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stuffed and starved review

Submitted by Dax on Tue, 2009-04-28 22:34

What makes Stuffed and Starved more than just an excellent read is that the author, Raj Patel, is South African. This means that some of the examples he uses to illustrate some of his points are from a South African context rather than the the list of countries generally cited. That's not to say he doesn't talk about other countries, just that he includes examples from SA as well. While he is currently a researcher at the University of Kwazulu Natal, he has degrees from Oxford, London School of Economics and Cornell University.

The tag line for the book is: Markets, power and the hidden battle for the world's food system. When I saw that, I knew it was a book I had to read and immediately ordered a copy from I was going to say it's not a long read, but I realise that I read it quickly purely because I struggled to put it down. While Stuffed and Starved does cover a lot of concepts and examples I am already familiar with. It combines them, with some things which I did not know, into a holistic view of the food system.

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new green publication on the way

Submitted by sproutingforth on Fri, 2009-04-17 13:07

There's a new kid on the block. A new green publication called the 'green times'.

The paper joins the Western Cape's already bountiful collection of green publications - more than ably led by the likes of Biophile, Shared Earth, Red your green magazine, and Simply Green – giving new meaning to the tip of the country as the 'fairest cape'!

The green times, edited by Elma Pollard, who has practiced earth-inspired living herself for a long time as an environmental journalist, trainer, educator and coach, markets itself as responsible journalism that will offer new choices based on careful consideration for all of life on Earth, make greening a natural, easy and fun process, provide inspiring role models and supply ongoing information, details, numbers, names and locations for every aspect of sustainable living, amongst other how to's. Whew! That's a lot to look forward to.

And the distribution of the newspaper is carbon free (the paper is

which fruit & veg make the 'dirty dozen'

Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2009-03-12 14:13

Peaches are still the worst offenders when it comes to the amount of pesticide and chemical residue left on the fruit by the time it makes its way to the supermarket shelf, whilst onions remain at the bottom of the most recent 'dirty dozen' list, just released by the Environmental Working Group to replace last year's version.

The shopper's guide to pesticides is a handy list that helps you know which fresh produce to buy organic, and which conventionally-grown fruits and veg are still okay, if you can't buy get them organically grown. The guide, which is based on American government test data, lists the produce most likely to have pesticide residue.

The worst offenders (dirty dozen with the most pesticide residue) are:

organically grown in okahandja

Submitted by turbosprout on Fri, 2009-02-27 10:21

With design top of everyone's mind... came across this trendy packaging for Greenspot, a Namibian organic vegetable producer. Packaging and branding by %fftheshelf. Nice to look at, but wondering if the packaging is biodegradable or indeed necessary.

Would the product have the same appeal if it was displayed in a wicker basket at a local farmers market? Or do we need cool design to tempt us? If I'm not mistaken organic certification of products entails their having to be packaged so that they cannot be contaminated or confused with "regular" non-organic products. So do we need we need packaging after all?

Frequently the packaging criticism is levelled at Woolworths, but when you have organic and non-organic foodstreams and national distribution networks, what are the alternatives to ensure the integrity of the organic items?

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fourways green market opens

Submitted by girlsprout on Mon, 2009-02-02 14:19

fourways garden pavillion green marketfourways garden pavillion green marketSaturday proved to be the perfect day for the launch of the Fourways Garden Pavilion Green Market in Johannesburg, as a week of torrential rain finally gave way to some sunshine.

After struggling to find parking in the busy Leaping Frog Centre, I was greeted by a wonderful, bustling little produce market in the nursery, with stalls selling all sorts of delicious goodies. This was the first market of its kind that I’ve been to in Jo’burg, and I found it to be an incredibly relaxing little slice of all things natural in the middle of the busy city.

