FOOD MYTHBUSTERS: COMING TO A CITY NEAR YOU ON FOOD DAY, OCTOBER 24TH

The myth of industrial agriculture’s importance to the international food market is exposed by the Food Mythbusters. In this great article, Anna Lappé explains the importance of non-GMO foods and also promotes the new movie Food Mythbusters! coming to a theater near you!

It’s a tired old refrain you’ve probably heard before: “Industrial agriculture is the only way to feed the world.” Even if you shop at your weekly farmers market, and love your local kale and carrots, maybe you also secretly worry: Are you cursing people to more hunger around the world for your organic proclivities?

Well, folks, the research is in. Study after study is showing the opposite is true: we can only ensure a well-fed world if we start shifting away from an agricultural system dependent on fossil fuels, mined minerals, and lots of water—all of which will only get more costly as they run out. Some of the most esteemed global institutions have documented that the best way to fight hunger—and grow food abundantly—is to go for organic and ecological production methods and get people eating whole, real food again.

So if we have scientific consensus, why don’t we have more public consciousness? You can find the answer in the marketing budgets of Big Ag. Thanks to well-funded, multi-decade communications campaigns by the very corporations profiting from chemical agriculture, many of us are still in the dark about the true costs of industrial agriculture and the true potential of sustainable agriculture.

Thanks to these efforts, we are inundated with messaging that we need their products—chemicals, fertilizer, genetically engineered seeds—to ensure the world is fed. We hear it all the time.

Read the rest of the article here.

Americans Eat Their Weight in Genetically Engineered Food

Renee Sharp has a great article on genetically modified food and the dangers of eating modified food.

Americans are eating their weight and more in genetically engineered food every year, a new Environmental Working Group analysis shows. On average, people eat an estimated 193 pounds of genetically engineered food in a 12-month period. The typical American adult weighs 179 pounds.

These figures raise a question: If you were planning on eating your body weight of anything in a year, wouldn’t you want tomake sure it was safe to eat?

Shockingly, virtually no long-term health studies have been done on consumption of genetically engineered food.

Check out the full article at the Environmental Working Group.

THE UNHAPPY TRUTH ABOUT SODA

The Real Bears

Animated Short Film Takes on Big Soda

Features Original Song by Jason Mraz, Executive Creative Director: Alex Bogusky

It wasn’t so bad when soft drinks were the occasional treat. But now sugary drinks are the number one source of calories in the American diet. With one third of America overweight and another third obese, it’s a wonder anyone is still swallowing what the soda companies are selling.

Big soda companies have billions of dollars to tell their story, but we have each other. Oh, and we have the truth. Help The Real Bears spread the truth about soda by sharing the film.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest is escalating its longstanding campaign to reduce the consumption of soda and other sugary drinks today with the release of an animated short film exposing the drinks’ unhappy health consequences.

The Real Bears tells the story of a family of polar bears who, even in their distant Arctic environment, are not immune from sunny marketing messages from Big Soda. The whole family is consuming too much soda… and is experiencing everything from weight gain to tooth decay to problems in the bedroom. Only after recuperating from a terrifying visit to Doc Fox’s chilly surgical suite does Pop Bear come to realize that soda has brought nothing but sadness to his family. In the film’s stirring dénouement, he leads his family to reclaim their health—and their happiness.

The film features an original song, Sugar, by Grammy-award winning singer-songwriter Jason Mraz which he wrote and performed with the San Diego-based rapper MC Flow.

Though consumption has declined slightly in recent years, soda and sugary drinks still are the biggest single source of calories in the American diet, accounting for about 7 percent. And while Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and other soda companies spend lavishly to position the products as sources of happiness, sugary drinks are directly linked to obesity and diabetes. Each additional sugary drink consumed per day increases the likelihood of a child becoming obese by about 60 percent. Drinking one or two sugary drinks per day increases one’s risk for type 2 diabetes by 27 percent. The Real Bears family learns—like many real American families have—that these conditions and their complications are sources of sadness, not happiness.

