Monday, October 26, 2009

a call to ACTION

Truth and never ceases to produce interesting and evocative pieces. Below is a link to a food related post by Amanda Misiak at Truth and Rights. While her article fails to mention food deserts and the lack of access to healthy foods in some urban areas, that Greenleaf hopes to combat, it is still a great read and a great reminder that we are all culpable in our current food system. It serves as a reminder, for those of us who have access to healthy food on a regular basis, to vote with your dollar. Each purchase of fast food, processed food, subsidized food, GMO food is a sign of support and more than likely a dollar that will not stay in Colorado's economy.

Below is an excerpt from her witty, well crafted article meant to entice you to click on the link below and read the whole thing.

"We already know that the mass consumption of sugar in the form of soda, candy, and simple carbohydrates is bad, bad, bad. Let’s save the erudite explanation. This is no arcane secret. Sugar, when not monitored, whether it be sugar in its natural form, or sugar cooked up in a laboratory and sneaked into our food in the form of high fructose corn syrup, maltodextrin, sucralose or aspartame, catches up to the human body in the form of diabetes, osteoporosis, and huge asses. Thank you, Big Gulp for giving us, in one seemingly innocuous container, more sugar than we should be consuming in several days. Yet, herein lies the rub: the 7-11 convenience store chain does not station gun-pointing sales associates next to the fountain pop machine, demanding that you fill up the 24 oz. cup; you do that all by your lonesome."

Please feel free to post a comment in favor of or against the post in the hopes of creating a meaningful dialogue.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Negative Health Impacts From Inaccessibility to Healthy Food

I just heard about a presentation that has the potential be ground breaking, or at the least, address important issues that are often ignored - food deserts and health disparities, Let's hope that they make the connection to how access to healthy food impacts not only health, but also education, safety of neighborhoods and more.

Please join the Colorado Health Foundation for breakfast and an informative presentation and discussion about how the inaccessibility of healthy, fresh and affordable food negatively impacts health.

Allison Karpyn, PhD, of the Pennsylvania-based Food Trust will release the results of a new study that finds many Colorado communities that have poor access to supermarkets also have high incidences of diet-related diseases. Richard J. Jackson, MD, MPH, professor and chair of the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the UCLA School of Public Health and author of Urban Sprawl and Public Health, will discuss how where we live plays an important role in how healthy we are.

I'm intrigued to see what kind of policy or funding recommendations are encouraged at the talk. We must wait to see. Below is a link with more information and steps to sign up. ITS FREE.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Food Fight the movie

I recently had the pleasure of watching yet another food documentary.  Food Fight educates and makes you salivate.  The movie begins by describing the change in food consumption and creation over the past century.  It then moves on to interview long time slow food, local food and organic food activists, revolutionaries and cooks - Michael Pollan, Wolfgang Puck, Dan Barber and Alice Waters.  Their (or maybe the producers) thesis:  most of what is sold in groceries stores today is processed foods and homogenous, tasteless fruits and vegetables cultivated with the sole purpose of shipping them to far off locations that end up making us sick and fat.

The blame is placed primarily on Earl Butz, Secretarys of Agriculture under Richard Nixon.  Earl Butz was given the responsibility of providing the American people with a cheap, reliable source of food.  He succeeded.  Pushing small scale farmers out and replacing them with large, subsidized monoculture farms which grow the food industries new vilian, CORN.  While the attack on corn falls far short of that shown in one of the other new food documentaries - KING CORN it is still vilified for its presence in everything we eat.  

As far as I'm concerned the movie begins to shine when recent MacArthur Award Winner Will Allen is brought into the movie.  Will Allen is a central character in the local food movement, however, Will Allen is not concerned with supplying high end restaurants with locally produced foods for seasonal menus.  Will Allen is concerned with providing low income people with: access to healthy food, the knowledge of how to cook with it and the education about how to combat national epidemics of diabetes and obesity.   Will Allen represented a high point in the movie for me.  A man who understands that healthy food doesn't have to be a luxury and participates in making that a reality.

The movie continues to skim the surface of what Will Allen's non profit GROWING POWER provides to communities when Alice Waters talks about the value of farm to school programs and farming at school programs.  Alice points to the value added when students get their hands dirty gardening at school, cooking, eating and reaping the rewards of eating what you grow.  Students look interested, excited about learning, engaged and healthy.  

Food Fight is a great primer for those who are not as familiar with the origins of the local food movement and I hope it serves as a gateway for people to learn more about how we can provide healthy food for everyone in our neighborhoods. It has certainly motivated me as Greenleaf moves forward with plans for our work in Denver communities