Monday, November 9, 2015

Coffee Pot Soup | Poor as Folk

#adjunct cookery ~ a series perhaps or companion pieces to #AdjunctStories


Foodies of the Internet have since bragged about making gourmet meals in their coffee pots. Obviously, I’m not interested in gourmet cooking. I just need to know if a regular person who can’t afford to replace a broken stove or is living in temporary housing (like a motel) cook themselves good food this way.
Coffee Pot Soup | Poor as Folk

Monday, May 12, 2014

#FarmersMarket Metrics Project for Evaluation

Sara Padilla, Project Director
Farmers Market Coalition
Farmers Market Coalition (FMC) is excited to announce a collaboration with the University of Wisconsin (UW) to build practical tools for evaluating farmers markets and communicating impacts to local, regional, and national stakeholders. FMC is a member-based 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to strengthen farmers markets for the benefit of farmers, consumers, and communities.

Farmers markets have emerged as important players in the effort to increase consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, while supporting diversified farms and new businesses. Despite their many benefits, the impacts that farmers markets are having across the country go largely undocumented. Information on the 8,144 markets, with roughly 150,000 vendors and hundreds of thousands of dollars of sales is not being tracked or analyzed in a meaningful way.

The Farmers Market Metrics project consists of two collaborative efforts: identification of effective, consistent data points for measuring farmers market impact, and development of a web-based tool to facilitate the longitudinal collection and communication of those measures. The web-based tool has begun development, as part of the Knight Foundation's Prototype Fund, and now FMC begins a three-year exploration of market indicators with our academic partner, the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

The FMC / UW project team will work with nine markets in three regions across the United States to identify a suite of data points and methodologies for programming into the Farmers Market Metrics tool. The markets selected in each region will test data collection and reporting techniques and receive technical assistance throughout the project. The grant project, called "Indicators for Impact: Farmers Markets as Leaders in Collaborative Food System Data Collection and Analysis," is funded by the USDA's Agriculture, Food, and Research Initiative (AFRI).

An interdisciplinary national team of researchers will advise the project team on the measurement of economic, social, intellectual, and natural impacts; recommending appropriate methodology for their collection and analysis. National Indicator Advisory Team members include Patricia Inman, Ed. D. Senior Research Associate for International Engagement, Center for Governmental Studies (Northern Illinois University); Robert King, Professor, Department of Applied Economics (University of Minnesota); Colleen Donovan, Farmers Market Research Coordinator, Center for Sustaining Agriculture & Natural Resources, Small Farms Programs (Washington State University); Bryn Sadownik, Program Manager of Evaluation and Community Impact (Vancity Community Foundation); Garry Stephenson, Coordinator, Small Farms Program (Oregon State University Extension); Paul Freedman, Associate Professor, Department of Politics at the University of Virginia, and Sarah Blacklin, NC Choices Project Coordinator (N.C. State University) and former Market Manager for the Carrboro Farmers Market in North Carolina.

Darlene Wolnik, Independent Researcher and Trainer with Helping Public Markets Grow, will serve as the Project Research Coordinator. Sara Padilla is the FMC Project Manager and co-Principal Investigator on the project.

FMC Executive Director Jen O'Brien described the Market Metrics Project as "a multi-faceted approach to offering practical tools for farmers markets at the community level. Farmers Market Metrics will help market organizers, market partners, and municipalities understand and efficiently communicate a diverse spectrum of impacts. That collected information will strengthen all food system initiatives."

Alfonso Morales, Principal Investigatorof the USDA AFRI grant and Associate Professor of Urban & Regional Planning at the University of Wisconsin believes that a practical but academic approach to measuring impacts will "help bring an evaluation feedback loop that is often missing in many farmers markets, enhancing market credibility which will enable more effective decision-making."


Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Politics of Food

Consumers should be concerned about where their food comes from. In Food Tyrants (Skyhorse Publishing, 2013), homesteader and writer Nicole Faires recounts her family's adventure to
America's small farms expecting to find inspiration. What she found was
mismanaged land and clueless urban farmers along with the manure-like
scent of a corporation-laced industry.

Using examples from her own life
and offering a brief history of food security, Faires explains how the
food in our plate is no longer "in our hand" and opens our eyes to a wide-scale problem that isn’t going away. With hands-on knowledge and a new view of the American farmer,  shesuggests the answer lays in the soil and provides the information necessary to make informed, healthy food choices.

The selection from Chapter 1, linked below, offers a glimpse into the politics of food that run America: "The Abridgement of Freedom" excerpt: The Politics of Food - Food - Utne Reader

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Why dark chocolate is good for your heart

… New research in the FASEB Journal suggests that consumption of dark chocolate lowers the augmentation index, a key vascular health predictor, and reduces adhesion of white blood cells to the vessel wall

It might seem too good to be true, but dark chocolate is good for you and scientists now know why. Dark chocolate helps restore flexibility to arteries while also preventing white blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels. Both arterial stiffness and white blood cell adhesion are known factors that play a significant role in atherosclerosis. 
What's more, the scientists also found that increasing the flavanol content of dark chocolate did not change this effect. This discovery was published in the March 2014 issue of The FASEB Journal.  
"We provide a more complete picture of the impact of chocolate consumption in vascular health and show that increasing flavanol content has no added beneficial effect on vascular health," said Diederik Esser, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Top Institute Food and Nutrition and Wageningen University, Division of Human Nutrition in Wageningen, The Netherlands. "However, this increased flavanol content clearly affected taste and thereby the motivation to eat these chocolates. So the dark side of chocolate is a healthy one."'
Read the rest of Why dark chocolate is good for your heart

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

How Cooking Can Change Your Life

from RSA Shorts#EverybodyEats so #getsmarter about it. Check out more RSA videos and playlists on other subjects too. Topics include arts, humanities, education, politics, society, science, environment and more, plus webinars, live and replay. I'm particularly partial to the Animates series. Learn more about The RSA and "21st century Enlightenment"

Can you really have your cake and eat it? According to Michael Pollan, you can. In this fun RSA Short, Pollan explains how to eat well by following one simple rule without the need for fad diets or deprivation. 

Michael Pollan is an award-winning food writer whose books include, "Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation", "In Defense of Food" and "The Omnivore's Dilemma,"  Watch Michael Pollan's full talk 'How cooking can change your life' in full at the RSA

▶ RSA Shorts - How Cooking Can Change Your Life - YouTube