Archive for the 'Food Justice' Category

Book Review: Tomorrow’s Table

By Nina Budabin McQuown. Originally posted on

For months now, I’ve been getting emails from food sustainability organizations with subject lines like “Kiss Your Organics Goodbye!” and “48 Hours to Stop Monsanto’s GM Alfalfa!” They’re in reference to a genetically modified strain of alfalfa that is in testing for public use by the United States Department of Agriculture.

What’s wrong with the alfalfa? Well, for one thing, it’s made by Monsanto, a corporation with a reputation for lawsuit slinging and questionable ethics. It’s also “roundup ready,” meaning it’s engineered to withstand applications of Monsanto’s herbicide “roundup,” so farmers can slather on the weed killer without worrying about damaging their crop. But plenty of sustainability advocates would simply tell you that what’s wrong with the alfalfa is that it’s a GMO–that is, a genetically modified organism produced through human engineering.

Why Did New York’s Soda Tax go Flat?

soda cans

By Rhea Yablon Kennedy. Originally posted on

Last month in a post on, I puzzled out the fierce public interest in healthy food that even a tragic oil spill and a coalmine disaster could not distract attention from. The grassroots groundswell for healthier food in the D.C. area included the passage of a sales tax on soft drinks. Similar bills recently emerged in many parts of the country. In this post, I take a closer look at “soda tax” campaigns and what they can teach us:

One such recent measure to apply a penny-per-ounce soda tax in New York State failed. New York Times reporter Anemona Hartocollis pinned it to a winning anti-tax campaign. She compared two ads focused on Governor David Paterson’s proposed cost jump, one aimed at promoting it, the other aimed at defeating it:

Hands That Feed – A Film About Haiti’s Agricultural Crisis

A new film is being produced on Haiti’s crisis, its roots and its future.  Hands That Feed has made a short intro video about their project in order to try to raise the necessary funding for the film’s production.  The film will explore questions about what the real problems facing Haiti are, and from the video it’s clear that the recent earthquake was simply an exacerbation of pre-existing problems.

Ample Harvest Food Pantry to Focus on Gulf Region

From Ample Harvest

In response to the economic upheaval caused by the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Inc. has announced that the Campaign will be focusing its outreach efforts in the Gulf States region for the immediate future.

Since its introduction in May of 2009, the Campaign, enabling more than 40 million Americans who grow fruit, vegetables, herbs and nuts in home gardens to quickly find a local food pantry eager for their excess garden produce, has rolled out nationwide without any specific geographic focus.

Let’s Stop Wasting Millions on Food Aid

Originally posted on Food Forever – The AJWS Food Justice Blog.

When I think about international food aid, what comes to mind are the challenges of distribution—who’s getting what and how much of it? But then there are the hidden costs of shipping. A recent IRIN article discusses the results of a Cornell University study that revealed the alarming fact that U.S. taxpayers spend about $140 million every year on non-emergency food aid in Africa. They spend roughly the same amount to ship food aid to global destinations on U.S. vessels.

$280 million. That’s a LOT of money. And the truth? It only benefits a very small constituency at the expense of taxpayers and recipients.

PB & J: Poverty, Bread and Justice, A Jewish Teen Summit on Hunger

By Joshua Chasan from Seattle, Washington, on his experiences during the PB&J conference.  Photo at Kayam Organic Farm.

When I was preparing to come to Washington, DC, for PB & J I really tried to get myself into a business mindset.  I wanted to be mentally prepared for a lot of learning and the serious nature of the topic of hunger.  Beyond that, I really didn’t know what else to expect.

Haiti’s Orphans are Still in Crisis. Where’s the Aid When They Need It?

Originally posted on Food Forever – The AJWS Food Justice Blog.

Today’s heart-breaking New York Times story about Haiti’s orphans is a painful reminder of the earthquake’s enduring devastation. The article offers a harrowing portrait of Daphne, a 14-year-old girl who watched her mother’s mangled body get carted away in a wheelbarrow from a shattered marketplace. Daphne then lived in a makeshift orphanage founded by Frades—a grassroots collective that specializes in microloans and began supporting abandoned and orphaned children after the earthquake. Daphne was just beginning to feel at home until she was claimed by a distant relative.

Green Zionist Alliance Passes 4 Green Resolutions at World Zionist Congress

This post is  from Green Zionist Alliance, check out their website at

Photo from Earth’s Promise community garden at the Kalisher Absorption Center.

