Friday, December 29, 2006

Cloning Okay'd? Where is a Conversation about Technology When You Need It?

For a 2007 New Year's resolution, our friends at WorldChanging asked me to join the collective fray with my two cents about "What's Next" in 2007 in 500 words or less. How to choose? I took a stab at it here, little did I know that the FDA would make my point for me the day after I wrote it. With their thumbs up of cloned meat for consumption, the FDA has bypassed yet again public engagement in making a decision that will affect us all. Read this take from the BBC: "US food authorities say food from cloned animals is safe to eat, paving the way for its eventual sale in shops." Andrew Pollack at The New York Times writes about it here: "F.D.A. Says Food From Cloned Animals Is Safe." --Anna

Image from NYT: Bob Schauf, with two of his cloned cows in Barron, Wis. Mr. Schauf said his family has been drinking the milk from cloned animals.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Converging for Media Reform

As many of you reading this blog know, the cause of media reform is close to my heart. I believe it's as important to be critical consumers of the food we eat as it is to be critical consumers of the media we consume. And the trends in the food industry -- the concentration of power in fewer in fewer hands -- is mirrored in the trends of a media industry in which just six corporations control most of what we see, hear, and read. Want to learn more about what people around the world are doing to infuse democracy back into the media? Head to Bryant's hometown of Memphis this January to attend the National Conference for Media Reform. (This week, get a special $75 rate for the conference if you're a MoveOn member). Wish I could be there myself... --Anna

Revolutionizing the Lunchroom!

Throughout 2006, I've been meeting amazing folks that are part of the growing national effort to totally transform school lunches from the dismal, dubiously healthful fare that's unfortunately become commonplace to something that looks more and more like food kids would want to eat -- and would be good for them. Check out this great new resource for transforming school lunch: The School Community Food Assessment School Wellness support tool available for free here. To get inspired, read Chef Ann Cooper's latest Lunch Lessons and my interview with her for The Nation here. --Anna

Environmental Commons Releases Fact Sheets on Local Food

I wanted to let everyone know about a great new resource from Environmental Commons> Educational fact sheets about why local control of our food is so important. Produced by family friend and colleague Britt Bailey, these fact sheets help explain why it's so vital to protect local control over our food system. In the face of recent attempts to preempt local GMO bans, federal subsidies that support agribusiness over farmer wellbeing and local food access, and trade agreements that
threaten to take away country's ability to protect its citizens, these fact sheets are particularly important. Download them for free! --Anna

Monday, December 18, 2006


Thanks to everyone who helped make our fifth anniversary of the Small Planet Fund such a great success. You can see images from the party here and on flickr, too. We will post news about the final amount we raised shortly. In the meantime, there is still time to make a tax-deductible donation before the end of the year! --Anna

Vandana Shiva and Frances Moore Lappe at the Fifth Annual Small Planet Fund party.

Who Owns What? Organic Industry Charts Updated

If you've gotten your hands on a copy of Grub, you'll be familiar with the graphic we included based on Phil Howard's research on who owns what in organics. Well, the gobbling up of companies continues and you can find the latest here. --Anna

Friday, December 15, 2006

Gates Foundation Announces New Green Revolution in Africa -- and Appoints a Former Monsanto Exec to Its Ag Program Area

We've been following with interest the Gates Foundation's recent announcements about launching a new "green revolution" in Africa in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation. For background about the history of American philanthropy and the original "green revolution" see Mark Dowie's excellent (but boring-ly titled) American Foundations. For a comprehensive critique of the "green revolution" see backgrounder papers at Food First and at Vandana Shiva's Navdanya Foundation. See also response by Peter Rossett in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer: "Gateses' approach to African hunger is bound to fail." In other Gates Foundation news, former Monsanto VP Rob Horsch has been hired as a senior program officer working on agricultural developments in Africa. --Anna

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Bid Now for Small Planet Fund Auction - Next 24 Hours

You still have time to bid on great auction items online at Lots of great holiday gifts are still available, so check it out! You'll be supporting a great cause.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Small Planet Fund Party!

We had an enchanted evening last night at our fifth annual Small Planet Fund gala with many, many wonderful friends and our very special guest (and Small Planet Fund grantee) Dr. Vandana Shiva. We're still counting the contributions (and you can still bid online at, but we've definitely surpassed the $50,000 mark! Thanks to all of the volunteers who helped pull off SPF5 (and, of course, to yummy caterer Mary Cleaver who wowed everyone again with her tasty treats and even made these special SPF 5 cupcakes for us). --Anna

Monday, December 11, 2006

Bryant in Satya

Check out this awesome interview by our friend Mia MacDonald with Bryant in Satya Magazine where you'll learn about Bryant's New Year's resolution and get some of his tips for bringing Grub into your life. --Anna

It's the Hard Knock Life 4 Us

me and a cool brother who just moved back to the bay from nyc

Last Saturday was hella fun. KPFA had their annual “Crafts and Music Fair” in San Francisco where I signed books and pressed the flesh with people who came from different parts of Northern California.

