By CAROL POGASH
BIG SUR, Calif. — Among the sleek guests who meditate and do Downward Facing Dog here at the Esalen Institute, the farmers appeared to be out of place. They wore baggy jeans, suspenders and work boots and had long ago let their hair go gray.
For nearly a week, two dozen organic farmers from the United States and Canada shared decades’ worth of stories, secrets and anxieties, and during breaks they shared the clothing-optional baths.
The agrarian elders, as they were called, were invited to Esalen because the organizers of the event wanted to document what these rock stars of the sustainable food movement knew and to discuss an overriding concern: How will they be able to retire and how will they pass their knowledge to the next generation?
All this and more in this week’s edition of Jenny’s Food and Ag Update..
By PAGAN KENNEDY
If you walk into a farm-supply store today, you’re likely to find a bag of antibiotic powder that claims to boost the growth of poultry and livestock. That’s because decades of agricultural research has shown that antibiotics seem to flip a switch in young animals’ bodies, helping them pack on pounds. Manufacturers brag about the miraculous effects of feeding antibiotics to chicks and nursing calves. Dusty agricultural journals attest to the ways in which the drugs can act like a kind of superfood to produce cheap meat.
But what if that meat is us? Recently, a group of medical investigators have begun to wonder whether antibiotics might cause the same growth promotion in humans. New evidence shows that America’s obesity epidemic may be connected to our high consumption of these drugs. But before we get to those findings, it’s helpful to start at the beginning…
March 20-21, 2014
Did you know that the Austin area has the second fastest growing senior citizen population in the nation? This explosive growth means demand for Meals on Wheels and More’s life-sustaining services will continue to grow as the number of older adults living here increases. Your generous support of our mission helps us meet that need and allows our clients to stay in their own homes instead of living in an assisted living facility.
To hear the pesticide and junk food marketers of the world tell it, anyone who questions the value, legitimacy or safety of GMO crops is naïve, anti-science and irrational to the point of hysteria. But how long can Monsanto ignore the mounting actual scientific evidence that their technology is not only failing to live up to its promises, it’s putting public health at risk?
‘Sound science’ is only a term, an ideological term, used to support a particular point of view, policy statement or a technology. ‘Sound science’ is little more than the opinions of so-called “experts” representing corporate interests. Simply put, ‘sound science’ always supports the position of industry over people, corporate profit over food safety, the environment and public health.
Jim Goodman, farmer, activist and member of the Organic Consumers Association policy advisory board, recently wrote about Monsanto’s deceptive use of the expression “sound science.” But, ‘sound science’ has no scientific definition. It does not mean peer reviewed, or well documented research.
Here are five new reports and studies, published in the last two months, that blow huge holes in Monsanto’s “sound science” story. Reports of everything from Monsanto’s Roundup causing fatal, chronic kidney disease to how, contrary to industry claims, Roundup persists for years, contaminating soil, air and water. And oh-by-the-way, no, GMO crops will not feed the world, nor have they reduced the use of herbicides and pesticides.
TEDxManhattan, “Changing the Way We Eat” will feature a dynamic group of speakers addressing issues in sustainable food and farming. As in the past 3 years, TEDxManhattan will promote innovative work being done by groups large and small, for-profit and nonprofit, from around the country. Speakers include Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio, LAUSD Director David Binkle, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, and many others.
The event will be webcast worldwide live from New York City on Saturday, March 1, 2014 from 10:30am-6:30pm EST.
Rather than watch the webcast alone at your computer, why not host a viewing party; invite friends over so you can join the discussion and join the global Twitter conversation @TEDxManhattan (hashtag #TEDxMan) or engage on our Facebook page.
A better-food movement is spreading across our country. And you can be a part of it.
The new documentary, Food Patriots, follows average American families who are changing how and what they eat – and having fun doing it. You don’t have to be a farmer, earthy-crunchy or an activist. You just have to commit to eating 10 percent local and sustainable, and things will start changing.
We’ll be streaming this film on the Internet for FREE at 7 p.m. CST, Wednesday, Feb. 26th. Afterward, we’ll be holding a Twitter chat with the filmmakers, Consumers Union staff and other organizations on ways we can all get involved and make a difference.
Register here, and we’ll remind you before the film begins so you don’t miss it.