10/31/12

The Solution is Simple: Let Nature Run its Course

October has been a busy, exciting, and hopeful month of political and cultural activity here in Berkeley. For the first time in my life I feel like I'm in the right place at the right time for something really big and important that I'm really passionate about — helping the sustainable food movement in its efforts to protect and restore the food chain and health of the nation.

Since I've been on my own, as far back as I chose my undergrad electives in physiology and Yoga and then trained in matt Pilates while attending grad school, even before that, without being fully conscious of it, I've been taking steps towards designing a sustainable and holistic wellness way of life. These past seven years have been crucial to that journey, allowing me to gain a general autodidactic education in nutrition, sustainable food, culinary traditions, holistic and preventative naturopathic medicine, herbal and Chinese medicine, and overall wellness thanks to living in a community that facilitates this kind of lifestyle, and which has shaped me into a more conscious consumer.

I live walking distance to two certified organic farmer's markets and four grocers with a vast variety of no pesticide no GMO products, local seasonal organic produce, organic grass-fed/no hormones meats and dairy, and I have to say that I feel and look better than ever. Now I understand what the phrase "beauty is a process not an event" means. I feel more energized, and best of all, I never even get a cold, unless I get out of my healthy routine or I'm in a place that doesn't facilitate clean food. I've learned through personal experimentation that a lot of health issues that humans have become accustomed to, like to getting sick every time the season changes, dealing with painful hormonal changes, or developing chronic conditions as adults, can all be prevented by having REAL (not GMO foods cultivated in polyculture healthy nutrient rich soil), NOURISHING, and NUTRITIOUS foods readily available, having knowledge about foods' ingredients and process (THAT'S WHY IT'S SO IMPORTANT TO VOTE YES ON 37 CALIFORNIANS! YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW! DON'T LET THESE CORPORATIONS WITH FINANCIAL INTERESTS DESTROY OUR HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT! DON'T BE FOOLED!), ...and living in communities that facilitate a relationship with the food producers.

Throughout my journey to this new health conscious lifestyle, however, there has been one major thing I've had to learn to control — all the stress and anxiety that comes with the responsibility of the knowledge that other not-so-conscious — sometimes very powerful and influential people — care more about making a bloody buck while knowingly affecting our common environment (the air we breathe, the water we drink and bathe in), slowly killing masses and ecosystems, than of doing the right thing. If only they at least had the courage to gracefully admit their wrong-doing and started doing things right now that the damage is well documented, but instead THEY LIE, just to get their way, to keep fooling people into buying their unhealthy products, and I can go on. But I've decided to relax after November 6 for my own well being, and just continue being a conscious consumer, keep doing what I can to do my part, and BREATHE. In the mean time, VOTE YES ON PROP 37 CALIFORNIANS!

Luckily this semester, thanks to Edible Schoolyard, I've had the great opportunity of attending a series of lectures by experts in different fields discussing an array of issues having to do with the food system and movement from a variety of perspectives: spiritual, political, psychological, social, cultural, biological... and the conversation on how we could potentially improve the system goes on.

Claire Kremen talking about the critical role of bees in the global human food supply and Colony Collapse Disorder
A few weeks ago Claire Kremen, who is recognized in her field of conservation biology for her pioneering studies of the behavior of bees and other natural pollinators, and their critical role in the human food supply, made me cry with video of her studies that show how pesticides sicken and impair bees, and how the monoculture industrial ways of farming are extinguishing them. The same way these poisons and lack of nutrients in our foods are slowly extinguishing us. But there's hope! Tonight I finally got to see the highly regarded in the sustainable food movement, organic farmer and writer Joel Salatin. Salatin runs the famed Polyface Farm in Shenandoah, Virginia, a 550 acre farm that services more than 3,000 families, 10 retail outlets, and 50 restaurants through on-farm sales using relationship marketing.

