Interestingly, Tom Colicchio of Top Chef has taken on the issue of food policy. He worked with a group of advocates to develop food policy action scorecard (can be found here) that ranks congress member votes on issues of hunger, food safety and farm subsidies. Definitely something to check out.
Date posted: November 12, 2012
Date posted: November 9, 2012
Where has all the time gone? Pluck & Feather continues to crawl along into its new form. In the mean time, I stepped away from the norm and visited Cinque Terra, Italy. Crazy beautiful and I got lucky enough to meet a splendid family that showed me how to prepare the local sweet wine, Sciacchetrà (pronounced shock-eh-trah). Delicious stuff.
A variety of grapes grown on the cliffside of the Vernazza were hung to dry some, not completely. Varieties included Bosco, Albarola, Vermentino and what I thought was said to be roja, but thats just “red.”
We plucked them and crushed them to macerate for a day. Then they were to be pressed and fermented.
While I was sad to not participate in the full process, I did get to enjoy a glass of the homemade concoction. So good.
Date posted: October 15, 2012
Hostess Twinkies (gah, I thought they were off the market?!) and Cupcakes already epitomize the kind of corporate control over food that leads to a compromise in food, culture and well being, so great that Twinkies were once used in defense of a murder charge. So what in god’s name inspired someone to batter and deep fry them, I will never know. I left before witnessing anyone eating them. I could not bear that truth.
Date posted: October 11, 2012
Date posted: October 9, 2012
Doesn’t look like much but its symbolic of a new beginning. The year has brought losses and gains. Its been hard to let go of those things that I have been attached to. Its been hard to witness the upheaval and destruction of a space I worked so hard to create. Yet, the actual space is not gone. It is just transformed and it will be better. I finally saw this after I dug drain trenches and inserted drain pines and river rocks; after a friend helped me build the frame for the new chicken run; after I considered how I can modify the existing coop to be better in its new home; and after I watched how the sun still tickles areas of the space enough to grow. Then I finally felt the truth in that idiom change is change, not good or bad. Its what we do with it that counts. So using what I have learned in observing plants through their seasons. Autumn is a time to let go. Winter is a time to go back to basics, gather energy and focus on the hardscape. Spring will be the true test of readiness to implement new ideas. Summer will demonstrate the results.
Date posted: October 6, 2012
We live in a era where we have viagra, and other pharmaceuticals, in our water supply, unlabeled genetically modified foods, and now, blue honey thanks to M&M dye factories leaving their vats of colored liquid open. Basically an era where we have no choice over our exposure to a constant bombardment of chemicals in our air, water, food and soil. You would think cities across America would not hesitate to support their residents in the little solace they create for themselves and others in producing their own food, whether plant or animal based. If we choose to bike, to use solar or wind energy, to raise our own food- it gives us a shred of control over our bodies and the bodies of our children. In this world where exposure to chemicals now starts with the download of organically persistent chemicals in breast milk, it seems only the most humane thing to do. Let us have a chance to lead a healthy life with less exposure to unwanted chemicals.
Date posted: October 2, 2012
I started growing my own food as a way to reclaim my own food supply. In fact, to reclaim it through my cultural heritage a a means to foster the root of healthy food access and preparation that I believe rests in all families. Urban farming has been a journey exploring this as well as a direct tool for a political dialogue on ways to create a heathy, sustainable, equitable and locally owned food systems. Hence my focus on food policies and my tirades against fast food chains.
That said, I am pleased to share two recent policies passed that demonstrate thinking in a great direction. In California the Homemade Food Act passed (huge effort of Sustainable Economies Law Center to make this happen). With this legislation, you can now skip the expensive step of leasing certified commercial kitchens before selling some home-prepared foods. The list of approved products include “non-potentially hazardous food” such as bread, fruit pies, jams, honey, dried nuts and other goods that don’t involve cream or meat ingredients. This enables the creation of a lucrative cottage food industry in California that can serve as an alternative source of income for residents.
Further afield in New York, the ban on sugary drinks greater than 16 fluid ounces also passed! This new policy applies to all restaurants, fast-food joints, delis, movie theaters, sports stadiums and even food carts. However, it does not apply to drinks sold in grocery stores, diet sodas, drinks that are more than 70-percent fruit juice, or that contain alcohol.
All in all, it seems the tide may be shifting.
Date posted: September 27, 2012
Date posted: August 6, 2012
Speaking of, it is perhaps counter intuitive to imagine that what appears as entropy in once beautiful growing space could be the beginning of something much greater. Though it does pain my heart and hurt my head to witness it…
Date posted: July 6, 2012
To see the world through rose-colored glasses is apparently works for chickens. First developed by Andrew Jackson, Jr. in 1903 (an interesting bit of patent law history), to conceal the color of blood and raw flesh so wounded birds would not be cannibalized.
Mind you, I am not promoting this device. They were attached in an inhumane way (a cotter pin run through the nostrils). I just thought it was a notable bit of chicken farming history and an interesting fact about chickens and their color impulses.