How Bad is What We’re Eating, Anyway?

Relatives,

Food safety and security is finally on almost everyone’s radar.

I hope you’ll take time to check out Food Inc. and Hungry For Change. These marvelous young people have done a great job of providing the rest of us with the facts and opportunities to take action at home, in our communities, our countries and with our relatives across the earth.

The more we share our good works and inform each other, the sooner we’ll all have access to clean, healthy foods. … so please share this!

All My Relations
Gramma Willi

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Good Food For Everyone!

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Food Inc – The Movie
http://www.foodincmovie.com/

Food, Inc. exposes the highly mechanized north american food industry, that often puts profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of farmers, the safety of workers and our environment. The film reveals surprising—and often shocking truths—about what we eat, how it’s produced, who we have become and where we are going from here.

Hungry For Change – the Blog
http://www.takepart.com/news/tag/hungry-for-change/

Food, Inc. exposes America’s industrialized food system and its effect on our environment, health, economy and workers’ rights. Learn about these issues and take action through the Hungry For Change cafeteria and check out the 10 Simple Tips for making positive changes in your eating habits. Learn more about these issues and how you can take action on Takepart.com.

Here are some excerpts from the Food Inc. web site:

About the issues

Find organic, local foods
Sustainable foods can be found in your community by purchasing organic and/or locally grown produce and products. It’s easy to find farmers markets, Community Supported Agriculture programs, restaurants and more with the user-friendly Eat Well Guide. Simply type in your zip code to find out what’s in season near you.

Diabetes and Obesity
High calorie, sugar laden processed foods coupled with our sedentary lifestyles is growing our waistlines and contributing to serious health issues like diabetes, heart ailments and cancers. One-third of children and adolescents are overweight or obese. Tell Congress that kids should be served healthy meals, not soda and junk food.

Factory farming
Approximately 10 billion animals (chickens, cattle, hogs, ducks, turkeys, lambs and sheep) are raised and killed in the US annually. Nearly all of them are raised on factory farms under inhumane conditions. These industrial farms are also dangerous for their workers, pollute surrounding communities, are unsafe to our food system and contribute significantly to global warming.

Pesticides
Cancers, autism and neurological disorders are associated with the use of pesticides especially amongst farm workers and their communities. Learn about what pesticides are in your food and their effects.

Environmental Impact
Did you know that the average food product travels about 1,500 miles to get to your grocery store? And that transporting food accounts for 30,800 tons of greenhouse gas emissions every year?

The Global Food Crisis
Approximately 1 billion people worldwide do not have secure access to food, including 36 million in the US. National and international food and agricultural policies have helped to create the global food crisis but can also help to fix the system.

Genetic Engineering
Some of our most important staple foods have been fundamentally altered, and genetically engineered meat and produce have already invaded our grocery stores and our kitchen pantries.

Farm Worker Protection
Farm workers are the backbone of our agricultural industry, bringing fresh food everyday to our tables. They deserve basic workplace protections like good wages, access to shade and water.

Cloning
In January 2008, the FDA approved the sale of meat and milk from cloned livestock, despite the fact that Congress voted twice in 2007 to delay FDA’s decision on cloned animals until additional safety and economic studies could be completed.

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10 simple things you can do to change our food system:
Learn more about these issues and how you can take action on Takepart.com

1 Stop drinking sodas and other sweetened beverages.
You can lose 25 lbs in a year by replacing one 20 oz soda a day with a no calorie beverage (preferably water).

2 Eat at home instead of eating out.
Children consume almost twice (1.8 times) as many calories when eating food prepared outside the home.

3 Support the passage of laws requiring chain restaurants to post calorie information on menus and menu boards.
Half of the leading chain restaurants provide no nutritional information to their customers.

4 Tell schools to stop selling sodas, junk food, and sports drinks.
Over the last two decades, rates of obesity have tripled in children and adolescents aged 6 to 19 years.

5 Meatless Mondays—Go without meat one day a week.

6 Buy organic or sustainable food with little or no pesticides.
According to the EPA, over 1 billion pounds of pesticides are used each year in the U.S.

7 Protect family farms; visit your local farmer’s market.
Farmer’s markets allow farmers to keep 80 to 90 cents of each dollar spent by the consumer.

8 Make a point to know where your food comes from—READ LABELS.
The average meal travels 1500 miles from the farm to your dinner plate.

9 Tell Congress that food safety is important to you.
Each year, contaminated food causes millions of illnesses and thousands of deaths in the U.S.

10 Demand job protections for farm workers and food processors, ensuring fair wages and other protections.
Poverty among farm workers is more than twice that of all wage and salary employees.

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Good Food For Everyone!

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Gramma Willi’s Random Blogging

Rough Times Come Again No More

It’s January 2009. Everybody’s talking about the world’s economic collapse. Canada said it’s officially in a DEPRESSION last week, while the United States, Asian and European countries are still calling it a RECESSION. This is leaving the rest of us wondering, what should we be doing about it?

Being old enough to be a Gramma, I’ve already been through a few recessions. I also listened hard to my Mom and a lot of other older-than-me people tell me what the last Depression was like. I’m pretty sure that this one will be way harder on big companies than on the average person… so relax a little, willya?

