In case you haven't seen the links below, I thought they were noteworthy. I appreciate how items like this are becoming part of the daily media and our cultural conversation.
I'm sorely tempted to drive over to Oceana for the National Asparagus Festival in June....I've been hearing about the asparagus movie for a while. And I was pretty impressed with the Raj Patel interview. Can't wait to get his book - it's starting to make sense to me why I get angry when I walk into a grocery store these days.
"Anne de Mare and Kirsten Kelly's feature-length filmAsparagus! takes viewers to the small town of Oceana, Michigan, the self-proclaimed asparagus capital of the world. After 30 years, Oceana is facing the destruction of its farming base because of a little known provision in a trade bill resulting from the 'war on drugs' [which has inadvertently created a a strongPeruvian asparagus competitor]. Faced with economic ruin and the loss of their beloved vegetable, the community decides to fight back."
Interview with Raj Patel, author of "Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System": What Michael Pollan Hasn't Told You About Food
"The way that we shop today in supermarkets is profoundly manipulated. Everything about it is the result of millions of dollars in investments and experiments. Everything about it: the lighting, the positioning of things, the reason that the milk is always at the back, all of these are ways in which we're manipulated. The profound irony is that we go into supermarkets and we are made to believe that we choose freely, but the moment we step through the doors of the supermarket, we have been made for our food. We are being crafted in that environment into people who will impulse purchase, will accept a range of fruits and vegetables that is very narrow, will think that when we pick between Coke and Pepsi, that that's real choice."
Dan Barber, chef/owner of Blue Hill at Stone Barns: Change We Can Stomach
"With the price of oil at more than $120 a barrel (up from less than $30 for most of the last 50
years), small and midsize nonpolluting farms, the ones growing the healthiest and best-tasting food, are gaining a competitive advantage. They aren’t as reliant on oil, because they use fewer large machines and less pesticide and fertilizer.
In fact, small farms are the most productive on earth. A four-acre farm in the United States nets, on average, $1,400 per acre; a 1,364-acre farm nets $39 an acre. Big farms have long compensated for the disequilibrium with sheer quantity. But their economies of scale come from mass distribution, and with diesel fuel costing more than $4 per gallon in many locations, it’s no longer efficient to transport food 1,500 miles from where it’s grown."
"In this fiery and funny talk from the 2007 EG (Entertainment Gathering) conference, New York Times food writer Mark Bittman weighs in on what's wrong with the way we eat now (too much meat, too few plants; too much fast food, too little home cooking), and why it's putting the entire planet at risk. (Recorded December 2007 in Los Angeles, California. Duration: 20:08.)"
A summary of Congress' New Bill: Farm Bill Upends Normal Political Order
"Congress has its bases covered. Each interest group represented in the sprawling legislation - from tiny Santa Cruz organic vegetable growers to Georgia cotton magnates, from conservationists to prairie-plowers - gets enough money that it would prefer this bill rather than start over with a new president."