Jamie Oliver, Telling It Like It Is

I love Chef Jamie Oliver. I knew who he was many years ago of course, but it wasn’t until I caught a few episodes of his 2008 television series, Jamie’s Ministry of Food, (where Oliver inspires everyday people in Rotherham, Yorkshire, UK to cook healthy meals) that I became a genuine fan. He knows his stuff, he’s passionate about sharing his knowledge, and he puts his money where his mouth is, using his visibility to educate people who might otherwise not be inspired to believe they can make better food choices.

Well, Jamie’s done it again. Educating the public I mean. And this time it’s graphic. Now, I haven’t eaten a McDonald’s hamburger since about 1991, but for those who still think of them as “food” the following video, in Oliver’s trademark, passionate, straight shooting style, will make you think again. This isn’t science fiction, it’s the real deal. Take it from Jamie.

2014 West Coast Seeds Catalogue

The 2014 gardeners’ porn magazine has arrived. Let the lusting and drooling begin…

WCS

 

Don’t Waste a Bite of That Apple

Once you realize how precious your organic food is, you’ll be much more inclined not to let it go to waste or accidentally rot in the back of your fridge. Consider that in order to go organic someone may have to hand weed, hand de-bug and hand pick the food that ends up in your cloth grocery bags. Between that and the dear price you pay for it (which now makes more sense), you’ll not want to waste a nibble of it!

Here is a great example of how to get every last ounce of goodness from the apples that are readily available this time of year, courtesy of Foodbeast at Huffington Post:

It works!

BC to Lose Agricultural Land Reserve

Did you see the recent Globe & Mail article, ‘Sacrosanct’ Agricultural Land Commission Eyed for Breakup? Yup, there’s talk once again of tossing aside the Agricultural Land Reserve, this time in favour of the Oil and Gas Commission. I’m (almost) speechless at the short-sightedness and glassy-eyed greed of the proposal.

UrbanedgeChilliwack

Courtesy of www.smartgrowth.bc.ca

Why, oh why do we keep having to have this discussion? I mean the one about profits for the few in the short term vs. common sense for all for long term.

The Agricultural Land Reserve was the genius of some forward-thinking folks who wanted to protect our prime agricultural land from those with short term, self-interested designs on it.

Up to the 1970′s nearly 6000 hectares of prime agricultural land were lost each year to urban and other uses. The Provincial government responded to the serious erosion of our agricultural land base by introducing BC’s Land Commission Act on April 18, 1973.

A Commission, appointed by the Provincial government, established a special land use zone to protect BC’s dwindling supply of agricultural land. This zone was called the “Agricultural Land Reserve”.  Source

Want a little more background?

“The Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) is a collection of agricultural land in the Canadian province of British Columbia in which agriculture is recognized as the priority. In total, the ALR covers approximately 47,000 square kilometres (18,000 sq mi) and includes private and public lands that may be farmed, forested or are vacant. Some ALR blocks cover thousands of hectares while others are small pockets of only a few hectares. The reserve is administered by the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC), consisting of a chair and six vice-chairs appointed by the Lieutenant Governor-in-Council of British Columbia (cabinet) and twelve regular commissioners appointed by the provincial Minister of Agriculture and Lands.

The ALR was established by the British Columbia New Democratic Party government of Dave Barrett in 1973, when it was considered to be the most progressive legislation of its kind in North America. It was intended to protect valuable agricultural land that has among the most fertile soil in the country from being lost. Despite having been in existence for over 30 years, however, the ALR continues to be threatened by urbanization and the land development industry…

Defenders of ALR policy respond that the province has little arable land, especially of such productivity as exists on the Fraser River delta around Vancouver, and that the ALR protects British Columbia’s important agriculture sector… Defenders of the ALR have been distressed in recent years at what they see as the weakening of the policy, by the designation of golf courses as “agricultural land” and the removal of ALR-protected lands for residential, commercial, and industrial development.”  Source

We’ve been at this argument for a long time. Sigh. I get really tired of rehashing old news. And I just don’t understand why people don’t get what seems so obvious to me:

If we pave over all the land that we can grow food on,

where are we gonna get our food from, exactly?

Bringing in food from outside sources isn’t sustainable long term and leaves us vulnerable. We’ve got to think of the big picture, like those guys were back in the 1970′s.

 

Happy “Local” Halloween

LocalKidsOnlyYou know “local” is trending when even the witches are doing it.

Have a safe, happy Halloween!

 

Why the War on Small Farms is Impacting Your Health

Here’s another informative article on a very important issue, by Vreni at Wellness Tips

Are you not as healthy as you might be due to the politics of food? That statement may seem ridiculous, but it might be quite true for many if you are unable to access food you consider to be healthy. And for the American readers here, your food options are about to shrink even further due to politics.

