Friday, October 29, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Go here to sign the petition
"If you visit Washington, D.C.'s Ward 7 or 8, you'll notice several kinds of businesses — fast food joints, corner stores, and gas stations, to name a few. But one type of shop is conspicuously absent — grocery stores.
Folks who live in the city's Ward 7 and Ward 8 reside in food deserts, areas that lack supermarkets, farmers' markets, and other places where folks can get fresh, healthy goods. Wards 7 and 8 are also the two regions of the city with the lowest average household incomes. While the wards boast 23 percent of the D.C.'s population, they only contain 16 percent of the city's grocery stores. In contrast, Wards 2 and 3, the region's with the highest average household incomes, boast 27 percent of the city's population but contain 44 percent of its grocery stores. Anyone else notice a massively unjust discrepancy there?" -Sarah Parsons, change.org
Unfortunately, the Foundation promotes industrial farming, inappropriate technologies, and pro-corporate policies that threaten to make things worse for the hungry, small farmers, consumer health, and the environment in Africa. A handful of large-scale farmers and transnational agribusiness corporations, like Monsanto and Syngenta, may be the only real beneficiaries of AGRA. In the words of a representative of the Kenya Biodiversity Coalition, "AGRA is poison for our farming systems and livelihoods. Under the philanthropic banner of greening agriculture, AGRA will eventually eat away what little is left of sustainable small-scale farming in Africa."
Many farmers in Africa are calling for an alternative approach to sustaining their communities and land. "African farmers are seeking food sovereignty and not imposed unhealthy foods," says Kenyan biointensive farmer Samuel Nderitu. "Indigenous knowledge that has been embraced by farmers in Africa for decades has been farmer friendly, environmentally sound and humane, as opposed to modernized agriculture...African food is healthy and nutritious. We don't need GMOs!" Indeed, scientific studies show that small-scale sustainable agriculture has the potential to revitalize rural economies, mitigate climate change and its effects, restore and preserve the environment, eradicate poverty, and provide healthy, culturally appropriate food for all.
You can make a difference TODAY by pressuring the Gates Foundation to support real solutions to hunger, poverty, and climate change. Stand with civil society organizations, farmers, farmworkers, and farmer organizations, grassroots groups, health and consumer organizations, environmental groups, scientists, and academics in the US, Africa, and around the world in urging the Gates Foundation to support African solutions to African problems.
This petition is the companion to an organizational sign-on letter to the Foundation. Visit the AGRA Watch website to learn more!"
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Date & Time: Sat. Oct. 30th & Sun. Oct. 31st, from noon to 5 pm each day
Location: 2401 15th St NW Washington, DC map
Cost: $95 regular/$75 students (if cost is a barrier please contact us)
To Register: click here
contact Julia at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or for more information
Why should you care about pesticides?
- The growing consensus among scientists is that small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can cause lasting damage to human health, especially during fetal development and early childhood. Scientists now know enough about the long-term consequences of ingesting these powerful chemicals to advise that we minimize our consumption of pesticides.
- EWG research has found that people who eat five fruits and vegetables a day from the Dirty Dozen list consume an average of 10 pesticides a day. Those who eat from the 15 least contaminated conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables ingest fewer than 2 pesticides daily. The Guide (EWG's Shoppers Guide) helps consumers make informed choices to lower their dietary pesticide load.
- The data used to create these lists is based on produce tested as it is typically eaten (meaning washed, rinsed or peeled, depending on the type of produce). Rinsing reduces but does not eliminate pesticides. Peeling helps, but valuable nutrients often go down the drain with the skin. The best approach: eat a varied diet, rinse all produce and buy organic when possible.
- EWG analysts developed the Guide based on data from nearly 96,000 tests for pesticide residues in produce conducted between 2000 and 2008 and collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. You can find a detailed description of the criteria EWG used to develop these rankings and the complete list of fruits and vegetables tested at their website, www.foodnews.org.
- bell peppers
- leafy greens
- Sweet Corn
- Sweet Peas
- Sweet Potato
- Honeydew Melon
Dr. Andrew Weil is a renowned medical expert on natural health and wellness, here's what he has to say about pesticide laden food:
Learn more at www.foodnews.org
Monday, October 25, 2010
Go here to learn more about Kombucha
To make kombucha you only need two things, sweetened tea and a SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast), AKA “mother,” or “mushroom.” Kombucha mothers are pretty easy to find these days if your friends are making this drink, but if your friends haven't jumped on the kombucha wagon yet you have two options for obtaining a SCOBY, 1) you buy one off craigslist for anywhere from $15-35 or 2) you grow your own for less than $4.
