Food is the mega trend of 2007
The U.S. is easing up on its practice of selling surplus commodoties to NGOs at low prices, possibly opening the door for small farmers worldwide to get a more fair price for their crops. From The India Times:
The virtual disappearance of dumping is great news for farmers across the world who can now expect to receive the real price for their crops from the world market. Unfortunately, the downside is that for the world’s 850 million hungry people, often concentrated in countries ravaged by war and famine, the decline in food aid also means plunging further into hopelessness.
Related to this, last August U.S.-based CARE, one of the largest international aid organizations in the world, announced it will turn down 46 million dollars in food subsidies from the U.S. government.
Just as I was realizing that there were no presidential candidates that have local food on their radars, I read that it's an actual campaign issue in Ontario, Canada:
All parties polish apple to promote local foods; Ontario farm aid now yields city votes, too
Depending on the day on the NDP campaign bus, Howard Hampton might be munching on a strudel with organic Swiss chard grown near Hamilton or Italian sausage from a King City pig.
It's part of a plan to promote the local food movement, underscored by a radical platform to pass a law, if the NDP were elected, that would require grocery stores to reserve shelf space for Ontario produce.
The four biggest parties have platforms to provide a boost to local farmers and get more of their products into our bellies.
It's a sign that politicians have realized agriculture is also an urban issue. City dwellers are increasingly concerned about where their food comes from, and how it is grown.
I may need to go visit Fran Clemetson in Maine. She writes about her book group reading The Omnivore's Dilemma and how it inspired her to plan local meals for her family of six. I need a book group that helps me plan dinner!
Eating Exclusively Local; Well, Almost
We have a rather proactive book group and had been discussing ways to promote the local food economy when some of us decided to create a challenge by eating exclusively locally grown food for at least one meal and reporting back to the group about our experience. We had a good discussion around the challenges of meal planning.
And it's that time of year again: Thanksgiving! This is a special food holiday for me because this will be the eleventh anniversary of holding it at my house (except for the one the year I was pregnant with Iris because our kitchen was under construction and I had morning sickness from hell). I love the week-long ritual of planning, shopping and cooking. Oh, and the eating, too.
The 100 Mile Diet people are getting everyone ready for a local Thanksgiving. I encourage anyone who is on the fence about eating locally to try out the 100 Mile Thanksgiving, or, as we do it, eating from your region or state. Given that the traditional Thanksgiving dinner draws from seasonal foods in North America, it's really not that hard. For most people it's pretty easy to find turkey, pumpkin, potatoes and other vegetables from close-by. LocalHarvest is always a great place to start.
We just finished the last celebration of Clara's Birthday Week. I'm beat. But we've got an old friend (and her we-haven't-met-yet husband) coming for brunch tomorrow and I've got to get planning. The Tipping Tree eggs hadn't shown up at the co-op as if 6 PM last night (gah!) but I've got tons of apples from Kruger's Farm and the farmers market, plus local sausage, so I'm thinking...I have no idea. I have to get on the recipe sites and figure this out.
I seriously want a book club that will brainstorm meals with me.