Sarasota, FL, October 2007--Someone once said that the best way to get people to try raw foods cuisine is to add raw dishes to existing restaurants. Indeed, this is how raw food is coming into Sarasota, Florida, and the approach is working well!
In the case of Chef Ryan Boeve, one of the owners of the elegant Zoria in downtown Sarasota, it was simply by chance that he discovered raw food. As a busy restaurateur with no time to take classes to expand his culinary sights, he looks at cookbooks to see how other chefs approach recipe creation. One day earlier this year, he happened to buy Raw Food Real World by Matthew Kenney and Sarma Melngailis, tried some of its recipes, and loved the way he felt. "My girlfriend is a pilates instructor and she's all for me doing this stuff," he says, while sitting at a table in the high-ceilinged Zoria.
Although he wanted to pursue eating raw foods, he found that making the recipes took more time than he had. He figured if he made raw foods part of his restaurant's menu, it would be easier. He began experimenting with specials this past summer, and found the response from customers was better than he expected. "People have had only positive things to say," Ryan says.
So he began doing more and more raw dishes for Zoria. "I'm still experimenting. It's hard, because I have to switch my whole thinking. It's a really different process," says the handsome, unassuming chef.
His approach is to make dishes that the average person can't make at home, food that's a little extra special, and nicely presented. The raw food on Zoria's menu is made with all organic ingredients, unless he can't find a specific ingredient that's organic. Zoria also offers organic and biodynamic wines.
Ryan hopes to add a variety of raw desserts to the menu by mid-November, and I look forward to it! The small plates I've sampled have been excellent. In fact, I wish those plates were bigger!
Following is the current selection of raw food small plates from Zoria's menu:
Celery Root - Cauliflower Soup, Apple-Chervil "Butter"and Shaved Black Truffles
GELLERMAN: It's Living on Earth. I'm Bruce Gellerman. In India, the benefits of modern agriculture come with a high price. It's been reported as many as 150,000 Indian farmers over the past decade have committed suicide - many by drinking the pesticides they put on their crops. According to physicist and social activist Vandana Shiva, the farmers' despair is due to the weight of overwhelming debt. They can no longer afford the escalating price of chemicals and bio-engineered seeds, like pest-resistant Bt cotton. Shiva says the suicides in India are only part of a global problem that can be traced to the way food is produced.
SHIVA: Chemical agriculture really is a theft from nature. Organic ecological farming is the only way we will be able to address the ecological crisis related to farming, the agrarian crisis emerging from industrial globalized agriculture, and the public health crisis coming from using war chemicals to produce our food.
GELLERMAN: Vandana Shiva is editor of a new book called "Manifestos on the Future of Food and Seed." Living on Earth's Steve Curwood recently spoke with her about the problems, the politics, and the possibilities of food production.
CURWOOD: How did you first become aware of the relationships between the environment, the poor, and food?
SHIVA: The connections between the environment and agriculture, and food systems, and the issues of poverty really came home to me in the 80s, particularly 1984—and I don't [know] why George Orwell picked that as the title of one of his books. It was the year we had the worst terrorism and extremism in India. Thirty thousand people were killed in Punjab where the Green Revolution had been implemented—the Green Revolution had even received a Nobel Peace Prize for creating prosperity and through prosperity creating peace. And yet in the 1980s, there was the worst form of violence you could imagine. In December of 1984, we had the worst industrial disaster in Bhopal, which killed 3,000 people in one night, 30,000 people since then, and I was forced to wake up and ask the question: why are we involved in an agriculture that is killing hundreds of thousands, that is so violent, and pretends to be feeding the world? And I started to do scientific research on this. My book "The Violence of the Green Revolution" came out of the research that I was doing at that point for the United Nations. And increasingly, I have realized that if farmers in India are getting into debt and committing suicide, it's because of these industrially driven agricultural systems that are also destroying the environment. If children are going hungry today and are being denied food, it's because the money is being spent on buying toxic chemicals and costly seeds rather than being spent on feeding children, clothing them, and sending them to school. So chemical agriculture really is a theft from nature and a theft from the poor.
