New Secretary of Agriculture?

November 18, 2008

As President-elect Barack Obama is steadily picking and choosing his cabinet members, nearly 1900 have signed a petition to appoint Michael Pollen as Secretary of Agriculture.

“…research has provided him a unique understanding of the history, development, and contemporary practices of U.S. Agriculture and its relationship to the health of the citizens of The United States….”

“It is our belief that this scholarly approach coupled with his unique ability to synergize and coherently communicate to a wide audience makes Mr. Pollan the best choice for Secretary of Agriculture in an administration whose stated goals include affordable health and healthcare for the citizens of this nation and wholesale change from the practices of the Bush administration.”

Click HERE to see/sign petition in its entirely.

For more on Michael Pollen:

MichaelPollen.Com

Pollen on the Brian Lehrer Show, November 17, 2008

NYT article, “Farmer In-Chief”

~Nicolette Miller-Ka


Slow Activism Is Fast Approaching

November 14, 2008

Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini said in an interview,

“I’m sick of masturbatory gourmets, people who smell a glass of bordeaux for half an hour and speak divinely, as if they are priests, ‘Oh, it has the wonderful smell of horse sweat.’ No more cooking shows, please; no more stirring pots on television.”

His comment embodies an important evolution in the focus of Slow Food. While the movement started virtuously as a response to the ills of fast food, in the States it’s been criticized as a sort of elitist supper club for people with the means to indulge in leisurely dinners laced with esoteric musings.

While many Slow Foodies are aware of the environmental, political and social consequences of food production, in many convivia these topics have served more as dinner conversation than rallying cry. But more recently there has begun a focused effort to make social, political and environmental activism part of the Slow Food agenda.

Don’t worry. There is room in the realm of Slow Food for all groups: the gourmands, the producers, the artisans, the activists, the passivists, and everyone in between. America is on the cusp of change. We’ve been given the tools and ammunition to rock our unstable foundations and incumbent views. In recent months, we have seen the world as we know it change before our eyes.

New Slow Food president, Josh Viertel said,

“The problems in our food system disproportionately hurt poor people and people of color. These are the people who are less able to access the benefits of Slow Food. I’m going to change this organization so that it’s not just about pleasure. We are going to become a social justice organization. I want to live in a world where the food is good for the people who eat it, the environment and the people who grow it.”

Personally, I equate the recent turn of events as important as the breaking down of the Berlin wall, Fidel Castro’s resignation, the Stock Market tumble (1929 & 2008), and declaration of war on foreign lands. We’ve just seen history made in more ways than one in the recent presidential election. This change on the political front is indicative of the change that is in our hearts, minds, and souls. We may feel removed from the goings on in Washington, but we are all too familiar with the goings on in our homes, communities, and local atmospheres-at-large.

This question was posed to President-elect Barack Obama: What policy initiatives would you propose to strengthen local food systems?

He replied, “I am very familiar with the great work of community supported farms. These types of farms can provide an important source of fresh fruits and vegetables to inner city communities that do not have easy access to grocery stores that sell organic foods. Moreover, farms that sell directly to consumers cut out all of the middlemen and get full retail price for their food, which increases the financial viability of small family farms.

“As president, I would implement USDA policies that promote local and regional food systems, including assisting states to develop programs aimed at community supported farms. I also support a national farm-to-school program and am pleased that the Farm Bill provides more than $1 billion to expand healthy snacks in our schools.”

See? Change is coming.

Si se puede.

Oui nous pouvons.

Si possiamo.

Ne putem da.

Yes we can.

And we are…

~Nicolette Miller-Ka


Eat Local Challenge

October 12, 2008

The folks at eatlocalchallenge.com are based out of San Francisco and have committed to challenging themselves to eat mainly local food during a specific period of time during the year.  Currently, the month of October is that specific part of the year. Nearly half of October is finished, but that doesn’t mean you and your family can’t join in on the fun.

Why should you eat local food? Click here.

