SPRINGS GREEN SCENE
for the transition to a green, sustainable, post-carbon future
Featured in this newsletter :
- follow up
Food agenda - Take Action!
: A Regional Food System
with the planet, not against it!
bulletin board (lots of announcements!)
page, with a great selection of things to do and participate in
locally, and the Green
with recent, informative, thought provoking articles,
chosen from world wide news feeds on subjects that are close to the
PSGS values - updated weekly.
can always view previous newsletters on our archives
on the News page.
- follow up
the newsletter featured an informative piece on EMF's -
Electro-Magnetic Fields, and the potential hazard this form of
pollution may be for human being (and animals too, since these fields
affect all living tissues).
Synchronistically, a friend contacted me after seeing this
information, as a friend of hers had also recently brought up the
subject of EMFs as a possible cause for her fatigue symptoms. This
prompted me to do a bit more research as to
how one can ascertain if EMFs are present in any given space, what the
levels are, the source of the EMFs, and how to remediate the
have friends in Europe who
are "geobiologists"... environmental health assesors who actually take
EMFs readings with Swedish meters. The Swedes have
very stringent regulations on EMFs as a national public health
component. Geobiologists can audit homes and offices and
advise on changes that can be made to reduce and eliminate the negative
fields. Some times it's just old electrical wiring that "leaks" electricity through the
walls. But it can have many sources.
Here is what I
Apparently, in the US, the equivalent of the "geobiologists" that I
know, are called "Bau-Biologists" or Building Biology Environmental
Consultants (BBEC). The Institute for Building Biology
and Ecology offers the most comprehensive protocols for occupant
health environmental assessments in the United States, and here is a
listing of the certified Bau Biologists in California.
I also saw that some
"conventional" Certified Home Inspectors also do EMF auditing, along
with mold and other sources of harmful home pollutants. Here is a link
to one that I found on the web, and there might be some local ones, but
you would need to contact them to see whether they are certified in EMF
And lastly, as indicated
in a document
on the CA.GOV Environmental Health site, in California the Public
Utilities Commission requires utility companies (if they are investor
owned) to provide magnetic field
measurements to customers free of charge. Having
called the Southern California Edison EMF office, this has been
confirmed. An agent can come to your home to conduct an EMF
audit. The EMF office phone number is 1-800-200-4723.
No reason to remain in electro-magnetic
smog if you can help it!
Local Food agenda - Take Action!
is obvious that many of our locally elected officials are not
sufficiently aware of America's food and farm crisis. When
promoting sustainability, the focus is predominantly on energy
generation/conservation, water, green jobs, innovation and technology
(all important, by the way). The "food" agenda however is often
perceived as a cute recreational add-on for senior proponents of
victory gardens. It is on a vague "wish list" of Parks and Recs rather
than on a list of City Council
There are major discrepancies between cities, some communities already
endowed with some of the programs of a real Local Food Policy, other
just starting, others still in apparent denial. Strange
when you think of it, that a coherent local food agenda is not on the
charts when everybody I know, including local officials, eat every day,
even several times a day! And in a crunch, when push comes to
shove, my guess would be that they would be more concerned by where
their next meal would come from than any other issue. I guess our
officials believe that access to food will never be a problem, even
though it already is for many people - HERE in the Coachella Valley,
here in Palm Springs!
This attitude needs to change. For a hundred reasons. If
following PSGS's news articles, videos, and if you've been observing
the planet's pulse around food issues, then you are already in the
Why is the current food system unsustainable?
- Environmental concerns - conventional
Agribiz farming practices relying so heavily on chemicals – pesticides,
herbicides, fertilizers, and excess nitrogen has major impact on soil
depletionl, toxic runoff in our watersheds, and
environmental pollution of our commuities
- Transporting food all
over the globe adds greenhouse gases that contribute to
changing climate is impacting our ability to grow food.
