Tag Archives: seasonal

The billion dollar growth of local food at the 2012 Seedstock Sustainable Agriculture Conference

Local food is an $8 billion industry and growing rapidly every year. But all that success has brought a series of problems, mostly because the food industry is not set-up for sustainable agriculture. Which means focusing as much on the land as on the food, with such ideas as organic, seasonal, free range, grass-fed, non-GMO, and more.

The 2012 Seedstock Conference discussed those problems and successes with a diverse crowd including venture capitalists and tomato farmers, and talks covering an interesting range of topics:

  • Scaling sustainable agriculture
  • Urban farming
  • Buyers perspective
  • Digital technology
  • Investment in sustainable agriculture
  • Agripreneur Fast Pitch Competition

Each talk contained the right assortment of experts and business owners. I was particularly impressed with the buyers perspective panel where representatives from Whole Foods and Fresh Point discussed getting local foods into stores and hospitals and hotels. It was a lot more about logistics, getting food into boxes and keeping things refrigerated, than I thought it would be. They said this is mostly due to the informal nature at farmers markets - cash and plastic bags – where these farmers operate.

And often the best part of these sustainable conferences is the food. Jason Reed, the founder of Seedstock, filled the breakfast, lunch, and networking receptions with superb fare. The coffee was from local favorite Groundworks and the lunch from Chef Erik Oberholtzer, cofounder of Tender Greens, was amazing. I don’t usually eat exotic grains like quinoa, but combined with local and seasonal vegetables and with a mint lemonade drink – I enjoyed it.

It was a premier conference with sophisticated people and I look forward to the next event from Seedstock.

 

Finding the best food – what do they really mean, organic, GMO, and seasonal?

There is a lot of confusion about healthy, high-quality food. Does organic mean high-quality? What does genetically modified (GMO) mean? What about fruits and vegetables in supermarkets?

The explanation starts with organic food. This is a farming method that focuses on the land, not food. Organic farming started in opposition to the use of chemical sprays, petroleum-based fertilizers and other harmful substances. That opposition continues to this day and is having a great impact on our land, waterways, and the health of farmers.

When it comes to food the great value is not in nutrition but avoiding health problems. Those with allergies have a hard time with the pesticides, bleaches, and other toxics used. Parents love it because they are concerned for their children’s health. Janitors love it because they get to use non-toxic cleaning supplies. I could go on and on, and this is what makes organic healthy, but it doesn’t mean much for nutritional value.

What does is the seed used to grow the fruits and vegetables. GMO seeds are modified to be low in nutrition. A great benefit for supermarkets because it allows food to stay on the shelf longer, look ripe earlier, and grow quicker. Not such a great benefit for us.

The opposite type of seed is an heirloom, which is used for high nutritional content. Some offer better flavor, others juicy cores, but all focus on the same thing – high quality. The side effect is that supermarkets won’t carry them because they don’t last as long as GMO.

Farmers markets do carry them, and are one of the few places to find them. These markets offer exceptional fruits and vegetables and are the best places to shop, hands down. Not only do they sell heirloom foods, but also seasonal items. Seasonal means grown with the right weather and harvested at their peak. It makes them amazing, gushing with juices, incredible flavors, and the most nutrient-dense food possible.

Seasonal organic heirloom fruits and vegetables are the kings and queens of the food world. They avoid the toxics found in non-organic foods and are not genetically modified to be low in nutrition, like GMO’s. This may sound like a lot to learn, but you can skip all that by switching over to farmers markets. Once there it’s not hard to find seasonal organic heirloom foods, they will be everywhere!

Good luck with your eating adventures.

 

Continue reading

How Farmers Markets can give you a superior workout

Ok, you’re probably starting to think I’m crazy. First, I suggest you buy all your food at farmers markets. Then, I tell you it will improve your health and start talking about getting to know your baker and making winter stores. Now, I’m going to make the argument that it will give you a superior edge in your workouts.

The explanation is pretty simple. Most of us workout once-a-day (if that) while we eat three times-a-day. This means food has a greater impact on our bodies than any individual workout does. Or, put another way, a workout breaks down the muscles in the body and recovery requires high-quality food to rebuild.

Right now, the popular advice is to eat protein bars and protein shakes, hearty meals of protein and vegetables, and energy drinks with electrolytes and vitamins. None of which is based on a solid foundation of science or nutrition. It’s all marketing.

Let me repeat that, none of the health claims coming from these food manufacturers are true. Hard to believe, I know, but the following explanation, from the Harvard School of Public Health, will help out.

On protein:

Surprisingly little is known about protein and health. The Institute of Medicine recommends that adults get a minimum of…about 8 grams of protein for every 20 pounds of body weight. Beyond that, there’s relatively little solid information on the ideal amount of protein in the diet, a healthy target for calories contributed by protein, or the best kinds of protein.

