Sunday, February 27, 2011

The itinerary at last...

February 28th
  • Drive to Kernersville, NC to help Laura Fraser process wool at her sustainable sheep farm, Farmgirl Arts
  • Sleep at Friendship Meeting House in Greensboro
March 1st
  • Tour NC Ag & Tech Research Farm
  • Work project at Fickle Creek Farm in Efland, NC, a sustainable farm that produces eggs, broilers, pork, beef, and veggies
  • Stay with May Toms in Greensboro
March 2nd
  • Plant potatoes Amish style using horse team with Tom Coletti
  • Stay with Tom Coletti at the Union Grove Amish community
March 3rd
  • Drive to Lumberton, NC
  • Sleep in River Way Outdoor Adventure and Education Center
March 4th
  • Talk by environmental/local food activist Mac Legerton while canoeing the Lumby river
  • Visit farms in Lumberton area
  • Sleep in River Way Outdoor Adventure and Education Center
March 5th
  • Drive to Jacksonville, FL
  • Stay with Al and June Geiger.
March 6th
  • Drive to Boynton Beach, FL
  • Stay with Ted and Trudy Winsburg
March 7th
  • Day of rest
  • Stay with Ted and Trudy Winsburg
March 8th
  • Visit Green Cay Farm (the one Green Cay on the AMS Campus is named after) and other local farms
  • Stay with Ted and Trudy Winsburg
March 9th
  •  Explore the Everglades
  • Stay with Ted and Trudy Winsburg
March 10th
March 11th
  • Drive to Lakeport, FL for work project at Tom Oswalt's certified organic pink grapefruit grove
  • Camp at Crystal River Preserve State Park
March 12th
  • Service work for Crystal River Preserve State Park
  • Swimming and tubing in the Rainbow River
  • Camp at Crystal River Preserve State Park
March 13th
  • Drive to Bluffton, GA
  • Camp at Kolomoki Mounds State Park
March 14th
  • Tour and work project at White Oak Pastures, a sustainable cattle ranch that sells beef to Whole Foods in the southeast
  • Drive to Marietta, GA
  • Stay with Patrick and Nicole Seals
March 15th
  • Visit the Children's School in Atlanta, GA
  • Meet Chef Steven Satterfield of Miller Union and learn about local and sustainable food sourcing
  • Dinner at Miller Union restaurant
  • Stay with Patrick and Nicole Seals
March 16th
  • Drive to Comer, GA for work project at Jubilee Partners, an intentional community with a large farm used to feed its members
  • Stay at Jubilee Partners
March 17th
  • Drive to AMS
  • Sleep in our own beds

Friday, February 4, 2011

New organic standards

After learning about the initial reaction against industrial agriculture 50 years ago, and how the definition of organic has changed as USDA certified organic foods have become available in supermarkets and mega-stores across the US, I challenged the class to come up with our own organic standards.

Each requirement on the following list has been debated and approved by everyone in the class. Let us know what you think!

Food and Farms Organic Standards
  • Herbivores cannot eat meat.
  • Farm animals that produce dairy, meat, and /or eggs must have open outdoor grassy pasture.
  • Food cannot travel more than 500 miles from the site of production to the site of consumption. This includes each ingredient in multi-ingredient prepared foods.
  • No synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers can be used.
  • No genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) can be used.
  • No antibiotics or hormones can be given to livestock.
  • Farmers must rotate crops yearly.
  • No artificial ripening of fruits and vegetables. 
  • If a farm is pictured on a food package, the picture must be of a farm that produced at least one of the ingredients in the food product.
  • All ingredients must be listed, including the components of "spices" and "natural flavoring."

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Food and Farms class gets depressed, begins recovering

Firstly, I know all of you have been biting your nails waiting to find out how you did on our ingredient quiz. Without further ado, the correct answer is Laura Lynn Lemon Juice from concentrate. The corn-derived ingredients in the other options are xanthan gum, malt extract, and citric acid.

Since our last post, the food and farms class has delved further into the world of industrial food production. We've learned about why corn is in everything, about commodity crops and how food poses unique challenges to the economic rules of supply and demand, about genetically modified and patented seeds, and about chemicals and technologies that were developed for war and then re-purposed for industrial agriculture. We have read excerpts from the Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan about corn farmers and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), and we've watched King Corn and parts of Food Inc.

It was a pretty depressing couple of weeks, and by the end the students were more than ready for some good (or at least better, we hope...) news. We turned our focus to the motley crew of environmentalists and hippies who took a stand against industrial agriculture in the late 1960s, many of whom are responsible for making organic food the fastest growing sector of the food market today.