The World Zionist Organization took major steps to green Israel by approving four resolutions put forth by the Green Zionist Alliance at the World Zionist Congress. The resolutions address a wide swath of environmental concerns, including water, energy and food justice. All of the votes were near unanimous, uniting all religious and political streams of Zionism for the cause of Israel’s environment.

“The resolutions will play a major role in helping shift an environmentally imperiled Israel onto a sustainable path, and provide a greener Israel for future generations,” said Dr. Richard Schwartz, a GZA delegate to the Congress.

Healthy Bodegas

This article is crossposted to Gothamist and was written by Zoe Schlager.  Red Jacket Orchard often donates apples to Hazon events.

Since 2005, the Department of Health has been developing an initiative to provide fresh produce and low fat milk to neighborhoods that rely on the nutrition-devoid wares of their local bodega. Progress has been slow, and while the low fat milk initiative was deemed a success in 2008, the produce side of things has been anything but. Finally, the Healthy Bodegas Initiative [pdf here] is gaining some real momentum, thanks to the NY state farmers that have begun to revitalise the project.

Fighting Obesity and Food Insecurity, One Click at a Time

A long-time reader of The Jew and the Carrot, it’s easy for me to see the importance and power of conversations within the Jewish community regarding eating, nutrition, food politics, and sustainability. However, the Jewish imperative for justice does not allow us to stop at environmental or personal levels. Rather, we have to continue our pursuit of justice to ensure that everyone has access to fresh, seasonal produce, healthy food options, and the skills to prepare healthy meals. The Nourishing Kitchen of New York City is an organization working to do just that for the East Harlem community.

Farming Can Save Haiti if Congress Acts Now

Cross-posted on Food Forever The AJWS Food Justice Blog.

“If $1 billion of the $11 billion pledged by international donors was put toward agriculture, the world could watch Haiti not only feed itself, but export billions,” said Haiti’s presidential candidate Charles Henri Baker in the Montreal Gazette’s feature “Can Farming Save Haiti?.”

A future in which Haiti is not only self-sufficient, but is exporting goods sounds great, right? Tell Congress to help make it happen.

Does Bill Clinton Really Want to Help Haiti for the Long-Term?

By Josh Berkman, Associate Director for Media and Marketing at American Jewish World Service (AJWS). Cross-posted on Food Forever The AJWS Food Justice Blog.

Bill Clinton was back in Haiti last week, echoing a major concern of many in the international development community that the upcoming hurricane season poses a huge threat to the country. In addition to nearly a million people living in fragile temporary shelters in the large cities, the agricultural infrastructure in rural areas — already severely damaged — could be completely blown out by even a minor hurricane. He again spoke of his concern that Haiti’s population remains dependent on foreign aid. He has pledged $2 million from his foundation, half for disaster preparedness and the other half to the Haiti Reconstruction Commission (IHRC).

Is the new humane kosher label humane enough? Or too humane?

Fran Hawthorne is the author of The Overloaded Liberal: Shopping, Investing, Parenting, and Other Daily Dilemmas in an Age of Political Activism (Beacon Press. 2010), which discusses the new kosher hekhsher and many other issues. Thanks, Fran, for sharing your thoughts!

Jews like me, who care about animal welfare, could always feel a little smug about our dining habits — even if (also like me) we arent vegetarian. Pigs are particularly intelligent animals? Well, we dont eat them. Shrimp-farming destroys delicate swamps in Thailand? We dont eat shrimp, either. And the meat we do eat is killed according to the laws of kashrut, which everyone knows is a more humane method than other types of slaughter. (Isnt it?)

Cambodian Farmers Speak Up for Land Rights

Cross-posted on Food Forever The AJWS Food Justice Blog.

Land rights abuses in Cambodia rarely spill into the global spotlight, particularly in connection with food insecurity. In the absence of legal documents often lost or destroyed during decades of civil war, Cambodian farmers frequently struggle to prove their ownership of land. Many of these farmers along with Cambodian NGOs have accused Cambodia’s government of awarding a wave of land concessions to foreign and local firms without negotiation or adequate compensation to local farmers. What’s more, Cambodian farmers and villagers have been unjustly evicted from their land as a consequence of international big business.

Yesterday, AlertNet reported that Cambodian rights groups and farmers are urging foreign donors who have played a major role in the development of Cambodia’s economy to press the government to suspend land concessions to investors and use fair and lawful means to settle land disputes.