CURWOOD: In your book Vandana Shiva, you mention that 800 million people in the world who suffer from malnutrition, and the 1.7 billion who suffer from obesity. What is it that the underfed and the overfed have in common?
SHIVA: Both are suffering from consequences of corporate control over the food system, which has reduced food to commodities, manipulated it, got the farmers into debt. The farmers and farmers' children who are hungry today are the ones who have to sell what they produce in order to pay back credit for buying the chemicals they use to grow the food. The majority of the hungry in the world are rural people today. They could be growing their own food if the food system hadn't been converted into a market for sales of seeds and agrichemicals. And on the other hand, the obesity epidemic and other related epidemics of diabetes--and in Delhi, childhood diabetes, children with diabetes, has jumped from seven percent to 14 percent in the city of Dehli, as the staple diet of Coca-Cola and chips starts to enter our school system--both are victims. Three billion people on this planet are being denied their right to healthy, safe, nutritious food even though the planet can produce that food, and farmers of the world can produce that food, because agribusiness has turned that food into a place for highest returns on profits.
CURWOOD: Now, anyone who goes grocery shopping here in the U.S. can tell you that organically-produced foods are .. generally more expensive than conventional foods and yet, in your book you write that conventional food is not the key to feeding the poor. Tell me about what you call the 'myth' of cheap food?
SHIVA: The myth of cheap food is related first and foremost to the fact that cheap food is a result of our tax money being used to lure the prices of food that has been produced at very high cost financially, and in the process had driven farmers off the land, including the United States—the family farms are being destroyed because of this very artificial low price of food, the monopolies that grow with it, which creates a buyers market as far as farmers are concerned. And then, at every level, a subsidy given for manipulating food more and more to take away its nutrition and food value and to add hazards and risks to it. The entire food system is today serving corporations and not serving people or the planet. We need to reclaim the food system.
CURWOOD: Now, some of the companies will tell you that genetically modified foods help increase food production, making more food available. You've been opposed to genetically modified foods since they first came on the market. What do you see wrong with genetically modified crops?
SHIVA: Well, you know the first thing is if they were so productive, Indian farmers, who are using Bt cotton, wouldn't be the worst victims of farmer suicides. One scientist keeps churning out data about how $27 million additional income--if the farmers were making that additional income, they wouldn't be ending their lives. The recent Nobel Prize in biology has gone to biologists who have shown that the determinism on which genetic engineering is based doesn't work. Genes work in very complex interactions. This is why those of us who critique genetic engineering started to critique it as a very crude and primitive technology, based on very wrong assumptions of how life organizes itself. This idea of one gene, one expression doesn't work. Because of the crudeness of the technology, industry has so far managed to bring us, commercially, only two kinds of traits. One is herbicide-tolerant crops, which means spray more ground up, contaminate your ecosystems and food systems more. And the second is Bt toxin crops, where a toxin called Bt is engineered into the plant and now every cell is making that toxin every moment. It starts to kill nontarget species, the very big study of Cornell on the monarch butterflies is one example, 1,800 sheep in India dying by eating Bt cotton is another example, (inaudible) studies that shows that genetically engineered food fed to mice starts to create huge damage physiologically, immunity systems collapse, the brains shrunk. We need much more research of this kind. Unfortunately the industry censures the research, pretends that everything is fine and starts to target the scientists, who have brought some level of awareness to society of the risks of manipulating life at the genetic level or assessing the consequences adequately.
CURWOOD: In your book you include war as one of the unaccounted for external costs of corporate agriculture. What does war have to do with the food we eat?
SHIVA: Agrichemicals that have come into farming were war chemicals. They're products of war. When 30,000 people died in Bhopal, it's because those pesticides were designed to kill people. Herbicides were designed as chemical warfare. 243D was Agent Orange of the Vietnam War. So the tools of agriculture have become the tools of warfare. Secondly, the idea of creating food dependency is also an idea of warfare. It came out of the foreign policy of the United States the very word and phrase 'use food as a weapon.' It's being used against India today in friendship. The interesting thing is that the U.S. and India are very intimate today, but the U.S.-India agreement on agriculture is trying to create dependency of India on the United States. Supplies of food, even though we're growing 74 million tons. This is warfare by another means.
