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Cooking Show Video

An important part of seed conservation is re-growing the seeds maintain their viability. Native Seeds/SEARCH started Conservation Farm in 1998. The 60-acre farm is located in Patagonia, AZ- about an hour's drive from Tucson where Native Seeds/SEARCH is based. Chris Lowen works at the farm year round, he shows us the farm and explains the work that they do there.

December 8, 2008   |   0 comments
Tags: Environment, Farm, Food Production
Food for Thought

By Emma Piper-Burket

Recently, mainstream media has experienced a growth spurt in its awareness of how food choices impact the health of our planet and our bodies. An illustration of this is the public (and publicized) return of the Victory Garden.

The modern Victory Garden takes many forms: rooftop gardens in inner city schools; public arts projects like WORK Architecture Company’s functioning farm- smartly title PF1- installed on the grounds of PS1 (the farm supplied eggs and produce to the museum café during the summer of 2008); and Slow Food Nation and San Francisco Victory Garden’s temporary garden in front of the City Hall that donated 1,000 pounds of produce to area food banks.

This time around the Victory Garden is grown in the name of environmentalism, education, health, and increased quality of life. Michael Pollan writes of, “a new Victory Garden movement, this one seeking ‘victory’ over three critical challenges we face today: high food prices, poor diets, and a sedentary population.” Though patriotism might not be a word to toss around at liberal dinner parties these days, Victory Gardens might still be a relevant way of helping our country.

For many Americans erratic gas prices or the occasional news headline are the only noticeable indications that our nation is at war. With a seeming abundance of wealth and resources, the vast majority of Americans have not had to alter their daily routine in any way during the past 7 years of war.

Contrast this with World War II when all around the country citizens were encouraged to save scraps of metal to be converted into bullets, to “Eat less bread” in order to save grains for the troops, and of course to grow a Victory Garden.

Providing up to 40% of the country’s food needs during World War II, towns, schools and families across the United States took part in the production of their food by way of these Victory Gardens. The Department of Defense produced pamphlets and films teaching children and adults how to grow the necessary varieties and quantities of vegetables to sustain them throughout the year. People were encouraged to can and preserve vegetables for the barren winter months and no one was to take more than they needed. Growing one’s own food was seen as a way of helping the country and everyone took part.

Today, while we may not need to grow our own food to support the troops, growing victory gardens could help us avoid future wars. Industrial farming techniques and transporting food to markets consumes vast quantities of petroleum. The war in Iraq and much of America's strategic interests abroad are linked to oil. Michael Pollan has said the removal of petroleum from our food system could help improve our national security, but perhaps more importantly, it would contribute to the survival of our planet.

Growing a garden in your backyard or neighborhood and taking an active role in the food production process is the best way to do your part.

Sources & Resources for Victory Gardens:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/12/magazine/12policy-t.html
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/10/24/HOFK13LPVD.DTL
http://www.thewhofarm.org
http://www.eattheview.org/
http://www.futurefarmers.com/
http://www.gardenfortheenvironment.org/
http://www.sfvictorygardens.org/
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/victorygarden/
http://sidewalksprouts.wordpress.com/history/vg/

November 11, 2008   |   5 comments
Tags: Environment, Farm, Food Production, Local
Blog entry

The New York Times reports today of Mayor Bloomberg's plan to begin charging 6 cents for each plastic bag used in the city. Up until now there have been a few stores like Whole Foods and Ikea that have participated in various permutations of this plan (Whole Foods stopped providing plastic bags all together which is an even more effective way to cut down on plastic waste-- if customers bring their own bag they get a discount, otherwise it's paper for no charge; ikea charges for plastic bags and sells reusable bags for a small fee). At any rate in somewhere like New York City where there is so much of everything cutting down plastic bag consumption by even a little would be a great environmental help.

Read the article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/07/nyregion/07bags.html?hp

November 7, 2008   |   0 comments
Tags: Environment
Food for Thought

By Emma Piper-Burket

The Marcellus Shale, spanning 8 states in the Appalachian Basin-- including the area in upstate New York where Eve's Cidery is based, contains an estimated 50 trillion cubic feet of natural gas (or enough gas to supply US energy needs for 2 years). Until recently, the technology did not exist to access the gas but now energy companies have found a way and are actively pursuing leases to drill into the land using a method called hydraulic fracturing. Hydraulic fracturing requires millions of gallons of water and uses toxic chemicals to drill up to 9,000 feet to extract the gas- the environmental risks have not been fully addressed but it would pose a severe threat to several key watersheds not to mention toxic chemical run off in local communities. Though plans are underway to proceed with the drilling, the issue is largely under reported in the media. The articles and public outcry that do arise are largely connected to the threats such drilling poses to the New York City watershed, and the problems are often simplified to a conflict between the needs of the city overpowering economic needs upstate. In reality the environmental consequences of hydraulic fracturing run much deeper, there are also countless farms, communities and livelihoods that would be adversely affected.

