Like everything else in the food system, food waste isn’t that simple. Unlike everything else in the food system, waste knows no bounds—that is, it cuts across all components of the food system. Food is lost and wasted in every sector, from production to consumption. However, the pervasiveness of food waste also means that it’s one of the biggest opportunities for rebuilding local food systems. Before making that argument, though, it is important to understand the issue of food waste in more detail.
Shopping for groceries is a painful process for Tan Yinghong, a mother in her mid-30s. Just to buy meat, vegetables and milk for her 7-year-old son she has to pick her way through a minefield of possible perils – fake lamb, diseased pork, toxic ginger, tainted milk and unsafe bottled water. So after years of scandals and the government’s inability to clean up the food supply chain, this spring the former high school teacher took matters into her own hands and signed a lease on about a quarter of an acre of farmland on the outskirts of Beijing with six other families.
For book and reading lovers, winter seems the season most conducive to marathon reading sessions. Yet somehow, during the summer months, those who love reading draw out little bits of time to lose themselves in the written word. Summer months are typically active, dynamic, and border on chaotic. There’s always a book though, to help us folks, drained by humidity and too many picnics. If you’re looking for a good book to read this summer, I recommend any of these ten.
With the warm weather comes a plethora of farmer’s markets that sprout up every spring. They can be an overwhelming experience, with so many stands and fresh produce to navigate. You may find yourself puzzled and going home empty-handed, or on the other hand, buying foods you’re unsure how to use, leading to waste. So what’s a shopper to do? Here are my tips for making your trip to the farmer’s market cost-effective, successful, and fun.
People have been saying blessings, grace, or prayers of thanksgiving over food from time immemorial, as far back as the first human cultures. Food blessings matter a great deal to many spiritual people. Yet, today, it is possible that food blessings, how they work, and what they accomplish may be threatened by genetic modification and other commercial food processing.
How do you profitably invest in the veggie farms, grass-fed beef producers and artisan goat cheese-makers that make up the burgeoning local food system? When Woody Tasch, in 2008, published Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Food: Investing as if Food, Farms and Fertility Mattered, and launched the nonprofit Slow Money to help guide the flow of capital into small and local food enterprises, he did not have a clue. But he captured the zeitgeist.
Sooner or later the question comes up, whether it is between two friends sharing a pot of stew made from local grassfed beef and their garden harvest, livestock farmers gathered on a pasture walk, neighbors working together to tend a flock of backyard chickens, or organic vegetable producers discussing yields at a conference.
“But can we feed the world this way?”
Last week, the European Commission voted to place a two-year moratorium on most uses of neonicotinoid pesticides, on the suspicion that they’re contributing to the global crisis in honeybee health (a topic I’ve touched on here, here, here, and here). Since then, several people have asked me whether Europe’s move might inspire the US Environmental Protection Agency to make a similar move—currently, neonics are widely used in several of our most prevalent crops, including corn, soy, cotton, and wheat.
On February 10, 2012, Ronald McDonald held court in a packed elementary school auditorium. Ronald was visiting the Lexington, Kentucky elementary school as part of his sweep of that state. The visits are meant to teach ”the value of leadership and community involvement,” says Ronald, and kick off fundraising drives for Ronald McDonald Houses. According to WheresRonald.com, he’s planning to visit at least 117 more schools there this year.