Monday, April 28, 2008
Have to love the way mainstream news gets our attention with headlines, like "Food shortages in the U.S.?"
Then of course the article goes on to say that there really aren't any food shortages to speak of here, only rising prices due to the same things we've been blogging about the past few weeks: Speculation, money moving from sub-prime real estate to investing in food and grain futures; Ethanol - the greatest redirecting of food into non-efficient fuel supplements every created; Australian drought; Global warming; and most of all fear and panic.
It's amazing how this all happened so quickly. One hypothesis (if you happen to lean toward larger conspiracy theories) is that it's the next big trend in duping independent, family farmers who are borrowing more money now to obtain more farm land, seed and fertilizer - and once the bubble bursts on them, those who have a vested interest in consolidating their farms can then do that with pennies on the dollar (not unlike what happened during the farm crisis of the 1980's).
Everyone should see the movie "The Real Dirt on Farmer John" by the way (www.AngelicOrganics.com)- because Farmer John Peterson and Taggart Siegel (the Director of this award winning film) do a great job in depicting what happened to family farms across the U.S. - after big agriculture moved in. They also show a wonderful and heartwarming turn around after the farm goes 100% organic, bio-dynamic and gets involved with a local CSA (community supported agriculture).
Ever play the game of Monopoly? It's so much fun, especially when you're the one who owns all the property and can build multiple hotels on each parcel...not as much fun when you round the bend with only $200 in your pocket from passing "GO" and you happen to and on a spot where you have to go broke, or start selling off your assets just to stay in the game.
So as we watch the cost of a loaf of bread surpass $3.00, and others less fortunate around the world are eating their one meal a day of soupy sorghum grain, maybe it's time we shift our priorities and perceptions?
Funny story: Tried calling into "Talk of the Nation" today (a great talk show on NPR hosted by Neil Conan) - as the topic was everything we've been discussing here, high cost of food, increased demand and panic...etc. One of the producers actually answered my call and asked me what my comment or question was, and I said: "There is a solution to ending world hunger and solving the global food crisis". She asked 'how is that?' and I said, "Industrial Hemp..." she put me on hold and then a minute later came back and apologized that they didn't have time to take my call. Problems they have all day to talk about, solutions?...time's up!
Anyway, that's a great, informative radio show and I can't recommend it enough.
Peace, Love & Organics!
Your Hippy Gourmet TV family
Sunday, April 27, 2008
From "Food Facts Asia" Entry 32
This is a fascinating article about people in Okinawa Japan living longer, healthier lives by actually reducing their calorie intake.
The article attributes part of their longevity to "their low saturated fat diet which is high in seafood, seaweed, fruit and vegetables."
However, the major point we're getting at here is this, they practice "...a cultural tradition called "hara hachi bu" meaning "eat until you are only 80% full", which is widely practiced in Okinawa. The Okinawans consume 20% fewer calories than the average Japanese diet which in turn is lower than that consumed in most other countries. In effect this means they consume about 500 cals less than the typical 2,000 plus calorie-diet consumed daily by an adult woman in a Western country."
Imagine cooking and eating 80% of the portion size you normally would at each meal, or cooking up 100% of the portions, but leaving 20% or more for left overs. When dining out, try to box-up 20-50% of your plate for lunch or dinner the following day. This will no doubt save money in the long run, but it's already proven that it will lengthen our lives by a decade or two!
Most difficult part for us in the Western (and developed) countries is convincing ourselves that we are full at 80%. The notion of the clean plate society is well known visiting friends and family, so as not to offend by not eating everything on our plates. But in these circumstances all we need do is simply ask for smaller portions, or watch our steps carefully at buffet tables.
The point being made here is as follows, if the human body is designed to run more efficiently on less calories, and everyone in the developed world does their part to eat a little bit less at each meal, then we will see a world of long living, healthy and happy populations.
Here's another tidbit from this great article:
"Alcohol too is consumed in moderation and regular exercise is an important part of their (Okinawans) lives, even when they are very old. The Okinawans are also said to have a psycho-spiritual outlook on life and use meditation and other means to reduce stress. This lifestyle seems to be paying off. In addition to their long life spans, the Okinawans have an 80% lower incidence of cancers such as breast and prostrate cancer when compared to the USA. They also have very a low incidence of heart disease and stroke. The average body mass index (BMI) is just 18-22 and they have low levels of body fat."
