How many people out there would love to hear that drinking beer could save the world. One might ask, to save the world from what, and author Christopher O'Brien would suggest from climate change, from pollution, from corporate control of our lives, from declining levels of happiness, from increasing levels of stress, from gender inequality, and from communities that have lost their sense of community. Fermenting Revolution" is the title of the book released just last year by British Columbia's New Society Publishers. As we often critically examine individual foods or agricultural commodities here on Deconstructing Dinner, beer is of course no different from any other food. It's principle ingredients consist of water, barley (or another grain), hops and yeast, all of which are extracted and produced in ways that can either respect or disrespect the earth. We learn of beer and its role in leading a revolution in small breweries around the world.
Soil Matters CSA I
One of the greatest threats facing farmers today and hence facing our own food supply is the financial rewards found in the field of farming, rewards that are seemingly more often then not, in the negative digits. Many argue that food and agriculture should be removed from global trade regimes. One of the reasons for such an idea comes from a belief that farmers themselves should not have to bear the financial risks associated with such a volatile industry, and all people should equally share such risks as food is a need and not a desire. One alternative to the dominant food system is the model of Community Supported Agriculture, whereby a set number of people within a city or town become a member of a farm, and in doing so pay the farmers at the beginning of the season when farmers need the money most. Members who join are then guaranteed what is most often a weekly box of fresh produce. As many farmers know all too well how easily an entire crop can be lost due to weather, pests or unforeseen circumstances, members of a CSA share this risk with the farmer and on the other side can also share in the abundance. Just outside of Nelson, British Columbia, two intrepid farmers who only began farming a few years ago, have launched a CSA this year. Host Jon Steinman chose to become a member and document the process of creating a CSA and the potential for such a model to reconnect people with their food and provide farmers with a more secure source of income.
This marks the first of a periodic series that will document the creation and evolution of a CSA.
Christopher O'Brien - Author, Fermenting Revolution (Washintgon D.C.) - When not writing books, Author Christopher O'Brien works at the Center for a New American Dream as Director of the Responsible Purchasing Network. There he helps institutions of all kinds, identify and purchase products that are more socially and environmentally responsible. Chris is also part-owner of the Seven Bridges Co-operative - which is an exclusive supplier of organic-only beer making supplies.
Craig Smith and Laura Sacks - Farmers, Soil Matters (Castlegar, BC) - Located between Nelson and Castlegar, British Columbia, Soil Matters is a certified organic farm. They maintain 7-8000 sq. feet of greenhouse space, and a few outdoor plots which between all of this space allows for growing between early spring and late fall. This year Soil Matters launched a Community Supported Agriculture program that currently maintains 17 member shares.