Thursday, October 30, 2008

Farmlab Featuring The Politics of Food

Join Next American City at Farmlab for lunch and the first talk in their URBANEXUS lecture series featuring Mark Vallianatos, co-author of The Next Los Angeles: The Struggle for a Livable City. The lecture will focus on Los Angeles’ politicized food landscape—-from the city’s agricultural heritage, food justice and the fast-food ban, to the future of food in a city transformed by immigration and global trade.

When: Friday, October 31, 2008 at noon

Where: Farmlab, 1745 N. Spring Street, Unit 4, Los Angeles

Cost: Admission is free and includes lunch provided by Farmlab and a special politics of food exhibit.

RSVP: Reserve your place at the event at the Next American City website.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

LA Farm Girl Says Barack Obama is the Best Presidential Candidate for Farmers

Here's a quote from today from Barack Obama that sums up what I am going to post about: "America's farmers are America's future" ~ Barack Obama, Indianapolis, IN, 10/23/2008

In my inbox this a.m. I got a regular email update from Farm Aid. You know them, they have been around since the "first" farm crisis of the 1980s, started by Willie Nelson and John "Cougar" Mellencamp (Uh-Huh) to aid our family farmers by putting on concerts. Well guess what? They are still around and still working on behalf of our family farmers, not only performing but the organization provides all kinds of aid from loans to health care assistance, a great organization,

The email contains a question posed to them, "Where do John McCain and Barack Obama stand on agricultural issues?" The answer provides a side-by-side comparison and lets you decide which presidential candidate is the best choice to look out for the needs of both our family farmers, and a sustainable food and agriculture system.

Now, Farm Aid is non-partisan and doesn't make a recommendation. But, when going to the link which lists each candidate's stated positions on issues such as farm subsidies, country of origin labeling, the Farm Bill, bio- fuels, farming and the environment, and looking at the comparison, in my opinion, it clearly shows that Senator Obama is the best choice for our nation's food and agriculture system. Check it out here: Ask Hilde - Farm Aid

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My Farmer Hero: Tom Ishibashi

Here's a shot of me with Tom Ishibashi from last Saturday. He is one the "stars" of my book and he graciously let me come and do a book signing at the farm stand. The best part was watching all the people ask him for his autograph!

They literally let me set up smack dab in the middle of the farm stand, what wonderful, generous people they are.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

LA Farm Girl Book Signing at Ishibashi Farm this Weekend

I just thought I'd post to remind everybody that Ishibashi Farm has pumpkins and corn for your Fall and Halloween decorations and they are going fast!

Also, I am going to be at the farm stand this Saturday, October 18 from 10 to about 11 or 11:30 a.m. selling and signing copies of my book, Farming in Torrance and the South Bay (that is if the books I bought come in time)!

Stop by and see this wonderful farm and say "hi". The stand is located at 24955 Crenshaw Boulevard, alongside Torrance Airport.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Food Is A Political Issue

This weekend's issue of the NY Times Magazine focuses on food and agriculture and why it is so critical that it should be one of the issue's discussed by the presidential candidates.

They are calling it "The Food Issue" and say that: "International food prices spiked almost 40 percent last year, indicating that the monetary price is finally catching up with the true costs of cheap food: obesity in the U.S., malnutrition in developing countries and environmental degradation everywhere. This issue is devoted to these problems and some possible solutions, many of them sprinkled throughout the essays and reports."

One of the most powerful and informative of these essays is the one written by Michael Pollan, noted UC Berkeley professor and author, his newest book is In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto. It's called Farmer in Chief, here's the link

Its very long but important and the gist of it is that the next president will have to deal with our food system and the issue of food. As Pollan says, "But with a suddenness that has taken us all by surprise, the era of cheap and abundant food appears to be drawing to a close. What this means is that you, like so many other leaders through history, will find yourself confronting the fact — so easy to overlook these past few years — that the health of a nation’s food system is a critical issue of national security. Food is about to demand your attention."

