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Archive for the 'Politics' Category

Green Zionist Alliance Passes 4 Green Resolutions at World Zionist Congress

This post is  from Green Zionist Alliance, check out their website at www.greenzionism.org

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.

Five Questions Monsanto Needs to Answer about its Seed Donation to Haiti

By AJWS Director of Advocacy Timi Gerson. Cross-posted on Civil Eats and Food Forever — the AJWS Food Justice Blog.

Monsanto has donated $4 million in seeds to Haiti, sending 60 tons of conventional hybrid corn and vegetable seed, followed by 70 more tons of corn seed last week with an additional 345 tons of corn seed to come during the next year. Yet the number one recommendation of a recent report by Catholic Relief Services on post-earthquake Haiti is to focus on local seed fairs and not to introduce new or improved varieties at this time.

Some tough questions need to be asked and answered before we’ll know whether or not Monsanto’s donation will help or hurt long-term efforts to rebuild food sufficiency and sovereignty in Haiti. Here are five of them:

Wanted: A Holistic Approach to Food Security and HIV/AIDS Prevention

Cross-posted on Food Foreverthe AJWS food justice blog.

Food aid, nutrition, AIDSit’s all connected. Ruth Messinger’s recent piece on Change.org and Huffington Post poses a response to this week’s New York Times article that paints a stark picture for the future of Uganda and the global fight against AIDS. Despite the incredible achievements of U.S. foreign aid in combating the AIDS epidemic, advocates and health providers are worried that the U.S. is giving this fight a cold shoulder. Messinger calls upon leaders to take a good hard look at the consequences of privileging cost effective interventions for malaria over expensive treatment for HIV/AIDS. Rather than addressing health problems in isolation, what we need, of course, is a holistic approach to strengthening health systems, aid distribution and food sovereignty all at once. Policy-wise, supporting the Foreign Assistance Revitalization and Accountability Act (S. 1524) to promote global development, good governance and a reduction of poverty and hunger is critical.

A Tale of Two Covenants: Rainbow Day, Shmita, and the Gulf

The iridescent colors reflected off an oil slick are like a twisted and distorted rainbow.

This coming Monday, May 10th, is also the 27th of Iyyarthe date when Noahs family and the animals left the ark and received the rainbow covenant.

There is a special correlation between this weeks Torah portion and the rainbow covenant of Noahs time. And there is a foreboding contrast between the rainbow covenant and whats happened in the Gulf of Mexico. The tension between these dynamic relationships in many ways defines the predicament of our time.

Look Before You Don’t Eat: Who is Questioning Your Food Safety?

Let me be the first to say that Im all for fighting for justice the little guy and when necessary, boycotting the big evil corporations of the world. But because we live in the age of astroturfing, Tea Parties, and Birthers there is plenty of false, misleading and sometimes offensive information presented in the guise of educational materials or concerned citizenship. Needless to say, Ive grown cynical enough not just to swallow every bit of Michael-Moore-like corporate bashing I come across.

Take for example a recent report by the Cornucopia Institute a Wisconsin-based think tank that according to their website is a group seeking economic justice for the family-scale farming community. It wasnt their mission that caused me pause as much as their vehement attacks on certain brands of soy products readily found in most grocery stores.

My White House Reflections

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Sam Kass, White House assistant chef and Food Initiative Coordinator, wore a green tie – it was appropriate since the meeting was on St. Patrick’s Day. Twenty-eight community and faith-based organizations (CFBO) from around the country, including Hazon represented by yours truly, had gathered for a one-day meeting to discuss First Lady Michelle Obama’s ambitious initiative, Let’s Move, to combat childhood obesity in one generation. Kass and Jocelyn Frye, the First Lady’s Policy Director started the day by talking about the meaningful role that faith-based organizations play in their communities. The White House is seeking a comprehensive strategy to tackle the dual problem of hunger and obesity and they see faith-based organizations as uniquely positioned to do this work by allowing children to connect body, mind and spirit. Kass spoke of the need for simple ways for people to transform their lives and to then become leaders for others to make healthy changes, too.

USDA Set to Again Approve GE Alfalfa – Comment! Speak Up for Organic Farmers

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It’s been sometime since I wrote on JCarrot, but I have some big news and I’m asking for your help!

In 2006, the Center for Food Safety (CFS) sued the Department of Agriculture (USDA) for its illegal approval of Monsanto’s genetically engineered (GE) Roundup Ready alfalfa. USDA failed to conduct an environmental impact statement (EIS) before deregulating the crop. An EIS is a rigorous analysis of the potential significant impacts of a federal decision. The federal courts sided with CFS and banned GE alfalfa until the USDA fully analyzed the impacts of the GE plant on the environment, farmers, and the public in an EIS.

