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Archive for 'Community'

Nourishment comes in various forms. The physical body is nourished with food and drink. The soul, however, is a bit more complex as nourishment means different things to different people. Religion feeds this part of the being for many. For others, it’s doing something that makes them feel like a better person. For me, it is being surrounded by people who love me unconditionally or sitting in a room full of people who care deeply about the same things I do. What is that you ask? Food. Nutritious, accessible, healthy-for-you and healthy-for-the-planet food.

This was my second year attending the Edible Institute (“EI” and to see the conversation on Twitter #edi2012). Last year’s conference made quite an impression on me leaving 2012 with some seriously huge shoes to fill. If you are not familiar with Edible, they are beautiful magazines filled with everything food-related local to that area, or as they say,  Award Winning Magazines That Celebrate Local Foods, Season by Season. There are almost 70 Edible magazines and publishers flew in from all over the United States and Canada this past Wednesday to attend a publishers’ conference. Saturday morning Edible Institute ignited bringing publishers together with filmmakers, food writers, farmers, activists,  fisherman, ranchers, winemakers, bloggers, and yours truly. I can tell you that the 2012 EI did not disappoint. The notion that one person can make a difference thoroughly resonated. It penetrated my self-doubt and reminded me that what I do matters and does make a difference.

 

Nikki Henderson, photo by Fran Colin

“Life is just a series of breakdowns and breakthroughs. Not everyone will breakthrough, but everyone should have the choice.” – Nikki Henderson

I knew very little about Nikki Henderson when she walked up to the podium to deliver her keynote speech, other than the fact that she looked stunning in her fitted, cafe-au-lait colored knit dress and short, tight dreadlocks. Her bio told me that she was the Executive Director of People’s Grocery in Oakland, CA and a champion for food justice for the poor. Henderson told her food story which encompassed her time in her mama’s womb, her mother’s decision to breastfeed, seeing kale for the first time at 23, and learning what really worked for the impoverished and underfed people of Oakland. She’s wise beyond her years, funny, eloquent, and oh so passionate about what she stands for. The captivating oration was an all-around yummy way to launch a 2-day food movement conference.

Highlight: Henderson’s reminder that “food justice has to be for everyone who doesn’t have someone to fight for them.” That may mean the farmer on the other side of the political aisle who doesn’t have a voice (yes, the one who votes for the other guy) . She ended her speech by asking, “Who do you have to be to help the movement?” It was a profound and rather humbling moment. Not sure what my answer is…I’ll have to get back to you on that one.
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It’s no secret that our food supply is in dire straights. In support of Occupy Our Food Supply Day, here are some important links to read and share. If you are on Twitter, use hashtag #F27 to add your voice to the conversation.

Occupy Our Food Supply website
Rainforest Action Network

Dr. Vandana Shiva: Occupy our food supply!
Grist
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Let’s be real for a minute. Does anyone actually stick to their new year’s resolutions? My Twitter feed is loaded with links to articles like, “10 Resolutions You’ll Actually Stick To!” Over the holiday, my sister-in-law asked me if I’ve ever had a resolution that worked and if yes, for how long. I started to ponder and I honestly don’t think I’ve had one work longer than a few months. But hey, don’t think that will stop me from setting new ones. Maybe 2102 will be the year!

Before I dive into my resolutions, I first want to pat myself on the back for a few food related things I did accomplish this year. They weren’t new year’s resolutions, but a goal none the less. I really should say “we” since all of these include my hubby too.
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Fast food is cheap. Pay $2.00 and you get a huge burrito at Taco Bell. For a $1.99 you get a BK Topper Deluxe burger. Virtually every fast food joint has a value, dollar, or $0.99 menu. Poor families often eat at places like McDonald’s because where else can you spend $12 and feed a family of 4? On the flip side, “healthy” food has bad rap for being expensive, and to be fair, it often is. But does it have to be?

In response to cheap, fast food, Slow Food started the $5 Slow Food Challenge. They challenged people across the USA to make meal for less than $5.00 per person and to take this pledge:

“I pledge to share a fresh, healthy meal that costs less than $5 — because slow food shouldn’t have to cost more than fast food.”

Slow Food chose $5 since that is the typical cost of a fast food meal when you include an “entree, ” side and a drink (think burgers, fries and a Coke).  When I told my friends that I was participating in the challenge, virtually no one I talked to had heard of Slow Food. I was surprised since this global organization started in Italy in the late 80′s; a counter to the rise of fast food and fast life. In addition to addressing the disappearance of local food traditions, Slow Food seeks to “…renew people’s interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world.” Noble cause, lofty goal, especially considering the popularity of fast food.
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From Junk to Funk: One Mom’s Tale

This is a guest post by Janeane Bernstein. Be Food Smart showcases voices from all fronts of the food movement. Know of a blogger, farmer or passionate storyteller who may be interested? Contact us or provide details in your comment.

Hasta la vista fast food, bye-bye TV dinners – I’m out of my funk!

Bacon double cheeseburgers, French fries, ring dings, Twinkies, pepperoni pizza, sodas galore, TV dinners – you name it, I ate it. Those were just a few of my favorite things growing up and the list goes on. Of course, now I know why I was packing on a few extra lbs, was so sluggish and even depressed at times. I was eating cookies for breakfast and a whole assortment of high sugar treats on the way to school. As the day continued my high fat, high sugar roller coaster continued.
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On October 1st, we participated in the second annual SOL Food Festival in Santa Barbara, California. This festival is more than just a celebration of Sustainable, Organic and Local food. The goal is to delight and educate. It was in this spirit that we were challenged by the event organizers to come up with a fun activity where people might actually learn something. The outcome?

SOL Food Jeopardy

One of our first Jeopardy games of the day. This was a great group to get us started. Jonas Dalidd is sitting behind the computer and Dina Clapinski is Alex Trebek. Photo by Shabina Dalidd

For 8 hours we hosted virtually non-stop jeopardy games. Dina’s voice was the only thing slowing us down!


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Regardless of how you feel about genetically modified organisms (GMOs), it’s hard to argue that consumers shouldn’t have the right to know if we’re eating them. Monsanto, big ag scientists, and our government keeps saying GMOs are perfectly safe and that GMO labeling would only “confuse” consumers. In national surveys, it’s something like 93% of Americans are in favor of GMO labeling. No wonder big ag and food manufacturers don’t want to label because they know people may think twice before buying foods with GE ingredients.
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