Will April Showers Still Bring May Flowers? California Farmers, Ranchers Report From the Frontlines

Quick, what comes to mind when you hear the word “spring?”

Let us count the ways we know spring has arrived… the sight of bright green buds, sturdy seedlings, a profusion of blossoms, song birds chirping away, and young farm animals frolicking in the mild weather. Around the world, spring is seen as a time of rebirth and renewal.

Of course, to experience all the many sights and sounds of spring, we count on a stable climate. And at the latest California Climate & Agriculture Summit, (hosted by the California Climate and Agriculture  Network, CalCAN), we were reminded that climate change is making it so that the weather you expect is not necessarily the weather that you get. This increasing unpredictability makes farming a whole lot more challenging. Read more

There’s Nothing “Cool” About Wasting Food

There has been a parade of headlines lately about the shocking statistic that approximately 40 percent of the food in the United States is thrown away. Even allowing some room for error, this level of waste is staggering on many fronts.  For starters, in 2010, 17.2 million households were classified as “food insecure”—a euphemism that spells millions of hungry people in our country. Then, there are people like farmers, farm workers and ranchers who labor exhaustingly to grow our food, so it’s pretty inexcusable that we don’t even eat it. On top of it all, this level of food waste represents massive amounts of squandered fresh water and energy—increasingly precious resources that we can’t afford to throw away.

“Plan ahead to prevent food waste” is one of the five core principles of the Center for Food Safety’s Cool Foods Campaign. One of the reasons we focus on preventing food waste is because food is the single largest component of municipal solid waste reaching America’s landfills and incinerators. In 2010, Americans generated more than 34 million tons of food waste, accounting for almost 14 percent of all municipal solid waste. Municipalities diverted about three percent of the food through composting programs, but waste streams carried the rest—33 million tons—into landfills. Read more

“The Hunger Games:” Fantasy or Prophecy?

“I’m going to see ‘The Hunger Games’ on Thursday night with Eli. It opens at midnight,” announced my fifteen year old son, Owen.  “On a school night?” I respond incredulously, “how about waiting until Friday night?” “Mom, this is a really important movie. I’ve been waiting for it to come out for two years.”

For those of you not yet in the know, “The Hunger Games” is based on Suzanne Collin’s eponymous best-selling book aimed at the young adult market. Owen devoured the book (which has now sold over 10 million copies) in his seventh grade English class. Not drawn to dystopian fiction myself, I listened in quiet horror as he explained the plot: Read more