Sunday, April 26, 2009

URI students collaborate with Slow Food Rhode Island and Kids First

University of Rhode Island students from the Animal Science Club and the Nutrition Club are working in conjunction with Slow Food Rhode Island and the Kids First Program based in Providence RI to promote biodiversity and local eating to grammar school students in Rhode Island.

The Animal Science Club worked with Becky Sartini, URI Animal Sciences Assistant Professor, on a fun, interactive session on the Rhode Island Red. The Fogarty Elementary School students learned about the differences between brown and white eggs, the origin of the Rhode Island Red, and choices chicken breeders make in breeding high producing hens. All of the children got to see the live Rhode Island Red chicken who was also visiting the classroom.

The Nutrition Club worked with Ingrid Lofgren, URI Nutrition and Food Sciences Assistant Professor, to introduce the students at Kent Heights Elementary School to the Rhode Island state fruit, the Rhode Island Greening apple. In addition to learning about the RI Greening, the Kent Heights students also learned about the benefits of eating lots of fruits and vegetables. Both clubs look forward to continuing their work with Slow Food Rhode Island and Kids First in the future.

posted by Ingrid and Becky

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Movie Night Wednesday, April 29: Black Gold

Slow Food RI and Farm Fresh RI are pleased to announce the showing of Black Gold, a documentary about the coffee industry, at Local 121, 121 Washington Street, Providence, Wednesday, April 29.

The coffee industry is an 80 billion dollar industry, but while consumers pay a high price for their lattes and cappuccinos, coffee farmers are paid so little that some may have to give up their coffee fields. Black Gold follows the General Manager of the Oromia Coffee Farmers Co-operative Union, Tadesse Meskela, as he travels from Ethiopia to London and Seattle fighting to save the coffee farmers he works with from bankruptcy.

From the directors:

We decided to make BLACK GOLD after it was announced at the end of 2002 that Ethiopia was facing another famine. Twenty years earlier in 1984, people across the world had been motivated to respond to this crisis by giving aid.

The difference this time was that Ethiopian coffee farmers, known for producing some of the best quality coffee in the world, were also caught up in this new food crisis. Given that the global coffee industry was booming, making record profits for the largest multi-nationals, we felt that this was a story that had to be told - a story that could expose the exploitation in the coffee industry as well as highlight that the developing world want a fairer trading system rather than aid.

We are thrilled to have Rik Kleinfeldt of New Harvest Coffee Roasters speaking after the presentation of the movie. Rik has recently returned from Honduras and Colombia on a coffee sourcing trip and will share his experiences - as well as his delicious fair trade coffee - with us.

You can have a look at the Black Gold trailer by clicking here.

Local 121 will provide a buffet of locally-sourced food for $15 as well as a cash bar. Admission to the movie is free.

The room will open at 6pm and the (quite delicious, might we add!) buffet will be served starting at 6:15pm. The movie will start at 7pm.

Please RSVP to Local 121 at 401-274-2121.

We hope to see you at Local 121 on April 29!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Kansas bill HR 2121 disallows rbGH labeling

Last Friday, the Kansas legislature passed a law that disallows rbGH labeling on milk and milk products. By removing the requirement to label milk, consumers in Kansas will no longer be able to determine whether the product they are purchasing does or does not contain bovine growth hormone.

Civil Eats writes in their post on the bill, HR 2121: The required disclaimer would read: “the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined there are no significant differences between milk from cows that receive injections of the artificial hormone and milk from those that do not.” That statement is based on an 18-year-old FDA review; however, FDA’s own publications, as well as subsequent scientific studies have shown that there are significant differences, some of which may affect human health. The Kansas bill also goes against long-established Federal policy as outlined by the FDA in a July 27, 1994 letter to New York Department of Agriculture and Markets: “The bottom line is that a contextual statement is not required…and in no instance is the specific statement ‘No significant difference has been shown…’ required by FDA.”

Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius is President Obama's nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services. She has the power to veto this bill before moving on to Washington, D.C.. Please take some time to read up on the bill at Food and Water Watch and Civil Eats, and please sign the petition urging Governor Sebelius to veto the bill here.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Stowell's Sweet Corn

Imagine corn seed spurring one to look more closely at who one considers a friend?

The original strain of Stowell's Sweet Corn was bred by Nathaniel Newman Stowell. Stowell was born May 16, 1793 in New Ipswich, Massachusetts. After years of refining the strain, Nathaniel sold two ears of seed for $4.00 to a friend who agreed to use it only for his private use. His "friend" then turned around and sold the seed for $20,000 and it was introduced to the seed trade in 1848. Could this friend not have split the profit? Or at the very least, paid him back the $4.00?

In any case, after 151 years, his variety is still the leading white variety for home gardens and market growers. Ears grow 8-9" long and have 14-20 rows of kernels, 1-2 ears per stalk, and will be yours to eat in just 80-100 days should you plant them in your own garden. If you would like to purchase seed, it is available at Seed Savers Exchange.

Otherwise, please be on the lookout for Stowell's Sweet Corn at farmers markets and restaurants around Rhode Island at harvest time.