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I really don’t know what to think. I just cooked pheasant, from breasts bought from a small independent butcher in a small shop in a small village in mid-Wales, thinking about a food system of small players and traditional game as an alternative to industrial meats.( I made a lovely stir-fry with nettles and wild garlic, Chinese flavours. ) Yet, if you read this article, you’ll understand all the many issues surrounding these birds, related to general bird biomass, ecology, land ownership, and food supply. It’s chilling that this explosion of pheasant numbers, many more than can be eaten in this market, takes place at the same time as some people pushing for more industrial chicken sheds in the countryside: raising livestock birds for cheap meat, raising wild birds for the pleasure of the hunt and who compete with local birds in waning populations. You can’t drive around here in spring without seeing dead pheasants all over the road. Why did the pheasant cross the road? To make us aware of all these conundra.

Who Owns England?

This post is by Guy Shrubsole.

Go for a drive down a country lane and you’re almost certain to encounter a pheasant, most likely as it leaps, kamikaze-style, into the path of the oncoming car. Pheasants are a non-native species in Britain, introduced for shooting; and though we tend to think of them as a harmless (if rather stupid) species, their numbers are now vast – a staggering 35 million are released in the UK every year (20 million of which are in England, as we’ll later see). A recent study showed the biomass of introduced pheasants outweighed the biomass of all wild bird species in the UK. So who’s releasing all these pheasants? What’s the ecological impact of doing so? And who owns some of the estates responsible? Who Owns England decided to investigate.

The ecological impact of pheasant releases

To be clear from the outset: the science…

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It’s an infinite topic, all the interconnections of climate and weather, food,  tradition and diet,  worries and hopes.  And everyone is going to have specific stories, part of the human story of where we are going as People.  I find this short film moving in its particularity in Bangalore, and then imagining that the experience this narrator describes can be written anew all over the world.  Facing up to it seems the most important thing.

This piece asks what Wales might learn about food systems from the Isle of Man. Two small places in the bigger picture. But the bigger and bigger places also have much to ask and to learn, and to embody “the universal values of place-based development.” A really relevant article.

Maniffesto Bwyd | Food Manifesto

By Jane Powell

Bees hover over marigolds, cornflowers and yarrow in full bloom around the edges of a field of beans which stand blackened and dry, ready for harvest. Beyond, the land slopes down to the valley bottom, where small herds of South Devon cattle are grazing the species-rich wetland meadows. Hedgerows abundant with blackberries, hawthorn and guelder rose divide Guilcagh farm up into small parcels, where Jo Crellin also grows wheat for milling and hay for the horses of the nearby riding school. This is the Isle of Man, where the sunny low-lying northern tip, in the rain shadow of Snaefell, is well suited to cereal cultivation.

We’re on a walk organized by the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group, and the co-existence of food production and nature is certainly a strong theme of the discussion. There is also a historical dimension: archaeological evidence suggests that people were growing wheat…

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Here’s a really nice film documenting people getting together to grow their own food with support from an organisation called Community Foodie.

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Love this project, love the humour and creativity so many people are bringing to their activism and solidarity. And so important to help each other stay upbeat with a chuckle here, a naughty giggle there…

Emily Contois

Our current political moment has incited numerous protests and with them a new cohort of protest posters, including ones that engage food as resistance in ways literal and metaphorical, scathing and humorous. Megan Elias has begun a public history project to archive these political ephemera—Dishing it Out: Food-Themed Protest PostersMegan is a historian who writes about food in the US. Her new book, Food on the Page: Cookbooks and American Culture (Penn Press) will be out in June 2017. She was kind enough to answer a few questions about Dishing It Out:


Emily: What inspired you to start gathering these images of food-themed protest posters?