CURWOOD: You want to build a new paradigm for food. What does that mean exactly?
SHIVA: I think the first element of the paradigm is that food is not a commodity. It's the very basis of life. Secondly, food production is not industrial activity. It is nurturing the land. It is conserving resources. It is giving livelihoods. It is shaping a culture. And it is much more than bringing corn and soya bean and wheat and cotton to the marketplace. We have to recognize that biodiversity is the real capital of food and farming and linked to it is cultural diversity--that we are richer to the extent we have diversified food cultures in the world. We are poorer as the biodiversity of our farms disappears and the cultural diversity of our food systems disappears.
CURWOOD: So what should the average person do in terms of a response to your call?
SHIVA: I think the average person should recognize that even though they are in cities they are connected to the land. That somewhere, somebody produced the food they're eating. And we will all be freer, if around every city are rural communities where small farmers are able to produce food of quality, make a living doing that, and there is a more intimate connection between the food people eat and the land it comes from and the producers who have made an effort to bring it. I think every city should have its own food shed. The creation of farmers' markets is a beginning. But I don't think we can leave the farmers' markers to be token symbols. We need to move the money of taxpayers from subsidizing corporations to bring us junk and poison, to bringing farmers' markets everywhere, to helping small producers everywhere connect to those who are looking for more secure food, more safe food, more tasty food, more quality food. The most important issue is to break the myth that safe, ecological, local, is a luxury only the rich can afford. This planet cannot afford the additional burden of more carbon dioxide, more nitrogen oxide, more toxins in our food. Our farmers cannot afford the economic burden of these useless toxic chemicals. And our bodies cannot afford the bombardment of these chemicals any more.
CURWOOD: Dr. Vandana Shiva is a physicist and environmental activist. Thank you so much.
SHIVA: Thank you, Steve.
GELLERMAN: Vandana Shiva is also the editor of a new book called, "Manifestos on the Future of Food and Seed." She spoke with Living on Earth Executive Producer Steve Curwood.
Fourteen million. That is the number of unsafe toys involved in major recalls during the last year. These dangerous toys have caused needless deaths and serious injuries by exposing children to risks of choking, poisoning, dismemberment, burns, and other hazards. What company is responsible for bringing the bulk of these unsafe products to American consumers? Of course, it is Wal-Mart.
The corporate greed of irresponsible companies like Wal-Mart has brought an explosion of unsafe products in the marketplace. While Wal-Mart cuts costs by shipping American jobs overseas and importing over 70% of its products from China, the American consumer pays the price: deplorable product safety and poor product quality. Now, after years of manufacturers cutting corners to reduce costs, our children are literally at risk from their own cheaply-made toys.
Nothing is more unacceptable than allowing children to be put in harm's way. So, today we are calling on Senator Byron Dorgan, chair of the Subcommittee on Interstate Commerce, Trade & Tourism, to begin hearings on toy safety, and the impact of huge retailers like Wal-Mart on manufacturers. Though we are joined by several leading parent, consumer, and environmental advocacy groups, we still need your help to win the fight to ensure safer products for America's children.
About one of every three toys bought in America is sold at Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart has long had the economic clout to improve product safety in this country by holding it's suppliers to higher safety standards. Instead, it forces its suppliers to cut costs and cut corners, reaping higher profits from unsafe products. Now, it's time to hold Wal-Mart accountable.
Make your voice heard in the Senate. Let both Washington and Bentonville know that the safety of our children comes before Wal-Mart's bottom line.
Please don't stop there, remember to forward this email to your friends, family, and coworkers. Let this message be yet another way of wishing everyone you care about a happy, joyous, and above all, safe holiday season.
Thank you for all that you do, and season's greetings,
Millions of Americans will be lining up for their annual flu shot. But should they? Could a yearly flu shot make you more susceptible to developing Alzheimer's disease? Unfortunately, the answer may be "yes."
