Dietitian's Journal


Celebrating food, farms & gardens

Nutrition Month may be officially over but I forgot (!) to publish this post last week, so here it is now, a little late but still timely.

That all people in the community, at all times, have access to nutritious, safe, personally acceptable and culturally appropriate foods, produced in ways that are environmentally sound and socially just.

Richmond Food Security Society's Mandate

To help my knowledge keep pace with my passion for food security & environmental sustainability, on March 12th I attended the Richmond Food Security Society's Conference where I listened to stories that inspired and informed me.

After the sessions, I did some research to learn more about the speakers & their projects. If you're interested in food security and sustainability issues or setting up a healthy school lunch program or school garden project, I encourage you to check out the following resources:

Food For All – Making Food Security more Inclusive (Jelica Shaw, Claudia Li, Cease Wysse)

Oskayak Garden Project

Shark Truth

Farm 2 School & Food Gardens: How to advocate for healthy food in our schools (Joanne Bays & Michael Wolfe)

Farm to School

Food Gardens in Richmond - School Year Garden Toolkit


"Celebrate food...from field to table": cherish the soil

Because it's almost spring (at least according to the calendar if not the weather), I've had my hands in the soil. This has prompted many thoughts about the Nutrition Month theme and how much there is to celebrate -- but might overlook if we rush to the table.

Pots of freshly mixed organic soil & compost - ready for spring sowing

Vegetable gardens...are much more important than houses in the overall scheme of things. Agriculture is the foundation of civilization. Houses come and go, but soil must be cherished if food is to be grown for us to eat.  ~ Joan Dye Gussow, This Organic Life: Confessions of a Suburban Homesteader

Every time we eat, we owe a nod of gratitude to the soil for supplying us with the nutrients that keep us alive.  ~ Jeff Nield, Soil: The Real Black Gold
These two quotes (from two of my favourite "earthy" writers) prompt us to consider the soil for in fact it is the ultimate source of healthy food.
Jeff Nield's compelling, elegant essay describes some ways urban dwellers can protect and preserve soil. It ends with a positive but sobering message:
We are blessed to live in a physical environment [Metro Vancouver] that simply hasn’t been exploited long enough by human activity to be seriously degraded. But if we don’t learn to protect what lies beneath our feet, all our talk about local food will be moot as we munch on dirt cookies.

"Celebrate food...from field to table": Learn about your local food culture

A Chilliwack farm field

Last evening while doing a Google search on "soil", I stumbled upon this Slow Food Vancouver feature:

Securing the Food Future of the Lower Mainland by Paul Shorthouse

If you live in this region, I highly recommend reading the article.  And if you live outside the Lower Mainland, you, too, may want to read it for ideas on how to connect with and support local farmers. The feature provides fascinating, if not startling facts about our "food footprint", forecasts climate change's implications for the Fraser Valley and describes steps we can take to protect our farmlands. 


"Celebrate food...from field to table" 

Nutrition Month 2011 begins today. And the theme begins with "celebrate", an excellent place to start because

Eating is not merely a material pleasure.
 Eating well gives a spectacular joy to life &
 contributes immensely to goodwill & happy companionship.
 It is of great importance to the morale.

~ Elsa Schiaparelli, Italian designer (1890-1973)


To come in subsequent posts: thoughts about the fields in which our food grows.

(Note: Black treacle "E" designed by Allison Carmichael for Jessica Hische's Daily Drop Cap, Guest Alphabet.)


Beautiful preserves...& a statement

Display of home-canned food, circa 1941-45, Library of Congress [No known restrictions on publication]

I'd like to go on record: My blog, like these preserves, is a GMO-free zone.

For now (but more to come soon), I will list only one authoritative source that has shaped my opinion and strengthened my convictions; here's one of David Suzuki's recent statements: More science needed on effects of genetically modifying food crops. Also on one of the David Suzuki Foundation blogs, Thought for food: Organic farming is good for you and the planet.