Commission unveils plan for greener Common Agricultural Policy (EU)
Brussels has officially outlined reforms aimed at creating a “greener” Common Agricultural Policy after 2013. One approach could be to introduce a basic income support payment, plus an extra payment for farmers who undertake extra environmental measures. Producers facing specific natural constraints – such as hill farmers – could expect additional payments. So could those who farm sensitively. It also acknowledges “strong calls” to further integrate environmental considerations into rural development programmes. Farmers Weekly Interactive story.
Locavore Supper Club: Edible Oil Miracles
Join us for our inaugural Supper Club dinner – the first of a unique series of culinary events. Created just for The Hub, Chef Jake Des Voignes of Local: Mission Eatery combines haimish memories, radical exegesis and Hanukkah-esque cuisine into a six-course experience showcasing the bounty of Bay Area farms and food purveyors. Mission Eatery’s hyper-seasonal menus fulfill the tenants of the slow-food revolution and fill the bellies of a hungry, local demographic. “There’s something incredibly intentional about Local, as though each decision is guided by a larger philosophy about food.” Jewish Community Center of San Francisco post.
Real-Time Farming with Gastronomic Guru Lindsay-Jean Hard
Real Time Farms is a web platform that uses crowdsourcing to help you understand where your food comes from. Local Food enthusiasts contribute geo-tagged photographs, tips, and edit information about what’s available at local markets and farmers. Kind of like the Wikipedia of farms, anyone can add or share information. The site also offers subscription-based marketing tools for restaurants, caterers, and grocers. Inspired by his web 2.0 savviness, ex-Google Android Software Engineer Karl Rosaen founded the site to address the information gap for real-time data about what was available at farmers markets, farm stands, and locally-sourced restaurants. Food & Tech Connect interview.
Speaker Quinn Announces “FoodWorks New York”
Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn today announced “FoodWorks New York”, a new effort by the City Council to produce the first ever comprehensive plan to use New York City’s food system to create jobs, improve public health and protect the environment. The announcement came at a celebration of the city’s FRESH supermarket initiative, hosted by The New School; New York City Coalition Against Hunger; UFCW Local 1500; We Act for Environmental Justice; New York Faith and Justice; Families United for Racial and Economic Equality; Building Blocks; and Jobs with Justice. The event also featured Dan Barber, owner of Blue Hill Restaurant and farm to table pioneer. New York City Council release.
The new front in the culture wars: food
Advocates of fresh, local and sustainably raised food say it is healthier, better-tasting and morally sound. If everyone could afford that heritage turkey and had a local charcuterie guy, the argument goes, then all Thanksgiving meals would be elevated to ethereal heights. But many in this country who have access to good food and can afford it simply don’t think it’s important. To them, food has become a front in America’s culture wars, and the crusade against fast and processed food is an obsession of “elites,” not “real Americans.” Washington Post article.
Carrotmobs and the Power of Buycotts
From Montgomery, Alabama to South Africa, activists have learned that they can influence change by organizing where people shop. Now, conscious consumers are using a new tool to encourage business to go green. Instead of using the stick of boycotts, they are wielding the carrot of “buycotts.” Shoppers all over the world are organizing to mob businesses that make the largest pledge towards sustainable practices. Host Bruce Gellerman speaks with Brent Schulkin, founder of the group Carrotmob. Transcript.
Divided We Eat
For breakfast, I usually have a cappuccino—espresso made in an Alessi pot and mixed with organic milk, which has been gently heated and hand-fluffed by my husband. I eat two slices of imported cheese—Dutch Parrano, the label says, “the hippest cheese in New York” (no joke)—on homemade bread with butter. I am what you might call a food snob. My nutritionist neighbor drinks a protein shake while her 5-year-old son eats quinoa porridge sweetened with applesauce and laced with kale flakes. She is what you might call a health nut. On a recent morning, my neighbor’s friend Alexandra Ferguson sipped politically correct Nicaraguan coffee in her comfy kitchen while her two young boys chose from among an assortment of organic cereals. As we sat, the six chickens Ferguson and her husband, Dave, keep for eggs in a backyard coop peered indoors from the stoop. The Fergusons are known as locavores. Newsweek story.
How Wal-Mart is saving the world
All of which makes it surprising to find Andy Ellis, Walmart Canada’s senior vice–president for logistics, obsessing over the fine details as he shows off the company’s new food distribution centre. The lights high above, he notes, are tight little racks of LED bulbs, emitting no heat and lasting much longer than incandescents or fluorescents. The ones that light the cavernous spaces between towering shelves of cheddar cheese and crescent–roll dough stay off until someone walks up the aisle. The doors between the cooler and the freezer are specially designed “air curtains” — a pair of flexible roll–down sheets that open independently to form a buffer, akin to the airlock on a submarine, that keeps the –23°C air on one side from rushing out into the just–above–freezing air on the other. Canadian Business story.
The Role of Food Policy Councils in Developing Sustainable Food Systems
Over the past 3 decades, several public and private organizations have fostered the creation of cross-sectoral “food policy councils” (FPCs) to engage and educate among a broad range of public, private, and academic institutions on theory and components necessary to the development of more sustainable food systems. Through an examination of data drawn from interviews with 13 food policy councils in the United States and Canada, this article examines the emerging role of FPCs in developing sustainable food systems. A grounded theory approach was utilized in collecting and analyzing information related to the organizational role of FPCs. Findings from interviews reflect on the overall “food policy council” concept and the role of these organizations in relation to government, policy change, facilitation, networking, and education. Significantly, interviews also indicated that FPCs actually focus more attention on programmatic as opposed to policy work. Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition article.
CALL FOR PAPERS: Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development
The Essential Principles of Small- and Mid-Scale Food Value Chain Development. Details
Birke Baehr: What’s wrong with our food system
11-year-old Birke Baehr presents his take on a major source of our food — far-away and less-than-picturesque industrial farms. Keeping farms out of sight promotes a rosy, unreal picture of big-box agriculture, he argues, as he outlines the case to green and localize food production. TEDx talk at TEDx NextGenerationAsheville featuring Teenagers Inspiring Positive Change
AND IF YOU HAVE TIME
Carolyn Steel on Sitopia (from the Greek sitos, food + topos, place)
Have you ever thought about food? Not in terms of what to eat for breakfast, but about what food really means? Ours is the first society in history to take food for granted: to treat it as something to be made as cheap and convenient as possible, while we get on with the ‘more . when you factor in all the externalities – fossil fuel consumption, rainforest destruction, desertification, pollution and obesity, to name but a few – it becomes clear that ‘cheap food’ is an illusion, and an expensive one at that. In truth, feeding ourselves healthily, equably and sustainably remains our greatest challenge – one that will, above all others, shape our future selves, society, and planet. Food’s influence is already to be found in our cities, landscapes, work patterns, social lives, domestic routines, politics, economics and ecological footprint. Food, in short, already shapes our world – so why not use it as a tool to shape a better one? School of Life post. Carolyn Steel is the author of ‘Hungry City: How Food Shaped Our Lives.’ TED talk.