Saturday, May 30, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
Aabesk (آب اسک) is a village in the north of Iran, 90 Km away fromTehran toward Caspian Sea. Every year and by the second month ofspring, people in Aabesk perform very interesting ceremony that is called, Barfchal (برف چال/ Barf: Snow / Chal: Ditch) and Zanshahi ( /زنشاهیZan: Woman / Shahi: Kingdom).
By the first or second week of the second month of spring, all men from 7 to 70 years old in the village go to the mountain and cut pieceof snow. Then they carry the cut pieces and bury them in a special ditch by 12meters depth and 10 meters width. During this time when men are out of the village, women perform a womanly ceremony and call the ceremony as “Women Kingdom”. During the day the whole village is under authority of women and they dance in the streets and present breakfast and lunch to the inhabitant. In case they find any man in the village they would catch him and detain him in a stable, or even hit him hard! So no man dares to remain in the village whatsoever!
Barfchal is more than 600 years old. People who were suffering from water shortage during summer invented this way to save water in order to be used for their cattle and even their own water consumption. the ceremony was mingled with the religious belief among people and now a days it also consider an religious ceremony for village inhabitants to distribute some free food stuff according to avow they made for God.
Note: Recently this ceremony has got good reputation in Iran and tourists from all over the country come to participate."
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
I have posted before on Al Akhdam, the poorest and most excluded people in Yemen. I read a fabulous Arabic novel last year about them, I will try to remembers the title. A must read.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Saturday, May 23, 2009
There were also cases of Damascene roses used to make rose water and jams with the petals, and vine leaves for stuffing and rolling.
In the same street, I also bought FABULOUS Armenian meat pies (lahm bi `ajeen) from a tiny bakery: 500 LL each (30 cents). This is the cheapest excellent meal you can have in Lebanon.
“Right now there is no way to segregate GM from non-GM,” said Fitzhenry. “At present even one kernel of GM wheat is unacceptable to customers. We think there is still a long way to go and we can’t see a market value or greatly improved agronomics…All the evidence we have is that there is still a lot of resistance from consumers.” "
“I feel that as a consumer COOL is a good thing, I want to know where my products come from, if Mexico & Canada are worried it tells me that they think people think their products are of lower quality and they need to correct their image not make us change our laws.”
“COOL is just another step in the direction of Protectionism… spelling disaster from farmer to consumer. Open and fair competition has and is the only driver for effectiveness, efficiency, honesty and better ways for bringing products to the market place. Further government control of the food chain will lead to greater inefficiencies from lack of competition which will drive higher consumer prices and food shortages.
As a consumer I demand freedom of choice when buying farm products: best quality, selection and price…regardless if it is produced in Canada or elsewhere!
‘COOL’ is not cool…it should be put on ice – immediately.”
Friday, May 22, 2009
Local farmers report that the blaze carried over a four-kilometer stretch on the Palestinian side of the eastern border land. Ibrahim Hassan Safadi, 49, from one of the farming families whose crops were destroyed by the blaze, said that the fires were smoldering until early evening, despite efforts by the fire brigades to extinguish them.
Safadi says he was present when Israeli soldiers fired small bombs into his field, which soon after caught ablaze. He explained that "The Israeli soldiers fired from their jeeps, causing a fire to break out on the land. They burned the wheat, burned the pomegranate trees ... The fire spread across the valley. We called the fire brigades. They came to the area and put out the fire. But in some places the fire started again." According to Safadi, he lost 30,000 square meters to the blaze, including 300 pomegranate trees, 150 olive trees, and wheat. " (Thanks Marcy)
Thursday, May 21, 2009
1. Kubbat Mousel is one of the most famous and authentic Iraqi dishes. It was created in the city of Mousel (240km north of Baghdad). The size is a matter of great pride to the Mouselites and a way of showing guests a warm welcome.
2. Fasangoon is most probably Iranian in origin and became part of Iraqi cuisine through Iranian visitors to the shrines in the cities of Najaf and Karbala (150km south of Baghdad) and the close relations and marriages that resulted.
