September 26, 2014
Hoophouse at Strength to Love Farm / 2014
In the renaissance that is urban agriculture, we’re seeing romantic stories pop up everywhere. There’s beekeeping on rooftops, neighborhood compost piles, and community gardens tilled by schoolchildren. There are open spaces with vegetable stands and horseshoe courts, and tucked-away farm lots in the heart of the city where Dominiques and Araucanas strut their stuff.
But there’s another side of urban agriculture that’s far more tedious than romantic—the legal side. As soon as the spade hits the soil, there are issues best addressed by an attorney. But farmers, don’t fret. Last Friday, the Community Law Center hosted the 2014 Urban Agriculture Law Conference at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law. The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, which has projects involving urban soil safety, urban foraging, aquaponics, food-and-farm mapping, and Read More >
September 25, 2014
On September 10 I wrote a blogpost in which I questioned language used by Perdue Chicken in their announcement about removing antibiotics from hatcheries and removing “human antibiotics” from feed. My main question concerned whether the company would be refraining from using drugs used for humans, or classes of drugs used for humans. This is an important distinction when talking about antibiotic resistance, and the answer I was hoping to hear is that Perdue was swearing off entire classes of drugs used for humans. Read More >
September 24, 2014
People’s Climate March / Sept. 21, 2014
Environmental advocates from around the globe convened this week to participate in Climate Week NY°C. International activists and the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future were there to discuss progress and future plans for Meatless Mondays campaigns in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, England, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Kuwait, South Africa, South Korea, and Taiwan.
On Sunday, the group participated in the People’s Climate March. By eating less meat, you can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which is critical to fighting climate change. Use your fork Read More >
September 23, 2014
People’s Climate March / Sept. 21, 2014
“To change everything we need everyone.” The rallying cry for Sunday’s People’s Climate March in New York City captured the mobilization’s spirit perfectly. From the natural environment to the built environment, from our political system to the food system, so much has to be changed to confront what has been rightly called the biggest challenge facing our generation. With such a monumental task, it is no wonder the march’s organizers spent months reaching out to every segment of society, convincing them that climate justice was a cause that united all causes. Read More >
September 22, 2014
Between 300,000 and 400,000 people marched through the streets of New York City on Sunday, calling for world leaders to make radical policy changes to address the climate change crisis.
Read More >
September 19, 2014
Texas schools go meatless on Mondays
Meatless fiasco. Twelve days ago, on September 7, the Austin American-Statesman published an alarmist op-ed by the Texas Commissioner of Agriculture, Todd Staples. In the op-ed, Mr. Staples bemoaned that some Texas school districts had adopted Meatless Mondays for some of their campuses. The Commissioner wrote that the districts were “irresponsible,” and that he was “very concerned” about this “activist movement” that would force an “agenda-driven diet” and their lifestyles onto unwitting pupils. Controversy ensued, and now it seems that Mr. Staples has been hoisted by his own petard. Yesterday he announced Read More >
September 16, 2014
Which antibiotics are they eating?
A Reuters story, published yesterday, broke some news about the poultry industry, its dangerous misuse of antibiotics, and the mistruths propagated by industry leaders. Unfortunately, what the reporters uncovered is not that surprising—but it is alarming. Read the article, “Documents reveal how poultry firms systematically feed antibiotics to flocks,” to find out exactly what the reporters’ analysis of “feed tickets” reveals—in short, a notable discrepancy between what the poultry companies tell consumers they are feeding their chickens and what the documents indicate. Feed tickets are documents created by the feed mills that produce chicken feed to the chicken company’s specs; the tickets list names and amounts Read More >
September 11, 2014
Portland, Maine, 2014.
The names “alaria,” “dulse,” “kelp,” and “laver” may not mean much now, but a growing cadre of aquatic farmers and chefs in New England are trying to change that. These types of edible seaweed (or sea vegetables) are revered by cooks for the jolt of salty goodness they bring to soups and salads, and by health food advocates who dig the high levels of minerals in seaweed.
These ocean-derived foods were on display last week at the Maine Seaweed Festival Read More >
September 10, 2014
Perdue, the nation’s third largest poultry integrator, announced some important changes to its antibiotic use regimen this past Wednesday. I’ve seen quite a bit of coverage of their move in the news, which is encouraging, but a critical look raises suspicions about some of their claims. Let’s take a look at the Good, the Ambiguous and the Ugly of Perdue’s new policies.
No caveats are needed when describing Perdue’s move to eliminate the injections of eggs with gentamicin. In industrial poultry production, this drug has an extensive history of use in hatcheries, even in birds that will be eventually certified as USDA Organic (the Organic regs turn a blind eye on antibiotic use prior to the second day of life). Their choice to end this practice is one that should be praised. Read More >
September 9, 2014
Joyce Smith (center) with coordinators at a back-to-school event, August 2014.
“Wow, this is good,” said one nine-year-old girl to another. “I thought I wasn’t going to like that stuff.”
The other little girl nodded in agreement. When they asked, “What is this stuff?” I told them, “Healthy snacks” and thanked them.
Then I enjoyed watching them eat the samples of healthy snacks I’d prepared: apples sprinkled with cinnamon, vanilla yogurt with sliced bananas, celery spread with peanut butter and raisins (ants on a log). I told them that the apples with cinnamon is like eating pie without crust, the yogurt and banana was pudding with fruit, and ants on a log made celery taste good—and that these snacks were better for them than candy, chips, cookies, and soda.
I was participating in a back-to-school event for schoolchildren and their families, and my assignment was to help low-income children and their parents with ideas for healthier snacking. I had been invited by a community group that knew about the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future through its Eat Right Live Well campaign at the Food Depot supermarket in Southwest Baltimore. Read More >