Chances are you have heard some of these words recently: urban agriculture, locally-sourced,food systems, sustainability, food shift, urban farming, and food resiliency. If so, you are not alone! They all relate to a growing trend in the Denver metro area around creating a more robust local food economy. Local food sourcing seems to make sense. It generates income for the local agricultural producers and urban farmers from selling their fresh vegetables, eggs, fruit and even cottage foods. It provides jobs in food processing, transportation, food retail establishments (corner stores and restaurants), and can even support folks in the composting and waste business at the end of the food chain.Read More »
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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, Colo., is one of those places.
Problem number one is infrastructure.
Forty years ago in Southwest Colorado, organic food was a small blip on the culinary radar. Maybe you remember the first natural food stores sprouting throughout the nation: baskets of odd-smelling carob balls parading as candy, jars of disintegrating legumes which seemed less like dinner and more like something to store in your underground bunker in case of emergency. Thankfully, organics have come a long way, marrying the age-old practice of growing chemical-free food with our new expectations for freshness and variety. In Southwest Colorado, we have a few early, inspired, local pioneers to thank for paving the way.Read More »
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 »
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 »
Following in the tracks of a natural food revival that has popularized heirloom tomatoes, beans and squash at farmers markets across the United States, the arid Southwest borderlands is now at the forefront of a concerted push to bring back natural, genetically diverse and nourishing grains cultivated by local farmers, some over thousands of years.Read More »
The United States cannot afford food capitalism, given the interaction between health care costs and the Western diet. Nearly half a century ago, feminists put bodies on the political agenda. There they remain, as we struggle over what to have for dinner.Read More »
Are food made with genetically modified ingredients safe to eat? Yes, according to the World Health Organization, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the Food and Drug Administration, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the British Royal Society of Medicine, to name a few, all of which gave made formal statements to that effect. To argue against GMOs on the basis of health (as opposed to, say, environmental concerns) is to risk being called anti-science. About 80 percent of conventional processed food already contains genetically engineered ingredients, anyway, and there’s a growing consensus that, the science being more or less resolute on this, laws mandating such foods be labeled make no sense. Halfway through the year, Big Food and Big Ag have already tripled their 2013 spending.Read More »
More U.S. households are having a hard time putting food on the table than before the recession. But there is a sliver of hope: The numbers are not going up.
In 2013, 14.3 percent of households (17.5 million) experienced varying degrees of food insecurity, according to a report released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The change from 2012 was not statistically significant, but the latest research shows a slight dip since 2011, when 14.9 percent of households suffered from hunger or poor nutrition.
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 »