Aha! Low stress, alcohol in moderation and seeing life as joyous, happy and balanced through the practice of meditation and spiritual hopefulness is also the key to long, healthy lives.
So cook and eat a little less, try not to finish your plate at restaurants and bring home a doggy-bag for another whole meal, reduce stress wherever and whenever possible, and remember that we're all in this together!
Peace, Love & Organics,
your Hippy Gourmet Family
"Last week, French Agriculture Minister Michel Barnier warned E.U. officials against "too much trust in the free market."
"We must not leave the vital issue of feeding people," he said, "to the mercy of market laws and international speculation."
This article paints a global picture of how money markets, 'with a blip on a computer screen,' shifted toward the open waters of commodity grain trading after the sub-prime mortgage crisis. "Food became the new gold...as hundreds of millions of investment dollars funneled into grain futures."What are futures? These are investment products that place bets on commodity prices, will they go up? or will they go down? Seems harmless enough, but in actuality the futures market has a great deal to do with the current spikes in petrol and food - all from speculation.
For instance, we may have a surplus of fuel and no real interruption happening in the pipelines that bring us our precious oil - but if a few futures traders read the news that there was some name calling between our President and the President of some large oil producing country let's say, this information is used to drive up prices...merely on the hint of some issue that may never actually cause fuel prices to go up naturally.
In the commodity trading of grains, yes there has been a lot of contributing factors - from Australian drought, to an unhealthy shift in Ethanol and (inefficient) bio-fuel demands, but overall, across the planet there is actually plenty enough food to go around...so how can we reconcile those who wish to turn greater profits from their hundreds of millions invested, with those struggling to feed a family of 3 for less than a dollar a day?
Profits are great! Who doesn't love to earn money from an honest days work, even it means making money off of bets made in a gilded casino overlooking global markets. But what will that money buy when the panic and turmoil leaves no place on earth untouched by hunger pains?
Industrial Hemp to the rescue! We need to cultivate this wonderful, life sustaining plant and nurture its gifts of protein, oil, fiber and textiles. Developing nations and our first world countries need to act immediately in growing plants such as hemp that can feed their populations for pennies, helping to alleviate the financial burdens that world food prices are causing.
Again, there are no shortages of food, only shortages of rationality and common sense.
Peace, Love and Organics,
Your Hippy Gourmet Family
The Peace Sign. Born 50 years ago, we've blogged about its origin and creator several weeks ago - but today on MSNBC.com there was an article entitled: "A piece of gold" - by Veronica Hendrix.
The title of the article seems nice enough, but then the sub-header reads: "What do we think about this once-subversive symbol of righteousness now that it's turned 50?"
Was the Peace Sign ever 'subversive' really? Or was it that the mainstream said that a circle with a few lines intersecting was a radical symbol, just because the creator was afraid of nuclear war and desired world peace? Radical stuff no doubt!
The article starts off seemingly mocking the peace sign as 'paradoxical' because those who held the signs up high during civil rights marches and peace parades were injured or killed back in the 60's...as if the sign itself caused riots, chaos and upheaval.
Then the blog goes on to use sarcasm and derision to diminish the Peace Sign as nothing more than a kitsch type of jewelery and clothing accessory, worn by the masses who do it because it seems 'cool,' rather than for knowing its meaning.
In all fairness, Ms. Hendrix does offer one or two brief sentences of hope, that "...we can dream of a more peaceful world, and labor in the fields of our neighborhoods and cities to cultivate it. We should and be darn right relentless and vigilant about it."
But alas, it's really but one small conclusion wedged in at the bottom of a longer article that feels like it's really snickering at the Peace Sign. As if turning 50, the Peace Sign is a tarnished relic of a bygone day where all subscribe to wearing it are rather silly...
Folks, let us not forget that War is radical, Peace is rational, and when we see people of all ages embracing the Peace Sign for what it really means, wearing it proudly (so it just about reaches your lapel flag pin), or painted on children's faces, or on our bikes and hybrids, that we're really standing up for what we know is true and good in the terms that define ourselves as peaceful.
