Politics and the Dinner Table

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Tonight I had the wonderful pleasure to hear Navina Khanna (Director, HEAL Food Alliance; Plate of the Union), Nina F. Ichikawa (Policy Director, Berkeley Food Institute),
Michael Dimock (President, Roots of Change), and Anna Lappé (author and founder of Real Food Media) on an incredible panel discussing the future of food and food policy under the new administration.

In general all expressed concern about the significant cutbacks on the farm bill (under which the SNAP Program gets funded – SNAP offers nutrition assistance to millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families and provides economic benefits to communities), public school lunch programs, the future of farm workers, in edition to a litany of other causes and legislations. Although the systematic reversal of progress made under the Obama administration would take years to undo the situation is dire.

-Divya Pahwa


What’s gone wrong with food?

Here’s a simplistic analysis of the current food system: conventional farming and mono-culture organic farming produces fruits, vegetables, and grains that lack the complex flavour of fruits and vegetables. Not to mention depleting our soil. Consequently, they’re also lacking in their nutrient profile. The food that comes out of this system is anemic and malnourished in turn leaving the people that eat it malnourished.

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Rates of obesity and chronic disease are on the rise and we’re becoming more aware of diet related illnesses. Something is wrong with our food system.

-Divya Pahwa


Farmers Market

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At last! Made my way to the “Heart of the City Farmers Market” in San Francisco. One of sf’s many farmers markets. Beautiful day and fresh produce. Tried my first pink cherry tomato and picked up some summer squash.

Fittingly, last evening I had the opportunity of watching “Unbroken Ground” a documentary film that’s part of Patagonia’s new venture to sell high quality and responsible food. It explored the role of food in the environmental crisis. They profiled three farmers – a grain farmer using perennial plants (diversified grain practises) to replenish soil, a former cattle farmer that switched to raising bison (they don’t eat grass to the ground and that’s better for the soil), and a sustainable salmon farmer.

Overall the movie has a good message – however, I was sorely disappointed by the people the filmmakers choose to interview: all white dudes. Women were given few and insignificant speaking parts, and there was one person of colour who was given 30 seconds of air time. Many of the people that were interviewed constantly referenced using indigenous farming practices – I kept waiting for them to interview an indigenous farmer. Nothing.

Today at the farmers market I had the pleasure of meeting a few hispanic, Chinese, and black farmers. Many of them using sustainable farming practises. It wasn’t that hard.


Nourishing recipes

 

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Been spending evenings indulging my love for cooking, finding nourishing recipes in cookbooks from the library, and sourcing fresh ingredients. I have yet to visit the farmer’s market in SF but I am over the moon excited for that first trip.

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Also found Nina Planck’s cookbook. Nina’s first book “Real Food” is what inspired my love of sourcing out good ingredients.

Also, can’t help but notice the subtle changes in the ingredient decks in the USA. I am dismayed by the number of “food” products in the USA with HFCS and corn syrup. Canadian Heinz does not have hfcs or corn syrup.