Tag Archives: food

Big Tech tries to replace meat with chemicals but real foods are better

two cows
Source: Wikipedia
Nicholas Kristofferson of the New York Times tells us that Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are two competitors creating meat-like products in laboratories with the backing of, “Bill Gates and both Biz Stone and Ev Williams of Twitter fame, not to mention Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the venture capital firm that backed Google and Amazon.” Didn’t take long for Big Tech to figure out how much money and power lies in controlling people’s food supply.

Beyond Meat’s, “best-selling product, the Beast Burger, is loaded with protein, vitamins, antioxidants and Omega-3s.” A healthy product, if you believe that eating a dinner of chemicals is good for your health. I actually don’t. I’d rather eat a chick pea curry or a falafel sandwich. They don’t taste anything like meat, but they’re filling, delicious and nutritious.

If you’re wanting to reduce your meat consumption, check out Ellie Krieger’s suggestions for truly healthy substitutes. And forget the chemicals.

The unfortunate case of the disappearing Black farmer

John Boyd was interviewed by Grist writer Madeleine Thomas on the state of Black farmers in America. Mr. Boyd has been a driving force in the movement to procure support for Black farmers – and even funding to help cover the personal and community cost of Black farmers being denied USDA support that was made readily available to Caucasians.

Boyd’s work helped spark a landmark legal case in 1997. In the class-action lawsuit Pigford v. Glickman, 400 black farmers alleged that the United States Department of Agriculture had denied them loans based on racial discrimination. The decision eventually awarded thousands of black farmers payments up to $50,000 for discrimination claims. In 2010, President Obama announced an additional $1.25 billion settlement, known as Pigford II, to fund any additional unfiled claims. Native American, female, and Latino farmers were also eventually awarded similar settlements, too.

…What has happened is that a lot of family farms have been left to the next generation, and they’re really not set up to continue farming. That has created a huge challenge for black people in this country as far as being agriculturalists and maintaining and contributing to America’s fabric, which is why black people were brought into this country in the first place. We were brought to this country to work the land and we’ve done it for hundreds of years for scot-free. Here we are hundreds of years later, barely holding on here.

Mr. Boyd advises taking back control over our connection to land and food by investing in back gardening, small scale farming and even larger scale farming. On the particular subject of land, he shares this wisdom:

We need people to become concerned that God doesn’t make any more land. They make a new Cadillac and a new Mercedes-Benz every day, but the actual land, once it gets away from you and your family loses that land, it’s very difficult to go back and buy it from a white farmer because they’re not going to sell it back to you. We can’t continue to give our land away for pennies on the dollar and move to suburbs and condominiums. That’s a real problem.

…As my grandfather said, “I can’t leave my PhD to my children, but I can leave my raggedy farm to them.”

User friendly food-date labeling system can cut waste

eat or freeze by use by dateTwilight Greenaway writes in Civil Eats about the food waste being caused by a broken US food labeling system that is inconsistent and misunderstood. She examines solutions proposed in The Dating Game, a new report by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic. NRDC has already been “getting the word out about food waste” and “confusing expiration dates” for years now.

No matter how many times we’re reminded that 40 percent of the food we produce in the U.S. goes to waste, it still manages to be a pretty shocking number…

According to Dana Gunders, NRDC’s resident food waste expert, the date labeling system in the U.S. is “not a system at all.” Instead, she says: “It’s like the Wild West. Laws vary across states and, for most labels on a vast majority of products, the manufacturers choose whether to have a date at all, which kind to apply, what they interpret that label to mean, and how to determine when to set that date.”

The result? People are throwing away food on those dates because they believe it’s no longer safe to eat — up to 90 percent of us. And, conversely, we might be eating unsafe food because we’re placing more trust in those dates than we should.

One business’ trash can be somebody’s dinner

Rob Greenfield dives in the name of ending hunger – dumpster dives! 40% of US food goes uneaten so Rob travels around the country collecting food which he brings to parks and puts on display to show how much good food ends up being a waste problem instead of a hunger solution. After the media he invites have the chance to inspect his bounty, Rob gives it away:

“After leaving it out on display for a little while, if people want to take it home and eat it, they can.”

dumpster diver shares his bounty

Rob finds perfectly good fruits, vegetables – both whole and prepackaged/cut up, canned foods, blocks of cheese, pizzas, bags full of bread and bagels. He’s eaten from 3-500 dumpsters and has never gotten sick from the food he’s found in them.

