The movie opened proposing the question “Why do we eat organic?” Some of those interviewed responded with good health, good for the environment, they had kids and wanted them to eat healthy, pesticides, and one said she thought it may be bull. The numbers show that 73% of people in the US eats some kind of organic food and in 2011 it had $28.6 billion in sales, but it is a word thrown around a lot like “fresh”. So “Is it better and more nutritious?” The movie went around to different people, organizations, schools, farms, and cities throughout the US to find those answers.
The film explores what it takes to become certified organic, how and why some farmers have made the change to a certified organic farm, what are some of the “organic” guidelines that the average consumer is not aware of. The popular ”do you spray?” question came up and I am so happy they touched on that. Most farmers spray, it’s what and how often you should be asking. Another point that pleased me to see covered was that the government charges for the certified organic label annually, but the conventional farmers who are destroying our eco structure aren’t paying a dime. There is also a lack of whistle blowing when they are paying you, as a result no one has lost USDA certified organic status. It also explained how those organic processed foods manage to get the labels- if you have the money and ware willing to jump the hoops it’s yours- and large companies are willing to do this because it is such a profitable niche. As a consumer we need to smarten up on just what that “certified organic” label means.
I loved that this film explored the options of how/where to buy the real “organic” food and what to do with it. The movie showed that it isn’t more expensive to eat organic, and the long term of conventional really is detrimental to our health and our environment. It showed it is so easy to get the kids real food in schools without it costing more if we just put the right people in place, even having the kids growing their own foods. We need to get more accessibility of electronic payments and EBT to farmers’ markets because there is a growing demand. Urban areas are becoming growing communities using empty lots to grow their food.
When Bernie Prince of “FreshFood Markets” spoke after the film she said that Kip is intending to break the movie up into different segments for communities, schools, etc. I think that is a great idea. I would love to be able to share the Chef Bobo segment with you now for your own inspiration! (I get very tired of hearing ‘but kids won’t eat that’) And as we, those excited to make this change, take action segments of this film would be fantastic to be able to show. There are great parts for all ages and all food beliefs.
This is a good food film. There are a lot of food movement movies out there, but ”In Organic We Trust” has a good message especially using a very familiar word that makes me cringe “organic” and talking to you through a conversation that I believe could be heard by even the biggest doubter of local, “organic” food or person who is eating “certified organic”. It also provides the how to fix it. In popular food films like “Food, Inc” it took “Fresh” to give us the follow up as to how to make the change. This film provides the how from many different areas from farms, schools, organizations, food deserts, urban sprawls, to corporations.
A Few Questions with Kip Pastor, Director of “In Organic We Trust” (via email)
How familiar were you with “Certified Organic” before making the film? Why did you decide to tackle “organic”?
I was not very familiar with certified organic when I started my journey. I would recognize the label in stores, but it was not until I started shopping at farmer’s markets that I started to wonder the difference between “organic” and “certified organic.” I think that growing food in a sustainable way is fundamental to our health and the health of the environment. I created “In Organic We Trust” to shed light on the many positive steps that are being taken toward a more sustainable agriculture.
What did you learn in your journey creating the film?
Too many things to share. I learned that pesticides are even more dangerous than I could have imagined. I learned that certified organic has become big business. As organic farming operations have scaled up or been bought out by corporate agribusiness to meet the demand for organic products, the principles on which certified organic was founded can be neglected. From a health, environmental, and social justice perspective, we are in deep trouble. Chronic disease, contamination of our water supply, and the exploitation of farmworkers are jeopardizing our future. However, the most important and empowering thing that I learned was that people are finding new solutions to all of these problems. Compassion, ingenuity, and the desire to create a better world for everyone are at the center of this food revolution. Urban farming, roof top gardens, school kitchens, farmer’s markets, and school gardens can have a huge impact moving forward.
During audience questions Bernie said you are planning to break the film down into segments for different distribution options. What area of the food movement do you think would most benefit from IOWT?
