Archive for food

Wisdom From Afar

Food should be local but good ideas should flow freely.

Here is a reprint from Adbusters (Canada) article on an Indian (as in the subcontinent) blog.

It is certainly true that if we paid the true cost of food, a hamburger would be about $8 at McDonalds and a pound of broccoli would cost, well pretty much what it does now, if you buy it local.

Have fun folks, I have to head down to the farmers market to get some supplies.

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Life in the Slow Lane

Most of the people who stumble onto this blog are going to be familiar with the Slow Food movement.  The movement started in Italy in 1986, here is a bit of that history from the Slow Food website:

In 1986, the founding father of the Slow Food Movement, Carlo Petrini recognized that the industrialization of food was standardizing taste and leading to the annihilation of thousands of food varieties and flavors. He wanted to reach out to consumers and demonstrate to them that they have choices over fast food and supermarket homogenization. He rallied his friends and his community, and began to speak out at every available opportunity about the effects of a fast culture.

But ultimately there is more to slow food than just preserving heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables.  I think there is a broader philosophical basis.  Realizing that food in all its aspects involves businesses large and small, from family farms to giant grocery store chains, this quote from Thich Nhat Hanh’s latest book, The Art of Power,  is very appropriate any business, but especially so in something so necessary and close to the heart as food:

We don’t need to get rid of profit.  Compassion can bring financial and political success.  I believe it is simply good business to include in the definition of the bottom a consideration of all the effects we have on one another and the planet.  Businesses that combine profit making with integrity and concern for the world have happier employees and more satisfied customers while making more money.

As consumers too, we have to keep in mind that voting with our dollars counts, and that we need to keep in mind the commitment of the companies we give our dollars to principals such as those that Hahn espouses.  We need to look at the entire value of a product, not just cost and convenience.

Slow food can lead to slow living, which is more local, more connected and more organic.  And, as I am sure Thich Nhat Hanh would agree, more peaceful, in every sense of the word, as well.

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Wisconsin Food System Partnership

Being new to the blogosphere I was worried whether or not I had picked an appropriate name for this little effort, but fortunately my fears were soon allayed.

Brilliant me started doing google searches after I had picked the name and registered with WordPress, but the first result when I searched “Wisconsin Food Web” was quite heartening.

The Wisconsin Food System Partnership is a cooperative program among many branches of the UW system that, in the words of their website:

…brings people from the community and the university together in partnerships to build a more food-secure future for all.

The program provides small grants and other support to community-university partners for a wide range of teaching, research, service, and action projects.

Hmmm…maybe I should ask them for a grant for this little project.  I would say that we are definitely walking on the same side of the street.  Here is part of their vision statement from their website:

The Wisconsin Food System Partnership seeks a more food-secure world in 2020 — a world with less poverty and a plentiful food supply that is varied, enjoyable, safe, and healthy.

Food will be produced and distributed in profitable, equitable, and environmentally sound ways that:
  • invigorate and regenerate the earth and its people;
  • equitably address local, regional, and global needs;
  • are consistent with community resources and objectives; and
  • take advantage of the most useful information and technology.

If I was smart and articulate it is just the sort of thing I would say that I was hoping to accomplish with my little electronic scribblings.  So, you can take that as somewhat of a vision statement for this blog as well.

And finally, the site even says what I was trying to get across on the “About” page and the first post here:

The food system involves people, the environment, and agriculture. It includes the following linked set of activities and organizations:

  • agriculture and agribusiness;
  • natural resources and the environment;
  • rural and urban community development;
  • health and nutrition;
  • biology and biotechnology;
  • science education;
  • international development; and
  • public policy.

I do see a lot of very nice words there, and I hope that as time goes on I can highlight more in the way of actions — people doing things to achieve the goals laid out.

Stay tuned.

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Welcome to the Wisconsin Foodweb!

Food is, of course, central to everything thing we do, we literally cannot live without it.  So food can also be the central touchstone to many things which are important about our modern world: local culture, land usage, water usage, energy use and policy and governmental policy.  That is not to even mention the various health aspects of growing and consuming food.

Food choice is vitally important to the local economy, the environment and our own bodies.

So, gather round the table as we journey into and discuss the various issues — and delights — surrounding that most common element in our daily lives, food.

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