Perspective: Food Myth Busting

By WorldLink Staff | March 12, 2013 | Leave a Comment

FoodMythbusters image2
Anna Lappé sets out to bust food myths, and shares her vision for a good food future.
What inspired the Food Mythbusters project?

For more than ten years I’ve been talking about sustainable food and farming with people across the country – from hipster Brooklyn to small-town Montana. But no matter who I was speaking to, people shared some core questions: Can we really feed the world with sustainable agriculture? Doesn’t good food just cost too much? Don’t people just really want to eat junk food – who are we to say otherwise?

It didn’t take me long to realize that these questions – these doubts about the benefits of sustainable food and the true costs of industrial agriculture – were doubts we have in part because of deliberate marketing campaigns by the food industry itself. Marketing campaigns that are designed to shape what we think we know about food.

The food industry – chemical companies, agribusiness, agricultural pharmaceuticals, food processors and more – spend billions every year on marketing. And while I don’t have that kind of budget, I do have some powerful allies – great food, farming and labor groups who wanted to help spread the real story about our food.

So together with some great organizational partners, we’re creating Food MythBusters: a one-stop shop to get your burning questions about food answered through short films, Q&As with experts, and links to essential research.


Perspective: Dreaming New Mexico

By WorldLink Staff | January 29, 2013 | Leave a Comment

shutterstock_61111810How do we restore and strengthen local food systems? Peter Warshall, Co-Director of Dreaming New Mexico, explores how to create ecological and social transformation at the local and regional level.
What is the vision for the Dreaming New Mexico: Food and Farming project?

Peter Warshall: Dreaming New Mexico is a process more than a vision. It is a process in which all players involved in producing and consuming food take time off from the grind and politics to ask: What is it I really want? What do I deeply desire? Why did I get into this? What does my dream and success look like? It is a kind of sanctuary from everyday headaches, maybe even a purification to re-discover one’s original desire.

What is an agro-ecoregion? Why is this such an important frame of reference?

Peter Warshall: When you sit down and say grace or gobble a burger, can you trace in your mind the ingredients that will soon became your flesh and blood? All dreams about healthy food and sustainable agriculture must actually start with some tract of earth. What soils and water grew the food? Who grew it? Dreaming New Mexico calls these landscapes “agro-ecoregions.”

Agro-ecoregions are crucial to the future of local foodsheds because they help each region define what it can produce each season and what it needs to import. They deconstruct arbitrary county and state boundaries and let us, once again, see how diverse landscapes support us in varied but crucial ways. Visit our website to see New Mexico’s six agro-ecoregions and our Methods section on how to define your own.



Video: Jamie Oliver, “Food is Like Music”

By WorldLink Staff | January 14, 2013 | Leave a Comment

In this video, British chef Jamie Oliver shares his passion for food as a creative act.

Just like music, the same few food ingredients can provide inspiration for a variety of inventive dishes. Each dish expresses a certain mood, origin, taste, and personality. How is food like music to you?  Join the conversation on Facebook.

Here are some ideas for how music and art might inspire your experience with food:

  • Be creative: Allow cooking to be an outlet for creativity and expression – have fun with it! Try cooking with lots of different colors, textures, and spices. What are some other ways you can experiment in the kitchen?
  • Keep it simple: As Jamie says, some of the best tracks have simple, catchy beats. Simple recipes with wholesome ingredients can make for delicious meals. Try preparing a tasty meal with as few ingredients as possible, and discover how many meal variations you can come up with.
  • Listen to music: What is the soundtrack of your meals? Is there music that would enhance your experience of preparing and eating food?

Perspective: Vicki Robin on the 10-Mile Diet

By WorldLink Staff | December 20, 2012 | Leave a Comment

shutterstock_59974177The story of our food comes alive when we eat closer to the source. Author Vicki Robin shares her experience of eating food grown within 10 miles of her home on Whidbey Island, Washington.
What inspired you to undertake the 10-mile diet project?

Vicki Robin: I lived with the Ecological Footprint graphs (what we have and what we spend as a human community on a finite planet) and knew we were in overshoot, far out of balance. I knew we’d shot past 350 parts per million CO2 in the atmosphere with no brakes on the runaway climate train. When I learned the data about Peak Oil/Gas/Coal/Uranium/You-name-it and paired that with Climate Change, the picture was even starker.

For me, relocalization – revitalizing regional economies and ways of life – became the one sane choice.

Working locally on Whidbey Island with the Transition model brought another stark fact in view. Even here, a semi-rural community, we cannot feed ourselves for even a few weeks on what we produce. As author of Your Money or Your Life, I’d challenged American’s relationship with money and stuff – but our food addiction was “off the table” so to speak . . . because my own hand was in the cookie jar. I’d been a dieting, binging, weight-obsessed American woman for 6+ decades – and considered it none of anybody’s business.

