20 November 2008

Apologies and a Week's Roundup

If it wasn't obvious before, I have clearly given up on NaBloPoMo. I never meant to neglect this blog for over a week. Not that I assume the presence of hundreds of eager readers, but I know at least my mother is checking in (and Paula too!), and I hate to leave my reader(s) disappointed. An avid blog follower myself, I know the pang of disappointment when a favorite blog has not been updated for several days. It is certainly not for lack of blog fodder, all sorts of great articles have been presenting themselves as blogworthy, and I cook everyday. My sleeping disease, however, has gotten the best of me. I am always tired, and it is a bit of a struggle just staying awake long enough to plan lessons and read the tiniest amount for my seminars. But excuses aside -- I'm back and I promise to make a better effort! Of course, if you find my blog stale and lacking updates, don't forget my fantastic links!
So what has been the buzz in the eco food world? Well, there's too much to mention here, but I will provide a few necessary links. On November 13th, the New York Times reported on a motion passed by the European Union to lift a ban that prevented supermarkets from selling irregularly shaped and sized produce. Sadly, the ban does not apply to all fruits and vegetables, but it is a beginning. An absolutely beautiful, moving and informative documentary by Agn├Ęs Varda from 2000, "Les Glaneurs et la glaneuse" ("The Gleaners and I"), addresses the topic of such irregular and rejected fruits and vegetables and the gleaners who live off of them. When I have more time (?), I want to investigate the existence of gleaners in America, because if there are not gleaners, or if there are laws preventing impoverished, hungry people from benefitting from the tons of perfectly edible and nutritious produce being rejected by spoiled, western, capitalist consumers, I have issue. I know there are freegans, but I do not know enough about the presence of gleaners.
Moving on. On the 16th Mark Bittman wrote a revealing article about seafood in the New York Times. He discusses the future of fish in light of over-fishing and wasteful fish-farming practices. Particularly alarming is a discussion of the waste of smaller fish such as herring, mackeral, anchovies and sardines:
"But the biggest consumers of these smaller fish are the agriculture and aquaculture industries. Nearly one-third of the world’s wild-caught fish are reduced to fish meal and fed to farmed fish and cattle and pigs. Aquaculture alone consumes an estimated 53 percent of the world’s fish meal and 87 percent of its fish oil. (To make matters worse, as much as a quarter of the total wild catch is thrown back — dead — as “bycatch.”)"
These ineffient aquaculture practices mirror the worst of poor land agricultural practices (of which there are many!). But there is hope. With some thoughtful fish consuming and the implementation of sustainable acquaculture practices, fish populations could be replenished.
And last, but certainly not least, and certainly not really the last of worthwhile articles concering the environment and food, on the 17th the New York Times had yet another piece worth mention concerning the precesence of melamine. (And if there was ever doubt concerning my addiction to the New York Times, I assume you are all now perfectly confident in this undeniable fact. And I ask you not to interfere. I am rather attached to this addiction along with a handful of other addictions which seem to define me, including my love of all things melancholy, my need to worry excessively, and a habit of taking a psychotic amount of pictures of my cats.) This disturbing op-ed discussed the presence of melamine in the American food supply, forcing the consumer to stop casting all stones at China, since America too has a bit of a melamine problem. News like this only supports my belief in turning to local sources of food, getting to know regional farms and small businesses, and informing ourselves about how our food was raised/grown and brought to our tables. For far too long, we have turned a blind eye to food production and shoved into our bodies whatever was sitting on the shelf in all of its packaged, overly-processed, low-priced glory.

1 comment:

  1. I was horrified by the Melamine article. It really sent a chill down my spine. I think I need to write about it too. The Organic fish standards that were defined yesterday are really terrible too.

    I share your melancholy!!