Posted by: cindydyer | December 18, 2009

Grow food!

by Mary Ellen Ryall

Allow me to introduce you to Will Allen. Will walked away from corporate America and sports sixteen years ago to head up a growing business. His main goal is to grow soil at his working farm, Growing Power, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His focus is all about community gardens and how we need to get growing in each community. Check out his site at:

When we realize that it takes nearly one gallon of fossil fuel and 5,200 gallons of water to produce just one pound of conventionally fed beef (Mooallem, 2009), we might start to realize we need to support local farmers and grazers. Meat tastes like meat is supposed to when it is wild harvested or grass fed.

Biofuels made from crops have been responsible for up to 75 percent of the 130 percent increase in global food prices in the past six years (Weltz, 2009). Food is not fuel and should never be taken out of the mouths of people and diverted to another profit-making purpose.

It is interesting to note that college campuses across the US are starting to introduce local grown food right into the cafeteria. Tim Galarneau, co-founder of the national campaign Real F00d Challenge, wants to encourage 1,000 universities and colleges to buy 20 percent of their food by 2020. Tim will still be actively working long after I retire. It is good to know that youth are stepping up to the issue now. Communities need to learn how to grow their own food so they can feed themselves in the future.

Josh Viertel, the 31-year-old president of Slow Food USA, says, “It’s just this incredible outpouring of energy to do the right thing.”  I feel confident that Tim Galarneau and many other young activists will lead the way to sustainability.

Are we too little, too late?

We need to keep our eyes open and on global food security and climate stress now that climate change is knocking at earth’s door. Please take a few minutes to listen to Tom Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, speaking on agriculture and climate change in this video here.

He spoke at Agriculture and Rural Development Day, on 12 December, 2009. This day-long event at the University of Copenhagen drew more than 300 policy makers, negotiators, producers and leaders from the agricultural and climate change scientific community. Unfortunately, many believe that genetically-engineered crops are a possible solution to end world hunger and the second Green Revolution has begun. By listening to this video, we are staying informed about the world’s challenges to these paramount issues.

Mooallem, J. (2009, March-April). Veg-o-might. Mother Jones, 36-37.
Welz, A. (2009, March-April). Trouble on the Limpopo. Mother Jones, 44-47.
Viertel, J. (2009, March-April). Tray chic, Mother Jones, 47.

Photo, above: Happy Tonics member Randy Melton loves to grow potatoes and onions. Photo © Mary Ellen Ryall.

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