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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


Hunger in the Spotlight at 2012 London Olympics

Families are starving. Children are living in caves and eating leaves. Drought is creating impossible conditions for farmers. Tomorrow, on August 12, 2012, world leaders are meeting in London for a summit on undernutrition led by British Prime Minister David Cameron. As they meet, millions people face a future of hunger throughout the world.

A World Away

Sometimes it's easy to go about our daily lives without our thoughts ever leaving U.S. borders. It's a product of our lifestyle, in a way. We're focused on other (albeit important) things, that it leaves little time to address the latest humanitarian crisis, but the world is starving.

This year, the United Nations estimates that 18 million people face hunger in Mali, Niger, Senegal, and six other West African nations. (By contrast, roughly 3 million people were affected by the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.) Even in the U.S., a summer drought may cause food prices to rise during the second half of this year.

Humanitarian Response Needed

Aid workers say slow-brewing crises like droughts rarely generate the level of news coverage and donations that earthquakes or tsunamis do, even when the number of people who need help is higher.

To fight hunger, aid agencies depend on donations from governments and the public in order to carry out its programs. Ertharin Cousin, the director of the UN World Food Programme, says:

"The Global Hunger Event comes at a time when the eyes of the world are focused on the pinnacle of human physical achievement at the London Olympics. For far too many children, a lack of food and nutrition means that, sadly, they will never have a chance to compete in life."

Get Involved

The following organizations support hunger relief throughout the world, and are focused on supporting the Sahel region of Africa.

  • Action Against Hunger
  • Oxfam International
  • To support the crisis with your social capital, join the petition at www.sahel2012.org.

The Food Matters Project: Cherry and Cacao Nib Ice Cream

It's wild card week! I missed Margarita's chocolate and cherry panini's a few weeks back, so I decided to turn the same ingredients into an ice cream with crunchy cacao nibs.

I used the recipe from Simply Recipes, which looked divinely purple and full of cherry flavor. My results were somewhat less desirable. The cream overpowered the cherries a bit (not so much that it wasn't edible, mind you), but I would have preferred more of the fruit to come forward. Next time, I'll just add a lot more cherries. Instead of chocolate chips, I used about 1/2 cup of cacao nibs and stirred them in just before putting the ice cream in the freezer. 


5 Food Nonprofits to Follow on Pinterest

Oxfam's GROW campaign: building a better food system; one that sustainably feeds a growing population and empowers poor people to earn a living, feed their families, and thrive.

Remember when we talked about the power of social donations? Following an organization on Pinterest counts as one of the ways you can digitally support your favorite food nonprofits, so start pinning!

Through visual content, organizations are sharing meaningful work in the field, raising awareness for a cause, and even offering great recipe ideas. Nell Edgington believes that are naturally image-based, making this tool a natural fit. "The every day work that nonprofits are involved in lends itself to compelling images: a child laughing while reading a good book, a hug from a case worker to their client, a new home, a beautiful piece of land conserved, an endangered animal."

Huffington Post Tech editor Bianca Bosker points to the fact that Pinterest's success "may lie in its ability to change the social media conversation from "look at me" to "look at this," ultimately providing an untapped space for inspiration, creativity and action." More and more nonprofits are taking advantage of Pinterest as a visual storyboard, and these 5 in the food industry are ones to watch.

1. Heifer International

Heifer helps people out of poverty through gifts of livestock, seeds, trees & training, and has boards for every aspect of its work, including staff highlights, Earth Day, and videos.


Funny cartoons and cute animal pictures help this NGO stand out as a leader in animal welfare and vegan/vegetarian diets.

3. Food Revolution

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution boards include infographics, healthy recipes, and news about food movements worldwide.

4. Oxfam America

 Oxfam works to end poverty and injustice around the world, and has boards dedicated to women feeding the world, the GROW method, and food justice.

5. Landesa

Secure land rights might not sound exciting, but Landesa proves that a piece of paper can change a life.


[Tomato Tuesday] 5 Ways to Keep Spreading Tomato Love

I don't know about you, but I had an extra bounce in my step on July 24th. I was proud that every second of the day, someone was reading a post about slave-free tomatoes and taking action to change the food system.

In 24 hours, food bloggers produced over 50 blog posts, hundreds of tweets (bordering on thousands), and there were so many #slavefreetomatoes hashtags it was hard to keep up!

And people noticed.

Over 500 of them sent letters to CEOs!

I read many of the comments left on the blog posts and saw several common sentiments: "I didn't know this was happening." "Thank you for bringing attention to this issue." "I sent my letter!" It proves what I believed all along: That people who care about eating good food also care about our food system, and that all people need to take action is the information.

But how to we proceed now that the adrenaline of Tomato Tuesday has dissolved back into our daily routines?

The first step is to feel proud of what we've accomplished. Summer has just begun, and already the issue of slave-free tomatoes has gained tremendous momentum.

The second step is to continue maintaining the awareness we've spread. If you're looking for even more ways stay involved, here's how to do it.

Click to read more ...


The Food Matters Project: Potato and Zucchini Hash

I was looking forward to some serious cooking this weekend, but Saturday threw us a curveball that altered our schedule a bit. I managed to get back on track for lunch on Sunday, but without time to head to the farmer's market like usual, I used what I had and made the best of it.

Turns out, this recipe (inspired by both the Food Matters Project recipe of the week and the August Bon Appetit), makes a satisfying lunch or light dinner. The zucchini are sweet and tender, and the potatoes are brown, crisp on the outside and soft in the middle. It's a wonderful canvas for fresh herbs, a dollop of pesto, or romesco sauce.

For the original recipe, vsit Mireya's blog.

For the adaptation I used, visit Bon Appetit. (I used parsley instead of thyme, and added a scoop of pesto before serving.)