Want to learn about what’s wrong with the current Farm Bill in under 4 minutes? It’s a three-day weekend so sit back, relax and check out this creative cartoon from Food and Water Watch:
Learn more about the 2012 Farm Bill and how to get involved, visit Food and Water Watch
This week we are showcasing films shown at the 2012 Edible Institute (“EI”).
The first time I saw Back to the Start, I almost started crying. I couldn’t believe that a mainstream company, even one as progressive as Chipotle, would release something like this. Sometimes I get lost in my little bubble of foodie-Santa Barbara where people discuss GMOs, CAFOs, Monstanto, and the Farm Bill at dinner parties. Then, I’ll visit friends out of town and realize that the American food norm is far, far away from my little world. A corporate company making a video about factory farming is abnormal.
I honestly thought that everyone had seen it (make sure to scroll down to the bottom for the making-of video too!). Except, when I asked my dad, brother and best friend, they hadn’t heard about it. Perhaps airing the video during the Grammys wasn’t enough?
I want all eaters to see this movie! Why? Because in 2 minutes and 20 seconds, Chipotle manages to tell a simple story of a farmer who moves from a sustainable family farm to an industrial animal factory and then realizes he needs to go back to where he started. I believe in baby steps. I believe that everyone needs to understand where their food comes from and how it’s made. That’s why my brother and I started Be Food Smart in the first place. In the food movement, there is so much talk about reaching those beyond “the choir.” The beauty of this mini movie is its simplicity and ability to reach the mainstream with a message they are not hearing right now. While Chipotle is certainly not perfect, they are a tiny stride in the right direction and, quite frankly, the food movement needs all the help it can get.
Is your breakfast cereal “natural” or “organic?” Think there is not much difference between the two? You’re not alone. Fancy marketing campaigns specifically designed to trick consumers into believing that these two terms essentially mean the same thing are in play every time you see a cereal box. But the true difference between “natural” and “organic” is huge and one organization took up the challenge of exposing this practice.
A just-released report from The Cornucopia Institute found many breakfast cereals bearing the label “natural” to be loaded with pesticides, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and ingredients processed with unnatural chemicals. To be clear, the report was not looking at cereals such as Lucky Charms or Pops, but rather brands like Kashi, Barbara’s and Annie’s Homegrown; cereals and granola which are specifically marketed as health-conscious and “natural.” In Cereal Crimes: How “Natural” Claims Deceive Consumers and Undermine the Organic Label—A Look Down the Cereal and Granola Aisle, the analysis looked at over 45 “natural” cereal brands to determine how natural they really were. They also tested the products for the presence of GMOs. The results of the GMO tests were especially surprising. Even several brands enrolled in the Non-GMO Project contained genetically engineered (GE) ingredients.
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.
I attended the SOL Food Festival last year with my hubby and daughter. One of the big draws was Iron Chef, Cat Cora, doing a food demo on the main stage. When we arrived at the park across from the Saturday Santa Barbara Farmers Market we were greeted by a full-feathered, free-roaming turkey (looking suspiciously like the pied piper with his entourage of about 20 kids following his every move). To the right was the ostrich pen which housed 4 baby ostriches. Not a site to be missed. Behind them, the coolest geometrically shaped chicken coop I’ve ever seen.
Born from the minds of two incredible women, Alison Hensley and Heather Hartley, the festival pays homage to real food – that which is Sustainable, Organic and Local (hence then name SOL) and this year is the second annual event. One of our missions at Be Food Smart is to educate people about food. This is also the mission of the SOL Food Festival which is why I’ve been attending their planning meetings for the past few months. If you are in driving distance of Santa Barbara, support this great cause and join us.
Saturday, October 1, 2011
Plaza de Vera Cruz Park & Cota Street (between Anacapa & Santa Barbara Streets)
Mamas & Papas
Bring the kiddos so they can check out the farm equipment, see animals galore, practice their cooking skills and dance to the music. The best part? No need to fight over buying junk food and cotton candy at the food court.
Single Gals & Gents
Beer & Wine Garden, hunky farmers and hottie hippie chicks. Need I say more?
Farmers, food demos and a chance to socialize with the who’s who of Santa Barbara’s sustainable food world.
Average Joes & Janes
This is your chance to get involved and change the way you eat. Find out what amazing local resources are available in your backyard. Between the 3 stages, countless demos, fabulous exhibitors and great tasting, good-for-you food, you’re bound to go home with new skills and knowledge you can actually use.
The Joel Salatin Wannabes
Pick up tips on composting, building a chicken coop, biodynamic gardening, and soil management. It’s time to get some dirt under those nails!
Jeremy Seifert and his friends eat trash on a regular basis. They are not homeless. They’re 30-something, Angelenos, who rescue enormous amounts of foods from Los Angeles’ supermarket dumpsters and eat it. Sound crazy? It is. But the crazy part is not Seifert, it’s the 96 BILLION pounds of food that we waste in America every year.
“…we’re feeding our landfills as much as our country…Why is all this food being thrown out and not given to people who need it?”
Seifert saw first hand how much food grocery stores threw away. He learned that half of all the food prepared in the US and Europe never gets eating. Seifert decided that this underbelly of our society needed to be exposed and he created a documentary appropriately named, Dive! Below is the 2-minute trailer for the film which has been showing nationwide at film festivals and private screenings since 2009.
Watch this well-spoken, charismatic 11-year-old kid take on the industrial food system in this TEDx video. Birke Baehr is a homeschooler who began learning and taking notice of how food actually gets to the table. He wants all kids to know that food animals do not live on the picturesque farms he had always imagined and outlines his case for why we need to localize and clean up our food production. Pretty remarkable and inspiring message from someone who has only been on this planet for 11 years.
At age 9, while traveling with his family and being “roadschooled,” Birke Baehr began studying sustainable and organic farming practices such as composting, vermiculture, canning and food preservation. Soon he discovered his other passion: educating others — especially his peers — about the destructiveness of the industrialized food system, and the alternatives. He spoke at TEDxNextGenerationAsheville in 2010. Birke Baehr wants us to know how our food is made, where it comes from, and what’s in it. At age 11, he’s planning a career as an organic farmer.
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