Rob’s goal is to connect the many people who are food insecure – who lack regular access to food – with the stream of food items that are discarded by restaurants and grocery stores even though there is nothing wrong with them .. except for being past a sell by date, which Rob says, “means nothing.” In the future Rob imagines, no good food will ever end up in a dumpster.

According to non-profit Feeding America, “In 2013, 49.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households, including 33.3 million adults and 15.8 million children.”

At TedX, Congwoman Pingree talks as a sustainable organic farmer

Cong Chellie Pingree on Twitter
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree is the type of modern Democrat we need to keep in Washington, representing the American People’s interests at the federal level. Like Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Cong. Pingree is a thoughtful, well educated, hard working and egalitarian woman with a quirky (but fun) sense of humor. She too believes that the American people can triumph over corporate greed and interests and works very hard to make sure this becomes reality.

One of the businesses Cong. Pingree owns is an organic chicken processing operation. She says she never fails to remind her colleagues that she’s an “expert chicken eviscerater.” Pingree jokes, “that’s a useful skill to have in Congress.”

In this TEDX Talk, Pingree talks about her history as a Maine Farmer and her ongoing work reforming national food policy and the federal Farm Bill. She challenges us to support the production of sustainably grown organic food in any ways we can, and charges us with helping to protect the butterflies and bees we need to help our food get naturally pollinated and thrive.

Hat tip to Theresa Lam for the find!

Solution to China’s food pollution issues: eat local

green water in ChinaAn Alternet report examines how many China grown food products contain dangerous heavy metals, which are toxic and dangerous to consume. 50% of rice tested in Guangzhou and as much as 10% of all China grown rice contains cadmium.

Wary consumers who aren’t interested in waiting for FDA to ramp up its testing of Chinese food imports can take their own measures to minimize the possibility of contamination. Local, as in American-grown produce, will trump labels such as “organic,” if the food in question was grown in a potentially polluted place.

In fact, if it’s grown in a polluted place, organic produce could contain more heavy metals than conventionally grown food. Organic agriculture practices include the use of manure, which could add heavy metals to the soil if the cattle were eating contaminated feed, such as hay grown in a contaminated field, according to Michael Schmitt, a soil scientist at the University of Minnesota. “Once you put metals in a field,” he said, “they don’t go away.”

Thus, organic food from a polluted area of China could carry significantly more heavy metals than nonorganic food from the U.S. This puts a new spin on the idea of eating locally. In this case it could mean from anywhere in this vast continent—Canada and Mexico don’t seem to have heavy metal problems. But in a way, the reasons are similar to why many people prefer buying from the local farm stand: you have more information about how something is grown.

Not all food is required by law to be labeled with a country of origin. Foods purchased abroad and processed in the USA, for example, are exempt, as are foods containing multiple ingredients. The safest way to confirm a food item didn’t come from China is to look for labels that announce where it is from. If no information is given, avoid it.

Best practices are: eat local; avoid foods not labelled with country of origin and eat only foods minimally processed. And, be wary of nutrition supplements because they concentrate ingredients, including poisonous ones.

Chinese runner in gas mask

More photos of pollution in China

Seed diversity means food security! Cool little movie tells why

Seed Diversity means Food Security! The best way to provide for enough good food across the globe is to let nature do what it was created to do. Seeds and crops adapt to environmental and geographical changes much better than anything man can invent. So let’s respect nature, and let food be food! If you don’t believe me, watch this little graphic cartoon. It’s very convincing.

Green Drinks celebrates World & US Food Days

Green Drinks celebrates Food Day
Green Drinks celebrated Food Day and World Food Day in November at our Paterson-Clifton gathering. We discussed the relationship between producers, consumers and the food that binds us together … and read stories of how sustainable ag lifts us up by creating economic opportunities, healthy lives and a sustainable planet.

Ari reading World Food Day brochure

Major corps take over organic brands & dilute them

The organic designation in the United States doesn’t have the quality guarantee that it once did. That’s because major corporations have taken over the organic industry and are obviously looking to increase profits. That means buying up independent organic brands and then diluting the “organic” label by throwing their mega-billions of dollars behind lobbying to lower the standards that have protected the organic designation. Lower standards mean more profit, after all.

Is there something else going on here as well? For example, do major corps want to sell us frankenfood because they’re heavily invested in nursing homes, the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries? Well, maybe. That research is still waiting to be done, so stand by, folks.

For today, I can give you this graphic showing all of the once truly “organic” brands that are now owned by major food corporations.

