Food Tank is a Think Tank for Food

Food Tank is a new initiative to bring attention to the complexity of food systems. They aim to educate people about how foods gets from the ground to your table – and how that process relates to the world at large. Here’s a recent release of their’s looking at the positive impact of family farmers:

Family farmers—small and large enhance biodiversity, protect natural resources, and improve local economies. The video highlights how family farmers, small and large, are using innovative agroecological practices to increase yields, improve incomes, and foster environmental sustainability. And Food Tank emphasizes how family farmers are a critical line of defense against economic disparity, water scarcity, deforestation, and extreme weather events.

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Decrease Blood Pressure By Simply Changing Your Diet

I love knowledge and it’s exciting that a meta-analysis in JAMA Internal Medicine has concluded that a vegetarian diet is perfect for decreasing blood pressure!Meta-analysis of research data is the assessment of a multiple research papers related to the same issue and sometimes the meta-analysis can disprove existing assumptions, in this case the meta-analysis confirms what many already thought!

Plus, researchers found that “the effect sizes are similar to those observed with commonly recommended lifestyle modifications, such as adoption of a low-sodium diet or a weight reduction of 5 kg, and are approximately half the magnitude of those observed with pharmaceutical therapy,” they wrote in the study. A weight reduction of 5 kilograms is equivalent to about 11 pounds.

Read more at Huffington Post.

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Indigenous Food and Cultural Protection

Food and ecosystem knowledge which has been passed down for centuries is constantly threatened by the modern mechanical market. To stymie this change in food (and knowledge) consumption there is a global effort to protect the sanity of food and related support systems.

The significance of sacred foods. Many indigenous communities have certain foods—including corn, taro, and wild rice—that are considered sacred and have profound teachings and practices associated with them. One of the most significant ways that indigenous peoples have demonstrated a respectful relationship to their sacred foods is through sustainable land and water practices. Because these totem foods are so highly regarded, it is considered a tragedy and a violation of fundamental rights that they are now being threatened with life patenting and genetic modification.

Native foods and ecosystem health. Native foods are markers of diversity and are often keystone species for the health of an ecosystem and the health of a people. The body of knowledge that indigenous communities hold concerning the cultivation of foods and the conservation of habitats are viable and potentially essential alternatives to some of today’s more unsustainable practices. Without healthy seeds, lands, and waters, native foods will continue to be compromised, damaged, and made scarce, and the health of ecosystems, native communities, and all communities will suffer.

Protecting indigenous peoples. Respecting indigenous communities, their land, and their traditions is an invaluable resource in our efforts to combat climate change. Defending indigenous rights involves governments implementing policies that protect indigenous groups, corporations engaging in mutually beneficial relations with indigenous communities and the environment, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) creating funding models and grants that help to support and grow indigenous societies.

Read more at WorldWatch

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A GM & Pesticide Free Rice Growing Revolution

Rice farmers have been growing their crop in the same way for hundreds of years and most people have assumed the most efficient way to grow rice has been figured out. That is until some farmers in India decided to change how they grow their bounty and now scientists have take note of their success.

What happened in Darveshpura has divided scientists and is exciting governments and development experts. Tests on the soil show it is particularly rich in silicon but the reason for the “super yields” is entirely down to a method of growing crops called System of Rice (or root) Intensification (SRI). It has dramatically increased yields with wheat, potatoes, sugar cane, yams, tomatoes, garlic, aubergine and many other crops and is being hailed as one of the most significant developments of the past 50 years for the world’s 500 million small-scale farmers and the two billion people who depend on them.

Instead of planting three-week-old rice seedlings in clumps of three or four in waterlogged fields, as rice farmers around the world traditionally do, the Darveshpura farmers carefully nurture only half as many seeds, and then transplant the young plants into fields, one by one, when much younger. Additionally, they space them at 25cm intervals in a grid pattern, keep the soil much drier and carefully weed around the plants to allow air to their roots. The premise that “less is more” was taught by Rajiv Kumar, a young Bihar state government extension worker who had been trained in turn by Anil Verma of a small Indian NGO called Pran (Preservation and
Proliferation of Rural Resources and Nature), which has introduced the SRI method to hundreds of villages in the past three years.

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Mediterranean-Style Diet Contributes to Longer Life

For people of all ages, it’s been proven that a diet similar to what’s popular around the Mediterranean helps with fending off negative health issues. Now, new research points out that even people in they “mid-life” can benefit greatly by eating a more Mediterranean-stlye diet.

“In summary, we found that greater quality of diet at midlife was strongly associated with increased odds of good health and well-being among individuals surviving to older ages,” epidemiologist Cécilia Samieri of the French National Institute of Health and her co-authors concluded in Monday’s online Annals of Internal Medicine.

“Maintaining physical, cognitive, and mental health with aging may provide a more powerful incentive for dietary change than simply prolonging life or avoiding any single chronic disease.”

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