Animals Australia: the voice for animals

Animals Australia: the voice for animals
Love life? Love all of life

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Celebrating UN World Water Day - 22 March 2013 : caring about our food, our water, our soil

March 22, 2013 is the 20th anniversary of World Water Day. In honor of this important anniversary, this week we are highlighting 7 Strategies for Reducing Water Waste. Please visit the Food Tank website each day over the next week for posts focused on innovations around water. 

Although the earth has 1.4 billion cubic kilometers of water, only 0.001 percent of that is accessible for human consumption and use. And 70 percent of water is used for agricultural purposes. In 2012, the United States experienced the most severe drought in at least 25 years which, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), affected 80 percent of agricultural land in the country. Couple that with recent droughts in other parts of the world, most notably in the African Sahel, and the urgency for action to safeguard water resources is clear.

As water supplies face mounting pressures from growing populations, climate change, and an already troubled food system, analyses of “water wealth” and “water security” are laying the groundwork for future cooperation and stability. In order to meet all municipal, agricultural, and ecological needs for water, it is crucial to develop innovative water saving systems for the future of food production.

Here are seven strategies for reducing water waste in the food system:

1. Eating Less Meat

According to Sandra Postel of the Global Water Policy Project, it takes roughly 3,000 liters of water to meet one person’s daily dietary needs, or approximately 1 liter per calorie. The amount of water needed to produce one kilogram of red meat can range from 13,000 to 43,000 liters of water; poultry requires about 3,500 liters of water; and pork needs about 6,000 liters. Eating more meatless meals, even one or two days a week, can help conserve water resources. 

2. Using intercropping, agroforestry, and cover crops
Soil health is critical to water conservation. Diversifying farms by including cover crops, planting trees on farms, and intercropping can help keep nutrients and water in the soil, protecting plants from drought and making sure that every drop of water delivered by rainfall or irrigation can be utilized.

3. Implementing micro-irrigation
Approximately 60 percent of water used for irrigation is wasted. Drip irrigation methods can be more expensive to install, but can also be 33 percent to 40 percent more efficient, carrying water or fertilizers directly to plants’ roots. 

4Improving Rainwater Harvesting
Since the 1980s, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute, farmers in Burkina Faso have been modifying traditional planting pits known as zai, making them deeper and wider and adding organic materials. As a result, the pits retain rainwater longer, helping farmers to increase yields even in years of low rainfall.

5. Using mobile technology to save water
Santosh Ostwal is an innovator and entrepreneur in India who has developed a system that allows farmers to use mobile phones to turn their irrigation systems on and off remotely. This helps reduce the amount of water and electricity wasted on watering fields that are already saturated.

6. Planting perennial crops
Perennial crops protect the soil for a greater length of time than annual crops, which reduces water loss from runoff. According to a report from the Land Institute, "annual grain crops can lose five times as much water and 35 times as much nitrate as perennial crops."

7. Practicing Soil Conservation
Soil conservation techniques, including no-till farming, can help farmers to better utilize the water they have available. According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), studies have shown that no-till techniques improve water-retention capacity and improve water use efficiency in crops.

Be sure to visit the official World Water Day website for more details about the day’s events, including activities in your community and tips for reducing your water footprint. You can also learn more about water issues from the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition, the Global Water Policy Project, Food and Water Watch, and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

What do YOU think? What are the best ideas, studies, and on-the-ground innovations helping to conserve water? 

Check out some of our newsletter articles below, reply to this email or call me, and please join the conversation on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, on Pinterest, on Google+, and on YouTube
All the Best,

Danielle Nierenberg
Co-Founder, Food Tank: The Food Think Tank
Please connect with us on Facebook,  Twitter, and Pinterest

Friday, March 15, 2013

Meat Free Week 18-24 March: put yum in your tum with fruit and veg!

Just want to let you know that next week is Meat Free Week 
and Sustainable Table has a free booklet for download 
that will really help you out!

Hi there,

Hold on to your broccoli stems kids, next week is officially Meat Free Week, 18 - 24th March! It's a week in which we can celebrate a culinary world sans animal flesh. "Lamb chop move aside, it's MY time to shine," (said Mr Beetroot).

In all seriousness, Meat Free Week is an opportunity to think about how much we consume. In case you're wondering, we need to think about this because as a nation, we're consuming way too much. Even the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare agrees - the latest Australian Dietary Guidelines stress that we need to halve our meat consumption immediately. The amount of meat we are eating annually - 120kg per person or 190,000 tonnes nationally - is putting pressure on our environment and our farmers. Carbon, nitrogen and methane emissions, water use and ethically-questionable intensive farming practices result.

What to do and what to cook

The good news is that contributing to a brighter future for our environment, animals and farmers isn't that hard. It simply involves eating less meat (purchased from small, local and ethical farmers) and more vegetables and stuff. By stuff we mean highly nutritious yet super cheap protein sources like beans, lentils, quinoa and other seeds and grains. 

To help you prepare and enjoy Meat Free Week, we have developed  absurdly useful FREE recipe booklet that we've designed to cover ALL your meals anfor the week. That's 21 meat free recipes at your fingertips - 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 7 dinners. It's a trifecta! The booklet also includes a handy shopping list. 

