Monday, May 24, 2010

As global warming continues and carbon dioxide levels rise, food may become poorer in quality and nutrition

Plant study dims silver lining to global warming

Some biologists thought rising levels of carbon dioxide might stimulate plant growth, but a UC Davis study finds the greenhouse gas inhibits nitrate absorption. The finding carries significant implications for agriculture worldwide.

May 14, 2010 | 5:03 p.m.

So much for a hoped-for bright spot to global warming.

Some biologists had theorized earlier that rising greenhouse gas levels would encourage plant growth over the long term because of the increased amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. But plant physiologists from UC Davis may have dashed those hopes.

They've shown that too much carbon dioxide, which plants need for energy, actually can inhibit a plant's ability to assimilate nitrates — nitrogen-based nutrients pulled from the soil that plants use to make enzymes and other essential proteins.

Without those essential proteins, plant health — and food quality — may suffer, the researchers say in a study published online Thursday in the journal Science.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Numbers from the USDA Agricultural Projections to 2018

USDA Agricultural Projections to 2018  

Number of times the word “economic” appear in the publication -100

Number of times the words “fuel or biofuel” is used- 39

Number of times The word nutrition is used-4

Number of times the word health is used.-1

number of times the word organic is used-1

Number of times the word Hunger is used-0

Number of times the word "access" is used referencing individual citizen’s access to healthy food -0

number of times the word "access" is used referencing international trade for economic reasons -6

Number of acres The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 cut from The Conservation Reserve Program - 7.2 million

The Akron Cooperative, Old Friends New Possibilities!

Building on 30 years of experience in the organic food business, the Cooperative Market has transitioned from the acquisition and sales of organic health foods, to promoting the development of a healthy, equitable and sustainable local food system for the citizens of Akron.

In keeping with the spirit with which the Akron Cooperative Market was founded in 1980 by Jonathan Miller and other food advocates who saw a need to provide access to organic food at a reasonable price, the rapidly-evolving Cooperative is now called the Akron Cooperative and is committed to promoting food security for the all Akron's citizens by providing fact based education in a viable and sustainable urban agricultural program. The program that we envision will include farming on vacant city lots, in front yards our neighbors, and on the expansive properties of our churches, schools, and local businesses in accordance with cooperative principals.

TAC Garden Sites

The University Park Alliance Community Garden Program

TAC is in the process of establishing three community gardens throughout the University Park Alliance(UPA) area while developing 15 to 20 additional garden sites for over the next two years.

The Akron Grows Partnership

The City of Akron ,Ohio State University Extension and YOU!!

The partnership has convert 6 city-owned lots into 100 to 150 gardening plots throughout the city. Individuals, families and community groups are all welcome and plots are still available.

The Cascade Village Community Garden

The Community Builders, Inc. selected TAC to cultivate a community garden for the residents of Cascade Village.

For more information please contact:

Lawrence Parker

The Akron Cooperative

790 Shadeside Ave.

Akron, Ohio 44320


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The War Garden Victorious

Must Read for anyone who eats food. The War Garden Victorious, by Charles Lathrop Pack, Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1919
How American Cities Backed Up The Cannon With The Canner

Enormous as was the quantity of food packed away in cans by American housewives in the summer of 1918, the quantity so conserved represented only a fraction of the surplus of American war gardens. Home canning could not begin to take care of the excess, and therefore, in order that the Scriptural injunction be followed and "nothing be lost," it was necessary to establish conservation on a community basis, just as it had been found helpful to stimulate production through community gardening. These organized forms of conservation took the shape of community markets for the distribution, and community canneries for the preservation, of the garden surplus.

