How We Became a Kosher Nation

Living in a neighborhood known as “Kosher Canyon,” where nearly every storefront is a kosher restaurant, market, or shop, could make one wonder if anyone outside of this one-mile strip of asphalt in Los Angeles cares about kosher food. A visiting friend recently asked, “Who is this Glatt who seems to own so many businesses in your neighborhood?” Alas, if my friend reads Sue Fishkoff’s latest book, Kosher Nation, she would realize that Glatt is not a person, but a kosher certification standard. There are millions of people across the nation for whom kosher certification is important, and most of them aren’t even Jewish. Read more

10 Tips for a Sustainable Thanksgiving

Since I started this holiday tips tradition a few years ago, the sustainable food movement continues to transform fields of corn, soy and CAFOs to more verdant, bountiful lands filled with organic produce, heirloom greens and pasture-raised livestock. Countless more school and community gardens have sprouted up. Hundreds of local groups are transforming food deserts by bringing in supermarkets and community gardens.  Thousands of people are gleaning public fruits for food pantries across the country. And there’s plenty more backyard farmers with their personal chicken coops, goat shelters, fruit trees and raised beds.

This is in light of the gloomy news that approximately two-thirds of all Americans are overweight or obese and 17 million households are food insecure (meaning they don’t have regular access to food). This year’s holiday tips offer more ways to make your Thanksgiving meal an opportunity to support sustainable agriculture, reduce your water use and go on a low carb(on) diet. Read more

Nonsanto: A Month Without Monsanto

When I first heard about April Davila’s quest to live without Monsanto for a month, I thought she was doing something noble in a public setting. But, would it really be that hard? As a locavore, I pride myself on purchasing my produce from farmer’s markets, so couldn’t she just do the same?  When we decided to meet, I soon realized that my arrogant assumptions had enough hot air to heat a compost bin. Read more

Potatoes, Not Just Pistons, Take Root in Detroit

We’ve heard from the politicians, academics, activists, and social commentators about how to help a city like Detroit that is economically-depressed, struggling to retain residents (let alone attract new ones), and home to 500,000 food insecure residents. What has happened? Not much. People offer statistical calculations for how to reduce poverty levels but the city continues to lose residents and increase the number of vacant homes and lots. Mix in the obesity epidemic, lack of access to healthy, nutritious food and you’ve got the worst-case scenario for the city. I have a new equation to offer for how to build up Detroit. Till soil + plant seeds = self empowerment and community development. Multiply this over and over and the change is exponential. The enthralling short documentary, Urban Roots, proves this theory true. Read more