Kick Off National Food Day Celebration at Farmer’s Market Fall Harvest Fest

Eat Jackson is pleased to be partnering with some of the leading advocates in Mississippi’s Farm to Table movement to coordinate a weeklong celebration of National Food Day October 20 – October 26.

To kick off the week’s events, the Mississippi Farmers Market will celebrate its annual Fall Harvest Fest in conjunction with a National Food Day Celebration on Saturday, October 20, from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Mississippi growers, producers, and artisans will be sharing the fruits of their labor. Shoppers can expect to find Mississippi-grown sweet potatoes, pumpkins, muscadines, peas, collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, zucchini, eggplant, mixed herbs, honey, peanuts, fresh whole milk and cheeses, yogurt, jams, jellies, fresh cut flowers, homemade pies, cakes, fresh baked breads, cheesecakes, hummus, biscotti, pottery, handcrafted soaps, jewelry, art, and more.

http://eatjackson.com/blog/2012/10/16/help-us-kick-off-national-food-day-celebration-at-mississippi-farmers-market-annual-fall-harvest-fest/

Cafe Climb Opens in Gulfport to Train At-Risk Young Adults

A culinary training program for at-risk young adults is operating a new café in downtown Gulfport.  In addition to cooking up southern favorites like shrimp creole and black-eyed peas, MPB’s Rhonda Miller reports the café has a special recipe for helping young people realize their dreams.

“I’ll have today’s special with the black-eyed peas and the fried okra.” “Can I get you something to drink - sweet tea?”

The lunch buzz is starting at Café Climb, an old factory transformed into a bright, welcoming space with exposed brick, big windows and blackboards offering the day’s specials.

Twenty-five-year-old Aston Ridgeway is taking orders at the front register today.

“I personally want to be in management and I felt Iike I would get the skills to know every part of the restaurant business by being in this program.”

Café Climb opened a week ago, with 20 student cooks, servers and cashiers guided by two culinary professionals -a chef and a kitchen manager.  Some of the students are high school dropouts, several are finishing their GEDs, and some have gone to community college.

http://mpbonline.org/News/article/cafe_climb_opens_in_gulfport_to_train_at_risk_young_adults

Thacker Mountain Radio to Feature Food Authors

Thacker Mountain Radio has recently received a “Food : For Thought, for Life” award from the Mississippi Humanities Council. These monies will be used in part to compensate authors Monique Truong and Randall Keenum, who will be talking about BBQ (the theme of this year’s Southern Foodways Alliance Conference). In addition, author John Dufresne will be reading from his food poems. The show will air live from the Lyric Theater in Oxford on Thursday, October 18 from 6:00 to 7:00 pm and recorded for rebroadcast on MS Public Broadcasting Radio from 7:00 to 8:00 on the following Saturday evening, October 20.  The “Food:  For Thought, for Life” project is supported by a We the People grant from The National Endowment for the Humanities.

Parents, Teachers, and Health Professionals Support the Healthier School Meals

“As a parent whose son eats a school lunch, I’m really glad that these changes are happening.  I want to know that the school lunch reinforces what I want to teach him about eating well. Having more veggies and whole grains benefits all kids.” - Parent from Illinois

Across the country, parents, teachers, health professionals, and military members share the same feelings that healthier school meals will have a huge and positive impact on our country.  USDA FNS would like to thank you, our partners, for continuing to promote the benefits of the Healthy Hunger-free Kids Act of 2010 that made the School Day Just Got Healthier possible. 

In cooperation with state agencies, we will continue to support schools as they implement these new standards to ensure that every child, in every community across America, has access to healthy and nutritious meals.

