Friday, July 25, 2014


An alert from CropMobster just called my attention to this organization:
Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture or MESA
They are engaged in crowd funding for some new initiatives in food justice including farmer-to-farmer exchanges and developing an on-line curriculum in global agro-ecology and local food systems.
I'm often suspicious of crowd funding campaigns, but when I saw that Ecology Action and Bountiful Gardens are supporting this one, it was a no brainer.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

We knew this!

...but now the data supports our assumptions - and then some.

The Weizmann Institute of Science recently completed a study revealing that among animal foods, beef has an environmental impact one order of magnitude higher than the other most common animal foods in the U.S. diet (dairy, eggs, poultry and pork).  They looked at land use, irrigation water use, greenhouse gas emissions and nitrogen inputs.  Beef production requires 28, 11, 5, and 6 times more than the average of the other four animal foods!

The method they used can now be used to compare environmental impacts of other animal and plant foods. 

Here's an excerpt from the abstract of the peer-reviewed paper in the journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences):
"Livestock-based food production is an important and pervasive way humans impact the environment. It causes about one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions, and is the key land user and source of water pollution by nutrient overabundance. It also competes with biodiversity, and promotes species extinctions....We show that minimizing beef consumption mitigates the environmental costs of diet most effectively."   

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A blog to follow

There are some fascinating byways on this blog:

Drought report

Here's a summary of the most recent UC Davis report on the drought.

Many of the numbers are small percentages, but if one looks through them the impact of many individuals, workers and farmers, could be heartbreaking.

I'm curious about the fact that prices for grapes, nuts and dairy won't be much impacted.  It will be interesting to see if they rise anyway, with the drought as an excuse.

Most shocking - California has not statewide plan for groundwater management.  Who has been snoozing? cowardly about addressing this?

Friday, July 11, 2014

Food, good and neighborly

The e-news of the Association of Episcopal Deacons linked to this story.  It made me hungry even though I'd just had dinner.  Let's hear it for deacons who don't just offer food aid, but good food, and find ways to fund it which connect community.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Availability vs Prohibition

Catching up on reading some e-newsletters led me to poking around resources for the "healthy corner store" movement.  "Healthy" here means a healthy business selling healthful food.  (I will stick to the usage conventions I learned!)  One thing that fascinates me is that none of them talk about banning certain products, but about increasing healthful alternatives and promoting them effectively.  And why not?  My experience is that kids at the Teen Center, next door to a corner market, ask for fruit for after school snacks, and are disappointed if the Gleaning Project or neighbors haven't donated any lately. Emphasizing the positive choice is contrary to the impetus here in Sonoma County - banning tobacco, alcohol and sugar in corner stores.
Prohibition didn't work!
I found this nice guide for merchants in the materials from Philadelphia:

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

First the Padres

then the Giants.  Oh for better food and some fresh alternatives at Athletics' games.