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I've been a member of this community for ages, and I mostly lurk/occasionally comment. But I have a question that some of you guys might be able to help me with: I work in a school in Tucson Arizona, and I'm starting a health initiative. We've put in a new veggie garden, and we're working on getting a salad bar and things like that, but its a slow process. Does anyone have any resources that might be useful? I.e. grants for gardens or healthy eating programs, or knowledgable experts, or anything that could be used as a tool for education/fundraising/improving the health and knowledge of our school. I would like to gravitate towards local foods (which is always somewhat difficult in Arizona) but am open to any and all ideas about this topic. Has anybody had the experience of trying to improve cafeteria food? Of running a school garden? ETc.

Thanks everyone! :)

Foodie Intentions

I'm tired of feeling like crap about the food I'm eating. Too many restaurant meals out; too much junk food; too much overly processed food.

I know better, but I need to continue to motivate myself to make changes. So, I ordered a couple of vegetarian cookbooks from Amazon to spice things up in the kitchen.

I could be veganer-than-thou (which I'm not) and say I got this cookbook because the recipes are healthy and lower fat (which is true), but I really just chose it because I liked the retro feel to the cover art!

And the purchase clinching factor for this cookbook was the recipe for BBQ POMEGRANATE TOFU? I've got to try that!

Isa's website POST PUNK KITCHEN: http://www.theppk.com/

Links: all about food

There's some great food writing in the New York Times this weekend:

In New Food Culture, A Young Generation of Farmers Emerges.

Now, Mr. Jones, 30, and his wife, Alicia, 27, are among an emerging group of people in their 20s and 30s who have chosen farming as a career. Many shun industrial, mechanized farming and list punk rock, Karl Marx and the food journalist Michael Pollan as their influences.

The Billionaire Who Is Planning His 125th Birthday. This one's a doozy. On the one hand he's advocating - not only by modeling but by heavily investing in research - a whole food diet as a key to better health. On the other, he owns Dole, which is hardly known for sustainable agricultural practices or respect for its workers. He also seems like he'd be an obnoxious dining companion :D

In restaurants Murdock will push the butter dish toward the server and say, “Take the death off the table.” He will ask employees or friends who are putting sugar in coffee or milk in tea why they want to kill themselves and will upbraid people leaving healthful food unfinished about the vitamins they’re squandering.

Hairnets Yes; Fried Foods, No.

Naje Scott, a fourth grader, led her friends in a predictable critique of the cafeteria’s food. They try to push too many new things. They should have more pizza and cheese sticks. But, worst of all, the students said, on Mondays there is no salad bar. “It makes me sad when they don’t have salad,” said Stephanie Maduku, 9.

Creamy, Brothy, Earthy, Hearty: Mark Bittman's quick-guide to making vegetarian soups.

Oatmeal: comfort & convenience

Oatmeal is one of my very favorite comfort foods, cooked with milk, served nice thick and warm. Perhaps further garnished with a TB or so of granola, or sliced fruit. And, if I want to change it up, couscous also makes a nice breakfast cereal.

And I'll admit I have a convenience food fondness for the Quaker Instant flavor with raisins, dates and walnuts. But it wouldn't hurt to try....



USDA Process Verified.

Did my food shopping today, and purchased a rather large Perdue Oven Stuffer Roaster, which advertised that it was raised cage free, vegetable fed, hormone and steroid free. The label read "USDA Processed Verified." I'm not familiar with this program. Can anyone shed some light on it>

cross posted to naturalfamily

A documentary of interest

With all the bad news in the world, I always appreciate documentaries, books, or anything that brings a little hope and inspiration to the picture. Today, it was this one:

Numen: The Nature of Plants  -  http://www.numenfilm.com/

It's a very well done documentary, focusing on issues like the human relationship to plants, medicinal plants and herbalism, and allopathic medicine. It has scientific and spiritual value, with some profound ideas to reflect on as well as interesting information. Plus it is a wealth of information on some of the shakers and movers within the medicinal herb community.

What has inspired you lately? A film, book, a person or group of people, a company, an idea or movement. 

Trade offs

"Eat food, not too much, mainly plants"

That's simple enough, but then we start to think about eating locally. THen there is the idea of eating sustainably produced food. I've always been one to try to move in the right direction, and not get too caught up in doing everything right. I'm curious about how others decide when faced with trade offs and compromises. I thought I would just lay out a few that I deal with.

Yesterday I bought some organic peanut butter. The ingredients were peanuts and salt. Okay that's food, it comes from plants, but although the peanuts were grown in the US, peanuts aren't grown commercially in my home state of MD.

Organic bananas are not just a great source of potassium for my family, their skins are also a great source of potassium for my compost pile. Not grown locally, probably not raised sustainably, but food and plant criteria is met.

Rice is another staple of our diet that is trucked in to Maryland, as is our whole wheat pasta, quinoa, and a host of other food products. So what do you all think?
I'm currently reading several books of on topic interest to this community. Besides the titles on mindful eating that I recently posted about, I also have Barbara Kingsolver's ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, MIRACLE: A Year of Food Life in hand. It's a wonderful book, well written and chocked full of recipes, entertaining anecdotes, and information about her family's inquiry into local sustainable food! http://animalvegetablemiracle.com/

LOL...however, it also has had the effect of totally grossing me out. For a while, I've been avoiding red meats but still regularly eating poultry. Ugggghh...I don't think I can do that anymore after the information and images Kingsolver had planted in my head.

Thanksgiving will never be the same again. http://www.sustainabletable.org/features/articles/thanksgiving/

Facts: the Broad Breasted White is commercially the most widely-used breed of domesticated turkey. These birds are bred for weight, have shorter breast bones and legs than "standard" turkeys, and have been rendered unable to breed without human assistance. That bland phrase "human assistance" means the semen is extracted from the male birds and the hens are artifically inseminated.

While the idea of "turkey basting" artifical insemination is just ludicrious, it also strikes me as fairly horrific to realize how far from natural this food source is (and to consider the inhumane way the live birds are handled).

Here is a link to an article describing the factory process:

or you can watch Mike Rowe's "Dirty Jobs" segment on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgf6h588v-I

And here are a blog about and link to Stephen Colbert interviewing Jonathan Safran Foer, author of (another recommended book)EATING ANIMALS:


Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants.

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