- Loss of farmland and
urban sprawl –– less
small-scale farming, loss of food growing knowledge – ageing farmer
- Monoculture production
practices result in more control over food by fewer corporations,
genetic modification and seed patenting – loss of bio-diversity, crops
and livestock impacted
answer to climate change and peak oil is green
but corn and other crops are now grown as monocultures and are
replacing food crops for many indigenous peoples – driving up food costs
- The globalized food system
is dependent upon cheap and abundant supplies of petroleum
resources. As supplies dwindle, the price of oil will rise and so will
the price of food.
- Processed food
is available everywhere, but is unhealthy to eat over
life time – contributes to obesity problems in children
– healthy food needs to be more accessible and affordable
for low income families
to create a sustainable closer-to-home food system that supports
local and regional food self-reliance, from production to consumption!
The Palm Springs
Green Scene encourages all it's readers, your friends and family,
wherever you reside, to take action and send a letter to your locally
elected officials, that 1) will spell out for them what a local food
agenda entails, and 2) recommends that the city council support and
adopt these measures.
Here is a sample text you can use and adapt as required for your
"Making affordable, locally-grown organic
food more available should be a top priority of every local government.
Expanding local organic food production stimulates the economy,
improves public health and protects the environment. As global
temperatures increase - the best case scenario right now is a 7 degree
F temperature rise by 2100 - producing food locally and organically is
our only hope to reverse global warming and ensure food security.
As you may know, a
valley wide coalition, including health services, schools, food banks,
non-profits, and a wide range of family oriented associations, is
addressing the issues relating to food security and epidemic
levels of lifestyle diseases. Childhood obesity is a major
concern in the Coachella Valley.
I'm writing to ask
you, as my local elected representative, to please support the
following programs that would help our community produce more locally
grown organic food, and would significantly contribute to improve
public health. Making recommendations in support of this local food
agenda to the City Council, will be a step forward for (name of your
city) on its path to sustainability.
- Free city
land for urban farms
- School and
- Local organic
food in schools, hospitals, food banks
- Free compost
- A local Food
- A local
organic food purchasing policy
opportunities for beginning farmers
cooperatives and Local Food Hubs
- Laws that
allow backyard poultry, beekeeping, and raw milk
- Slow Money
investments to fund Slow Food
- Local food
Thank you for your attention to this
Residents of Palm
Springs can click on the link below for the sample letter, already
completed with the names of the officials to whom a letter should be
localities can link to the generic version below. You will need
to copy and paste into your word processing program, and complete with
names of your own local government and officials.
In both cases, just
print out as many copies of the letter as there are recipients, sign
Generic Local Food Agenda
Take action, and see below how this
"Local Food Agenda" letter
fits into the big picture !
this ongoing feature "Work with the planet, not against it" there
will be regular postings that speak to this topic,
that illustrate the ways in which we CAN nurture the Earth AND improve
the quality of our lives as well.
Work with the planet, not against it!
: A Regional Food System
What is a foodshed?
"The term "foodshed" is similar to the
concept of a
while watersheds outline the flow of water supplying
particular area, foodsheds outline the flow of food feeding a
particular area. Your foodshed encompasses the farm, your table and
everything in between. The modern US foodshed
entire world. Much of our food traverses the globe to reach our dinner
table. In fact, food can often travel back and forth thousands of miles
to different processing plants before it eventually reaches you.
Foodsheds are particularly useful
describing and promoting local food systems. When we look at our
agricultural system in terms of the origins and pathways of our food
items, then it becomes easier to expand these pathways and focus them
at the local level."
concept, most often attributed to Arthur Getz in his 1991 Urban
Foodsheds article in Permaculture Activist, uses the analogy of a
watershed to describe 'the area that is defined by a structure of
supply'. Getz used the image of a foodshed to answer the question
of "Where is our food coming from and how it is getting to us?" and to
picture how the local and regional food supply system works.
Inherent in this concept, he emphasized, was 'the suggestion of a need to protect the source, as well
as the need to know and understand its' specific geographic and
ecological dimensions, condition and stability in order for it to be
safeguarded and enhanced.'
foodshed is a framework or theory that helps define our ideal
ecological food footprint (foodprint?). As such, it could be used
a benchmark to measure environmental sustainability and the efficiency
of our food system."
