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Top Ten Things You Can Do To Keep Your “City” Kids Healthy

25 Nov

Top Ten Things You Can Do To keep Your Kids Healthy

1. Walk or bike your kids to school, or if that’s not feasible, ride on weekends–a family that bikes together saves the planet together!

2. Teach them about Farmers Markets, It’s so important bring awareness early in life. It’s fun to see where your food comes from.  Explain how food choices affect their health and environment. Be honest about where meat comes from.

3. Make sure their toys are PVC-free–keep them from breathing in any off gasing plastic softeners.

4. Don’t reward with toys. Try to teach them that happiness doesn’t comes from buying new things, and the planet doesn’t need the resource extraction, chemical-pollution and landfill clogging that comes with making and eventually trashing them.

5. Use natural shampoos, creams and soaps. What you put on your young one’s body is as important as what you put in it.

6. Feed them organic whenever you can afford it, so they get a pesticide, hormone, and antibiotic-free diet.

7. Say no to high-fat, high-sugar, chemical-laden processed foods. There are plenty of natural alternatives, even for packaged kids’ snacks.

8. Create a non-toxic nursery or kids’ room full of earth-loving children’s books.

9. Resist the urge to swaddle your babe in landfill-clogging disposable diapers. But if cloth is out of the question, get unbleached, biodegradable, chlorine-free throw-away ones. Like these.

10. Teach them to love nature: take them to the park, on little hikes, or picnics in conservation centres. Teach them that animals are nature, including house pets and that we need to respect them. When you teach a child to be kind to animals, you help pave the way to a brighter future for all living beings.


Do, Learn, Share, Change, Vancouver Meetups

2 May

Have you joined the Meatless Meatup?

Do something, Learn something, Share something, Change something

What is a Meatless Meatup?

Meatless Meatups consist of potlucks, dine-outs and local related events. Directed by Earthsave, Meatless Meatups are a really just a group of foodies with an environmental conscience and a concern for animal welfare. The events, dine-outs and potlucks, are open to everyone, you don’t have to be vegan or vegetarian to join, and you can pick and choose the ones you wish to attend.

Are  you interested in lowering your carbon footprint or just looking to learn more about food and food systems, are you exploring plant-based eating or just looking to meet like-minded people? If this sounds like you then you have found the right group! Click Here to see upcoming events near you.

Deconstructing Supper with John Bishop of BISHOP’S

1 May

The film follows chef John Bishop, who owns the five star restaurant Bishop’s in Vancouver BC, Canada, John’s customers challenge his knowledge of food and he is forced to explore how food is grown and what is really in it. More and more customers begin to ask questions about the food that was being served and he realized that he himself did not know the answers. A person whose whole life is food even naming the restaurant after himself, Bishop is stumped when a customer asks him if the food he is serving is genetically modified, he confesses that he doesn’t know what that means. In this film Bishop travels take you from Canada to England and as far as India to discover the new and the old ways when it comes to growing food.

Even though this was filmed in 2002, I would say it is even more relevant today as more and more attempts are made to bring additional GMO crops into the food chain, both in the US and abroad. We are also seeing the real cost for oil beyond what we pay at the pump. Most food is trucked an average of 1500 miles, large scale commercial agriculture uses huge amounts of oil and those chemicals used on crops are usually petroleum based. Did you know that the USA is borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf, this oil is destroying the planet and our food.

The greatest thing to me is when people get involved change happens, just by saying no. We can use this as an inspiration for all of us to ask questions and make real choices about what path we take on what foods we put in our bodies; our loved ones too. Discover how to make better choices, buy local, buy organic when possible, get your food from places that care about the food they sell, educate each other and collaborate with your family on how you can all work together to attain optimum food for health and earth.

If we all “deconstructed” our meals what would we find; if we knew would we still want to eat what was on our plate? Shopping local is an easy way to do this in order to know what you are eating. When you eat out ask questions so restaurant owners know that this is important to their customers, after all they need us. It was because of customers asking questions that John Bishop investigated the state of food and made a change in his restaurant to serving primarily organic and locally produced products.

