As part of its resettlement program, Canada plans to double its intake of refugees to 50,000 by the end of next year, Canada’s Minister of Immigration and Citizenship John McCallum said on Sunday. Speaking in the Jordanian capital of Amman, McCallum told reporters that he plans to resettle 35,000 to 50,000 Syrian refugees by the end…
What Do You Think?
You Might also like
By Allyn Farach
While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with buzzing out to Walmart for a can of spaghetti in red sauce, there’s a sense of satisfaction that comes with making the food you’re eating yourself. Taking it a step further – going out and acquiring the food yourself can be even more rewarding than picking it up at a grocery store or restaurant. Forget convenience: Below are ways to get creative with alternative food sources. Before we begin, let’s address that some of these methods are not for the weak-hearted.
To be clear, Dumpster Diving doesn’t involve actually diving into dumpsters.
“You can open the lid and gingerly pull out goods or jump in and dig deep. If you’re grossed out by the idea, wear rain boots and bring gloves,” writes Vanessa Alvadaro, native Floridian and dumpster diver. Furthermore, what you pull out probably won’t be overripe produce and rotting meat.
Approximately 40 percent of food bought in the US goes to waste, so what may be found in a dumpster may be okay, if not in perfect condition (unless it’s covered in mold. Don’t eat anything covered in mold.)
Luckily, the dumpster diving community is pretty open to new people, and almost always ready to help. R/DumpsterDiving is full of people giving advice to newbies, people planning to make runs together, and even a map that lists good diving spots. With an engaging community, free food and stuff to resell, what could possibly be the downside to such a concept? The law.
The owners of the Miami Produce Center were cited after video cameras captured people going through their dumpsters for food, some of which was later resold to restaurants. Furthermore, some business owners may set up cameras, dumpster locks and signs warning people not to trespass or go through the garbage. If they catch anyone, they may have them taken in by police.
So what can potential divers do? They can travel in groups to be safe, be discerning about what they pick out so that they don’t get sick, scope out spots before they leave, ask business owners before they dive and be wary of cameras!
If Dumpster Diving isn’t your cup of trash, gardening might be a more appealing route to alternative food sources. A community garden offers people who register a small plot of land to grow whatever they want, from decorative flowers to bountiful fruits and vegetables. Laura Lafata, who runs social media and organizes meetings for the South Beach Community Garden, elaborated that the garden offers all kinds of things for people.
“It’s a piece of paradise in a very densely populated part of the city that allows one the pleasure of digging in the soil and the joy of producing one’s own food supply,” Lafata said. Indeed, the benefits of a community garden are being allowed to pick what you want to grow and owning a little plot of land in the urban jungle.
“Everyone can grow whatever they want, but we encourage gardeners to grow what will grow best in our climate with a focus on heat tolerant varieties, Asian and Caribbean vegetables, lettuces, sprouts, okra, sweet potatoes, radishes, beans, tomatoes, snow peas, eggplants.”
So there’s no risk of getting bored when it comes to food and the garden, Miami Beach Parks and Recreation Department offers a budget for hoses, trash cans and water, so the simple parts of taking care of a garden and growing your own food are covered as well.
Growing your own food isn’t always easy. The Garden covers the basics, but the gardeners have to bring their own soil and seeds, build their own boxes and maintain their own plots. The prices of soil, seeds and wood are steep, so the cost of urban farming can easily add up.
Gardeners are left to the whims of Mother Nature when it comes to the fate of their plots. Frosts can kill a crop, hurricanes can tear them down, heat can dry them up, and rain can drown them.
“Heat is a bigger issue here, along with rain, sometimes not enough, sometimes too much.” Lafata said.
With Miami having an average of roughly 60 inches of annual rainfall, along with a dry season that runs throughout winter, the best that gardeners can do is prepare and prevent for the worst. Gardeners have to prepare against pests such as the Eastern Lubber Grasshopper and even iguanas, all which want to chow down on fresh garden greens. Finally, simply, and most importantly, running a garden takes a lot of work.
“The biggest problem we have at the garden is commitment,” Lafata said. “You need a lot of time to nurture and care for your plot to successfully grow anything.”
Smaller plants such as radishes and cucumbers can take up to three weeks to grow, while larger plants like pumpkins can take even longer. The combined factors can easily wear anyone down, but reaping your own delicious rewards in the form of a salad or a fruit tart can be a great joy at the end of the day.
“Everything grown tastes sweeter and better when it’s just picked,” Lafata said.
If the messiness of Dumpster Diving and the arduous labor of gardening threatens you, Farm to Table (FTT) is an alternative food source that you don’t have to work for.
FTT is a movement primarily for getting food locally and serving it to local customers. It also keeps customers informed about where their food came from.
