Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables

I have written once before about food waste, and when I saw this video I wanted to highlight it since it tackles the same issue. Supermarkets around the world set standards for “food quality” which include appearance. Even if a piece of produce is as tasty and nutritious as can be, it is discarded when it doesn’t meet certain specifications for size, color, or shape. I love to see that the EU declared 2014 the European Year Against Food Waste! I also love that supermarkets are selling “ugly” produce at a lower price, that consumers are embracing it, and that farmers are making a profit off of items that would otherwise have been thrown away. Bravo!

Using Poetry to Raise Awareness about Diabetes

NPR recently published a story about young people in California using poetry and spoken word to raise awareness about diabetes in their families. Some of the statistics the article mentions surprised me: Did you know that half of African-American youths born in the year 2000 are expected to develop Type 2 diabetes at some point in their lives?

I love to see public health campaigns that push the envelope and tackle issues in ways that aren’t part of the traditional tactics. This campaign does just that. Watch a few of the poems below.

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

I just had to share this link to Marion Nestle’s fantastic post on Food Politics today. She does a great job of explaining how and why the U.S. creates trade agreements with other countries, and what some of the major issues are with the process. (Hint: A total lack of transparency, political bullying, and undermining native farmers’ products, to name a few.) It’s well worth a read.

Childhood Obesity in Reverse

Hi friends! I know I haven’t posted in quite some time, but I came across this video and had to share. It shows the journey of Jim, a 32-year-old suffering from a heart attack, but in reverse. It’s so relevant in our current climate of childhood obesity, but the story doesn’t stop there. It shows the results of Jim’s bad habits carrying forth into adulthood. Enjoy!

“Hunger Can Be a Positive Motivator”

A few weeks ago, I attended the Association of Arizona Food Banks‘ annual conference. They showed a video in which Stephen Colbert does his thing in response to a 2009 comment by then-Missouri state representative Cynthia Davis. I had never seen it before and it is just too good not to share. Unfortunately, WordPress does not support embedding from non-specified sites, so you’ll have to click this link to see the video. Believe me – it is worth it!

Update: Some people have had trouble viewing the video using the link above. Here is another link, on YouTube – it should work!

Priorities

“Objectives such as supplying diverse, culturally-acceptable foods to communities, supporting smallholders, sustaining soil and water resources, and raising food security within particularly vulnerable areas, must not be crowded out by the one-dimensional quest to produce more food…”

-Olivier de Schutter, former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food

M. F. K. Fisher on Food

My sister M sent me the book The Gastronomical Me some time ago, and I just sat down to begin it. I couldn’t resist but to copy the foreword to the book here, because it is so divine:

People ask me: Why do you write about food, and eating and drinking? Why don’t you write about the struggle for power and security, and about love, the way others do?

They ask it accusingly, as if I were somehow gross, unfaithful to the honor of my craft.

The easiest answer is to say that, like most other humans, I am hungry. But there is more than that. It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it… and then the warmth and richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied… and it is all one.

I tell about myself, and how I ate bread on a lasting hillside, or drank red wine in a room now blown to bits, and it happens without my willing it that I am telling too about the people with me then, and their other deeper needs for love and happiness.

There is food in the bowl, and more often than not, because of what honesty I have, there is nourishment in the heart, to feed the wilder, more insistent hungers. We must eat. If, in the face of that dread fact, we can find other nourishment, and tolerance and compassion for it, we’ll be no less full of human dignity.

There is a communion of more than our bodies when bread is broken and wine drunk. And that is my answer, when people ask me: Why do you write about hunger, and not wars or love?