The whole building was bustling with shoppers buying holiday gifts. But the place to be was the “Hard Knock Radio Booth.” Put together by my good friend Weyland Southon, the Hard Knock Booth had the hottest items provided by local authors, musicians, visual artists, clothing designers, jewelry makers, and the like. Because I had made an appearance on Hard Knock Radio the Thursday before the fair, there were dozens of people who showed up to ask me questions about everything Grub.

You can check out Hard Knock Radio everyday on the world wide web. It's my favorite radio show.


Joining the Community Food Security Team

I'm excited to announce that I'll be taking on a one-year post on the board of directors of the Community Food Security Coalition. I'll be serving on the board with some of my all-time heroes and very much look forward to working with the team to help strengthen this important organization. I'll keep you posted on news! --Anna

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Grub Love: Village Voice Interview

Q&A with Village Voice writer, Rachel Kramer Bussel.
Check it out here.

Chelsea Market with Panela Divas and Abhaya

Had a great time today at Chelsea Market, selling Grub, hanging out with good friends Abhaya (programs manager for all things Grub) and Phebe and Latham (the minds behind Panela Productions). Our soundtrack was provided by the School of Rock kids jamming nearby and the tasty treats that enticed visitors to check out Grub and Hope's Edge were provided by the wonderful Cleaver Co.
Our favorite line of the day.
Abhaya to passing man: "Have you heard of Grub?"
Man: "No, but then again, I've been living under a rock for the past couple of months..."
His friend: "Hey, at least it was an organic rock."
Favorite small world moment of the day: The father of Lynn happened to stop by to read about Grub without realizing that she'd recently written this about us.
(Street Grub: Putting our new Grub poster to use before ducking into the subway). --Anna

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved

So last night I went to hear Sandor Katz talk about his new book The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved: Inside America’s Underground Food Movement (that’s a mouthful) at Modern Times Book Store in San Francisco. Although I was familiar with his work (love his first book Wild Fermentation) I had not heard him speak before. I was impressed.

His talk was really informal. He just kinda went with the flow. And it worked. He’s pretty knowledgeable about everything food, waxing poetically about a range of topics—from fermentation to factory farms. In addition to presenting the hard facts he peppered his talk with personal stories of being on the road and visiting food co-ops, farmer’s markets, community spaces, and farms.

In the spirit of Grub, he includes recipes in the book. He even brought a mixture of kimchi and sauerkraut for us to sample. We were lucky to try it, as it almost got confiscated at the airport! Damn terrorist microorganisms.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Hey everyone - I'm excited to announce our first ever (and very cool, if I may say so myself) live auction in support of the Small Planet Fund. Please go check it out and BID for great gifts for yourself and for your family. (If you have questions email Carter - who is the brilliant mind behind the auction and event this year - at event[at]

As you probably know, if you're reading this, my mom and I started the Fund as a volunteer-led effort to give back to the amazing groups we discovered in writing Hope's Edge. With the help of a dedicated group of supporters, we've thrown a big bash every year in New York City and received additional donations to help us raise (and give away) more than $300,000! Since its founding in 2002, two of the Fund’s grantees have been awarded the honor of the Nobel Peace Prize: Dr. Wangari Maathai and the Green Belt Movement in Kenya and Professor Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. Not a bad record, eh?

If you're in NYC on December 12th, join us for the fete with our very special guest Vandana Shiva. --Anna

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

New York City Health Board Bans Trans Fats Today

Read the hot-off-the-press news about the Board of Health decision to, yup, ban transfats. You can read the AP's take here: City Health Board Bans Trans Fats. --Anna

This is what I wrote the day after I participated in the public testimony and public rally in support of the decision:


BROOKLYN, NY -- If it passes, the resolution discussed by a broad swath of New Yorkers in testimony to the Board of Health today would be only the second in the nation to ban trans fats in city restaurants. Tiburon on San Francisco Bay – a slightly smaller metropolis – beat the Big Apple to it in 2004. (The other NYC Board of Health proposal on the table would require chain restaurants to post calorie content.)

While a snaking line of more than seventy-five passed through the Health Department’s security on their way to the hearing, I overhead a woman explaining: “You can find trans fats in Parkay, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, in most cookies...” Her list went on and on. Trans fats—as the woman, who later testified as a prominent public health advocate, was trying to convey—are everywhere.

It didn’t used to be this way. Trans fats were developed in the 1940s, in a process through which vegetable oil is hydrogenated, converting unsaturated fatty acids into saturated ones. (See “partially hydrogenated” on an ingredients list? That’s trans fats). In processed foods, trans fats replace naturally occurring solid fats like butter and liquid oils.

