Using Food to Better the World

The West End Food Co-op in Toronto is looking to incorporate food production and consumption into bettering their local neighbourhood.

The West End Food Co-op has 500 members so far, including 20 farmers. Dinner expects another 1,500 to sign up by the end of next year. (Membership costs only $5.) Until their first general meeting, there won’t be an operating plan. But, they have some basic ideas of how it will work:

• The kitchen will be used as a mini processing plant for farmers’ excess product, so vegetable farmers can drop off extra bushels of tomatoes and the co-op cooks will stew them into pasta sauce, label them and sell them in the store, for example.

Twice a week, the kitchen will be used for community programming, teaching Parkdale groups how to cook and preserve. In exchange for a break in the rent, the Community Health Centre upstairs expects to hold workshops here.

The prices in the co-op will be more expensive than No Frills, to ensure the farmers make enough to remain on the farm. Since Parkdale is a poorer part of town, the co-op will distribute “co-op bucks” to its community partners, like the Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre. The Parkdale Community Health Centre plans to fundraise to buy “co-op bucks” for its clients.

The members will decide what to do with any profit the co-op makes, whether to invest in a new freezer or pay for another community program.

Read the full article.

Public Bike Share Coming to New York?

It’s no secret that we here at Things Are Good like bikes and bike sharing (we may have even posted about it once or twice…), and now some more good news concerning bike sharing has come in. New York City is looking to set up North America’s largest bike sharing programme complete with 10 000 bikes! New York’s bike share will be funded through corporate sponsorship and will create around 200 jobs in the city. The bikes, which are the same as Bixi’s bicycles in Toronto and Montreal, will be manufactured in Canada by Cycles Devinci.

The rest of the article can be found at NPR.org.

Organic Farming Better Than Factory Farming

There are still a lot of people who think that congenital factory farming is the most efficient way to produce crops, well those people get proven wrong – a lot! The good news is that organic farming is good for the crops, the planet, and the farmer’s profitability.

Check it out:

So, in yield terms, both of the organic rotations featuring corn beat the Adair County average and came close to the conventional patch. Two of the three organic rotations featuring soybeans beat both the county average and the conventional patch; and both of the organic rotations featuring oats trounced the county average. In short, Borlaug’s claim of huge yield advantages for the chemical-intensive agriculture he championed just don’t pan out in the field.

And in terms of economic returns to farmers—market price for crops minus costs—the contest isn’t even close. Organic crops draw a higher price in the market and don’t require expenditures for pricy inputs like synthetic fertilizer and pesticides.

Read more at Mother Jones.

Music Therapy Helps Brain Damaged Patients

Music therapy can help people who have severe brain damage regain control of their brain and heal faster. This is really nifty!

But how does music find a pathway inside a damaged brain that regular speech can’t negotiate? According to Morrow, it has to do with the parts of the brain where music comes from. And that there are so many of them.

“Music centres are all over the brain,” says Morrow. “I might be able to retrieve lyrics from the right side, from the middle, from the back of the brain. There are so many components to music that I can tap into … to reach words again and to reformulate them in the brain.”

In terms of human evolution, speech is a relatively recent addition to our compartmentalized brains. Some believe music may precede it. There’s no doubt that toddlers babble and vocalize long before they speak.

“It used to be thought that music was a superfluous thing, and no one understood why it developed from an evolutionary standpoint,” says Michael De Georgia, director of the Centre for Music and Medicine at Case Western Reserve University’s Medical Centre in Cleveland.

“In the last 10 years, we’ve just started to understand how broad and diffuse the effect of music is on all parts of the brain,” he added. “We are just starting to understand how powerful music can be.”

Read the rest of the article.

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