There are a few things we’d like you to know and share with your partners:
• The new standards ensure that children have the energy they need to learn in class and be physically active, while reducing their risk for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other serious chronic diseases.
• The new school meals are intended to be high in nutrients and adequate in calories, based on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine and consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.  New school meals portions are “right sized” to reflect the proper balance between food groups.
• The new school meals offer more fruits and vegetables at lunch than previous meal pattern requirements, and the amount of fruits will double at breakfast beginning school year 2014/15.  Whole grains are also increased substantially.
• In practice, many students are being served the same amount of protein under the new standards. The new standards ensure requirements for meat/meat alternates for each age group are in line with current nutrition science.
• The new school meals are designed to meet only a portion of a child’s nutritional needs over the course of the school day.
• Schools and families have options to help meet the needs of highly active students who may need additional calories, such as athletes.
Thank you for your partnership and please use this information to keep raising awareness about the changes to the school meal standards.  Visit The School Day Just Got Healthier website for more ways you can get involved: http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/healthierschoolday.

Dr. Ruth DeFries, Columbia University – The Earth From Above

In today’s Academic Minute, Dr. Ruth DeFries of Columbia University reveals what we can learn about how humans have altered the landscape when we view the Earth from above.

imageRuth DeFries is Denning professor of sustainable development in Columbia University’s Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology, and a faculty member of the university’s Earth Institute. Her research examines human transformation of the landscape and its consequences for climate, biogeochemical cycling and biodiversity.  The research analyzes land use changes over broad scales through the lens of satellite observations, with a particular focus is tropical deforestation and its impacts on atmospheric carbon emissions and conservation.

Read or listen to the full article here.

Research Available on Benefits of School Gardens

Follow the link below to find valuable research on the many varied benefits of school gardening for students.

http://www.kidsgardening.org/node/13152

Radish Festival Recalls a Part of Long Beach History

The 2nd Annual Radish Festival—a local food and farming extravaganza sponsored by Real Food Gulf Coast, the Long Beach Farmers Market, and the City of Long Beach—will be held November 2-3. The festival celebrates Long Beach’s history as a truck farming town and the former Radish Capital of the World. The city was once world renowned for the “Long Red” radish that was especially popular in the beer halls of the north and mid-west.

Festival goers will have the opportunity to:
*speak with growers and taste healthy locally grown or prepared food
*learn creative ways to grow sustainable food
*take home food from farmers and vendors
*sample beer from local brewers
*enjoy local tastings prepared by local chefs and cookbook authors
*experience educational exhibits and demonstrations on farms and gardens, nutrition and health, urban food initiatives, composting, beekeeping, and more
*enjoy local music and art that celebrates the diversity of local food and
*have a lot of fun!

http://www.radishfestival.org/radishfestival.org/2012_Schedule.html

When He Dined, the Stars Came Out

Great piece about one of Mississippi’s own famous foodies

ON May 18, 1962, readers of The New York Times woke up to learn that of all the Chinese restaurants in the city, “there is probably none with a finer kitchen” than Tien Tsin, in Harlem. The same article praised four other places to eat, including Gaston, on East 49th Street, which “may qualify as having one of the most inspired French kitchens in town,” and Marchi’s, on East 31st Street, “one of New York’s most unusual North Italian restaurants.”

The author of these judgments was Craig Claiborne, the newspaper’s food editor. He prefaced his article with a short note: “The following is a listing of New York restaurants that are recommended on the basis of varying merits. Such a listing will be published every Friday in The New York Times.”

And that is just what happened, first in what were called the women’s pages (“Food Fashions Family Furnishings”), and then, after 1976, in the Weekend section; by that time, the column was not a listing but a review of one or two restaurants. In 1997, with the invention of the Dining In/Dining Out section, it jumped to Wednesdays, where it still lives.

Some American writers had nibbled at the idea of professional restaurant criticism before this, including Claiborne, who had written one-off reviews of major new restaurants for The Times. But his first “Directory to Dining,” 50 years ago this month, marks the day when the country pulled up a chair and began to chow down. Within a few years, nearly every major newspaper had to have a Craig Claiborne of its own. Reading the critics, eating what they had recommended, and then bragging or complaining about it would become a national pastime.

As the current caretaker of the house that Claiborne built, I lack objectivity on this subject. Still, I believe that without professional critics like him and others to point out what was new and delicious, chefs would not be smiling at us from magazine covers, subway ads and billboards. They would not be invited to the White House, except perhaps for job interviews. Claiborne and his successors told Americans that restaurants mattered. That was an eccentric opinion a half-century ago. It’s not anymore.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/09/dining/craig-claiborne-set-the-standard-for-restaurant-reviews.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120509

Lasagna Gardening

The basics of a non-traditional method of gardening that is organic, earth friendly and easy.