Let's take back the Peace Sign!
PEACE, Love, and Organics,
Your Hippy Gourmet TV family
Saturday, April 26, 2008
By now you've all seen or heard the news about people lining up at the big box stores to purchase bags of rice.
OK, so we can understand why a small restaurant owner might want to stock up on staples to maintain supplies and buy at lower prices, but what's up with the family purchasers wanting more than four (4), twenty pound bags per shopping day?
80 pounds of rice, really? Our estimate is 50+ cups of rice roughly per 20 pound bag, which is actually enough rice for a family of 8 to have rice for every meal for a 40 day month!
Let's all try to remember that there is no food shortage.
There is only speculation that leads to false perceptions, fear of deficit and then a self-fulfilling prophecy that actually causes rice prices to go through the roof...and all this does is help to raise the prices for the most unfortunate people on the planet who as I write this are going hungry right now.
Organic, Long Grain, grown in America rice is abundant, delicious, healthy and inexpensive - relative to the Asian varieties. So enjoy and no need to insulate your house with bags of it either OK?
Peace, Love and Organics
Your Hippy Gourmet TV family
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
We've been writing about the global food 'pricing' crisis on a daily basis because the news is that it's escalating.
The United Nations calls this a 'silent tsunami' - with the pains of hunger spreading across over 100,000,000 people - mostly in developing countries where people spend most of their livelihoods on food.
Doesn't seem like any kind of silent tsunami to us, especially when people are rioting and taking their malnutrition into the streets!
The issues we've listed repeatedly, and that also appear in the news have to do mostly with a growing middle class across China and India that have developed a taste and budget to purchase meat. So with a growing appetite for feeding these animals that feed these people, global supplies of staple foods have been depleting more rapidly.
Farmer's who used to grow rice for instance, the inexpensive staple food for the majority of the world, have been encouraged to grow animal feed instead. Many other farmers around the world have been rushing into the food-to-fuel market, allocating the majority of their crops to chase after the proven inefficient bio-fuel craze. And the drought in Australia (caused by global warming) hasn't helped either.
But a big part of this whole crisis has to do with perceptions. The truth is that there IS abundance, sufficient enough to feed everyone on the planet many times over for eons to come. All we need do is apply good old common sense along with sustainable farming and feeding philosophies.
It's time to recognize and implement rational policies that will bring about swift improvements to the food supplies around globe. Organic, sustainable, bio-dynamic and diverse farming practices for one. Cultivating Industrial Hemp all of the world immediately and efficiently converting this into food and oils that are perfectly balanced for the human body. Fast to grow, fast to harvest, delicious to eat, high in protein and Omega-3, and not a hint of issue or moral dilemma to be found.
Let's join together to act now on positive change. Because when a hundred million people go hungry tonight, tomorrow they're going to wake up with anger in their hearts and irrational thoughts on their minds.
Peace, Love and Urgency!
Your friends at Hippy Gourmet
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
It used to be one would have to wait for St. Patrick's Day to see green beer or green Twinkies, but now St. Pat's has some competition it seems with Earthday.
Not that we're knocking the idea of people taking at least one day out of the year to remember that we live on planet earth, but what about tomorrow when it's no longer Earthday?
We like to remember the great inventor and thinker R. Buckminster Fuller on this day, because he had a vision for remapping the planet earth, not with arbitrary borders, but by how natural resources flow. Bucky as he was called, believed that we live on "Space Ship Earth" - which is such a beautiful image when you think about it...that we're all share the same limited resources, air, water, soil, food and that there's plenty enough to go around, so long as we think logically and act rationally.
Bucky would say that Everyday is Earthday, and we all ought to take a few moments each and every day to thank the universe for all the abundance, love, joy and spirit we have in common - and for all we have to gain by sharing our lives and our hopes and dreams for peace around the world.
Earth is a miracle! We are miracles! And yes, the Earth (or Gaia) is our mother and our lives do depend on her health and well being...so this is a 365 day-a-year mantra for everyone.
Peace, Love and Organics!
