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Food for Thought
"The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution."
-Paul Cezanne, artist


Slave-Free Tomatoes National Day of Action: September 1

What are you doing next weekend? If you don't already have plans to get out of town, consider participating in International Justice Mission's National Day of Action!

Thousands of you have sent letters to supermarket CEOs demanding slave-free tomatoes, and IJM's goal is to reach 15,000 signatures by the end of the holiday weekend. Let's help IJM reach its goal! Here are all the details.

Slave-Free Tomatoes National Day of Action - Sept. 1st

1. DOWNLOAD the petition and the petition guide with step-by-step guidelines for collecting signatures.

2. RSVP on the Facebook page - Share the news that you’re participating and invite your friends and family to do the same! Also check the Facebook page to connect with other activists planning events in your area.

3. CHOOSE and secure your location(s). Think about a place where there will be plenty of foot traffic, so you can collect as many signatures as possible (like your local farmers’ market or set up your own lemonade stand). Think about the space and materials you need, and find out if you need permission for where you plan to gather signatures.

4. SET a goal for how many people you want to sign the petition. 100? 200? 1,000?! Share your goal with on the event page and the Recipe for Change Facebook page!

5. RECRUIT friends and fellow advocates to help you achieve your goal! What about day-of support? (For example, could you ask other booths at the farmers’ market to promote the petition?)

6. PRACTICE your talking points messages (check out our Recipe for Change fact sheet to learn more about the issues). Modify your message so you feel comfortable, then get a friend to practice with you: “Will you join us in calling on Kroger/Publix/Stop & Shop/etc to join the Fair Food Program?” [“What’s that?”] “The Fair Food Program is an initiative designed to secure just working conditions and ensure a zero tolerance for slavery exists in our U.S. off-season tomato industry…”

7. ASK IJM if you have any questions or need help getting started! Contact International Justice Mission at 703.465.5495 or email justicecampaigns@ijm.org.

8. AFTER the National Day of Action, deliver your petition to your local grocery store, showing them that their community wants their supermarket chain to join the Fair Food Program. (Only Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods have signed on so far.) Also, send us a copy of the signatures you collect so we can deliver all of the petitions collected around the country to the corporate headquarters of Ahold (parent company of Giant Food and other major chains), Publix, and Kroger (parent company of Ralph’s and other major chains)! Take a candid photo of this action with your phone, and share it on Twitter @IJMCampaigns, or the Recipe for Change Facebook page!

You don’t have to wait until the National Day of Action to start collecting signatures.
And don't forget, you can also submit a letter online and ask your friends and family to do the same!

Book Club: Tomatoland Discussion Questions

The Giving Table Book Club is currently reading Tomatoland by Barry Estabrook. We're close to wrapping up this read, but it's not too late to join. Here are a few discussion questions to consider. Answer one, or all of them, in the comments section below!

  • It was encouraging to learn that Lady Moonan organic tomato grower in South Floridauses no synthetic chemical fertilizers or pesticides, and is succeeding on a commercial scale. Would you buy this brand of tomatoes if you saw it in a grocery store?
  • How have the worker stories transformed your views on tomato farming? Does their exposure to pesticides and other harmful chemicals affect your decision whether or not to buy out-of-season tomatoes?
  • If "a 10-foot drop followed by a sixty-mile-per-hour impact with pavement is no big deal to a modern, agribusiness tomato," can these tomatoes even be classified as real food?
  • This book isn't an easy read. What makes your most infuriated about the situation of slavery in Florida's tomato fields?
  • How empowered (or not), do you feel as a consumer navigating the supermarket shelves when it comes to shopping for tomatoes?

The Food Matters Project: Lamb and Feta Flatbread

My nearby Whole Foods has really expanded its offerings of grass-fed meat. Once, only two cuts were available, but now a good quarter of the case is lined with options hitting the 4 or 5 mark on its animal welfare ratings scale. I was pleasantly surprised to find ground grass-fed lamb, otherwise I most certainly would have made this meal vegetarian.

Something I'm really enjoying about Mark Bittman's recipes is that they're more like suggestions. And most of them (save anything having to do with baking) don't require a formal recipe at all!

I turned my Greek nachos into flatbreads, covering grilled naan in a layer of herb-infused Greek yogurt to act as a sauce, then topped it with sauteed portobello mushrooms and lamb.

For the sauce, I used about 1 cup of Greek yogurt. I added 1/4 cup of crumbled feta, parsley, lots of lemon juice, and as much mint as I could handle (about 5 leaves). I find mint to be one of those very particular herbs, so use as much as you're comfortable with. I sauteed the mushrooms (2 portobellos, sliced) with garlic, then cooked the lamb with rosemary in the same pan.

For the original recipe, visit Megan's blog.


Easy Ways to Fight Food Insecurity with an iPhone

If you have a smartphone, fighting food insecurity is just a click away. Read on to learn how innovative solutions to hunger are improving the world through technology.

Food Genius launches dish rating site to support charity

Food Genius, a Chicago based food data analytics company, recently announced the launch of FoodGenero.us, a restaurant dish ratings site. Food Genius will donate money to Feeding America based on the number of votes submitted on Food Genero.us each month.

CEO Justin Massa says “Food Genero.us allows users to learn more about their tastes and how restaurants describe dishes, while at the same time helping feed a hungry family.”

Hunger Fighting App in Arizona

Every night across the country, millions of Americans go to bed hungry while local restaurants, hotels, and catering companies throw away uneaten food. The solution? Flash Food, a student-designed, social-media powered app that fights hunger and reduces food waste.

Flash Food was created by six Arizona State University students. Here's how it works: Volunteers can respond to the notifications from participating "donors" and come pick it up the food. People who have registered with Flash Food and indicated that they need a meal then receive notification that there's food available.

The program is still in its pilot stage, but has strong potential to serve the Phoenix community. Eric Lehnhardt, one of its founders, says food providers have plenty of incentive to participate in the program.

"No one wants to see food go to waste, especially when you know there are people in your community who would love to be able to receive that food."

Feeding the Future

People in the world have access to mobile phones in greater supply than running water and toilets. This technology has the power to transform families living in the developing world, particularly farmers, whose lives can change from day to day depending on soil conditions, crop yields, and drought.

Farmers in Africa are now using cell phones for banking and insurance services, which is transforming how they interact with money. Check out the Fast Company video highlighting more about this program.


The Food Matters Project: Summer Rolls with Peanut Sauce

Having never attempted summer rolls in my own kitchen, I held the belief that they seemed to be more trouble than they're worth. And now? My belief stands.

I don't blame the summer roll entirely, it's just tempermental. The paper is finicky and sticky, and there are a lot of small components that need to be set in place before beginning, but you really should try them for yourself before making a final decision. I also recommend beginning well ahead of finding yourself ravenous, which will make the process all the more frustrating. Just plan ahead and don't forget the avocado like I did, only to try and stuff them inside at the last minute.

For mine, I used cucumber, carrot, poached shrimp, avocado and red leaf lettuce. The dipping sauce was made by whisking peanut butter, soy sauce, sesame oil, crushed red pepper, and enough water to make the consistency smooth.

I decided that I'd be happy to eat spring rolls again, provided they were prepared by someone else. If you'd like to make the effort, visit Alyssa's blog for the original Mark Bittman recipe.