If someone told me years ago that he or she had found a way to do an end run around the sweat equity of traditional gardening, a way around digging, weeding, and rototilling, a way to produce more regardless of time constraints, physical limitations, or power-tool ineptness… well, I would have checked that person for a head injury. Yet such a system is actually possible, though I never would have believed it if I hadn’t stumbled upon the basics myself.

Lasagna gardening was borne of my own frustrations. After my husband retired from the U.S. Navy, we began our next period of work as innkeepers. When the demands on my time became so great that I could no longer do all that was required to keep both the business and the garden going, the garden suffered. I’d plant in the spring, then see the garden go unattended. I needed a way to do it all.

Just when I was about to give up, it happened: a bountiful harvest with no work. I’d planted, late again because of a late spring. And again, when the seasonal demands of the business began claiming all of my time, my plantings were forgotten. In midsummer, I made a much belated foray into the garden. I had to hack through a jungle of weeds to find the vegetable plants—but what a payoff! I discovered basketfuls of ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, peppers, and egg plant. True, there were also basketfuls of rotted, overgrown, and unusable vegetables (the product of neglect), but the abundance was truly amazing.

To gain some measure of control that year, I simply stomped the weeds flat in between rows and put down cardboard boxes to walk on. The harvest continued, with carrots, onions, garlic, and potatoes persisting among the weeds. Stout stems of collard greens pushed the plants up to tower above the mess, despite the native morning glory that tried to hold back growth. Lower-growing Swiss chard also persevered, though I had to cut out the shriveled leaves and pull a few weeds to get to the good growth.

http://www.motherearthnews.com/Organic-Gardening/1999-04-01/Lasagna-Gardening.aspx

Grow a Palette Garden

An up-and-coming new way to plant in small spaces.

Pallet gardens are excellent alternatives to large gardens for growing smaller
sized vegetables, herbs and ornamental flowers. Garden blogs and garden websites
are noting pallet gardens as an up-and-coming trend. We decided to build a
pallet garden and found that a few modifications to the original designs really
make this garden suitable to plant production. Schools with limited budgets and
space can benefit from growing pallet gardens. Lumber costs can be expensive to
build raised beds, and many schools simply do not have the space to plant raised
beds let alone traditional gardens. Below are the LSU AgCenter directions and
pictures to construct and plant a pallet garden

http://www.lsuagcenter.com/MCMS/RelatedFiles/%7B6FADB974-A465-4BF0-B95E-11FFB1A7B1BF%7D/Veggiebyte-3.2.pdf.pdf

The Impact of the Farm Bill on Southern States

Ample consumption of fruits and vegetables is important for growth and development, as well as prevention of chronic disease.  Yet, few Americans eat enough of them to meet nutrition needs, and many Southern states report very low intake of fruits and vegetables.  Increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables is consequently an important component in any attempt to improve the nutritional status and health of the population.  This goal is difficult to obtain without addressing the accessibility of fruits and vegetables, which ultimately leads to an examination of federal farm policies.

Food cropland in the Southern States is used primarily to grow crops subsidized by the federal government.  Only five percent grows fruits and vegetables.

http://www.mshealthpolicy.com/FarmBill.htm

2nd Annual National Food Day Set for October 24

Let MHC know about your Food Day event. email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Food Day is a celebration of real food and a campaign to help solve food-related problems in our homes, on our farms, in our schools and in our communities. We want food to be healthy, affordable, and produced with care for the environment, animals, and the women and men who grow, harvest, and serve it.

Join this push for a stronger, more united food movement by signing up to organize or attend Food Day events in your community!

http://www.foodday.org

The 411 on Eat Healthy Mississippi

A great new program for farmers and Mississippi restaurants

If you love local restaurants, local produce, and healthy menu options as much as we do, then we are all in luck! Eat Healthy Mississippi is just around the corner…

The Facts

Eat Healthy Mississippi is a new statewide campaign presented by Mississippi Hospitality and Restaurant Association (MHRA) designed to connect local farmers with restaurants, so they can provide consumers with healthier dining options. We spoke to our friend Grady Griffin at MHRA about the initiative and asked him a few questions about the program.

