Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

The Common Sense Canadian: Rapper plants seeds of food security awakening

“If ferries stopped running to Vancouver Island, our grocery shelves would be completely empty after 3 days,” says food security activist-turned-rapper Jeremy Loveday. Watch his 3 min spoken word essay on the shocking state of Canada’s food security.

According to a seminal BC Ministry of Agriculture report in 2007, the province produces just 48% the food it consumes. Per capita vegetable production has fallen to half what it was in 1970.

And yet, the BC Liberal government is intent on flooding and impacting over 30,000 acres of some of the country’s best farmland for the Site C Dam in northeast BC’s (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: The truth unshelled about the shrimp at the table

Shrimp farming (Photo: Jughandle’s Fat Farm).

Read this Jan. 14th article by TreeHugger about why you should stop eating shrimp, wild and farmed:

Shrimp is the most popular seafood in the United States, with Americans eating an average of 4.1 pounds per person annually. As delicious as shrimp may be, we actually should not be eating them. The process that delivers bags of frozen shrimp to your grocery store at cheap prices has devastating ecological consequences, and you’ll probably not want to touch that shrimp ring ever again after reading what’s really happening behind the scenes.

Shrimp is either (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: April’s early breads

April has begun with three loaves of bread; generally successful efforts, although there’s still some tweaking to do with the recipes. As always. But I’m encouraged to try more – and of course experiment more with recipes and ingredients. The first loaf of the latest batch was an artisan loaf made at the tail end […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Is this the end of the gluten-free fad?

  Last November, when I first wrote about the gluten-free diet fad, I bemoaned how an everyday protein, a staple in human diets for many millennia, had become demonized by the diet fad crowd. In fact, the gluten-free fad rapidly grew into a multi-million-dollar industry in Canada to accommodate that vulnerable intersection of consumer fears […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The late March breads

A couple more loaves were made this month and a third will be started later this week. Both were made in the oven, not the machine, at 425F for roughly 35 minutes. Neither rose very high, but both were edible and tasty. Only about a third of the second loaf remains, so I will start a […]

The Common Sense Canadian: NASA study: Inequality will lead to famine, collapse of civilization

Hungry for change: Tunisian bread riots led to a government overthrow in 2011

Read this March 18 National Post story on a new NASA-funded study that predicts the utter collapse of human civilization will be difficult to avoid without a major course correction.

After running the numbers on a set of four equations representing human society, a team of NASA-funded mathematicians has come to the grim conclusion that the utter collapse of human civilization will be “difficult to avoid.”

The exact scenario may vary, but in the coming decades humanity is essentially doomed to some variant of “Elites” consuming (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Food Tank is a Think Tank for Food

Food Tank is a new initiative to bring attention to the complexity of food systems. They aim to educate people about how foods gets from the ground to your table – and how that process relates to the world at large. Here’s a recent release of their’s looking at the positive impact of family farmers:

Family farmers—small and large enhance biodiversity, protect natural resources, and improve local economies. The video highlights how family farmers, small and large, are using innovative agroecological practices to increase yields, improve incomes, and foster environmental sustainability. And Food Tank emphasizes how family farmers are a (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Loafing around again

Been at it again this month. Bread making, I mean. You knew that from the image, right? Several efforts so far this month and March isn’t even half-way through its course. Winter remains firmly entrenched here, and spring – or any time without a thick layer of snow – looks far away. So it’s a […]

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Oil Putting Food on Families

Pardon the Bushism. The CPC’s spin regarding the oil crowding out grain shipments by rail must be inspired by Dubya.

@saskboy @LHubich That's an odd argument. Isn't grain literally the food?— Stefani Langenegger (@SLangeneggerCBC) March 07, 2014

Elizabeth May provides some sanity on the issue.

“The current rail cars used for shipping hazardous materials are not safe. Both the US and Canadian Railway Safety Boards have ruled that the DOT111 cars are unsafe, needing upgrading and replacement.”