Trans fats became instantly popular with industry because with them products could sit on shelves longer. The other winning element? They can be less expensive than other fats traditionally used in baking. By the 1960s trans fats had become ubiquitous in baked products and fast foods. They’ve been with us ever since.

Today, most of our dietary trans fats intake comes in the form of cakes, cookies, crackers, and bread as well as French fries, potato chips and popcorn.
So what’s the problem? For several decades the evidence has been accumulating. The results are pretty damning.
Testifying at the public hearing, Dr. Walter Willett, whose team at the Harvard School of Public Health has been at the leading edge of this research, reminded the council members, the TV news crews, and the hundreds gathered that trans fats are known to increase coronary heart disease. As even the FDA acknowledges, consumption of trans fat raises low-density lipoprotein, or "bad cholesterol," levels, which increases the risk of the disease. Based on more than two decades in a study with more than 200,000 participants, Willett and his colleagues estimate that trans fat consumption is responsible for tens of thousands of premature deaths annually from coronary heart disease.
In a recent report from The Netherlands, researchers suggest that eliminating trans fats in the U.S. could avert between 72,000 and 228,000 coronary heart “events” – as they call them – each year.

In his testimony, Willett’s colleague Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian added that trans fats increase inflammation--a risk factor for diabetes, among other ailments--and are linked to weight gain. Even more troubling are findings that even very low levels of consumption can lead to higher risk: consuming just 5 grams of trans fat – that’s roughly 2 percent of your daily calories – can increase your risk of heart disease by 25 percent.[1] (It is precisely these health concerns that led Denmark in 2004 to ban trans fats use in the country).

As these studies show, the trouble with trans fats is now well-documented. There is no longer cause for debate, but this isn’t to say there’s no debate. Industry is still working overtime to confuse the public. Consider this claim on one industry-backed website, Trans Fat Facts: “Trans fats have been a staple in the American diet for decades. And during that time, American life expectancy has seen dramatic increases. In fact, it recently reached a record high.” It seems the authors missed the statistics lesson on causal relationships.

With all the sound science, maybe we should be asking why not ban trans fats? Today’s presenters and the hundreds who turned out for the hearing and the public rally organized by the volunteer-run Trans Fat Free NYC are asking just that.

At the hearing, seventy people were officially registered to speak, from a steely-voiced octogenarian, Florence Rice, president of the Harlem Consumer Education Council to a six year-old who asked the Board to please help her “stay healthy,” and “out of the hospital.” Of the 43 people I heard, the only ones opposed to the resolution were two representatives from restaurant associations and one woman, a founder of the anti-smoking ban organization C.L.A.S.H.

Their chorus? In part, the ban will be bad for business. They said that it would be impossible for businesses to comply; there’s simply not enough supply. They also warned that mom and pops would be hurt worst.

Brooklyn-born Ina “Breakfast Queen of Chicago” Pinkney and the “mom” of her Chicago-based restaurant, Ina’s, begs to differ. She voluntarily pulled trans fats with enthusiastic response from her customers, she explained in her testimony. Pinkney added that as a small business owner this kind of policy is exactly what she wants.

“We welcome these regulations,” she said. “It levels the playing field.”

The other complaint? It’s “Big Brother” all over again, just one more inch down the “slippery slope” toward a “food nanny” police state, at least that’s how Audrey Silk from C.L.A.S.H. put it. A FoxNews opinion piece about the ban posed the question this way: “Should the government regulate what we eat?”

But that’s actually not the question that the resolution really raises. Sure, the government shouldn’t dictate whether or not we can devour a Krispy Kreme donut. But the government most certainly should protect its citizens from unnecessary artificial added ingredients in our food--which are invisible to us, which are undetectable to our tongues, and which harm us. The government also must certainly protect children who are even less equipped to make informed choices about the food they eat.

Indeed, that is precisely what we expect our government to do. When we find out about contaminants in food that cause harm – take e. coli O157:H7 for instance – we expect the government to step in, and step in fast on the side of public health.

In a similar way, the proposed ban on trans fats isn’t regulating what we can or can’t eat; it is simply rids our food system of an ingredient that has been shown to cause thousands of premature deaths each year.

The proposed resolution is not a draconian Big Brother move. It’s government taking leadership to protect the public health. The question isn’t “Should the government regulate what we eat?” But, “Shouldn’t the government protect us from harm?” And the answer is, yes.

A corollary to the Big Brother grumble is that these bans limit “choice;” they are an affront on “freedom.” Wrote one commentator about these bans: they’re a “push to legally prevent individuals from having a French fry ‘their way.’”

