I am fed up with…

the fractured food movement. Throw a rock and you will hit someone eating locally, eating organically, gardening at home, fighting Monsanto, composting, improving kids’ lunch programs, protesting GMOs. Lots of people are passionate about “good food” and there are lots of great causes. But these efforts are fractured and thus diluted. How do we compete with the billion-dollar companies with their big budgets to green-wash and otherwise suppress the truth? How do we compete with billion-dollar lobbyists swaying our politicians and policy makers? We need unity because there is strength in numbers. We don’t need another urban garden seminar…we don’t need another opinionated blogger!!!

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I am fed up with…

the resistance to increasing the minimum wage. As if paying people $2 more is going to cause big companies to collapse under increased labor costs. You know the folks at the top of these companies are making too much money as it is. If you really want to spur the economy, help people have more disposable income. It’s not rocket science – if we want people to spend more money on products and services, make it so that they don’t have to live paycheck to paycheck.

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I am fed up with…

genetically modified anything. We are using viruses to break down the DNA of organisms to recode them. Viruses in our food! Restructuring nature! Shouldn’t we be more alarmed?

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I am fed up with…

too much sugar in just about everything. Read your list of ingredients. It’s everywhere and hard to avoid. Sugar, high fructose corn syrup and a plethora of other sweeteners. Any logical person could deduce why diabetes is raging out of control in both adults and kids.

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I am fed up with…

people who still don’t believe in climate change. How many droughts and super storms will it take for them to wake up to the fact that something is happening to our climate? Perhaps when all of our land burns up leaving us nothing to eat.

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I am fed up with…

Lorena Garcia. A so-called chef endorsing Taco Bell menu items! Enough said.

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Restaurant Review: Local Root

File my review of Local Root under “The Little Engine That Could”. This little gem in Streeterville may not be grabbing the spotlight like other supposedly “Good Food” eateries, but just you wait! Local Root is bringing a delightful menu with locally sourced ingredients to a neighborhood that desperately needs more conscious eating choices. I was very pleased to see the transformation and, really, the resurrection of that location (it previously was a dreadful deli that deserved to die!). Local farms, craft beer, gluten-free options, organic preferences, substantial wine list, pour-over coffee, small plates, brunch and lunch and dinner – you name it, the place has got it covered. And it’s delicious! The sandwiches are crafted with a good harmony of flavors…like tender beef brisket with fresh pickles. I also recommend the fries and the accompanying trio of dipping sauces. Speaking of fries, the dinner menu includes no less than 5 varieties of poutine! Behind the scenes, Local Street is a zero-waste restaurant and integrates many recycled and re-purposed elements. In other words, this place is fighting the good fight in the world of bad, industrial food and deserves to be supported. We need more Local Roots!

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Biological Farming: A Game Changer

If you don’t know who Gary Zimmer – a.k.a. The Biological Farmer – is, you should! I had the pleasure of hearing Zimmer talk alongside my uncle a few weeks in Wisconsin, and he filled me up with some game-changing ideas. He has been a champion and worldwide authority for decades on what he terms as “biological farming”. He believes, and has proven time and time again, that the key to smart, sustainable agriculture is fertile, nutrient-rich soil. It’s the next step beyond organic farming and a viable solution to feeding our world population without resorting to the dangers of Big Ag. By implementing simple things like crop rotation and better tilling processes, farmers do not have to rely on harsh fertilizers and pesticides to protect their crop. Here’s where the game changer comes in. Continue reading

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How Do We Sustain Sustainability?

sustainable
adjective
1. able to be maintained at a certain rate or level: sustainable fusion reactions.
• conserving an ecological balance by avoiding depletion of natural resources: our fundamental commitment to sustainable development.
2. able to be upheld or defended: sustainable definitions of good educational practice.

The words sustainable and sustainability are thrown around a lot these days. It’s become a “garbage can” word in which we toss all concepts related to this “ecological balance” of “natural resources”. It’s a convenient shorthand for a much larger set of complex ideas and terminologies. I am guilty of it. I typically tell people that I write a blog about food and sustainability. By some of the blank stares I get in return, I am guessing they are wondering what the hell does that mean? And it’s a valid question! With the word sustainability used so frequently and…well, carelessly, what the hell does it mean?!? Continue reading

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R.I.P. Katherine Henry

A few weeks my grandmother passed away. She was 89. My wife and I made the trek to Jackson, OH to meet up with my family and to say our good-byes. My family asked me if I would be willing to do an eulogy at her funeral. Seeing how she died before I could see her one last time, I decided to turn my eulogy into the words I would have said to her while she was still alive. In my preparation, I soon discovered that mostly all I wanted to convey to her was gratitude for all of the things she passed onto me. And it was a lot: kindness, generosity, lessons, stories, jokes, morals, principles, ethics, decency, common sense…her impression upon me was more profound than I had ever realized until I had this moment in time to reflect on her life. Continue reading

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