Share your photos & win

Of course we have a competition! Share your photos of the meat free recipes you cook from our booklet and be in with a chance to win a copy of our award-winning book The Sustainable Table, valued at $40.  Here's what you need to know:

Take snaps of your pretty meat free dishes and share with us either on Facebook or Twitter. Be sure to tag us on Facebook using @TheSustainableTable or on Twitter using @SustainTable. At the end of the week we'll select the top 3 prettiest pics and draw a winner! Entries close COB 10pm Sunday 24th March 2013 EST.

You can fundraise for Voiceless too

Get your friends, family and workmates to sponsor you for the week and the money will go towards supporting the work of Voiceless

If you're vegetarian or vegan

You can still get involved by encouraging others around you to take up the challenge of a meat free week. Here's a few ideas.

For more information and 
to download your FREE copy of A Meat Free Week, 
visit our website here.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Speaking of spuds 1: road testing the Russet for chips (not fries. Le's speak Oz!)

Further to the post below about the Bridge Mall Market last Saturday, 
I want to speak about spuds.

Please go to Poh's Kitchen on the link above to discover
the range of potatoes available in Australia

I purchased some Russet potatoes from a family stall - mum, dad and all the kids enthusiastically explaining the virtues of the great variety of spuds on sale.  The Russet is not on Poh's list linked above. I usually purchase an unwashed general type of potato such as the Sebago. The recommendation from the potato stall was that the Russet was excellent for chips.  So I tried them out and found them rather especially good for chips.

 I don't usually peel potatoes.
I scrub them.
Above are the scrubbed and sliced russets, ready for cooking.

The russet chips frying in virgin olive oil.

Here is some of the finished product.
The russet chips came up wonderfully good.
Crisp on the outside but neither too soft nor too mushie on the inside.
I highly recommend the russet.
Perhaps Poh might find some and see if she can confirm my judgment.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Buying local at Bridge Mall Ballarat

Click on collage and open in new tab or window for a larger view.

Yesterday I did my vege shopping at Bridge Mall in the CBD of Ballarat.
Lovely stuff.
As well as colourful stalls and kids activities,
the animal farm was there.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

What did they do in Paraburdoo (it's in The Pilbara)?

As Cyclone Rusty bore down on Port Hedland and The Pilbara this week, reports came that residents were stocking up on alcohol as well as food.  A bit of a no-no really because if the worst befalls, it could be best to be sober and, besides, alcohol cannot be taken into the cyclone shelters.

I wonder if over there in The West they gave any thought to what they consumed in that boring time waiting for the cyclone to come and to go.

Tucker Lovers will recall that the eastern seaboard of the USA experienced Sandy in late October 2012.  A post-storm phenomenon occurred dubbed by the media as "Sandy Five".  Sandy Five is a reference to the poundage put on by New Yorkers as they chomped their way through the cyclone.

Not only did they chomp, they cooked, and they drank.  Read about that experience here.

...on the day of the storm, I obsessively followed food blogs, Twitter and Facebook where my food loving friends reported how they poured themselves into preparing elaborate meals, from boeuf wellington to home made pasta to Brasilianquindin. Even more interesting was to hear about the indulgence in alcoholic drinks, ranging from the obscure mid-nineteenth century cocktails to cheap wine, a phenomenon that was evidenced in the empty shelves at wine and liquor stores across post-Sandy Brooklyn. As the storm descended upon the city, our kitchen counter too became a non-stop food assembly line, churning out new dishes every hour or so. When the winds calmed down and left behind a devastated landscape, interrupted lives and severed power lines, many shared stories of rushing to the fast food chains to eat “fast” and “bad” foods in search of comfort.

In spite of photographs of empty shelves in Port Hedland, somehow this cookfest does not seem to me to relate as well to The Pilbara as to New York.  However, foodie Pilbarans might let me know if I am wrong and they might like to recount their culinary and alcoholic achievements for The Network.  

And, by the way, Pilbarans, what was your Cyclone Rusty weight gain or loss?

Food to fertiliser in New York? Is it happening anywhere in Oz?

Mayor Bloomberg announces compost program for Staten Island during State of the City speech

In a pilot program starting in Staten Island, homeowners will receive two sealed-top bins, a large one for curbside collection and a smaller one for their kitchens, and New York will pick up the scraps once a week, using composting to turn them into fertilizer for parks. The plan could be expanded to the rest of New York City.

Comments (12)

The way New Yorkers clean up after dinner would change forever if Mayor Bloomberg gets his way.
Instead of slopping their leftovers into the trash, homeowners will be tossing eggshells, chicken bones and other scraps into compost bins in the city’s first food recycling program, which was formally announced in Bloomberg’s State of the City address Thursday.

Starting with a pilot program on Staten Island, homeowners will receive sealed-top bins — large ones for curbside collection and smaller ones that can be kept in their kitchens — and the city will pick up the scraps once a week and use composting to turn them into fertilizer for parks, said city recycling czar Ron Gonen.
The city picked Staten Island for the pilot because it has so many single-family homes, but hopes to eventually expand the program citywide — where tiny kitchens and apartment buildings faced with sorting waste into a fourth category could be a tougher sell.

Read about Fresh Kills Landfill once largest landfill - as well as man-made structure - in the world!