Many films seek to uncover injustices and conspiracies. We learn about what’s wrong and are left groping for answers. Although there are a lot of injustices and conspiracies in agriculture, In Organic We Trust exposes the solutions – what is working. Nearly 50% of the film is about things that you and I can do in our daily lives to improve our health and the environment. Many of these solutions can be stand alone segments – urban farming to increase healthy food access, school gardens and edible education to reconnect children with their food, and farmer’s markets to build community around food. The film benefits anyone who’s interested in achieving these goals.
What has you most enthused throughout this movement?
Change. Things are changing quickly. More people are getting involved. Almost every day I read about a grassroots victory related to public health and the environment. The push to get “pink slime” out of school meals, the removal of methyl iodide (a cancer causing pesticide sprayed on strawberries) from the market, one million signatures gathered by the Just Label It campaign to label GMOs – and these actions have happened in just the last 30 days. But there’s a lot more we still need to do – end unfair subsidies for commodity crops, fight for local food funding in the Farm Bill, get healthy, local food in school lunches, and teach more young people how to farm sustainably.
The Campaign and Tour! We are going to bring the film to six cities in June – NYC, DC, SF, San Diego, Aspen, and LA. We have built three mini-campaigns to tackle defining organic, urban farming & healthy food access, and school gardens & nutrition education. We will be writing petitions, holding screenings and events, and promoting action on local and national issues. Once I have some time to rest and recoup, I’ve sketched out the next film which will deal with garbage and new solutions to waste.
I would recommend, no matter how many food films you have seen or never seen, to go see this as it travels the country. I hope to be able to share segments with you soon! To find a local screening or to get involved visit www.inorganicwetrust.org
I had recently seen somewhere that TIME magazine had done an article on Rene Redzepi, chef at Noma, but that the issue was only available in Europe and Asia. Thankfully I have a favorite high school friend who lives in London and who was willing to send me the issue. I don’t know why TIME wouldn’t put this story on it’s US issue for March 26, 2012. We in the States have this cover:
A little bit of a contrast.
I am familiar with Redzepi from what I have read online and would love to get to Copenhagen to experience the place where Danish food found it’s creator. This article brings you through Redzepi’s fast rise to #1 Chef in the World, taking the reigns Spanish Chef Ferran Adria who announced the closing of El Bulli in 2010. Prior to Adria a top world spot did not exist.
Rene Redzepi is 34 years old, he failed out of high school and only wound up in culinary school because a buddy of his was doing it. He had apprenticeships in France, Spain and the US before he was approached by Danish TV chef, Claus Meyer who was about to open a restaurant in an old whaling warehouse with the vision of serving true Danish food. Meyer loved Redzepi’s “humble and curious attitude”. Noma was born. It was not until 2004 however when a forager showed up at the back door with a handfull of plants that Redzepi sense of possibilities expanded. He wanted to learn how to infegrate ingredients, to taste the soil. He wanted to tell a new story of what it is to be Danish, past meat and potatoes in silence. “For so long, we Danes didn’t have a cuisine. We’re Protestants, so food was just about sustenance, never pleasure.”
Redzepi bicycles to work with his daughter on the back, rents his loft, refuses tv deals and worldwide restaurant openings because he wants to dig deeper into his current surroundings. He is a notorious perfectionist. He has 2 members on staff whose sole job is to develop recipes in the test kitchen which is a renovated boat just outside the restaurant. He says that they have gotten to the point of discovering most of the products in the woods and sea around them, they now must find new ways of using them.
Noma and Redzepi, who will even serve you Danish ants, have not sat at the top of the food world without critics though. Many have criticized that Redzepi refuses ingredients and styles of other European influence. Jose Carlos Capel, Chief restaurant critic for El Pais said “Demagoguery- is Redzepi leading the extreme Republic of European cuisine, something akin to a gastromic tea party?” and he has been accused of culinary facism by Ulla Holm in the Danish newspaper, Politiken ”hardly coincidental that in Noma the waiters wear in brown shirts”. Redzepi explains that in his own home he uses olive oils and ingredients from around the world but in Noma “It’s because we’re trying to use the restaurant to develop a cuisine where one didn’t exist. If I lived in Italy and were working with only local products no one would think anything of it”.