3. Sheikh Mahshi is one of the most loved stew dishes in Iraq and usually served with white rice fortified with roasted almonds and raisins. Great as a starter or a full meal, it can be easily transformed into a vegetarian dish by replacing the minced meat with a vegetarian version or leaving it out all together.
4. Timman Jazar is one of my favourite dishes, delicious, aromatic and very easy to make. The vegetarian alternative is as delicious if not more so - omit the minced meat (add a cube of vegetarian stock, if you so wish) or replace it with vegetarian mince."
By Lamees Ibrahim
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
The little strawberry I'm munching is part of a bigger story that begins in the fields and ends on your plate. It's the story of a lucrative industry that offers consumers a commodity at a low-cost but with high consequences.
Forming the backbone of this industry are the oft-forgotten armies of farmworkers who travel California's freeway arteries to plant and harvest crops in every corner of this region. The policies that oppress the 2 million people who grow our food betray its true costs.
Food writer and activist Eric Schlosser, speaking at the Slow Food Nation conference in San Francisco last fall, said that he would rather eat a conventional tomato picked by well-treated workers than a local heirloom variety harvested by oppressed workers." (Thanks Marcy)
We should look at this in the Lebanese organic sector.
"According to the Evansville Courier Press, the warrant for Young’s arrest alleges he asked a USDA staff member during a phone call, “Do I have to get attention by going down to the (Agriculture Stabilization and Conservation Service) office and shooting somebody or blowing something up?”
If he is convicted at trial, which is set to begin June 30, the 82-year-old could face up to five years in prison." (Thanks Marcy)
"The Cornucopia Institute’s Organic Soy Report and accompanying Scorecard rates companies that market organic soy foods, such as soymilk, tofu and “veggie burgers,” based on ten criteria that are important to organic consumers—showcasing companies that are truly committed to the spirit and letter of the organic law while exposing those that do not rate highly or were unwilling to share their sourcing and production practices in our survey.
The scorecard sheds light on questions such as:
- Do the soybeans come from American organic farmers, or are they imported from China, India or South America?
- Is the company devoted to supporting organic agriculture by sourcing only organic soybeans and marketing only organic products?
- Does the company use loopholes in the organic standards to source cheaper non-organic ingredients even when organic ones are available?"
Good site! (Thanks Daniel)
Monday, May 18, 2009
The Chavez government has imposed price checks on a number of staple food items in Venezuela – a move it says is necessary to ensure its poorest citizens have access to basic foods and to curb inflation levels, which reached 28.3 percent last month, the highest in Latin America. Businesses have complained however that the cheap prices make it difficult to make a profit and the price checks are off-putting to outside investors.
The government has said it will run the US-owned Cargill plant for the next 90 days to oversee operations and make sure that it meets the government-imposed threshold of producing at least 70 percent of its pasta at approved prices. "
Sunday, May 17, 2009
My daughters Suha and Thurayya learned how to milk the sheep. Thurayya is the eldest.
It was also the time of the year where we say farewel to the spring. The wheat is turning golden and the snow on Sannine is almost gone. The rains of last Tuesday extended the life of the late blooms of poppies.
Friday, May 15, 2009
At the foot of the hills
Between the olive trees
And the poppy fields
The waves sleep on the meadows
The valley burns in the dying light
The sun caresses the eyes
The sky blushes so shy
Over the marine plains
Perfumed with the scent of thyme
The farmers’ houses are sailing ships
They cut their way through the land
And dance with the wind
And when the sea gets rough
The air fills with ancient songs
I dream of this dewy land
Sixty years of exile
In the alleys of the camp
Like a desperate lover
I long for freedom and return
I’m coming home hills of Haifa
Mount Carmel port of Jaffa
And on the altar of Jenine
I will baptize my children
With the earth of Filasteen
(my translation from Arabic)
Thursday, May 14, 2009
“Over half of what is described as aid goes to the global south in the form of loans for private sector consultancy, technical assistance or works projects and the five richest countries can get up to 90 per cent of the business,“ said Dr Bracking.
“Poor countries, already up to their eyes in debt, are forced to pay it back at great cost to their citizens."
Pollan on food, refreshingly short
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
The prosecutor made the move after a complaint that a quantity of spoiled wheat unfit for human consumption had entered the Red Sea port of Safaga without proper quality control approvals, state news agency MENA said."
