Good Clean Food For Everyone! The Food Security Revolution and Environmental Health

by Gramma Willi

Relatives – like so many of us, I find myself more and more pleased that being an activist has become an easier road to walk. Victories for human rights and for the Earth increase in number and significance and we hear about them sooner than we used to. Everyone’s talking about green jobs. Our hopes are up, we may actually have an activist leading the free world – Yes We Can! It’s quite a time to be a part of it all, isn’t it?

One of my favorite stories about the changes in public attitude towards environment and health concerns feeding our children. So much has changed in my lifetime. As a young mother, it was almost impossible to find, let alone afford, organic baby food; it was tricky to find a place to breast-feed a baby in peace. These days, parents can find a wide variety of organic baby foods and formula in almost any supermarket; my grand-babies were all breast-fed (even the twins!) and fed organic baby foods. Now that the monopolies have more “natural” offerings available to consumers, are we happy with the production? Is there a next step that we need to take?

IICPH (International Institute of Concern for Public Health), whom I have worked with for many years, has a stellar reputation for providing independent, thoughtful analysis and corroborating community environmental health concerns. Most of our works for communities report on contamination of the air, land and water. It has always given me sadness when we report arsenic, tritium, mercury, lead or other highly damaging pollution where people have food gardens or farms. Food discussions at our youth and elder gatherings took on sad notes when realizing how very careful we must be where we grow our food, where it comes from and how it is prepared. We can make sensible choices when we consider our health.

The good news is, learning to choose, grow and cook good food provides not only sound environmental education, but when applied, benefits everyone’s health and saves people money! The truth is out there, people want clean food and groups like IICPH are uniquely positioned to help them to learn about it. Never has environmental health education been more timely and important… and good food is a delicious place to focus.

Perhaps the silver lining of the economic collapse is that the cards are on the table. Finally, the voices of old hippies and tireless activists are welcome and needed. The public continues to become informed and grows in wisdom as the next generation begins making its mark in history books and business reports. Let’s fill their bellies and minds with good things.

Remember that I love you

All My Relations,

Gramma Willi

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Gramma Willi has been working with IICPH since 1997. Expressions of her dedication to the clean food revolution can be found at http://roughtimes.ca and http://YouTube.com/roughtimescooking.

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Here are a few more resources to get you started if you want to do more about clean food:

http://www.foodsecurity.org/
The Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC)
is a non-profit 501(c)(3), North American organization dedicated to building strong, sustainable, local and regional food systems that ensure access to affordable, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food for all people at all times.

http://www.toronto.ca/health/tfpc_index.htm
Toronto Food Policy Council
, 277 Victoria Street, Suite 203, Toronto, Ontario M5B 1W1l: Wayne ““Taking control of our food” Roberts, Project Co-ordinator: 416-338-7937. Friends of Toronto Food Policy Council is on Facebook.
Their aim “is a food system that fosters equitable food access, nutrition, community development and environmental health.

http://www.foodsecuritynews.com/Resources.htm
The Food Security Network of Newfoundland and Labrador
have a great page full of links to action going on all over!

Please email to Gramma Willi if you know of any more independent and reliable resources to help our Rough Times mission:

Good Clean Food For Everyone!

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Published in: on November 17, 2009 at 2:00 PM  Leave a Comment  
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One Pot Meals

Rough Times Cookbook Recipes

Got a Crock Pot? Roast Pan? Casserole Dish? Since civilizations began, slow cooked, one pot meals have fed busy people with hungry bellies. Simple to prepare and made from almost any combination of staple foods, grains, vegetables, beans, meat, you can pretty much use whatever you’ve got. Here’s an example of a simple vegetable stew that can feed about 8. Use a bigger or smaller pot and more or less stuff to feed more or less people. Depending on the ingredients, this stew freezes quite well.

Simple Vegetarian Winter Stew

6-8 liters water or vegetable broth
3 C diced root vegetables (potatoes, carrots, turnip, parsnip, etc.)
onion and garlic to taste (imho – the more the better!)
1/2-1 C grains (rice, millet, barley)
1/2-1 1/2 C green, fresh, frozen or canned vegetables (cabbage, chard, spinach, tomatoes, corn, green or yellow beans)
2 C cooked “legumes” beans (e.g. lentils, kidney, romano, pinto, adzuki, black turtle, navy, soy, chickpeas)
Herbs and spices to taste (oregano, parsley, savory, thyme, lemon; see curry hint below)
Salt and pepper to taste
2-3 tsp. apple cider or white vinegar (to purify and add a nice tangy flavor. You can use the juice from pickles too!)
1 C mixture 1/2 milk or yogurt and 1/2 water

Put the grains in a big pot and bring to a boil. While you’re waiting, sauté or fry onions and garlic until soft; you can add your green veggies and sauté them for a few minutes. Add to the boiling pot of grains with vegetables, beans and your choice of herbs and spices.
Simmer on top of the stove for 2-5 hours, (or put in a crock pot all day/overnight). Stir once in a while to make sure that the food isn’t sticking to the pot and that there’s enough liquid. Add water/broth if necessary.
When everything is cooked and you’re almost ready to serve, adjust your spices, add the yogurt/milk and water mix, salt and pepper and heat through. Serve with hearty bread and a big pot of herb tea or cider!

Hints: This is especially good with curry spices (garam masala, curry powder, turmeric, cumin, mustard seed, ginger, mint) – warm the curry spices in the onion-garlic sauté to enhance the flavors. This recipe is a great for using up leftovers! Use a pressure cooker if you’ve got one to reduce cooking time and retain more vitamins in the food.
Vegan options: Instead of yogurt or dairy milk, use coconut milk with a root vegetable-based stew; most excellent with curry or Thai spices. Add some marinated firm tofu, lightly browned in a frying pan to increase protein and add really nice texture and body to this dish.
Lazy/Busy Day options: Prepare the ingredients the night before, store in the pot in the fridge; in the morning, add boiling water over everything, bring to a boil, then let simmer for hours/all day (my personal favorite technique!). Put the ingredients in a big roast pan and cook in the oven; add some extra water or broth so it doesn’t dry out.
Meat Lover’s option: add diced cooked (beef and chicken are nice) to replace 1/2 or all of the beans for protein… or use both for an extra-high protein meal.
Note: This recipe was added at the specific request of legendary Toronto activist Josephine Grey.