Redzepi has turned down the offers for tv and opportunities for more restaurants and focuses on what brings him the most satisfaction, just cooking. He has writen a few op-eds for foreign papers and organized an event called MAD Foodcamp (mad means food in Danish) that brings together chefs, scientists, and policymakers to talk about the future of food. But for now he enjoys his top spot while scrambling hillsides looking for wild ginger at a chef’s gathering in Japan or creating the perfect blood sausage.
I stumbled upon Leigh Glenn of Art of Earth at our local farmers’ market when she was selling, as my son calls it “potion”, elderberry and sumac brew for the cold months to help with the immune system. She had flyers saying she provided individual monthly classes and a Beginners Herbology class. I am always seeing where my food journey will take me and love meeting new people with new perspectives and knowledge to share, so I was really excited to find Leigh. I have also been disillusioned to Western medicine. Please don’t get me wrong, there are amazing things that Western medicine can do, but it has also taught us to cover up issues and treat a symptom with a pill instead of listening to our bodies and curing the problem before it escalates into a more serious issue.
I have been watching some online webinars here or there leading up to Leah’s class to have a better idea of the language and mentality behind herbology.
We started class with a sage cleanse to bring focus and our energy into the room. For those unfamiliar you burn sage, making sure the smoke hits all parts of your body. Then a cup of tea was presented. We sipped it and waited to see where it hit on our tongue (I had flash backs to learning to taste wine), then sipped again and what did we taste, last we sipped it again and where did we feel it going in our body. There were different answers, none being wrong. The tea was agrimony (I think it tastes a bit like a chamomille) which is a very helpful digestive rememdy and great for the nervous system (something I need!).
We dove more into different ailments and different herbs to help your digestional system, the power of the stomach, how our emotions are linked to what we eat. We spoke a bit on Ayurveda, something I studied about 10 years ago actually and really enjoyed. The different degrees of Herbs. We tasted fennel, marshmallow root, and one other that I am blanking on, but it was an astringent. We had a cup of licorice root tea, doing the same tasting process as with the agrimony. The class was a little over 3 hours, straight through. I have so many notes and herbs I want to try and can’t wait to share.
A statement that stuck with me was Leigh said “Eating is taking in the outside”. I understand it is food going into my body, and I am a huge proponent of knowledge of how and where your food was grown, but something about that statement made me think about it just a bit more. It is our environment, our air, pollution, earth, soil, water, contaminants, the back of the truck that it took to get there, the strorage at the grocery store, whatever/wherever that food has been is being entered into your body. Inside something that has no contact with the outside world until you bring it in. A connection.
I am anxious for my next class. It will cover nerves.
I LOVE Cadbury Creme Eggs. It is a guilty pleasure. When I was a kid I was completely creeped out by the runny center, however due to peer pressure in my teens I tried one and we have had a guilty love affair ever since. I actually have to resist buying them because one leads to little foil wrappers strewn all over, creme filling being licked out while chocolate rests in the corners of my mouth and stuck to my finger tips. It’s not pretty. Always one to try to bake it all from scratch and find ways to create dairy free alternatives to the popular foods here is Lettuce Eat Together Creme Eggs! (without any frustrating foil to get through.)
L.E.T. Creme Eggs
1/2 cup Corn Syrup Alternative (see bottom of post for this great recipe to tuck away!, yes you can use light corn syrup also)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (Earth Balance works fine here)
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
stale tumeric for yellow food coloring (stale because flavor is neutral, yes you can use yellow food coloring also)
chocolate for melting, choose a good one or mix a few! (I love Divvies for dairy free option)
In a mixer bowl cream together butter, corn syrum alternative, and vanilla until smooth. 1/2 cup at a time add powder sugar and beat on medium low until mixed well. It will get thick you may need to scrap sides a few times.
