The bounty of summer – photo credit – Karen Anderson
It happens. You go away for a few days in August and come back to a zucchini patch that has hatched green baby belugas. Apples cover the lawn like a spilled bag of marbles under your backyard tree. The kitchen table is covered with the peaches that you just had to stop at that roadside stand for. The bounty of summer is upon us and for most of us, it’s more than we can use.
Contrary to what we’re often told, there isn’t so much of a food shortage in the world but rather, food is not equally distributed and a full 40 per cent of food is wasted. It never has the chance to make it onto the tables of the hungry and there are a lot of hungry people. The U.N. says 800 million people suffer from chronic hunger and 2 billion – a third of the world – suffer from hidden hunger.
Several Alberta organizations are working to do something about food inequity. This post will reveal who they are and how you can support them. As for those zucchini posing as big green baseball bats? Consider this post Zucchini 101 where I’ll reveal my Top 10 things to do with the wild child of the garden. Continue reading
If you have no idea WHAT Cook it Raw is, this blog post is for you.
Watching the video above is a great place to start learning about Cook it Raw. Check it out and see if, while you’re learning about WHAT Cook it Raw is, you can also find seven Alberta food products that you might be quite familiar with but that the rest of the world might know very little about. That’s a pretty big hint about the answer to WHAT this is all about, by the way.
Don’t have time to watch the gorgeous video by Edmonton cinematographer Kevin Kossowan? Nah – go back and watch it. It’ll make you want to get on a plane to Lac LaBiche, Alberta – even if you have no idea where in the world that is. Hey, wait, that’s another clue to WHAT Cook it Raw is all about! Let’s cut to the chase.
Cook it Raw is a group of local and internationally-renowned chefs who gather to discover and articulate the essence of diverse and emerging culinary locations throughout the world. They are just winding up six months of intensive work in Alberta this very week. This is only the ninth time there’s been such a gathering since the inception of the program in 2009.
To learn more, read on and as an incentive to do so, I’ll give you the answer to exactly WHAT the seven truly Albertan ingredients are at the end of this post.
This film clip talks about the small but important trend towards grass-finished beef ranching, pasture management, environmental stewardship, and prairie grassland habitat restoration here in Alberta, Canada.
Do you know the difference between grass-fed beef and grass-finished beef? A friend that I consider a real food lover asked me the what the difference is last week and I thought – wow, if he doesn’t know then how many other people don’t understand the difference and what it means for the health of the animal, the land and the humans who enjoy beef? This blog will discuss the difference between grass-fed and grass-finished cattle in more detail. If you are keen to read this I’m sure you’ll enjoy the 12 minute film above. It’s loaded with the beauty of Alberta and her precious grasslands.
Cattle are meant to roam and graze. Cattle are not meant to be “centralized in animal feeding operations”. They are meant to eat grass. They are healthy when they eat grass. They can contribute to the health of our grasslands if they are rotated and managed well. Here’s a brief video explaining this further.
Here’s another video where Alberta rancher Tim Hoven talks about the carbon sequestering properties of well-managed grasslands.
Here’s a final video which explains how returning animals to grasslands, managing their grazing to mimic how it would be if predators were present can return areas from desertification to lush healthy grasslands that because of their carbon storage and contribution to the water table could reverse global warming.
So, are you surprised that cattle could actually increase the health of grasslands and help decrease global warming?
Calgary Food Tours keeps bees – we’re in it for the honey and for our community
One of my ways of being is to savour my food and savour my life. I can’t do one without the other. I try to balance my love of both.
I love honey and bees symbolize for me the universal connection between food and life. The fact that bees are not doing well and that beekeepers everywhere are losing them in great numbers is a harbinger for me. I don’t like what the loss of bees heralds. I don’t like the disruption in nature’s delicate balance that it means.
I’m a believer in the art of contributing to life in small ways with the faith that my actions, however small, will make a big difference if enough of us would only do those small things. When it comes to savouring food and contributing to a healthy food system for my home in Alberta, Canada I decided that getting involved with beekeeping might be a small way that I can make a difference where the fate of bees is concerned. This blog is about me, my company Calgary Food Tours Inc. and the bees we are nurturing for our community, our food, and our life.
Joel Salatin at the #UCanFarm workshop in High River Alberta
Joel Salatin is a farmer and owner of Polyface Farms in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Polyface is 450 acres mixed forest and open grazing land with a biodiverse livestock and soil management program. Polyface provides food directly to 7000 families and 50 restaurants within a four hour radius of the farm and has been featured in Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma and the movie Food Inc.
I signed up for a farming workshop with Salatin produced by Calgary’s Verge Permaculture, not because I have latent plans to become a farmer, but because I wanted to spend a day in the company of someone who has some real solutions for the quandary our food system is in. Salatin delivered. Midway through the day, I introduced myself to Salatin and asked him how much of my notes I could share. His response: share it all; I’m an open source. In fact, he said it with a lovely wide-open smile on his face and we shook hands and I thanked him. Jefferson is not the only polymath to come out of Virginia. I got to meet his modern day contemporary.
This blog is what I was able to glean from the workshop including a short history of Polyface farm, the group’s brainstorming session of why people want to farm, the pros and cons, application of business principles and lots of examples of how aggregate food systems could replace our current industrialized mega grocery supply structures. Salatin actually predicts the day when the middle man could be eliminated and all our fresh food could come directly to your doorstep via farming distribution cohorts. Intrigued? Please read on with my apologies for any mistakes. I’m sure they’re from my note-taking and not Salatin’s depth of knowledge.
Here’s the CBC Radio One Alberta @ Noon podcast from Thursday, March 7 when I talked about ideas to help you grow your own food – everything from starting your own seeds to starting your own farm. I’m at the 12.22 mark in the podcast.
Karen’s Monthly Food Column on Alberta @ Noon – Ways to grow your own food
There are lots of great gardening workshops and how-to farm sessions coming up in Alberta this month for those interested. I may never farm but I’m going to Joel Salatin’s “You Can Farm” workshop on March 20 in High River, Alberta. I want to see if he lives up to all the hype. I’ll report back to you on that later. Besides, one of my favourite ways to savour life is to meet people on the leading edge of thought. Maybe I’ll see you there?
Information about Seedy Saturdays and Sundays in Alberta for 2013
Calgary – Saturday, March 16, 10 A.M. – 3 P.M. at Hillhurst/Sunnyside Community Hall, 418- 7 Ave NW -Cost: $2.00
Jasper – Saturday, March 16, 10 A. M. – 1 P.M. at the Seniors Lounge at the Jasper Activity Centre
Edmonton, Sunday, March 17, 11 A.M. – 4 P.M., Alberta Avenue Community Hall, 9210- 118 Ave N.W.
Red Deer –Saturday April 6, 10 A.M.-5:30 P.M. Red Deer College-Margaret Parson Theatre
Information about permaculture workshops and the upcoming Joel Salatin farming workshops is available here.
The Tasty Apple Chicken Turnover recipe I talk about on the podcast is availabe here or here. It’s another great way to savour your food.