I leave you with this: keep in mind that we have the power to make change as consumers. Businesses operate by our demand. Big and small companies need our business. It is time to stop following the dictates of these companies and tell them what we want and what we will buy. Watch the film, keep learning, ask questions and let’s keep working together to achieve what we all deserve: optimum health, healthy food, healthy land and a long happy life.

Bishops 2183 West 4th Avenue
Vancouver BC Canada V6K 1N7
604 738 2025


Food Is Power With Lauren Ornelas (Vancouver Events)

26 Apr

lauren Ornelas, Founder and Director of the Food Empowerment Project, will be discussing how we can use our food choices to create a more just world.

Your food choices can have impacts beyond your own kitchen. Food deserts, exploitation of workers and animals, environmental racism – learn about how what you eat and drink might not necessarily be connected to animal exploitation but might indeed have direct connections to human exploitation! And learn what you can do to help create a more just and equitable food system.

lauren Ornelas is the Food Empowerment Project’s founder and serves as the group’s volunteer executive director. She is also the former executive director of Viva!USA, a national nonprofit vegan advocacy organization. lauren has been active in the animal rights movement for over 20 years. After spending four years as National Campaign Coordinator for In Defense of Animals, lauren was asked by Viva!UK to start and run Viva!USA in 1999. In cooperation with activists across the country, she worked and achieved corporate changes within Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s, and Pier 1 Imports, among others. She currently serves as Campaign Director with the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition.

This event is free & open to the public. No pre-registration is required.

WHEN:
Saturday, May 21, 2011
7:00pm – 9:00pm

WHERE:
Vancouver Public Library, Main Branch
350 West Georgia Street Alma VanDusen & Peter Kaye Room, Lower Level
Vancouver, BC V6B 6B1

ORGANIZED BY:
Liberation BC

Assisted By

become the voice

GLOBAL Earth Hour

26 Mar

Earth Hour 2011

You can go beyond Earth hour by switching off lights when you’re not home, by turning on less lights when you are and being conscious of your usage. Reduce your meat consumption or try being a weekday vegetarian. Eat local, buy local and live simply.

Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia when 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses turned their lights off for one hour to take a stand against climate change. Only a year later and Earth Hour had become a global sustainability movement with more than 50 million people across 35 countries/territories participating.

At 8:30 PM (Tonight) on Saturday 26th March 2011, lights will switch off around the globe for Earth Hour and people will commit to actions that go beyond the hour. Imagine what we can achieve if we go beyond the hour.


100 Mile Diet Eating Local

24 Mar

Eating local, Eating for global change

I think leaving a small footprint is so important, it’s also important to buy and eat organic food as much as possible. I also think we should try to eat vegetarian as much as possible too. If our earth gets any more polluted with pesticides and fertilizers for rasing food than having a small footprint won’t even matter. Not eating organics allows the conventional farmer the right to pollute our earth and our bodies.

Eating locally also called the 100 mile diet or Locavore celebrates every aspect of real food. Where it comes from, how it grows and how you can enjoy it.  This initiative can set out to create change for something  good and something we can all be a part of.

Grassroots grocery delivery services are popping up all over the place. In Vancouver the one that appeals to me the most is SPUD.CA I mean of course one of the biggest appeals for me to sign up was the fact that I don’t have to lug around heavy bags  from the supermarket to my apartment anymore. I also liked that they had a vegan recipe section.

