Farm Hack(ing) – resilient agriculture

Farm Hack is a farmer-driven community to develop, document and build tools for resilient agriculture and is a project of National Young Farmers’ Coalition.

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The evolution of “Spring Thaw”

This video shows the design process that goes into the development and evolution of  “Spring Thaw”  which is a menu item for Alinea’s Spring 2010 menu. What is interesting to me is the concept of iteration(s) and how they go from a concept to the eventual product. Design by iteration…?

Via NYMag’s Grub Street blog (here)

A “Manifesto for the New Nordic Kitchen”

1. To express the purity, freshness, simplicity and ethics that we would like to associate with our region.

2. To reflect the different seasons in the meals.

3. To base cooking on raw materials which characteristics are especially excellent in our climate, landscape and waters.

4. To combine the demand for good taste with modern knowledge about health and well-being.

5. To promote the Nordic products and the variety of Nordic producers – and to disseminate the knowledge of the cultures behind them.

6. To promote the welfare of the animals and a sound production in the sea and in the
cultivated as well as wild landscapes.

7. To develop new possible applications of traditional Nordic food products.

8. To combine the best Nordic cooking procedures and culinary traditions with impulses from outside.

9. To combine local self-sufficiency with regional exchange of high-quality goods.

10. To cooperate with representatives of consumers, other cooking craftsmen, agriculture, fishing industry, food industry, retail and wholesale industry, researchers, teachers, politicians and authorities on this joint project to the benefit and advantage of all in the Nordic countries.

More (here)

Discovered by this post over at chocolateandzucchini

Related Chef Rene Redzepi appeared on Charlie Rose last Friday June the 11th. Watch video (here)

Agro-Imperialism

The NYT asks “Is There Such a Thing as Agro-Imperialism”?. Read (here)

Dig this image

Greenhouses being built at the Jittu Horticulture farm at Awassa in southern Ethiopia.

While some worry over a new colonization of land in African and the developing world others point to the enormous investment opportunities available. These investments moreover would have aggregate benefits.

“Africa is the final frontier,” Payne told me after the conference. “It’s the one continent that remains relatively unexploited.” Emergent’s African Agricultural Land Fund, started last year, is investing several hundred million dollars into commercial farms around the continent. Africa may be known for decrepit infrastructure and corrupt governments — problems that are being steadily alleviated, Payne argues — but land and labor come so cheaply there that she calculates the risks are worthwhile.

The payoffs could be immense. In a country like Ethiopia, farmers put in backbreaking effort, but they yield about a third as much wheat per acre as do Europe, China or Chile. Even modest interventions could start to close this gap. One small example: the black soil I saw throughout the Great Rift region. Known as vertisol, it’s a product of volcanic activity and possesses the nutrients to produce enormous harvests. Because of its high clay content, however, it becomes sticky and waterlogged during the rainy season, which makes it very difficult to plow by traditional methods. With the addition of advanced implements, improved seeds and fertilizer, you can double the amount of wheat it yields. Ethiopia, like all of Africa, is full of such opportunities, which is one reason the World Bank says that investing in agriculture is one of the most effective ways to speed economic development on the continent.

However, there are models others suggests which would be more socially beneficial while still increasing productivity and agricultural output.

But the argument against enormous land concessions needn’t be based solely on appeals to human rights, environmental warnings or romanticism. It’s possible to be a believer in development without endorsing Paul Collier’s view that the small landholders stand in its way. In fact, there’s a whole school of economic thought that says that Collier is wrong, that big is not necessarily better in agriculture — and that the land deals therefore might be unwise not because they’re wrong but because they’re unprofitable. A recent World Bank study found that large-scale export agriculture in Africa has succeeded only with plantation crops like sugar and tea or in ventures that were propped up by extreme government subsidies, during colonialism or during the apartheid era in South Africa.

For example.

 

On a bright Rift Valley afternoon, I went to see another option, a cooperative scheme under which a group of around 300 Ethiopians, working plots of 4 to 10 acres, were getting into export agriculture. During the European winter, they grew green beans for the Dutch market. The rest of the year, they cultivated corn and other crops for local consumption. The land had been irrigated with the help of a nonprofit organization and an Ethiopian commercial farmer named Tsegaye Abebe, who brought all the produce to market.

That is a big yam!!

Seriously. I haven’t often seen yams that big even at a farmer’s market. For a naturally grown (read: organic, local, personally, no additives etc) yam I am impressed. Of course how many staff were working the crop.

Anyways, congrats again to the Obama’s for a great photo op, pushing a “progressive” (read: conservative, I mean farming right and Victory gardens right?) message.

Via Swampland (here)

Starbucks Egg Salad Sandwich

No one likes a shill. But I was hungry and didn’t think I would get to dinner, in my desire to finish Recombinant Urbanism, and not leave Starbucks since I got here late.

I looked in their case/fridge and said hmm, egg salad sandwich or fruit and cheese plate. Surprise, surprise. Delicious, I did find it.

Slighty expensive, as I found myself thinking, hmm I have all the ingredients (maybe even higher quality ones) to make this at home. Plus, Lots of calories. But try it, if your in a jam.

Charlie Rose-Has a conversation with Chef David Chang

Charlie Spends a full hour talking with Chef David Chang..Although I am a vegetarian and would not be able to eat much at his restaurants because Chef Chang loves pork, probably even more than Anthony Bourdain.. As he says towards the end of the interview “I respect them (Ed. note: them=vegetarians) just not in our restaurants.” I can still enjoy the beauty, technical skill and social aspects of cooking/eating no matter what it is made from. The first impression of Chef Chang is that he is charming, authentic and humble and truly aware of the cooking tradition of which he is a part.. While he says he is not doing anything authentic or new, that all him and his team is doing is a re-packaging of ingredients, recipes and techniques that have existed in Asian and American food culture, that i would argue is the authentic and original aspect. Many artists, and yes cooking is an art, are famous for exactly that. A re-packaging or re-conceptualization of connections or ideas that have existed, See Duchamp, Dali or any of the greats..

Anywho, if you like pork, cooking or are a foodie watch this interview..