“Local” is traditionally within a 150-mile radius of your home. It can be simplified even further to mean your county, state, or region. As we’ve seen in recent days, there are disputes and differences over this arbitrary word.

Nevertheless, sign up at the Eat Local Challenge Web site or keep tabs at home about your local food consumption.

Need help on how to find local food?

Slow Food Piedmont Triad Local Food Guide

National directory of local farms, CSAs, and farmer’s markets

Eat Well Guide
~Nicolette Miller-Ka


World Food Day 2008

October 10, 2008

World Food Day 2008

World Food Day takes place on October 16, this year. The theme is World Food Security: the Challenges of Climate Change and Bioenergy.

World Food Day provides an occasion to once again highlight the plight of 923 million undernourished people in the world. Most of them live in rural areas where their main source of income is the agricultural sector. Global warming and the biofuel boom are now threatening to push the number of hungry even higher in the decades to come.–/www.fao.org

For more information, click here.

To check out how to get involved globally, click here.

To participate in a food blogging event highlighting World Food Day’s mission, click here.

~Nicolette Miller-Ka


Dining from the outside-in

September 27, 2008

Do you remember drive-in movie theaters?

The lure of going out on Saturday night, paying one price and seeing up to three movies? The snack bar called to you with words like “popcorn”, “hot dog”, “french fries”, and “candy” didn’t it? You’d turn your radio to a frequency or put the speaker inside the car window for the surround sound effect.

Well, have you ever heard of an Eat-In?

According to the Web site, Eat-Ins.org was launched after 250 students and young farmers, cooks, artisans and activists gathered for an Eat-In in San Francisco’s Dolores Park during the inaugural Slow Food Nation.

Do you know of any local Eat-Ins? Would you like to start one?

Let us know. Post a comment here or a link.

If you would like more information or would like Eat-Ins.org to post an announcement for or summary of your Eat-In, please write gordon [at] slowfoodnation.org.

~Nicolette Miller-Ka


Have you seen it?

September 27, 2008

Young people are the future. Personally, I am only 27 years old and I still feel like I am part of the future of America…the world, even. The decisions I make now will affect my future children and their children, too.

That being said, young adults in the college-age and young adult brackets have much come-uppance as of late. Baby boomers are impressed and intrigued by us. We intrigue ourselves.

The Greenhorns is a documentary film that debuted last year. It explores the lives of America’s young farming community—its spirit, practices, and needs. As the nation experiences a groundswell of interest in sustainable lifestyles, we see the promising beginnings of an agricultural revival. Young farmers’ efforts feed us safe food, conserve valuable land, and reconstitute communities split apart by strip malls. It is the filmmakers’s hope that by broadcasting the stories and voices of these young farmers, we can inspire another generation of optimistic agrarians.

According to Kerry Trueman, “…with dwindling resources, global food shortages, climate change, and the triple threats of peak oil, peak soil, and peak water nipping at our heedless heels, industrial agriculture is becoming a “luxury” we can’t afford…”

~Nicolette Miller-Ka


Slow Food in Schools Meeting

September 28, 2006

The Piedmont Slow Food Convivium is exploring the possibility of creating a Slow Food in Schools program for this area.  We will be holding a meeting at:

Cheesecake’s by Alex
315 South Elm Street
Greensboro, NC  27401

Thursday
October 12,  2006
7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

We will be discussing school nutrition, school gardens, and organize for future meetings.  I have provided some helpful links on current policies and other best practices used by other organizations. 

Please invite your friends and family members who share our concern on the state of our childrens health and future. 

Sincerely,
Donna Myers
The Wellness Policy
EpiCourier Online Magazine
Guilford County Schools Wellness Policy with a link to policies across North Carolina
Slow Food in Schools  Read “How to Start a Slow Food in Schools Project”.  It is a fabulous outline for us to model.  
Farm to School: “Eat Smart-Farm Fresh”  National Program
Farm to School 19 states participating
The School Lunch Initiative (SLI)
Rethinking School Lunch (RSL) from the Center for Ecoliteracy
Edible Schoolyards