Posts tagged sustainability

The Future of Food – BBC Series

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Last night on TV Ontario I caught the last bit of a very good food documentary filmed by the BBC.  For the most part, I found it’s content to be very well balanced and it easily drew me in with the numerous conversations of both global and local food issues.

Of particular interest (around the  8:00 minute mark of the youtube clip below) is an interview with Economist Caroline Saunders (Prof at Lincoln University in New Zealand) speaking to the study detailing carbon equivalents released by exporting New Zealand lamb to Europe.   I often hear this study quoted on TV, in books,  and at the dinner table and quite often I feel the science behind it is mis-interpreted or mis-used.

I agree with Caroline when she says:

I’m not for unfettered free trade that means that the big corporations [are] going to get bigger and richer, but free trade that allows benefits to flow back to farmers [and] producers wether in New Zealand or developing countries is the way forward to feed the world.

 

Book: The Vegetarian Myth

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vegetarian-myth-coverAn interesting book from a unique point of view that can certainly help spark some lively conversations amongst friends. Lierre writes about how she moved away from being a vegetarian and has included a few more living things to her diet adding to the billions of creatures she & her vegan friends were accustom to eating.

To support her points, the book is packed full of research and references (The 272 pages contain 603 endnotes).

Three quotes I’ll note:

I’m not asking How many people can be fed? but a very different question: How can people be fed? Not, What feeds the most people? but What feeds people sustainably? We need a full accounting … because nothing else is sustainable. To quote George Draffan, “I’ll repeat the obvious: sustainable systems are the only ones that are sustainable.” p.126

Derick Jensen [writes]: If your experience … is that your food comes from the grocery store (and your water from the tap), from the economic system, from the social system we call civilization, it is to this you will pledge back your life…. If your experience … is that food and water come from your landbase … you will make and keep promises to your landbase in exchange for this food…. You will be responsible to the community that supplies you with food and water. You will defend this community to your very death. p.56

Soy started out as a legume that was rotated with other annual crops throughout Asia. Because it can fix nitrogen, soy was used as a green manure. [not as a food] … Phytoestrogens are produced by more than three hundred plants, but soy is the only one that humans eat. Chapter 4

In fact, after reading Chapter 4, I’m almost convinced that breaking my blender to process my own tofu may not have been worth the effort.

Finally, a question which came up while discussing said book over a corporate Christmas luncheon: What about the millions of healthy vegetarians and vegans who live in places like India and Vancouver?
It did make me realize that the book tended to focus on what I’d consider a “western” veggie diet … lots of soy milk, salad and tofurkey. Vegetarianism has been common in Indian for generations and it might be interesting to contrast & compare some of the health statistics between western & eastern hemispheres.

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