There are many reasons why I have decided to sign up for SPUD.CA some of them being. I am doing my part in supporting local farmers (contributing to BC’s sustainability) I am reducing my carbon footprint (no bags, limited imports) I have access to organics all the time. It forces me to explore other foods.  There is also a section on your invoice that will tell you how far, on average, your items have traveled and how much less they have traveled compared to the average for a supermarket. (Super Cool) I know it in my heart that I am doing the right thing and I am single-handedly saving the world  (ok not really but it’s a start) you know the quote:

I am only one, but I am one.  I cannot do everything, but I can do something.  And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.” ~Edward Everett Hale

Sustainability

Most people who think about food and sustainability are aware of the 100-Mile Diet. While many would love to achieve a 100-mile diet, most of us leave it as an ideal to work toward rather than one we work to achieve. The 100mile diet, under new definition states that all protein and produce must come from within 100 miles. So for source less available such as rice, flour and spices from further afield, this makes a lot of sense. It means that the “fresh” foods, i.e. those that will perish rapidly, are traveling less.

The negative side of eating locally and the negative side’s positive side

It takes a while to become re-accustomed to what’s in season. This means that you can’t eat peaches in winter (unless you take the time to preserve some during that season) Something I am going to try this summer for sure. Also it could make it challenging for international dishes that call for things like mangos and coconut. I say stock up in summer and find a way to preserve.

The positive side of making this shift is that the seasons begin to take on greater meaning. Fall becomes more than “the season between volleyball and skiing.” and you start to look forward to root vegetables, brussel-sprouts and cozy family dinners. There are ways to join in on the 100 mile diet in Vancouver.

Vancouver Peeps check this out

The 100 mile diet Vancouver is providing local resources, FAQ’s, recipes, information. Also a great get started guide. Check out the Why Eat Local? section.

For a larger-scale perspective, thinklocal.ca provides a snapshot of how much milk, beef or salmon Canada imports (that’s right, we import salmon), how far it travels on average and how many grams of greenhouse gas emissions are saved by buying locally. As well as informative articles, the Vancouver based site also has a directory and links for buying locally.

This seasonal food chart is also very useful for priming your taste buds for the seasons (it also works well as a shopping list).

There are some great blogs out there about eating local and being local, like Sarah Eltons Locavore, or the blog Locavore, I like this one. Another interesting one is the Glenbrook North Zero Waste Blog and a good food blog Once Upon A Feast, though it’s not vegan it’s easy to replace the products with vegan ones. I also really enjoyed a film called No Impact Man, though some of his ideas were a bit extreme it gave you perspective on what NOT to take for granted. Hey meat eaters! If you are going to eat meat for peat sakes make it local at least. If you are eating for the 100 mile diet send me your thoughts, Id love to hear from you.

“I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority”

~Elwyn Brooks

“Shipping is a terrible thing to do to vegetables.  They probably get jet-lagged, just like people” ~Elizabeth Berry


Got Nice Shoes? Nice Shoes is Now Open

19 Mar

Nice Shoes is Now Open

— Nice Shoes 3568 Fraser Street Vancouver, BC 

Nice Shoes has officially opened their doors (YAY!) The grand opening was held on Saturday March 5th Everyone wants nice shoes and with so many styles to choose from you too will be walking around with Nice Shoes, check out my favorite brand Neuaura. Nice shoes is also carrying a huge selection of fabulous belts, ties, bags and guitar straps. Nice Shoes will have you coming back for more. Everyone is welcome, even dogs! So feel free to bring your favorite canine companion.

Whats with the name? Well nice shoes is all about nice.

Being Nice is a statement about positive change.

Being Nice is about putting a kinder foot forward.

Nice Shoes is 100% cruelty free. Offering a selection of animal-, eco- and people-friendly footwear and accessories.

If you missed the grand opening then why not check out Nice Shoes this weekend. On Sunday Nice shoes will be donating 10% of all sales towards Stop UBC Animal Research. You can look fashionable, live your values, and support the Stop UBC Animal Research campaign – all at the same time!

Governments and Policy-Makers “Food Systems In Canada”

18 Mar

Do You Eat? Of course you do!

Do you know what’s in your food? Where it comes from? Why it costs so much?

Did you know that Canada has no official Food Policy?