And, he says that the food issue is related to issues that they are campaigning on: health care, energy independence and climate change. For example, how the food industry uses more fossil fuel than anything except our individual cars. But he says, the good news is that now it seems it is the time for big changes in the food system to be possible.

The way to do this: "We need to wean the American food system off its heavy 20th-century diet of fossil fuel and put it back on a diet of contemporary sunshine."

As Pollan says: "Since enhancing the prestige of farming as an occupation is critical to developing the sun-based regional agriculture we need, the White House should appoint, in addition to a White House chef, a White House farmer. This new post would be charged with implementing what could turn out to be your most symbolically resonant step in building a new American food culture. And that is this: tear out five prime south-facing acres of the White House lawn and plant in their place an organic fruit and vegetable garden.
When Eleanor Roosevelt did something similar in 1943, she helped start a Victory Garden movement that ended up making a substantial contribution to feeding the nation in wartime. (Less well known is the fact that Roosevelt planted this garden over the objections of the U.S.D.A., which feared home gardening would hurt the American food industry.) By the end of the war, more than 20 million home gardens were supplying 40 percent of the produce consumed in America. The president should throw his support behind a new Victory Garden movement, this one seeking “victory” over three critical challenges we face today: high food prices, poor diets and a sedentary population."

There is a group that has been advocating for this and is led by Kitchen Garden International creator Roger Doiron, they are calling their project, Eat The View. Check out their site here and sign the petition to get a Victory Garden put at the White House

Friday, October 10, 2008

Worthy Project Requesting Support

Hi all,

As you know I usually do not post or talk about things other than farming and local food issues or things you have to vote for, surveys, etc. but I received a request to support this project that will help feed children around the globe. Here's the info. I received from Chessia Kelley, International Medical Corps:

"My organization, International Medical Corps, is in the final 5 of the American Express Members Projects. "Saving the Lives of Malnourished Children" was chosen out of 1,190 projects and is now eligible to receive up to $1.5 million to help feed hungry and malnourished children, but I really need your help to let everyone know to vote for us. We are currently in 4th place and are just a couple of hundred votes out of 3rd. The difference between 3rd & 4th place is $200k. Imagine how many children we could help with that amount?"

You can check out their organization and the project here

I do think this is wonderful project but I would also love to see a group focus on the issue here specifically in the US. As I have been writing about, the hunger issue here is increasing and will get worse given our economic issues.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

It's Eat Local Challenge Month

This may be unprecedented in the brief history of this blog, but I am posting twice in one day. Yep, I will do anything to avoid writing!

Basically, Eat Local Challenge 2008 is all about eating locally grown. Duh, but in case you are unclear, here's the scoop from the Eat Local Challenge folks themselves,

"The traditional Eat Local Challenge is a basic concept: commit to eating only locally grown foods for a period of thirty days. Declare "exceptions" that you will not be eating locally, and try as hard as you can to have everything else come from your local food shed. "Local" is traditionally a 150-mile distance from your home, but can really be defined as any area near you. Some locavores choose their county, state, or region."

Check out the site for info. on ways to make it easier and on explanations about making exceptions for things we don't grow locally, i.e., coffee and chocolate. As they suggest, at least try to buy fair trade items for the things you can't live without like spices. One alternative is to buy local herbs and seasonings.

Since I am concerned about preserving California farms, I try to focus on California grown and if possible, grown within 200 miles of me since I live in LA and our farm space has dwindled. Let me know if you are going to participate and we can try to help each other!

National Food Bank Week, October 13

Being on so many email lists, this week I have received several about a week that I had never heard of, National Food Bank Week. It's designed to coincide with World Food Day and since 1987, a week has been set aside to promote the importance of food banks across America.

This week is a good time to highlight the fact that most local shelters face a lack of fresh fruits and vegetables, or, if they do get produce, it's in a deplorable condition.

So, I am urging everyone to help get the much needed fruits and vegetables to these families in need. Make a change for the better at your local food bank during National Food Bank Week, take in fresh produce from your garden or a local farmers' market, or help educate those who run the food bank and those who need it abut the importance of fresh fruit and vegetables to their diets!