Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Meeting with Kelly Dunn

SFBU met yet again with BU’s Sustainability Coordinator for Aramark, Kelly Dunn, and there seems to be a lot of exciting projects happening!

Efforts to make the upcoming farmers market more traditional with local farmers, vendors, and artisans are still in the works. Once the date and time of it are decided and more details are set, there should be opportunities for students to help!

Most of the utensils at BU's George Sherman Union are already biodegradable. As the GSU is a high generator of waste on campus, dining services is looking into potential compost bins there to reduce waste.

Hopes are that the new dining facility on east campus will be as green as possible with food and architecture in mind. Read about the sustainable Engrained Café for some inspiration! This café is funded by Aramark and is located in a green building at Arizona State University.

It certainly seems that dining services is making their effort to be more sustainable! Kelly would still like to work on transparency at BU to improve awareness of what dining services is doing to be more environmentally conscious.

Please contact us if you would like more information about SFBU and BU dining services, or if you would like to become more involved!

Meanwhile, read BU's College Sustainability Report Card for 2009 from the Sustainable Endowments Institute.

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Whole Hog: DEMO

Last Thursday night, SFBU (and others!) spent hours huddled together around a butcher block in the Myles basement kitchen to watch an incredible break-down.

Master-butcher, Adam Tiberio, systematically butchered a 150-pound locally raised, Yorkshire hog from start to finish, and spoke about each cut: what parts are traditionally used, why, how. Words like "cracklings," "lardo," and "trotters" became real terms we could identify, and recognize as food. We learned that the key to using the whole hog (and using meat in this way to constitute a sustainable diet) is to be resourceful in considering which parts to prepare. Most grocery stores, for example, only sell the "easy cuts:" ribs, tenderloin, the pork chop and the pot roast. Adam's demo showed us the underrepresented bits and pieces that are available to the creative cook. They're just as easy to incorporate into soups and main dishes, just as delicious (even better!) and definitely a shame to waste.

Adam's experience with the lost art of butchery comes from several years employed in various grocery meat departments, industrial slaughterhouses, and apprenticeships with local butchers. He's seen the dark side of what goes on in the industrial food chain, and uses his informed approach to do things differently. Adam currently works at an independent butcher-shop in Goffstown, NH.

“It used to be that there were five or six butchers in every neighborhood, and by butcher I mean a guy who knew how to take a whole animal and break it down into usable cuts. These days I’d be surprised if there were five or six guys in the whole city," says Jaime Lionette, co-owner of Lionette's Market in Boston's South End. There's a disconnect between producers, processors, and consumers in our food system, and we've got to take the time to re-teach ourselves how to procure, how to prepare, and how to eat to survive.

As the demo drew to a close, attendees divvied up the meat and cooked it as part of a series of simultaneous potlucks. Pulled pork, pot roast, soup stock, head cheese, pigs feet, sausage, and lardo were all made to great success! Big ups to Robert Flynn and everyone working in the Myles kitchen for letting us use their space. Thank you thank you to James and Adam for making it all the way out to Comm. Ave. with an entire pig in tow, and also to Kenji for posting this awesome review.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Taza Chocolate Factory

This past Saturday, Slow Food went over to Somerville to visit the Taza Chocolate Factory, the only producer of 100% stone ground chocolate in the U.S.!. Their cacao beans are organic, fairly traded, and come from small farmer cooperatives.

Though the tour was short, we were able to see that making the beans involves lightly roasting them and putting them through a winnow machine, which separates the outer shell from the inner cacao nibs. The cacao is then stone ground and the chocolate is later wrapped by hand!

Need your chocolate fix that is also good, clean, and fair? Taza chocolate is sold at various farmers markets in MA during the growing season and in stores throughout the U.S.

Look at Taza's website to read more about the chocolate-making process, where to buy their products, and how they are incorporating sustainability into their business!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Fighting For Fair Food

Fair Food For All!

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) gave a presentation at the Lucy Parson's Center to bring awareness to the struggles of tomato pickers in Florida and a few representatives from Slow Food BU attended. Most of the Immokalee workers are from Central America and Mexico and pick tomatoes by hand all day. To make Florida's minimum wage, they must pick 2.5 TONS of tomatoes each day. The tomatoes are picked by the bucket and the worker is paid 40 cents per bucket. Their wage hasn't risen since 1978, while consumers have seen vast inflation in the aisles of their supermarkets and fast food meals since then. The work is physically demanding, puts heavy strain on their backs, and they lack medical coverage, insurance or benefits. There have been many instances of slavery and and in some farms, armed guards threaten those who want to leave. But in the past 10 years, CIW has begun to improve their living and working conditions. There has been seven slavery ring busts by the Federal Government, freeing 1000 workers, and their wage has increased from 40-50 cents. In 2001, the Campaign for Fair Food began, putting pressure on the "Big Purchasers" to make their food a bit more fair. They started urging big fast food corporations to sign a contract demanding that the workers be paid 1 cent more per lb, that employers establish a code of conduct to prevent human rights abuses, and that there be a forum for the workers to have a voice. The campaign has been wildly successful and almost all major fast food labels (McDonalds, Taco Bell, Burger King, and most recently, Subway) and Whole Foods have agreed. The next step is to put pressure on grocery stores and food distributors. These demands are very modest, yet resistance is still strong. After the presentation we went to Star Market with the Coalition to hand-deliver a letter to the manager-a strategy they have found very effective in past campaigns.
So the next time you reach for a tomato in the grocery store, aside from asking if it was grown in a local sustainable manner, think of the workers who picked the food. Most local, sustainable food is produced in a fair manner, so buy directly from the farmers, and try to do your grocery shopping at Whole Foods, since they are committed to these principles. Awareness is the first step-it is only with consciousness and commitment that we can make change. Visit the CIW hompage and Alliance for Fair Food for more information and ways to get involved!