Saturday, April 16, 2011

Scented Soy Candles

I like to pass on info on products that actually follow the mantra “reduce, reuse, recycle”.

This candle is made using  a natural organic candle 'wax' produced from Soy Beans which does not produce toxins. The company claims the essential oils used in soy candles can alter your health and mood, only you can decide if this actually works.

I found many several pleasing fragrances that can last from only a few hours or up to an entire day.

Disclaimer: This is NOT a paid for advertisement for this company. I do not receive any money or gifts in exchange for anything I write on this blog.

Choose Vegetarian Billboard

Mercy For Animals (MFA) has launched a billboard campaign in Las Vegas urging residents to adopt a vegetarian diet. The ads feature precious baby animals and read, "Why love one but eat the other? Choose Vegetarian.”

13 of 27 EU states say NO to GM foods

The long term effects of genetically modified foods on the human body have not yet been proven good or bad. Due to a lack of clearly demonstrable benefit from growing genetically altered crops, half of all European Union states are against growing it.

It seems odd to me that the other half have not given any opinion at all. Does this show their willingness to just follow whatever edict is laid out by the commission without question? They need to take a stand, if for nothing else than to force the findings on the effects of GM crops on humans.

The European Commission is being pressured by American GM producers such as Monsanto into opening up the European market for their product who say that European bans on such products are illegal as they breach global trade rules.

Once again the ‘ugly American’ bully is trying to force its way onto the world market.

In my opinion, if farmers are conscientious enough to not grow GM crops then they should not be forced to. Especially in light of the fact that there is no solid proof that it provides any benefit other than to American companies profit line.

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On a side note, in America, 60 certified organic farmers from around the country filed a lawsuit last week against the world’s largest genetically modified (GMO) seed maker and agribusiness, Monsanto. The organic plaintiffs, including Seedkeepers, LLC of Santa Barbara, were forced to take legal action to prevent future accusations of infringing on Monsanto’s seed patents.

Let's wish them luck in their pursuit to stop big agribusiness from forcing their products on farmers everywhere.


Friday, April 15, 2011

Slow Food University

Think Slow Food is just a fad? Well, you may be wrong.

There’s a university just for you called the University of Gastronomic Sciences.

The nonprofit Slow Food organization founded the university in 2004. Located in Bra, a city in northern Italy, the University of Gastronomic Sciences offers undergraduate and masters degrees for students passionate about food. Their offerings:
  • Three-year Undergraduate Degree – gastronomic Sciences
  • Tow-year Graduate Degree – Gastronomy and Food Communications
  • One-year Masters Degree – Food Culture and Communications
  • One-year Masters Degree – Italian Gastronomy and Tourism

The university’s mission is to further the Slow Food movement’s core principles. From renewing farming traditions to preserving historically significant food products, the university focuses on training a new generation of concerned food consumers. Offering courses like ethnobotany, travel and food photography, and the history of agriculture, the university offers students a truly unique educational experience.

You can learn the history and origins of food, the place and the people from which it comes, and the impact it has on the planet. They cover topics like how food is grown, transported, processed, cooked, and eaten.

The university teaches experts in high quality food to become food ambassadors to the world. “Educators and innovators, editors and multimedia broadcasters, marketers of fine products, and managers of consortia, business, and tourism companies”—gastronomes apply what they learned at the university to transform the food world.

Sorry, no online courses.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Future of Factory Farming?

AP/Peter Dejong
I found an article describing indoor ‘farms’ providing meticulously controlled light, temperature, humidity, air quality and nutrition. The ideal would go a long way towards providing food for all those millions of people who simply don’t have access to healthy land that can be used for growing crops. The image of barren Africa comes immediately to mind.

Growing the ‘perfect crop field’ in an urban high-rise, an underground bunker, or a sprawling complex in the desert is not a new idea. Architectural designs for high-rise buildings that incorporate greenhouses have been around for years.

The argument in favor of such a major shift in traditional farming practices - besides the obvious one of feeding more people – would be to control food prices, weather fluctuations and energy costs.

Another very favorable result from this scheme could eliminate the destruction of forests and wilderness typically cleared to make room for expanding farmland.

Advocates say a building of 100 sq meters (1,075 sq. feet) and 14 layers of plants could provide a daily diet of 200 grams (7 ounces) of fresh fruit and vegetables to about 140,000 people. Their idea is not to grow foods that require much space, like corn or potatoes.

There’s an aspect of nature that is taken out of the equation that I find disturbing. Insects. Birds. Reptiles. Microbial activity. I can’t help think that mankind’s zeal in creating such a controlled system will likely be fraught with unforeseeable problems. I truly hope it works but excluding this major part of nature cannot be good.

This is a manmade utopia that every farmer wishes our natural planet could one day provide again. Since we humans have fouled our air and water so badly, this is probably an inevitable next step. Hopefully we have learned enough to not spoil this utopia too.