Cafe Femenino

Coffee production and distribution creates great inequities and environmental harm the world over, yet it is also consumed on a daily basis by a great deal of the adult world.  This is the story of Cafe Femenino, a women’s coffee co-operative in Peru, which is striving to make positive change in the communities of its member farmers and in the lives of women at large.

Coffee<br /><br /><br /><br /><br />                         Map

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Cosmetically-Challenged Crops

I sometimes stop and wonder, what will be the next big thing in the food movement?  We’ve seen fads and trends swoop in, and certain things linger while other things fade away.  There’s been intense nutritionism, focusing our desires on key chemical and nutritional components of our food (have you eaten enough vitamin B6 today? get enough iron on that vegan diet?), the no-carb, the low-carb, the low-fat, the high-protein, and every other weight loss restriction you can imagine.  We’ve gone through the Canada Food Guide recommendations in school, the glycemic index standards for blood sugar consistency, the superfoods crazes (chia, hemp, and wild blueberries, oh my!), the natural and whole foods phenomena, and today, ethical standards (fair trade, local, and organic) tend to dominate the attention of foodies in the know.  But, as I look around me, and read the food news, and talk to others who eat, I can’t help but think perhaps the next wave is going to be healthy and whole, but quite frankly, unconventionally beautiful. Continue reading

Eating for Biodiversity and Ecological Resilience

The National Geographic published a stunning photo series as part of a feature article called “Food Ark” in July 2011, intended to demonstrate the dwindling diversity of foods and plants not only in our culinary repertoire, but also in our ecosystems and habitats.  The following is a thought-provoking infographic, and many varieties of potatoes you’ve likely never seen!   Continue reading

CAFS Continued: Field Trips, Conundrums, Panels, and Banquets

Day 2 of the Canadian Association for Food Studies conference began with, quite appropriately, field trips for willing participants.

One third of the group embarked on a tour to Barrie’s Asparagus Farm, a growing and processing operation run by fourth-generation farmer, Tim Barrie, who also mills and dehydrates his asparagus into flour for items like asparagus chips, soups, and pasta.

Another third found their way over to the Urban Homestead at Little City Farm, a 1/3-acre property attempting to run itself self-sufficiently and sustainably, with innovations such as greywater recycling, permaculture, organic gardens, herbal healing, strawbale housing, a hand-built wood-fired oven, and a passive solar greenhouse.

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A Fork in the Road: Canadian Association for Food Studies

This weekend I have the great pleasure of spending time at the Canadian Association for Food Studies conference, “A Fork in the Road: Crossroads for Food Studies,” where some of Canada’s most respected scholars in food studies gather in collaboration with new and emerging scholars to share ideas, encourage research, and celebrate the work being done in this fascinating, interdisciplinary, and rather new field.

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Today’s post is a postcard kind of image, a little feast for the eyes as spring begins to blossom all around us in Southern Ontario.  This salad is partially harvested and partially foraged (queen anne’s lace/wild carrot and purple clover, both salty from growing very near the Atlantic Ocean), and I hope will bring you a bit of light and happiness wherever you may be reading.

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PeaceMeal Launches at the National Peace Academy Conference

Last weekend we traveled to Boulder Colorado for the National Peace Academy Peacelearning Conference on Ecological Peace. Aside from wanting to simply connect with other peacemakers to share ideas and get inspired, we also went to launch a new project. After many months of pondering, plotting and “peacing” things together, on February 19, the PeaceMeal Project was officially born. Continue reading

Non-Violent Agriculture

Farmer and Volunteer at Bija Vidyapeeth, Navdanya’s Biodiversity Conservation Farm July 2010

Vandana Shiva on Sustaining India’s Agriculture

Environmental activist Vandana Shiva has been working to build an organic agriculture movement across India for the past 22 years through the Navdanya Trust, an organization that she founded and directs. She recently spoke with Worldwatch India Fellow Anna da Costa about the connections between sustainable agriculture, climate change, and poverty alleviation. Continue reading