Tag Archives: green

reading the fine print

There is much medical research that touts the benefits of eating a diet high in Omega 3s and DHA, especially during pregnancy. One of the best places to get your Omegas is through fish. Not only does eating fish help lower depression during and after pregnancy, but it is also shown to aid in eye and brain development of the baby. Okay. I’m on board. Time to eat my omegas.

Except…except…I don’t really like fish. I loved fish when we were sailing in the Caribbean and we hauled fresh tuna and mahi aboard for sushi and tuna tartare. But big game fish are off limits during pregnancy due to increased levels of mercury and other toxins. I’ve tried wild caught salmon, catfish, tilapia–yuck, yuck, yuck. So what about taking fish oil supplements? A recent study (which, for the life of me, I can’t find) argued that you have to actually eat the fish to get the benefits. Other studies now show that there is no correlation between enhanced levels of DHA and baby brain development. I say tomatoe, you say toematoe?

Regardless, eating fish is a healthy, low-fat way to get protein. I’m trying to make an active effort to get some canned tuna (ok as long as it isn’t albacore) or sardines in my diet a couple times a week.

open-face sardine melt on homemade whole wheat bread. Cabot, seriously sharp cheddar.

I was excited when I found this new brand of sardines in the grocery store: Wild Planet, wild sardines. The box and their website purports that they are “sustainably caught along the California coast.” Great. But then turn the box on its side and look at the fine print: “processed in Vietnam.”

Are you kidding me? They sustainably catch the fish off of California, ship it to Vietnam for processing, and then ship it halfway across the world to Philadelphia where it ends up on my plate? Sure, they may be practicing sustainable fishing methods, but Wild Planet is not practicing sustainable processing and delivery methods.

Don’t even get me started on the canned yellowfin tuna you can buy at Trader Joes.



urban gardening, CSAs & community farms

May 1 is just around the corner.  Here in the northeast, people with land are getting their hands dirty on the weekends, planting their first seeds of the season. City-dwellers are looking forward to farmer’s markets and the first CSA delivery.  When will the rhubarb be ripe?!

I live in Philadelphia but dream of owning a piece of land large with enough space to grow veggies, have a couple hens and two goats.  In the meantime, I’m thinking of how to get my hands dirty in the city (and I don’t mean by riding SEPTA).  The easiest way is to get a plot at a community garden. The Spring Gardens (www.thespringgardens.org) is a large, volunteer-run space with 180 plots, but the website has a waiting list of 2 years.

Greens Grow Farm (www.greensgrow.org) is a large urban farm in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia that has a nursery, CSA and farm stand with a goal of providing sustainable, green business development in the city.  Since Greens Grow is a non-profit and has a large group of volunteers, I’ll call it a community farm.  Non-profit, day-to-day farm management is led by an experienced farmer and supported by volunteers. The farm has wider goals for the community such as education, hunger-reduction and bringing fresh food to neighbors.

I really like the idea of a community farm. But I’m wondering about combining CSAs and community farms–creating an urban farm collective.  My rough idea is this:

  1. assemble a group of interested, committed people
  2. form a non-profit
  3. write grants and more grants
  4. receive grants (!)
  5. get a plot of land from the City
  6. start farming

Each member can have their own plot, or we can have one large plot where we share the veggies. Chickens, goats, pigs? As long as we have enough committed members, I think animal husbandry and a small dairy operation could be part of the farm. If we got enough grant money, it is possible that we could hire a person to manage the farm on a part or full time basis, but I envision the bulk of the work coming from members of the farm.

I’ve googled community farm in different forms and have only found CSAs and community farms (like Green Grows).

What do you think? Could this be viable?