Tomorrow, October 16 is World Food Day, and the theme for 2013 is "Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition".
World Food Day (WFD) was established by FAO's Member Countries at the Organization's 20th General Conference in November 1945. The Hungarian Delegation, led by the former Hungarian Minister of Agriculture and Food, Dr. Pál Romány has played an active role at the 20th Session of the FAO Conference and suggested the idea of celebrating the WFD worldwide.
It has since been observed every year in more than 150 countries, raising awareness of the issues behind poverty and hunger.
See the video on Hunger below, and here's an Events Page showing what you can do in your area.
Photo: Mary Vincent
On April 23, 2013, Al Gore gave a riveting and engaging Stanford University lecture on the topic 'Peril and Opportunity: Solving the Climate Crisis and Reinvigorating Democracy', and he discussed a variety of food and agriculture issues during the 1st Annual Stephen H. Schneider Memorial Lecture. A full video of his lecture is below.
Al Gore highlighted several examples from his new book: The Future Six Drivers of Global Change. For background, the Drivers are:
- Earth, Inc Ever increasing economic globalization has led to the emergence of what Gore labels "Earth Inc." - an integrated, holistic entity with a new and different relationship to capital, labor (outsourcing and robo-sourcing), consumer markets, national governments than in the past. Over the last 25 years, coal production has increased 133%, but jobs have decreased 33%. By 2016 Foxconn, the Chinese manufacturer of Apple devices will replace 1 million workers with robots. Federal officials believe cybersecurity is a more important national-security issue than terrorism. In 1975, corporations spent $100 million lobbying - in 2010, they spent $3.5 BILLION. 50% of Senators and 40% of House Reps become lobbyists when they retire. "I.n yet another illustration of the dangerous imbalance in political decision making, a truly shocking 80% of all U.S. antibiotics are still allowed to be legally used on farms in livestock feed and injections in spite of grave threats to human health"
- Global Mind The worldwide digital communications, Internet, and computer revolutions have led to the emergence of "the Global Mind" which links thoughts and feelings of billions of people and connects intelligent machines, robots, ubiquitous sensors, and databases.
- Shift in Balance of Power The balance of global political, economic, and military power is shifting more profoundly than at any time in the last five hundred years - from a U.S-centered system to one with multiple emerging centers of power, from nation-states to private actors, and from political systems to markets. In 2013, the economy of developing nations will exceed that of developed nations for the first time.
- Growth A deeply flawed economic compass is leading us to unsustainable growth in consumption, pollution flows, and depletion of the planet's strategic resources of topsoil, freshwater, and living species. The GDP metric excludes pollution flows. A survey of global executives reveals 80% are not willing to trade long term sustainability for next quarter's earnings target. Over the last 40 years, we have lot more than 1/3 of the arable land on Earth.
- Reinvention of Life and Death Genomic, biotechnology, neuroscience, and life sciences revolutions are radically transforming the fields of medicine, agriculture, and molecular science - and are putting control of evolution in human hands. Almost all the seeds in the world now belong to one company - Monsanto.
- Relationship between Humanity and the Earth There has been a radical disruption of the relationship between human beings and the earth's ecosystems along with the beginning of a revolutionary transformation of energy systems, agriculture, transportation, and construction worldwide. Global warming pollution traps the equivalent of 400,000 Hiroshima bombs in the lower atmosphere every 24 hours. More than 65% of the US suffered from drought conditions in 2012
Credit: Fedele Bauccio
Gratitude Gourmet readers know that Fedele Bauccio, CEO of Bon Appétit Management Company, is my Hero.
Fedele's company was the Environmental Defense Fund's (EDF) 2009 Innovations Review Food and Beverage Innovator, recognized for reducing the environmental and carbon footprint and Winner of the National Resource Defense Council's (NRDC) 1st Annual Growing Green Awards.
Fedele has written a wonderful February 2013 Sustainability Editorial called: Redefining Sustainability - or Practicing What We Preach. His Editorial is a must-read for those concerned about our food policies, health, farm worker treatment, humane animal conditions, antibiotics ... and our Future.
The article link is here: http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1089/SUS.2013.9900
Please share with your colleagues, friends, families, communities, and policymakers. Thank you.
Think.Eat.Save – Reduce your foodprint!
Did you know there is an extended environmental impact of Food Waste?
Not only does discarded food produce harmful methane emissions when stashed in landfills, but it also wastes the resources used in food production and transport.
The Theme for this year's United Nations Environmental Programme World World Environment Day is Think-Eat-Save.
Photo Credit: UNEP
The World Environment Day celebration began in 1972 to increase worldwide awareness of the environment and encourages political attention and action by empowering YOU to become agents for change in support of sustainable and equitable development. World Environment Day is also a day for people from all walks of life to come together to ensure a cleaner, greener and brighter outlook for themselves and future generations.
Everyone counts in this initiative and World Environment Day relies on you to make it happen!