But when I see the truth of something, I want to test whether I can actually live it. Sustainability as an extreme sport. So you can see, I’m a perfect subject for a 10-mile diet hyper-local eating experiment – I had no axe to grind about dietary correctness. I was curious and I was convinced that I was testing a limit we were all facing – unaware.

In September 2010, I took up the challenge. For a month. With relish (local of course).



Perspective: Nikki Henderson on Food Justice

By WorldLink Staff | November 29, 2012 | Leave a Comment

Everyone has the right to fresh, healthy food. Nikki Henderson, Executive Director of People’s Grocery, talks about the importance of food justice.

Nikki began her work in social justice through the foster care system in Southern California. She was a part of Slow Food USA in Brooklyn, NY, and she co-founded Live Real, a national collaborative of food movement organizations committed to strengthening and expanding the youth food movement in the United States.

Tell us about the work and mission of People’s Grocery.

Nikki Henderson: People’s Grocery is a health and wealth organization whose mission is to improve the health and economy of West Oakland through the local food system. We do that through health projects like our community garden and our partnership with Highland Hospital, and food enterprises like our grocery store spinoff, People’s Community Market; our Grub Box Program; and microenterprises and partnerships with leaders through our Growing Justice Institute.

What is food justice and why does it matter?

Nikki Henderson: Food justice is the belief that healthy food is a human right, so everyone has an inherent right to access healthy, fresh food. Access is a mixture between location, affordability, and cultural appropriateness. Food justice is important for everyone because food is culture. Food is your family. Food is part of how we communicate with each other; it’s how we share our love. Being able to enjoy and prepare food that actually nourishes the body and keeps us healthy is connected to our ability to stay sane as human beings.

The concept of food sovereignty is a global concept, and the concept of food justice is a local concept within America. This is key, because the global peasant farmer movement is huge, and it’s something that people see as being completely necessary and non-negotiable. The right of people to control their own food, the farmer legacy, is a priority in every culture. In different parts of the world, if someone asks, “What are you famous for?” the answer is often, “Our music and our food.”


Perspective: Douglas Gayeton on the Language of Food

By WorldLink Staff | October 22, 2012 | Leave a Comment

Becoming more food literate means learning a new language. Douglas Gayeton, co-founder of the Lexicon of Sustainability, explains how words can catalyze a food revolution.

Douglas is a filmmaker, photographer, and the author of “SLOW: Life in a Tuscan Town,” published by Welcome Books. The award-winning book features a preface by the founder of Slow Food, Carlo Petrini, and an introduction by Alice Waters.

What is the Lexicon of Sustainability project?

Douglas Gayeton: You can’t expect consumers to change their buying habits at the grocery store, or for farmers to suddenly grow their crops in a more responsible manner, if they aren’t aware of the most basic sustainable principles. In most cases it isn’t that people “need” to be educated. It’s that they “want” to be educated. They’re aware that their food system has become centralized, industrialized, and bureaucratized, and that it’s time for them to fix the system themselves.

They’re looking for information. For inspiration. And for a community of like-minded thinkers. This is how revolutions happen … but first, you need the words.

You’ve written that “words are the building blocks for new ideas.” Why is language so important in growing the food movement?

Douglas Gayeton: In communities across the USA, people are now talking about rebuilding their local food systems. The tools required for the job include words, because any social movement must first educate and enlighten before catalyzing change. We need these words to educate not only consumers, but food producers, too. Responsibly grown food is vital for our security and for our quality of life.


Perspective: Arden Bucklin-Sporer on School Gardens

By WorldLink Staff | August 15, 2012 | Leave a Comment

Growing a garden takes hard work, persistence, and a willingness to learn. Arden Bucklin-Sporer discusses the educational value of school gardens.

Arden is executive director of the San Francisco Green Schoolyard Alliance, an advocacy organization for school gardens and outdoor classrooms. She is the director of educational gardens for the San Francisco Unified School District, and a founding partner of Bay Tree Design, a landscape architecture firm.

What does a successful school garden program look like?

Arden Bucklin-Sporer: A successful school garden has many pillars of support and is used frequently – day in, day out. It’s supported by the principal and used by a variety of teachers, and kids flow in and out. All this activity is managed by a garden coordinator, who acts like an air traffic controller. Parents host weekend work parties to build the more complex garden structures. End-of-the-year celebrations might take place there. All the sustainability efforts of the school, such as composting or water use, are modeled in the garden. It’s really a hub for community building.

How do school gardens help expand students’ understanding of the story of their food?

Arden Bucklin-Sporer: Astonishingly, we no longer really understand where our food comes from. Most of our food is a plant’s bud, flower, or root. It’s something we’ve forgotten about for a couple of generations. Illustrating these concepts in a garden is revelatory for people. You see the “a-ha!” moments, when they really understand what part of the plant their food comes from and the purpose of that biology. A school garden serves as a living laboratory to demonstrate the principles of sustainability.


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