Archive for May, 2012

Video: YouTube cartoon explain a corrupt food system (5 minutes)

This video probably is “preaching to the choir” but it’s worth a watch for simplicity and timeliness. The “Biggest Farm Bill Loser” may speak directly to the US Congress, but the problem is worldwide!

Consumers and small, independent farmers are the LOSERS here. This cartoon illustrates why people are getting fatter and fatter and more UNhealthy everyday. Here’s more from TreeHugger:

“[We’re] becoming more and more detached from our food system. Over the past century we’ve moved away from local agriculture and toward a system of corporate production that hurts farmers and produces unnaturally plump consumers….We have a huge mess to clean up in the next decade.”

[To read MORE, see “The Biggest Farm Bill Loser: Cartoon Explains a Corrupt Food System.”]

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Photo: Former Vancouver Expo lands now a newly planted organic urban garden

Hat’s off to a “parking lot” being turned into a garden (rather than the so-often-other-way-round)! Two-acres of the empty lot on the north side of False Creek known as “former Expo lands” is slated to be an urban farm. Forty different varieties of vegetables and fruits are to be grown, if all goes according to plan.

Contrary to the impression conveyed by the photo above, ONE woman will not be tending this urban garden by herself!  This project represents:

“The largest city farm attempted in Vancouver, and will be tended mostly by residents of the Downtown Eastside. The group plans to employ 25 people along with four farming apprentices and sell its produce to restaurants and farmers’ markets. The farm is portable, growing in containers above ground, because the site is on a three-year lease.” [Source: Vancouver SUN]

According to Michael Ableman, an urban farmer and director of Solefood, an organization that creates agriculture jobs and training for inner-city residents:

“We’re demonstrating this can in fact be considered a serious enterprise for urban areas. We’re not talking about community gardens any more. We’re taking it up a level.” Kudos to all involved for this urban organic “step,” not only “up,” but in the right direction!

[For more information, see “Two-acre urban farm to grow organic produce on former Expo lands” by Zoe McKnight]

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Photo: Cows weigh in on the question: “Is eating meat ethical?”

Humankind’s appetite for meat is a BIG environmental problem. That leads to a question recently posed by New York Magazine, and followed up by Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente:  “Is eating meat ethical?”

Can we really circumvent the problem by changing to non-industrial, humane, organic meat production? Probably not.

“The idea of sustainable meat is probably a myth. Factory farming isn’t pretty, but it’s environmentally efficient. If all the cows in the U.S. were raised on grass, according to one calculation, cattle-grazing would require almost half the country’s land…. It would be nice if the human race would convert to vegetarianism. But this seems unlikely. As people grow more affluent, they invariably want more meat.” [Source: Globe and Mail]

But–and this is really something to “chew on”–what about lab meat?

“If we could figure out how to produce synthetic meat, we could save the rain forests, cut down on greenhouse-gas emissions, conserve huge amounts of energy and eliminate bacterial contamination, to say nothing of avoiding the slaughter of billions of animals a year.” [Source: Globe and Mail]

So, what stops scientists coming up with this solution? Probably the “yuk” factor. [For more, see Margaret Wente “Is eating meat ever ethical?”]

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Photo: Award winner Mary Forstbauer (Forstbauer Farm)

Kudos to Mary Forstbauer of Forstbauer Farm for winning the Edible Vancouver 2012 Local Heroes Award ” for “Best Farm/Farmer”!

Forstbauer Farm, a certified organic and biodynamic farm in Chilliwack, is noted for a variety of mixed crops.  Vancouverites, now that Farmers Markets are open again, can “meet and greet” Mary in person, chatting up customers (Ambleside Sunday Farmers Market included). You’ll find her sharing stories about organic produce and farm practices, and her family. Mary Forstbauer, besides farmer and mother of a huge brood, is president of the Certified Organic Associations of BC.

What you’ll find at the Markets AND at Forstbauer Farm are biodynamic blueberries (like those in the photo), strawberries, eggs, beef and all kinds of vegetables. [For more information, visit Forstbauer Farm online.]

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