in this issue
Farm Bill Update
Don't Be A Turkey
New Restaurants
New Books
FishPhone
Sustainable Rules
Grass-Fed Rules
Get Dirty
Events
Feed the Fire!

featured links
What's New Online
Take Action
Om Organics



 



Tasty Bites 11.1.07
Help spread the word & pass this on!

Happy holiday season! And, two introductions: Kei Hoshino, who is now helping write these Tasty Bites newsletters, and Emily Marciniak, who is researching the Peninsula and South Bay scene to expand our online directory! Two great additions to Om!



Farm Bill Update

The Farm Bill will be voted on the Senate floor NEXT WEEK. It already went through the House earlier this summer with mixed reviews.

This is the final stretch. Last chance to inform senators of the issues you care about and the amendments that address them.

Senate doing better, and worse…
The Senate’s Farm Bill made some improvements over the House in some areas, but it fared worse in others. One Comprehensive Stewardship Program (CSP) received $1.3 billion, while the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP), which helps protect farmland from development, and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), which helps farmers improve our nation’s water quality, were lacking. An amendment is in the works...

Addressing subsidies…
Much like the criticized House Farm Bill, the Senate bill fails to include meaningful commodity program reform. An amendment has been introduced to hopefully limit commodity payments, close loop holes, and reinvest the nearly $600 million saved into more productive programs.

A new Average Crop Revenue (ACR) program is an innovative proposal that fundamentally changes the way commodity subsidies operate. It faces a lot of opposition from lobbyists, but it has the potential to pave the way for subsidy reform now and in the future. It would free up at least $3 billion for other Real programs.

Some perspective…
The Senate Farm Bill will cost about $288 BILLION over the next 5 years. This works out to about $1000 per person in the U.S. and about $2300 per tax payer. And, please consider New Zealand is doing quite nicely since they canceled farm subsidies.

Quick actions you can take…
Calling and faxing have more impact than e-messages, but any message is good…

Easy Farm Bill petition page for addressing multiple issues: subsidy reform, conservation, farm and food policy.
Email Barbara Boxer, or phone: 202-224-3553 or fax: 202-228-2382.
Email Diane Feinstein, or phone: 202-224-3841 or fax: 202-228-3954.

More info, including links to other resources…
Om Organics Farm Bill Action Guide



Don't Be A Turkey

The last thing to be thankful for on Thanksgiving is a factory farmed turkey - birds bred to pack the pounds on so fast their hearts and bone mass can’t keep up, who are debeaked, fed corn mush, and packed into a shed with so many other birds they can’t spread their wings.

Instead, go for a pastured or heritage turkey. Since these birds spend their lives actively foraging and not vegetating in a poultry house, they have a distinctive flavor and more balanced white-to-dark meat ratio.

Resources for your Thanksgiving turkey:
Slow Food USA’s directory of heritage turkey suppliers
Localharvest.org online store
Tips on cooking pastured turkey



New Organic / Sustainable Restaurants

Keep em coming...

Daffodil – Contemporary Euro small plates at the Orchard Hotel. Downtown, San Francisco.

Digs Bistro – New American cuisine from a former underground supper club chef. On Dwight Way in Berkeley.

Fish & Farm - New American seafood and artisanal meats. All ingredients come from within a 100-mile radius of the city. Union Square, San Francisco.

Frisee - Healthy fast food for the organic salad, soup & sando set. In the Castro, San Francisco.

Lolo – Mediterranean-Latin American fusion (really!) in a funky, Almodovar-esque setting. In the Mission, San Francisco.

Sens – Modern Turkish-North African-Greek food with biodynamic wines. In the Embarcadero Ctr, San Francisco.

Terroir Natural Wine Merchant – Organic & biodynamic wine shop/bar with small bites while you taste from Fra’ Mani and Chez Spencer. Open until midnight or 2am all week! SOMA in San Francisco.

See other organic-minded restaurants...



New Books

Your Right to Know: Genetic Engineering and the Secret Changes in Your Food! - A thorough, up-to-date guide on the effects GMOs have on health, the environment and farming communities. The hardcover edition comes packed with goodies like a DVD of “The Future of Food” and a pull-out shopper’s guide to genetically engineered foods.

Hungry Planet: What the World Eats -- A fascinating photo book featuring pictures of “average” families throughout the world and their weekly haul of food has just been released in paperback. Take a peek.

Core Truths on the Major Benefits of Organic Food and Farming -- The Organic Center’s exhaustive coffee-table volume on the overviews of science behind the benefits of organic.

The Hippy Gourmet's Quick and Simple Cookbook for Healthy Eating -- All about healthy, organic, sustainable cooking and living that brings joy and happiness. (The authors will be at the SF Green Festival Nov 9-11.)

A comprehensive book directory! -- Philip Howard, a Michigan State Univ. assistant professor, put together this database of introductory books and films/documentaries related to food and agriculture, mostly from the last 7-8 years. Excellent.