Your friends at Hippy Gourmet TV
Monday, April 21, 2008
Now it seems the new statement of wealth around the world is showing how much gas guzzling a vehicle can do, equating ridiculously low gas mileage and expensive fill-ups to ones status.
This article from MSNBC proves that the Genie is out of the bottle in terms of how we are exporting our worst habits around the globe.
We ought to be exporting Tesla Motor Cars (www.TeslaMotors.com) - a 100% electric sports car - and other kinds of electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid (www.calcars.org) vehicles.
We have to make a stand here and start exporting our American creativity and marketing ingenuity to express the new and hip lifestyle for the world to aspire to...sustainable and environmentally friendly transportation!
James Ehrlich, the producer and director of Organic Living with the Hippy Gourmet presented at three different Borders Book stores in Roseville, Fair-Oaks and Natomas, teaching people about solar ovens from www.SolarOvens.org, as well as how to create grass-roots media, and simple steps for leading more sustainable lives.
The classes were a huge success, with everyone actively participating and learning how they can make a real difference at home and in their communities. So many great stories to share, from people's favorite recipes, to how they incorporate organic foods into their diets and so much more.
The best part about teaching these classes, is making a connection with people in the community and realizing how much passion there is for healthy eating and for slowing our lives down enough to appreciate what we have around us; friends, family, peace, love and abundance.
We want to thank Skorman Productions and the folks at Borders Books for making this such a successful event for us!
There's a run on rice, cooking oil and flour...wait a second, in California? The breadbasket of the entire nation and supplier of staple foods for the rest of the world?
It appears that the big box stores are beginning to 'ration' the amount of rice, cooking oil and flour that people can purchase - after what seems like a run on the markets for to store up on these staples before they run out.
As we're reading the news, we still can't believe our eyes that this is happening in America. Although for now it seems to be a great deal of hysteria going on that's causing people to buy more than what they really need for even a two month supply going forward, thinking like survivalists and trying to 'stock up' on these staples.
But the truth is that we are competing for protein with developing nations, hungry for our grains, rice and corn primarily to feed their growing middle classes the animals that feed off these staples. It's also a direct result of chaos theory due to the move of farmers away from growing food, to becoming like Texas oil tycoons and growing crops for bio-fuels.
The main thing is folks, there's abundance everywhere around us - so always remain calm. There are protein sources that grow right outside your door and along the side of highways, like Sun Chokes for instance (edible tubers that grow at the bottom of sunflower-like stalks) - and most of all, there is enough food to feed everyone on this planet many times over, so long as we realize what's important for healthy, nutritional diets and do our part to eat more veggies and to support local family farms growing organic food.
Peace, Love and Organics!
your friends at Hippy Gourmet TV
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Join us this Sunday, April 20th at three (3) different Border's Books Stores as we present the Producer and Director of "Organic Living with the Hippy Gourmet," James Ehrlich - who will be leading a wonderful interactive learning seminar on everything from how to lower your monthly food costs while eating healthier, to quick and easy sustainable tips for saving mother earth, and even how to produce your own television programs!
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
And, global warming is playing it's role in Australia (and all over) with the worst draught in history, causing wheat prices to skyrocket throughout Asia.
We hate to be redundant, but Industrial Hemp can solve almost all of the above issues straight away http://naihc.org/. If cultivated aggressively in developing nations and the U.S., we could see a real relief in food prices beginning in a matter of months, with healing reverberations around the globe for decades to come.
Also, increasing vegetarian and vegan diets globally will help a lot and quickly, as will ending our dependence on fossil fuels!
A few tips for saving money right now at the grocery store:
1) It's spring! Visit your local CSA (community supported agriculture) http://www.localharvest.org/csa/ farm and sign your family and friends up to receive boxes of seasonal produce right now!
2) When you go to the grocery store, make sure to shop where they have organic, sustainable and locally produced bulk sections - buying in bulk and storing grains, beans, cereals, rice, pasta and nuts in glass jars will extend your food dollar quite a ways.
