Crazy weather we’ve been having this year: Monster snowstorms across New England, record-breaking freezes in the Midwest, drought, wildfires (in January!), and weirdly hot days in California. For many farmers across the country, and around the world, all this extreme weather—on top of ever-intensifying environmental and economic stresses—is pushing them to their edge.
Even in this day and age, injustice remains an invisible ingredient in much of the food that we eat.
– Cesar Chavez, co-founder of the United Farm Workers union
March 31st is Cesar Chavez Day. As you probably know, Cesar Chavez was a co-founder and leader of the United Farm Workers union. A farmworker himself, in the 1960s through the 1980s, Chavez organized with workers in the fields in California who struggled for fair wages, safe working conditions, and respect on the job. Chavez also collaborated with Filipino labor leaders like Larry Itliong and Philip Vera Cruz to found the United Farm Workers.
Because of Chavez’s legacy of multi-racial organizing for workers’ rights, the Food Chain Workers Alliance (FCWA) chose Cesar Chavez Day for a day of action to raise the minimum wage.
For decades, Eastern North Carolina was dense with small tobacco farms that provided a healthy income and built deeply rooted agricultural communities. Today, the farmers, young and old, are in a race with time.
There’s no better way to celebrate the beginning of spring than to stock up on seeds and get ready to break new ground. Gardening always keeps you guessing, because you never know from one season to the next what might delight you, and what might disappoint you. Inevitably, some seeds sprout and thrive while others rot, wither, or fall victim to fungus or critters. That’s life.
Sustainable food and farming advocates have long been pushing us to learn more about our food, from decoding nutrition labels at the supermarket to shaking hands with the growers at the farmers’ market. We’ve uncovered some surprising truths, like the fact that milling grains can strip away much of their nutritional value, or that our country’s meat supply is in the hands of just four companies. Yet even as more and more Americans are beginning to ask tough questions about our food system, Nicole Cotroneo Jolly realized we often skip over the basics. Simply put, how does food become, well, food?
Genetically engineered (or GMO) corn that was developed to kill insect pests has been causing resistance in some of those very insects for several years. But the issue has not received as much attention as it should. A new research paper in the prestigious journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), may change this by providing additional cause for concern.
First it was produce. Then the local food movement expanded to take on meat. Now it’s all about grains.
Nothing proves this point more than the packed room I found myself in last Sunday morning. At the point in the week when most people are unfurling their copy of the New York Times, or making their second leisurely café au lait, I filed in to the back of the dining area at Oliveto, a high-end Italian restaurant in Oakland, to join around 100 people gathered to discuss local grains.