Jensen Eddings, the director of Media & Marketing for Batch Miami, explains the benefits of those contacts: “Farm to table and using fresh ingredients benefits everyone: the supplier has the client, the restaurant enjoys the lower costs, and the customer gets fresh, local food. It’s a win-win-win…Through strengthening relationships with regional purveyors and highlighting local ingredients, South Florida cuisine has a chance to set itself apart from the rest of the country.”
Eddings also said that FTT is an easy, effective way to get fresh food. The quick access to local suppliers means that food can be used the same day that it’s picked, caught or slaughtered.
Like the rest of alternative food sources, FTT doesn’t come without its costs. Using local suppliers means that FTT restaurants can only use what grows in the area, and it can impact what gets cooked.
“Using local ingredients definitely forces flexibility,” Eddings said. “Sometimes people just run out of things. We do our best to stay ahead of slip-ups and make up for when it does happen with fun specials.”
Essentially, diners probably won’t be seeing things like cherries or Atlantic salmon on tables at FTT restaurants. Furthermore, some people are beginning to see FTT as a fad that’s quickly fading. Vanity Fair published an article titled, “Is It Time To Table Farm To Table?” dissecting how FTT is merely a fad popularized by good PR – a buzz word for fast food companies to use to prove that their food isn’t processed.
Eddings writes that FTT is more than just jargon to turn heads-it gives people the information that they want about the food that they want to eat.
“People love to get more out of their dining experience than ever before, so it’s raising the bar for everyone,” Eddings said. “In turn, we’re getting higher-quality restaurants. It’s awesome and an exciting trend to embrace.”
Cover Photo Credit: Wei Tchou/Flickr (CC by 2.0)
Correction (9-17-2015, 12:27 PM): The original version of this story incorrectly identified the person who runs social media and organizes meetings for the South Beach Community Garden. Her name is Laura Lafata. We regret the error and are happy to correct the record.Post Views: 663
What Do You Think?
By Allyn Farach
Representation in all walks of life has been in the spotlight recently. And one area that is full of controversy is what young people are exposed to in books that often help inform them during some of the most important years of their lives.
A study by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center of the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that out of the 3,400 books that they received for 2015, 106 were by Black authors and 269 were about Black characters, and 58 were by Latino authors and 82 were about Latino characters.
Malinda Lo, a YA novelist, has been following the uptick in LGBT+ YA.
According to Lo, “In 2014, mainstream publishers published 47 LGBT YA books. This is a 59% increase from 2013, when only 29 LGBT YA books were published by mainstream publishers.”
Yes, these statistics look optimistic, but they are still not what they should be.
So what is the damage done when proper representation can’t be ascertained?
All groups suffer because such lack of representation fails to encapsulate the differences between different people; essentially, one person is not the whole.
“I think the tendency has been to reduce Latino characters as this one thing or Asian characters as this one thing, Muslim characters as one thing, and the fact is that we’re people,” Meg Medina, a Cuban-American writer of YA books and an Advisory Chair for the group We Need Diverse Books, said in a interview with RISE NEWS. “And all of those very specific identifiers and experiences shape how we move. It’s what makes us people.”
The effects of poor representation of minority groups are not limited to people of color.
Alex Gino uses the singular they pronoun and wrote George, a YA book about a trans girl that won the 2016 Stonewall Book Award.
“It’s important to remember that each trans experience is unique and different the way that each cis experience, the way that each trans experience, the way that each gay or queer experience is unique,” Gino said in an interview with RISE NEWS. “And so I wouldn’t even say that one trans story can cover it, or one gay story would cover it. There’s nothing quite like finding someone like yourself in a book.”
Leaps and bounds have been made in representation, however, despite this work, there are still advances to be made.
For example, Lo estimated that 1.9% to 2.4% of YA books published in 2013 had LGBT+ characters or dealt with LGBT+ issues.
“There is a lot of work to be done. I think that we only started to drill down into the many experiences that make up being a young person,” Medina said. “I think there are lots of questions in publishing now, like who’s writing these stories? Are they authentic, are they not authentic, are they written from sort of an outsider point of view, people imagining what it’s like to be x y or z, are they generally writers of color? I think when we have many people at the table with many points of view, the books that get published are richer, are more nuanced, are truer stories of real peoples’ lives.”
Gino seemed to agree with that sentiment.
“I think that we are scratching the surface of the stories that are available to be told, and the stories that are available to read,” Gino said. “I think that we need more books by diverse people and we also need more diverse groups of people publishing the books, so that stories that are being picked have more things to offer.”
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.
Cover Photo Credit: Amber McKinney/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)Post Views: 929
What Do You Think?
LAS VEGAS — Few American tech brands are as iconic—or seemingly as doomed to history—as Kodak. And yet the venerable Rochester, N.Y., company managed to create some of the biggest buzz at the Consumer Electronics Show with a retro product with some really famous fans: a new Super 8 motion picture camera that will shoot old-school… Read MorePost Views: 382
What Do You Think?