Chart showing organic brands that have been taken over by Big Food companies

I hope all my Jersey friends went out and voted for Board of Education candidates today. Let me know …

Emergency help in New Jersey towns (post-Sandy)

As we learn of help and resources available in New Jersey towns for victims of Hurricane Sandy, we’re posting them, along with special information about school closures and other important local information.

  • Very Important Tips/Announcements

  • If you bought a generator from Costco DO NOT USE IT! Its causing FIRES!

Municipal Closures and Enforcement Changes

  • Fair Lawn

  • Emergency Information: Overnight parking restriction suspended (you may park on the street) until Monday, Nov. 5 2012. Check for parking updates at 201-794-5399
  • Garbage pick-up is suspended temporarily. Residents may bring household garbage and recyclables to the DPW at 20-05 Saddle River Road
  • Charging Stations
    Fair Lawn Community Center on Kipp Street and Berdan Road on Thursday 11/1 Friday 11/2 7am-9pm Sat 11/3 9am-9pm & Sun 11/3 9am-5pm. Fair Lawn High School has charging stations from 10am-2pm Fri on 11/2
  • Showers
    Showers available at the Community Center on Kipp Street and Berdan Road
  • Contacts
    Kurt Peluso 201-410-1558
  • Hackensack

  • Emergency information: for all emergencies call 911. City offices re-opened Thursday, Nov. 1 2012. They are experiencing limited telephone service. Curfew is in effect from 6pm to 6am daily until further notice. Schools are closed until Monday, Nov 5 2012.
  • Local businesses open
    Target on Hackensack Ave
    Home Depot on Hackensack Avenue
    Costco on So. River Street
    Burger King on Hackensack Avenue
    711 on Main Street & State Street
    Deli Mart on Main Street
    Farmers Market on Passaic Street
    Lucky Farms on South Summit Avenue
  • Hoboken

  • FOOD
    A food truck capable of serving hundreds of meals will be at the Capital One Bank parking lot (3rd and Washington) serving free meals to the public this afternoon. Food trucks from throughout the region are invited into Hoboken to help feed our community.
  • The Elks Club will also be serving food to the public this afternoon. The Fire Department pumped out the loading dock for the A&P supermarket, which is expecting a delivery and hoping to open today.
  • Water tankers are available at 1st & Washington and 315 Hudson St (bring your own container)
  • Irvington

  • Resources are being organized and communicated by Mayor Wayne Smith. Call his cell at 973-219-5245 or text him a number so he can call you back. Mayor Smith’s Facebook Page
  • CITY CONTACT INFO (may not be working)
    • Fire Dept: 973-399-6555
    • Police Dept: 973-399-6600
    • Mayor Office:973-399-6639
    First Congressional Christian United Methodist Church at 1240 Clinton Avenue Irvington Ave (off civic Square). Call if you have mobility difficulties and need transportation.
  • Chris Gatling Center at 285 Union Avenue Irvington 973-399-6597
    There are food stores open on Springfield Avenue in Irvington from Grove Street up to the Maplewood line
  • Jersey City

    Emergency information: Curfew is in effect from 7pm to 7am daily until further notice.

  • Newark

  • Resources and advisories are being communicated by the mayor via Twitter @corybooker or for non-emergency assistance call 973-266-4111 (if not working try 973-877-9323, 973-733-9326, 973-733-9321 or 973-733-9325)
  • FOOD
  • Hot meals are being served daily to residents in Newark affected by Sandy at these locations
  • 502 Summer Avenue
  • 595 Mt. Prospect Avenue
  • 444 Mt. Prospect Avenue
  • 136 Tiffany Boulevard
  • 1 Court Street
  • 2 Speedway Drive
  • 285 Burnett Street
  • 1060 Broad Street
  • Shabazz High School
  • JFK High School
    NPS is hosting shelters for those in need at West Side, MX Shabazz, and Samuel Berliner. You can go to a shelter to stay overnight or just to warm up, and you can shower at some of them. Some serve food too.
    • Newark Public Schools closed Monday and Tuesday (Nov 5&6) for CHILDREN
  • Xtra Super 930 Broadway; meat counter open till 8pm store open till 9pm (973) 484-7200
  • Pathmark Supermarket 281 Ferry St Open 24 hours (973) 589-3922
  • Met Food Market 514 Ferry St Open till 8 pm (973) 817-9333
  • Extra Supermarket 125 Avon Ave Open till 8 pm (973) 504-9696
  • C Town Supermarket 120 Clinton Ave #Newark Open till 6 or 7. Call (973) 642-3363
  • Brothers Supermarket 525 Springfield Ave #Newark (973) 481-6499 Open till 8 pm
  • Bravo Supermarket 260 Roseville Ave Open till 8 pm (973) 485-6170
  • Twin City 611 Broadway open till 8 pm.
  • Fatima Supermarket 111 Wilson open till 10 pm, lines are not long.
  • Pathmark 167 Bergen St. restocking shelves now. Open 24 hours with average lines.
  • Seabra’s Ferry Street & Wilson Ave. locations are open. Chestnut Street is closed
  • Newark Pulse website and Facebook Page
  • On Twitter: @newnewark @sustainablenwk Newark Green Drinks/Green Wei
  • Newark Museum Free to public Sat/Sun Nov 3&4 12-5pm
  • Nubian Flavor Restaurant at 410 Springfield Avenue 973-242-2238 – Free coffee and charging stations till 7pm
  • Newark Museum writes: As we deal with the aftermath of the storm, we invite you to come in, relax, get warm, and enjoy the beautiful art in our 80 galleries. The Museum is offering free admission this Saturday and Sunday, and we welcome you to participate in art and science activities for children, and group tours; charge your smart phone; and enjoy free WiFi.
  • New Brunswick

