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?

November 26, 2006

"Cost in Translation"

Seriously, now — why aren't organics getting affordable?

Christy Harrison
25 Aug 2005
Full article

So you like whole-grain bread, pesticide-free plums, and low-fat meat? Better ask for a raise.

A recent study by researchers at the University of California-Davis reported that U.S. shoppers who consistently choose healthy foods spend nearly 20 percent more on groceries. The study also said the higher price of these healthier choices can consume 35 to 40 percent of a low-income family's grocery budget. That's bad news for public health. It's also bad news for the organic-food market, since organics usually carry the highest price tag of all the healthy stuff out there.

Eventually, analysts keep telling us, demand for organics will set the wheels in motion that will drive prices down. But eventually never seems to come. Even though organics sales are growing by about 20 percent a year -- almost 10 times the rate of increase in total U.S. food sales, according to the Nutrition Business Journal -- these cleaner, greener products still carry a hefty premium.

How many shoppers have to jump on the organic bandwagon before we actually see prices fall? How long will that take? And what's the government's role in all this? It depends who you ask.

» Read the full article at Grist

I highly recommend reading the public feedback in response to the article.

November 18, 2006

"The ducks in the henhouse"

Wild birds are being blamed for the death of 19 million chickens. Yet factory farms are the real problem.

By Eve Johnson
Published: April 13, 2004

Yes, the scope of the avian flu epidemic in the Fraser Valley staggers the imagination. How do we digest the idea of 19 million birds, mostly chickens, all being killed over a matter of a few weeks? It's hard enough to imagine 19 million chickens living, much less all dying at once, between here and Hope.

How did there get to be so many of them, so close to us, so close to each other, so vulnerable to viral infections?

Johnson continues, revealing the disastrous truth behind the epidemic: what really started it, how the industry won't take the blame, and how mistreated chickens are in today's world. Why should their conditions matter to us? We eat them.

Read the full article with comments

"Living on the 100-Mile Diet"

Eating a truly local diet for a year poses some tricky questions. First in a series.


By Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon
Published: June 28, 2005
Article with comments here

It's strawberry season. James and I are at the Ellis Farms u-pick on Delta's Westham Island, crouching between long rows of the bunchy green plants, plucking the big berries and dropping them gently into small buckets. We imagine their future with cream and in pies. I lick the sweet red juice from my fingers. "If I make jam we can have strawberries all year," I say. James asks with what, exactly, I plan to make the jam? Sugar? One of the planet's most exploitative products, shipped in from thousands of kilometres away?

"But what," I reply, "will we eat all winter?"

Continue reading ""Living on the 100-Mile Diet"" »

November 5, 2006

"U.S.: Ozone-Zapping Pesticide OK"

Full article posted at Wired News.
Associated Press 10:45 AM Nov 04, 2006

The Bush administration on Friday won international approval for U.S. farmers to use thousands of tons of a potent ozone-destroying pesticide without having to dip substantially into large stockpiles that were recently revealed.

The pesticide, methyl bromide, was banned under an international treaty nearly two years ago except for uses deemed critical. U.S. officials have secured exemptions to the ban so that growers can use it to kill soil pests for tomatoes, strawberries and other crops in agricultural states like California and Florida.

Continue reading ""U.S.: Ozone-Zapping Pesticide OK"" »

October 19, 2006

"Think About What You Eat"

Article from the Montreal Gazette featured in The Vancouver Sun, July 1, 2006. Republished with permission.

Hidden problems with our food supply mean meals aren't as nourishing as they seem. Three books weigh the ethical and nutritional implications of industrial food production

We are processed corn, walking, says Michael Pollan. In The Omnivore's Dilemma, he deconstructs four mealtime scenarios — fast food, "industrial organic," local organic and foraged meals — and manages to enlighten, and often disturb, with his discoveries about each one.

Continue reading ""Think About What You Eat"" »

October 18, 2006

"The Food We Eat"

The David Suzuki Foundation has released a report titled "The Food We Eat: An International Comparison of Pesticide Regulations." It reveals that Canadian standards for pesticide amounts on our food is hundreds to over a thousand times the amount allowed in Europe. This article posted on Sympatico/MSN (October 5, 2006) offers a frustrating rebuttal from Alain Charette of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Continue reading ""The Food We Eat"" »