The insanity is underneath, from Joan Crockatt.

March 6, 2014 For Immediate Release

Oil and gas putting food on (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Decrease Blood Pressure By Simply Changing Your Diet

I love knowledge and it’s exciting that a meta-analysis in JAMA Internal Medicine has concluded that a vegetarian diet is perfect for decreasing blood pressure!Meta-analysis of research data is the assessment of a multiple research papers related to the same issue and sometimes the meta-analysis can disprove existing assumptions, in this case the meta-analysis confirms what many already thought!

Plus, researchers found that “the effect sizes are similar to those observed with commonly recommended lifestyle modifications, such as adoption of a low-sodium diet or a weight reduction of 5 kg, and are approximately half the magnitude of those observed (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Indigenous Food and Cultural Protection

Food and ecosystem knowledge which has been passed down for centuries is constantly threatened by the modern mechanical market. To stymie this change in food (and knowledge) consumption there is a global effort to protect the sanity of food and related support systems.

The significance of sacred foods. Many indigenous communities have certain foods—including corn, taro, and wild rice—that are considered sacred and have profound teachings and practices associated with them. One of the most significant ways that indigenous peoples have demonstrated a respectful relationship to their sacred foods is through sustainable land and water practices. Because these totem foods (Read more…)

Yappa Ding Ding: Chili Cook-Off in Uptown

I take my chili seriously. One of the nicest things anyone ever did for me occurred a number of years ago when a colleague brought a container of his chili to work – and his recipe. He used coffee, cocoa, beer, cumin and oregano in his chili. I have been riffing off that recipe ever since.

At today’s 4th annual Uptown Waterloo Chili Cook-Off, the people’s choice award and judge’s award both went to Dana Shortt Gourmet. Here is my assessment.

Winner: Taco FarmThis was a sophisticated chili. Instead of simmering everything together for a long time, it had (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Raisin and sourdough this week

While I haven’t tried to make a sourdough raisin bread yet, that idea occurred to me while I was making my latest breads, this week. I’m sure it would be a good mix, but I’ll have to build my levain up again, since I used all my countertop levain in yesterday’s bread (about 350g). I […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Corn and other breads

The last loaf of January, 2014 was a machine-made corn bread, made using a recipe from Washburn’s & Butt’s 300 Best Canadian Bread Machine Recipes book that I’ve mentioned previously. It’s a good book for bread machine users. Unlike my previous efforts to tinker with bread recipes, I used the basic, printed 1.5-lb. recipe without […]

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Valentine’s Day’s Dirty Chocolate Secret

While you’re stocking up on chocolate, as the stores fill with it for Easter and Valentine’s Day, consider only treating yourself and others if the candy is labeled Fair-Trade. Fair-Trade chocolates come where the supply chain has been verified to be ethically providing a living wage for the workers growing and harvesting the plants critical to the production of cocoa.

Only a decade ago, human rights orgs were warning that a large portion of our chocolate is the result of child slavery. This is from 3 years ago:

Many people admire Abraham Lincoln for his effort to free slaves in (Read more…)

Writings of J. Todd Ring: Cooking with Bob Marley, on a snowy winter’s day

The cooking is rocking along to Bob Marley’s mellow groove, on this fine winter’s day. “The harder the battle, the sweeter the victory”…. “There’s a natural mystic blowin’ through the air…” “Soul captives are free.” The sweet potato pie, turnip casserole, pumpkin pies and banana bread are done, ready and waiting for the gathering tonight. […]

The Common Sense Canadian: Vertical farms see rapid growth around the globe

Read this Jan. 16 story from the New Scientist on the growth of vertical farming around the world.

URBAN warehouses, derelict buildings and high-rises are the last places you’d expect to find the seeds of a green revolution. But from Singapore to Scranton, Pennsylvania, “vertical farms” are promising a new, environmentally friendly way to feed the rapidly swelling populations of cities worldwide.