How are you reducing Food Waste in your businesses and your households?
Let us know what you're doing on our Gratitude Gourmet Facebook Page and UNEP's Page.
For History: As a United States Peace Corps Volunteer serving in Hungary, my role was to teach Business English and Focus on Environmental Awareness. In addition to helping Business Owners Green Their Businesses, I also setup an Earth Week in the local town and school. Each day had a theme, including recycling and vegetarian days. I wasn't vegetarian at that time but understood the impact meat had on the planet's water and grain resources, i.e. 2,500 gallons/pound. Newsweek once put it another way: "the water that goes into a 1,000 pound steer would float a destroyer." It also takes 10 to 16 pounds of grain to produce one pound of beef. It made sense to be vegetarian 1 Day a Week, and I wasn't vegetarian. Now we've become aware that methane emissions are 23 times more powerful than carbon, and cows are a significant emitter of methane (18% Greenhouse Gas Emissions according to UN FAO). Now the UN and other countries are advocating that being vegetarian once a week has immense benefits to the planet. This is why Gratitude Gourmet was founded in May 2008: to share news on globally innovative, practical and sustainable agriculture programs and practices, and empower the individual to make changes within households, communities, and with your Vote, so we can ALL make a real difference for the Planet.
Now, we've become aware about the Food Waste impact on the planet due to methane emissions which are 23 times more powerful than carbon, and UNEP is doing wonderful work bringing more awareness on this issue for this year's World Environmental Day. I look forward to hearing more about your ACTIONS on this year's World Environmental Day and
* ‘like’ the post on Facebook,
* and retweet with the hashtag #WED2013 across Facebook and Twitter.
Fredi Kronenberg Stanford School of Medicine
Fredi Kronenberg is a Stanford School of Medicine Physiologist with expertise in women's health and alternative medicine and is very involved in bringing healthy food and Information to hospitals and health professionals. Our video interview is in two parts below, and here are some highlights.
She mentions "there is a tremendous surge of interest in bringing healthy food to hospitals...however, a missing piece of the equation is that Doctors are not trained in Nutrition and Food."
She says that "what you eat affects gene expression so just because you have a particular genetic propensity doesn't mean that you will get that particular condition because you can, in fact, impact that by the food you eat, so it's really critical that doctors learn more about food."
"We know now that there are particular foods, for example, that help Cancer patients and many illnesses which are inflammatory-driven. There are certain foods that promote inflammation and certain foods that reduce inflammation...Tumeric (curcumin) is one of the most anti-inflammatory herbs and spices we know, and it's valuable for Cancer patients and other patients that have inflammatory-driven conditions."
Over the last 10 years, she has worked with Dr Andrew Weil in these areas, and they have also established a 2 1/2 day Annual Conference for Doctors, Nurses, and Health Care Providers which presents the latest research in nutrition and specific health conditions, and how food can prevent and treat conditions. She says, "why not use nutrition to control diabetes and cardiovascular disease first?" There are no donuts served at this conference, and the food is healthy.
More information is on their website at http://nutritionandhealthconf.org
In addition to this conference, she's working on a new initiative to bring in Chefs to Stanford University who can produce food that has the herbs and spices especially made for Cancer patients, create a conference and bring experts to it. She's looking for funders, and if you're interested, please contact her at fk11 (at) stanford (dot) edu
Part 1 of 2
Part 2 of 2
John Robbins - Photo: M Vincent
John Robbins, Author of Diet for a New America, spoke at Stanford University yesterday October 24, 2012 and discussed his book's positive impact on his father's illness, the fact that Climate Change unfortunately wasn't discussed in the US presidential debates, and California's Prop 37 Right to Know.
Highlights are below, as well as a follow-on Stanford Farm Bill discussion and Scientific Feedback I received from a Scientist and MIT alum at a large pharmaceutical company regarding GMOs.
When John's father, founder of the Baskin Robbins ice cream chain, was dying from Diabetes complications, his doctor told him that he should read Diet for a New America. At that time, the doctor did not know the Author and Father were related. His father then followed the book's advice and lived for 18 more years.John Robbins also touched on the fact that Climate Change unfortunately was not mentioned in the US presidential debates. (I agree.) He also mentioned that the planet and all life on Earth are being affected and food is a large part of greenhouse gas emissions, more than transportation.
As many Gratitude Gourmet readers know. this fact and connection between Animal Agriculture and Greenhouse Gas Emissions is why I founded Gratitude Gourmet in May 2008.
Stanford Food Bill Discussion Photo: M Vincent
As to the Yes on Prop 37 Right to Know initiative, John mentioned that "the GMO industry wants to keep you ignorant - Ignorance is subservience - subservience to Monsanto and their agenda" and "we're going to pass Prop 37. " The Stanford audience enthusiastically clapped.
