I produce the website/e-letter for the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA) in San Francisco and do little bits of freelancing on the side. I also garden and cook at home a lot and in less-busy years, preserve some quantity of my own food.
|Christmas Lima Beans and Quinoa with Beets and Avocado|
Vanessa did a terrific job of convincing her audience that beans are easy, nourishing and surprisingly versatile. And, if you cook a pot for the week, she pointed out, you always have “food” in the fridge.
I’m already kind of a convert, and find that beans are one of those things you can soak/boil while you do other things (my favorite kind of “cooking”). One of the more useful facts: beans take longer to cook if they’ve been sitting on a shelf. In other words, if you buy them from a store (or farmers’ market vendor) where they turns over quickly, you’re less likely to end up having to boil them forever. Makes sense, but I still don’t think I would have come up with this on my own.
And -- the best part -- Vanessa made two dishes from the book, including a salad with quinoa, roasted beets, avocado and limas. Delish!
I enjoyed Tom Philpott’s observations from the Seafood Summit, which he describes as a “complex dance between the fish industry and the NGOs that monitor them.”
Like Philpott, I am very interested in the idea of integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA). Now taht many of us understand the dangers of monocropping on land, it’s time to start drawing people’s awareness to the ways that large-scale aquaculture “tend to require huge amounts of inputs and throw off massive amounts of waste.”
On the other hand, he points out: The best sustainable-minded farmers figure out ways to “close the loop” through on-farm biodiversity.”
It’s a simple idea: “rather than let huge concentrations of fish manure from, say, salmon cages foul coastal waters, you place shellfish, which filter and are nourished by the manure, slightly downstream from your salmon cages; and then seaweed further downstream still, which takes up remaining nutrients from the manure.”
And, while very few fish farms appear to have this approach, it strikes me as such a no brainer.
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