For hard-core locavores, watching the food industry adopt their language is frustrating. But it also means things are changing.
“You know the locavore phenomenon is having an impact when the corporations begin co-opting it,” Ms. Prentice said. “Everyone should know where things are processed. The ‘where’ question is really important.”" (Thanks Leila)
Monday, May 11, 2009
The statistics, for subsidies in 2008, show that an elite class of beneficiaries got more than 700 payments of at least 1 million euros ($1.33 million). The largest payment, 140 million euros, went to the Italian sugar company Italia Zuccheri. An Italian bank, ICBPI, got more than 180 million euros in five payments." (Thanks Toufic)
Sunday, May 10, 2009
"A lot of these species are only found in this area," she told BBC News. "It's very mountainous and dry, so many of these species have a great deal of tolerance to cold and drought.
"A lot of our domestic fruit supply comes from a very narrow genetic base," she continued. "Given the threats posed to food supplies by disease and the changing climate, we may need to go back to these species and include them in breeding programmes." " (Thanks Muna)
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Read also this extensive article on Nabatiyeh and her souk by Dani al Ameen
Friday, May 8, 2009
William Shaw on the edible urban gardens movement.
I hear they want to turn the Sanayeh garden in Beirut into a big parking lot.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Olives, cheese, crushed red peppers
Strawberries fres from the field
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
1. Monsanto is one of the most powerful multi-national corporations in the world. The Global One-World Government New World Order conspiracy, of which Monsanto is a part, is aimed at controlling millions via the food they eat. “Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control the people,” said Henry Kissinger in 1970.
2. Monsanto uses overt and covert strategies to accomplish their goals. Monsanto is behind both sides of the battle over HR 875. They don’t leave important matters like these to chance.
3. Monsanto’s tentacles reach into every aspect of our society: government, private industry, the military, law enforcement and, of course, agriculture. Large, small, organic and non-organic farmers—and don’t forget libertarian grass roots activists—are all influenced directly and indirectly by Monsanto. The company that rose to power in the 20th century as a leading chemical giant now focuses on agriculture. In Monsanto’s world, there is no room for the family farmer. The company’s well-known corporate bullying tactics have made this clear. Just ask Percy Schmeiser, the brave Canola farmer who dared to take on Monsanto.
4. HR 875’s vague wording was intentional.
5. Family Farmers (organic and non-organic) are under attack, but not by Congresswoman DeLauro, the author of HR 875 whose husband was a political consultant to Monsanto 10 years ago.
6. The timing of HR 875 coincides with the slow food, Locavore, and urban gardening movements in the United States and, for that matter, any slow food movement anywhere in the world.
7. The E-coli and salmonella outbreaks related to spinach, tomatoes and peanuts are the work of Monsanto’s agents: Things don’t happen; they’re made to happen.
8. Healthy Family Farm owner Sharon Palmer was arrested for selling raw goat milk, and the Ohio food co-op raided Gestapo-style was obviously instigated by Monsanto agents in a move designed to intimidate urban gardeners. (Thanks Marcy)
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
The 17th Session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-17) is being held in New York from 4-15 May 2009 to discuss the themes of agriculture, land, rural development, land degradation, drought, desertification and Africa. Please find below the NGO Major Group opening statement.
OPENING STATEMENT AT CSD-17
4 May 2009, Monday
NGO Major Group
CSD-17 is happening at a critical juncture in history where several crises are converging - finance and food, climate and environment, governance, and now, a looming threat of a global health pandemic. Agriculture lies at the core of all these crises, and Agriculture is also a key solution to these crises. The world therefore expects no less than A DECISIVE AND URGENT RESPONSE from CSD-17. The Negotiated Outcome from this session must lead to a RADICAL SHIFT in thinking and paradigm in agricultural development. Business-as-usual is definitely NOT AN OPTION. Sustainable development after all is NOT about business-as-usual.