What you need to grow your own mother:
- 1 bottle of Organic, Raw Kombucha
- 1 glass jar or bowl
- 1 kitchen towel
- 1 rubber-band
- 1 cup of room temperature sweetened tea
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Lucky for us, John welcomed our help and we tended the collards patch together. As we picked off harlequin beetles, some neighborhood kids came to join us, watering, weeding, and asking endless intuitive questions.
Chopped Apple Pudding Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Cream butter and sugar and then add the egg.
- Sift dry ingredients together and add to wet mixture, blend.
- Fold in apples and nuts.
- Spread evenly in baking dish and bake for one hour.
The Garden turned 1 in September so last Thursday we threw it a little birthday party. All of the gardens friends and supporters were invited to join FJA for a celebration and potluck. FJA members supplied the feast, there was apple cider, Asian coleslaw, pumpkin feta muffins with cranberry sauce, fresh fruit, baked brie, squash, pasta salad, black bean brownies, and zucchini cupcakes! Everyone had a really great time eating and mingling.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Some good, some bad, some purple. This meal was the latter. A few weeks ago we discovered concord grapes from our CSA. (Community Supported Agriculture) After just munching on them raw...and Melissa realizing she was allergic..we decided to try to cook with them. We found many great grape dessert recipes, but we wanted to spice things up and try a savory dish. Chicken seemed fitting and we knew that the grapes would reduced into a beautiful sauce.
Off we went, to cook our chicken breast with a red wine concord grape reduction topped with fresh rosemary complimented by garlic mashed potatoes and roasted broccoli. this being our first experiment with red wine, we learned some very valuable lessons. We had sauce reducing in one pan, chicken in the other, when Caroline decided to jazz up the meal by pouring some red wine into both pans. It turns out that when you prematurely add red wine to chicken, you get a tie-dyed chicken!
Purple chicken aside, we loved this dish. With a few quick alterations you too can create this dinner (without enduring the mishaps of purple chicken).
Concord Grape Sauce:
- 1 Quart of concord grapes
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1/2 cup sugar
- sprigs of rosemary
- 1 tablespoon flour (We used a gluten-free flour blend)
- salt and pepper to taste
As the sauce begins to thicken mix in the flour to add some density. When the sauce is reduced and almost at a syrup-like consistency run it through a fine sieve to remove the seeds and skins (you can later add some of these skins for texture). Pour the reduction over the cooked chicken breasts and enjoy!
--By Caroline and Melissa
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 Tbs. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1 2/3 cup gluten free flour mix
4 Tbs. butter, softened
4 oz. cream cheese
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
pinch of salt
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Sift dry ingredients together and set aside. Beat butter and sugar until smooth. Add eggs, pumpkin, applesauce, vanilla and mix well. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix just until combined.
On a parchment lined or silpat lined baking sheet, drop tablespoon sized balls of dough, making sure to press down any points or jagged edges. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cakes are "springy" to the touch. Cool completely before icing.
To make the frosting, cream butter and sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer. Add in the sugar, salt and vanilla. Beat on high speed for about 2-3 minutes.
Spread frosting on the flat side of one half of the pie and find a matching sized pie to complete the "sandwich."
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Come join the Food Justice Alliance at the Garden Birthday Party!
It's tomorrow from 5 - 7 at the GroW Community Garden! Help celebrate the one year anniversary (roughly) of a great gardening experience! It's a potluck, so come enjoy some Fall treats and/or bring some of your own!
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
Media Credit: Elizabeth Cookson | Hatchet Photographer
With gardens on the Foggy Bottom and Mount Vernon campuses, students in the GW Food Justice Alliance promote sustainability through locally grown food.
Gardening in the city
Cultivating sustainability through locally grown food
by Samantha Zeldin
On Saturday mornings, senior Melissa Eddison hops into a bee suit.
As part of an urban beekeeping initiative she started last summer, Eddison helps maintain four hives of about 100,000 bees on the Mount Vernon Campus. The bees provide homemade honey and help pollinate a newly formed garden on the Vern.
"It was a tangible way to spread education and awareness about eating healthy and sourcing food locally," said Eddison, who is president of the GW Food Justice Alliance, a student-run organization dedicated to restoring the environment and increasing sustainability on campus.
