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Agriculture

Glyphosate: Why we need a clean food revolution

Pl77 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]
Liquid spraying equipment at work in a corn field, by Pl77, [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

“If it was bad for us, they wouldn’t sell it.” This was the response I got from the maintenance man when I objected to his spraying weeds with Roundup. Well actually, that isn’t true. “A number of cities, counties, states and countries throughout the world have taken steps to either restrict or ban glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer,” notes Baum Hedlund Aristei Goldman PC here in a recently updated list. The firm has links to several lawsuits brought against Monsanto by plaintiffs who claim their cancers were caused by Roundup, including the action of Edwin Hardeman, which was settled on March 27, for more than $80 million in damages.

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Dem Bones

Since we stopped hunting and gathering and turned to markets for our food and ingredients, cost-conscious cooks have depended on affordable basics to provide hearty, healthy meals for their families. Many of these items are now being appropriated and glorified by “foodies” who have “discovered” them. The gentrification of traditional foods has enhanced the plates of the few at the cost of the many.

Nearly all ethnicities have roasted, then simmered, soup bones for a stock. Used to be that you could ask a butcher for some, and he would give you a big bag, cut into perfect lengths, for free. Traditional ingredients have enabled the cook to serve a wholesome and tasty meal of soup for less than $1 per person, including the chunks of warm bread for sopping it up. Think of all the cultures that rely on soup for satisfying nutrition. With pasta, with vegetables, with grains and curries, with garnishes like parsley or green onions.

Plain bones (no attached meat) are priced at about $2 a pound in the supermarket. And if you want someone else to do the simmering, a quart box of bone broth is about $5. Shanks and oxtails are a step up from bones, with more meat and flavor, but they have become unaffordable for the cook with a large family to feed. Another of my favorite bones, or collection of bones, is one of the dishes that has not been discovered—yet. Pig’s feet are part of the German heritage on one side of my family. I think it may take some doing before they are appropriated by anyone else. Keep Reading

Plenty #14: Farming While Black

Good day to you, dear sustainable food enthusiasts! I am your host, Jason Velázquez, and I thank you for tuning in to Episode #14 of Plenty. On this week’s show, we hear from Leah Penniman, author of Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land.

Every year, Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, New York trains over 100 predominantly Black, Latinx, and Indigenous people to take leadership as farmers and food justice organizers in their communities.
Every year, Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, New York trains over 100 predominantly Black, Latinx, and Indigenous people to take leadership as farmers and food justice organizers in their communities.
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TLC #64: Hay Day — brand new old-fashioned fair in Williamstown

SOooo good to be back behind the mic. I won’t get all TL;DR here, since the show itself is an hour and a quarter (I got carried away in my enthusiasm…). I do want to provide you with the promised links to Hay Day, Rise for Climate, and Hemp—An Amazing Plant, though, so do read on.

Putting up the loose hay for winter, year unknown; photo courtesy Williamstown Historical Museum. Hay Day celebrates the town's agricultural heritage.
Putting up the loose hay for winter, year unknown; photo courtesy Williamstown Historical Museum.
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HEIRLOOM by design, at Greylock WORKS

Join us as we celebrate the Berkshires’ passion for authentic, handcrafted design and local food.
Heirloom by DESIGN - Valuing what we make and grow.

 

Join us as we celebrate the Berkshires’ passion for authentic, handcrafted design and local food.

Set in Greylock WORKS’ expansive, light-filled weave shed, this unique marketplace brings together regional artisans, curators, chefs and farmers, to delight guests of all ages and interests.

Peruse and procure quality local crafts and discover exciting new flavors with demos, talks and tastings curated by our friends at Berkshire Grown.

Apply to sell your handcrafted goods or bites! To review our vendor information and application, click here.

 

Plenty #12: HEIRLOOM by design, at Greylock WORKS

Welcome to episode number 12 of Plenty, in which we spend time with a number of folks involved in HEIRLOOM by Design at Greylock WORKS in North Adams, Massachusetts—an inaugural celebration of the handmade, hand-grown, and house crafted.

Lucy Rollins, steering committee member of the Williamstown Farmers Market in Williamstown, Mass., will be on hand at HEIRLOOM by design to talk about the organization; photo by Jason Veláquez.
Lucy Rollins, steering committee member of the Williamstown Farmers Market in Williamstown, Mass., will be on hand at HEIRLOOM by design to talk about the organization; photo by Jason Velázquez.

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Plenty #11: No-till and Urban Ag at NOFA/Mass Winter Conference

Amazing no-till results, proof-of-concept urban agriculture, and learning “tracks” available for a curated conference experience

Charcuterie techniques demonstrated during a 2015 NOFA/Mass Winter Conference session (submitted photo).
Charcuterie techniques demonstrated during a 2015 NOFA/Mass Winter Conference session (submitted photo).

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Plenty #8: Chef Power Hour — How to influence food policy

This episode of Plenty is unusual for the unique, unfiltered look it provides into one way  advocacy can result in changes to food policy. We sat in on the September “Chef Power Hour,” a monthly meeting of the minds hosted by the Chefs Collaborative and heard some thought-provoking ideas on how chefs, a set of professionals intimately concerned with food issues, can exert influence over the legislative and regulatory processes that govern the production, distribution, and preparation of our meals.

Chefs Collaborative is a national nonprofit network with a mission to inspire, educate, and celebrate chefs and food professionals building a better food system. Their most recent Chef Power Hour focused on ways to influence food policy.
Chefs Collaborative is a national nonprofit network with a mission to inspire, educate, and celebrate chefs and food professionals building a better food system. Their most recent Chef Power Hour focused on ways to influence food policy.

 

 

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The Top Left Corner #22: Greylock Mill to House Food Biz Incubator

By Beyond My Ken (Own work) GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0via Wikimedia Commons
By Beyond My Ken (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Karla Rothstein and Salvatore Perry, with Mayor Richard Alcombright, center, speak of the next steps in their plans to redevelop the former textile mill; photo courtesy iBerkshires.com
Karla Rothstein and Salvatore Perry, with Mayor Richard Alcombright, center, speak of the next steps in their plans to redevelop the former textile mill; photo courtesy iBerkshires.com

Tammy Daniels discusses the Greylock Mill event that revealed plans to create an incubator space for commercial food business. New mill owners Karla Rothstein and Salvatore Perry met with USDA representatives, Mayor Richard Alcombright, and members of local business and other organizations.

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The Top Left Corner, Episode 2, Farm CSAs, Environmental Justice

We talk with Berkshire Grown about CSAs
and The Berkshire Environmental Action Team about Environmental Justice.

6¢ City Park. Prevention of Pollution 1970
6¢ City Park. Prevention of Pollution 1970

Well, you might think, listening to this week’s episode, that something was way up with the audio on the Top Left Corner. You might think that I forgot to hook up the doll. That’s exactly what happened: I forgot to hook up the doll. Working on it. Working on it.

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Massachusetts Food System Plan to Be Discussed

 

Attendee at the 2014 Boston Food Fest, photo courtesy MAPC
Attendee at the 2014 Boston Food Fest, photo courtesy MAPC

Massachusetts developing its first comprehensive food system plan since 1974.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Athenaeum will host a forum Tuesday, Feb. 24 that will, in part, determine the future of food across the Commonwealth. As part of a series of events that began in June of 2014 the event will focus on the local food production and distribution systems that affect food security levels for individuals, families, and communities.

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