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Archives: March 2011
This is a blog series that follows the UW Farm Spring lunch seminar on Food and Justice. While these posts are targeted to students in this class, everyone is invited to view the material and reply to posts. You can view the course webpage here.
If you missed the first day, we went through a short slideshow to introduce the UW Farm and some background on food justice.
Our first reading for next week is “The Color of Food,” published by the racial justice think tank Applied Research Center. The introduction section provides a helpful overview of the food justice movement and statistics, as well as some sidebars that explain movements and solutions-oriented organizations. The report also provides a number of compelling graphics that can help the reader visualize disparities in our food system, from farm to table. Do any of the statistics in the report surprise you? How do these facts help you understand the bigger picture of food injustices in the U.S.?
Our second reading is an article titled “Racism, Farmworkers, and Family Farmers”, published by the not-for-profit World Hunger Year (WHY) organization. In class on Tuesday, many people mentioned that they’d like to better understand some of the root causes of food injustice in our society. Continue reading
Hello! Spring and the growing season are upon us! This is a great time to get involved with the farm, and spend some time working outside in the sun (or rain). I am going to be at the farm this … Continue reading
UW Farmer Joel writes about his journey from the moist and dim Western Cascade growing region into the arid and sunbeaten foodscapes of the Southern borderlands. Will he make it? Only with the help of cactus fruit, chiltepine and a summer monsoon season…
Since last June Joel has been in coastal San Diego, working to restore crucial estuaries and experimenting with legumes in the erosive, nutrient-poor soil, while taking the occasional trip over the mountains to visit the food palette of the Sonoran Desert. And he misses you guys!
The Mexican banda music sent us through the desert with the deep tremor of tuba and the accordion’s soulful moaning. With the mountains behind us we were about to cross the Rio Colorado – the river of Red. It was a harsh cry from the waterways where Joe (a UW Farmer) and I met in the UW greenhouse at a Dirty Dozen meeting, but now we were both back in the Southwest and ready to explore food in a new light.
Think Global, Act Local is a tough mantra to maintain when your mentors and best friends are 1,000 miles away. As one takes the train south from the Cascades through the Central Valley of California, the landscape slowly becomes more arid and sunbeaten. Offerings of wild foods that foragers relish and elements that farmers depend on change, and they implore their local eaters to change with them. Joe had decided to fulfill that request by taking me to meet his family in the border town of Nogales, Arizona. Continue reading
From now on, be very careful about how you use the term Urban Homestead®. Yep, that’s a trademark symbol, registered in October 2010 with the United States Patent and Trademark Office by the Dervaes family, of the Dervaes Institute. Along with Urban Homestead®, there are a number of other phrases that the family has trademarked, including Urban Homesteading®, Path to Freedom®, Grow the Future®, Homegrown Revolution®, Freedom Gardens®, and Little Homestead in the City®.
Not only has the family trademarked these terms, but they’ve taken the added, aggressive tactic of sending “cease and desist” letters to 16 organizations and businesses. It would be one thing if the letters targeted actual intellectual copyright infringement, but they seem to be directed towards anyone using the term, which has been in documented use since at the 1970′s. A quick google books search brings up a number of published works that used the term long before the Dervaes family laid claim to it. Continue reading
This last weekend, amidst the rain, the wind and the lingering chill of winter, the UW Farm explored the streets of Seattle on the first UW Farm Tour de Urban Goats. UW farmer and Green Team leader Rachel Stubbs met some urban goat farmers while volunteering in a local elementary school and she arranged for UW farmers to visit their goats and learn all about raising goats in a city. We made three stops: one in Wallingford, one in Northgate and one in Sandpoint. I was thoroughly surprised that many Seattle citizens raise goats in their backyards and how easy they made it seem. Continue reading
This is a post written by guest blogger Lauren Montgomery, a beekeeper who keeps up with the latest information about the bee crisis at the urban bee project blog.
If you are a honeybee in the United States, there is a roughly 86% chance you would live in a commercial operation. This means you would be managed like a commodity for the pollination of crops, and secondarily for honey production. Your colony would be one of hundreds of thousands trucked around the country on semi-trailers following the blooms of mono-cropped agricultural commodities. Your honey would be taken from you and you would probably be fed high fructose corn syrup. Your queen would be replaced every year, or else your entire colony would be killed each year and replaced. The new queen would be a highly inbred individual, with relatively low vitality and your entire colony would be thrown into chaos in the effort to accept her. The frames within your hive would contain either contaminated wax, or else plastic, on which you are expected to live, work, raise brood and thrive. Chemical treatments would be added routinely to your home for disease control, many of which are toxic to you. It would be a tough life.
These commercial management practices are just one of many factors contributing to the decline of honey bee populations worldwide. However, they are an entry point to change that each one of us can effect. Continue reading
Want to get involved, but aren’t sure about long-time commitment? We need extra help in the next two weeks, and are looking for volunteers. We have divided tasks and interests into different committees to get thing done efficiently – volunteer to be a part of one!
This is a list of each of them, what they do, and who to contact to get involved.
This committee will focus on the mechanics behind transforming the fallow land at the CUH space into a terrain for growing food. It will focus on answering these questions:
1. How will we break our ground?
2. Where will we get the necessary tools?
3. How will we organize work parties?
If these things are interesting to you please contact Rachel Stubbs at: email@example.com before Tuesday afternoon on the 15th so she can organize a doodle poll to get the ball rolling on research!
Crop Planning and Finance Committee
This committee will focus on the intersections of crop planning/rotations and finance/agricultural economics. It will focus on answering these questions: Continue reading
I was introduced to Theo Chocolate over a year ago by a roommate of a friend, a real charmer with refined chocolate tastes and a hefty snack budget funded by his parent’s credit card. He was infatuated with Theo and I have since adapted a similar infatuation.
Theo is the only USDA certified organic and fair-trade certified chocolate company in the United States and they do all of their own chocolate processing on-site in Seattle. All of these phenomenal attributes are what contribute to Theo chocolate being the best, and more expensive than your standard sugar laden “chocolate” bar at the checkout stand. There is almost always a Theo bar stashed away in my room for chocolate emergencies and I pick up every new flavor as soon as I see it on the shelves.
Theo is also one of only two chocolate factories in the United States that gives tours to the public, and these $6 tours are well worth it. I am very tempted to spoil every minute of the tour by telling you about every fabulous stop in detail, but that would almost ruin it. Especially because in the factory you learn about chocolate while its intoxicating smell wafts around you. I am willing to Continue reading
Hello Lovely farmers, I hope this email finds you all well. I am writing to let you all know about the wonderful opportunity for student activist group collaboration going on right now! If you didn’t know already, over the past … Continue reading