One of the world's leading immunologists, Dr. Hugh Fudenberg, conducted studies that found that people who receive the flu vaccine yearly for three to five years increase their risk of Alzheimer's disease tenfold.
He suggests the culprits are mercury and aluminum in the vaccines, but I believe a new mechanism, which involves mercury and aluminum as well the over-activation of the brain's immune system caused by the vaccines, is to blame.
Mercury and aluminum are directly toxic to brain cells and also over-stimulate the brain's immune system. There is compelling evidence that this mechanism can trigger Alzheimer's dementia, Parkinson's disease, Lou Gehrig's disease and autism spectrum disorders, as well as Gulf War Syndrome.
The greatest risk of vaccinations triggering brain disorders is among those with impaired immunity. We know that as we age, the immune system becomes compromised, primarily because of poor nutrition.
In addition, the mercury in childhood vaccines, as well as adult vaccines such as flu vaccines, accumulates in the brain and is very difficult to remove. The idea of having yearly mercury injections is insane, to say the least, but millions still willingly line up for their annual flu shot.
Are there alternatives to vaccination? Absolutely. We know that there is a solid connection between a strong immune system and nutrition. Several studies have shown that age-related immune problems can be corrected with nutrients such as selenium, vitamins E and C, zinc and the carotenoids. In addition, vitamin D3 helps prevent over-reaction of the immune system as seen in these devastating diseases.
We've discussed a number of ways to green your eating by incorporating more local and organic foods into your diet. If you really want fresh, eco-friendly food, though, it's hard to beat growing it yourself. Whether its vegetables from a backyard garden, or herbs from a kitchen windowsill, serving food that you've grown yourself can't be beat for freshness, taste, and, of course, the pride you feel!
Your Action for Today: Choose a Spot to Start a Garden
If you're in an apartment or other living space without available land, you probably do have a balcony or patio where you can put some pots or other containers. Home owners and house renters generally have more versatility. The main feature needed: lots of sunlight. If your soil's not in the best condition, don't worry - there are ways to fix it.
Gardening takes time and effort, but the rewards are well worth it. Return to your Green Journal as you make progress with your garden, whether in choosing a location, preparing it, planting, or harvesting. And don't forget to share the recipes you use to prepare that great food!
We've covered a number of strategies you can implement to use less energy in your home. If you really want to find out what kinds of improvements you can make that will increase your house's overall efficiency, it may be time for an audit: an audit of your home's energy usage.
While many utilities offer free auditing services, if you're serious about cutting energy usage (as well as your utility bills), you'll want an audit that takes a "wholehouse" approach. Wholehouse audits look at overall energy usage, identify issues that may be increasing usage, and prioritize improvements you can make to achieve higher efficiency. The Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy division of the US Department of Energy describes the wholehouse process, and provides tips for conducting one yourself, or for hiring a contractor to complete a much more extensive one.
Over the next few days, we'll cover some actions you can take to identify and even fix some of the major energy gobblers in your home. This is a good way to start (and to learn more about your home). Hiring a professional can give you more detailed information, and help you prioritize repairs and upgrades in terms of both costs and results.
Your Action for Today: Take a Look at Some New Tools
EERE's page on home energy auditing has a series of questions to ask yourself about your current energy usage and goals (under "Formulating Your Plan"). Answer those questions to the best of your ability in your Green Journal.
We're down to the last third of 30 Days to a Greener You, and from here on out, we'll take a look at various steps you can consider to move beyond the "low-hanging fruit." Keep in mind that greening your life doesn't have to involve big investments; at the same time, we all do make larger purchases, so keeping our environmental footprint in mind when shopping for bigger-ticket items is a natural next step in greening our lives.
If you're a homeowner or house renter, keeping the yard and garden healthy takes a lot of work, and various kinds of tools, particularly power tools, help ease that work load. If you're cranking up a gas-powered lawn mower, leaf blower or rotor tiller, though, all of your efforts to green your gardening may be offset by the pollution that tool is belching into the atmosphere: according to a 2001 Swedish study, small engines such as lawnmowers may contribute up to 5% of the US' total air pollution.
