Food


On July 7th, 2007 people all over the globe celebrated at Live Earth ‘Parties for the Planet’, a reaching-out to all kinds of people around the world to raise awareness and actually do something to stop global warming. People everywhere were encouraged to throw parties of their own, not just to watch the ones on TV, because you don’t need a concert hall to tell people how to save the earth. We, Team Gaia, an Atlantic Beach based teen environmental organization, decided to do just that. We decided to throw a big Live Earth party in our very own studio office in Mayport. We posted our party on MoveOn.org, an environmental and political website that acted as a HQ for people who wanted to go to a Live Earth party. People all over typed in their zip code, and if they were near us, our party showed up on their screens. We also got together and invited a bunch of our friends to join in! We got around 70 people, and their ages were very diverse. We had about 50 adults, some of them seniors, some middle age, and some of them even in their twenties. But at the same time we had about 20 teenagers from different schools in the area. Aside from the mere diversity, a lot of the people who came were very progressive. Members of local organizations like the Sierra Club and JaxTaxpayers.com came, along with lots of other concerned members of the community like UNF professors and school board members. All of us at Team Gaia were really excited to meet all these amazing people!

At the party we had a huge potluck where everyone brought in vegetarian and organic dishes, and we even organized getting some biodegradable silverware. The food that was there was absolutely delicious! People ate, mingled, and we showed the concerts from all over the globe on a projection screen in our studio. We kicked things off with an introductory piece from the Live Earth campaign by Al Gore, and then showed a 30-minute town meeting with different people running for government talking about the environment. We (Team Gaia) also showed our own pieces we ourselves produced about Global Warming. At Team Gaia we produce all kinds of videos spanning from global warming, to getting teens to vote, to organic food and healthy eating. We got some awesome feedback from all kinds of people, and it was really rewarding. The whole experience was simply exhilarating, and it was great to say that we took action, that we will continue to take action, and that we’ve encouraged others to take action.

Most importantly, you can take action against the climate crisis even as a simple reader of this blog! You don’t need to be a member of Team Gaia or Sierra Club or anything like that to make a change. You can change the light bulbs in your home to compound florescent, you can turn the AC up a couple degrees when it’s hot and down a couple when it’s cold, you can do what you can to use less hot water like take shorter showers, and on top of all that, you can drive less! Together, all of us can do our best to prevent global warming– that’s what ‘Party for the Planet’ and Live Earth was all about!

A hydroponic garden.

An environmental group called New York Sun Works thinks the rooftops of New York could be used as gardens to provide food for the whole city. To prove their point, they created a garden on a barge on the Hudson River. The barge is a greenhouse that uses solely rain, solar panels, wind turbines and biofuel to subsist. New York Sun Works says that if these ‘hydroponic systems’ with no water or soil were installed on the rooftops of New York, the provided food could feed 20 million people.

Cities like New York growing their own produce would encourage becoming organically inclined and aid the fight against global warming! Having the gardens on the tops of schools could feed the school, and teach lessons in science and horticulture. It would solve the terrible nutrition problems that American cafeterias face! And because space on land is often sought after in cities, what better place to choose for these gardens than the often unused rooftops?

I think this is an extremely exciting and inspiring idea! Think of the changes that this could create in American society– it would be like a tidal wave of health, beauty and tasty organic food! The greenhouses apparently produce seven times more food and they use four times less water than the traditional farm. So many benefits would be in store for New York if they chose to enforce this plan. This is truly one of the best ideas I’ve ever heard– there has to be a city who will do this. Please, someone listen to these wonderful people!

S O U R C E S:
Reuter`s Article

Berkshares, a currency accepted in Great Barrington (Massachusetts) and some neighboring communities, keeps the profit being circulated inside the community. Great Barrington is a unique community that features many organic farms, yoga studios and other such cafes and new age shops. Berkshares have been a hit with the community’s economy, and locals use the bills as almost a form of local pride. The bills allow small businesses to stay alive and compete with large chains that are sprouting up everywhere.

I am delighted to hear that this bill experiment was brought about in such a green-inclined community, and I hope that this currency will encourage other communities to do the same and create their own currencies. I would love to see the organic farms grow because of a change in economy. This seems like a great tool to combat fast food and other restaurant chains with great alternatives to their terrible food.

S O U R C E S:
Reuters’ Article.

Corn Field

In many third world countries the poor cannot afford to eat and therefore are very underweight, but in The United States it is different. This is because the government is subsidizing foods that are used in making high-calorie foods rather than in foods that help people keep the fat off, like fruits and vegetables. This is because the government subsidizes foods like corn, soybeans, and wheat, which are used to get oils and fats to make high-calorie foods.
Recently, several Congressional representatives undertook a “Food Stamp Challenge” in which they spent only 21 dollars a week on food, 3 dollars a day, which is equivalent to what the average person on food stamps lives off of. The Congressmen found that it was very hard to live off so little money and that it was much easier to buy high-calorie foods.
It is expected that there will be a new Food Bill soon and if so a change in the subsidized foods to include more Fruits and Vegetables could do well to further the overall health of the population and take a great step in preventing obesity.

For more information on the food subsidies visit:
The New York Times
For more information about the Senator food challenge please visit:
The Food Stamp Challenge
The Colbert Report

pitcher.jpg

A panel of nutrition and health experts, with the support of the Unilever Health Institute, recently concluded that around 21% of calories consumed by Americans after the age of 2 come from beverages. The panel put together a Beverage Guidance System detailing both the health benefits and detractions of popularly consumed drinks from water (the preferred beverage of the panel) to alcohol, coffee, tea, milk and soy milk. Barry Popkin and George Bray, the two authors of the paranoia-inducing high-fructose corn syrup study from a few years ago, are also on this panel.

Here’s a post from one of the guidelines’ authors, Balz Frei, and here’s the New York Times’ take on the story.

Fast Food Nation

Men’s Fitness Magazine has posted its list of the ten fittest and ten fattest cities in the U.S. Albuquerque, Seattle and Colorado Springs top the list of the fittest, while Las Vegas, San Antonio and Miami, Florida get the top of the fattest list rolling. The list was compiled using a survey that looked at lifestyle factors in each city such as fast-food restaurants per capita, availability of gyms or bike paths, commute times, how much television watching Nielsen records and federal health statistics on obesity-related injuries and illnesses.

“I can draw attention to the way we’re living,” says Neal Boulton, editor of the magazine. “There’s a consciousness among mayors that they can motivate the population and go beyond the PR. It’s more than just having a mayor run the marathon. That doesn’t motivate people. What motivates people is starting a Fit City program…it takes action.”

See how your city fits in or doesn’t.

Black Angus in Pasture

There are so many labels out there that say “Organic” or “All Natural” on them that it’s hard to know what you are getting inside that package. It’s the name of the game – the advertising game. Companies and farmers from all areas see there’s dollars to be made since the public is becoming more concerned with what they devour, and it is the very thing they see on a label that makes them buy it, make it and eat it. “Organic and free Range Chickens,” “Organic Wine,” or “All Natural Beef,” so what’s the difference? Well, what’s in a name, is as much as what’s not in it. Take a look at the beef industry for example,

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