In March, the world’s largest vertical farm is set to open up shop in Scranton. Built by Green Spirit Farms (GSF) of New Buffalo, Michigan, it will only be a single storey covering 3.25 hectares, but with (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Water, water, everywhere

Hydration matters. Not just to athletes and long distance runners. It matters to bakers. How much water is in your dough is crucial to how the crumb develops. It’s amazing how a few grams more or less of water can make a real difference in the resulting loaf of bread. This week I did a […]

The Common Sense Canadian: Site C review panel changes mind, asks for ALC’s input on farmland

The Peace River Valley is home to some of BC’s best farmland (Damien Gillis)

Read this Jan. 23 Globe and Mail story by Mark Hume on the Joint Review Panel for the proposed Site C Dam’s last-minute reversal of an earlier decision not to seek the input of BC’s Agricultural Land Commission on the impacts the project would have on farmland. As The Common Sense Canadian reported last week, the Clark Government stripped the ALC of its regulatory oversight of what would constitute the single largest land withdrawal from the ALR in the Commission’s 40-year history.

The Joint Review Panel examining the Site C dam (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Canada taken to court over approval of GMO farmed salmon

Comparison between fast-growing Aquabounty farmed salmon and regular farmed salmon (Aquabounty)

Read this Jan 20 story from on a legal challenge led by law firm Ecojustice and several Canadian environmental groups over the federal government’s approval of controversial GMO farmed salmon.

Environmental groups want a court to decide if the federal government violated its own law by permitting the manufacture of genetically modified salmon in Canada.

“Canadians expect their government to implement, not ignore, the laws that protect our ecosystems from harm,” said Tanya Nayler, one of the Ecojustice lawyers representing Ecology Action Centre and Living Oceans Society. (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Short and the Tall of It

This past week saw several new experiments in my bread laboratory. Okay, it’s a kitchen, but sometimes it feels like a lab, what with all the tinkering and testing I do. I just can’t seem to stop trying new things in bread. It would fee even more science-like if Susan would let me buy the […]

The Common Sense Canadian: Peace Valley’s “extraordinary” farmland could feed a million people, agrologists tell Site C Dam review

The Peace River Valley is one of Canada’s most fertile regions (Damien Gillis)

A pair of highly-respected agricultural experts made a compelling case this week for sparing some of BC’s best farmland from a proposed dam on the Peace River. Together, veteran agrologist Wendy Holm and soil scientist Evelyn Wolterson argued that BC Hydro’s error-ridden study of the flood zone for the $10 billion proposed Site C Dam missed the unique soil and climate values that would enable this land to feed up to a million people – were the focus to shift from hydropower to farming.

Conversely, if a third (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Toronto sushi shop is first Ocean Wise 100% sustainable restaurant

Some of Just Sushi’s Ocean Wise creations (photo: Just Sushi)

Read this Jan. 10 Toronto Star story by Michele Henry on the world’s first restaurant to be 100% certified by leading sustainable seafood label Ocean Wise.

Just Sushi looks like any other Japanese take out counter — spare, zen décor, glass-top fridge flush with plump cuts of fish wrapped in cellophane, ordering station.

But closer inspection reveals subtle clues about how this place is a little different: There’s a Bullfrog Power decal at the entrance, an ebicycle is parked out front and the restaurant has small touch-screen consoles brimming with (Read more…)

cartoon life: Ideas Stuffed

Ideas Stuffed

I’d like to clear up one misconception right from the start. The usual suspects are eating more and moving less, but the truth is, since 1980, it’s been all about eating more.” – Jill Eisen

Filed under: art Tagged: food, Obesity

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Two more loaves, new lessons learned

Following up on my desire to make homemade raisin-cinnamon bread for Susan, I spent several hours collecting recipes online and entering their ingredients into a spreadsheet so i could compare them. Quite a range in the amounts of some (like cinnamon and sugar). Then an Amazon order arrived, which included a 2012 book called 300 […]