“If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.” Carl Edward Sagan
Welcome to December 1st which celebrate red apples.
Yes, it is National Eat a Red Apple Day, a reminder to eat a red apple, a nutritious source of manganese, copper, and the vitamins A, E, B1, B2, and B6. And did you know that apples are members of the rose family? I confess that I did not know this until today.
“Good apple pies are a considerable part of our domestic happiness.” Jane Austen
Apples are part of our history, mythologies, legends (think Johnny Appleseed) They have a ubiquitous quality that comes from the many thousands of varieties that are grown throughout the world. But the best stories are found in kitchens where apple strudel, apple pie, apple crisp, apple cookies and cakes come into being within the warmth of a kitchen stove.
Thank you for celebrating Eat a Red Apple Day with me. What better time to share an apple story that comes from Similkameen Valley of British Columbia. The Ambrosia apple appeared, as if by magic, among a row of Jonagold apples that were grown on the Mennell family orchard. They came into being as a result of a chance seedling. For more on the story check out this link:
May 21, 2020 is the first observance of the International Tea Day: Harnessing benefits for all from field to cup.
Tea is always a celebration for me for it connects me to friendships, places, events and great conversations. I am thrilled to be celebrating the first International Tea Day. I love beginnings! This is a story that we must all share.
According to the United Nations “Tea production is highly sensitive to changes in growing conditions. Tea can only be produced in narrowly defined agro-ecological conditions and, hence, in a very limited number of countries, many of which will be heavily impacted by climate change.Changes in temperature and rainfall patterns, with more floods and droughts, are already affecting yields, tea product quality and prices, lowering incomes and threatening rural livelihoods. These climate changes are expected to intensify, calling for urgent adaptation measures. In parallel, there is a growing recognition of the need to contribute to climate change mitigation, by reducing carbon emissions from tea production and processing.”
“The tea industry is a main source of income and export revenues for some of the poorest countries and, as a labour-intensive sector, provides jobs, especially in remote and economically disadvantaged areas. Tea can play a significant role in rural development, poverty reduction and food security in developing countries, being one of the most important cash crops.”United Nations
Thank you for celebrating the first International Tea Day with me! Every cuppa brings us together.
April 21, 2020, is Britain’s fifth annual National Tea Day. It is a celebration that I have every day, along with millions of tea drinkers across the globe.
According to Statista.com, “in 2018, global consumption of tea amounted to about 273 billion liters and is forecasted to reach to 297 billion liters by 2021”
The debate on a what is considered the perfect cup of tea is ongoing. How long should the tea be steeped? Should milk be added before or after the tea is poured? Should tea be in a mug or teacup?
Whatever your preference, enjoy a great cup of tea, knowing that you are engaging in a tradition that has symbolized friendship and great conversations over the centuries.
To commemorate the 5th anniversary of Britain’s National Tea Day, I went back into my photos to remember a very special place on the island of Unst, Shetland. We were the first to arrive at Victoria’s Vintage Tea Room, so I was able to take photos before everyone else arrived.
A special thanks to the wonderful people who made us feel welcome. The tea was amazing and the company stellar.
Farmers markets are flourishing across the country.
Meandering through the stalls of fresh vegetables and fruits, homemade bread and cakes, cheese and eggs, we are drawn into the story of humanity. Farmer markets connect us with our past, and present an optimistic alternative to a dreaded dystopian future.
Farmers markets have an essential social and economic role in our communities. They are a celebration of food, bringing us closer to the soil, to the garden, to the fresh air, and to each other.
Farmers markets are an essential step to restoring city food economies. They provide local farmers an efficient and cost-effective retail sales opportunity that will increase the profitability of their farming enterprises. Vital farmland is preserved and a new generation of farmers are encouraged to embrace farming as a full time occupation.
Farmers markets remind us that we still have links to the soil; that farms remain viable because of our food choices.
Join me on my walk through Lonsdale Quay Farmers Market.
The City of Vancouver defines a just and sustainable food system as one in which food production, processing, distribution , consumption and waste management are integrated to enhance the environmental, economic, social and nutritional well-being of our city and its residents.”
The spectre of food insecurity is a reality for many people, even in the wealthiest countries. In a recent Times Colonist articles, Dr. Sylvain Charlebois, senior director of the agri-food analytics lab and a professor in food distribution and policy at Dalhousie University, and a senior fellow with the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, notes:
Hunger is horrid, an undesirable state few deliberately choose. We know that over 800 million suffer from hunger around the globe. In the western world, hunger surrounds us without knowing that it’s there. It’s estimated that four million Canadians experience food insecurity regularly. Hunger is cruelly invisible and unfairly discriminatory. Women, the disabled, Indigenous and people living in northern communities are disproportionally hungry compared with the average Canadian. Despite having access to one of the more affordable food baskets in the world, relative to household income, vulnerable populations in Canada are severely affected by hunger. But while hunger is a real issue, there’s little evidence that food is becoming increasingly scarce in the world. In fact, never in history has the supply of food per capita been greater than in the past three decades.
Dr. Charlebois continues by arguing that while Canadians may want to understand the mechanisms of how food makes its way through the production, processing, and distribution process, we are mostly food illiterate. Very few of us have been to a working farm, much less lived on one. We live in a complex world where time has become a scarce resource. We look for convenience in food. Even though we love to watch cooking shows, we spend less time in the kitchen.
In a world that is experiencing climate change, resource depletion, growing inequity, and loss of farmland, we have the opportunity and duty to become involved in food.
