Category Archives: Food

Ode to Olive Tree

The wind whispers through the leaves,

Through the leaves of 100 year old olive trees.

The black bits litter the ground,

The gnarled trunks don’t make a sound.

You walk through this beautiful place,

Don’t eat the olives you wont like the taste.

The black and dried beauties crunch under your boots,

They stretch their tendrils, sagacious roots.

So much time has these trees seen,

They’ve seen the word dirty-and watched it run clean.

They don’t grow too tall, but offer some shade,

We sat under this myriad for over three days.

The colors so bold but cold in their truth,

To want anything more, would be simply uncouth.

You lie down to rest, the pits on your back,

Expressing your soul, these trees have a knack.

The small family is happy, feel blessed for what they keep,

Life is not always so smooth, sometimes it’s steep.

But keep keepin’ on just doing their olives,

These trees are so old they’re really rock-solid.

And once again we learn a lesson from the wild,

You just need to slow down and live like a child.

I think the whole world could take a page from the Book of Chaffin,

Just shed your skin, start playin’ and laughin’

And when you see those trees,

Give yourself a pinch and a squeeze.

Cause I’ll promise you this,

You will give that sweet dirt a kiss.

You will feel as though you’ve ascended

Before your life has even ended.

By: Alex Depavloff

Food Porn

Despite our wholesome meals and constant exposure to good ethnic food, what we eat back home is constantly pined for. One particularly in depth conversation on the matter came up one night during a meeting. The processed, fast food and chain supermarket products we so happily reminisce about are certainly not better than the organic and natural substances we receive on the trip. We still yearn for it, and someone pointed out it was like an addiction and as we fantasized about it so much and took so much pleasure in describing our favorite dishes it was like porn.

Food porn.

A new phrase which we jumped on with relish. What foods played what part? Several dishes came up during our talk. Obviously fast food was quite slutty, cheap, unsubstantial and selling itself to your base desires. The simple bean and rice dish was placed as tightly clad Victorian- hardly fitting in a sleazy industry. So what was above the fast food? Chocolate covered raspberries? If they were organic or not could change the whole deal, but their role was placed as a high class escort.

I got to wondering if all organic foods would be the sweet homey family oriented community, while fast food would be the major player in the industry. Who runs this industry and regulates the prostitution?

Corporations.

They raise up cheap useless mono-crops in order to sell its children into the mass market of mastication without giving them the proper tools to give nutrients. This cheap sell from big corporations is so appealing to people because it feeds their addiction to fat, salt and sugar. Our addiction explained.

Where did that train of thought leave our amusing conversation? Were we using a cheap dial-up connection to get access to an image that was part of a much larger site- one full of food thoughtlessly flaunting its deep fried and reheated contents? Were we supporting the prostitution of food, and paying the cooperate pimp?

Not quite, but we wanted to.

By Natasha Alston

Food Convergence

Real Food Convergence

After arriving a few minutes late, I finally see where this convergence would be held. I walk into a large room filled with college students. There are signs near the front that read “Strengthening the Roots” – the name of the conference . . . or convergence . . . or whatever it is. Whatever it was, it was a student run conference . . . convergence, about introducing sustainable food to the UC system. It consisted of multiple workshops about sustainable food and introducing it to a wider audience (mainly college students). The first day ended with live music (I can’t recall the group’s name), and the second day with a group drum circle.

The convergence was organized around a selection of workshops with various focuses. I heard “workshop” and assumed there would be a person leading the workshop who would just talk. Then again, I have had very few experiences at “workshops.” What I saw was a forum. They did have a focus, but were mainly students sharing experiences of what they did in terms of introducing sustainability in their schools. I see how this would be great for a student of a UC, but as a high school student, it helped me very little. Almost everything I heard was something I already knew, so this almost seemed pointless to me. Then again, my thoughts were on Vizcaino and gray whales. With that in mind, my view was a bit skewed.

But there was one more thing that turned me off to the convergence. Towards the end of the first workshop, I was sitting around and overheard a conversation between two other convergence goers. It started on homesteading, the topic of the workshop, but drifted to the topic of meat. The conversing two were eager to rant about the lack of sustainability and malpractices of the meat industry and their shared distain of the product. I wrote them off as a pair of meat haters, not something too uncommon at a convergence such as this. But as the conference dragged on, I came to realize that many others there shared this opinion of meat. In the second workshop, about how to effectively spread a message, there grew the idea of “us” and “them.” “Us” being the enlightened ones spreading our knowledge of sustainability, and “them” being the know-nothings of sustainability. As the topics drifted, “us” became vegans and vegetarians, and “them” became meat eaters. Then later, during an open panel discussion, the question arose, “why was meat ignored during this conference?”. Which was misinterpreted, then played off of and used to support their own opinions.

As a meat eater, I do realize the repercussions of industrialized meat. I know about its effects on the environment, the economy and the horrible conditions for the animals. But this convergence was about shifting to sustainable food. There was almost no mention of sustainable, grass fed meat farms; and when it did come up it was ignored. There are models of sustainable meat farms that use practices of humane raising and slaughtering, such as Polyface Farm in Virginia. Yet at this convention about shifting to sustainable food for whole campuses of students, the message permeating the air seemed clear: the future of sustainability is vegetarianism. I personally saw this as close-minded and almost offensive, that a group of people (meat eaters) could be completely ignored. The convergence was to bring people together to gain knowledge and support each other in the switch to sustainable food, but instead I saw an “us” and “them” form. I’d like to have seen at least an acknowledgment that there are ways of raising sustainable meat. If they had even taken the time to point out that industrialized meat isn’t the only meat, then maybe I would have accepted their views as legitimate. But because I only saw this separation and ignorance, I only saw hypocrisy.

By Nick Lee