Spoon a third of the mixture into a separate bowl and color with tumeric. Roll yellow into balls, depending on how big you want to make your “eggs”. I did do different sizes, going a little smaller than a dime on up to a quarter. Put on a wax paper lined baking sheet. Place in freezer for 20+ minutes, then cover with white and form an egg shape. Put back on wax paper lined baking sheet (no need for waste)Freeze eggs for 30 minutes.
In the last 5 minutes of freezing eggs, start melting chocolate in double boiler or microwave (I use a glass bowl over a saucepan with boiling water). Dip eggs in chocolate and coat completely. Put back on wax paper lined baking sheet, for the last time (don’t worry you will be enjoying soon enough!). Place in fridge until chocolate sets.
If you want runny centers, keep at room temperature. They do soften quickly!
Corn Syrup Alternative (makes 2 cups)
2 c sugar
3/4 c water
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
pinch of salt
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and stir. Bring to a boil, stirring often, then reduce heat to simmer. Cover for 3 minutes to remove all sugar crystals. Uncover and cook until it reaches a soft ball stage, stirring often.
Cool syrup and store in a covered container at room temperature for up to 2 months.
My son had been begging for me to make cinnamon buns for days. I won’t make them on school days as I don’t think they are the most nutritious breakfast and Saturday we had to be somewhere early, so Sunday was cinnamon rolls day at our house. My husband works till 3 or 4 in the morning with about an hour ride home from work on the weekends- the joys of working in restaurants, so I figured it would be a nice thing for him to wake up to around 11am. Well, my darling, sweet son wanted to have cinnamon buns with Dad. He watched the timer on the oven and every few minutes (at 7am) would run up to tell Dad just how much longer till the cinnamon buns would be ready. Caleb set him a place at the counter, where we have only 2 stools, poured him an orange juice- asking me if dad would want coffee also, and then ran up to tell Dad they were ready. It was too sweet, and Dad does love cinnamon rolls right out of the oven, so he came down to have breakfast with his son. Very sweet moment, especially when you know how much my husband despises mornings. I, however, the preparer of the cinnamon buns was sent to sit at the table alone or on the step stool. I chose step stool even though the height to counter ratio was off at least I could eat with the boys.
So how do you make these wonderful cinnamon buns that get even the crankiest of morning people out of bed?
1 1/4 c cane sugar (you can use brown sugar here and remove molasses, but I like to make my own)
2 tsp molasses
1 T cinnamon
(in the fall dice up a peeled apple and add it in)
For the buns:
1/2 c buttermilk (1/2 soy milk w/ 1 tsp of cider vinegar whisked in is a non-dairy alternative)
3 c all purpose flour
1 T cane sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
12 T COLD butter, cut into small cubes (Earth Balance vegan butter works fine for dairy alternative)
Grease a 9 inch round baking pan. Make the filling, combine ingredients in a bowl and mix with a fork till it looks like a wet sand. Not all sugar and molasses will mix, very small dots of molasses are ok- for better mix use a food processor) Put in the fridge while you prepare dough.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a measuring cup whisk together buttermilk and egg, set aside. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Sprinkle butter cubes over flour mixture and work in by rubbing your fingers against thumb. Stop when mixture looks like sand with somee chunks. Add egg mixture and stir with fork until it just starts to hold together- very loose here, just moist, the less you mess with it the flakier it will be.
Dump dough onto a piece of parchment and knead just enough to bring it together. Remember loose is key, it will come together whe you roll it out. Roll out dough into a 9×15 rectangle, with as straight sides as possible.
Sprinkle sugar mixture all over dough, leaving about 1/2 inch border. Add apples if using, and gently press them in. I like to add a few sprinkles of cinnamon here for good measure. Slowly roll dough into a long log, use parchment to help you as dough should still be a little loose. Squeeze, then put seam side down.
Cut into 9 equal buns and arrange in pan. Bake until golden, about 35 minutes.
While baking I like to make an icing, but it’s really not necessary. Take 1/4 cup powdered sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1 T water. mix. if too runny add more powdered sugar, if too thick SLOWLY add a drop or two of water at a time. Drizzle over the warm buns when they come out of the oven. And serve.