More and more people are rejecting factory farms, conventional mono-crop farming methods and GMO food and are instead seeking to contract directly with farmers that grow the organic produce and raise the pastured meat, poultry, dairy and eggs that they want .

Big Food sees this trend as a threat to their monopoly, and Governments see it as a threat to food safety.

Food is huge business. Everyone needs to eat, and the huge food companies want you to eat their food, so they are doing all the can to stop the growing interest in farm fresh, local food.

Big Food has big pockets and they are influencing governments to pass regulations that will help them thrive.

Provincial and State governments are prosecuting farmers that form food coops and herd shares in order to supply real food to people that want it, under the guise of not having a retail license, and then making it impossible for the farmers to get the license they require. (People want raw milk which the farmer provides, but the farmer is not able to get a license for raw milk for example).

Farmers that are trying to preserve biodiversity are being prosecuted for such things as keeping “feral pigs”, even though this different breed of pig are not actually wild, but are on a farm.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency slaughtered all of Montana Jones’ very rare heritage sheep despite lab tests showing her animals did not have scrapie. Autopsies afterwards also verified that her sheep were healthy.

(In an effort to save her sheep against an unjust fate, some other farmers “sheep-napped” them which delayed the slaughter for several months, and currently the suspected sheep-napper farmers are in court for that. I know – hard to believe it is true!)

Over 97% of the population wants GMO food to be labeled, and for years Governments have done nothing about that fact, largely because of the overlap between directors of companies like Monsanto and the US Federal Government. Only now are things beginning to change at the State level.

I-522.poster.1022

Big Food is putting millions and millions of dollars into the campaign to defeat Proposition 522 in Washington State, that would require food that contains genetically modified ingredients to be labelled. Big Food won in California by a very narrow margin, defeating that State’s effort to label GMO food.

The Big Food campaign suggests that labelling will increase the cost of food, but these same companies supply GMO labelled and GMO-free food to 64 other countries in the world so it would not be that hard for them.

If GMO food is so safe, why are those companies so afraid of letting consumers know what is in the food?  Are you okay with being experimented on without your knowledge or consent?

Why is the GMO issue not being discussed regularly by the mainstream media? Why is it that only after the advent of social media that the issue of GMO food-labeling is suddenly on the radar?

Yes to I-522Because the companies that supply GMO food have huge budgets, and they are very willing to sue any media outlet that says anything negative.Companies like Monsanto can’t do much about social media however, so it is up to us to spread the word …

Governments are stopping people from growing food in their front yards. They are requiring permits for kids that set up lemonade stands. They are stopping people from having potluck community events.

Food Coops are being raided at gun-point by SWAT teams. It is way over the top! Rawesome Food Coop in California a few years ago is a good example. Federal agents in full army combat gear were pointing their guns at people in tank tops and flip flops running the till. They confiscated the raw milk in the fridge, and jailed the owners. And this despite the fact that raw milk is legal in California, and can be purchased in grocery stores.

Now in the US, FDA is implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act, which will probably result in many of the country’s safest farms being put out of business.

For example, in an effort to control salmonella, the new regulations will make it next to impossible for small farmers to have outdoor flocks of chickens, which research shows is far safer than indoor caged chickens.

Funny they are trying to do this in the middle of a chicken salmonella outbreak from Foster Farms, a huge factory farm that has sickened 278 people in 18 States!

The new regulations unfortunately do nothing to address the real problem with respect to food-borne illness – sick animals living in the filth of factory farms. Check out this W5 video exposing the horrific conditions and abuse of factory farms.

Because the animals are held in such crowded, filthy conditions, antibiotics are part of the feed in the futile attempt to keep the animals healthy. The rise of antibiotic resistance that is affecting our hospitals is the direct result. Some believe we are now entering a world where antibiotics will no longer work, and people will once again regularly die of infections.

If the farms that provide the healthy food are out of business, US citizens will have no option but to eat the unhealthy stuff.

Big Agribusiness and Big Food are using the Government “food safety” regulations to control our food. There is a double standard when it comes to food safety - one for the factory farms, and another for the smaller farms trying to produce nutrient-dense food.

So, the question begs. Is this okay with you? Do you care enough about your health and wellbeing to do something to protect your health by protecting your food supply? Are you willing to help small farmers survive by going out of your way to seek their food out?

Do you shop at farmer’s markets or participate in community-supported -agriculture programs? Do you refuse to buy conventionally-raised food from big agribusiness sold at your grocery store? Are you choosing to spend your money on food now or on medicine that may or may not work later?  Is buying cheap food worth the consequence?

What we choose to purchase will have a huge impact on our environment, food supply and the health that our kids and grandkids will inherit. Please choose wisely.

Copyright 2013 Vreni Gurd
Reprinted with permission
Wellness Tips