“Coke and Pepsi have skillfully cultivated incredibly strong emotional bonds with consumers around the world even though their products actually cause quite a bit of misery,” said CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson. “The Real Bears seeks to sever some of those bonds, and to get people thinking about what they’re drinking. We don’t have their budgets but we do have the truth. And the truth is that soda equals sadness.”

CSPI turned to advertising guru Alex Bogusky, formerly co-chairman of Crispin Porter + Bogusky, for creative direction when the group decided to produce a short film aimed at repositioning soda. Among other things, Bogusky helmed advertising campaigns for Burger King, Coke Zero, Microsoft, and the pioneering anti-tobacco Truth Campaign. Marty and Adam Butler of the Austin, TX.,-based The Butler Bros. served as executive producers and asked Helskini-based animator Lucas Zanotto to direct and design.

“I like the taste of soda and I’ve had my share and I don’t imagine a world without soda,” Bogusky said. “But the reality is that over the years sugary drinks have gone from an occasional treat to an everyday, every-occasion beverage. This project attempts to contrast the marketing hype around soda with the stark reality and it is my hope that it makes some small contribution to a critical cultural awakening. We need to begin to connect the dots between what we are sold, what we eat, and how sick we have become,” said Bogusky.

“No one’s saying you can’t have the occasional soda,” said Mraz. “But by calling attention to some hazards of sugar consumption perhaps folks will choose healthier options. I have had people close to me devastated by the effects of over-consuming sugar and soda on a daily basis over many years. I hope The Real Bears inspires people to think about what they drink and make a change for the better.”

“Anyone who ever chugged a soda should watch this film,” said Morgan Spurlock, the filmmaker behind the 2003 documentary Super Size Me.

The film is available at TheRealBears.org.

The Real Bears

Agency: Common (Boulder, CO) and The Butler Bros. (Austin, TX)
Executive Creative Director: Alex Bogusky
Executive Producers: Marty & Adam Butler
Writers: Ronny Northrop & Ryan Kutscher
Art Director: Stefanie Hermsdorf
Account Director: Mark Ekhardt
Producer: Amanda Fox
Director/Designer/Animator: Lucas Zanotto
Music: Jason Mraz
Guitar and mix: Bill Bell
Horn parts: Grooveline Horns
Offline/Online Editor: Travis Wurges
Sound Design: Nikolai von Sallwitz
Mix: Travis Wurges
Web Design: Cyrus Clemesen

WELLNESS IN THE SCHOOLS, (WITS) inspires healthy eating, environmental awareness and fitness as a way of life for kids in public schools across the country.

Through meaningful public/private partnerships with school leadership, teachers, chefs, coaches, parents and students, Wellness in the Schools creates healthier schools and families. WITS believes that healthy bodies make healthy minds, in order to shape both we provide hands-on programs like Cook for Kids, Green for Kids and Coach for Kids. These programs create healthier meals, healthier environments and opportunities for regular play and fitness activities.

DID YOU KNOW? We spend $147 billion annually on obesity related illnesses in the United States.

In partnership with local Departments of Education, Wellness in the Schools (WITS) operates the Cook for Kids program in public school cafeterias and classrooms to promote healthy eating and combat childhood obesity.
WITS invests in training culinary graduates who work as partners with cafeteria staff in preparing daily scratch-cooked meals and educating families about the importance of eating healthy food. WITS cooks also teach children and their families how to cook healthy, delicious, and affordable recipes featuring whole, unprocessed foods through our WITS Labs, a series of seasonal cooking classes.

As a member of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Chefs Move to Schools planning team, WITS realizes the importance of engaging the culinary community, and partners with local chefs and restaurants who inspire students, lead special events, and act as wellness ambassadors.

WITS Cafe
Our program within the NYC public school kitchens works to support the implementation of scratch cooking, healthier school lunch recipes and the expansion of salad bars. WITS Cooks work alongside SchoolFood staff in the kitchen, and engage students in conversation around healthy eating, encouraging them to try new foods and menu items.

