Why We Can’t Shop Our Way to a Better Economy: Stacy Mitchell’s TEDx Talk
In this TEDx talk, delivered on October 20, 2012, ILSR Senior Researcher Stacy Mitchell argues for a new phase in the local economy movement. She notes that there’s been a resurgence of support for small farms, local businesses, and community banks, but argues: “As remarkable as these trends are, they are unlikely to amount to more than an small sideshow on the margins of the mainstream if the only way we can conceive of confronting corporate power and bringing about a new economy is through our buying decisions… What we really need to do is change the underlying policies that shape our economy. We can’t do that through the sum of our individual behavior in the marketplace. We can only do it by exercising our collective power as citizens.” YouTube video.
Local food systems seek to help farmers market crops
The farmer participated in a panel discussion about building a stronger regional farmer to consumer connection in local food systems during the Indiana Rural Summit. Moseley said selling food at the Lafayette and West Lafayette farmers markets has enabled him to concentrate on talking to consumers at the markets who are interested in not only buying produce, but learning about the family farm. Agri News story.
Planning for Food Access
A National Scan and Evaluation of Local Comprehensive and Sustainability Plans. Alongside air, water, and shelter, food is a basic necessity for life. Food plays a role in our health, economy, and culture and is a critical part of a sustainable community. The World Health Organization and the United Nations consider access to safe and nutritious food a basic individual right, however many rural and urban residents have limited access to fresh produce and other healthful foods. Results of this research study have been compiled into a comprehensive policy report, Planning for Food Access and Community-Based Food Systems: A National Scan and Evaluation of Local Comprehensive and Sustainability Plans. American Planning Association post. Report (7MB PDF).
A Guide to Edible Seeds
Edible seeds have been making their way into my smoothies, soups and chili over the past few weeks. The assortment of edible seeds that lines my kitchen cabinets continues to grow as I learn more and more about the incredible health benefits associated with these seeds. Having a Blendtec certainly helps since I’m able to ground up the seeds in a way that I wasn’t able to with my regular blender. Here’s the low down on the edible seeds in my cabinets. Fooducate blog.
Buying and Selling Whole Animals
When my partners and I first started FarmersWeb, an online marketplace, we wanted to tackle some of these challenges that many meat producers face. To begin, we built a system to let farms accept advanced orders along with a deposit from wholesale buyers. The deposit is held in escrow through online credit card processing, which gives the buyer peace of mind that their deposit will only be cashed once the farm delivers the product, and also incentivizes the buyer to follow through on their order. Should the buyer wish to cancel their order and the farm is able to find another customer for that meat, the deposit can be returned. This system provides assurance to the farm that in the event of cancellation, they won’t be left holding the bag, so to speak. Food & Tech Connect post.
Guerrilla Cartographers Put Global Food Stats on the Map
For the past five months, University of California, Berkeley cartography professor Darin Jensen has been collecting maps about food. They fill the walls of his office, each one telling a different story — about meat production in Maryland, about the international almond trade, about taco trucks in Oakland. Some are local, some are regional, some are global, but in a few days they’ll all be bound together between the covers of Food: An Atlas. In just five months — the time it takes to raise an artichoke, he says — Jensen and more than 100 new-found colleagues have built a book. The Salt post. Kickstarted project.
A Review of the Literature and Knowledge of Standards and Certification Systems in Agricultural Production and Farming Systems
Researchers at the Natural Resources Institute (NRI) and the University of Leeds have published a new working paper in the NRI series on sustainable standards. The paper outlines the rise of private standards in agriculture and explores their social, economic and environmental impacts. The study reviews the market demand and supply of certified products, and summarises the impact methodologies, activities of standard bodies, and the findings or evidence to date. It brings together evidence about production and market trends in certification schemes, assesses the extent to which standards are contributing to environmental, social and economic sustainability, and discusses their relationship to other tools, ending with a discussion of public awareness and communication issues. Food Climate Research Network post.
Keep the preservation pipeline flowing
We New Jerseyans are an enthusiastic bunch when it comes to preserving land. Thirteen times since 1961, our residents have voted yes on Green Acres and farmland preservation ballot questions, making us a national leader. Now it’s time for the Garden State to lead again. The Legislature is about to allocate the last of the remaining funds from a $400 million referendum approved in 2009. Once the final votes are taken and Gov. Chris Christie signs off, the preservation funding pipeline will run dry. There will be no money left in state coffers to protect farms, forests, water sources and historic places, no more money for Blue Acres buyouts of flood-pronelands. Without these state funds, county and municipal open space efforts may founder. phillyburbs.com post.
Farmland preservation efforts advance
The Garden State Preservation Trust recently approved a request for $3.6 million to help Monmouth County, several towns and one nonprofit organization preserve farmland across the county as part of New Jersey’s efforts to further farmland preservation, Agriculture Secretary Douglas H. Fisher announced. “Farmland is the foundation for agriculture and for so many of the benefits Monmouth County’s farms have to offer us — everything from opportunities to enjoy fresh, local produce and farm experiences, to rural and open landscapes that keep our communities green and growing,” Fisher said. “The Christie Administration is committed to providing funds that enable New Jersey to continue our partnership efforts to preserve productive farmland and ensure that agriculture remains a vital part of Monmouth County and the Garden State for all time.” Allentown Examiner story.
Webinar: Food Culture 2012 Year in Review, Tuesday, December 18, 2012 1:00 pm
Join Tamara Tamara Barnett, Director, Strategic Insights, Hartman Group, as she recaps the highlights and lowlights of the past year as well as take us through a list of 12 of our favorite concepts compiled from issues of our Hartbeat newsletter in 2012.Registration required.
AND IF YOU HAVE TIME
How Walmart Is Devouring Our Food System (Infographic)
Walmart now captures $1 of every $4 Americans spend on groceries. It’s on track to claim one-third of food sales within five years. Here’s a look at how Walmart has dramatically altered the food system — triggering massive consolidation, driving down prices to farmers, and leaving more families struggling to afford healthy food. Huffington post.