talking with my handsI had the pleasure of being able to speak to a group of 3rd, 4th and 5th graders at Creekside Elementary School here in San Diego on Tuesday night. The topic of discussion was a recent article written by Michael Pollen for the New York Times, entitled “Why Bother.” His article discusses quite a few issues, but the main theme seemed to be about the importance of “doing something” to benefit our environment and ourselves (and more specifically, starting your own vegetable garden). Pollen includes some interesting facts about human specialization, personal responsibility for the environment and the bane of cheap energy.

So…the kids and I talked about a couple of simple (but important) things that Pollen pointed out in his article: Growing your own garden and going vegetarian one day a week (eating less meat). They were enthusiastic and really knew a lot about both topics. It was refreshing to see that many of them were already growing their own fruits and vegetables at home. The students understood that having a garden symbolized more than just growing food. They knew that it saves money, brings neighbors closer, produces less greenhouse gases, creates less waste, increases independence, it’s good excercise, and the list goes on.

participantsThis was the first time I’ve ever spoken to an audience (nevermind, young students) about these topics, but I felt it went very well. The kids were great participants in the conversation and I was shocked at how much they already knew about the environment and food. I left the school feeling encouraged that the next generation are more aware of their actions and will hopefully be good stewards to this planet.

Thank you Creekside Elementary for giving me the opportunity to speak with you.

A couple of days ago I posted an article called "unhappy meals" (written by Michael Pollen for the NYtimes).  In case you were not able to make it through the lengthly article, I wanted to extract a few paragraphs that gives us some guidance on eating better tasting foods that are better food for us…not just vegetarian, but in general.  The rest of these tips can be found toward the end of his article.

1. Eat food. Though in our current state of confusion, this is much easier said than done. So try this: Don’t eat anything your great-great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food. (Sorry, but at this point Moms are as confused as the rest of us, which is why we have to go back a couple of generations, to a time before the advent of modern food products.) There are a great many foodlike items in the supermarket your ancestors wouldn’t recognize as food (Go-Gurt? Breakfast-cereal bars? Nondairy creamer?); stay away from these.

2. Avoid even those food products that come bearing health claims. They’re apt to be heavily processed, and the claims are often dubious at best. Don’t forget that margarine, one of the first industrial foods to claim that it was more healthful than the traditional food it replaced, turned out to give people heart attacks. When Kellogg’s can boast about its Healthy Heart Strawberry Vanilla cereal bars, health claims have become hopelessly compromised. (The American Heart Association charges food makers for their endorsement.) Don’t take the silence of the yams as a sign that they have nothing valuable to say about health.

continue at NYTimes


eat vegetarian on the cheap

This article came from

About a year-and-a-half ago, for health reasons, my husband and I committed ourselves to a mostly vegetarian lifestyle. At home we eat entirely vegetarian; when we eat out we allow ourselves to choose meat. It’s also a priority for us to avoid the pesticides in non-organic produce and the hormones that come with non-organic dairy products. Here’s how we eat a ton of fruits and veggies at a fraction of the price you might expect.

Our top strategy is to eat locally-produced foods as often as possible. (Actually, eating locally is a priority for us based on both our physiological needs and the need for Americans to reduce oil consumption. Produce at the grocery store has traveled, on average, 1500 miles to reach us!) Because we live in an Atlanta apartment with no yard or porch, we are unable to grow anything ourselves except for herbs — so we seek out local farmers.  Locally-grown foods are sold to us at the peak of their flavor and nutritional value, making them more enjoyable. Buying from local farmers, we are also able to ask whether the foods we are buying have been grown using pesticides. (The organic certification process is expensive for small farmers, so some small farmers may use organic methods but not have government certification for years, if ever.)

continue reading at getrichslowly



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Venezuela Organic Revolution

As some of you may recall back in October I wrote an article on the Cuban Organic Revolution.  Well it seems that some folks in Venezuela also see the benefit to urban organic farming.  Sure, as of yesterday it basically became a full fledged socialist/dictator run country, but at least they will be eating good food in an environmentally friendly way!  Have a look at the pictures on the BBC’s website.   There are a couple interesting things you may note… they control insects with some sticky nettle juice on a plate (the bugs get stuck to it) and they make their own fertilizer with casings from worm farms.  Pretty neat stuff.  Thanks to Shamus for sending me the link. 

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