But how many New Yorkers, or anyone else in the country for that matter, asked for trans fats? Or, even knows when they’re eating them? We, the consumer, didn’t demand trans fats. They were invented to increase shelf life of food products in order to increase profitability for the food industry.

Real choice and real food freedom means being able to eat out without worrying that the choice will be harmful to our health. This policy will help all New Yorkers do just that. And, if passed, the rest of the country might just take New York City’s lead.

* * *
During and after the public hearing, a crowd gathered in Thomas Paine Park across the street from the Health Department. Organized by the ad hoc, volunteer-led group, Trans Fat Free NYC, the rally featured speakers, including council member Peter F. Vallone, Jr., Dr. Walter Willett from the Harvard School of Public Health, Michael Jacobson from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, and yours truly. Restaurateurs also spoke about their decision to go trans fat free and Whole Harvest oils presented about their affordable, healthy non-trans fat products.

As people mingled among trans fat free fried treats and a gaggle of news video cameras, a man was giving away bumper stickers that started appearing stuck on arms, backs, strollers, and bags and which stated in simple black lettering: “Don’t Partially Hydrogenate Me.” Well said.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Dirty Sugar Cookie Swap

Had a lovely time at Bluestockings tonight with the hysterically funny Ayun Halliday. She read from her book Dirty Sugar Cookies and shared tales of woe attempting to craft gingerbread cookies for her kid's school's holiday party.

We asked friends to bring baked treats for a cookie swap--and were delightfully deluged with sugar cookies (of course), lemon bars, brownies and more. My currant scones were slightly prematurely extracted from oven and smooshed in the bag on the F line into the city, but apparently they tasted just fine. --Anna

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Met amazingly dynamic and go-getter students at Miami University (in Ohio, that is) who brought me out to speak and shared a delectable dinner after. It was really inspiring to meet undergraduates and graduate students working on important sustainable development initiatives, the importance of which seemed to be brought home by the abnormally balmy weather in December in Ohio. --Anna

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Grub Food Quiz

This is what I realized mid-way through the readings tonight at the gritty Bowery Poetry Club: Grub is both rant and rhapsody. This revelation came to me as I waited my turn to take the stage for a friend's monthly Rant/Rhapsody reading series. After reading a few of my favorite passages from Grub, I brought up a willing volunteer from the audience who tried his hand at this quiz. The prize if he got 7 of 10 correct? A copy of Grub, of course. Here's the quiz. How would you do? Answers will be posted shortly. --Anna

1. What’s the new job of Rob Horsch, former Monsanto VP?
a) Deputy Administrator, EPA
b) Senior Program Officer, Gates Foundation
c) Deputy Administrator, USDA
d) Member, National Organic Standards Board

2. Who said: “There is not one grain of anything in the world that is sold in the free market. Not one. The only place you see a free market is in the speeches of politicians”?
a) President Richard Nixon
b) Dwayne Andreas, Archer Daniel Midlands Chairman
c) Senator Tom Harkin from Iowa
d) Richard Crowder, US Trade Rep and Chief Agricultural Negotiator, former Monsanto VP

3. Philip Morris spent millions rebranding itself in the wake of Big Tobacco lawsuits with which brilliant new corporate name?
a) Humana
b) Virtua
c) Respira
d) Altria
e) Beneficia

4. What’s Hawaii’s most popular food?
a) Spam sushi
b) “Spamburger”
c) Chicken-fried Spam
d) Spam poo poo platter

5. Match the Tagline: “Nature Talks, We Listen”
a) Dow
b) Syngenta
c) Dupont
d) Monsanto
e) Biotechnology Industry Organization

6. Match the Tagline: “Biotechnology—A Big Word That Means Hope”
a) Dow
b) Novartis
c) Dupont
d) Monsanto
e) Biotechnology Industry Organization

7. What percentage of non-GMO cucumbers seed does Monsanto now control?
a) 18%
b) 28%
c) 38%
d) 58%

8. From this list, name the countries that don’t require GMO labeling?
1) United States
2) China
3) Canada
4) Australia
5) France
6) All of the above

9. What’s the likelihood that an African-American or Latino child born in the U.S. will develop Type II diabetes?
a) 1 in 3
b) 1 in 5
c) 1 in 8
d) 1 in 10

10. How many toys does McDonalds sell or give away every year?
a) 250 million
b) 500 million
c) 1 billion
d) 1.5 billion

Bonus Question: Which do we have more of… prisoners or farmers?

