Farmers in Drought – Help is on the way!

Farmers in DroughtIt has been several months since I published my blog post “The year the rain stopped” describing the effect of the most recent California drought. It only rains in California during the winter months, typically from November through May. Since January, when I penned that blog, we have received a series of modest storms bringing much needed precipitation to the parched fields and rolling hills of my fair state. But it isn’t enough; the humble rainfall we have received is less than half of our average year to date, and the prognosis doesn’t look very moist for the balance of the season. Continue reading

Bolivian Diaries – Part 3 – Quinoa Rules: meeting the producers in an untamed land

Harvesting QuinoaIt was early fall in Bolivia and the countryside was a riot of flaming Quinoa hues. The fall harvest was in full throttle and as we drove on unruly roads; the landscape was painted with red, gold purple and rust. The intense Andean sun at 14,000 feet struck amazing pinpoints of color under a mighty volcano that’s ancient name is Thunupa.  Amidst this colorful pageant were family members working to harvest their long stalks of Quinoa and complete the first step in the process that ultimately brings it to our tables. Continue reading

Why I went to Washington

OTA in WashingtonI was barely off the plane from Bolivia, and the ink was barely dry on my “high altitude” diaries when the call came in. The Coalition for Safe and Affordable Food, backed primarily by the Grocery Manufactures Association and other biotech companies, was up to its old tricks again. Despite the cheery name the folks behind this coalition want to introduce a bill that would look like a solution to federal GMO labeling but in fact weaken and dilute any meaningful labeling protocol in the US. I went to Washington with a pressed suit and business cards to represent the 93% of consumers who want the Right to Know: label GMO. It was an auspicious time to show up! Continue reading

Bolivian Diaries – Part 2 – Going deeper, delivering gifts

This is part 2 of a three part series. You can read Bolivian Diaries – Part 1 here. 
Quinoa ComesI fall deeply asleep in the mining town of Oruro, which, at 14,350 feet, is one of the highest places we will visit. The town is relatively wealthy thanks to the copious amounts of silver, tin and lead extracted from the nearby mountain. The streets are newly paved and lined with parks festooned with magical playgrounds of dinosaur and giant turtle-inspired plays-capes. Sculptures made from discarded metals are a common decorative element and reminiscent of Burning Man art. Continue reading

Climate Change deserves a declaration!

The worldJust a few weeks ago the United Nations group, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, concluded that things are worse than anyone predicted. This is the leading international body for the assessment of climate change and the report held some dire warnings. The ice caps are melting, sea ice in the Arctic is collapsing, and water supplies are under extreme pressure. As heat waves, heavy rains and hundred year droughts become the norm, our precious coral reefs are disappearing and many species are moving towards extinction. You can view the slide presentation of the report here. The New York Times piece titled “Old Forecast of Famine May Yet Come True” elaborates on the impact climate change will have on the world’s food supplies. With this ominous news and dire forecasts, do we just get used to it and get ready? Or do we get going and demand change? Continue reading