How is Vancouver responding? Vancouver’s ambitious food strategy to create a just and sustainable food system for economic, environmental economic, and health goals, was approved on January 20, 2013. The Food Strategy responds to the Vancouver’s food challenges and aligns the food system with broader City plans and processes through five main goals.
GOAL 1: Support food-friendly neighbourhoods Food-friendly neighbourhoods provide residents with access to healthy foods and ways to sustainably dispose of food waste.
GOAL 2: Empower residents to take action. The most effective community food systems are shaped by the people who live there.
GOAL 3: Improve access to healthy, affordable, culturally diverse food for all residents Access to sufficient, safe, nutritious and affordable food is fundamental to health and equality, especially to vulnerable populations.
GOAL 4: Make food a centerpiece of a green economy.
GOAL 5: Advocate for a just and sustainable food system.
The overall local food target is to increase city and neighbourhood food assets by 50 per cent by the year 2020. Examples of food assets include community gardens and orchards, urban farms, farmers markets, food processing infrastructure, community composting facilities, and neighbourhood food networks.
We are one year away from the target year, 2020. How are we doing? The first place to look is City Hall. Join me as I meander through City Hall’s vibrant and productive community garden, a confirmation that there is genuine enthusiasm for our food strategy. One gardener said, “I see this is as a labour of love. I spend many hours in my garden and enjoy every minute.”
“Food is an important part of all our lives whether it’s through the meals we prepare, the food we grow, composting or taking part in community food celebrations.”
“Food is our common ground, a universal experience.”James Beard
821 Million People
821 million people – one in nine – still go to bed on an empty stomach each night. Even more – one in three – suffer from some form of malnutrition. This data comes directly from World Food Programme (WFP), the leading humanitarian organization in responding to this urgent need and great challenge. Their mission is awe-inspiring: to deliver food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. The WFP hunger statistics have a magnitude that is hard to grasp, especially for those who have never experienced hunger.
Humanity depends upon food for survival. When we see a steady influx of food coming to our neighbourhood grocery stores, we see little danger of our food supply diminishing. We need to rethink our connection to food and to our global world.
Zero Hunger – pledge to end hunger and achieving food security by 2030!
In 2015, the 193-Member United Nations General Assembly United Nations adopted ambitious Global Goals to achieve sustainable development for people and our planet. Target date: 2030.
17 goals and 169 targets were outlined focusing on wiping out poverty, fighting inequality and tackling climate change. Goal # 2: Zero Hunger was a pledge to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
Over the past few months, I have been considering how one person can make a difference. How can I be part of a global mission to end hunger? It is a question that I want to pursue in a series of posts Farm-to-Table & Distance to Fork. I’m looking forward to the discussion.
“Hot dogs and Red Vines and potato chips and French fries are my favourite foods.” Betty White
July is National Hot Dog Month
Summertime is at its zenith, with the heat of the afternoon sun mellowing to a gentle warmth as it heads towards its setting. This is the time for outdoor dinners and delicious conversations over summer feasts of hot dogs and potato chips.
There are many stories about how hot dogs came into being. My favourite is that they originated in Frankfurt. The “frankfurter” (aka pork sausage) has been around since the 13th century. On the imperial coronation of Maximillian II, frankfurters were given in celebration of this notable event. Even Vienna comes into the narrative, with the name “Wiener.” Vienna is known as “Wien” in the German language.
May your summertime dinners be filled with joy and good company.
“Chemically speaking, chocolate really is the world’s perfect food.” Michael Levine
Chocolate lovers – this is your day.
July 7, 2018 is World Chocolate Day 2018. It has been said that the love of chocolate began with the ancient Olmec people, the first major civilization in Mexico. Now, the world has embraced chocolate’s rich and so satisfying sweet taste. It has grown to be a multi-billion dollar market.
Christopher Columbus discovered more than land, when he sailed west. In 1502, he came across the cacao bean when his crew came across a native canoe that contained, amount other things, canoe beans.
“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” Charles M. Schulz
Chocolate has found a place to flourish in Western Africa. It seems that much of the world’s chocolate is produced in Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon and other West African countries.
“He showed the words “chocolate cake” to a group of Americans and recorded their word associations. “Guilt” was the top response. If that strikes you as unexceptional, consider the response of French eaters to the same prompt: “celebration.” Michael Pollan
“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Michael Pollan
Carl Linnaeus, Swedish botanist, physician, zoologist, and all-around remarkable genius, was famous for naming every plant he met in Latin. In his book, Species Plantarum, he bestowed the name “tropaeolum” on one of my favourite flowers, the nasturtium.
I have yet to gain a full understanding of the classification of plants that has a specific jargon that includes words such as species, genera, binomial. So I will continue using the common name of nasturtium – meaning “nose-twister” or “nose-tweaker in Latin, which came because these plants produce an oil similar to that of watercress.
Carl Linnaeus would be quite surprised how people have taken his designation, “Tropaeolum” and created names such as Apricot Twist, Empress of India, Jewel of Africa, Moonlight, Peach Melba, Day & Night, Salmon Baby, Strawberries & Cream and the list goes on…
Nasturtiums are extraordinary. This is the time of year when Vancouver urban gardens are resplendent with this vibrant, edible plant. Yes, edible with vitamin C and lutein in every flower! So enjoy them in salads and stir fries. Even the unripe seeds pods can be harvested and used in spiced vinegar.
They are a combination of beauty and strength, given their herbal medicinal qualities: antiseptic and expectorant. It seems nasturtiums bring relief to those with chest colds and encourage our bodies to formulate new blood cells.
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