Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Nothing Loco about being a Locavore.

Hello Iowans! This is Aaron blogging today so prepare yourself for links... links are fun!

Our local Farmers' Markets are back in business and now is a great opportunity to discuss Oxfam's Grow Method. These neighborhood markets allow local farmers to sell their meat & produce directly to consumers. Doing some of your grocery shopping at your local Farmers' Market is directly in-line with 3 Grow Method principles.

  • SUPPORT - You're supporting small-scale food producers close to home.
  • SEASONAL - We waste lots of energy trying to grow food in the wrong place, at the wrong time of year. The produce available at your local Farmers' Market reflects the growing season in your area.
  • SAVE FOOD - About a third of the food produced for people's plates ends up lost or wasted between farm and fork. Sometimes cutting the distance between farm & fork can cut food waste too!
Here are some additional resources for finding out what is in season where you live.
For more information on where to find the closest market to you, Iowa Oxfam Action Corps has put together a Foursquare list of Farmer's Markets in the greater Des Moines area. Enjoy!

If you're looking for recipes I've got a link for that. Oxfam America has a great Pinterest where you can follow & pin delicious Grow Method Recipes.  Check it out!

And if you've got a fully stocked kitchen but you're stumped on what to make for dinner, there's another kind of online resource that you can use to SAVE FOOD. You can find several different special recipe websites online by searching for "what to cook with ingredients you have" - on these sites you tell them some of the ingredients you have available and they will search for recipes that you'll be able to use them with. We are living in the future and it is amazing. I can personally recommend My Fridge Food for having saved a few dinners in my household through its ease of use. 

Enjoy your Summer, Iowa!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Poverty as a Puzzle

Earlier today, the Royce/Engel amendment to the 2013 Farm Bill was defeated on the floor of the House of Representatives. This amendment would have given an enormous boost to helping to lessen the effects of poverty worldwide by extending the flexibility and appropriate market mechanisms to meet emergency needs. In short, it would have allowed the United States to respond to disaster with food aid that is more cost effective (a plus for U.S. taxpayers) and faster (a plus for those experiencing famine). Sadly, it was supported by many of both major political parties but lost due to special interest lobbying and the spread of misinformation. With so many moving parts, how can we ever hope to end poverty?

Sounds a bit like a puzzle, no?

Rest assured, this is a solvable puzzle. We can and will solve hunger. We know what the pieces are: sustainable farming; empowering women, farmers, and communities; giving youth a chance at an education; fixing an outdated food aid system; and ending conflicts over natural resources, etc. And, we know that the pieces do fit together! Read this incredible story about Laura Chavez, a Guatemalan, who has inspired women in her community to stand up against gender-based violence. Through training she receives from Oxfam, she empowers women and makes her community stronger.

Organizations like Oxfam America work tirelessly to bring all of these pieces together. Let's continue to put pieces together, one-at-a-time, until the ending puzzle is a picture of a world where people have the power to make the changes they need to live smarter, healthier, and safer lives.

Sometimes a puzzle piece falls off the table and onto the floor, just like the Royce/Engel amendment did today. It doesn't mean the puzzle is over - let's pick up that piece, search for a new piece if need be, and finish the puzzle.