Though the Commission limited its efforts along these lines to the furnishing of instructions for conserving food, the work of the community centers for the sale of garden surplus proved most helpful....Many war gardeners found the community markets an excellent medium for disposing of surplus vegetables not needed for home consumption. Purchasers, too, were glad of the opportunity afforded by the community market to secure vegetables that were fresh and choice....One of the most prosperous and successful of these community markets was at Oakland, California, under the direction of Mrs. James Hamilton, the city director of food production, who showed courage and energy in pushing her project to success. It will be well to let her tell something of her own story. Here is part of what she has to say:

So far this market has been the means of saving hundreds of tons of vegetables and fruits, together with quantities of berries, eggs, chickens, pigeons, rabbits and honey. The greater part, if not all, of the perishables otherwise would have been wasted. This market has taken care of the war-garden supplies of our city since it was opened, together with the supplies of several of our big growers of both fruits and vegetables. It will be a very great means of stimulating production for next year because the grower knows he will be given a place where he can market his supplies advantageously"


In order that the work might be done scientifically, and the pack be uniform from day to day, everything was done under the direction of a paid expert. Visitors were free to come and watch operations, which were thus a continuous demonstration of scientific canning, and thousands of women who had come to market only to buy products also dropped into the cannery and learned the up-to-date methods. The educational value of this effort was beyond computation. The women of the entire city were reached.

Reports to the Commission from all parts of the country indicated that in a great number of places arrangements were made to preserve surplus garden products through community canneries, and also showed the success that attended this effort. Typical of the spirit that animated many of these reports is a statement in a communication from J.D. Parnell, secretary of the Chamber of Commerce, Vernon, Texas. Mr. Parnell wrote:

We have a community canner and are preserving everything that we grow. We are also going outside of our county into the communities where they are not equipped to preserve perishable stuff and buying surplus. We can it and sell it to those who have no gardens.

Home demonstration agents of the United States Department of Agriculture, women's clubs, representatives of manufacturing concerns, gas and electric companies, and numerous individuals coöperated in this community canning. "The Federation of Women's Clubs and myself coöperating will supervise the marketing and the canning of the surplus products of the gardens," was the report to the Commission from Miss Anna Allen, emergency home demonstration agent at Independence, Kansas. Similar work was performed in hundreds of places.

The success of these community canneries is indicated by many reports...Thus, in hundreds of community canneries the country over, thousands of women were saving the excess food upon which the fate of democracy rested, and practicing, as they canned, democracy itself.

After reading this chapter, I am more convinced than ever that Akron can turn several pressing economic and environmental challenges into opportunities for farmers underemployed and declining neighborhoods. 

After the Highland Square boondoggle I drafted a proposal for a community based grocery stores, but after reading the war garden book and the formation of the food policy coalition inspired me to build in the original proposal. 

A collaboration consisting of members from the Summit County Food Policy Coalition, which include local farmers, community gardens administrators, educational institutions, work with government organizations such as jobs and family services, housing authorities, the City of Akron, and NGOs and community development corporations to explore the possibility of how to establish 8 to 10 employee owned community based food production and grocery stores throughout Akron disadvantaged neighborhoods.  

This would include developing community gardens and urban farms next to restored* corner store fronts where local gardeners and urban farmers would sell their produce to the store.  (*energy efficiency retrofits of the existing buildings to reduce operation cost.)    

The goal is to create a stronger and equitable local economy by growing, distributing and selling our own food.  Not only will this provide access to healthy food in neighborhoods lacking grocery stores, but the creation of living wage employment opportunities will help families living in the neighborhoods already devastated by years of neglect made worse by the foreclosure crisis. 

Other benefits include;

opportunities for wealth accumulation

support local farmers and a local food economy

generates income and tax revenue

reclaim and revitalization (preservation) of pedestrian friendly neighborhoods

restoration reduces demolition waste from entering landfills

easily accessible food and jobs where people can walk, reducing the need and expense of car ownership

walkable neighborhoods encourage healthier lifestyles 

The stores would sell locally grown food from NE Ohio and household goods, either from Ohio or surrounding states. Imported food would ONLY be organic and fair trade.  

The stores could be employee owned and operated by local residents, earning living wages and health care benefits as well as long term investment in their neighborhoods.  

The stores would be informal centers of community life with staff members working with local churches and community centers to offer hands on cooking and nutrition workshops and community meals. 

