Revitalize Rural USA – Marion Nestle

 

Covid pandemic demonstrated enormous problems in the food system with food being destroyed while people were going hungry.  If we want to revitalize the food system and rural America we have to bring people back. And to do that we need to have work that people can do.  @MarionNestle says it can be done and the new team taking shape at the USDA must take the lead in making it happen.

Farmer Protests – Deep Singh

 

Some of the world’s largest protests are taking place in support of farmers in India.  Whether in Delhi, San Francisco or Paris people have gone to the streets to show solidarity with the small farmers in India who are losing essential government support. To generate global awareness of the farmers’ fate,  Sikhs in California have brought tractors, trucks, friends and their voices to public rallies that have filled the Bay Bridge and circled government buildings. The Executive Director of the Jakara Movement, Deep Singh shares the reasons and methods being used to enlist

the public to the cause.  Deep’s family is from Punjab and he was raised in the Central Valley of California. Educated at UCLA and Johns Hopkins University, Deep’s commitment and passion to social, racial, and class justice has helped shape his view of the world.  #Farmer Protests  will  find news and events from all over the world.  www.jakara.org

Bounty, Peril & Politics – Tom Philpott

 

When once again safe to travel through farm country, the bounty of the food system  will be evident.  So are the perils resulting from misdirected political power.  Tom Philpott, author, podcaster and Mother Jones reporter wrote Perilous Bounty to draw attention to the promise and the peril of farm policy and practices that are often not good for farms or consumers. However an encouraging sign appeared just after the podcast conversation when Rep. David Scott became the first black Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee who (as Tom has reported) recognizes the urgencies of addressing climate change: “With each wildfire, hurricane, or flood more devastating than the last, it is incumbent upon us to ensure food security for future generations…The threat of climate change is a present and growing danger, and we must promote sustainable agriculture solutions that are economically viable, ecologically just, and support the social fabric of our rural communities.” David Scott

hope.https://www.motherjones.com/author/tom-philpott/

 

Working for Peanuts – Erin Sastre & Tyler Towne

 

Masked or not, face to face marketing can’t be beat; because  wherever you are in the food chain it is best to have direct contact with customers.  Erin Sastre and Tyler Towne are literally doing that for Planters Peanuts as they drive a giant peanut thousands of miles back and forth across the country. On a bright Fall morning we find them in front of the Zoo where families come to see them and their Peanut Mobile.  They find the “Peanutters” , safely masked, and offering nut packs, information and friendliness to everyone who accidentally found them or had heard they were in town from local media or their website, PlantersNUTmobile.com.  Although 2020 has been beyond challenging for  direct contact between farmers, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, restaurants and consumers. Safely done, it is important and these Peanutters share that magic with Farm To Table Talk. @PlantersNutmobile.com

Half Story Half Food All Good – Chef Rob Connoley

 

The story of a place has to include the story of it’s food: what was grown and what they ate. Taking that to heart, the owner Chef of Bulrush Restaurant in St. Louis, Rob Connoly, is finding a delicious way to share the story of a special place with special food traditions from the Ozarks.  Rob is establishing the Ozark foodway by resurrecting ingredients, practices and recipes of the past. He’s doing so through foraging, hunting, farming and creating extensive partnerships with organizations including the Seed Savers Exchange, Danforth Plant Science Center, St. Louis Archivist Association, and the Osage Nation Historic Preservation Office. Guests dining at his restaurant have an opportunity to try unique cuisine often from before the Civil War with ingredients such as paw paws, cattails and acorns.  New technologies accompany the old ingredients with video stories of each course provided to guests before dinner through QR code links. Dinner with Chef Rob Connoly is half story, half food and all good!   www.bulrushstl.com

Poor Air Poor Nutrition Poor Us – Dr. Kristie Ebi

 