John's keynote was followed by Farm Bill Renewal Panel discussion including Buzz Thompson, Stanford Professor of Law and Co-Director Woods Institute of the Environment, Karl Hamerschlag, Environmental Working Group, Jon Scholl President, American Farmland Trust, and Michele Simon, President Eat Drink Politics. The bill is very complex to say the least, and here are a few points which were mentioned: There is a massive disconnect between the Farm Bill and Public Health needs. It's focused on the meat and processed-food-centric diet, however the ADA says that half of our plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables. Right now, the Farm Bill only includes a small sliver of a plate's recommended fruits and vegetables.John Robbins suggested that a tax be levied on unhealthy foods to subsidize healthy foods, i.e. a tax on white bread to subsidize whole grain breads etc. Intriguing idea.
The Panel members at the end each gave one point that the audience should take with them, and they are:
- Go to the newly-launched website: Foodpolicyaction.org to see how your legislators voted
- Get Political
- Vote with your Dollars- Share your opinions with people and family most important to you
- Go Vote & Go Eat.
Yes on Prop 37 Right to Know Supporters
I also met a scientist at a large pharmaceutical company and MIT alum, who gave a scientific explanation regarding GMO risks. This person asked to be kept Anonymous.
"I work in the pharmaceutical industry as a scientist and thus am very familiar with genetic engineering. We use it to engineer cell lines to produce the protein biologicals we engineer as medicines, such as antibodies. It is a common and well known concept that the species that one produces those proteins in matters very much, ie, if you take a single gene and express it in various species of cell lines, you will not get the same final protein due to something called post translational modifications. For example, the protein may have parts of it cut off, it may be folded differently, different phosphorylations may occur, or glycosylations (sugars) will get added on in different patterns. Sometimes those differences have little effect, and sometimes those effects are quite huge - you just don't know until you test it. This is what a lot of geneticists fail to convey when talking about genetic engineering. Sure, when you move DNA from species to another, that DNA is all made of the same nucleotides that exists in all species and you'll get the same string of amino acids resulting from it. But moving a gene from one species to another will not result in the exact same protein getting expressed. This is why our stuff has to go through clinical trials and post market surveillance, and rightly so. But the FDA requires no testing of our food which utilizes similar technologies." - Anonymous, scientist at a large pharmaceutical company and MIT alum
As Editor of Gratitude Gourmet, I urge Californians to Vote Yes on 37 - Because we have the right to know what's in our food.
Learn more on the Yes on 37 Website: http://www.carighttoknow.org/Thank you.
Kathleen Merrigan, USDA
Kathleen Merrigan, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), is a James Beard Foundation Award Winner for her efforts to strengthen the critical connection between farmers and consumers, create new opportunities for farmers, support regional food infrastructure and bring agriculture into our daily conversations through efforts such as USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative.
Our interview is below.
Gratitude Gourmet: Congratulations on your Award! Please tell me more about your efforts to strengthen the connection between farmers and consumers.
Kathleen Merrigan: There has been a renaissance of interest in the world of agriculture and how food was produced. For me it is so exciting. Before people didn't want to talk about this, but we've really come into a new time period where people are just all about food, where it's local/regional, i.e. the drought farmers are dealing with. I have been to over 30 college campuses talking to young people about American agriculture.
The average Farmer age is 59, most are over 65 – we need to talk to people about getting engaged in policies relating to agriculture and transition people into agriculture. I was just up in Portland, Maine and Cleveland discussing how food systems can connect to jobs.
Gratitude Gourmet: How has the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative grown since its inception in 2009 and where do you see the program headed in the future?
Kathleen Merrigan: It's a huge bureaucracy. How does someone know how to navigate system? We want to decode and demystify that to help people figure out what systems are available. On the GIS map, communities can go to the map and have their own conversations. It gives them more information about our resources, how do we build up our local resource systems and empower communities across the US.
Gratitude Gourmet: Can you share some case studies of Communities which have benefited?
Kathleen Merrigan: I can't share the community names but there are three community examples in cities and rural areas, i.e. a hoop house, a seasonal high tunnel structure and we've funded a variety of them. What an amazing difference it has made in their production. In Alaska, we have a cost-share program which has been transformative. When I was up in Maine and New Hampshire, farmers have said it has been great to provide local products to consumers including during colder weather.Gratitude Gourmet: Thank you.
Note: Post Interview per the USDA site, I noticed that in Ohio, Flying HIGH will use Farmers Market Promotion (FMPP) funds to "recruit and train young urban adults as farmers, showing them how to grow and sell produce at new farmers markets in Youngstown and throughout Mahoning County. A combination of production and marketing education, technical support services, supplies and professional development will have significant impact on the long-term success of young farmers in the community."----------------------------------------------------------------------------------Related James Beard Foundation Leadership Award Articles:Interview with Tensie Whelan, President Rainforest AllianceInterview with Dr. Jason Clay World Wildlife Fund (WWF)