Indigenous diets can help fight modern illnesses, say health experts | Global development |

MDG : An Okiufa boy in Papua New Guinea

Unprecedented levels of chronic non-communicable diseases are prompting calls to revert to the diets of our ancestors to regain lost nutrients.
It is believed that such a shift would help to improve society’s relationship with the Earth and restore human and environmental health.
“The rise of the industrial model of agriculture has contributed greatly to people being disconnected from the food on their plates,” says Sarah Somian, a France-based nutritionist.
Many traditional and non-processed foods consumed by rural communities, such as millet and caribou, are nutrient-dense and offer healthy fatty acids, micronutrients and cleansing properties widely lacking in diets popular in high- and middle-income countries, say experts.

Indigenous diets worldwide – from forest foods such as roots and tubers in regions of eastern India to coldwater fish, caribou and seals in northern Canada – are varied, suited to local environments, and can counter malnutrition and disease.
“For many tribal and indigenous peoples, their food systems are complex, self-sufficient and deliver a very broad-based, nutritionally diverse diet,” says Jo Woodman, a senior researcher and campaigner at Survival International, a UK-based indigenous advocacy organisation.
But the disruption of traditional lifestyles due to environmental degradation, and the introduction of processed foods, refined fats and oils, and simple carbohydrates, contributes to worsening health in indigenous populations, and a decline in the production of nutrient-rich foodstuffs that could benefit all communities.
“Traditional food systems need to be documented so that policymakers know what is at stake by ruining an ecosystem, not only for the indigenous peoples living there, but for everyone,” Harriet Kuhnlein, founding director of the Centre of Indigenous Peoples’ Nutrition and Environment at McGill University, Canada.
Since the early 1960s, economic growth, urbanisation and a global population increase to more than 7 billion have multiplied the consumption of animal-sourced foods – including meat, eggs and dairy products – which comprised 13% of the energy in the world’s diet in 2013, according to the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi, Kenya. Farm-raised livestock consumes up to a third of the world’s grains, the institute notes.
Agricultural expansion, some of it to cultivate more grains, accounts for 80% of the world’s deforestation, says the UN Environmental Programme.
With the global population expected to rise to some 9 billion by 2050, 50% more food must be produced to feed these people, depending on whether there is a healthy ecosystem. “When environments are destroyed or contaminated, this affects the food they can provide,” Kuhnlein says.
Indigenous food systems – gathering and preparing food to maximise the nutrients an environment can provide – range from nomadic hunter-gatherers such as the Aché in eastern Paraguay, the Massai pastoralists in northern Kenya, and herding and fishing groups including the Inuit in northern Canada, to the Saami of Scandinavia and the millet-farming Kondh agriculturalists in eastern India.

read more:  Indigenous diets can help fight modern illnesses, say health experts | Global development |

Workshop: Return on Investment Strategies for Sustainable Waste Stream Management | NJ Farm To School

Hosted by Duke Farms with collaboration from the New Jersey School Board Association, New Jersey Audubon, NJ Eco-Schools, Sustainable Jersey, New Jersey Farm to School Network and Sustainable Jersey City, this workshop will focus on Sustainable Waste Stream Practices presented by experts who will demonstrate unique reuse and recycling technologies and the policies, contracts and strategic planning methods that can result in healthier schools at reduced operational costs. The various sessions will provide a brief overview of why schools should strongly consider adopting sustainable waste stream practices as an integral part of their districts’ strategic plan for school improvement.

This workshop includes technical assistance presentations on two alternative forms of composting and a break out session specific to school board policy that will help improve your district’s bottom line. Examples will be provided of schools that have successfully implemented recycling and composting and the cost avoidance that occurred from their actions.

Click for more info: Workshop: Return on Investment Strategies for Sustainable Waste Stream Management | NJ Farm To School.


“Take me to your leader.”

I couldn’t help thinking of that cliche from old cowboy-Indian-style movies, as I listened to a recent podcast by two professors of food safety discussing raw milk (this is the podcast Joseph Heckman originally provided a link to; it’s the last 25 minutes that are most relevant to raw milk risk and safety).