"First came people with gardening experience, and next people who wanted gardening experience," said Justin Ritchie, a member of the FJA. "On any given day, you can see students watering the plants in their spare time."
Despite being surrounded by concrete walls, the garden blends into its urban atmosphere.
"It's not an in-your-face [thing]," said Ellie Smith, communications chair of the GroW Community Garden.
The Foggy Bottom garden is home to a variety of fruits and vegetables, including eggplants, jalapeño peppers, squash, broccoli, tomatoes, zucchini, arugula and kale. It also contains pawpaw, persimmon and fig trees.
In addition to being eco-friendly, the garden serves the surrounding community through food donations. The FJA donates 80 percent of its harvest to Miriam's Kitchen, an organization that provides healthy homemade meals to the homeless.
The remaining harvest goes to volunteers who tend the gardens.
By working with the Office of Sustainability on campus, Smith said the FJA hopes to expand "this little visible piece of sustainability" so that students will begin to question where the food they eat comes from.
"There is something pleasurable about food when you know its origin and have been a part of its whole life before it landed on your plate," Smith said.
Friday, October 8, 2010
Urban Gardening Takes Root at GW
Food and foliage make campus plots more sustainable
A cornucopia of fruits, vegetables, and herbs is ripe for harvest in GW's new student-run gardens. Started by the Food Justice Alliance, two GroW Gardens—a productive food plot in Foggy Bottom and an ultra-native patch in Mount Vernon—have begun to produce and benefit local urban ecology.
Foggy Bottom's GroW Community Garden, on H Street between 23rd and 24th streets, has nine triangular raised bed planters filled with sweet and hot peppers, summer squash, zucchini, eggplant, collards, kale, a half-dozen varieties of tomatoes, and herbs such as sage, basil, lemon basil, and mint. Spring crops included sugar snap peas and Swiss chard. Flowers, such as marigolds and salvia, attract butterflies and other beneficial insects. The alliance also planted young fruit trees—fig, persimmon, pawpaw, serviceberry—that will produce fruit in future years.
A handful of students, overseen by garden fellow and GW rising senior Melissa Eddison, water and maintain the garden during the week. Each Saturday, more volunteers—including community members—join in for bigger garden projects and harvesting. Some 80 percent of the garden's harvest goes to the local nonprofit Miriam's Kitchen, which provides meals for the homeless.
GroW on the Vern is a more structured garden program that uses student volunteers from the eco-friendly Pelham Hall's Green Earth living and learning program—which teaches urban sustainability—as well as faculty and staff gardeners.
This garden has a twist: "More than 90 percent of plants in the Mount Vernon garden are native to the D.C. and Northern Virginia area," says Ms. Eddison, who describes this plot as a "smart garden" for its use of plants to naturally restore soil nutrients and ecological processes.
Many of the Vern garden's plants are unconventional: There's a native variety of plum tree, and a native variety of strawberries helps restructure the soil. Butterfly weed bears a fiery orange blossom that attracts its namesake insect. Adam's needle, a species of yucca, absorbs excess salt used on roadways in winter. Bayberry fixes nitrogen in the soil, making the nutrient more available for roots.
A native garden such as this resembles the garden that George and Martha Washington would have planted. "He knew the folklore of the time and what each plant was good for," Ms. Eddison says. That field of knowledge has gone by the wayside, she says, but some gardeners are beginning to realize the benefits of planting native varieties—from easier garden maintenance to a healthier local ecosystem.
"There's value to planting local, historic plants," Ms. Eddison says. "And it takes a lot of research to do it right."
—Carrie MadrenPhoto courtesy of William Atkins.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
PS. I made the Vegan Oatmeal Banana Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies
Monday, October 4, 2010
I decided to slice and dice the carrots and beets in order to roast them, but was unsure of what shape would do best. In the end, I did all kinds of shapes and sizes. I added a pinch of course sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil before putting it in the oven at 350 for about 40 minutes. Half way through I tossed them around in effort to flip them, but not all flipped. They came out wonderfully soft, but still held their own shape.
All this wonderful info is from The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, by Michael Murray, M.D. It is a bible of a book with hundreds of types of food ranging from grains, to fruits, to herbs, to meats, to vitamins. Be on the lookout for more posts highlights super foods that are cheap to find and easy to prepare!