Canada currently has no food policy or strategy.  Food is currently looked after by municipal, provincial and federal governments.  At the federal level 7 ministries including health, foreign affairs, agriculture and fisheries govern a piece of the food pie.  In order to overcome the complex problems that we face today (including the loss of young farmers, obesity, poverty, etc.)  we must work together across our differences to find a way forward.

Thirty years ago, a group of activists created the People’s Food Commission (PFC). The Commission toured the country, holding hearings in 75 communities which explored how food systems affected ordinary Canadians: farmers, fisher people, housewives, poor people, trade unionists, academics, artists and others. Unfortunately, this change has not materialized. The policy framework supporting the industrialized food system and its social, environmental and economic costs is still firmly in place – even as the advent of ‘Peak Oil’ and climate change make a new approach imperative.

Socially, however, much has changed in the past 30 years. There is a growing movement of people who have been moved to action by awareness of the deep problems in the food system, especially those related to hunger, pollution, and chronic disease.

Current production systems churn out large amounts of food at low prices, but can harm the environment, encourage over-consumption of unhealthy foods, and – despite huge productive capacity – leave many people unfed. We can make enough food for everyone, yet the number of humans who are undernourished or starving recently surpassed one billion, according to the UN World Food Program.

In contrast, the “bottom line” for Canadians, is that by ignoring the ancient relationships between us and the lands and waters we inhabit, by exploiting, degrading and destroying our food resources, we will not be able to sustain ourselves for much longer.

From local to global, such pressing issues are all affected by food policy, which is not just theoretical. It’s the network of decisions at local, regional, national, and international levels that determines what food is available and what we’re likely to eat. Food policy is dynamic, and you can be part of it.

Taking Action Current strategic actions.

Click here Food Secure Canada.

Click here Why Canada Needs a Food Policy

Join the conversation Eleanor Boyle on Food Policies, Sustainable Food, Attainable Health

 

Key Proposals Canada

 

 

You and I can help develop better food systems, by Eleanor Boyle

26 Feb
You and I can help develop better food systems
Written by Eleanor Boyle, Eating For Eco Systems
Written January 30th, 2011

Small-scale sustainable agriculture in Canada is fighting for survival, and there’s plenty we can all to do help.  That’s the message I got from Colleen Ross after visiting Waratah Downs, the Ottawa-area organic farm run by her and her husband, John Weatherhead.

Like others who speak publicly about the problems of industrial food systems and its casualties, Colleen knows of many examples.  There was the local family-run abattoir in southern Ontario that was driven out of business by unreasonable regulations, in a food system that is geared to support large corporate processors.  There was the small fruit canning factory – the last one in Ontario – that shut down in 2008 because local farmers could not compete with cheap fruit from China and elsewhere.

Working through the National Farmers’ Union, Food Secure Canada, and other organizations, Colleen and a network of committed individuals are working to turn the situation around.  For how we can help, I’ll summarize some of Colleen’s ideas as:  (1) Get into the kitchen; (2) Get out to the farm; and (3) Get involved.

(1) Get into the kitchen.  Colleen makes a most amazing minestrone soup, as I discovered, and you can too.  Many of us have become convinced that we need to buy processed and prepared foods, and have forgotten how to cook.  To support local food systems, we can pay more attention to food and spend time on it.  We can obtain real food, fresh and simple, and make it into meals.  Pick over the vegetables, save them, can them, freeze them.  Practice food sovereignty.

We can start with minestrone soup.  I won’t give away Colleen’s recipe, but I’ll give away mine to any of you who would like.

(2) Get out to the farm.   New small-scale farmers are appearing, according to Colleen, who are excited about the food movement and desirous of producing sustainable sustenance.  But there are not always enough committed consumers.  For example, Colleen and John integrate cows, sheep, and poultry into their organic farm, partly because the animals provide natural fertilizer in the way of manure.  But the farm sometimes has trouble selling the meat.  Like other organic operations, they’re out of the mainstream of food marketing and distribution, and can have difficulty finding buyers and supplying them.  To assist in the building of a strong good-food movement, discerning consumers can make it a regular project to get out to rural communities and buy food straight from sustainable producers.