FishPhone

Can’t remember which fish are the best choices for sustainability? The Blue Ocean Institute just launched a great texting and PDA-formatted webpage for those vexing moments at the seafood counter.

Fishphone.org on your PDA OR text 30644 with the message FISH and the name of the seafood in question to get a rundown from the Institute.



Sustainable Rules

There are numerous certifications of sustainable agriculture now, but none encompasses the entire socioeconomic, environmental and qualitative picture.

Finally, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) will begin proceedings to establish the first comprehensive standards for sustainable agriculture. ANSI is responsible for other globally-recognized accreditations in the technology industry, such as the ISO 9000 (quality) and ISO 14000 (environmental) management systems. It is comprised of government agencies, organizations, companies and academic and international bodies.

The sustainable ag standard includes measures that apply to the entire supply chain, including producers, distributors, brokers, and retailers.

View a draft of the standards...



Grass-Fed Rules

The USDA just amended its rules on what constitutes “grass-fed” (until a few weeks ago, just about anything other than feedlot meat could be labeled “grass-fed”).

But, the American Grassfed Association rejected the USDA rules because they don’t regulate hormone and antibiotic use, or access to pasture. The AGA is setting up its own certification system.

Still not sure what to look for at the meat counter?
Buy from a local rancher. Many are at your local farmers market.



Get Dirty

Pie Ranch, a unique sustainable food system education and advocacy organization, is offering 2008 apprenticeships. The program lasts a year starting on Dec. 1, 2007 and will be an opportunity to learn about everything that goes on on a farm from planting to animal husbandry. Contact them for more info.



Events

Check our organically-inclined Events page for more happenins as they are announced.

Film Premiere: King Corn at the Shattuck Theater
Fri, 11/2/07
Berkeley

Food & Farming on the Urban Edge: Marin Farmland & Family Histories
Sun, 11/4/07, 3:00pm-5:00pm
Point Reyes Station

Frugal Foodies Tuesday Night Dinners
Tuesdays, 11/6/07-11/27/07, 6:30pm-9:30pm
Southwest Berkeley

Sommelier Supper at Bacar Restaurant
Sun, 11/7/07, 7:00pm
SF

100 Mile Holiday Food Event - Local Eating for Global Change
Wed, 11/7/07, 7:00pm-9:00pm
Fairfax

Ventana Wilderness Alliance Benefit Dinner
Sun, 11/8/07, 5:30pm
Monterey

Gourmet Wine Cellar
Thu, 11/8/07, 6:00pm-9:00pm
SF

Green Festival in San Francisco
Fri-Sun, 11/9/07-11/11/07
SF

Vegetarian Cooking Class - Thanksgiving for the birds
Sat, 11/10/07, 10:00am-1:00pm
Oakland

Point Reyes Farmer's Market Harvest Dinner
Sat, 11/10/07, 7:00pm-10:00pm
Point Reyes

The Harvest Meal: Thanksgiving Recipes
Tue, 11/13/07, 6:30pm-9:30pm
Oakland

Ann Vileisis reads from "Kitchen Literacy"
Wed, 11/14/07, 7:00pm
Berkeley

Cooking Class: Thanksgiving Dinner at TWO Restaurant
Sat, 11/17/07
SF

Growing Garlic!
Sat, 11/17/07, 10:00am-12:00pm
SF

“Darwin’s Nightmare”: Food and Farming Film Festival
Tue, 11/20/07, 6:30pm
Berkeley

2nd Annual Ferry Building Fungus Festival
Sat and Sun, 11/24/07-11/25/07, 10:00am
SF

Aphrodisiac Dinner at Millennium Restaurant
Sun, 11/25/07
SF

Mark Shapiro and Michael Pollan in conversation
Wed, 11/28/07, 7:30pm
Berkeley

CounterPULSE presents a talk on Food Security and Urban Agriculture
Wed, 11/28/07, 7:30pm
SF

Outstanding in the Field presents: A secret foraging location in the Santa Cruz
Sun, 12/2/07
Santa Cruz

Healthful and Humane Holiday Cooking and Baking
Sat, 12/8/07, 10:00am-1:00pm
Oakland

“Living on the Wedge” and “Farming at the Edge”: Food and Farming Film Festival
Tue, 12/11/07, 6:30pm
Berkeley

Full Moon Feasts
Sat, 12/12/07
Berkeley

Cooking Class: Christmas Dinner at TWO Restaurant
Sat, 12/15/07
SF



Feed the Fire!

Even a little snack! If you use these newsletters, use our website, or simply enjoy having delicious, organic food in the Bay Area, please support our programs that serve local, organic farms and the community. Om Organics is a project of the San Francisco Foundation - Community Initiative Funds, and can only continue with the help of contributions from conscientious people like you!

Any amount is appreciated!
You can make a donation:

  • via Paypal.com: to donate@omorganics.org
  • by credit card: via the SFF CIF donation page
  • by check: "Om Organics: Project of SFF CIF", 225 Bush St. #500, SF, CA 94104

THANK YOU!



© 2007 Om Organics 11.1.07-68