Harvard, a trusted name in medicine, is basically saying they have no idea. So how do food companies know the right amount? Aren’t we buying these products because of their health claims?

If you read the rest of the Harvard article it actually lays out the answers for you. Protein is a general term referring to the 20+ amino acids that our bodies need. These “building blocks” are found in all foods, with some containing more than others. Meats tend to contain all of them, a “complete package”, while beans, fruits, and vegetables contain varying amounts.

It goes on to recommend that we eat a diverse diet of high quality foods, while making sure to not over-indulge on meat. In this way, you guarantee yourself a diverse source for the 20 amino acids, as well as other nutrients and vitamins.

Which brings us back to that superior edge you can get in your workouts. If you can find high quality food and eat that three times-a-day then you will maximize the growth, health, and weight loss your body can attain from working out.

What is high quality food? It’s grass-fed beef, sustainable seafood, free-range chicken and pork. Vegetables and fruits that are ripe and in peak season form. Bread made from heirloom grains. Cheese and milk from grass-fed cows.

All things you will find at a farmers market. No need to read labels or learn about the differences among organic/local/grass-fed. Just visit your local market, build a relationship with the farmers there, and start making your post-workout meals from the food you buy.

I promise you will notice a marked increase in energy, weight loss, muscle gain, stamina, and more. You will be eating the finest food money can buy and sometimes you may even see restaurant chefs buying at the market too. They will be from those high-end restaurants searching out the highest quality food with you. There is a reason they are shopping there and when you start eating the food you will soon see why.

 

Continue reading

How zero waste, local food, and sustainable transport are a part of the London 2012 Olympics

Pulled from the London 2012 Olympics Sustainability report (pdf):

 

If everyone lived as we do in the UK we would need three planets.

Our unsustainable lifestyles have meant that for the last 30 years we have been ‘eating into the Earth’s capital’ rather than ‘living off its interest’.

The promotion of sustainable development has become one of the fundamental objectives of the Olympic Movement…through its Agenda 21– Sport for Sustainable Development.

London 2012, WWF and BioRegional have developed the concept of a One Planet Olympics.

Staging a One Planet Olympics in London would help achieve the first sustainable Games. Sustainability has been at the heart of the London 2012 Bid and Masterplan.

 

The principles, goals, and legacy of the One Planet Olympics:

 

Zero Waste

Developing closed resource loops. Reducing the amounts of waste produced, then reclaiming, recycling and recovering

Goals

  • No Games waste direct to landfill – all treated as a resource
  • Zero waste target a pivotal procurement driver
  • Closed-loop waste management at all venues
  • Public information campaign to promote high quality front-of-house waste separation

Legacy

  • Zero waste policies extend across East London based on high recycling rates and residual waste converted to compost and renewable energy
  • Increased market for recycled products
  • Closed-loop waste management to be standard practice for major sports events

 

Local and Sustainable Food

Supporting consumption of local, seasonal and organic produce, with reduced amount of animal protein and packaging

Goals

  • Promotion of local, seasonal, healthy and organic produce
  • Promotion of links between healthy eating, sport and wellbeing
  • Partnerships established with key caterers, suppliers and sponsors
  • Composting of food waste as part of Zero Waste plan

Legacy

  • Increased markets for farmers in the region
  • Markets, catering and retail outlets supplying local and seasonal food
  • Composting facilities integrated into closed-loop food strategy

 

Sustainable Transport

Reducing the need to travel and providing sustainable alternatives to private car use

Goals

  • All spectators travelling by public transport, walking or cycling to venues
  • Low/no emission Olympic vehicle fleet
  • Olympic Park Low Emission Zone
  • Carbon offset programme for international travel
  • Individualised travel plans as part of integrated ticketing process

Legacy

  • Increased connectivity across and between legacy developments and neighbouring communities
  • Reduced car dependency
  • Car free events policy adopted for other major events
  • Greater market for zero carbon transport

 

 

Continue reading

2011 Mandzik-Senger Christmas Farm Spectacular

A German Christmas Eve

  • Bratwurst Sausage
  • Blaukraut (sauerkraut with red cabbage)
  • Bundt cake (“bundt” is derived from the German Bundkuchen)

The City Diner Breakfast

  • Coffee
  • Eggs with Potatoes
  • Flapjacks
  • Breakfast sausage or bacon
  • Butter (regular for me, soy butter for everybody else)
  • Maple Syrup with Cinnamon
  • Sliced Apples

Chesapeake Christmas Dinner

  • Fish with Brussels sprouts
  • Cauliflower Soup
  • Salad (greens, apples/pears, nuts, feta)
  • Bundt Cake