So what would be some of the components
of a regional food system?
Food Policy Councils
(FPCs) bring together stakeholders from diverse
food-related sectors to examine how the food system is operating and to
develop recommendations on how to improve it.
FPCs may take many forms, but are typically either commissioned by
state or local government, or predominately a grassroots effort. Food
policy councils have been successful at educating officials and the
public, shaping public policy, improving coordination between existing
programs, and starting new programs. Examples include mapping and
publicizing local food resources; creating new transit routes to
connect underserved areas with full-service grocery stores; persuading
government agencies to purchase from local farmers; and organizing
community gardens and farmers' markets.
While FPC's are not a new concept, their structures, practices, and
policies are still evolving. Although the first Food Policy Council
started 25 years ago in the city of Knoxville, only in the last decade
have Food Policy Councils really gained momentum, and today there are
almost 50 councils nationwide.
Currently no U.S. government entity has a Department of Food, so
food-related issues are addressed by various agencies. This severely
limits the potential for coordination, and for government to address
broad goals such as improving access to healthy foods. Since they bring
together a cross-disciplinary group of stakeholders, Food Policy
Councils can help to bridge this gap and identify ways to address
interconnected issues and improve the food system. (source-North
Policy Council )
"This is a USDA-wide effort to
create new economic opportunities
by better connecting consumers with local producers. It is also the
start of a national conversation about the importance of understanding
where your food comes from and how it gets to your plate. Today, there
is too much distance between the average American and their farmer and
we are marshalling resources from across USDA to help create the link
between local production and local consumption.
Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen
Merrigann announced in 09/2009 that $4.8 million will be awarded to
organizations in 14 states to build community food systems and fight
hunger and food insecurity. This announcement comes as part of USDA's
'Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food,' initiative, a department-wide
collaboration that will connect people more closely with the farmers
who supply their food and increase the production, marketing and
consumption of fresh, nutritious food that is grown locally in a
"Building local sustainable food systems to be proactive in
fighting hunger and obesity is a priority for the Obama Administration,
and USDA's 'Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative will help meet
that goal," Merrigan said. "These grants put funds in low-income
communities that struggle with access to healthy food and they are an
important step toward achieving our goal of having healthy, nutritious
food available to everyone, especially children.
"The projects announced will fund food
training, urban agriculture, new farmers on preservation farmland,
promotion of native food sovereignty, youth, urban and rural food
production projects and community food assessments.The funding
is being provided through USDA's Cooperative State
Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES) through the
Community Food Projects Competitive Grant Program. Community Food
Projects have been funded in 290 communities in 48 states during its
A local/regional Food
Food hubs can be many
things - a physical location, building or converted warehouse that is
the center of local food related activites. There might be a community
garden and commercial kitchen on site, a farmers’ market, cooking and
canning classes. Small processors may have access to the kitchen. With
a warehouse and cold storage, the hub can also serve as a central
distribution point for farmers and market gardeners, coops, bulk buying
clubs, food banks, CSAs etc.
Food hubs can also be
"virtual" meeting places and market supply and demand exchange centers
local farmers with consumers, restaurants, hospitals,
schools, small businesses. A current in the development-process
that was first initiated for the US Northwest region, is called
FoodHub. Currently, FoodHub is open to member food buyers and sellers
of all types in
Alaska, California, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. However,
non-profit that owns and manages FoodHub intends to make the FoodHub
platform available to qualified
partners in other parts of the country. Read article
visit the FoodHub website
Developing and using such a tool would help support regional farmers,
create new markets for fresh local food, and promote a strong regional
- A local/regional
Organic Food Purchasing Policy
though there are missing pieces, these parts of the overall puzzle come
together and a picture emerges of what a coherent Regional Food System
might look like.... what are your
thoughts about this?
feedback is welcome to further the discussion.
