Pedal power at UC Berkeley

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Solutions & sustainability - Apr 17

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Talking Grub: Anna Lappe & Bryant Terry
(AUDIO)
Jerry Kay, Beyond Organic
Flipping through your favorite cookbook, can you find a danger list of fruits and vegetables most likely to hold pesticide residue?

While you check out a recipe, do you find yourself considering food safety studies and the global consequences of supporting local farmers?

Authors Anna Lappe and Bryant Terry definitely do. They’ve re-imagined the traditional cookbook by combining thought provoking food essays with informed eating recipes and even recommended soundtracks. Titled Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen, the book is a fascinating and practical read inside or outside the kitchen.

Join host Jerry Kay as we hear Lappe and Terry’s thoughts on food industry myths, childhood obesity, shopping, cooking and more.
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Publishers Weekly says:

This smart, engaging work deftly blends polemic, lifestyle guidance and cooking expertise. The daughter of writer Francis Moore Lappé (Diet for a Small Planet) and medical ethicist Marc Lappé, coauthor Lappé wears her pedigree well, arguing passionately and articulately for the organic lifestyle (Terry is a chef and food justice activist).

Early chapters explore how the advent of commercial agriculture and mass-manufactured food has led American eaters down a path to obesity and disease while undermining the local economies of farming communities and, in many cases, encouraging the exploitation of both labor and natural resources. The answer: to adopt a "grub" lifestyle that is both healthy and ethical. The "Seven Steps to a Grub Kitchen" chapter suggests readers commit more time to cooking and eating, and use local resources like co-ops and farmers markets, while describing how to best prep a kitchen with tools and pantry supplies.

The recipes portion offers seasonal, international, health-conscious menus aimed at young, hip readers, with themes like "Afrodiasporic Cookout" (Grilled Corn and Heirloom Tomato Salad, Shrimp and Veggie Kabobs, Fresh Green Beans, Good Grilled Okra, Ginger Beer) and "Straight-Edge Punk Brunch Buffet (DIY)" (Spicy Tempeh Sausage Patties, French Toast with Blueberry Coulis). (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

(12 April 2006)
Related:
grub (book website)
Book Review (Beyond Organic)
Amazon entry


SOL: Sustaining Ourselves Locally

Chris Schults, Gristmill
According to the Current TV Studio blog, SOL, a viewer contributed piece about a sustainable development project in Oakland, will be airing on TV.

I think this is a good example of how people like you, armed with a camera and a passion, can produce a short film that could potentially reach 28 million homes (according to a company press release [PDF]).

Here's the synopsis on Current:

This is specifically a piece on an urban sustainable development project in Oakland that consists of 9 people working together to do community environment work. Amazing project that focuses on everything from compost and farming to food justice.

Watch it now.
(16 April 2006)


Wheels of justice often roll over cyclists

Chris, McCarter, Columbia City Paper
On any road, when bicycles meet motor vehicles, steel tonnage wins. But on [South Carolina's] roadways, consistently ranked near the nation's deadliest for cyclists, paltry spending on cycling accommodations, uninformed and often hostile attitudes of the driving public - and sometimes even law enforcement and the courts - continue to compound the dangers, despite state and some local governments' policy shifts reverse the deadly cycle.

At 64, Nhiem Thi Kim had survived the Vietnam War and Communist takeover, followed by forced "re-education," seizure of all she owned and two decades toiling on collective farms on the brink of famine.

But what finally did her in was simply riding her bicycle along a South Carolina roadway.

Kim was riding home from a Hilton Head grocery store, a routine little half-mile trek, when she was smacked from behind by an SUV and died minutes later.

It was last November, at midday of the kind of beautiful sunny afternoon Islanders brag about, and nearly four years to the day from arriving in America for a better, safer life.

Carol Frances Zampino, the 26-year-old driver of the SUV that hit Kim, was "distracted by a cell phone" when she swerved off the roadway and hit Kim, according to a state trooper's report.

"I was coming home about 1:15, and driving by I saw what looked like my mom's bike on the side of the road," says Tuan Nguyen, Kim's 36-year-old son. "My first impression was 'please God, let this not be my mom's bike.' "
(30 March 2006)
Anti-solution: cars vs bicycles. The publication in which the article appears is "Columbia [S.C.]'s only locally owned alt weekly.