Climate change effects will go way beyond receding coasts and shrinking farm  regions to to include the quality of air that plants need to produce nutritious foods. When carbon levels in the air increase, the nutrition from foods will decline by up to 30%, severely impacting human health.  Dr. Kristie Ebi  is the Founding Director of CHanGe, the Center for Health and The Global Environment at the University of Washington. She works to highlight the role of health and wellbeing in climate action and to facilitate climate resilience in the health sector.  So far the public worries about “carbon” have been it’s effect on creating a green house around the earth but the increased levels of carbon in the air that we and our crops breathe matters too. Our table talk leads us to understand that “feeding the world” is much more than just sufficient calories when nutrient content is depleted. http://fgobalchange.uw.edu

Women Farming and Leading— Kristyn Mensonides and Lynne Wheeler

 

Well educated young women who could do anything are choosing to farm, and to lead.  Equal gender opportunities do abound in agriculture, including the opportunity to give leadership to controversial issues like climate change. Krysten  Mensonides and Lynne Wheeler both graduated from universities and had career choices before they decided farming was their future. Now that future includes joining with their fellow dairy farmers  in Washington state to achieve carbon neutrality (or better) on their farms by 2050.  The dairy industry currently accounts for 2% of total Green House Gas emissions in the US.  They share their journey back to the farm and on to the front lines of farmers addressing climate change. #mensonidesdairy  #coldstreamfarm www.wadairy.org

 

GMO Deregulation — Greg Jaffe

For better or worse there has been substantial deregulation happening in the US Capitol, now including genetic engineering (GMO/GE).  Greg Jaffe is the Biotech Director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). They believe that GE products deemed safe through an independent science-based assessment have a place in our food system and have long advocated for USDA to revise its regulations to establish a streamlined and efficient regulatory process. However, they have also called for such a system to remain science-based and to address real potential risks posed by GE plants (such as preventing the development of resistant weeds or pests). A new USDA Rule falls far short as it “eliminates any independent, science-based regulatory review by allowing developers to self-determine their products to be exempt from oversight”.  CSPI and others are calling on USDA to revisit these provisions and, until they do, “calling on all GE plant developers to commit to requesting USDA confirm any self-determinations they make”. cspinet.org

 

 

Ag’s New World – Kristine MacRae, Deborah Wilson

 

 

 

Agriculture may be 10,000 years old but it’s a new world. Farmers and Ranchers are facing the new challenges  with new technologies and new philosophies, enpowering the big and the small. This comes at a time when consumer interest in how their food is produced has never been higher–a fact not missed by food manufacturers, retailers and chefs. Deborah Wilson and Kristine MacRae join Farm To Table Talk host Rodger Wasson to explore that new world. In addition to being a rancher, Deborah Wilson of TrustBix leads a Canadian verification program supporting Cow Calf, feedlot/backgrounder, packer/processor, Retail (McDonalds) and certified Canadian sustainable grain fed beef for sale in China, utilizing Block chain. Kristine MacRae of West Sky Technology helps ranchers track cattle life cycle, monetize public land grazing practices, work with small meat processors and engages customers and sales partners through a virtual hub.

www.ncba.org/https://grsbeef.org/; www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com/raising-beef/beef-sustainability www.farmcredit.com/community/young-beginning-farmers www.cdp.net/enhttps://www.indigoag.co                                                        ; www.crsb.ca; www.crsbcertified.ca; www.sustainablecrops.ca; www.virescosolutions.com; www.trustbix.com ; www.caain.ca

North American Food Strategy – Emily Broad Lieb, Harvard Law

The North American food system has succeeded in producing an abundance of commodities at relatively low cost, but it is failing in other ways that matter. Showing how law and policy should make needed changes is the purpose of “the Blueprint for a National Food Strategy”.  This work in progress is a collaborative project between the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law School and Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic.  Some of the project’s recommendations have already been accepted in Canada and  will be considered in the next US Farm Bill.  Harvard Law Professor Emily M. Broad Lieb, Director of the Food Law and Policy Clinic, focuses her scholarship, teaching, and practice on finding solutions to some of today’s biggest food law issues, aiming to increase access to healthy foods, eliminate food waste, and support sustainable food production and local and regional food systems.Professor Broad Lieb shares her journey from Harvard Law to rural Mississippi and back as food system success, shortcomings and solutions are addressed. www.foodstrategyblueprint.org