Friday, November 17, 2006

Check Out Appetite for Profit in Bookstores Now

Think that announcement from Coke and the Big Drink companies that they’re pulling sugary drinks out of the nation’s was a sign of corporate responsibility or a move of brilliant corporate PR spin? This and many other questions will be answered for you in Michele Simon's insightful new book, Appetite for Profit. Thanks to the New York City Nutrition Education Network Michele and I had a chance to do a reading together. I highly recommend the book and Michele's insightful blog you can find here. --Anna

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Back in the Blogosphere

It’s been a long time
I shouldn’t have left you
Without a recipe for bean stew

That’s right yall. I’m back in the blogosphere. Been going through hella transitions over the past two months. But I’m settled into my new place. Ethernet is up. Back on the grind.

We have a lot of catching up to do. . .


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Videoing the Vote

Down in Philly today with my brother and some friends as part of a Video the Vote team. Inspired by the making of American Blackout and the universal audience reaction to the voter disenfranchisement seen in the film -- what can we do? -- Anthony's GNN partner Ian Inaba and colleagues decided to create a way for all of us, across the country, to do something about it: Document voter suppression to stop it. In a few short weeks, they created this platform and trained citizen journalists across the country. By Election Day, they had hundreds of volunteers. My day will be spent at the Election Protection offices helping connect videographers with problem polling places. --Anna

The TH Interview: Anna Lappé

Treehugger's Dave Chiu had some great questions--and I tried to do them justice. Head straight to the interview here.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Calorie Counting

Think you can estimate how many calories in that Starbucks Frapuccino? Big Mac? Denny's French Toast? Try your hand at it with this online quiz. Then, ask yourself, wouldn't it be nice not to have eating out be a guessing game? A proposed New York City Board of Health policy would make calorie labeling mandatory on restaurant menu boards. Seems like a wise idea to me. --Anna

Saturday, November 04, 2006

A Great Weekend in the Great White North

Had an amazing weekend running a two-day workshop at The Marguerite Center, north of Ottawa. The Center (or Centre, as they'd say in Canada) runs educational programs for folks in the community. This was their first on food. After lots of talking about food politics, the impact of our food system on our health, and how we can get involved with making a difference, we all headed into the kitchen where we got lessons in making samosas, curries, and other delicious Indian delicacies. (This is a shot of a few of us mid-samosa folding) --Anna

...and now for something completely different

Most of what you see and read here is about our adventures (and mis-adventures) on the trail of food, farming, and sustainability. But, now for something completely different: Read my musings on love in the land of Memoirville. --Anna

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Trouble with Trans Fats - ON GNN

Read my article on the proposed trans fat ban at the Guerrilla News Network and join the fray in the debate.

Your User Guide Is Here

More than 60 experts and innovators (including a few pages by yours truly) -- and a tireless team of editors -- contributed to this 600 page tome. Here's a breakdown on the seven sections of what's inside. --Anna
  • Stuff (which covers topics like green design, reducing one's ecological footprint, biomimicry, sustainable agriculture, clothing, cars and emerging technologies);
  • Shelter (covering topics like green building and landscaping, bright green home decor, clean energy, sustainable water systems, disaster relief and humanitarian design);
  • Cities (topics like smart growth, sustainable communities, transportation, greening infrastructure, product-service systems, leapfrogging and megacity challenges);
  • Communities (topics like education, women's rights, public health, holistic approaches to community development, copyleft, South-South science, social entrepreneurship and micro-lending, and philanthropy);
  • Business (topics like socially responsible investment, worldchanging start-ups, ecological economics, corporate social responsibility and green business);
  • Politics (topics like networked politics, new media, transparency, human rights, non-violent revolution and peacemaking);
  • Planet (the big picture -- everything from placing oneself in a bioregion to climate foresight to environmental history to green space exploration).
  • Check it out anywhere books are sold.

    Tuesday, October 31, 2006

    The Trouble with Trans Fats

    NY1 covered the public testimony yesterday about the New York City Board of Health proposals to ban trans fats and to require that chain restaurants carry calorie counts along with prices on their menu boards. Read the transcript and watch the video here. Hundreds of people turned out for the hearing and for the rally outside the Health Department. The rally was organized by volunteers who also posted this website for more information.

    Monday, October 23, 2006


    I just got in on the red eye from the last 14-day marathon leg of the book tour -- Center for a Livable Future, Natural Expo East, Community Food Security Coalition Conference, Pacific Lutheran University, Evergreen College, Fair Trade friend-raiser, UC Berkeley talk, and... Bioneers. These past three days at the 17th annual Bioneers conference, joined by 4,000 people in San Rafael, California and connected to 16 other satellite sites beaming programming to another 8,000 or more people, have been incredible. I'll post highlights soon. For now 'incredible' will have to do; I'm going back to sleep! --Anna

    Oct 30 - Join Us for Important Trans Fat Free NYC Public Hearing

    Join Trans Fat Free NYC
    . Say no to the hidden dangers in our food! Many of our city’s restaurants and vendors serve foods loaded with artificial trans fat, the cause of over 30,000 premature coronary heart disease deaths per year in the US. The NYC Department of Health is holding public hearings to consider banning trans fat from restaurants. Come out and join us and add your voice to help make a historic difference. (If you don't live in NYC, visit the website to let our public officials know you support the policy.) Read more here.

