your area at
http://www.localharvest.org/ this will let you look up farms in your area.
- Sacramentans are lucky to have several choices when buying fresh flowers, fruit and vegetables from Northern California farmers. A few are open all year long, while others are seasonal, mostly opening in May and running through October. Some are morning markets, while others are afternoon ones.
Farmers offer a variety of fruit and vegetables, but shoppers can also buy fresh tulips, irises and other flowers, organic cheeses, artisan breads and pastries, raw and seasoned nuts, cut and planted herbs, and other specialty food.
If you can manage to wake up early on a Sunday morning, make your way to the Sacramento Central farmers market where you’ll find many Asian produce. Shoppers will find great prices at this Midtown market, which is among the larger markets in the area.Guide Tip: Get here early. Since this is a popular market, on a few of my visits, some vendors ran out of food.
- Location: 8th and W streets, underneath Highway 80
- Hours: 8 a.m. to noon, open all year
Roosevelt Park is among two farmer’s markets along P Street. Along the perimeter of the park, shoppers can buy vegetables, fruits, nuts, meats, herbs, flowers, baked goods and cheeses.
- Location: 9th and P streets
- Hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., from May through October
Just down the street from Roosevelt Park is Fremont Park. Vendors are spread along the perimeter of the park.Guide Tip: Finding a parking space can be a challenge at both of these parks. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a metered spot. Remember to keep track of the time to avoid getting a ticket.
- Location: 16th and P streets
- Hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., from May through October
Caesar Chavez Memorial Plaza is abuzz with shoppers from area office buildings at this downtown market.
- Location: 10th and J streets, in front of City Hall
- Hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., from May through October
Tucked away in the walkway between Macy’s and the Holiday Inn is the Downtown Plaza farmer’s market where you can buy fruit, vegetables, bread, olive oil, flowers and nuts.Guide Tip: Parking can be tough in this area. Your best bet is to park in the Downtown Plaza West Garage on L Street, which is right next to the market.
- Location: 4th and K streets
- Hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., from May thru October
- Hours: 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. all year long
- http://www.localharvest.org/farmers-markets/list.jsp this is a list of farmers markets