Filed under: Food + Health | Tags: Asian food, environment, feedlot beef, global warming, healthy diet, local eating, rice, tofu, vegetarian
Eating is one of my important part in my life. Sunday breakfast is the ideal start of the day. Friday dinner with my friends relieves all my stress. However busy I am, I never eat fast food nor frozen dinner. As professed gourmet, how can I be indifferent about “Power Steer,” the New York Times article about feedlot beef. In the article, Michael Pollan says eating beef every day is not a good idea for our health and the environment because of “the invisible costs: of antibiotic resistance, environmental degradation, heart disease, E. coli poisoning, corn subsidies, imported oil.” For example, compared to grass-fed beef, cornfed beef is less healthy because contains more saturated fat. Pollan also tells us the estimation that raising a 1250 pound cattle consumes 284 gallons of oil in his life time and 25 pounds of corn a day. You cannot forget about the consumption and pollution of assembly-line meat factories, including energy, water, greenhouse gases. (Mark Bittman, the New York Times)
I’m not only a gourmet. How can I be healthy and earth-friendly? Pollan suggests buying grass-fed beef. Another choice, being an occasional vegetarian? Don’t worry. You can still do that without abstinence. I introduce my favorite tofu dish.
Pick your favorite vegetables. I like carrots, broccoli, bok choy, coriander and squash. Cut a pack of firm tofu, vegetables and cloves of garlic into pieces. Stir vegetables and garlic with vegetable or sesame oil on a pan for five to 10 minutes. Add tofu, pepper and sauce, a combination of soy sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce and hot chili sauce. I usually don’t measure ingredients. Taste food while you cook. You can add sugar or different sauce. Be creative!
Picture by Sachiko Miyakawa
These are sample vegetables and sources.
Food will be best served with rice. You can use a rice cocker or pot, of course! Here’s the link to “How to Cook Rice” from About.com.
All ingredients are available in Lawrence. Have fun! Want to be a more green gourmet? Check out the Lawrence Sustainability Network’s “Local eating for global warming”!
By Sachiko Miyakawa
Filed under: Society + Media
In recent news, I convinced my mom to let me do the grocery shopping for my family so she could see how easy it is to buy better food without going to a “hippie” store like the Merc. We strutted in to Dillon’s together – OK, I pretty much dragged her in – and we picked out the local Iwig milk in the refillable glass bottles, the free range eggs, the organic potatoes and peppers – you get the drift. I even managed to fanagle her into buying reusable grocery bags to bring everything home in – she’s a plastic bag addict. I returned to Lawrence feeling pretty darned proud of myself, making a difference in my family’s life once and for all. You can imagine my shock when I returned home a week later to find a new carton of Roberts rBGH-ridden milk staring back out me from the top shelf of the refrigerator, rotted green peppers that never got cooked and – to really top it all off – the reusable grocery bags sitting in the garage with the rest of the recycling full of Dillon’s plastic bags. O, the irony.
Less recently, I was one of those precocious little kids who ran too fast, talked too much, and was always willing to argue. I was the weird kid in class who refused to let my mom get me ready in the morning and showed up in the hot pink stretchy pants – you know, with the elastic stirrup that went around your heels – and a bright red Power Rangers T-shirt, my hair pulled into two uncombed, lop-sided pigtails. (I was also the kid at the babysitters who didn’t understand why the boys could play in the sprinkler without their shirt on but I had to put mine back on.)
I suppose I’ve calmed down a bit, but not much, and try an stay involved with local food issues, fair trade, gardening, farming, cooking – OK, I love food and I love talking about it even more, but you’ll all find that out soon enough if you haven’t already. I hope to graduate within the next two years, but I keep adding degrees to my To Do list. I work at the Merc as a class host, cooking with chefs and going into the community to teach junior high schoolers why getting ketchup and pickles on your hamburger at lunch doesn ot technically count as eating vegetables. I also work on an organic farm, Hoyland Farms, with the Lominska family a few miles north of town. I would love love love to go to Grad school at UC Berkley and have Michael Pollan as a professor, so if anyone has a few thousand dollars and nothing to do with it, you know where to find me.
Other than the facts that I like to dance, I sing loudly and offkey (a dangerous combo), and watch movies instead of doing my homework, I can’t think of much more to say-I think I’ve already said too much.
Filed under: Food + Health, Local Events + Action | Tags: downtown, farmers market, fruits, Lawrence, local food, veggies
Local farmers and artisans, please forgive me for this one:
After reading Local eating for global change, I thought that that tip number four, find your local farmers’ market, was a little too obvious. But then, it occurred to me—I’ve lived in Lawrence for close to four years, and I have yet to visit the Downtown Lawrence Farmers Market.
Guess I underestimated the power of being obvious.
It’s not that I don’t want to pay a little more for fresh, local-grown food. I usually allot more money for fruits and veggies, because I don’t enjoy licking pesticides.
It’s not that I don’t want to interact with enthusiastic members of the community. One of my favorite activities is strolling down Mass St. and seeing familiar faces. Lawrencians are also some of the most interesting people.
So what is it, then?