Fortunately, greener alternatives are available. Reel mowers (you know: the "old-fashioned" lawn mowers) use only human power, and are a perfect tool for a small yard. If you still need some power for a bigger yard, consider an electric mower (many of which are now cordless), or even a solar-powered mower (they're still a bit pricey, but what a way to impress the neighbors - and avoid any emissions).
Your Action for Today: Take a Look at Some New Tools
While you may not currently be in the market for a lawn mower, it's good know what's available. Take a look, and record what you think might work for you (and why) in your Green Journal.
Reel mowers are likely the greenest alternative - no fuel or batteries.
Solar-powered mowers have batteries that are charged by sunlight - Appropedia tells you how to build your own!
Electric mowers require plugging in at some point, so while they don't emit pollutants themselves, they're drawing electricity that may come from a dirty power source. Overall, they're slightly better than a gas-powered model.
And a tip for organic lawn care: leave the clippings on the lawn - they don't contribute to thatch growth, and do provide organic material for your lawn.
They eat food they find in bins and are driven by conscience, not financial need. Meet the freegans.
There's no such thing as a free lunch, so the saying goes, but freegans beg to differ.
They only eat food they can scavenge for free from supermarket dustbins. Most is only just past its sell-by date, some is still within it but the packaging has been damaged.
The freegan philosophy of "ethical eating" is a reaction against a wasteful society and a way of highlighting how supermarkets dump tonnes of food every year that is still edible.
They argue capitalism and mass production exploit workers, animals and the environment. For the most extreme proponents, freeganism - the name combines free and vegan - is a total boycott of the economic system.
The "urban foragers" do not like to reveal the exact location in which they operate so as not to alert store managers to their after-hours work. In America they call it "dumpster diving" and when the shops shut, that's what they do.
Freegans Paul and Bob operate in a suburb of Manchester and have a network of bins that provided rich pickings.
For them it is a lifestyle choice. They have money and could buy food if they wanted, but as a protest against supermarket waste they choose to live a freegan life.
"There's so much waste it's just unbelievable," says Bob. "While that continues I can't see my freegan lifestyle changing."
On a night out with them, the pair delve deep into their first bin of the night to see what they can salvage. It's a good start - yoghurts, a cauliflower, eggs, mushrooms and some ready meals.
Raiding a second bin they discover it's full of bread, loaf after loaf and many of them still in date. But the haul is nothing compared to their best-ever bin raid a few months ago.
"We got 75 bottles of beer, 100 frozen chickens and all sorts of things like that," says Paul.
"We found so much food we went out and bought ourselves a big deep freeze and filled it with chickens, meat and all that."
To get from bin raid to bin raid they use a converted post office van. It's where they store all their food and also where they now live - a mobile home in the truest sense.
Not every raid delivers. One major supermarket chain has secured its bins behind fencing and barbed wire, an effective way of keeping the freegans out.
Each item raided from a bin is washed and the packing wiped over with disinfectant. Then it's opened up and cooked even if its past its sell by date. Seafood is banned if not in date but they'll give everything else a try and are rarely ill.
Many supermarkets now give their leftover food to charity and while waste has been cut, a lot of food is still thrown out. So what do they think of freegans?
"As a responsible fresh grocery retailer we cannot condone this behaviour," says a spokesman for Somerfield. "We have reduced our wastage levels by improved processes and by giving our stores the opportunity to markdown products earlier to ensure that they are sold within their use by dates."
But it's not just supermarkets who are to blame. Figures from the Waste Resources Action Programme - which works with businesses and consumers to cut waste - claim households in Britain are among the most wasteful in the world.
Each year 6.7 million tonnes of food is thrown out. Half is perfectly edible and in a lifetime its estimated that each of us wastes up to £24,000 worth of food.
It's figures like these that are the reason Paul and Bob live life the freegan way.
Here is a selection of your comments.
