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From Farm to Fork

May 18, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO (RPRN) 5/18/2009--The first ever ‘Growing Green’ awards, sponsored by the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) took place on May 9 at San Francisco’s California Academy of Sciences. This initiative, bringing to the forefront the effects our everyday food choices have on global warming, celebrated three extraordinary people moving to re-shape the nation.  The next Organic Summit will be held at Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, Washington June 3 -6 .

Even Michele Obama can be seen heading the organic movement by cultivating her very own vegetables in the first White House garden since Eleanor Roosevelt during WWII.

Will Allen, founder and CEO of Growing Power, an inner-city farm aimed at teaching his community the benefits of locally-grown produce, is one of the winners. Sixteen years ago, his unique innovation of combining aquaculture with vegetable production began at the last remaining nineteenth century farm in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Today, fish waste is used to fertilize plants and in turn, the water filtered by the soil, is redirected to the fish-tank. This seemingly tiny cycle of life is playing an awesome role in a global attempt at regenerating our ailing planet.

Similarly, Fidele Bauccio, CEO and founder of Bon Appétit Management Company, addresses the connection between food and climate change by adopting a Low Carbon Diet philosophy to its food preparation services at some 400 medical, cultural and university cafeterias worldwide. ‘Low Carbon’ refers to the amount of CO2 utilized in transport of - or emitted by - the growth and production of food. For instance, opting to raise cattle automatically creates more waste than would cultivating an apple orchard. Not only are there more natural gases emitted by the animal waste (despite its reuse as fertilizer) but more machinery is involved in the processing and preservation of the eventual packaged product on store shelves.

It is said that ‘‘If you break down the fossil fuel consumption of the American economy by sector, agriculture consumes 19 percent of the total, second only to transportation.’’4

The third winner, Jamies Harvie, co-founder of Health Care Without Harm, a non-profit organization that emphasizes the importance of nutritious and sustainable food for hospitals. Ironically, most large-scale medical facilities in North America have not yet adopted a safer, healthier way of producing food for its patients and yet are some of the largest contributors of environmental pollutants. This organization is helping some 240 hospitals take charge of their purchasing power, invoking significant change for their patients and the world outside.

OnEarth magazine, published by the NRDC, urges the government to show greater effort in actively recognizing these initiatives, by ‘‘providing grants to towns and cities to build year-round farmer’s markets; make food-safety regulations sensitive to scale and marketplace; urging the USDA to establish a Local Meat-Inspectors Corps to serve and support the local food processors that remain; establish a Strategic Grain Reserve to prevent huge swings in commodity prices; create incentive for hospitals and universities (…) to buy fresh local produce which would vastly expand regional agriculture and improve the diet of (…) millions.’’

Organic certification and alternative production options are available to farmers on ATTRA (National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service), as well as Organic Farming Research Foundation. The next Organic Summit will be held at Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, Washington June 3 -6 where you can follow the Organic Nation tour, whose purpose is to document sustainable food-systems that are changing the way Americans grow, eat and live.

About the author:

Andrea Frascione covers the business, eco-entrepreneur and lifestyle beat for RushPRnews. You may write her for story ideas and comments at fandrea@rushprnews.com

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Filed Under: Health and Fitness, CONSUMER GOODS, ENVIRONMENT, Article-byline, Food-Nutrition

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