Local farmers and artisans, I’m biting my tongue at this one:
I never know when or where the markets are.
Guess I should have taken tip number four more seriously.
Sure, I know the market is downtown. But sometimes the locations change or hearsay gets the best of me.
Excuses, I know. Slap me in the face. Shake your heads at me. It’s only a Google search away. There’s probably a sign (albeit a small one) downtown. But somehow, someway, the DLFM is always an afterthought. But I’m willing to change that.
But then another thing catches me off-guard. As I continue to peruse the Web site, I notice something else that keeps me away from the market:
Come early to the Saturday Market and experience the ringing of the bell – the official opening of the market at 7:00 am.
I, and most college students like me, have never met 7 a.m. on a Saturday. Morning, to me, is about 11 a.m.—precisely when the market closes.
So what can students do to forge a connection with local produce markets? Last semester, a sociology class at KU analyzed reasons why students don’t make it to the Market. The primary concern was lack of information and conflicting time schedules.
Time schedules seems legit to me. But lack of information—that one baffles me now. The plethora of resources at my fingertips is amazing. I didn’t know other options for local food existed beyond The Merc!, the Market and Local Burger—but this is also coming from the person who never could pin down the right dates and times for the Market.
So, a solution?
KU students should reach out to the broader Lawrence community—which includes the Market. The DLFM should reach out to KU students—a niche group that is receptive to trends and the green movement. With the Center for Sustainability on campus and KU’s new focus on organic food in campus eateries, why not sponsor a Farmers Market day on campus this spring? Bring vendors to the heart of Lawrence—KU—to set up camp on the green in front of Stauffer-Flint or Fraser Hall. Then, start conversations with vendors and students so that the vital messages—location, time, season—gets across.
Maybe that would make that Market a little easier for students to find.
By Kim Wallace
Filed under: Society + Media
Ford Foundation international scholar, acquainting myself with some Kansas idiosyncrasies:
“Where you at?”
Always cracks me up. Oh, and the not so small matter of seeking to add value to my background through pursuit of a Master’s. Actually, am striving for lots more – a utopia that’s proven somewhat elusive. I thought I found it in a forest in the Czech Republic and later, a stone’s throw from Dracula’s castle in Transylvania, Romania but post Communist hangovers led to some unpleasant experiences so that idealistic notion was jettisoned.
My interest in the environment leans more towards an appreciation of conservation efforts to protect endangered flora and fauna, and so when rainforests are threatened by loggers and rhino populations by poachers, my instinct is to do what VP Cheney did to Harry Whittington, except my actions won’t be accidental. I just have to get over my dislike for guns. Talking of dislikes, I could add capital punishment, wars, extraordinary rendition, savory with sweet, soapies and sitcoms, toilet rolls that peel from the top down, bathroom cubicles that start six inches from the floor, fascists, AIDS denialists, corrupt dictators, cold coffee, being broke, umpteen uses of the word “like” in conversation, fat cat politicos riding the gravy train, Guantanamo Bay, predictable flicks, dentists and … men scratching in public.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not that finicky, and I am discreet about picking my nose. Eeeeeeewwwhhh, I can almost hear some of you say, but are there any among us who dispense with etiquette from time to time? Don’t flood my comment’s box yet with replies. Let’s talk about it over lunch, if that sounds a more palatable prospect. OK, enough of this waffling, I’m supposed to talk about myself. For kicks, I play soccer, but the cold spell has put paid to that. I compensate by pounding the treadmill with ill-fitting Saucony’s and for my exertions, I’ve lost a few toenails. I also cycle a lot, but the pitiful state of my bike is like my feet. The front wheel is wobbly and looks like it wants to fall off at the slightest effort, and it just doesn’t do a good job even aspiring to climb the smallest hill. It was given to me by a friend, so it’s treasured, but the time may yet arrive when sentiment might give way to common sense. I’ve tried teaching myself to play the didgeridoo, but my frustration at mastering the art of circular breathing has put paid to being in a band, which in turn means I’ll never have any groupies.
Well, I could ramble on, but I don’t want to sound facetious. I ought to know my limitations. Still, it’s insightful reading all the postings and hearing the wonderful personal snippets of information from classmates. And I thought you were all just a bunch of carrot-chomping hippies in disguise.
Am just messin’ of course. It’s a honor being around so many bright and creative minds and that is an education in itself.
Filed under: Cars + Transport | Tags: bicycle, bike, bike to work, carbon emissions, commute, environment, environmental impact, Lawrence, sustainability
Like most kids, I grew up riding my bike around town for exercise, entertainment, or an excuse to get out of the house. If I really wanted to go somewhere, I’d hop in the car. Now pushing 30, I’m still pretty dependent on the automobile, but I’m finding a new use for that bike. In order to reduce my environmental impact and save a few dollars at the gas pump, I’ve been trying to wean myself from motorized transport. I started out by biking just on errands but quickly became an occasional commuter with the goal of riding at least once or twice a week.
According to US Census Bureau data, I’m joining the 1.3% of Lawrencians who enjoy a good ride on their way to and from work. That’s right, just 1.3%. Although that’s more than any other community in Kansas, it seems like we could be doing better in a state that is as flat as a pancake.