Sum it up for us. What exactly is Eat Healthy Mississippi?

“Eat Healthy Mississippi is taking farm-to-table and ramping it up. We’re putting a healthy spin on farm-to-table and hope most restaurants get on board. We’re recruiting now. The grant we have only allows for 115 Mississippi restaurants to participate, and right now we’re at around 65 or 70. Walker’s, Local 463, Parlor Market, and Primos are definitely in. So is Oby’s for those who travel to Starkville or Oxford. If you want to see your favorite [local] restaurant participate, be sure to let us know on the MHRA Facebook page or via Twitter!”

http://www.eatjackson.com/2012/03/07/the-411-on-eat-healthy-mississippi/

Safety concerns, industry changes push U.S. to rethink approach to food inspection

Every day, inspectors in white hats and coats take up positions at every one of the nation’s slaughterhouses, eyeballing the hanging carcasses of cows and chickens as they shuttle past on elevated rails, looking for bruises, tumors and signs of contamination.

It’s essentially the way U.S. Department of Agriculture food safety inspectors have done their jobs for a century, ever since Upton Sinclair’s blockbuster novel, “The Jungle,” exposed horrid conditions in a Chicago meatpacking facility and shook Americans awake to the hazards of tainted food.

But these days, the bulk of what Americans eat — seafood, vegetables, fruit, dairy products, shelled eggs and almost everything except meat and poultry — is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. And the FDA inspects the plants it oversees on average about once a decade.

These radically different approaches are a legacy from a time when animal products were thought to be inherently risky and other food products safe. But in the past few years, the high-profile and deadly outbreaks of food-borne illness linked to spinach, peanuts and cantaloupe have put the lie to that assumption.


 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/safety-concerns-industry-changes-push-us-to-rethink-approach-to-food-inspection/2012/03/01/gIQAvvgarR_story.html?wpisrc=nl_health

Kibbe at the Crossroads: A Lebanese Kitchen Story

Although from 2008, a great story about a vibrant part of Mississippi’s culture.

Like our story, “Georgia Gilmore and The Club From Nowhere,” this hidden kitchen came to us from John T. Edge of the Southern Foodways Alliance. We were headed to Oxford, Miss., to interview Alice Waters and Scott Peacock for the SFA’s 10th Annual Symposium.

We asked Edge for a suggestion of a hidden kitchen in the Delta. “Kibbe,” he said.

Kibbe?

He began to tell of Lebanese people who migrated to Mississippi in waves beginning in the late 1870s through the 1920s, and even into the 1960s. Many of the early Lebanese first worked as peddlers and went on to become the grocers and restaurateurs of the region.

Edge pointed us down the road and said to be sure to read down the menus. There, nestled between the fried chicken and barbecue, we would find tabouleh, grape leaves, stuffed cabbage, and kibbe, fried, baked or raw — sort of the national food of Lebanon, a meatloaf of sorts.

Most of the Arabic-speaking immigrants who came to the United States at the turn of the century were from the Mount Lebanon region of greater Syria.

Jimmy Thomas, managing editor for The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi, whose family came to the Delta from Syria, wrote a dissertation on the history of the Lebanese in the region. He told us that before there was an actual Lebanon, people called themselves Syrian. To say you were Lebanese meant you came from a very specific region of Syria. It’s not so much a national label as a cultural label.

Conflict, war, religious persecution and the promise of economic opportunities in America all led immigrants into the Mississippi Delta. Many went to Michigan and New Orleans and heard about the “gold mine” of work available in the Delta.

