Monthly Archives: August 2013

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VB6: Mark Bittman’s Vegan Diet for Meat Eaters

With a lot of news reporting on the rise in child obesity, the effects of genetically modified foods (GMOs), and the scarcity of natural resources such as water and oil, we all want a ray of hope – we want some good news, already! What can we eat? What is the healthy diet? How can we eat and live while leaving less of a carbon footprint?

The August / September 2013 issue of  The Commonwealth magazine printed an excerpt of chef Joey Altman’s conversation with Mark Bittman, New York Times food columnist and author of the book VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health… for Good. Bittman has long been a conscious eater, offering his discriminating taste and opinion, but also meshing his appetite with social and environmental consciousness. While an ever growing number of us are excited about eating locally, seasonally and buying directly from the farmer to support our health and our local food sheds, Bittman’s new diet is a serving of good news we’ve been waiting to hear.

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“Why Genetically Modifying Food Is A Bad Idea” – Science vs Common Sense

GMO Golden Rice on the left.  Non-GMO rice on the right.

GMO Golden Rice on the left. Non-GMO rice on the right.

Yesterday, our friend Beth Hoffman published an article in Forbes’ online Food + Drink section called “Why Genetically Modifying Food Is A Bad Idea“.  For those who don’t know her, Beth is a cool cat who lives in SF, and writes articles about “our changing food system” for Forbes, NPR, Oxfam, and more.  She also teaches at University of San Francisco, and is married to a butcher and sales manager at Prather Ranch Meat Co.

You may have read countless articles about GMOs, but what I really like about Beth’s article in particular is that she brings up two main points that are simple common sense, yet seem to get lost in the shuffle.

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Grow Mixer for Farmers & Foodies at Aqus Café, Petaluma

If you’re a foodie, Petaluma may very well be the best place to run into another foodie.  Last night at Aqus Café, around 50 food enthusiasts, local farmers, cheese makers, distributors, food bloggers and more gathered for the event Grow Mixer: What Do You Cultivate?  The room was lively with chatter as everyone shared their stories and backgrounds, sipped on drinks and nibbled on the delicious spread.  One of many events that Aqus Café holds each month, this night was all about fostering community, bringing together those involved in the local food scene and building connections.

Aqus Cafe, FarmsReach, Grow Mixer, PetalumaIMG_3355

Sponsored by Whole Foods Petaluma, attendees not only enjoyed amazing local cheeses, hummus, fresh spring rolls, and breads from local vendors such as Rustic Bakery and Spring Hill Cheese, but got an introduction to the Whole Foods Healthy Eating campaign that promotes healthy food choices, recipe planning and works with customers to support dietary needs.

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Featured Farmer Spotlight: John Bauer of Santa Cruz Seed & Johnny’s Selected Seeds

Every week, we’ll spotlight a FarmsReach Featured Farmer. Our Featured Farmers are brimming with great ideas and knowledge to share with the farming community. Feeling a spark of curiosity? There’s no question too simple or tough. Ask a question or add a Conversation and we’ll be sure it’s answered within a day or two.

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John at Eco-Farm 2013

This week, we’re featuring John Bauer, produce farmer of 25 years, advisor to many(!) farmers in California, owner of Santa Cruz Seed, and seed sales consultant for Johnny’s Selected Seeds.  He is a busy man!  Here are his answers to our Q&A survey we captured over a sunny lunch in Half Moon Bay.

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Community Picks: Spiral Foods, Preserve Sonoma & Marin Organic ~ at the N. Coast Young Farmers Guild

Last night’s North Coast Young Farmers Guild was another great success!  The crowd keeps growing, the dishes featured the delicious summer bounty, and the speakers were great!  Held at the amazing GrowKitchen in Sebastopol, the party started at the farm across the street for tasty sangria and tomato-picking, and then moved back inside for dinner, chatting, and a fun and casual presentation by the night’s lineup.

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This month we heard from Spiral Foods, Preserve Sonoma and Marin Organic.  All three of these organizations support farmers and ranchers by helping them reach new markets, distribute surplus harvest, or create value-added products.  Here’s an overview about their great work!

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Featured Farmer Spotlight: Paul Underhill of Terra Firma Farm

Every week, we’ll spotlight a FarmsReach Featured Farmer. Our Featured Farmers are brimming with great ideas and knowledge to share with the farming community. Feeling a spark of curiosity? There’s no question too simple or tough. Ask a question or add a Conversation and we’ll be sure it’s answered within a day or two.

featured-farmer_Paul-Underhill

This week, we’re featuring Paul Underhill, from Terra Firma Farm – ”a non-traditional version of a ‘family farm’“.  Paul is a partner on the farm along with Paul Holmes and Hector Melendez-Lopez, who has several family members who all work intrinsic positions on the farm.

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California Farmland Protection: Reality or Wishful Thinking?

Last week, in the beautiful Napa Valley, the American Farmland Trust and Napa County Farm Bureau hosted a statewide conference - the first of its kind – to address the question: Is farmland conservation a reality, or simply wishful thinking? The intention was to “highlight the successes, define the obstacles, and explore new directions for conserving California agricultural land.”

The 200-person event sold out weeks in advance, bringing together many long-time stakeholders who have worked for decades on farmland issues: advocates, land trusts, government agencies, Farm Bureau members, nonprofit organizations and farmers themselves.  It seemed nearly every agriculture county in the state was present to learn how we can address the frightening reality of losing 30,000 acres of the most fertile agricultural land each year.

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Featured Farmer Spotlight: Emma Torbert of The Clover Leaf Farm

Every week, we’ll spotlight a FarmsReach Featured Farmer. Our Featured Farmers are brimming with great ideas and knowledge to share with the farming community. Feeling a spark of curiosity? There’s no question too simple or tough. Ask a question or add a Conversation and we’ll be sure it’s answered within a day or two.

Emma Torbert of The Clover Leaf Farm

This week, we’re featuring Emma Torbert, from The Clover Leaf Farm. Emma got her masters in Horticulture from University of California at Davis and currently works for the Agricultural Sustainability Institute (ASI).

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FarmsReach Newsletter – August 5, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-08-09 at 2.52.06 PMNew Toolkits making the news, Featured Farmer Spotlights in our blog, and more Conversations posted daily! 

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Fish Meat: Can aquaculture be sustainable?

Lately when I think of fish farming, I think of congested cesspools of disease and ineffective antibiotics that I can’t stomach the thought of eating. Last night, 18 Reasons held a screening of Fish Meat, a film by Ted Caplow. Canapés of Anchovy, Trout and Albacore were served, sourced from TwoXSea and prepared by Chef Michael Mauschbaugh of Sous Beurre Kitchen.

18 Reasons, documentary, FarmsReach, Fish Meat, movieIMG_3254

The documentary provokes new perspective about aquaculture – also known as fish farming. Can fish farming be safe? Can it be sustainable?

“This century is the last century of wild seafood” was one line from the film which sent shivers down spines. While extinction is a fate wild seafood is heading quickly towards, the documentary suggests an alternative fate if aquaculture practices like some ancient practices in Turkey are followed.

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