  • New Brunswick Elks Lodge is hosting a FREE SOUP KITCHEN to help those that would like a warm meal and something warm to drink.
  • Passaic

  • Street parking enforcement suspended through 11/4
  • UPO on Myrtle Avenue by #11 school is open Fri/Sat/Sun Nov 3-4 12-5pm. All are welcome to come and drink coffee, charge your phone or plan a meeting.
  • Plainfield/Fanwood

  • Emergency information: Curfew is in effect from 7pm to 6am daily.
    Rebecca Williams on Facebook
  • Washington School 427 Darrow Street between West 7th & West 4th Streets! (hot food, charging stations, cots)
  • Fire Division Engine 3 Station (1147 West Third Street) has been set up as a food distribution center and charging station.
  • Emerson School is being used as a resource center
  • List of other shelters throughout New Jersey

  • Bergen County: Bergen Community College, 400 Paramus Road, Paramus
  • Cumberland County: Red Cross Shelters at: Cumberland County College, 3322 College Drive., Vineland
  • Cumberland County:  Vo-Tech, 601 Bridgeton Ave., Bridgeton
  • Essex County: Codey Arena at the Essex County South Mountain Recreation Complex in West Orange can house 150 people.
  • Maplewood: DeHart Community Center in DeHart Park, 120 Burnett Road
  • Caldwell Community Center, 1 Provost Square – is open as a warming center from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Livingston High School and Seton Hall University are open as overnight shelters
  • Red Cross Shelter: JFK Recreation Center, 211 West Kinney Avenue, Newark
  • Middlesex County: Carl Sandburg Middle School, Route 516, just off of Route 9 North in Old Bridge.
  • Woodbridge Community Center 600 Main Street – for area residents in need of continuous supervised medical care. Pets accepted.
  • Carteret: Carteret Middle School, Carteret Ave.
  • Nathan Hale School, Haywood and Roosevelt Avenues
  • East Brunswick, Trinity Baptist Church, Cranbury Road
  • Edison: Edison Senior Center, 2963 Woodbridge Avenue
  • Milltown, Firehouses on Cottage Avenue and South Main Street
  • Monroe High School
  • Sayreville Historical Museum, 425 Main Street, Sayreville
  • Medical-needs and special needs shelter has opened at Woodbridge Community Center, 600 Main Street
  • Monmouth County: MAC Center at Monmouth University in West Long Branch
  • Arthur Brisbane Child Treatment Center, 4240 Allaire Road, Farmingdale
  • Salem County: Salem Community College
  • Somerset County: Hillsborough Municipal Building, 379 South Branch Road, Hillsborough
  • North Plainfield High School, 100 Brooks Blvd. – accepting pets but owner must stay at separate location.
  • Somerville Branch of the Somerset Valley YMCA, 2 Green Street – open to all who lost power from 5 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. call (908) 722-4567
  • Union County: Cranford Community Center, 220 Walnut Street – pets accepted
  • Emerson Elementary School, 305 Emerson Avenue, Plainfield
  • Ralph Froehlich Public Safety Building, lower lobby, 300 North Avenue East, Westfield – free public mobile phone(only) charging station, laptops and other devices cannot be charged here.
  • Warren County: The Trinity Church, 213 Main Street – overnight shelter for Hackettstown residents only, bring own pillows, blankets, food, medicines, books, games, or sleeping bags. Charging station – NO PETS