When they arrived, one Lebanese man after another found their niche as peddlers — solitary men, traveling alone for days on end, on the trails and roads that led from one black sharecropper’s farm to another, carrying suitcases weighed down with pots and pans and dry goods.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18547399

Lord of the Rings Scholar to Write Hobbit Cookbook

olkien scholar Astrid Tuttle Winegar got a book deal with Quirk Books to write A Hobbit’s Cookbook: Eleventy-one Sweets, Snacks, and Savories Inspired by Middle-Earth. The “unofficial culinary journey” will not actually be exclusive to hobbits but will also feature foods for “elves, orcs, and even Gollum.” Gollum eats? Okay.

http://eater.com/archives/2011/12/06/lord-of-the-rings-scholar-to-write-hobbit-cookbook.php

School Food Politics: What’s Missing from the Pizza-as-Vegetable Reporting

Over the last couple of days, news outlets have been having a field day with a proposal from Congress that pizza sauce be considered a vegetable to qualify for the National School Lunch program. Headlines like this one were typical: “Is Pizza Sauce a Vegetable? Congress says Yes.” (The blogs were a tad more childish; for example LA Weekly: Congress to USDA: Pizza is So a Vegetable, Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah.)

Most reporters, pressed for time and resources, tend to simplify complex stories and this was no exception. In one camp, so the stories went, are nutrition advocates who want healthier school meals, while Republicans are saying the feds shouldn’t be making such decisions. Here is one example of this framing of the story:

Conservatives in Congress say the federal government shouldn’t be telling children what to eat. They say requirements proposed by the President went too far, costing budget strapped schools too much. Local schools are caught in the middle.

Meanwhile, a few other reports did a better job of explaining the massive industry lobbying at play. (See, for example, Mother Jones’ Tom Philpott and Ed Bruske aka The Slow Cook, a hero in school food reporting.)

And while it was easy to compare this current craziness to the Reagan-era infamous “ketchup-is-a-vegetable” school lunch proposal (which did not pass), a bit more history, common sense, and political context is needed.

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/11/school-food-politics-whats-missing-from-pizza-as-vegetable-reporting/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=111118

How Soul Food Can Be Good For Your Health

Soul food has become the comfort food for a lot of Americans – not just the African-Americans whose ancestors invented it.

Now, food educators are looking closely at soul food’s culinary roots for inspiration on how to eat healthfully today.

A group of culinary historians, nutritionists and health experts have put together the Oldways African Heritage Diet Pyramid, a new model for healthful eating designed specifically for African-Americans and descendants of Africans everywhere.

The pyramid draws from the culinary traditions of the American South, the Caribbean, South America and Africa, and shows familiar vegetables like okra and eggplant and fruits like papaya, as well as beans and meats. And unlike other food pyramids, it has a prominent layer devoted entirely to greens: collards, chard, kale and spinach — all foods of Africa and the diaspora regions of the Americas.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2011/11/10/142207019/how-african-americans-can-get-healthy-with-big-helpings-of-soul-food

Michael Pollan: On the Steve Jobs of agriculture

In this interview with “All We Can Eat,” Pollan shares his thoughts on the past, present, and future of food production in the United States and the need for the “Steve Jobs of Agriculture.”

All We Can Eat: At an earlier stop on your tour, you told a Cleveland audience, “Really intelligent young people are getting into farming. Some will crash and burn, but someone will be the Steve Jobs of agriculture.” What do you imagine the Steve Jobs of agriculture will look like?

Michael Pollan: [Laughs.] I think the challenge is going to be to come up with farming systems that are sustainable, by which I mean don’t require a lot of fossil fuel and that are nevertheless quite intensive. The ability to produce large amounts of food in small spaces.

We have some examples. I think Joel Salatin is a possible contender. Will Allen, the urban farmer who has a very complex system involving fish and greens and other vegetables, where fish waste feeds the greens and the greens clean the water for the fish. So I’m talking about people who can come up with new rotations and new relationships between species to maximize production. I think there is a lot of experimenting going on.

The amazing thing is that it’s done without any help from the government. Very little research money goes into this. It’s just visionary farmers just figuring out how to do it. So I’m not talking about inventing a new vegetable we’re all going to want, but I’m talking about systems, devising innovative systems to use biology to grow food without a lot of fossil fuel inputs.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/all-we-can-eat/post/michael-pollan-on-the-steve-jobs-of-agriculture/2011/11/03/gIQAjU4smM_blog.html?wpisrc=nl_health

Creating More Farmers: The Most Uplifting Bill in Congress!

