Column Devoted to Informative Integrative Health Resources on the
In 2007, the US Farm Bill will be debated and reauthorized. The bill is huge
in both dollars and reach, but unfortunately mostly ignored by the public,
even by those of us who care about healthful foods! In a future column, I
will focus on Farm Bill concepts and details. This month, I introduce you
to the food system and organizations working to improve it. I encourage all
who have ever suggested a healthy diet to a patient or who have savored an
organic apple to expand your frame of thinking beyond the plate and get to
know the policies, programs, and people responsible for our food.
British Columbia Food Democracy Network
The BC Food Democracy Network offers a succinct pamphlet describing
key concepts such as the food system, food security, and food justice.
Briefly, a food system
is "the deliberate organization of the production, processing, distribution,
selection, and consumption of food."
Community Food Security Coalition
A Guide to Community Food Projects
you may want to right click and save to your hard drive before opening)
The Community Food Security Coalition works to ensure access by all
to affordable, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food. The organization
offers a thriving
listserv called "COMFOOD." Be prepared for a lot of well-informed
email if you join, on subjects ranging from community gardens to agricultural
subsidies in the Farm Bill. The Coalition's Guide to Community Food Projects
features case studies of projects funded by the CSREES grants program, described
Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES)
CSREES offers Community Food Project grants to promote the self-sufficiency
of low-income communities. Grants require a dollar-for-dollar match, and applications
are due in April 2007.
W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Food Systems and Rural Development
Food Systems Framing Research
The Kellogg Foundation's food systems program goal is "to help
meet the needs for a safe and nutritious diet, while ensuring that food production
systems are environmentally sensitive, economically viable, sustainable over
the long term, and socially responsible." The Kellogg-funded food systems
framing research is particularly intriguing. Note the report, "Perceptions
of the U.S. Food System: What and How Americans Think About Their Food."
Healthy Eating Active Living Convergence Project
Innovative Practices: Regional and Organizational Profiles
Link no longer active.)
1.28MB, you may want to right click and save
to your hard drive before opening)
The "Convergence" refers to a big-picture combination of
active living, healthy eating, active community environments, and
healthy food systems/sustainable
agriculture. This is an important collaborative project of Kaiser Permanente,
the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Organic Volunteers is a super match-making service, linking volunteers
to farm opportunities in the US and Latin America. Placement areas
alternative building, permaculture, and policy. One noteworthy type of opportunity
is "WWOOFing." WWOOFers are "Willing Workers on Organic Farms" or,
according to this site, "World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms."
(Beautiful) Farm Photos
Info on Guillermo!
Link to the blog now forwards to www.localharvest.org)
Small Farms: A Blog from the Heart
I have mentioned Local Harvest several times in this column over the
years. It's the essential information source for farmers' markets, health
food stores, food co-ops, and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). In April,
Local Harvest founder Guillermo Payet was hit by a drunk driver. His injuries
were serious, but his prognosis for a full recovery is good. The Small Farms
Blog reports that "the doctors told him that a normal person would take
a year to accomplish what he'd managed in less than a week." Now
is a good time to support this site.
Michael Ableman: Farmer, Author, Photographer
Link no longer working.)
has left his writing online, no images.)
Michael Ableman has written a number of beautiful books on farming. Be sure
to view the compelling photographs on his Writing/Photography page.
The Food Project
The Food Project offers insightful manuals on urban and rural agriculture,
along with tools for coordinating volunteers and facilitating dynamic youth
Coalition of Immokalee Workers
And a Side Order of Human Rights
Immokalee: A story of Slavery and Freedom [Video]
QuickTime movie. Will take 20-plus minutes to download with a high-speed
Ronaldo the Clown [Video]
The Coalition of Immokalee Workers waged a four-year boycott of Taco
Bell, which ultimately resulted in improved working conditions for
pickers. This year the Latino, Haitian, and Mayan Indian immigrant workers
have turned their organizing attention on other fast food companies including
McDonald's (which also owns Chipotle). One demonstrator says: "This
is a peaceful struggle, which will remain peaceful until we win." Worker
conditions for produce pickers are generally worse than you might imagine.
Human rights and worker rights are central to our food system needs.
Food for Thoughts
What do you support with your food purchase? Imagine a grocery where
you could easily know each product's history and even its agenda. How much do the
workers who produce the product earn? Does the product contain genetically
modified ingredients? Who gets political campaign contributions from the company
that made the product? Alison Cornyn, an artist and founder of Picture Projects,
is developing a gallery installation called "Food For Thoughts: Scan
Before you Buy" to address these questions. Her web site offers an intriguing
two-minute animation demonstrating the concept. While you're on the web
site, you may partner in developing the message, via the "Food4Thoughts" survey.
Focus on Change
Center for Informed Food Choices
Michele Simon, founder of the Center for Informed Food Choices, is
the author of a new book called Appetite for
Profit: Fighting Corporate Control and Spin
in the Nutrition Wars. Consider supporting her book tour by hosting her in
your community. The Center's newsletter archive is a treasure. Note in
particular the November 2005 special report, "Food Marketing to Children
and the Law." This issue has links to video from a Loyola Law School
conference, including Michele Simon's presentation, "Can Food Companies
Be Trusted to Self-Regulate?" As Simon explains: they can't, and
we need stronger government policies to counter powerful industry influence.
Henry A. Wallace Center
for Agricultural & Environmental
.pdf, you may want to right click and save to hard drive before viewing)
Making Changes: Turning Local Visions Into National Solutions
The report, "Making Changes," describes 95 policy recommendations
addressing agricultural and economic development and environmental and land-use
issues. It is 86 pages, but a remarkably straightforward and informative read.
Roots of Change Fund
The Roots of Change Fund supported the Vivid Picture Project, which
developed the report, "The New Mainstream: A Sustainable Food Agenda for California." This
is an impressive project, including the development of indicators to measure
progress toward sustainability goals.
We can work to change the food system on the policy level, but in their
new book, Bryant Terry and Anna Lappé offer an exciting approach: eat grub.
Grub is food that's local, sustainable, healthful, and brand-free. One
book reviewer, Ryan Zinn, writes, "Where else can you find a great read,
cookbook, and party planner all rolled into one?" Use the web site to
schedule a presentation by the authors or to post pictures of your Grub Party.
Also, check out the downloadable shopping lists for themed parties such as
Afrodiasporic Cookout, Cuban Comfort, and New Year's Eve. You will have
a delightful time changing the system.
Link no longer available)
Once on this page, the link to the song doesn't work.)
Listen to the soulful music of Food and Society Fellow, Wil Bullock.
The first link is an a capella piece that Bullock sang to thousands
at last year's
Bioneers' conference. The second is the fully produced, "It's
Time for Change": We need solutions, not illusions, to fix a world full
of sorrow and broken hearts... Who will they follow if we don't do our
A lovely song by Pat Humphries: In a many-colored garden, we are growing side
by side. With the sun and rain upon us, not a row shall be denied. We will
rise altogether; we will rise.
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Consult your doctor before using any of the treatments
found within this site.