    Monday, October 30, 2006, 10AM- 1PM at 125 Worth Street

    Tuesday, October 17, 2006

    Do You Want Lies With That?

    Coming to a theater near you, check out the new film based on Eric Schlosser's book, Fast Food Nation. (I haven't had a chance to see it yet, and won't be able to for a little while, but I would love to hear what you think.) But first, if you haven't seen it already, you must check out Eric Schlosser on the British Newsnight program debating for the first time in public a Mickey D exec. The first time that is because up until now they've said no. If you've never seen Eric speak, you'll be in for a treat: He is brilliant, centered, and has his facts straight. (I was actually surprised that the McDonald's executive was so defensive: His basic argument is that "we have made changes to our food," which sort of hands over the debate, in effect not denying that the food that they have had, and still have, is quite bad for us.) Watch the interview here: Part 1 and here Part 2 and here Part 3. Also, after you watch Part 1, note this disclosure. --Anna

    Friday, October 13, 2006

    Congratulations to Muhammad Yunus-2006 Nobel Peace Laureate & Small Planet Fund Grantee

    I had just told Muhammad Yunus' story to undergrads at The Evergreen College in Olympia, Washington, the night before I found out that Yunus and the bank for the poor he founded--Grameen Bank--was awarded this year's Nobel Peace Prize. I was reminded of the day I found out another friend and Small Planet Fund grantee, Dr. Wangari Maathai, had been awarded the same honor in 2004 for her work with women and the environment in Kenya. In both cases, the Nobel Committee has made a
    clear statement that it is impossible to create peace on earth in the presence of poverty, inequality, and injustice. As we celebrate the 5th year of the Small Planet Fund, we are delighted that another one of our nine grantees has been given such international recognition for their important work. --Anna

    Photo: Grameen Bank borrowers near Dhaka, Bangladesh. We had just learned about their experience with the loan and these women and their children were showing us their village.

    Evergreen is Ever-Greener

    I had heard about The Evergreen State College for years. Growing up in Berkeley and Oakland, many friends headed up that way for school, but I had never been until last night. The campus -- burrowed into evergreens -- is certainly true to the school's name and the enthusiasm and community engagement of the students I met was true to the school's rep of being a haven for activists. My talk was co-sponsored by the Environmental Resource Center and Evergreen Political Info Center whose motto (at least on the bottom of one of my event announcements) reads: "If you carrot all, beet the system and squash the state." --Anna

    Thursday, October 12, 2006

    Zero Hunger!

    The last time I saw Adriana Aranha was in her packed municipal offices in Belo Horizonte, Brazil after another long and completely jaw-dropping day visiting programs the city had created to meet their commitment to make good, healthy food a basic right of citizenship for everyone.

    Now, just five years later, Adriana is working on the national level in the Fome Zero/Zero Hunger campaign to ensure all Brazilians have the right to food and food sovereignty.

    We helped bring her up to Vancouver and join more than 900 other folks from North America (and South Korea, Australia, South Africa, and more) to share solutions to ending hunger.

    We had dinner with other colleagues from the conference, including South Koreans who had read the Korean translation of Hope's Edge!

    Photo: Adriana Aranha from Brazil and Cecilia Rocha from Ryerson University at the Community Food Security Coalition Conference in Vancouver.

    Tuesday, October 10, 2006

    Welcome Eric Holt Gimenez to Food First

    The Institute for Food and Development Policy (aka Food First) was born just after I was and I like to tease my mother (who co-founded it with Joe Collins) that I learned to link stamps and stuff envelopes for membership drives for the non-profit before I learned to walk. Food First analyzes the root causes of global hunger, poverty, and ecological degradation and develops solutions in partnerships with movements working for social change. The Institute has published dozens of books, backgrounders, and reports. Still going strong thirty years later, Food First recently announced its new Executive Director, Eric Holt Gimenez who I was honored to meet at the Community Food Security Coalition conference. --Anna
    Photo: Eric, Adriana Aranha from Brazil, and me.

    Thursday, October 05, 2006

    October is Fair Trade Month

    Sip up and chomp down on fair-trade products this month and get involved with efforts in your community to bring fair-trade options everywhere you shop. In less than a decade, the black-and-white fair trade logo is nearly ubiquitous in cafes and supermarkets across the country. Visit the US fair-trade certifier's website for more information about what fair trade means for small farmers throughout the world and learn about events this month... or come enjoy some tea and delicious, Bryant-inspired food at on October 18th. --Anna

    Wednesday, October 04, 2006

    Is Wal-Mart the New Jolly Green Giant?