We were doing this 20 years ago. A major Supermarket chain used to dump food in palladins on the day that the expiry date expired. I remember one summers afternoon sitting in the garden of my North London squat eating chocolate eclairs and fresh strawberries. I was looking forward to my evening meal of fillet steak. Unfortunately, now I have appearences to keep up so I have to pay for my self-indulgence Nick, Hackney
A superb idea. I'm tempted to dive for cans of mushrooms myself. A friend of mine worked for a supermarket and was fired for eating a sandwich that was destined for the dumpster! James, Berkhamsted, UK
I can't afford to throw good food away, but I wouldn't even if I was rich. It is so easy to cook up raw food into a stew, pie or curry and have it a day or two later. Raw or cooked food can be put in the freezer so easily. Just wrap it well. Only rule there is never refreeze without cooking in between. Of course the easiest thing is don't buy too much in the first place. I do feel that someone who throws out a significant proportion of what they buy has got to be too stupid to run a household. People who do that are mad and ultimately selfish. There is only so much food in the world - while I don't recommend posting packets of mash to Drafur - you could always buy less and give the money to charity? Retailers should have to distribute any edible waste. Only disposing of fully out of date stuff. Sandy, Derby, UK
Freegans are such hypocrits. You can afford to buy the food yet choose not to, so it's thrown out, then you scrub through a bin for it. You may as well be stealing it from the shop. You're causing the waste by not buying the food in the first place. Sounds like a poor excuse for being tight fisted to me, not a protest against supermarkets. Kirsty, Leeds
Years ago I was very skint and had to eat like this to survive. I don't agree with the waste and think that homeless charities could be given more by the supermarkets earlier so the food is still edible. Also marking the food down by more than the odd 20p would encourage people to buy the nearly out of date food in the store so it doesn't end up in the bin. The supermarkets were aware that some people were scavenging from the bins when I was doing it and would purposely pour bleach or washing powder on the food to render it inedible. I hope that they feel ashamed. Naomi, Bristol
Scroungers. Why don't they go in to the store and look for the reduced items that will end up in the bin and BUY IT! Strewth everybody wants something for nothing. I bet if this lot hurt themselves whilst getting the food they'll sue the supermarkets! Ed, Cardiff
Good for you! I think this is a fair way for showing that so much food is thrown out, but hasn't gone off - I have only just taught my other half that 'Best before' doesn't mean that at the stroke of midnight the food will instantly go 'off' but that it may taste better before this date. Our society is such a 'throw away' society and needs to find out that there are other ways to recycle and save the planet, such as this (not wasting good food). Shazbhatt, Sheffield, UK
Good luck to Paul, Bob and others who follow this trend. I'm not sure Ild do it myself, but I think they are certainly proving a point that far too much good food is wasted. The only point I would like to disagree on is the term 'freegan' which has apparently been made up from the words free and vegan. As Bob and Paul will eat meat and other animal products they have foraged for, they are not vegans. 2PennyWorth, Dudley
Why would anyone not condone Freeganism? If the food is going to waste, and the Supermarkets have not arranged for it to go to a good cause - something which i understand M&S does - then, in my opinion, it's up for grabs! If Somerfield doesn't like their bins being raided, then they should get rid of unnecessary packaging, and donate left over food to charity. Hazel, edinburgh
Buying and using a huge deep-freeze big enough for 100 chickens when you don't really need to isn't particularly environmentally sound. Rachael, Cambridge
I know everyone is looking for the best way to express themselves but I prefer food from grocery stores than from neighbourhoods bins. Tom Sikorski, Bradford, West Yorkshire
You can justify it all you like. You can sugar coat it. But it's EATING FROM A BIN. Matthew MacGregor, Inverness, Scotland
I used to work in the foodhall of a department store and every night when we closed they would get all the loaves of very expensive fresh bread, all the cream cakes, buns and pastries and shove them all into bin bags ready for the bin. When I once asked if we could have any to take home, I was told 'of course, at full price'. It used to really bother me that as I left work there was always homeless people outside the store - why the company couldn't - and still don't - donate this food to charity I don't know. It is such a waste! Liz, Manchester
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