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 http://www.samovartea.com/ 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.