    One of the most common questions I've been getting on the road has been whether Wal-Mart's move into the organic market will ultimately help the environment and the health of us eaters, or not. I've been asking the same question to farmers and food policy experts who I've been meeting on the road and there is surprising--or not so surprising--consensus: Everyone has raised serious concerns about the Wal-Mart decision. A new white paper from Mark Kastel, Senior Farm Policy Analyst with the Corncuopia Institute, does a great job of summarizing many of these concerns. Check it out here: Wal-Mart Rolls Out Organic Products—Market Expansion or Market Delusion? --Anna

    Thanks McNally!

    Thanks to everyone who came out last night to the reading at McNally Robinson. Not to play favorites, but I think this bookstore might be mine in NYC. A couple resources I promised I'd post here. --Anna

    Tuesday, October 03, 2006

    Grub on GNN

    Check out Lynn Peemoeller's article about us, and "grub", on my brother's Guerrilla News Network website. Lynn is s a frequent writer about sustainability and works on regional projects in the Chicago area that support sustainable agriculture and strengthen the local food system. She asked great questions and got to the heart of the issues. --Anna

    The Elections Are Coming! The Elections Are Coming!

    I know there's no need for alarm; we all know they're around the bend. I just wanted to alert you to two importance races for our food system: Mark Ritchie, running for Sect'y of State in Minnesota and Denise O'Brien, running for Sect'y of Ag in Iowa. I've been familiar with their work for years and they are two of the most passionate champions of sustainability I've ever met. Check out these links to visit their campaign headquarters and find out how you can support them -- even if you've never stepped foot in Minnesota or Iowa. --Anna

    Feeding the Future in paperback

    Cruising around New York City yesterday, I saw this book in its paperback form on the new non-fiction table at a Barnes & Noble. (Just browsing! Just browsing! I've been (almost) true to my commitment this year to only support our independent bookstore chains. My demise always seems to happen in airports.)

    This anthology of essays about what's wrong with our food system and ideas for righting those wrongs was published in hard copy a couple of years ago. My mother and I contributed a chapter based on our experiences meeting the amazing folks on the trail of Hope's Edge. I definitely don't agree with every chapter in here -- it is a collected anthology of differing views after all -- but it's a great read and an interesting take from our Northern neighbors. (It's published by a Canadian press). Here's the description from the publisher. --Anna

    Feeding The Future: From Fat to Famine: How to Solve the World's Food Crises
    From global famine to fast-food fat, from mad cows to missing cod, can ingenuity solve the world's food crises? How can we all manage to eat well and stay healthy? The contributors, who include William Illsey Atkinson, Kelly D. Brownell, Gene Kahn, Stuart Laidlaw, Frances Moore Lappe and Anna Lappe, Ian MacLachlan, Carl Safina, and David Wheeler, offer practical solutions to issues ranging from industrial farming and sustainability to food-related diseases and nutrition. Their examples of ingenuity encompass emerging technologies, business models for sustainable food production, and solutions to the world's obesity epidemic, and they debate the merits of controversial techniques such as the use of genetically modified organisms. By offering useful, workable solutions to the problems of food, Feeding the Future is satisfying one of our most pressing needs.

    Monday, October 02, 2006

    SoHo Grub Event

    For those of you in New York City on October 3rd, come out and join me for a Grub talk. I'll also be sharing some impressions from the more than 35-city book tour we've been on and highlight some great homegrown groups. I'll be at McNally Robinson (a cool bookstore in SoHo) at:
    52 Prince St. (between Lafayette and Mulberry) (212)274-1160
    Also, check out our updated calendar (thanks Kate!) with all of our fall events. We hope to see you on the road.

    We Got Issues! Book Launched

    A great new book of inspiration and ranting from the folks who brought you the We Got Issues! performance piece (which premiered at the Apollo Theater). I am a huge fans of the co-editors, JLove Calderon and Rha Goddess, and I love what they put together. (Disclaimer: I contributed a piece to the anthology.) Check it out at your local indepdent bookstore and get your rant on.

    Wednesday, September 27, 2006

    How Good Can It Get?

    Apparently there is such a thing as a free lunch, or at least a free magazine subscription. For now, donate $20 to one of the pre-selected non-profits and get a six-month subscription to this new 'zine. With a great mix of humor (Gary "I'm no Russian Debutante" Shteyngart writes about why he loves America) and political commentary (detailed maps show the crazy carvings of gerrymandering in this fine nation of ours) GOOD succeeds where most magazines about the good, the bad, and the ugly of our country fail. It's not too sappy or too earnest. It's not painfully, but downright artfully, designed. It's hip, but not so hip that it makes you feel like you've been holed up in a cave for a decade.

