High-Fat Diet Bad for Memory, Physical Performance

More damning evidence that high-fat foods (I’m assuming animal fats) affect both memory and exercise performance. In a bad way. Here’s the Aug. 13, 2009 New York Times story and blog discussion on a report in the journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.


Food and Foreign Policy

As I pulled several wilted tomato plants from my sorry, soaked vegetable garden this weekend, I listened to a news report about how global warming and attendant change in weather patterns are expected to lead to famine and massive population movements.

I read two items today that remind me once again how food and foreign policy are so  profoundly linked.

One is a Washington Post story on how Michelle Obama’s celebrity in Russia is to a large degree  focused on her creating and tending an organic garden at the White House.

The other is a sentence in the May/June issue of Foreign Affairs:

“Families in the poorest parts of Africa and Asia spend up to 80 percent of their incomes on food; for the average U.S. household, that would mean an annual grocery bill of $40,000.”

How would life be different if 80 percent of earnings had to go to food? I really can’t imagine it.

In 2008, Americans on average spent 9.6 percent of income after taxes for food. But I don’t believe that really cheap food is the answer to food shortages. Food that is American-cheap and processed has given us soaring obesity and diabetes, and diminishing fertility of farmland. I’m sure it will cost more to support  food grown locally in a sustainable way. We should no more be the food provider to the world than we should be the policemen to the world. Both concepts are unsustainable.


Safeway Touts “Buy Local”

Safeway — the huge, California-based supermarket chain — is marketing “buy local” at Safeway as a way to help California’s troubled economy.

Of course it is easier in California than in any other state for supermarkets to find local (within state) suppliers.  And the buying power of Safeway will undoubtedly undercut and stress some California organic farmers and their farmers markets.  Nonetheless, isn’t the greater good done by a marketing campaign that says says local agriculture is the way to go?

There is one thing missing in this story — is the local produce they are selling produced in a sustainable way, a way that maintains or  increases soil fertility and future productivity?


NPR interviews author of ‘Watching What We Eat’

Author Kathleen Collins, Bates Class of 1987, offers a history of television cooking shows in a new book, Watching What We Eat.

Hear her May 18, 2009 interview with Morning Edition’s Renee Montagne.


Meet Mr. and Mrs. Dirty Boots

OK, I have to mention one of my favorite blogs, now that it appeared in www.bestgreenblogs.com

“A Self-Sufficient Life” is a blog by a UK couple who moved to a mountain in Spain where they harvest olives and almonds for very little money. They find adventure in self-sufficiency.  Yes, by all accounts they live the hippie dream. I don’t begrudge them any extra money they might make from the ads on their blog.

They call themselves “Mr. and Mrs. Dirty Boots.”

This week, Mrs. Dirty Boots is sharing recipes for cheap nutritious  breakfasts and lunches. Here’s her simple recipe for one of my favorite Indian foods: vegetable chapattis.


Celebrate Earth Day!

It’s Earth Day! What can you do today to celebrate the earth? Here are just a few ideas:

  1. Walk or bike ride to class or work instead of driving your car. Or at least, take public transportation!
  2. Join a CSA. That’s community support agriculture for those of you new to the sustainable or local food movements. Find a farm near you at: http://www.localharvest.org/
  3. Recycle. Or better yet, fill up a reusable water bottle from the tap before heading outside.
  4. Offset your emissions. There are a number of places you can do this. Check out Carbon Fund or Terra Pass
  5. Power off and get outside and enjoy the day – rain or shine! And, when you power back up tomorrow, share with us how you celebrated Earth Day today so that we can take your advice tomorrow. Every day should be Earth Day!

Sustainable Agriculture: Ideal Versus Best for Most People?

MotherJones.com will have an expert-led reader forum  April 13-17 around the provocative question that headlines this article: Is organic and local so 2008?”

Even if you don’t participate, the article is worth reading.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.