Reading smart growth:
One man's guide to the literature of sprawl

David Goldberg, Mobile Register-Independent
A couple of weeks ago my friend Charlene Lee from Alabama's SmartCoast asked me if I would write a review recommending some good background reading for this week's conference called "Imagine: A Region with Thriving Mixed Use Cities."

After saying I would do it, I looked again at the phrase "mixed use cities." In truth, I couldn't imagine any other kind of city. After all, you can hardly have only houses or only offices or only shopping centers in a city. The very need to use "mixed use" to describe a city speaks volumes about the distance our society must cover to start building complete neighborhoods, towns and cities again.

For a great introduction to why, and how, we should build communities that are walkable and high in character, and where daily needs are close at hand, you can hardly do better than "Suburban Nation" by Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk and Jeff Speck (Farah, Strauss and Giroux, 2000). Duany and Plater-Zyberk are the husband-and-wife team who designed Seaside, Fla., and went on to help found the New Urbanism school of town planning and urban design. Speck is their former director of town planning.
(16 April 2006)


Interview with Michael Pollan (new book "Omnivore")

Bonnie Azab Powell, UC Berkeley News
Journalism professor Michael Pollan's new book on the U.S. food chain provides few soundbites — but much to chew on
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BERKELEY – Thanks to recent investigative works such as "Fast Food Nation" and "Supersize Me," a growing number of Americans are scrutinizing ingredient labels and asking, What is this stuff? Michael Pollan, Knight Professor of Journalism at UC Berkeley, can tell you. In a just-released new book, he takes readers to the feedlot, to the farm, and into the woods in search of the origins of our dinner. Will we have the nerve to follow?

"Imagine for a moment if we once again knew, strictly as a matter of course, these few unremarkable things: What it is we're eating. Where it came from. How it found its way to our table. And what, in a true accounting, it really cost," writes Pollan in "The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals."

By the time readers reach this passage, which comes at the very end of the book, they will be able to answer at length. They will have tagged along as Pollan traces the path from earth to plate taken by four meals — from McDonald's, Whole Foods, a small Virginia farm, and a "first person" dinner that he killed, foraged, and grew himself. Pollan is a genial tour guide through a variety of disciplines. Along the way to his main destinations — the feedlot where "his" steer is being fattened, the vast facility where organic baby lettuces are being washed and bagged, the pasture in which chickens joyfully root through cow manure, or the forest where he is helping to disembowel a wild boar he has just shot — he delivers fascinating mini-lectures on agricultural history, plant biology, food chemistry, nutrition, and the animal-rights debate.
(11 April 2006)
The original article as many interesting links about Pollan and the book.

Related from UC Berkeley: Nutritionist Marion Nestle's goal is to help consumers decide what to put in their grocery carts and on their plates .


Pedal power at UC Berkeley

Barry Bergman, UC Berkeley News
Campus's first-ever bicycle plan charts a path toward greater reliance on non-motorized, two-wheeled commuting
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Davis may lead the pack when it comes to bicycle-friendly UC campuses, but Berkeley is moving to close the gap with a comprehensive, 10-year plan aimed at making it easier to get to, from, and around the central campus via pedal power.

A draft of Berkeley's first-ever bicycle plan has just been released by Parking and Transportation, which is seeking comments through May 8. The sweeping, 108-page plan addresses bike-related issues from paths, racks, and campus construction to links with local bicycle networks and regional transit systems.

"Despite the challenges of topography on its hillside site," declares the draft, "UC Berkeley aims to be a model bicycle-friendly urban campus."

Roughly 4,200 staff, faculty, and students — nearly one in 10 of the campus total — bike to campus daily, according to the most recent transportation surveys, completed in 2000 and 2001. Based on 2000 census data, that compares favorably to rates for Berkeley residents, about 5.6 percent of whom commute by bike, and all of Alameda County, where barely one in 100 commuters bikes to work.

That said, Berkeley remains largely a car culture, as evidenced by the often-stiff competition for limited on-campus parking spots.
(13 April 2006)

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