    Sunday, September 24, 2006

    Edible Feast Dines in Brooklyn

    Everyone is always shocked to hear about a farm in Red Hook, Brooklyn. But growing up on raised beds on top of an old concrete baseball diamond is the beautiful Red Hook Community Farm, run by Added Value.

    We dined in the fields last night with the youth who work on the farm, their friends and families, and commuity leaders and Parks Dep't folks who have been supporters of the project. (Oh, and the crew from The Endless Feast wandered among us with their mics and cameras, capturing it all on tape).

    The weather added the drama. Predicted thunderstorms and winds turned out to be an intense sky that kept changing--and a stressed out production team. In the end, everything worked like magic and Laurent's concoctions from all the local foods (and beer) was divine.

    The beautiful pics below are courtesy Phil @ Digital Horizons.

    Diners at the Added Value/Endless Feast dinner
    The production team peppers local community leaders with questions and the farm.
    Ian Marvy (co-founder, Added Value) and chef Laurent from the delicious ICI.
    Bryant and me with youth from Added Value. After a GREAT meal!
    The gorgeous Ludie Minaya (of Conscious Cravers) and me at the feast.

    Saturday, September 16, 2006

    Madison, Mollie Katzen, and the Biggest Farmers Market Ever

    Just finished up a fun, fun, fun weekend here in Madison, Wisconsin. (I'm writing this blog from the kind of cafe I wish we had more of in New York City: Big, airy, with lots of folks studying, talking, reading.) I was brought out here to join in the 8th Annual Food for Thought Festival. My first time at the Festival was in 2000 when my mother presented with Jose Bove and I got stung by a yellow jacket and spent the rest of my time doped on Benadryl diligently trying every farmer's remedy for a bee sting.

    This year, I presented with Mollie Katzen (of Moosewood Cookbook fame). Mollie has a new book out with one of my all-time public health heroes, Dr. Walter Willett, called Eat, Drink, & Lose Weight. (One thing I learned on this trip: If Mollie ever wants to give up her career as a multi-million copy cookbook author, she could always go into stand-up comedy. She had us all in stitches.) We were joined by Wisconsin farmer Jim Goodman, who is an articulate voice for sane and sustainable food and farm policy -- and pretty darn funny in his own right.

    Thursday, September 14, 2006

    The Best War Ever: Lies, Damned Lies, and the Mess in Iraq

    I'm proud to announce I've just joined the board of one of my all-time favorite organizations, the Center for Media and Democracy. For those of you who have read Grub, you'll know my indebtedness to the Center's work in exposing the public relations strategies of the chemical, biotech, and food industry that have kept so many of us in the dark about the truth about our food. I'll be sure to keep you posted in Center news. For now, I wanted to let you know about their latest book, The Best War Ever. Check out their short online video that gives you an overview of the book and the lies that got us into the mess we're in.

    Monday, September 11, 2006

    The Nation Does Food

    I've been working this summer as a consulting editor on a Nation magazine issue on food... and it just hit newsstands. The issue includes a forum with Alice Waters. Waters asked leading thinkers about food, How do we fix our dysfunctional relationship with food? Eric Schlosser, Marion Nestle, Peter Singer and others, weigh in. (See One Thing to Do About Food: A Forum). Nation contributor Liza Featherstone takes on the Wal-Mart/Organic question and my mom explores the idea of food as a human right. Check out the whole issue for all of the great articles and visit this link to see my version of Monopoly: MONSANTOPOLY.
    Thanks to all of you who helped with ideas and submissions! If you'd like copies of the issue, we might have some available. Please be in touch via email.

    Saturday, September 09, 2006

    Hey Voters (that means you) Let Your Elected Officials Know You Eat (and You Care)

    This November, let your elected officials know you're voting with food on your mind. Our friends at the Organic Consumers Association have put together a voting guide for you. Check it out here to learn more.

    Thursday, September 07, 2006

    The Endless Feast Begins

    Bryant and I are excited to be part of the first season of a 13-part series for PBS about... food, sustianable farming, and supporting your local farmers. Called Endless Feast, the episodes will showcase farmers in different regions of North America. Already, I've met incredible farmers and food justice and sustainability activists in Canada and the U.S. (We've roped in friends for the show, too, including Bryant's former colleague from b-healthy, Elizabeth Johnson).
    This is Elizabeth and me in Virginia after visiting Polyface Farm, immortalized in The Omnivore's Dilemma.

    My Brother, His Shooting War

    If you haven't seen it yet, check out some of the final installments of my brother Anthony's Shooting War, a graphic novel set in the near future in Iraq. He just got a publishing deal, so check for the full-length version coming to a bookstore near you, soon.

    Want to stay abreast of what you need to know about the latest news? Take a look at his blog, here. He posts to it almost every day. It's my first stop to get a handle on what we should be paying attention to.