Food Security

Food security is a measure of ensured access to essential nutrition. It refers to a household's or country's ability to provide future physical and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that fulfills the dietary needs and food preferences for living an active and healthy lifestyle

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WOSD critiques Farm Bill 2013

 

A letter to Congress about the current Farm Bill problem

July 2013

The posturing and attacks on working americans in the current Congressional “debate” around the Farm Bill is unacceptable.  The Farm Bill must include both food and farm programs. We condemn the political ploy that would separate the people’s nutritional food programs from the corporate-favored farm subsidy part of the Farm Bill as cynical class warfare.

The Food Justice Committee of Women Occupy San Diego stands by the Rural Coalition and other Farm Bill programmatic advocates in demanding the Farm Bill retain a “systems” approach to ensuring national food security.  To separate nutrition and equitable food distribution from farming is nonsensical; as a policy decision, it is disasterous.  The political maneuvering to separate “food” from “farm” casts serious doubts about our Congressional leaders’ ability to understand the nature of our agricultural system and make good decisions. 

Of  course, focus of the Farm Bill must be on health- the health of the people, the health of our national food system, and the health of our environment that supports both.  It is incomprehensible to provide support and subsidies to programs that have been shown to hurt both our health and the environment.  It is reprehensible to provide citizens’ tax dollars to monolithic industries, stifling essential competition that would keep our food system robust and unfairly portion huge amounts of tax dollars to bloated financial conglomerates while penalizing small farmers and entrepeneurs.

The final Farm Bill must ensure fairly distribution so that all stakeholders receive their rightful due.  The current form continues to ignore the rights of the chronically underserved of our country: rural communities, socially disadvantaged farmers and producers, children, Indian tribes, urban communities, farm and food workers…basically, anyone who isn’t a member of the established agri-business monopoly.  It also undermines consumers’ right to choose, to have access to a variety of goods, as it continues to protect large producers and monoculture.  You have removed equity from the American diet.  It must be restored.

The Farm Bill MUST:

·         Include both farm and food programs.

·         Ensure full funding of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).  

·         Continue to support Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers

·         Fund Beginning Farmer Development

·         Invest in Rural Development and Specialty Crops

·         Provide incentives for Organic Production Best Practices

·         Enhance environmental protection and habitat rehabilitation

·         Add Urban Agriculture as a permanent programmatic sector.

All of the above are essential for a robust, diversified national food production system that equally supports all stakeholders while strengthening our system’s ability to respond to natural or human-induced disasters. 

Shame on the political maneuvering to delete essential nutrition programs for people living on the edge.  Congressional mismanagement of the nation’s food system is a major contributor to the shameful fact that over 2 million people in the San Diego region go hungry at some point during the week.  We demand that SNAP levels are reinstated to previous levels. 

And this will worsen if Congress doesn’t act to support urban agriculture. The San Diego area is losing farms at an increasing pace, due to water limitations and inadequate support of smaller farming enterprises.  However, our area is home to an active urban agricultural movement that intends to leverage sustainable practices to produce local produce.  Essential proposals such as Senator’s Casey’s Beginning Farms Microloans bill would provide the necessary financial start-up to improve the region’s growing capacity.

Conversely, you must work with your Congressional colleagues to ensure equity in all agricultural programs.  Too many support large-scale farming practices where essential foods are treated as commodities to be traded and sometimes even bet against in the market.  Why do the larger crop producers have access to crop insurance while smaller farmers must pay more?  What are our nation’s priorities that we would cut people off food while ramping up government expenditures on military spending?

We say no to such a dysfunctional, inequitable society that has little relation to the common vision of a fair and strong nation.  We demand fairness, equity and choice in our food system.

 

Vegan recipes to lower your carbon footprint

I love meat...BBQ, slow roasts, turkey time.  I love dairy and I love (some) fish.  Now that I've woken up to the extreme impact animal farming has on our climate (estimates of 51% of global warming gas comes from human livestock over-management), I've been cooking more vegan dishes.

Here is a great substitute for parmesan cheese:

Cashew Parmesan (Vegan, Paleo)

This dairy-free “Parmesan” has a similar saltiness and crumbly texture as the original aged cheese, but this version is made with raw cashews. And unlike cheese, this cashew Parmesan is loaded with fiber, as well as minerals such as manganese, iron, potassium and magnesium.  Use it as you would traditional Parmesan to complete your favorite dairy-free meals!  

Ingredients:   1 cup raw cashews, 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, 1 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:

In a small food processor, combine all of the ingredients and process until a crumbly, uniform texture is created. Feel free to adjust the flavor to your taste, then serve over your favorite dish. You can also grind with a mortar & pestle. Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a month.  Makes about 3/4 cup

(I am experimenting now with "cheese" replacements...courtesy of Mimi Kirk's book, Live Raw.  I will let everyone know how that works out:)

Milk Alternative:  Almond Milk

Fresh Almond milk is delicious!!  Just google the recipe.  

I use Kirk's recipe (pre-soaked raw almonds, in a 1:3 mix with water), but you can increase or reduce the amount of water according to taste.  Make sure you remove the almonds from the pre-soak.  Use that water rinse in your garden.

I do believe that we can have sustainable animal farming...but it will look very different from what we have now.  For it to be sustainable, all of us have to reduce our meat consumption (especially in western countries and China).  

With 7 billion people to feed, it just makes more sense to grow plants than farm animals from a consumption POV.  Farming plants allow for more habitat to be conserved, while the same claim cannot be said for livestock.

How much less?  Well, I think right now, given the ecological disaster of rising temperatures, 0.

In the future, as we bring down our carbon emissions to under 350, maybe a pound a month?  

In the meantime, here is another recipe for a great source of protein (for most of us):

Benefits of Sprouted lentils and grains

http://healyeatsreal.com/how-to-sprout-red-lentils/

The sprouting process for almost all grains and seeds are the same. The only difference between other grains is the amount of time it takes for them to sprout. So you can also use this tutorial as guide for sprouting almost anything.

Sprouting is a process that germinates grains, seeds or legumes which in turn makes them more easily digested and produces additional vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, vitamin B and Carotene. According to Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, “sprouting also neutralizes phytic acid, a substance present in the bran of all grains that inhibits absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc…“.

What you will need to sprout lentils:

mason jar, sprouting lid, lentils and water

You can also buy plastic lids that are specifically made for sprouting or you can use cheese cloth.

1.    Fill a mason jar 1/3 of the way with the lentils, then fill the rest of the jar with filtered water. Let the lentils soak for about 6-8 hours or overnight.

2.    Rinse lentils and pour the water out again. Turn jar upside down and rest it in a bowl or dish so that the water is allowed to drain out of the mesh screen. Repeat this process of rinsing and leaving it to drain about every 6-8 hours or at least 2 times a day for 2-3 days.  Keep away from direct light.

3.    You will begin to see sprouts after 2 or 3 days. Once the sprout is 1/4 inch long they are ready for use. You can store them in the refrigerator with a regular lid, but be sure to use them within a few days.