Iron Chef America Featuring the White House Garden

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Image via Food Network
So, did you all watch Iron Chef last night?  It was touted as a historical battle of super chefs, including Bobby Flay, Mario Batali, and Emeril Lagasse with White House Chef Cristeta Comerford.  Their asssignment:  to use anything from the White House Garden (and Beehives) to create dishes– locally sourced, organic, sustainable– that would wow America.  I reveled in the shots of the lush White House Garden, filmed last October during the full harvest bloom.  I marveled at the panoply of professional equipment (and sous-chefs) at the Stadium Kitchen where they held the competition. I learned some marvelous techniques, including blanching and pan-frying icicle radishes to complement scallops (which I don’t eat or serve in my kosher home) and also that professionally trained chefs also have trouble with short pastry. The finished four dishes per team were beautiful to behold.

No spoiler here: you could find out about the winning team elsewhere, such as the informative Obama Foodarama website.

Culture, Cocaleros and Bolivian Politics

From the Ground blog

Cross-posted on From the Groundthe blog of American Jewish World Service (AJWS).

The upcoming election in Bolivia is stirring some interesting dynamics between an indigenous plant and a popular president. So, too, it is re-asserting the interconnectedness of politics, agriculture, indigenous culture and economic security in the developing world. A BBC news article reports that as Bolivian President Evo Morales campaigns for re-election, indigenous growers of coca—a leaf used in food, traditional medicine, tea, cosmetics and, most infamously, in cocaine—are backing him financially. Coca unions and “cocaleros” (coca growers) know the coca leaf as an intrinsic part of Bolivia’s indigenous culture and economy. Coca unions are joining forces and taking money out of their harvests to put into Morales’s campaign.

The Debate: Eating Meat (or not) at the Hazon Food Conference

The Jew and The Carrot, Hazon’s blog about Jews, food and contemporary life.  The blog has a diverse and inclusive community, where we welcome readers and volunteer writers from across the Jewish denominational spectrum, and from all walks of culinary life.  Our aim is to ensure that The Jew and The Carrot community is a platform for vibrant discussion for anyone interested in food issues.

Late on Friday we received the following letter from Pete Cohon, founder and moderator of VeggieJews, an international, real-world and online, Jewish, vegetarian organization.  He has been a vegan and animal rights activist for 22 years and a vegetarian for 27 years.  A former San Francisco trial lawyer, Pete now lives in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Below his letter is the response from Hazon.  We encourage a vibrant debate, but please ask commentators to refrain from personal attacks on any views.  We reserve the right to remove  any comments that violate our Community Guidelines.

chicken at the hackney city farm

An open letter to Nigel Savage, Executive Director of Hazon, and the groups members:

The Hazon group claims that it works to create a healthier and more sustainable Jewish community, fight climate change and promote a more sustainable world for all.  I understand that the group even hosts vegetarian meals at which it promotes its programs.

That sounds great.  But I’m concerned that Hazon is not living up to the promise.

World Summit on Food Security

World Summit on Food Security

Cross-posted on From the Groundthe blog of American Jewish World Service (AJWS).

The World Summit on Food Security is happening right now (November 16 to 18) in Rome. According to an article in today’s New York Times, world leaders have rallied around a new strategy to fight global hunger and help poor countries feed themselves. They have not, however, pledged the $44 billion sought by the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization to increase agricultural aid to the world’s one billion hungry people.

Nine Faiths, One Vegan Lunch at Windsor Castle

The following article was written by Leah Koenig and published in the Jewish Daily Forward earlier this week.  Be sure to click on the link below to check out the comments.

photo by Simon and Vicki

On Tuesday November 3, His Royal Highness Prince Philip will host over 200 guests for lunch at Windsor Castle, the 900-year-old palace that serves as an official residence of his and Queen Elizabeth’s. But this lunch will be noticeably different from the roasted quail and crème fraîche typical of castle meals. Instead, the menu is entirely vegan and centered on seasonal, regionally sourced ingredients.

Solutions to Global Hunger: From Seed Banks to Market Gardening to Crop Rotation

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Today’s New York Times features several letters to the editor in response toExperts Worry About Feeding the World as Its Population Grows, an article published on October 22. The letter writers call attention to several issues: the political realities that perpetuate global food insecurity; the relationship between access to contraception and reduced food demand; and a desire for integrated farming strategies that combine conventional farming practices with agro-ecological approaches. What the letters do not include, however, are examples of grassroots organizations that are implementing many of the creative solutions the authors are seeking.

*FRESH* at Green Screens @ Lincoln Center this Tuesday

The other day my boyfriend and I were enjoying a Sunday walk in Brooklyn when we ran into his friend Ana, her partner and their adorable new baby.  Among the introductions and pleasantries she mentioned that she was distributing her film FRESH.  “Here, tell me what you think of it,” she said handing me a copy, knowing I was a food writer.

So, one night a while later my boyfriend and I tucked into the sofa and watched FRESH, the new film by Ana Sofia Joanes.  As someone who has seen Food Inc and has read a lot of Michael Pollan, the material was not new to me, however I found the material’s presentation (forgive the pun) fresh.  I had found Food Inc to be a good film, but heavy on the propaganda.  I felt that FRESH got its message across in a far more even-handed way.  The film invoked a pretty good discussion, and I was happy to see on their website they had some additional educational materials and even a call for recipes.  But you don’t have to be a Jew and the Carrot writer or have chance encounters with the director to see this film.  If you live in the New York area there will be a screening this Tuesday.