Joel Salatin about the choreography of polyculture
He beautifully choreographs the dance of a polyculture in his farm to produce the healthiest most nutrient rich soil and grass, that raise the most beautiful healthiest animals, by utilizing manure fertilizers and zero pesticides! So why aren't more farmers and ranchers working with nature rather than against it like it took human beings probably thousands of years to figure out, pass along to new generations, and preserve in the form of traditions? Salatin first said because the system of mass industrialization changed things, then he smiled and said that we became the country of Velveeta Cheese. But then began to talk a little about history, from the conquistador mentality brought from Europe by the explorers (ironically the European Union is more concern about the health of the citizens of their nation than the USDA) to the regulations and policies that militate our current system. That we need food emancipation, and that the solution is simple — LET NATURE RUN ITS COURSE.

Salatin and Pollan
All the lectures have been interesting, including congresswoman's Chellie Pingree who spoke about the Farm Bill among other interesting things, The Kitchen Sisters who talked about documenting food stories, and a couple of famed psychologists and pioneers in public health who spoke about the psychology of food, nutrition, obesity, marketing, and other interesting topics. In my free time I'm putting my thoughts together on what I've been learning on these lectures and other research to hopefully make it available to a public interested. 

And finally, on a different note, saw the news when I got home and was shocked, my wishes of prompt recuperation to New Yorkers. I read the Red Cross has a shortage of blood, so lets go donate. And, well, natural disturbances like this should remind us that we are all in this together. That we need to learn to live in harmony with one another because we each have our own role in nature. And lets remember the possible implications of our current industrial ways and consumption behaviors in climate change. Lets care for one another and our home planet earth.

Many blessings, and as usual...
Affly Yr Inda

10/19/12

Vote for the Dinner Party: 2012 Will be The Year that the Food Movement Finally Enters Politics

Hello dearest readers of my humble blog. I have so much to say. These past couple of weeks have been filled with hopeful excitement and an array of creative, cultural and political activities that I can't wait to share with all when I get the chance. While I get to it, I'll take some time to share one of my pursuits because it is time sensitive, requires the immediate action of voters in California, and it's very important.

Aside my work, class, and creative side projects, I've also been volunteering for a political effort call The Right to Know which is of top-notch importance in the United States, but that increasingly indirectly has also affected — and will continue to affect if nothing is done about it — the rest of the world. My professor and mentor Michael Pollan wrote the article I'll share bellow for the Times that gives a general explanation of the Food Movement and why the labeling of Genetically Modified Organisms California's Proposition 37 proposes is so important and simply the first step towards something much bigger than labeling — to re-modeling an unhealthy corrupt industrial food system to a healthier and more sustainable one. If you are in California, please register to vote before the deadline on Monday, if you haven't done that already, and please VOTE YES on Proposition 37! It's so important. The big corporations that use GMOs in their products without letting us know have gotten filthy rich by way of this deceit to us their consumers, and now are spending millions to defeat this proposition.  While I finish my own manuscript about the subject, go to the Right to Know website, watch this video, and/or read the article following if you want more information...

Vote for the Dinner Party: Is this the year that the food movement finally enters politics?
by Michael Pollan

One of the more interesting things we will learn on Nov. 6 is whether or not there is a “food movement” in America worthy of the name — that is, an organized force in our politics capable of demanding change in the food system. People like me throw the term around loosely, partly because we sense the gathering of such a force, and partly (to be honest) to help wish it into being by sheer dint of repetition. Clearly there is growing sentiment in favor of reforming American agriculture and interest in questions about where our food comes from and how it was produced. And certainly we can see an alternative food economy rising around us: local and organic agriculture is growing far faster than the food market as a whole. But a market and a sentiment are not quite the same thing as a political movement — something capable of frightening politicians and propelling its concerns onto the national agenda.

California’s Proposition 37, which would require that genetically modified (G.M.) foods carry a label, has the potential to do just that — to change the politics of food not just in California but nationally too. Now, there is much that’s wrong with California’s notorious initiative process: it is an awkward, usually sloppy way to make law. Yet for better or worse, it has served as a last- or first-ditch way for issues that politicians aren’t yet ready to touch — whether the tax rebellion of the 1970s (Prop 13) or medical marijuana in the 1990s (Prop 215) — to win a hearing and a vote and then go on to change the political conversation across the country. Read More >>

10/7/12

Letting Go Of Ghosts

"To move forward sometimes you have to make peace with the past,"  Bat For Lashes.

I love knowing the creative process of artists....
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