If you use social media, you have probably seen the new mini-film from Chipotle entitled ‘The Scarecrow’. If not, you should watch it now above. 

‘The Scarecrow’ – which is actually a commercial for Chipotle’s new agribusiness-fighting iPhone game – is a haunting commentary on the state of our agricultural system and it accurately depicts the troubles stemming from our dumbed-down corporate fast food machine. The mini-film references animal cruelty, secretive practices, misleading advertising (“all natural”) and more. Since Chipotle is, at its most basic level, a fast food corporation, it is refreshing to see them using their popularity to raise awareness and advocate for more sustainable and ethical food. 

Do they have a constant supply of pasture-fed meat that is humanely slaughtered? Are all of the veggies and beans in your burrito purchased from a local farmer? Not even close. But for a fast food chain like Chipotle to be conscious of their impacts (Chipotle is also aiming to be the first GMO-free chain in the US) and be working towards changing their practices is huge. The video has also started an important conversation across the country, educating Chipotle fans and critics alike. 

While a quick glance at Chipotle’s ingredients statement shows plenty of room for improvement – and a burrito at Chipotle can easily amount to 1,000 calories plus half of the recommended daily sodium intake – I think we can all get on board with the hope of feeling better about our food, especially when it’s coming from a fast food company.

Global food waste accounts for more emissions than most countries

image

It is a well-known fact that people around the world are malnourished and hungry every day. Simultaneously, food waste around the world has increased drastically.

According to a new United Nations report, this wasted food is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than any country, except the United States and China. Almost a third of the food produced for humans - 1.3 billion tons - is thrown away. This means the massive amount of farmland (much of it cleared wilderness), water, and fossil fuels put into this food are completely wasted. 

These resources, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization estimates, have a carbon footprint of 3.3 billions tons of carbon dioxide every year.

How can we help? Solutions in developed nations include decreasing portion sizes, developing organic waste alternatives like composting, and giving leftover food from restaurants to charities. For the developing world, better storage and distribution techniques are necessary.

Besides being a heavy contributor to greenhouse gases, food waste puts pressure on a system already struggling to feed the world’s population. To be more careful with our food supply today means not only helping the planet, but helping its inhabitants as well.

Food for thought - and sight.
Most articles on genetically modified foods take an extreme stance - either GMOs are going to decimate our food and health or they are the best thing to happen to food since the Agricultural Revolution itself.
This eye-opening article in the New York Times on the benefits of rice modified to produce beta carotene - a vitamin A source - is informative and thoughtful. If GMOs can improve nutritional outcomes across the world without falling to the power of big biotechnology companies, are they still the enemy that so many see them as? Or could they be lifesaving tools?

Food for thought - and sight.

Most articles on genetically modified foods take an extreme stance - either GMOs are going to decimate our food and health or they are the best thing to happen to food since the Agricultural Revolution itself.

This eye-opening article in the New York Times on the benefits of rice modified to produce beta carotene - a vitamin A source - is informative and thoughtful. If GMOs can improve nutritional outcomes across the world without falling to the power of big biotechnology companies, are they still the enemy that so many see them as? Or could they be lifesaving tools?

Here’s a friendly reminder for your weekend grocery shopping - choose organic produce whenever possible, especially from the dirty dozen.

Here’s a friendly reminder for your weekend grocery shopping - choose organic produce whenever possible, especially from the dirty dozen.

World Maker Faire New York, September 21 - 22, 2013

Early Bird tickets on sale until July 31

As meat consumption around the world increases, so do the concerns over the sustainability and efficiency of meat production. Raising livestock is extremely inefficient - think 100 grams of vegetable protein in order to raise 15 grams of meat on average - and uses up valuable agricultural land and water resources while contributing to climate change.
Dutch scientist Mark Post has been working on a new way to grow meat - in a laboratory. He has successfully grown the world’s first “test tube burger" from billions of cow stem cells. While time-consuming and expensive, Post believes the production could eventually be expedited, allowing artificial meat products to become more common.
The test tube burger will be revealed and tasted in the upcoming weeks in London. Could this be the sustainable meat of the future?

As meat consumption around the world increases, so do the concerns over the sustainability and efficiency of meat production. Raising livestock is extremely inefficient - think 100 grams of vegetable protein in order to raise 15 grams of meat on average - and uses up valuable agricultural land and water resources while contributing to climate change.

Dutch scientist Mark Post has been working on a new way to grow meat - in a laboratory. He has successfully grown the world’s first “test tube burger" from billions of cow stem cells. While time-consuming and expensive, Post believes the production could eventually be expedited, allowing artificial meat products to become more common.