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is a grassroots alliance that advocates for federal policy reform supporting the long-term social, economic, and environmental sustainability of agriculture, natural resources, and rural communities.This legislation will be of great importance in supporting and encouraging farming in Mississippi.

With all the heated debate going on in the nation’s capital these days, you’d think it was a depressing time to be working on federal policy.  Well, sometimes it is, but sometimes you get the slightest glimmer of hope when you get to be part of a really exciting and forward-thinking piece of legislation, like The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act of 2011 [H.R.3236].  The bill was recently introduced in Congress, and has emerged over the past year from extensive dialogue around the country by beginning farmers, organizations that represent them, and legislative champions of the new farmer cause.

This bill is an amazing reminder to everyone that cares about food that federal policy can and does have a huge impact on the people who grow our nation’s food.  The bill contains over 20 policy proposals for how we can help nurture the next generation of farmers and ranchers, and addresses many of the barriers that new farmers face.

http://voices.rodale.com/creating-more-farmers-the-most-uplifting-bill-in-congress/2011/11/03/?cm_mmc=TheDailyFixNL-_-724870-_-creating_more_farmers_the_most_uplifting_bill_in_congress

Is Junk Food Really Cheaper?

THE “fact” that junk food is cheaper than real food has become a reflexive part of how we explain why so many Americans are overweight, particularly those with lower incomes. I frequently read confident statements like, “when a bag of chips is cheaper than a head of broccoli ...” or “it’s more affordable to feed a family of four at McDonald’s than to cook a healthy meal for them at home.”

This is just plain wrong. In fact it isn’t cheaper to eat highly processed food: a typical order for a family of four — for example, two Big Macs, a cheeseburger, six chicken McNuggets, two medium and two small fries, and two medium and two small sodas — costs, at the McDonald’s a hundred steps from where I write, about $28. (Judicious ordering of “Happy Meals” can reduce that to about $23 — and you get a few apple slices in addition to the fries!)

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/25/opinion/sunday/is-junk-food-really-cheaper.html?_r=2

When the Uprooted Put Down Roots

SAN DIEGO — At the Saturday farmer’s market in City Heights, a major portal for refugees, Khadija Musame, a Somali, arranges her freshly picked pumpkin leaves and lablab beans amid a United Nations of produce, including water spinach grown by a Cambodian refugee and amaranth, a grain harvested by Sarah Salie, who fled rebels in Liberia. Eaten with a touch of lemon by Africans, and coveted by Southeast Asians for soups, this crop is always a sell-out.

Among the regular customers at the New Roots farm stand are Congolese women in flowing dresses, Somali Muslims in headscarves, Latino men wearing broad-brimmed hats and Burundian mothers in brightly patterned textiles who walk home balancing boxes of produce on their heads.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/10/us/refugees-in-united-states-take-up-farming.html?_r=2&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha23

Preaching a Healthy Diet in the Deep-Fried Delta

Members are starting healthy congregations across the Delta, setting an example for other communities. Be sure to watch the slideshow.

HERNANDO, Miss. — Not much seems out of place in the Mississippi Delta, where everything appears to be as it always has been, only more so as the years go by. But here in the fellowship hall of a little Baptist church on a country road is an astonishing sight: a plate of fresh fruit.
“You get used to it,” said Arelia Robertson, who has been attending the church for almost eight decades.

Despite a dirge of grim health statistics, an epidemic of diabetes and heart disease and campaigns by heath agencies and organizations, the Delta diet, a heavenly smorgasbord of things fried, salted and boiled with pork, has persisted.

It has persisted because it tastes good, but also because it has been passed down through generations and sustained through such cultural mainstays as the church fellowship dinner. But if the church helped get everybody into this mess, it may be the church that helps get everybody out.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/22/us/22delta.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha23

Engineering Food for All

This commentary from The New York Times offers a positive outlook on genetically modified foods in light of growing world hunger.