We urge the CSD to adopt the recommendations of the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) as basis for international and national policy-making, and planning and investments in agriculture, to attain food security, provide sustainable rural livelihoods, and build the resilience of ecosystems to climate change. Concretely, CSD17 should focus in:
1. Addressing the unsustainability of current agricultural production models that depend on chemical-based inputs and crop and varietal uniformity, supported by neo-liberal trade regime;
2. Mainstreaming agro-ecology and sustainable agricultural practices that are socially-equitable, culturally-appropriate and environmentally-sustainable;
3. Shifting resources and investments to support smallholder farmers;
4. Giving equal importance to indigenous and local agricultural knowledge systems; and
5. Ensuring bottom-up, participatory and multi-sectoral approaches in policy and decision-makingBold actions need to be supported by concrete mechanisms to significantly increase the level of funding, technical support, and assistance for sustainable agriculture [including through extension services, research and capacity building. The means of implementation must be measurable in order to hold governments accountable.
The Right to Food, Right to Water, Right to Land and Food Sovereignty must provide coherence to the Negotiated Outcome of CSD-17. These fundamental rights and principles must not be undermined by the introduction of technological solutions such as biofuels and GMOs, the neo-liberal trade agenda, and by grand agricultural development schemes such as the green revolution in Africa. After centuries of supporting the world, it is now time for the world to support Africa, not grab her land and ravage her agriculture.We dare governments to be bold and radical, to make CSD relevant at this most challenging of times.
These factory farms are disgusting and dangerous, and they're rapidly multiplying. Thousands of pigs are brutally crammed into dirty warehouses and sprayed with a cocktail of drugs -- posing a health risk to more than just our food -- they and their manure lagoons create the perfect conditions to breed dangerous new viruses like swine flu. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) must investigate and develop regulations for these farms to protect global health.
Big agrobusiness will try to obstruct and scuttle any attempts at reform, so we need a massive outcry that health authorities can't ignore. Sign the petition below for investigation and regulation of factory farms and tell your friends and family "
New thinking about what we're eating
Directed by: Ana Sofia Joanes Starring: Michael Pollan, George Naylor, Russ Kremer, David Ball, Prof. John Ikerd, Mr. & Mrs. Fox
FRESH IS AN IMPORTANT MOVIE.
"Pig pig pig... pig pig pig... Come on, pig." The opening words of Fresh sound more like a scene from Deliverance than a documentary about the case for, and the current state of, sustainable farming.
Fresh is the absolutely first-rate documentary from filmmaker Ana Sofia Joanes. It resonates even more loudly following the latest headlines that upwards of 68 (mostly young) people are dead today as a result of swine flu, while New Yorkers and New Zealanders shudder on the brink of what may be one of the scariest pandemics seen in a long while, eclipsing the death toll of the avian flu that sent the media and frequent flyers into a tailspin not too long ago. "
From a recent review of Ana Sofia Joanes documentary Elliot V. Kotek (from the 2009 Newport Beach Film Festival).
Screening in May in several locations on the US East coast. Check here.
Monday, May 4, 2009
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Polly Toynbee on the new IMF which is...like the old IMF. I especially like this:
"IMF economic thought often enters the soul of finance ministers"
An economist like Paul Collier is convinced that radical steps have to be taken. "African peasant agriculture has fallen further and further behind the advancing commercial productivity frontier," he wrote at the end of last year in the journal Foreign Affairs. "Based on present trends, the region's food imports are projected to double over the next quarter century." Only large scale farms, he argues, are capable of providing the investment and market access that is essential to produce the surge in food production necessary to keep up with demand.
Rubbish, says development expert Steve Wiggins. "Yes, he is correct to emphasise the need for commercial farming. But no, he is wrong to imagine that this requires doing so on a large scale. His solution is unnecessary, flies in the face of history and carries important dangers."
Anne Perkins on the future of farming in Africa
But manufacturing was not the only sector to be globalised. Banks became bigger and bigger, expanding their business across frontiers to the extent that national regulators found it harder to supervise them properly. With low inflation making traditionally safe investments less attractive, there was a global search for yield. As we now know, this led to speculative money flooding into places such as Iceland and into complex derivative products that nobody really understood. The banks became so big and had so many different functions that it was beyond the capacity of any chief executive – no matter how brilliant – to manage them properly."
Larry Elliott in the Guardian