Friday, August 21, 2009

Weekly Food Roundup - The Daily Harvest, Time Magazine and Mr. POTUS

*Weekly Food Roundup is a weekly recap of local, national and global food issues as they play out online, in print and in our everyday lives. Check back every Friday for new installments.*

Though we were unable to make it to Sugartree Ministries this Wednesday to pass out food(it was pretty chaotic on campus this week), Monte Anderson and Jenn, our Community Garden Coordinator, harvested crates full of sweet corn and tomatoes Wednesday morning and dropped them off at the food pantry. Because the W.C. grounds crew is finished for the summer, Monte will need our help harvesting for the rest of the season. We all met at the college farm this morning at 7 a.m. to pick ripened tomatoes and try and finish picking the last of the corn. While we didn't finish all the corn, we did bag-up 54 dozen ears and 150 lbs. of tomatoes this morning alone. We divided the crates evenly and delivered them to Clinton County Community Action and Sugartree, which saw it's biggest crowd ever last Wednesday with more than 400 people.

Since Monday, we were able to harvest 895 lbs. of tomatoes and 115 dozen ears of corn. Since August 7, we've harvested 1,265 lbs. of tomatoes and 136 dozen ears of corn. And the plants are still producing!


This week, the sustainable food community was excited to see Time Magazine feature a very well written cover story about the food crisis in the United States. The story addresses most of the underlying issues that have been well-known to those with a finger on the pulse of the food-industry: the unsustainability of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs); the environmental impact of Big Agriculture; the "cheap" cost of bad food; and the stigmas and misconceptions of fresh and healthy food. To a lot of readers, none of this is news. But that's not really what's important. What is, is the level of attention a story on the cover of Time will receive. This is arguably the biggest media attention the good-food movement has received to date, and it follows the national trend toward a broader consciousness of our food woes, and some of the ways we can remedy them.


President Obama weighed-in this week on the national food dilemma, particularly as it relates to school lunches and our youth. During a town hall meeting on Thursday, the president received the following question from a community member.
"I have a two-part question. One is choice, the choice that we make to eat the foods that we eat and the lifestyle that we choose to engage in. And the second part, your family is very fit. What do you and the First Lady and the girls do to encourage physical fitness, and what can we—not the government, not private corporations—do to encourage activity in the public-school system and in young people?"
President Obama meandered a bit in his response, as he is wont to do occasionally at these town-hall type of events , but he spent a considerable amount of time answering the woman. In the last part of his response, during which he addresses local foods and the White House kitchen garden, he said something that delighted the online food universe.
"One of the things that we’re trying to do now is to figure out, can we get a little farmers’ market—outside of the White House—I’m not going to have all of you all just tromping around inside—(laughter)—but right outside the White House—(laughter)—so that—so that we can—and—and—and that is a win-win situation.

It gives suddenly D.C. more access to good, fresh food, but it also is this enormous potential revenue-maker for local farmers in the area. And—and that—those kinds of connections can be made all throughout the country, and—and has to be part of how we think about health."
So, not only can D.C. area youth grow healthy vegetables in the backyard of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but the D.C. community as a whole might be able to buy those presidential veggies right out front. That, my friends, is amazing.


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