For More Information:

ProPublica

Radio Story by ProPublica and WNYC

September 30, 2008   |   0 comments
Tags: Environment
Cooking Show Video

Yield per acre and disease resistance are just some of the ways fruit trees can be effected by climate change. James' family have been orchardists for generations, in this video he shares the effects he has noticed due to climate change on his orchards in the Finger Lakes region of New York.

September 30, 2008   |   0 comments
Tags: Environment, Farm, Food Production, Local
Blog entry

Wendell Berry makes me want to do everything slowly and to make sure that I do it well. I'm reading The Unsettling of America right now, a book that has been on my father's shelf since long before I was born. After hearing Mr. Berry speak at Slow Food Nation a few weeks ago, I went back to my dad's apartment and scoured his shelves to find it (my dad claims his books are organized into categories, I have yet to find the key that breaks the code of this organization, but looking through them is always a fun journey).  This is the first time in a long time that I have read a book slowly, not just going for essence, but making sure that I am aware of every sentence (I'm still only on page 80).

Thinking back to the panel Mr. Berry spoke at I wonder if maybe he has this effect on everyone; he prepared some opening remarks for the culminating panel of the weekend (the all-star one with Michael Pollan, Vandana Shiva, Eric Schlosser, Wendell Berry, Alice Waters and Carlo Petrini). After reading these remarks, Corby Kummer (the moderator) asked him to re-read them so that the audience could more fully digest.  Within the context of the weekend this resonated with me. I was glad that not just food was valued as something to be prepared, enjoyed and discussed with integrity, but also the ideas and exchanges themselves. I had never seen anyone take the time at a panel like that to allow something to be respoken, to just get to sit with it for awhile.  Now that I'm actually reading Wendell Berry's work, I see that this is the effect he has. I want everyone to read his book, and maybe we can all start doing less a little better.

His remarks from the panel were about the neccessity of local adaptation, I've transcribed them here:

"For too long humans have been spared, mainly by the cheapness of the fossil fuels, from the universal necessity of local adaptation. It is ultimately an inescapable biological imperative that human land use economies should correspond as closely as possible to the ecological mosaic. To this we no longer have even the illusion of a second choice. The increasing cost of energy and the vulnerability of long distance transportation in an age of violence show the importance of local food and forest communities and the reasonable extent of local economic self-sufficiency everywhere. This would require:
1) Diversity of locally adapted domestic species, crops and animals, increasing the acreage of perennials.
2) Conservation of land and water involving the proper use of woodlands and wetlands.
3) Fences. Fenced roads, permanent pastures, farm woodlands, boundaries and edges, which would increase the diversified populations of wild species. 
4) More farmers, foresters, and other workers in land economy. 
5) Local facilities for processing, distributing and marketing local products.
6) Propriety of state. And I want to include in that propriety the necessity of scaling down in our confidence in our own intelligence. We obviously have to be fairly smart to contrive imposing mechanical, chemical, electronic, genetic and nuclear technologies, but we have little evidence that we can deal intelligently with the results.  All these remarkably intelligent, beautifully engineered technologies leave messes behind." 

 

 

September 24, 2008   |   0 comments
Tags: Environment, Farm, Local
Cooking Show Video

Senator Harkin (D-IA) speaks with us here about "real" farmer's markets and where he likes to get his groceries when he's in Iowa and Washington DC.

September 22, 2008   |   0 comments
Tags: Environment, Farm, Food Production, Local
Cooking Show Video

Iowan Senator Tom Harkin (D) chairs the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Foresty. As part of our Local Eating Month, he speaks with us about The Farm Bill and the government's role in supporting the local food movement and small-scale farmers.

September 22, 2008   |   0 comments
Tags: Environment, Farm, Food Production, Local
Cooking Show Video

The Taste Pavilions at Slow Food Nation were full of delicious things to try and see. 20 Seconds of Texture provides just some of the sites to see at this fun event.

September 12, 2008   |   0 comments
Tags: Environment, Film, Food Production
Cooking Show Video

Our food choices affect more than what shows up on our dinner plate. Michael Pollan, Gary Nabhan, Winona LaDuke, Dan Barber and James Oseland discuss some of the environmental, political, economic and social factors concerned with eating locally at the Slow Food Nation panel "Re-Localizing Food" on August 29, 2008. Interspliced throughout their discussion is footage from U.S. agricultural history, click here to watch the 1960 Department of Agriculture short film "Miracles from Agriculture" in its entirety.

September 5, 2008   |   1 comments
Tags: Environment, Farm, Food Production, Local