August 18, 2008

Slow Food Cycle Sunday Recap!

Lunchtime at the Helmer farm

Yesterday I attended my first Slow Food Cycle Sunday, in Pemberton. Whew, what a ride!

We arrived in Pemberton Village rather on time considering the road construction on the Sea to Sky Highway. (No rockslides, thankfully!) Treacherous road, but man, what a view! The parking lot at Signal Hill Elementary School was rapidly filling up when we unloaded our stuff, packed up our saddle bags and took off in the direction of the Community Centre which would be our official starting point. It was obvious then that there was a huge turnout, and in fact the count thus far exceeds 2000 riders! It was mildly sunny and cool, but the weather didn't do what was forecasted. It did the exact opposite, without the potential thunderstorm that seemed imminent.

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October 24, 2007

CBC Marketplace goes in search of the Product of Canada


CBC's Marketplace aired tonight (watch it!) with Wendy Mesley wondering what the label "Product of Canada" on food packaging really means. Much to our dismay, the regulations state that a product need only have at least 51% of its production costs spent in Canada. That means it could be, for example, grown or caught in Indonesia, processed in China, shipped to Halifax for seasoning and packaging, and trucked across the country to be bought in Vancouver. As long as at least 51% of the shipping, labour, and overhead costs, etc., were incurred in Canada, regardless of ingredients, the product can be labelled Product of Canada. So that explains why your canned pineapple is a "Canadian product." This misleading regulation is out of date in today's Canada that imports 40% of the food we eat, versus 20% in 1985 when the legislation was made.

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October 7, 2007

Plight of the turkey? Hey processed food: get stuffed!

It's Thanksgiving weekend, and like many others, I hit the big grocery store to stock up on various items. The bulk of my contribution to my family potluck dinner, however, I did not buy at the grocery store: I bought it at the market. Local white potatoes and local carrots. (I could have bought the thyme and basil there, too, but I wouldn't have used all the fresh basil and I didn't actually know what fresh thyme looked like! Shame on me.) Our dinner consisted of plenty of seasonal items, and nothing processed. Boy was it delicious.

Washington purple potatoes and local field cucumbers

I noticed my mother reading this article so I sent it to myself to post here. "The manufactured meal" dissects the Thanksgiving dinner, and though it's different from mine, the author offers some good and even unbeknownst-to-me insight on food issues, not the least of which is turkey trauma! Fortunately my response to his salad plight is to say that I only bought organic lettuce this summer/fall, and had no difficulty finding it — at my farmer's market.

Read the Globe and Mail article here, and be sure to read the comments.

September 20, 2007

Featured in Applied Arts Student Issue

Look for images of this website included in the September 2007 issue of Canada's Applied Arts magazine. The Student Awards Annual showcases fresh talent from across the country. More on this at my main blog, thirteen cent pinball.

I'm proud to announce (again — I found out in April) that AfterTASTE is a winner in the Interactive Design category. I cannot forget, of course, the dozens of people who helped me make it happen. Congratulations to the other winners, which includes my dear friend, Anne-Marie Leong with her project Maïse.

"Ottawa unveils new organic food logo"

This is kind of old news now, but related articles tagged along the side are an interesting read as well.

The federal government has created a new logo for organic foods that have been tested and certified by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.more at

What do you think about the new design, anyway?

June 3, 2007

Give your plate a lift...and a piece of grass

Even if I weren't an omnivore, I'd be supporting what this article has to say: get your grilled steak grass-fed this year. It's healthier for you, the cows, and the environment. Just how healthy?

For starters, corn-fed cows are on drugs. And not in a summer-of-love kind of way. In order to survive in our Fast Food Nation, cattle ranchers these days have to get their cows fat as fast and as cheaply as possible. That means stuffing them with corn-based animal feed, instead of letting them roam and graze on grass, as cows are meant to do. ... The result is that farmers have to keep their cows hopped up on antibiotics, which you the consumer then ingest.

Your good old-fashioned, grass-fed, pasture-raised cow doesn't have to bear these antibiotics (administered "preventatively"), diseases, inhumane treatment, cramped indoor "living" spaces and hormones (rGBH, among others?). (The use of hormones may still apply except to organically-raised cows, which may, according to this site, still be subjected to a grain diet and confined spaces. A return to the natural way as a combination of the best of both is ideal.)

Read the article, "Watermelon, Memorial Day, and Cows on Drugs" from Plenty Magazine for the parts I omitted—and I bet you'll be surprised at the truth! I was, even after all I've been reading about factory farming and unnatural animal diets.

See related article at Eat Local Challenge: Got Grass?

December 7, 2006

Local treats and good eats for under $12

Squash and pumpkin

Due to a recent snowfall and unusually cold temperatures, I hadn't ventured to the local farmer's market for awhile. I combined today's trip with doing photography for this site as well.

I had a short list, and I think one reason why I didn't walk away with ten times as much is because I refused to buy anything that wasn't local, with the exception of mandarin oranges and a German marzipan-chokolade bar. (It's a Christmas treat.) I kind of wanted lettuce, but none that I preferred, if any, was local. It was from California. The only local peppers were green ones, and I chose them over the red/yellow/orange ones from Mexico.

Local-grown nantes carrots

Here's what I got and what I paid:

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