So why aren’t there more riders out there? The financial, environmental, and health benefits of riding speak for themselves. There are plenty of flat (or mostly flat) bike routes throughout the city. And, while I admit that at first I was intimidated by cyclists in their brightly colored shirts and spandex, I’ve discovered that there is plenty of room on the road for the average Joe in a suit and tie. Even the few drawbacks (I occasionally arrive at work with a case of helmet hair and a little sweat on my back) can easily be solved by packing a clean shirt and a can of pomade. There are really no good excuses not to give it a try.
Why not dust off the bike that has been hanging in the garage and hop on? Take a few tips from local bikers or one of the many great online resources and join others who are making 2008 the Year of the Bike. Just remember to keep an extra stick of deodorant in your desk drawer at work.
Lawrence Kansas has a population of about 90,000 people.
Right now the city is debating ways to fix traffic congestion. At the same time the city is thinking of cutting the public bus.
In the local paper, people have argued, (sometimes vehemently), for or against the bus.
This video makes the argument for a bigger better bus system in Lawrence. The type of bus system that is so easy and convenient that cars become garage decorations.
Filed under: Food + Health | Tags: agriculture, energy, fossil fuel, fossil fuels, land, population increase, problem solvers, resources, sustainable
The bad news is that fossil fuels are a limited resource, but society relies on them so heavily that if (when) we run out, we will have no way to sustain ourselves (in other words, eat).
The good news is that humans are problem solvers. It’s undeniable—in fact, it’s how we got here.
A brief history of energy use on Earth starts with the sun. The sun provides energy to plants through photosynthesis and the plants deliver this energy to humans via the food chain.
Problem 1: We want more plants.
Solution: Find more land.
Problem 2: No more productive land.
Solution: Make the existing land more productive.
Problems 3, 4, 5, and 6: Farming takes a lot of time and hard work, the land doesn’t always produce, and pests are getting into the crops.
Solution: Fossil fuels.
More specifically, machinery (fueled by oil), fertilizers (natural gas), pesticides (oil), and hydrocarbon fueled irrigation.
Because there’s only so much sunlight to go around, we looked for other ways to produce more food. I can’t help but consider this smart. In hindsight, however, these fuel-based solutions are far more temporary than anticipated.
As the population increases, it creates demand for agriculture to keep pace. If fair is fair, we put x amount more resources into the land, it ought to yield x amount more in crops. In reality, the land isn’t holding up its end of the bargain. The pesky thing about Mother Earth is that she refuses to play by our rules.
The U.S. food system consumes ten times more energy than it produces.
Problem: The more we turn to fossil fuels as a solution, the more rapidly we move toward an Earth without any fossil fuels at all, starting with petroleum and natural gas first. Maybe it’s overly optimistic, but I can’t help but reason, if we weren’t capable of creative problem solving, we’d never have made it this far. It’s an obstacle, yes, but mankind is made up of hurdlers.
According to sustainabletable.org, your food travels 1,500 miles on average before it gets to your plate. If demand for local food increases, we can cut back on the fossil fuels used for transportation.
Filed under: Cars + Transport | Tags: Advocacy, Biking, Community, environment, Health, Mutant bikes, Reasons
I didn’t realize what I was getting myself into when I first straddled the bicycle that was to replace my car.
The freedom I felt riding a bicycle for the first time as an adult was like seeing a mountain or the ocean for the first time. It gave me hope, and it showed me beauty. I wasn’t just going to be riding a bike; I was going to be commuting on my bike and becoming self-sufficient.
I found out that bicycling became the easiest way to get around, and my love for bicycling threw me unexpectedly into bicycling advocacy and the bicycling community in Lawrence. You discover a new world by biking, exploring your community and connecting a little more with nature. Bicycling is the most convenient mode of transportation, and the reasons are endless. It increases mobility, free time, money and dependency on oil, but most importantly it is the healthiest mode of transportation for your body, the environment, and of course, it’s fun!
There is a challenge to this lifestyle shift, of choosing bikes over cars. There is the first step of getting on that bike and making it to your destination, and then there is also the commitment to this choice. This challenge is not impossible though. Humanity has gone far, and seeing more people on bicycles gives hope for sustaining our current lifestyles.
Going a step beyond just commitment, Eric Farnsworth has added a more creative and fun aspect of the Lawrence bicycling community. Eric creates what some in underground bike culture call “mutant bikes”. Farnsworth has created bicycles out of anything, from couch bikes to grocery cart bikes, which he often lends out to the community to enjoy and test out for themselves. Not only has he brought people together with his unique bicycles but he is also an advocate for bicycling as commuting.
Bicycling is a means to happiness mentally, physically, and environmentally, but remember to be safe, wear a helmet, and have fun. Soon enough you will hear “ I saw you riding your bike today!” a phrase I personally can’t hear enough of as it gives me a rush of joy and satisfaction with my lifestyle change and decision to ride a bike.
A group of about 100 people riding down 23rd street in Lawrence for the first critical mass in 2007 in Lawrence, Ks.
Photo by Alex Dworkin