Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How do you think San Diego should grow?

Online voting to continue through January with results incorporated in new 'vision' plan

If you wonder who’s planned San Diego into such a mess of sprawling housing developments, jammed freeways, underperforming schools and poor employment prospects, the San Diego Foundation has the antidote -- you.

Starting Wednesday and continuing to mid- or late-January, the organization hopes tens of thousands of San Diego County residents will go to “” and engage in a “public choosing” of what the future we want.

The cyber-teach-in will be used in preparing a new vision for the region, set for publication next spring, with the added promise that this time, when someone sketches out a vision, it will get implemented.

Heading the effort, entitled “Our Greater San Diego Vision,” is Bill Geppert, recently retired vice president and regional manager of Cox Communications. He also is acting president of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp.

“This is an opportunity to have input into our future,” Geppert said. “It’s an opportunity to have a voice about what kind of San Diego we want in the next 40 to 50 years out that our kids and grandkids will live in, where they will live, work and play. It’s the chance to shape what’s possible in the future.” READ MORE

Monday, November 21, 2011

'Organic' certification gives farmers a tough row to hoe 

In fact, no crops here have been treated with pesticides, herbicides or chemical input of any sort. But you can't call what's produced on Newcomb's Potomac Vegetable Farms "organic." That word has been tightly regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture since 2002.

"We were certified organic for 13 years, before the federal government got involved," says Newcomb, who now calls her farm's produce "ecoganic" as a way to encourage customers to ask how it was grown — or, even better, come see for themselves. "We are still doing everything the same way, but just aren't getting certified."

Across the USA, many small-scale farmers do not feel the need to become certified organic, even if their method of farming would meet or exceed federal standards. It's a phenomenon that can be credited in part to the eat-local movement and the explosion of farmers markets, where consumers can meet, ask questions of and even visit the people who grow their food. Many locavores feel they don't need a third-party certification for something they've seen with their own eyes. READ MORE

Thursday, November 17, 2011

7 Foods Experts Won’t Eat

“I’ve talked with potato growers who say point-blank they would never eat the potatoes they sell. They have separate plots where they grow potatoes for themselves without all the chemicals.”  READ MORE

Saturday, November 12, 2011

What We Learned From Our Year Without Groceries

Dog Island Farm

I can't believe it's been a year now since we started our year without groceries. We learned a lot in that year. We are definitely healthier, but also we're happier. Our relationship with each other is stronger as we've had to learn how to really work well together.

When we first decided to do a year without buying food from the grocery store, convenience stores, box stores or restaurants we thought the challenge was going to be really difficult. And it kind of started out that way. We had difficulties getting local milk, even though we live near a lot of dairies, and our goats hadn't been bred yet so we had to wait for them to start producing. We had an order on part of a steer that almost didn't come in, and our first monthly co-op order was missed.  READ MORE

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Top 9 Foods the Government is Paying for You to Eat

The United States federal government paid American farmers $12.3 billion in 2009 to boost crop production. While this number may seem high, it is actually nearly the lowest amount paid to farmers in the past 10 years.

The reason farmers are paid to grow certain crops is to ensure that they grow more for the country, while at the same time making the same amount of money. What some people aren’t completely aware of is the huge impact that the subsidies have on what ends up on our plate – in plain sight or otherwise.

Corn alone took in a whopping $77.1 billion from the government between 1995 and 2010.

The U.S. government continues to be a major player in the national food business, with subsidies continuing to grow. Here are the top 9 food products that the government most heavily subsidizes:  READ MORE

San Diego residents push for new urban agriculture rules

by Jill Richardson

San Diego resident Adam Hiner is hoping to get his chickens back. Adam and his sister were keeping hens too close to their house (breaking the city's law that requires owners to keep them a full 50 feet from any residence) when a neighbor complained, and he had to give the birds to friends and article