The organisers wanted to keep things simple for the launch, but the variety of things on sale was very effective. There was a stall selling a wide variety of organic veggies grown on a nearby farm in Fourways, and a baked goods stall providing a host of delicious breads, croissants, brownies and other treats, which I’m told can be ordered in wheat- and gluten-free varieties.

community supported agriculture (CSA) project in cape town

Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2009-01-29 10:44

Some really exciting news for Capetonians: Slow Food CT , the Sustainability Institute and the Ethical Co-op have partnered to close the gap between the farmer and the shopper by forming a partnership between you (the consumer) and the farmer – a community supported agriculture project (CSA). It's a way of actively supporting local community agriculture, as well as ensuring your weekly fix of vegetables!

It’s a simple concept: you (the consumer) pay upfront, which allows the farmer to set up his/her farm. The first CSA farmer will be Eric Swarts whose farm is based at Spier Estate. He intends farming lettuces, carrots, beetroot, cucumber, beans, sweetcorn – all organically.

Those who sponsor the project upfront, will receive a box of mixed

the world according to monsanto documentary review

Submitted by Dax on Mon, 2008-11-24 11:28

World according to MonsantoWorld according to MonsantoI have watched a lot of documentaries on GM foods and Monsanto and although they each have their own style and there is always some new information, they generally cover a lot of the same material. This recently released documentary is not like that. It takes a very different angle, looking at the history of Monsanto and the way it operates, rather than focusing specifically on GM foods.

Proponents of GM foods are always suggesting that GM foods are rigorously tested. In fact, an article in the September 2008 issue of Shape magazine said exactly that (read my thoughts here). The testing that they are referring to is done by the Biotech companies themselves. This documentary tries to establish whether we can trust the Biotech companies or not. It looks mainly at Monsanto, which is the biggest Biotech company of them all...

5 ways to stretch your money further when buying organic

Submitted by sproutingforth on Fri, 2008-11-14 08:38

The down turn in the economy is making us all second-guess what we buy. In the US, a market research company revealed recently that organic food sales rose only 4 percent in the four week period ending October 4th, compared to 20 percent a year in recent years. What's keeping shoppers from purchasing organic food? Cost. No question.

Just why is organic food usually more expensive?

First, organic food is more expensive to produce. Without cheap fertilizers and pesticides, farmers have to do a lot more manual labour, and people are much more expensive than petrochemicals. Additionally, organic farming operations aren't big enough to achieve economies of scale.

Secondly, demand has outstripped supply -- there simply are not enough people growing and producing organic ingredients. And when demand is greater than supply, prices are higher.

But don’t give up on the health of your family. You do not need to give up on organic - just curtail your organic spending and focus on the area where you get the biggest return for your money...

superfoods raw food course review

Submitted by turbosprout on Mon, 2008-11-10 13:25

I recently attended the Superfoods Elements of Health Raw Food Course after wanting to do it for some time. We've been juicing, sprouting, and making smoothies, on and off for a while now, but I was interested in taking it to a new level, and to see whether we can add more variety and interest to what we eat. There is after all only so much one can do with muesli, surely...

The course is not a cooking course, but rather an introduction to a whole new approach to doing food. If you have an interest in nutrition, want to improve your health, and still eat delicious food then this is the course for you. In short it is a mind expanding, consciousness altering kind of course - it will change the way you think about food. Peter and Beryn's positivity and passion for their subject is infectious, and because everyone attending the course has a shared interest, it makes for a great weekend of learning and interaction.

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the power of community review

Submitted by Dax on Thu, 2008-11-06 11:52

I never get round to reviewing Hollywood movies I see, not that I watch many of them any way. There just doesn't seem to be much point. Basically all you need to know is the basic plot, who is in it and whether it is worth watching or not. But I love reviewing documentaries, they always provide new information and get one thinking.

Last night I watched The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil and it was very interesting. Peak Oil refers to the time when oil will become scarce and expensive and we will have to change the way we live because of that. When you realise how much of our lifestyle (food, transport, agriculture, etc) relies on oil, you understand the massive changes that will have to take place.

It's hard for us to predict how this will happen, but Cuba has already experienced it because of the embargo against it. In previous years they relied on the USSR, but when that fell, they had nothing except some Latin American countries to trade with. They had to deal with having almost no oil. It was very interesting to see what happened.

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