What You Eat Matters

Jason Schwartzman cares about what you eat. Well, at the very least he has narrated a new short film on the importance of what we eat. The film looks like it covers a lot issues around problematic factory farming and the benefits of traditional farming methods.

Here’s a promo for the film:

And Gene Baur from Farm Sanctuary says:

“The way we eat has profound consequences for our own health, but also for the environment and for animals and every day each of us makes choices about what we support and the way we spend our dollars is very important. Unfortunately, most people have been spending their dollars in a way that’s been supporting an unhealthy, an inhumane and unsustainable system. By becoming more aware and making choices that are more aligned with our values and our interests we are going to see a shift.”

Check out the film’s website platetoplanet.org.

No Fast Food Day (Eat Real Food)

Some people find fast food to be rather delicious despite the lack of nutrition that it provides. If you’re one of those people today is a good excuse to try something new as today is No Fast Food Day!

This December 17th marks the first No Fast Food Day (Eat Real Day), a day to consider the social, environmental, labour, health and animal impacts of eating processed and pre-cooked fast foods.

By signing this, you commit to skipping chain fast foods on December 17th, and replacing them with something nutritious from your local store, market or restaurant. Make it fun and enjoyable. It doesn’t have to cost more either.

We have a broken food system. Let’s do something about it, and start a discussion. Let’s get the economy and our government to act for health.
…And see how the alternatives tastes.

Check out there Facebook page.

Show your commitment to no fast food here.

Super Container Gardens

Treehugger has a neat post up on some, I guess, extreme container gardening. Check out the video from the link below, in the meantime here’s a snippit from the article:

Emma has already shown us some beautiful edible container gardens, courtesy of our readers; we’ve seen a gorgeous urban orchard complete with a repurposed dumpster/ping pong table, not to mention an under-used train station turned into a community gardening hub. But the Prinzessinengarten in the Berlin borough of Kreuzberg might just be one of the most creative examples of using reclaimed and salvaged materials to build an urban oasis.

Check it out at Treehugger.

Hydroponics in Schools

In urban centres where the land has been used for buildings and other infrastructure there is little room for production farms, so how do we teach children about farming? Well, we can use hydroponics to grow plants and help people understand why plants and food are so great.

A school in New York City has installed a hydroponic greenhouse that makes use of rainwater to grow plants for their school.

There’s no soil in a hydroponic greenhouse, which captures and recirculates rainwater to the roots of plants. In capable hands — though maybe not in 5-year-old hands — the 1,400-square-foot structure can produce up to 8,000 pounds of vegetables every year. It is an experiment in environmental education its founders hope will be replicated in schools citywide.

Two mothers at the school, Sidsel Robards and Manuela Zamora, founded the greenhouse, inspired in 2008 by a trip to the Science Barge, a floating urban farm docked in Yonkers. They got New York Sun Works, the nonprofit green-design group that built the barge, interested enough to execute the greenhouse, a bright, open and wheelchair-accessible space, covered by glass and entered from the school’s third floor, that is essentially the Barge on a roof.

It includes a rainwater catchment system, a weather station, a sustainable air conditioner made of cardboard, a worm-composting center and solar panels. In the center of the room is a system resembling a plant-filled hot tub: an aquaponics system home to a community of tilapia, whose waste is converted into nitrate. The system loses water only when it evaporates to help cool plants, consuming only a tiny fraction of the water that a field of conventional dirt does.

“You basically can have this closed system, this symbiotic thing going on, where plants are eating food, creating waste, you’re converting it and then the plants are taking it up,” said Zak Adams, director of ecological design at BrightFarm Systems, which designed the greenhouse and the barge.

Read the full article at The New York Times.

Organic Farms Beat Industrial Farms

Researchers in California pitted industrial strawberry farming against organic strawberry farming and the winner was organic. Organic farms were better for the environment and produced noticeably better produce.

Another reason to buy organic and something that the movie Fresh predicted.

Among their findings:
-The organic strawberries had significantly higher antioxidant activity and concentrations of ascorbic acid and phenolic compounds.
-The organic strawberries had longer shelf life.
-The organic strawberries had more dry matter, or, “more strawberry in the strawberry.”
-Anonymous testers, working at times under red light so the fruit color would not bias them, found one variety of organic strawberries was sweeter, had better flavor, and once a white light was turned on, appearance. The testers judged the other two varieties to be similar.
-The researchers also found the organic soils excelled in a variety of key chemical and biological properties, including carbon sequestration, nitrogen, microbial biomass, enzyme activities, and micronutrients.

Read more at Science Daily.

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