The test tube burger will be revealed and tasted in the upcoming weeks in London. Could this be the sustainable meat of the future?

Every year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases their list of the twelve most pesticide-ridden fruits and veggies. Pesticides have been linked to hormone disruption in children and have carcinogenic properties. Of course, the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables far outweigth the potential risks from pesticides, but these twelve residents of your produce aisle should be bought organic whenever possible.
Apples - apples test positive for pesticides 99% of the time!
Strawberries
Grapes
Celery
Peaches
Spinach
Bell Peppers
Imported nectarines - all samples tested positive for pesticides
Cucumbers
Potatoes
Cherry Tomatoes
Hot Peppers
 

Every year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases their list of the twelve most pesticide-ridden fruits and veggies. Pesticides have been linked to hormone disruption in children and have carcinogenic properties. Of course, the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables far outweigth the potential risks from pesticides, but these twelve residents of your produce aisle should be bought organic whenever possible.

  1. Apples - apples test positive for pesticides 99% of the time!
  2. Strawberries
  3. Grapes
  4. Celery
  5. Peaches
  6. Spinach
  7. Bell Peppers
  8. Imported nectarines - all samples tested positive for pesticides
  9. Cucumbers
  10. Potatoes
  11. Cherry Tomatoes
  12. Hot Peppers

 

That’s what Ria Chhabra, a 13 year old from Texas, did. When in a debate with her parents over the value of organic products over conventional ones, she decided to scientifically prove it one was better than the other

Originally, she tested the vitamin C levels in organic fruits and compared them to conventional ones. She found that vitamin C was higher in the organic produce, and decided she wanted to study the consequences this finding could have on health. So she did what any other kid would do - research an animal model and reach out to college professors across the country to find someone interested in helping her finish the project.

One professor, Dr. Bauer at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, called her back. While “he would not normally agree to work with a middle-school student”, Dr. Bauer and Ria worked successfully to feed fruit flies different diets and test the effects of diet on their health. Ria’s work was published by the lab and then by a scientific journal. It is titled "Organically Grown Food Provides Health Benefits to Drosophila melanogaster and available online. (For the record, she proved that Drosophila fruit flies fared far better on organic bananas and potatos than conventionally grown options.)

Today at 16, Ria continues to work with Dr. Bauer, now studying Type 2 Diabetes with fruit flies. Her family and friends are confident not in only in their choice to purchase organic foods but also that Ria will have a plethora of colleges to choose from in the coming years. Not bad for a 13 year old!

Most New Yorkers are familiar with Whole Foods Market, supplier of natural and organic foods across NYC and the country. What you may not know, however, is that they are opening a new location in Gowanus, Brooklyn later in the year -  complete with rooftop greenhouse.
Whole Foods has teamed up with the local greenhouse produce organization Gotham Greens in order to build the first Whole Foods with food that will be grown and sold on site. Gotham Greens will “produce premium quality, pesticide-free produce year round” for the Gowanus location as well as other stores within the city.
Besides ensuring freshness of product, rooftop farming also uses less energy and resources for growth and transport. Instead of talking about how many miles food travels, Whole Foods is reducing their carbon footprint to footsteps! Urban farming makes productive use of highly underutilized space in crowded cities with little room for gardening or farming and is a highly sustainable and climate-friendly choice.
Would you be more inclined to purchase fruits and veggies that come right from one of your neighborhood rooftops? Is urban farming the farming of the future?

Most New Yorkers are familiar with Whole Foods Market, supplier of natural and organic foods across NYC and the country. What you may not know, however, is that they are opening a new location in Gowanus, Brooklyn later in the year -  complete with rooftop greenhouse.

Whole Foods has teamed up with the local greenhouse produce organization Gotham Greens in order to build the first Whole Foods with food that will be grown and sold on site. Gotham Greens will “produce premium quality, pesticide-free produce year round” for the Gowanus location as well as other stores within the city.

Besides ensuring freshness of product, rooftop farming also uses less energy and resources for growth and transport. Instead of talking about how many miles food travels, Whole Foods is reducing their carbon footprint to footsteps! Urban farming makes productive use of highly underutilized space in crowded cities with little room for gardening or farming and is a highly sustainable and climate-friendly choice.

Would you be more inclined to purchase fruits and veggies that come right from one of your neighborhood rooftops? Is urban farming the farming of the future?

(Source: media.wholefoodsmarket.com)