Part of getting out to farms involves finding ones that don’t plant genetically engineered (GE) corn, soy, or other crops, also called GMOs or genetically modified organisms.  Colleen’s farm is surrounded by large agricultural operations rotating corn and soy, all GMO and all controlled to some degree by Monsanto or other biotechnology companies.   We can support biodiversity rather than biotech, by buying food that is certified organic, certified Local Food Plus, or the like.

(3) Get involved.  We can let our elected officials know we want better food policy, and new food systems that support local, small- and medium-sized farms that minimize pesticides and antibiotics, that do not pollute soil and water with synthetic fertilizers and chemicals, and that do not raise animals intensively in factory farms.

We can let our elected officials know that farm policies cannot be ‘one size fits all’ and still support local producers.  After the Walkerton water crisis a decade ago, Colleen’s farm and others were asked to implement ‘nutrient management plans’ requiring that they pave the barnyard and install curbing and channelling.   That’s the kind of response that too often comes from policy-makers purporting to make food and farming safer, and mandating expensive systems with which small farms can’t afford to comply.

We can let our elected officials know that food production should be owned and controlled by local farmers.  Cargill, Tyson, and Smithfield – all transnational agribusiness — are making money while many small farmers are barely hanging on.  It’s a result of policies focused on supporting large export-oriented food production.

We can get involved in groups, and support elected officials, that realize the need to revitalize local food infrastructure – as in the unfortunate case of the fruit processing plant mentioned above.  Called CanGro Foods, it was the last processing plant for peaches and other fruit in the Niagara region.  Local farmers and citizens had tried to save it, but to no avail with cheap fruit pouring in from overseas.  Cheap food is a big part of the problem, which we can all address by agreeing to pay more for better food.

According to Colleen, these are a few of the steps we can take to be part of the new food movement.  Get into the kitchen and use local, sustainably-grown food.  Get out to the farms that are producing good food.  Get involved.

You can read more from Eleanor by clicking here to visit here site and blog.

SAINTS Sanctuary!

8 Jan

My visit with SAINTS for my birthday in December was more than I ever expected! It was wonderful and exciting and reminded me why I do what I do, it’s hard to fester up the energy some days to be a voice for the voiceless. Visiting sanctuary’s like SAINTS reinforces the desire to make positive changes in the world. I highly recommend it.

As much of an inspiration it is to see the caring that goes on for these animals it also reminds you how neglected and forgotten some animals end up. As Carol walked us through the property telling us the stories of how each animal arrived here, you can’t help but to feel emotional or angry.

It is so foreign to me that after 10, 12, 14 years a person can decide that they can no longer care for their beloved pet! I just can’t imagine dropping of my Chico at the SPCA because of sickness or that somehow his life will disrupt mine to the point that I would dump him off.

Some of these dogs hardly seem senior or sick and most show no signs of neglect, then you see the ones that are just completely defeated and you are reminded how cruel this world can be and how far we still need to go in educating and building compassion in people.

Carol the woman who founded SAINTS is very humble, she runs SAINTS purely from her heart. She doesn’t respond to compliments no matter how many you throw at her and she lights up a room with her compassion. She knows all the animals by name and all of their stories.

When you visit SAINTS you will find, volunteers, dogs , cats, horses, cows, ducks a donkey and even a goat and some pigs! All of these animals rescued. Some find homes but most stay to live out their final days. I highly recommend a visit, bring lots of treats and if you are able a donation. SAINTS is 100% run by donations from the public. Most of the animals at SAINTS require expensive treatments and vet visits.

I hope you will find the time to go. I promise you will be glad you did. The animals will be happy to greet you. It is a beautiful experience and it feels good to give back. Visiting sanctuary’s like SAINTS reinforces the desire to make positive changes in the world. I highly recommend it.

SAINTS

 

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