Wellness Lab
The Wellness Lab is the component of the Cook for Kids program that takes place in the classroom. Interactive cooking and nutrition demonstrations are incorporated into the school day for children and in some schools supplemental classes are offered during the evening for parents. In the Wellness Lab for children, we introduce children to seasonal produce and have them prepare and taste the produce in a variety of ways: raw, roasted and in a recipe.

WITS BITS
WITS BITS are simple and short (20 minute) classroom experiences that focus on teaching children nutrition-based lessons. WITS Cooks bring demonstrations into the classroom to teach students hands-on lessons about healthy food and eating that allow them to learn by seeing, listening, and doing.

Check out what else WITS is up to on their website.

The Veggiecation Program, empowering children for the love of vegetables.

Veggiecation offers cooking classes that are educational, fun, healthy, and tasty! Cooking experiences make a positive and lasting impact and we now have the ability to bring a variety of Veggiecation activities and cooking classes to a larger spectrum of events!

Big changes start small. The beginning of your children’s lifelong healthy habits can start with a simple nibble from the veggies they will learn about, work with while preparing meals, and most importantly, have fun with!

A Perfect Healthy and Educational Activity for:

  • School Classroom Visits
  • School Assemblies
  • After-school Programs
  • Summer Camps
  • Girl Scouts
  • Boy Scouts
  • 4-H Clubs
  • Birthday Parties
  • Youth Farmer’s Markets
  • Health & Environment Fairs
  • Family Reunions
  • Community Block Parties
  • Community Picnics
  • Religious Gatherings
  • Veggiecation Parties

If you do not see anything that describes your event on the list above, do not hesitate to contact us, we will try our hardest to supply your children with a tasty and life-changing experience. Big or small, we will work with all!

Currently, we are available in all of New York City, Northeastern New Jersey, and Southwestern Connecticut. Contact us if you are interested in becoming a part of growing team of national Veggiecators!

Healthy School Food asked schools to offer plant-based entrees as a healthy option, provide nutrition education that includes information on multi-cultural and plant-based eating patterns, promote farm to school programs, and more.


Schools are the place where students go to learn, and part of what they learn about, at least in certain grades, is nutrition. While what they are taught about nutrition is influenced by the food industry, and is therefore less than ideal, it is at least far better than how most American’s are eating these days. When schools offer foods and beverages that are inconsistent with what students are being taught, the hypocrisy is not lost on students. Schools act “in loco parentis” (in place of parents) and when children pass through the front doors of a school, parents expect that their child will be cared for and protected while they are at school. The school food environment is a microcosm of the food environment in our society, and it contributes not just to obesity, but also to setting children up for heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, behavioral problems, and poor health regardless of whether the student is overweight or not.

Cool School Food in New York City and Ithaca are partnerships between the New York Coalition for Healthy School Food, the school districts, businesses and organizations to develop, test, and implement plant-based, made from scratch, international bean-based recipes in school cafeterias. The program seeks to introduce the recipes with promotional events and educational materials designed to make trying new foods and learning about their health benefits both fun and exciting. In Ithaca, Cool School Food is also a Farm to School Program, featuring locally grown, organic beans and grains grown at Cayuga Pure Organics!

Veggiecate the Nation!

Veggiecation

The Veggiecation Program is a nutrition education program that was designed to help educators easily integrate nutrition, cooking, and gardening concepts into their established academic lesson plans. A Certified Nutritionist and school food service expert, Lisa Suriano, created the program after recognizing a need to educate about and market vegetables to young children.   She sought out the expertise of a team of elementary teachers and school food chefs to develop resources that were effective and accessible to a broad range of educators.

Veggiecation lessons and materials can be used in a variety of settings: school classrooms, lunchrooms, after school programs, summer camps, hospital clinics, health fairs, personal homes and now Whole Foods Markets!

The program offers standards-based lesson suggestions, simple recipes & supporting academic materials to increase acceptance and consumption of vegetables among students.  These meaningful interventions such as tastings, classroom lessons, activities and food preparation expose students to vegetables increasing the number of daily vegetable servings consumed.

The Veggiecation Program is now active in 29 states across the nation including 100s of schools in NYC and is on a mission to “Veggiecate the Nation!”