3) After preparing a lovely recipe together with friends and family, make sure to scrape every last bit of delicious food from your pots and pans onto your plates. So often we think that those extra few rice grains, or beans, or bits of tomato sauce are better off going into the garbage or disposal, when in truth if you add up all the few extra spoon fulls of goodies here and there, you'll begin to realize how much food we really waste each and every day (not to mention that most of the flavor in our food comes from those last few morsels at the bottom and side of our pots and pans).
4) Save your scraps for soup stocks, stews and reductions. Why should the compost pile get more protein than your kids?
More energy and money saving food tips to come, so please stay tuned!
Peace, Love and Organics!
Your friends at Hippy Gourmethttp://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24127314
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Monday, April 14, 2008
In the Ecuadorian Amazon, Fajardo and Yanza lead one of the largest environmental legal battles in history against oil giant Chevron, demanding justice for the massive petroleum pollution in the region.
Feliciano dos Santos, 43, Mozambique:
Using traditional music, grassroots outreach and innovative technology to bring sanitation to the most remote corners of Mozambique, Feliciano dos Santos empowers villagers to participate in sustainable development and rise up from poverty.
Providing simple, sustainable methods for villages to battle against water-born disease and to educate people toward healthier, happier lives, Feliciano uses music and his sense of humor to make a real difference for Mozambique - with lessons to be shared all over the developing world.
Rosa Hilda Ramos, 63, Puerto Rico:
In the shadow of polluting factories in Cataño, a city across the bay from San Juan, Ramos leads her community to permanently protect the Las Cucharillas Marsh, one of the last open spaces in the area and one of the largest wetlands ecosystems in the region.
Wetlands are our most precious resource, not only for migratory birds, fish and wildlife, but for purifying water and creating oxygen. Rosa is tenacious in her pursuit to keep development out of the wetlands in her area of Puerto Rico and her positive attitude is absolutely contagious!
Jesús León Santos, 42, Mexico:
In Oaxaca, where unsustainable land-use practices have made it one of the world's most highly-eroded areas, León leads a land renewal program that employs ancient indigenous practices to transform depleted soil into arable land.
Jesus built a coalition of local and regional farmers to plant over 2 million trees in his area of Oaxaca. The trees have brought wildlife back to the area, have replenished the soil and have also revived creeks and streams that are the life blood for any farming community. Most of all, Jesus educates farmers on maintaining their indigenous seed stores, promoting bio-diversity and sustainable farming practices and taking a real stand against genetically modified seeds and crops.
Marina Rikhvanova, 46, Russia:
As Russia expands its petroleum and nuclear interests, Rikhvanova works to protect Siberia's Lake Baikal, one of the world's most important sources of fresh water, from environmental devastation brought on by these polluting industries.
Marina uses her voice to go head-to-head against some of the most powerful people and organizations in the world, to save one of the worlds greatest lakes from having an oil pipeline running nearby. Hard to imagine that activism is alive and well in the former Soviet Union, but Marina has proved that with hard work and determination, it is possible to not only get the attention of authorities, but to change their ill-thought direction. We pray for Marina's son who has been imprisoned because of their next protest against a planned Uranium enrichment plant, and paper mill that threaten the lake even more.
Ignace Schops, 43, Belgium:
Raising more than $90 million by bringing together private industry, regional governments, and local stakeholders, Schops led the effort to establish Belgium's first and only national park, protecting one of the largest open green spaces in the country.
Ignace was inspired by the creation of Yosemite National Park, during the height of the industrial revolution in our country. Understanding that it would not be easy or simple, Ignace raised awareness and serious capital to create open space, by designing an inclusive program that brought diverse groups in as "environmental investors" - where the return is positive and healthy for everyone.
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Friday, April 11, 2008
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Tuesday, April 08, 2008
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Friday, April 04, 2008
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream that someday our great nation would come together in unity, leaving behind divisive and hateful practices that defied all moral common sense.
Dr. King understood the journey would long and arduous, and that even with substantial accomplishments along the way, the process toward real equality for all people would most certainly be a daily struggle.
Step by step, mile by mile, those marches and speeches helped shaped a global perspective on the challenges we yet face, while at the same time provided each of us with a powerful compass that should always keep us moving forward.
To us, every day is Earthday and every day is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, because it's up to all of us to do our part for a better world.
Peace, Love and Organics!
The Hippy Gourmet
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