Op-Ed Contributor
Engineering Food for All
By NINA V. FEDOROFF
Published: August 18, 2011

 
  FOOD prices are at record highs and the ranks of the hungry are swelling once again. A warming climate is beginning to nibble at crop yields worldwide. The United Nations predicts that there will be one to three billion more people to feed by midcentury.

Yet even as the Obama administration says it wants to stimulate innovation by eliminating unnecessary regulations, the Environmental Protection Agency wants to require even more data on genetically modified crops, which have been improved using technology with great promise and a track record of safety. The process for approving these crops has become so costly and burdensome that it is choking off innovation.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/19/opinion/genetically-engineered-food-for-all.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha212

‘Cookit’ Web Site Offers History Cookbook

A perfect combo of food, culture and humanities

imageWelcome to the history cookbook. Do you know what the Vikings ate for dinner? What a typical meal of a wealthy family in Roman Britain consisted of, or what food was like in a Victorian Workhouse? Why not drop into history cookbook and find out? This project looks at the food of the past and how this influenced the health of the people living in each time period. You can also try some of the recipes for yourself. The history cookbook on the Cookit web site contains a wide range of historical recipes from brown bread ice cream to gruel. (Why not see if you would be asking for more - just like Oliver Twist).

http://cookit.e2bn.org/historycookbook/

The Jesse Gates Edible Forest

image

Photograph by Sarah C. Campbell.

http://vimeo.com/27382344

Excerpt from the Wells Memorial United Methodist Church.

The Jesse Gates Edible Forest at Wells Memorial United Methodist Church came into being when two dreams met at the corner of Bailey Avenue and Idlewild Street in Jackson.

In 2009, Wells Church acquired the property, concerned that the vacant house might become a source of trouble. Our dream was to replace the building with a garden that could be enjoyed by the neighborhood. Children attending Galloway Elementary School walk past the house twice a day, and middle-schoolers stand in the front yard every morning waiting for the bus. Having that old vacant house right there didn’t seem like a good idea.

We tore down the house and planted a lawn to provide some “green space” while we considered ideas for turning the lot into an appealing garden.

Then, we heard about the Mississippi Urban Forest Council, an organization aimed at promoting quality urban and community forestry in Mississippi.

One of their goals was the establishment of a model “edible forest” to encourage the development of local orchards and vegetable sites and community gardens as one way to improve the health and welfare of Mississippians.

With help from the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce, our dream of a welcoming garden and the council’s dream of a model “edible forest” came together at the corner of Bailey and Idlewild. And the work began.

The mission of the project includes providing a model for growing local sources of fruits and vegetables, encouraging individual healthy eating and providing alternative sources of income by growing local produce.

The “Edible Forest” includes 26 fruit trees and multiple herbs and vegetables. It will be managed by local volunteers. Part of the project includes community and citizen education regarding which edible plants can be grown locally for fresh produce. If you would like to be included in this information please send your email to the Mississippi Urban Forest Council at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Shortly after work on the project began, we tragically lost one of our own young persons, Jesse Allen Gates, a talented musician and artist.

Our Council and Board voted unanimously to dedicate this Edible Forest in his memory. We invite you to drop by and visit the Jesse Gates Edible Forest at Wells Church, then contact the Mississippi Urban Forest Council for advice on how to develop one for your community.

http://www.wellschurch.org/642889.ihtml

Fields of Learning

Encouraging and informative study on gardens on or near college campuses

David Schaad doesn’t know where he’ll go after graduating from the University of Montana. But he knows one thing: it will involve growing food—and not just because his food is delicious. He wants to support a growing alternative to the massive companies that—in his view, at the expense of the environment, the land and the small family farms that used to do this job—have taken over agriculture.

“I feel like, in a lot of ways, because there’s such an increase in demand among the public in general for organic food, and increasingly as well for local in-season produce, that the agribusiness model is not as powerful as it used to be,” Schaad says. “Maybe it’s just the optimist in me, but I see a lot of cause for hope.”

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/08/02/college_and_university_student_farms_examined_in_fields_of_learning