Today I ran into an old Nicholas Kristof column in the New York Times and it got me groaning inside...all over again (it's been a while since I got worked up about the sad state of the American food system). Kristof also wrote a blog post following up on his column and someone left this comment:
As I write this morning I anticipate opening eight bee hives later today to check the state of things inside. Three weeks ago with the emergence of corn seedlings on the neighboring farm the populations of bees went from an active, busy three foot cloud at the entrance of each hive, to a moribund state with only a few coming and going.
Many farm crops grow from seed which has been coated with clothianidin, a synthetic nicotine which acts as a systemic poison inside the emerging plant. Drops of solution expressed from the leaf margins carrying the attractive sweetness of sugars manufactured within the leaf attract the foraging bees. One Italian researcher showed that a bee drinking this toxic brew died within two minutes. Industrial agriculture over tens of millions of acres is also creating a natural “biocaust” besides producing unhealthful food.
— john mcdonald
This is one beekeeper's experience with our food system, but it is one experience that I'm sure is being repeated all over America right now as engineered corn hits knee high. I think sometimes it's good to hear what's going on in our agricultural system not from politicians and authors, but from the ground up. We don't hear enough from our farmers and from people who are in touch with our land, our bugs, our rivers, our animals. Most of us certainly aren't in touch -- shopping in a supermarket is so insulating. It keeps us from knowing what kinds of ecological changes our buying habits cause. But when you hear testimony from someone like the beekeeper above, it's hard to deny that with our modern, high tech eating habits we are negatively affecting a system we don't completely understand.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Scott and I have struggled to find a great way to prepare kale; we had almost decided that we'd never find a kale recipe that we crave. We used to put up with kale and do our best to finish the bunches that would show up in our CSA box every week. One friend of ours says that kale is a garnish, not an actual food. Until I ate this salad, I reluctantly agreed with him (silently, of course, because I would never admit ALOUD that kale is a lousy food). Suddenly, I'm happy to eat kale and Scott wants to swipe the extra bunches that other shareholders leave behind...just so he can eat this salad.
This recipe came from my chiropractor who got it from a patient. To be honest, I didn't really believe that I would like it because...well, the main ingredient is kale. But, because I was determined not to toss my kale into my compost pile, I decided to try this recipe. I made one batch of it for a pot luck last week...and, to my surprise, people not only tried it, but actually came back for seconds! Tonight we had it next to pizza topped with spinach and garlic. It was a winner again.
Kale can't be beat for its nutritional properties, and now we have a way to eat it!
Sweet Annie Kale Salad
1 large or 2 small bunches of kale (remove stems)
1/2 cup raisins
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 lb strawberries sliced thin
Dressing: 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup raw honey (I use agave nectar instead, but less than 1/4 cup)
1 or more minced garlic cloves
Tear kale into bite sized pieces. Combine honey, garlic, and oil with whisk. Massage dressing and kale together for 5 minutes (this will soften the kale and blend flavors). The kale will appear wilted. Add raisins, pine nuts, strawberries, and toss.