Category Archives: Sustainable Solutions

The Farm Bill and You

Originally posted on Pursue: Action for a Just World.

The U.S. Farm Bill is a piece of legislation that is reauthorized every five to seven years. It covers many food-related government programs like SNAP in addition to international food aid programs. With the failure of the Super Committee to sneak the Farm Bill in under the rug, we have an opportunity, as Congress breaks for winter, to make sure that food aid and food justice are on the minds of our congresspeople.

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A Closer Look at the 2012 Farm Bill

Originally posted on The Jew and the Carrot.

While headlines about the Farm Bill focus on the role of commodity subsidies in creating the ubiquity of processed foods in the U.S. (and increasingly in the global) food system, on the final day of the 2011 Hazon Food Conference, some of the most passionate and committed members of what some are calling the “new Jewish food movement” got a deeper look at the details of the policy landscape that shapes the way the U.S. food system functions and influences the rest of the globe.

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So, What’s “The New Jewish Food Movement?” A Movement for Justice

During the keynote speech of the Hazon Food Conference, which was held in Davis, California last weekend, Judith Belasco, Hazon’s Director of Food Programs, reminded us that four years ago the expression “New Jewish Food Movement” didn’t even exist.

Well, if the conference was any indication, the New Jewish Food Movement is thriving, consisting of hundreds of Jewish individuals and communities across the country who are working to change a world where U.S. food aid policy undermines farmers in developing countries, where 50 million people in the U.S. face food insecurity every day and where people can’t access or afford fresh food in neighborhoods like the South Bronx, which has only twelve grocery stores for 88,000 people.

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Video Update on the Famine in East Africa

Originally posted on the Global Circle blog.

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What’s Happening in East Africa and How You Can Help

There is no denying the severity of the crisis in East Africa right now. We’ve read the headlines and seen horrifying photos of starving children. The situation is getting worse every day. Two days ago, the United Nations declared a famine in three more areas of Somalia. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) estimates that nearly 30,000 children under the age of five have died because of the crisis. By September, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) predicts that the whole of Somalia and parts of Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda will be under famine conditions. Read More »

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Drought = Hunger? Not an Inevitable Equation

Originally posted on AlertNet.

Headlines tell us that a severe drought in the Horn of Africa is responsible for creating “the most severe food security emergency in the world today.” But is it?

Images of emaciated children and desperate parents have flooded the news. More than 10 million people in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia are in need of assistance. Levels of malnutrition are rising rapidly. Some 1,600 Somalis are arriving daily at refugee camps in southeast Ethiopia, and thousands of Somalis are trekking by foot to the already over-crowded Dadaab refugee camp in northern Kenya. The crisis has invoked the specter of Ethiopia’s famine, a calamity that took the lives of nearly one million people in the mid-1980s. Scientists are debating whether this drought is a direct result of climate change or a natural progression of changes in the environment. Regardless of the causes, the effects—widespread hunger and food insecurity—are anything but natural.

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Pursue’s Food Justice Scholarship to the Hazon Food Conference

Pursue is very pleased to announce that we are offering partial scholarships for the Hazon Food Conference to participants interested in developing their leadership and networks in food justice work and activism. Scholarships are competitive and needs based. Recipients will be responsible for room and board but can apply to cover up to 100% of registration fees.

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Fish and Filth: The Dangers of Tilapia Farming

Do you love tilapia? I do. But after reading yesterday’s New York Times article about unregulated tilapia farming, I’ll think twice before I order my next fillet. Last year, more than 52 million pounds of fresh tilapia were exported to the United States, mostly from Latin America, as well as 422 million more pounds of frozen tilapia, both whole and fillet, nearly all from China. It’s a booming industry, but it’s doing a lot of damage to the natural world, not to mention the survival of a species. Read More »

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Bolivia Passes the Law of Mother Earth!

Today is Earth Day and something ground-breaking just happened in Bolivia. The country passed the Law of Mother Earth, the world’s first piece of legislation that gives the natural world rights that are equal to those of humans. Bolivia has long suffered from serious environmental problems from the mining of tin, silver, gold and other raw materials. Farmers have also had land and crops decimated by multinational corporations. Existing laws to protect natural resources were not strong enough.

The Law of Mother Earth includes the following:

  • The right to maintain the integrity of life and natural processes
  • The right to not have cellular structure modified or genetically altered
  • The right to continue vital cycles and processes free from human alteration
  • The right to pure water
  • The right to clean air
  • The right to balance, to be at equilibrium
  • The right to be free of toxic and radioactive pollution
  • The right to not be affected by mega-infrastructure and development projects that affect The balance of ecosystems and the local inhabitant communities

The law also promotes “harmony” and “peace” and “the elimination of all nuclear, chemical, biological” weapons.

Read on.

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On Passover, Water, and Earth Day… and How it All Connects

I learned a bit about water at my seder. Turns out water is a big deal– for better and for worse.

Which, of course, we already know. The Nile plays a huge role in the Passover story —the death of Israelite boys; the rescue of baby Moses; the meetings with Pharaoh by the river. Water-based plagues are inflicted upon Egypt; frogs emerge from the Nile; fire-breathing hailstones fall from the sky; and of course the water supply of Egypt turns entirely to blood. Upon leaving Egypt, the Israelites immediately complain about lack of water, a complaint that 40 years later causes Moses’ ultimate downfall. And of course, the splitting of the Red Sea remains arguably the most dramatic event in the Bible. Read More »

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