The two professors are Don Schaffner of Rutgers University and Ben Chapman of North Carolina State University. Schaffner is also president of the International Association of Food Protection, one of the largest educational organizations around food safety. They regularly discuss various aspects of food safety, and this week chose to focus on how to more effectively alert raw milk drinkers about the dangers of the product.ened to a recent podcast by two professors of food safety discussing raw milk (this is the podcast Joseph Heckman originally provided a link to; it’s the last 25 minutes that are most relevant to raw milk risk and safety).

“This product is risky,” said Schaffner. “We have to figure out a better way to get to the people with that risk information.”

Giving the professors new hope, they gushed, was the recent Minnesota study on raw milk (sponsored by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control)–the one that estimated that more than 20,000 people got sick from raw milk between 2001 and 2010, versus the 21 reported.

“Kudos to the people in Minnesota who carried out that study….it’s a fascinating piece of work,” said Schaffner, who is taken by its confirmation (to him) of the huge risk associated with drinking raw milk. It seems so obvious to the professors that not only is raw milk terribly dangerous, but that anyone who chooses to drink it must be completely uninformed….or just plain weird.

After all, how could anyone not understand? “It’s going to be hard to reach them” (these hardcore raw milk drinkers), bemoaned Schaffner.

Read more Saving Raw Milk Drinkers from Themselves.


Dine With Pat | NJ Slow Food Winter Markets

It’s That Time Again: Slow Food Winter Farmers Markets

Saturday, January 11: From 11 am to 3 pm at Tre Piani restaurant, Forrestal Village, Princeton. Vendors: BeechTree Farm, Birds & Bees Farm Honey, Cherry Grove Farm, Chickadee Creek Farm, Davidson’s Exotic Mushrooms, Donna & Company Chocolates, Elijah’s Promise Bakery, Happy Wanderer Bakery, Judith’s Desserts, Nice & Sharp Knife Sharpening Service, Rocky Brook Farm, Shibumi Mushroom Farm, Trappers Honey, Valley Shepherd Creamery, WoodsEdge Wools Farm. Directions at ($2 suggested donation)

via Scott Anderson @ Beard House; 2 NJ Slow Food Winter Markets; “Somm” the Movie | Dine With Pat.

From Garden to Glass: Home Brewing with Your Garden Harvest Fri Jan 24th 6:30 Free Class at the E.A.R.T.H Center!


Brew Workshop 2014

Home Brewing Workshop at the EARTH Center

Rutgers Master Gardeners want to help you gain knowledge of home brewing at a new EARTH Center workshop called: From Garden to Glass: Home Brewing with Your Garden Harvest. Featured will be vegetables and fruits you can use in the home brewing process, such as pumpkins and figs.  The workshop takes place on Friday, January 24, at 6:30 PM, in the EARTH Center, located in Davidson’s Mill Pond Park 42 Riva Ave. South Brunswick, NJ.

Presenter Michael Klaser has been a home-brewer and amateur brew-master for 4 years. Also the editor of a home-brewing blog, Michael will lead the seminar and share his experience in this art and science. A brief overview of the different methods of making beer and discussion of the major ingredients will follow including; beer history, modern home-brewing procedures, and equipment considerations. Equipment and raw ingredients will be on display so attendees can see the tools firsthand. Resources will be available too for people to carry out their own research.

There will be plenty of time for Q&A, as new brewers often have many questions. No Walk-ins are permitted. Though this is a free workshop register at 732-398-5262 by January 22.

Even if you can’t visit the EARTH Center this season, you can still get great gardening tips by calling the Master Gardner Helpline at 732-398-5220.

If you are not familiar with your local Extension office, it is part of a nationwide network that brings the research of the state land-grant universities to local people. Rutgers Cooperative Extension offices throughout New Jersey are cooperatively funded by; the County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Rutgers University- New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Rutgers Cooperative Extension educational programs are offered to all without regard to race, religion, color, age, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.


