A leader for a livable Future – Happy Cesar Chavez Day

Cesar Chavez

Cesar Chavez

It wasn’t until I moved to San Francisco after college that I found out who Cesar Chavez was. Being from Pennsylvania, where his birthday is not celebrated as a state holiday, perhaps I knew his name, but certainly not his legacy as a leader and organizer for farm workers rights.  But in California, where his birthday, March 31st is celebrated as a holiday and where street signs bear his name, I learned of his great achievements.  Most notably, Chavez co-founded the National Farm Workers Association (now United Farm Workers) in 1962.  A tireless activist for human rights, farm workers rights and civil rights throughout his life, Chavez promoted ideas for a Livable Future though non-violence, education and service. He helped give a voice to farm workers, who “… till the soil, cultivate and harvest the fruits, vegetables, and other foods that fill your tables with abundance” and “have nothing left for themselves.”

While California was the first state to put his birthday, March 31st, on the books as a State Holiday to honor his many achievements, it is only one of 8 to do so.  Since Maryland is one of the 42 that don’t, I probably would have forgotten that last week would have been Chavez’s  83rd birthday, had it not been for my trusty twitter feed to alert me that President Obama has honored the original Si se puede chanter with a nationally recognized holiday. Read More >

Farmers Market on Penn Ave?

At the Organizing for America National Health Care forum on Tuesday, President Obama surprised listeners with a new idea: host a farmers market right outside the White House.

“One of the things that we’re trying to do now is to figure out, can we get a little farmers’ market — outside of the White House — I’m not going to have all of you all just tromping around inside — (laughter) — but right outside the White House — (laughter) — so that — so that we can — and — and — and that is a win-win situation.”

In just a few days, the topic has sprouted up all over the net. Here are the LFB Top 5 reactions and summaries to the President’s market ambition.

1. Obama Foodorama, one of our favorite food blogs around, wrote about Obama’s comment and gave readers a short history lesson. Did you know Thomas Jefferson was credited with turning the earliest D.C. Farmers Markets into what they are now?

2. Our friends over at Grist ran the entire Q&A exchange so we could get the full context of his comment: “Obama Wants to Set Up White House Farmers Market.”

2. The Huffington Post’s Green Blog struck up quite a dialogue with over 90 comments on their story, “Obama Talks Up Local Foods, School Lunches, And Setting Up a Farmers Market Outside the White House.”

3. Jane Black, author of All We Can Eat, reported the news for readers of the Washington Post.com.

4. The White House Organic Farm Project jumped on the story and posted a transcript of the President’s remarks here.  The WHOFarm guys are driving their WhoFarmMobile vehicle (you have to see this to believe it) , across the country to raise awareness about TheWhoFarm mission and petition.

5.  Finally, Food First, whether in reaction to the comment or not, posted information that claims Farmers’ Markets in the U.S. are on the rise.

The AMA’s Support for Sustainable Food Systems: They Sure Can Talk the Talk

President Obama spoke at the AMA conference last week

President Obama spoke at the AMA conference last week

Last week at the American Medical Association’s 158th annual meeting in Chicago members passed a resolution that supports the advocacy of sustainable healthy food systems. This is a landmark time for environmentalists since the AMA had previously endorsed healthy food alternatives and minimizing the environmental impact of certain foods, but never before has it publicly recognized the dangerous effects of the current industrial food manufacturing system. The AMA issued a statement making clear the benefits of more healthy and sustainable food systems. They get it: “Healthy food is part of a sustainable food system, in which food is defined not only by its nutrient content, but also by how and where it is raised, grown, processed, and distributed.”

The resolution piggybacked a report issued by the AMA’s Council on Science and Public Health that recognizes the ecological footprint of industrially produced food, understanding that it contributes to antibiotic resistance, climate change and air and water pollution. Combating these causes of damage to the environment is a preventive treatment for illnesses and conditions such as asthma. This preventive approach is all the rage as it is consistent with President Obama’s stance on healthcare reform, and who wouldn’t want to be in the President’s good graces?

The major buzzword of the week is “sustainable,” a term used by the President himself when addressing the large AMA meeting on June 15th. Sustainable food systems seem to fit into the sustainable healthcare picture that the President is pursuing. Not to mention, the idea of sustainable food systems has already been on his radar, something he implied when describing the White House victory garden which is in place to educate children on the significance of locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables. Read More >