Robyn O’Brien “The Unhealthy Truth”

A former food industry analyst, Fulbright grant recipient, author and mother of four, Robyn O’Brien brings insight and detailed analysis to her research into the impact that the global food system is having on our health.

“Robyn O’Brien inspires us in THE UNHEALTHY TRUTH with the information that she has learned about our food supply and offers practical and affordable steps to take to protect the health of our families.” –Dr. Oz       

 

Robyn O’Brien  Mar 24, 2011 – 18 min – Uploaded  by Talks You need Adobe Flash Player to watch this video. … Robyn authored “The Unhealthy Truth: How Our food .

“Meatless Monday” Who’s going Meatless Monday?

Oprah Winfrey

This Week’s Meatless Monday Featured Recipes


Join Oprah Winfrey,Sir Paul McCartney & people in 21 nations across the globe. (http://www.meatlessmonday.com)

Meatless Monday is a non-profit initiative of The Monday Campaigns, in association with the Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health. We provide the information and recipes you need to start each week with healthy, environmentally friendly meat-free alternatives. Our goal is to help you reduce your meat consumption by 15% in order to improve your personal health and the health of the planet.

Presidents Wilson, Truman and Roosevelt galvanized the nation with voluntary meatless days during both world wars. Our intention is to revitalize this American tradition. We’re spearheading a broad-based, grassroots movement that spans all borders and demographic groups. By cutting out meat once a week, we can improve our health, reduce our carbon footprint and lead the world in the race to reduce climate change.

 

Urban Educator

Story by DANIEL BEEKMAN (dbeekman@nydailynews.com)

Stephen Ritz, Uban Educator at  Bronx New Yok School talks about gardening on.

A celebrated classroom farm that yielded fresh produce and great jobs for students at a South Bronx public high school has been quietly shut down.

For two years, Discovery High School special education teacher Stephen Ritz used vertical garden plots known as “green walls” to teach science and technology.

He grew crops such as tomatoes and celery with his students, who sold some of the produce at school and donated the rest to a local food pantry. Lesson plans developed there are now used by the State University of New York.

“I’m disappointed….the kids loved it,” said Ritz, a veteran teacher, speaking out this week about the school’s termination of the Green Bronx Machine program last August. “It really took root because it cultivated minds and harvested hope.”

The city Department of Education referred questions to Discovery Principal Rolando Rivera, who failed to return repeated requests for an interview about why the program was shut down.

Ritz first began growing food with students years ago when he worked at Millennium Art Academy in Soundview. They cultivated plots at local community gardens. He created Green Bronx Machine at Discovery after meeting George Irwin of Green Living Technologies, a vertical garden manufacturer based upstate Ritz and Irwin set up green walls at Discovery, began growing veggies and developed a curriculum.

Meanwhile, students trained by Irwin through Green Bronx Machine snagged summer jobs installing green roofs. “We still get calls from all over the world to implement the program we developed in the Bronx,” he said. “We engaged students in science and math and gardening. We provided living wage jobs to young adults who society had written off. I don’t understand why the program was shut down.”

Ritz teaches troubled, low-income teenagers, but said every student who took part in the program has begun attending college or is on track to. “In the Bronx, we tend to eat not healthy,” said Discovery and Green Bronx Machine alumnus Nathali Soriano, 18, now at Monroe College. “But when you walked into our classroom, it had an organic vibe. It felt fresh. “Green Bronx Machine really put me on the right path,” said Soriano, an aspiring environmental lawyer. “It really helped me.”

The program won several awards and parents stopped by Discovery to buy fresh food. “Steve is a guy who can get people energized about healthy eating,” said state Sen. Gustavo Rivera, who attended a farmers market at Discovery. “He has proven he can get students to care about school. I hope that continues.”

Green Bronx Machine withered last August when Ritz was moved to a basement classroom and told to stop growing food at Discovery, he said. Ritz did not blame Rivera, who he said was a “tireless, dedicated” educator. But Ritz admitted he is disappointed about the fate of Green Bronx Machine and hopes to revive it elsewhere.

dbeekman@nydailynews.com