My strategy is to ignore the hype, get back to basics and do everything I can to share what works for my family with people who are asking what to do. After all, when you cut out the opinions of the media, your boss, banker, wealthy people and “experts,” the bottom line is “what can I do to help myself and my loved ones?”

I wrote the Rough Times Cookbook a few years back to help people like you and me. Lately, it seems a whole lot more important to get it out there as widely as possible! People are starving in cities, towns, whole regions of the Earth and it’s NOT because we don’t have enough food to feed us all. Answer questions about what we eat, spend our money on, how and and where and why we buy things and you’ll find out important truths about yourself and our world.

Seems to me, too many of us are acting like the big companies – selfish and lazy. Too many of us depend on governments and big companies and don’t take control of the little money that we do have. Not enough of us are learning OR doing what it takes to take care of our communities and our lives and become more self sufficient. For us little guys to survive, supporting each other is the name of the game… after all, the big guys are bailing each other out like crazy, aren’t they?

If you take the information I’m offering to help you take immediate action to get and stay ahead financially, then I’ve done my job. Support this work and then you’ve done your job.

Love, peace, hugs and full bellies for all

Gramma Willi

P.S. My next move is to get Rough Times cooking stuff published and televised… anybody out there interested in a fun, radical, waaaay-cool cooking show? Well then, let’s have a cup of tea together!

Food Security, Agriculture and the Future – the 100 Mile Principle

Founder of the Self Employed Women’s Association, Ela Bhatt tells about growing numbers of starving people all over the world, the great distances between food producers and consumers. She speaks to her concept, the “100 Mile Principle,” that urges all to think of using staple foods and food-related services that are produced within 100 miles around us. She also speaks about global economic and environmental disasters created by systems that treat food as a commodity instead of food as a basic necessity of life.

Using the 100 Mile Principle, we can start with our own food first, using and retaining the seed, soil and water knowledge developed locally over generations; the uses, storage, processes, recipes and packaging of local food reside with the generations of cooks. Bhatt invites us to experiment with the 100 Mile Principle with our local daily staple food in 2009 and suggests that we will cut the economic and ecological cost of food, begin to restore the organic human link between ecology and economy and mend the old link between producer and consumer. As she pleads to us so beautifully, “Ultimately, ecology as cosmology or economy as market is the weave of life. Let us start weaving it tighter from 2009.”

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http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/3932721.cms?prtpage=1

Food security for future thought
4 Jan 2009, 0222 hrs IST, Ela R Bhatt,

At the Tallberg Forum, Sweden, I heard two women farmers from Ghana lament, “The food we produce we do not eat, the food we eat we do not produce.”

Would India’s farmers sing a different sorrow?

According to the latest FAO report, the number of hungry people worldwide increased from 848 million in 2005 to 1 billion in 2008. The spreading hunger is weakening food security. Evidently, the world food system is unable to ensure food, which is adequate and safe, to sustain human life. Is India any exception?

If nothing else, over the years we have kept up with the world food system in making it more and more complex but less and less useful to feed the hungry. Simple questions remain unanswered. Safe and nutritious food is promoted as a fundamental right and yet our people remain hungry.

Why do those who produce and process food, farmers and farm workers, most of them women, do not have enough food to eat? Why do food exporting regions report starvation? Returns on global food markets have become increasingly attractive but why do the farm labourers remain the lowest paid and work under worst conditions? Food has today become a mere commodity.

But, food is much more. Food has a sense of locality, home, sthana in India. Food is many-layered in its use and satisfaction. Food is our link from cosmos to livelihood to ritual to myth. It is our life’s culture. Food is our history and our future. Food has many meanings to us. But food security is the language of the state today.

Can food be reduced to business and trade opportunity? Is it not the result of failed political economy, the other of failed morality? Our civilization started with agriculture and today agriculture is under threat. What about our civilization?

We have to protect ways of life and livelihoods of the farming communities from the threat of extinction. We must protect the base of agriculture, small farmers, their produce and their locality of farming. Security stems from local innovations, not distant imports.

To build food security, we must understand that security needs autonomy that grants diversity which stems from locality. Autonomy, diversity and locality are the fundamentals of our food security.

Producer & consumer must come closer

To achieve the above, we must reduce the distance, economic and ecological, between food producer and consumer. Here I wish to suggest my 100 Mile Principle that stems from ecology of food that I mentioned at Tallberg Forum.

I urged all to think of using essential foods and food-related services that are produced within 100 miles around us. I explained that the 100 Mile Principle weaves decentralization, locality, size and scale with livelihood of agriculture. What we need for livelihood as material, as energy as knowledge should stem from areas around us.

We can start with our own food first. Seed, soil and water are forms of knowledge developed over generations that need to be retained locally. So are the uses, storage, processes, recipes and packaging of food. Let us experiment with the 100 Mile Principle with our daily staple food in 2009.

It cuts economic and ecological cost on food. Essentially, the organic human link between ecology and economy has to be restored. The millennia old link between producer and consumer has to be recovered. Ultimately, ecology as cosmology or economy as market is the weave of life. Let us start weaving it tighter from 2009.

Note: Gramma Willi gives thanks to foodforethought.net, who pointed the way to this important article.