U.S. Ark of Taste Varieties | Seed Savers Exchange

Visit Seed Savers Exchange for U.S. Ark of Taste varieties.

The US Ark of Taste is a catalog of over 200 delicious foods in danger of extinction. By promoting and eating Ark products we help ensure they remain in production and on our plates. Seed Savers Exchange proudly offers seeds for the following thirty-five Ark of Taste foods. via U.S. Ark of Taste Varieties  | Seed Savers Exchange


Slow Food + Seed Savers Exchange



We’ve teamed up with Slow Food USA to offer a seed packet collection of six rare varieties featured in Slow Food’s ‘Ark of Taste.’ We encourage you to participate in the preservation of these varieties by growing them, eating them, and sharing both the produce and seeds with your community.

Storied Vegetables: the Root of Quality
By: Renata Christen, Seed Savers Exchange | Published: NOVEMBER 26, 2013 | No

What if our relationship to food was like our relationship to storytelling; where mealtime, the end-product of a process, teems with meaning and soul?  What if a carrot wasn’t just a carrot, but a beloved family heirloom of your elderly neighbor, used exclusively to make vegetable-based soup stocks rich with transcendentally meaty flavors? Food Diversity – mountains of tomato varieties and rainbow carrots, melons grown for roasting their tasty seeds, wacky kinds of hot pepper – defines the work happening at Seed Savers Exchange. Thankfully, we’re not alone: believing that foods of cultural value have inherent value also defines the work of Slow Food International, an organization founded “to counteract fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world.”

Local MarketSlow Food has done more to identify and preserve beautiful food ways of life than any other globally recognized non-profit – that craft foods and their base products are worth preserving for the mere poetry of their existence, and the alternative, viable economies in which such poetry is a muse. Over the years, Seed Savers Exchange members have recovered crop varieties of historical importance that directly tie into the notion of terroir (“a taste of place” worth preserving) and the mission of Slow Food. While the scope of Slow Food encompasses all traditionally-made (typically craft) regionally significant food products, their work overlaps heavily with ours: uniting people whose passion is to save heirloom and heritage agricultural products from the brink of extinction.

Slow Food houses numerous umbrella projects, the Ark of Taste being its most substantial food recovery effort: a catalog of rare and endangered heritage foods whose lives we can save by eating them, thus ensuring they’ll continue to be valued and used (keeping sustainable harvesting practices always in mind). Steered by participatory nominations, an “Ark of Taste” committee gathers to determine through set evaluation criteria, a nominated product’s history, taste, whether it’s available in limited quantities, sustainably harvested or produced, and whether it’s endangered, at risk, or under appreciated. Like Seed Savers Exchange, the Ark exists because of average citizens offering up rare heirloom varieties for preservation. Seed Savers members have introduced 35 varieties to the Ark.

In an effort to clarify Seed Savers’ partnership with Slow Food’s Ark, we’ve curated six varieties showcasing the power of food with rich stories and unconventional uses: read more

via Storied Vegetables: the Root of Quality | Seedsavers Blog | Rare garden seeds, heirloom seeds, seed saving..


Slow Food USA: Ark of Taste in the USA


Slow Food USA

It’s not too early to begin planning next year’s garden! Consider choosing some meaningful plants from the Slow Food Ark of Taste in the USA.

Ark of Taste in the USA

Cherokee Trail of Tears Bean

The Ark of Taste is a living catalog of delicious and distinctive foods facing extinction. By identifying and championing these foods we keep them in production and on our plates.

Since 1996, more than 1,100 products from over 50 countries have been added to the International Ark of Taste. Over 200 of these foods are from the USA, and we are always seeking more edible treasures to include.

The Ark of Taste is a tool for farmers, ranchers, fishers, chefs, grocers, educators and consumers to seek out and celebrate our country’s diverse biological, cultural an

Explore the Ark of Taste in the USA online catalogued culinary heritage.

See the full list of Ark of Taste products from the USA

via Slow Food USA: Ark of Taste in the USA.