Megan: I noticed the shawarma poster at a protest that I went to in NYC and then a friend in Boston posted a picture of a sign about coffee. The connection jumped out at me because I’m always thinking about food’s roles outside the kitchen. I thought that…

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I’ve been following  @lizhoover on Instagram; she posts amazing photographs and stories from the Water Protectors. It’s her blog I’ve reblogged below.  If you’d like to contribute some money to this amazing effort of bodies and spirits, Liz recommends this Pueblo Food Drive:

“Help us take a Load of Pueblo Food for the Water Protectors in Standing Rock, ND. Many of our water protectors have been there for many weeks, some months, and a little taste from home can do wonders for our spirit. We will be collecting traditional Pueblo Food Items to take to the Pueblo Camp and to share with our relatives at Oceti Sakwowin in the ALL RELATIONS Kitchen!”

Though the site as of this posting doesn’t seem completely updated at the moment, I’m reassured me it’s still active so give give give if you can, and share too.  Cheers!

Chills of love and respect kept going down my spine reading this account of the kitchens at Standing Rock, from activist-anthropologist-writer Liz Hoover, on an ever interesting and insightful blog.

From Garden Warriors to Good Seeds: Indigenizing the Local Food Movement

img_3950 Meal line up outside the mess hall of the Main Kitchen. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover

Since April, thousands of Indigenous people and their allies have converged on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation and treaty lands, to support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in their opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), slated to cross under the Missouri River directly upstream from the reservation. People have come from around the world to pray; to stand in opposition to Energy Transfer Partners and the Morton County Sheriff’s Department as well as 71 other law enforcement agencies; and to form community. Some people come for the weekend, others have quit their jobs and made resisting this pipeline their full time work. They spend their days building infrastructure at the camp, chopping wood, sorting donations, praying and singing at the main fire, and putting their bodies on the line between the land and an…

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Thank you for all the amazing support you have shown the Medic & Healer Council! *** We also need a transport vehicle and snow-ready ATVs URGENTLY – if you have a reliable vehicle you are…

Source: Donate

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Ah, the long stretches of yellow fields that have come to seem normal in springtime in the British countryside.  When I posted this picture on Instagram, I got lots of likes that I sensed might be approving of beauty, and an idea of pastoral, productive bloom.  Me, I see monoculture and pesticides and the economic restructuring of landscape and our relationship to it. I think about the battles between farmers (as represented by the NFU) and environmentalists about many issues, and neonicotinoids in particular, and just how complicated everything is.

To be fair, I also see Oil Seed Rape (OSR) for Rapeseed Oil as a rural, agricultural industry that has marketed its product very appealingly as local, gourmet, and of a terroir– as British “olive oil” in a foodscape in which most dietary fats are problematic in some (social, environmental, nutritional) way, and in which “British” and “local” represent virtues. Read the rest of this entry »

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 01.33.24.jpgIf you are interested in the culture, politics, ecology and economy of food in Palestine, may I recommend FoodJusticePalestine, a quite remarkable website curating diverse articles and voices from around the web on many aspects of eating and growing there.

Had I been following this site earlier, I might have been aware, for example, of the neoliberal trade context that makes Nutella a normal part of life in occupied territories, despite an initial dismay, elucidated for me by Aisha Mansour in this article. I’ve also come to question my own assumed unequivocal support of fairtrade products from Palestine, a movement that is well intentioned (and so much about solidarity) but needs to be examined in terms of issues of food sovereignty at the broadest levels.

“International fair-trade companies have also decreased Palestinian self-sufficiency. These companies offer local farmers a slightly higher price for their products than the price in the local market, but the real price of this practice is that high-quality local (baladi) produce is removed from the local market and sold to the global market at much higher prices. This has increased inequalities in Palestinian society, creating a minority of wealthy businesspeople, and leaving an entire population with low quality, imported food.”

There’s much more on this Tumblr site – articles about foodways, Permaculture, trade deals, land rights and more.  In fact it brings together so many aspects of how and why food is interesting to me.  So I wanted to share it on my blog.  Have a look and fall into a rabbit hole of fascination…  You don’t need to join Tumblr to view, but joining means you can follow people and ‘scapbook’ your own posts.

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