Tuesday, January 29, 2013

food and the written word

Will books survive because of cookbooks?   Possibly, if this New York Times article is any indication:

I laughed out loud at some of the annotations reported here - Elizabeth David is so humorous in her outspokenness in her own books, apparently more so in her marginalia -  and I wanted to run and dredge out my old books, and my mother's and grandmother's recipes and commune with them.  

I often think about getting everything in digital form, but there is too much history in the jottings and food smears and stuck together pages.   So relieved I am not alone in this.  

Monday, January 28, 2013

Coming Attractions

The Community Garden Network of Sonoma County
is having an event this Saturday, February 2, at Spring Hills Church on Fulton Road in Santa Rosa.

This is not quite the first event for this group, but kind of - an exploratory event to simply gather people was held last year.  Now things are getting organized.   Gleaning groups from around the county are going to have a table to promote our work.

And a big save the date for Sunday afternoon, March 17, for the public launch of the Interfaith Sustainable Food Collaborative, gathering congregations to network with one another and representatives of our local farms and CSAs.  Details will be posted here http://www.interfaithfood.org/  and on this blog as they are firmed up.
Currently the Collaborative is working in Marin and Sonoma Counties.

Does faith matter in issue advocacy?

I just read this NPR story on climate change and faith:

Other than the fact that the author uses "clergy" as a single noun (why do I expect more from NPR?), rather than a collective one, it's a pretty good piece, and makes some interesting points.

I wonder if the same caveats apply to sustainable food system advocacy by the faith community?
- that where people stand on the issues is influenced much more by political party than religion
- that we need to frame our message in terms of specific justice outcomes.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

What didn't happen with the Farm Bill

Part of the cliff-avoidance legislative package left much of our agriculture sector still standing on the edge.

The 2008 Farm Bill was renewed until September.   Doesn't sound bad until you realize that no change is a reactionary move.  The kinds of programs we'd hoped to see more of - in support of small farms, conservation, generational transition among farmers, etc. aren't going to happen any time soon.   Subsidies of conventional crops, some of which are now seen as not much needed even by the farmers, will continue.
Here's a short story from this morning on NPR

Why did this happen?  Because even though the Sentate passed a new and more progressive farm bill in early summer, and the House Agriculture community moved it along, House leadership failed to bring it   to the floor.  So are all those rural folks going to continue to vote Republican?   Why?

Many ag advocacy organizations worked for a modified extension.  We here of the Interfaith Sustainable Agriculture Collaborative signed on.  But it just didn't have the traction needed.
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition called the extension of the 2008 bill "awful" - which I think is more disparaging than using profanity would have been.

A quick internet search revealed that both sustainable and conventional agriculture leadership are complaining.  Conventional dairy farmers got caught in the price fixing bind.   Consumers may celebrate that milk prices do not rise, but it's inevitable that they will eventually as more dairymen and women go out of business.

A few useful programs in the 2008 bill had been unfunded since the fall - but they were refunded by this extension.  Some of them are even programs that help reduce negative environmental impacts of farming.  And SNAP is fully funded again for now, though the fiscal reactionaries are breathing fire in its direction.