Local food is no longer just a novelty. Farmers markets are growing nationwide and farms that sell directly to consumers brought in $1.3 billion in 2012, up eight percent from just five years earlier. Despite the demand, making local food work in some places is decidedly more difficult than others. Steamboat Springs is one of those places.Read More »
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People have always grown food in urban spaces — on windowsills or sidewalks, in backyards and neighborhood parks — but today, urban farmers are leading a movement that transforms the national food system. In Breaking Through Concrete (University of California Press, 2012) David Hanson and, experienced urban farmer, Edwin Marty illustrate twelve thriving urban farms. The following excerpt takes us to Denver, where the urban garden has become a community of its own.Read More »
You've seen the apple trees starting to groan under the weight of their fruit, ripening and ready to be picked — or perhaps simply fall to the ground to rot.
It won't be wasted if Community Fruit Rescue has any say in the matter.
More people shopping at Colorado farmers markets and farmstands can now use food stamps to pay for their produce.Read More »
Supporters for the labeling of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) in Colorado delivered a petition on Monday with about twice the number of signatures required for a ballot initiative to appear before voters in November.Read More »
Of all the places one might expect to find a hotbed of opposition to a GMO labeling initiative, the Denver Urban Homesteading market would be an improbable choice.
After all, this is a shop that prides itself on handcrafted food and locally grown vegetables, most of them organic.
But owner James Bertini says the Colorado Right to Know initiative, which appears likely to make the November ballot, forces the same heavy-handed regulation on small markets like his as it would on mega-grocery chains. He says he can't afford it.Read More »
Organic produce in the grocery store is labeled as good for the environment. No pesticides on the produce may reduce soil and water contamination, but organic goods that come from faraway places increase pollution and diminish the quality of those fruits and vegetables.Read More »
Like most cities, Denver has its share of concrete, glass and asphalt. But it's also home to an urban homesteading movement that's bringing small-scale farming to the urban core.Read More »
The traditional foods movement is a fad-free approach to cooking and eating that emphasizes nutrient-dense food, and values quality, environment and community over the convenience of processed products. The Nourished Kitchen (Ten Speed Press, 2014), by Jennifer McGruther, not only teaches how to prepare wholesome foods, but also encourages a celebration of old-world culinary traditions that have sustained healthy people for millennia. The following excerpt comes from the introduction and discusses some of the general benefits of joining the traditional foods movement.Read More »
Less than 1 percent of the food Coloradans eat comes from Colorado, despite the fact that agriculture is one of the state’s biggest industries. That’s in part because local food is difficult and expensive to grow in large quantities. Entrepreneur and former Olympic skier Jeff Olson of Denver says he’s found a way to transform local food production -- and simultaneously bring back the family farm.Read More »
Supporting locally grown food benefits everyone in the community from the farmers, to the economy, to your own health. It is a philosophy that benefits the greater good of the community by bringing everyone together to work toward a common goal. The urban garden effort, the Farm to School programs, and the local organic farms in our area are all a step in the right direction to breathing healthy eating and living into our community life.Read More »
Coming soon to a farm near you: just about every possible type of pest that could take advantage of the ripening harvest in the nearby fields. Wherever pests can make a living, they will. None of this bodes well for food security in a world of nine billion people and increasingly rapid climate changeRead More »
The underlying theory of her advocacy work is that many more people would choose to farm if they knew how to get started. She also wants young farmers to understand that it’s possible to have a social life and a viable business at the same time, and once they’ve begun farming, to make sure there’s a network of support to help them get access to the resources and information they need to stay in business.Read More »
In the wake of nearly 40 years of neoliberal globalization, the agriculture industry’s triumph is no accident, as traditional labor unions have been systematically weakened, basic rights like access to water have been increasingly privatized, and SNAP and welfare benefits have been dramatically scaled back. As Fannie Lou Hamer once said, “Food is used as a political weapon.” Many groups — from Cooperation Jackson to the Southern Grassroots Economies Project — are already fighting back. Taking back food means taking back the economy, and we’ll need every tool in the box.Read More »
Sugar bashing is all the rage these days, and with good cause. Studies over many years have pointed to sugar as, at the very least, an accomplice, if not the perp, behind many of the health ills of modern civilization. Obesity and diabetes are the obvious candidates caused by over-consumption of the sweet stuff. The obesity epidemic has been written about exhaustively for years, and obesity’s good friend, Type 2 diabetes, has increased threefold in the past three decades, coinciding with the explosion of sugary products (both obvious and hidden). However, there are a cornucopia of other illnesses and conditions that have lesser-known connections to sugar. The list is long: high blood pressure, hypoglycemia, depression, acne, headaches, hardening of the arteries, fatigue, violent behavior, hyperactivity, aching extremities, and of course, tooth decay.Read More »
No one needs to eat livestock to survive. Yet meat is almost universally the focus of the Western diet. When you go to a restaurant and the waiter asks you what you’ll have, you respond with the meat or fish entree. You don’t say, “the asparagus” or “the rice” or the “mixed veggies.” Everything else on the menu is known as a “side dish,” or is even regarded as an afterthought. Arby’s even advertises “Mega Meat Stacks” and “Meats Upon Meats Upon Meats.” And this is pure insanity – on a global scale. The average American eats between two and five times more protein than they actually need. Basically, we eat animals because we want to, or because we’re duped into it by the Big Ag Empire.Read More »
More than 2500 years later, we are inundated with advertisements boasting the latest, greatest cure-all super drug. From a young age, we learn that it doesn’t matter how or what we eat, there is a quick fix around the corner for whatever ails us—whether we’re obese, have high blood pressure or bad cholesterol—just to name a few of the issues plaguing our society. It now seems almost revolutionary to think that we can change our health by changing the food we eat.
But, one hospital in Pennsylvania thought just that.
Since this is the dog days of summer, I thought I’d resist the tyranny of the urgent and talk about gardening, since my garden is now fully fledged, and there’s nothing left for me to do but sit back, enjoy, and let the living system entertain all my senses; and give away the vegetables toRead More »
I don’t claim small, local farms are perfect. All farming involves a complicated choreography of valuable resources. As consumers, we must be cognizant of costs as much as prices.Read More »
However, on a local level, scientist Joe Breskin seems to have found a solution for dramatically increasing vegetable yields in greenhouses, doubling the length of growing seasons and feeding more people for less money – all while using cutting-edge energy efficiency techniques. “Heated greenhouses are not new, but the way we are doing it is,” said Breskin, who describes himself as a “senior generalist, engineering design consultant” who likes to “fix complex, interesting things that don’t work.” It might sound too good to be true, except that the facts are speaking for themselves.Read More »