Edible City is a documentary film focusing on food justice and food security, seen through different urban farming projects in the San Francisco Bay area. It aims to show the grassroots response communities are having to issues like climate change, rising food and gas prices, and health concerns. The film is slated for release in the fall of 2009, but in the meantime, here is a taste of what it is all about. (Enjoy the clips from Food for Thought? Check out the videos)
Access to food that is good, clean and fair is an issue of great importance when we talk about changing the food system. Many would argue that education is the key to changing the way people think about food, but how to reach out to people in underserved communities? Last week, we featured a video on Growing Power, the Milwaukee-based non-profit farm education program started by Will Allen, recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Grant this year. Above is another video, featuring the work happening at the People’s Grocery in West Oakland, where as you will hear on the video, there are 50 liquor stores and not one grocery store. This disparity in food access is unjust, and cannot exist if we are to have a better food system.
Water is a vital part of life, but should it be a commodity? This is the question FLOW explores, not just in developing countries where the issue is paramount, but in the United States as well. Water is currently a $400 billion industry, the third largest behind oil and electricity. Because of pollution, scarcity and corporate control, water availability is the largest issue facing humanity in this century.
At the Eat-In on Labor Day at Slow Food Nation, we were asked to write a small step we could take to help change the food system on a banner. Some people wrote that they would host their own Eat-In (essentially a potluck with a purpose) or that they would stop buying bottled water. I had agreed to an initiative a friend in England had cooked up called Eat the Change, so I wrote what I’d agreed to: eating mostly unpackaged, local-as-possible food for one week in September.
Urban agriculturist Will Allen recognized a need for the delivery of healthy foods to underserved, urban populations in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he lives. In 1993, he started working with neighborhood children on a gardening project. It was there that he planted the seeds for the farming methods and educational programs that would become the non-profit, Growing Power, that he now runs, and for which he is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship this year.
It’s become something of a cliché: Don’t bring home a kitchen tool that does only one thing. A spoon for shagging olives which — alas!– cannot hold liquids because it has a hole in its bowl; a sharp-bladed wheel suitable only for slicing pizza; a pot that makes only fondue. Clear out these special-interest items, they say, so you’ll have more room for your one all-purpose knife.
Labor Day weekend presented a milestone in the sustainable food movement as gourmands and activists convened in the Bay Area at Slow Food Nation’s first pass at assimilating the pleasures of food, food pathway transparency, and open conversation about the policies that govern its production. Attendants and passersby ate, celebrated, and engaged, during a spirited instant when a bare sketch of an embryonic food culture began to appear.
One thing that separates the Slow Food Gadgeteer from other, more sensible cooks is not being able to leave a simple ingredient well enough alone. Consider, for example, the egg, which as you know is nature’s perfect food, comes in its own container and generally requires only heating with salt and pepper.
One of the side effects of a corporate leaning agriculture policy has been the dearth of information found on the labels of consumer-bought produce, meat and other foods. But on September 30th, Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) will finally be put in effect for perishable food items. This will require all unprocessed meats, produce, nuts and other commodities to be appropriately labeled with the country where they were produced, empowering the consumer in the event of a pathogen outbreak but also enabling the consumer to find fresher, more local edibles.