Distribution challenges could be overcome with a number of possible solutions.  For example, the governing entity could apply for CDBG grants and/ or low interest loans to purchase a truck or two for pick and distribution.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Polycultures:Food Where we live

The inspiration behind PolyCultures: Food Where We Live came from witnessing the transformative effect of local food on communities. The New Agrarian Center and LESS Productions co-produced PolyCultures as a collaborative project to capture this effect through digital film and link it to broader issues facing our food system. For me, this inspiration was most visible through the work of City Fresh, an effort to connect local food to inner-city neighborhoods that lacked healthy food access.

In 2005, Maurice Small and Brad Masi worked to start the City Fresh program. City Fresh began as a nine month planning process involving 15 government agencies, businesses, non-profit organizations, and farmers working on finding ways to improve health and nutrition in inner-city neighborhoods in Cleveland that lacked access to healthy foods.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Growing the Local Food Economy

E4S Greater Akron Network Event
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
5:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Mustard Seed Market and Cafe, 3885 W. Market St., Akron, Ohio 44333
From farmers to farmers markets to food policy to community gardens and more - join the E4S Network in Akron and hear from local leaders who are advancing the local food system.
At this event we`ll introduce you to a number of leaders, both start-ups and local food veterans, who are working on innovative local food projects and businesses.
Learn about exciting local food projects and business happening in Akron
Connect to new people and ideas who will help you move your local food projects forward
Enjoy delicious food provided by Mustard Seed Market and Cafe!
5:30 - 6:15 Registration and Networking
6:15 - 7:45 Program
7:45 - 8:30 Networking

Countryside Farmers' Markets & Classes

At the Countryside Farmers’ Markets, one thing is certain: We love fresh, local food.

The Countryside Conservancy operates two farmers’ markets. Our Saturday morning market is located at Howe Meadow, in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (4040 Riverview Road, Peninsula). And, our Thursday afternoon market is held on the grounds of Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, in Akron (714 N. Portage Path, Akron).

Both markets feature a diverse mix of fresh nutritious and delicious produce grown by local farmers (including those who farm in the Cuyahoga Valley), locally raised meats and poultry, locally made cheeses, baked goods and other artisan foods.

Countryside Farmers' Market 2009 Season & Schedule of Events

Countryside Farmers' Market at Howe Meadow
Time: Saturdays 9 a.m.-noon
Dates: May 30th — October 31st
Location: Howe Meadow, 4040 Riverview Rd., Peninsula
(4 miles south of Rt. 303 & Riverview Rd. intersection)

Countryside Farmers' Market at Stan Hywet
Time: Thursdays 4:00-7:00 p.m.
Dates: June 25th — October 15th
Location: Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, 714 N. Portage Path, Akron
No Admission Fee for market customers!

Contact the Countryside Farmers' Market Manager at 330.657.2538 or email.

Countryside Farmers' Markets Classes in partnership with Old Trail School

Hey, kids – grab your apron and learn from a pro! Junior chefs ages 7–12 will begin to cultivate their culinary skills using the wealth of products available through the Countryside Farmers’ Market’s new location at Howe Meadow.

Each class will be taught by a local food professional or enthusiast. Kids will learn about nutrition, experience the seasonality of foods, meet local farmers and artisans and gain hands-on cooking skills. Classes include a guided trek through the market with the chef, hands-on instruction, sharing of their creation with one another and a recipe to take home to share with family and friends.

Items prepared during the 2008 season included: bison sliders, popcorn, roasted potatoes, salsa, cheesy pasta, zucchini boats and more! Classes are limited to 10 students each and are $40 per participant. No cooking experience necessary – just come have fun with local food!

Dates are July 11, 18, 25 and August 1 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Participants will meet at the Countryside Farmers’ Market at Howe Meadow, and should be picked up at Old Trail School.

New this year is a program for “grown-ups.” Come enjoy the bounty of the season and learn some ways to preserve the foods we love into the winter months. Dates for the classes are June 27 and September 19. Classes limited to 12 participants. Topics will be announced in the Spring.

New Farmers

Rebuilding local farming and food systems is utterly dependent on developing a new generation of farmers – most of whom will have had little if any prior farming experience. In 2006, The Countryside Conservancy began serious efforts to nudge this complex, long-term process forward by offering a farm business short course, Exploring the Small Farm Dream. For more information about the Explorer class, click here.