Monday, April 9, 2012

on my mind monday 4.9.12

news | photo: mconnors
It's never the same thing two weeks in a row.  This is a snapshot of what I find interesting; information about health, nutrition and holistic living.  Read what's on my mind.

World's Largest Rooftop Farm - Farming is changing and no is no longer only the traditional large acreage farm.  Bringing fresh food to the city by utilizing spaces differently is a great idea.

Michigan calls heritage pigs invasive - It's beginning to look like BigAg is trying to control your food even further by potentially driving small heritage pig farmers out of business. Not content to allow these smaller farmers a share of the market they've found a way to class their pigs as part of an invasive species and to get the government to buy in to it.  I hope that this is overturned...we need genetic diversity in all populations and I am a firm believer in preserving heritage breeds.

Food Adulteration - Food adulteration has been around for millenia.  It is a sad truth that when someone makes money selling a food product the temptation to make more money by stretching the product is there. Some examples include:

  • using cheaper oils like corn in premium, more desirable products such as olive oil
  • honey, there is a huge adulteration of honey, often with high fructose corn syrup
  • coffee can be stretched through the use of chicory, roasted corn, and even legumes
Because the adulterants are not listed on the label it can be difficult to know what you are getting.  Sadly the Food Fraud Database is difficult to use and results are not clear. This once again highlights the need to know where your food is coming from and to, whenever possible, know your producer.

Gleaning - There appears to be a growing number of gleaning operations as a way to finish off the harvesting of fields with the food collected often going to food banks and soup kitchens.  In many places that I have traveled in the US I am often startled to see food going to waste.  A recent trip to Austin, TX revealed loquat trees bursting with fruits that were falling off the trees and rotting on the ground.   Many homes in California have citrus trees and don't use them all, to the point where the food goes to waste. Farms often leave the last bit of produce because it's not worth the effort to go get it.  Yet the ability to deliver fresh food to those in need is a priceless gift.  It does however require labor to collect and distribute the food.  Finding gleaning organizations where you can donate your extra produce or labor can be a little difficult to find.  Here is one, you can also run a local search to look for more in your area.

This is a fascinating idea. Being still relatively new to Texas I find that I have a difficult time growing vegetables in my backyard (we seem to be doing okay with fruit trees so far which is great) and would love a concept like this where someone who knows the area could help. The video is from a few years ago but Your Backyard Farmer is apparently still going strong in the Portland, OR area.

To read:

I just heard about Make the Bread, Buy the Butter and am adding it to my get-and-read list.  I'll be interested to see what the author recommends.  It's true that there is a lot we can make but is it worth the effort and do we want to take the time to do it.  Fermented foods are high on my list but I truly can't see myself making butter.  I do make pickles and jams but not nearly as much as I used to (mostly because we don't go through them as fast now that the kids are grown).  What I've always found fascinating is how many things can be made by hand that we've forgotten or lost the art of doing.  One of my little cooking friends was astounded one day when they were visiting and we made pudding together.  In their experience pudding always came from a box.  Part of my interest in this book is not only about the time however.  Some things I make, such as mayonaise, because I object to the added ingredients and homemade is a way to avoid that.



Karen Langston said...

Great post this week!
I know when I lived in Texas I gave up on gardening due to the fire ants and the mosquito.
Here in Arizona everything is opposite to the East Coast and has really thrown me for a loop. I did find someone local to help with the dilemma.
Hope you take tons of pics and share your blog posts on your journey into gardening-would be fun!

Sam said...

Can you post your Mayo Receipe?

Jeff Wise said...

I can't believe Michigan is doing what they're doing to pig farmers. Recently they conducted armed raids on pig farmers and made one shoot all his pigs. I couldn't believe it when I read it.

Mira Dessy said...

It's very sad for the farmers and the loss to the industry. Of more concern is the loss of genetic diversity and the blatant attempt by BigAg to control our food.

I have serious concerns about this issue and the issue of mono-cropping. Loss of bio-diversity is not a long-term solution for survival, it is a recipe for disaster.

Unfortunately corporate vision proves over and over again to be focused on short-term profit. The only answer I can think of at this point is for people to be vocal, speak up about your food and your right to understand what you are eating, where it comes from and how it is produced.