In our eighth installment we meet Dr. Robert Gross, and follow his
evolution from spraying chemicals on his vineyards to using homeopathic
the greater health of the environment, his vines, and the consumers of
Click here to view "The Biodynamic
Vineyard" (6 min.)
surface, the practice of medicine—both the traditional and
non-traditional approaches—would seem to have little in common with the
growing of grapes.
For Dr. Robert Gross, there is a strong connection between his training
as a medical doctor, and viticulture. This episode draws upon the rich
interplay between two completely separate fields, each helping to
enhance better understanding with the other.
millions of years life on Earth has persisted and evolved in concert
with the chemical, physical and biological processes in the
environment. The advent of the Age of Liquid Fossil Fuels brought
humanity the ability to jump start and force-march many of these
processes at terrible cost to the planet's environmental viability. In
the waning days of the Oil Age, it is time for humanity to relearn the
lessons of the past tens of thousands of years of civilization: life,
human and otherwise, on Planet Earth can recover and maintain its
viability and sustainability only as we rediscover working WITH this
planet's environment, animate and inanimate, not against it!" John Cooper
PSGS bulletin board
- March 12th -
Annual NPCA Climate Change Conference in Yucca Valley
fascinating, informative, great speakers, NOT TO BE MISSED! Save the
date and RSVP to Seth Sheir at
City of Palm Desert and the Palm Desert Community Gardens
you and one guest to attend
guided walking tour of the…
bus will depart from Palm Desert City Hall at 8:00 a.m. SHARP
be on time.
Arboretum will also be holding their ANNUAL MONSTER
TOMATO AND PEPPER SALE
day featuring over 200 varieties of tomatoes and 100
varieties of peppers for purchase.
and transportation will be provided at no charge.
required, space is limited, and first-come, first-served.
to RSVP is Wednesday, March 10, 2010.
Amy Lawrence via reply email or at (760) 776-6425 to reserve your spot.
select one of the following sandwiches when you call in to RSVP:
- March 19th -
Guided tour of the Fullerton Arboretum
Turkey s Tri-Tip s
Ham s Tuna s Grilled Vegetable
below for more important information:
begins at 10:00 a.m., lunch around noon, and free time until 2:00
p.m. At 2:30 p.m.,
will depart the Arboretum with hopes to arrive at Palm Desert
Hall by 5:00 p.m.
suggested that attendees wear comfortable walking shoes and bring water
information on the Fullerton Arboretum,
their website at www.fullertonarboretum.org
- March 6th -
Save the date - Frolicking With the Flowers in Anza Borrego
A fun filled
educational bus tour and wild flower stroll will leave you begging for
more. RSVP required
All info and details registration HERE
- Help Support your Local
Certified Farmers’ Market!
us Saturday, March 20, 2010 at the fabulous Casa
de Monte Vista in
Old Las Palmas from 4pm to 8pm for a wine tasting, silent auction,
entertainment and seated dinner featuring several local world-renowned
Limited seating available. Advance tickets: $75 per person
Tickets go on sale February 12, 2010.
Details to follow.
Proceeds benefit the Palm Springs
Cultural Center’s Certified Farmers’ Market program and are fully tax
For more information,
Springs Backstreet Art District Group Art Show
the link above to go to the website. The project is brand new,
and needs input and comments, so contribute where you see gaps... AND
send this newsletter on to people you know who should also be adding
information. This resource is another important paver in creating
a local healthy food environment. The map will also serve as a
visual revelator of the communities that are well on the way to
supporting such an environment, and likewise pointing to those that are
not and need to make this a priority.
A Group Show featuring the sustainable artworks of Cathy Allen, Robert Braiser, Richard H. Freund, Debra Ann Mumm and Peggy Vermeer.
All artists use repurposed items to create amazing works of environmentally friendly art.
I.M.A.G.E.S. by Gideon Fine Art Gallery, 2682 South Cherokee Way, Palm Springs, CA 92264 (760) 250-1521
Please take a few
minutes to review what is currently mapped and give your feedback via
space toward the bottom of their webpage.
help them raise their web hits!!!