Category Archives: World Food Crisis

Botantic Gardens Hosts Important Food Films

Documentaries focus on America’s foods, food crisis and hunger in this supposed land of plenty.

FilmReelDenver Botanic Gardens and  Denver-born Chipotle Mexican Grill present the fourth-annual Sustainable Food Film Series, which aims to raise awareness of healthy and sustainable approaches to the way we grow, produce and consume food. Four documentary films covering organics, sustainable farming, local foods and the seafood crisis are on the 2104 screening schedule, with a post-film panel discussion and food courtesy of Chipotle. The series takes place at the Gardens’ Mitchell Hall. Each screening and dinner from Chipotle is just $5. Dinner begins at 6 p.m. with the screening  6:30 p.m.

Thursday, September 11. “A Place at the Table” (84 min) examines the American hunger issue through the lens of three people: Barbie, a single Philadelphia mother who grew up in poverty and is trying to provide a better life for her two kids; Rosie, a Colorado fifth-grader depends on friends and neighbors to feed her, and Tremonica, a Mississippi second-grader whose asthma and health issues are exacerbated by the largely empty calories her hardworking mother can afford. These are just three of the estimated 50 million people in the U.S. (and one in four children) who don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Directed by Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush.

Tuesday, September 23. “GMO OMG” (90 min) asks questions about how GMOs affect our children, the planet’s health and our freedom of choice. Director and concerned father Jeremy Seifert tests the most serious question himself: is it even possible to reject the food system currently in place, or have we lost something we can’t get back? Seifert goes on a journey from his family’s table to Haiti, Paris, Norway and the lobby of a mega agricultural company, from which he is unceremoniously ejected.

Wednesday, October 15. Food Patriots” (72 min) was inspired by a teenager’s battle with a foodborne superbug. Jeff and Jennifer Spitz are both the filmmakers and the parents of the boy. They document their family’s struggle to raise backyard chickens, grow food and transform themselves into food patriots. The documentary features people from all walks of life who are trying to change the way Americans eat and buy food and educate the next generation of consumers.

Friday, November 7. “Fed Up” (92 min) from Katie Couric, Laurie David (Oscar-winning producer of “An Inconvenient Truth”) and director Stephanie Soechtig, this film claims everything we have been told about food and exercise for the past 30 years is wrong. The U.S. government’s first dietary guidelines overlooked the role of dietary sugar in increasing risks of obesity, diabetes and other health issues, especially in children. The film examines how sugar consumption has greatly increased, obesity has skyrocketed and generations of children have grown up far fatter than their parents.

Past, Present & Future Foods at Colorado History Museum

Global foods across the ages explored in visiting exhibition.

001The History Colorado Center generally devotes itself to what has occurred within the Centennial State’s rectangular borders, but “Food: Our Global Kitchen” from May 31 through September 1 is an exhibition that is global in nature and transcends millennia. This is the museum’s first major traveling exhibition, created by New York’s prestigious American Museum of Natural History.

I know a reasonable amount about food and food history, yet this exhibition, which is geared for children and adults, relates much of what I already know and fills in some blanks I didn’t realize were there. Food origins, cultures, sustainability, the opposing challenges of hunger/starvation on the one hand and obesity on the other, food and dining in the past, the impact of agribusiness on food production today and the future of food production to feed a growing population on the planet. These include heritage foods that, if brought back, can help alleviate world hunger. Interactive features include a clever flat screen where visitors look down on videoed cooking demonstrations and sniff stations that emit aromas of particular foods. Some highlights:

Diorama of a well-organized Aztec market in what s now Mexico City. Many of our common foods are native to the Americas.
Diorama of a well-organized Aztec market in what s now Mexico City. Many of our common foods are native to the Americas.
The rich and the royals always are well and dined in luxury.
The rich and the royals always ate well and dined in luxury.
Flat-screen table provides cooking demonstrations. Want to see how to poach an egg?
Flat-screen table provides cooking demonstrations. Want to see how to poach an egg?
Part of Whole Foods' kitchen display included a chopstick dexterity test.
Part of Whole Foods’ Taste Kitchen display included a chopstick dexterity test, because many of the world’s people use implements other than fork, spoon and knife. Most people can easily pick up packing peanuts. Beans provide more of a challenge.

Entry to the exhibition is normally $5 in addition to museum admission ($12 for adults, $10 for students and seniors, $8 for ages 6 to 12); get $2 off with a receipt from any Colorado Whole Foods Market.  1200 Broadway, Denver, 303-HISTORY (303-447-8679).

The museum’s calendar is filled with special events including family days, off-premise tours and speakers during this exhibition. These include a June 3 presentation by Denver’s self-described soul food scholar Adrian Miller, a 2014 James Beard Award winner, speaking about his book Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time. From mac and cheese to chicken and waffles, Miller explains how foods got on the soul food plate and their meaning in African American culture. You’ll leave ready to cook up one of his recipes or visit one of his favorite soul food joints in the metro area. ($10, non-members and $8.50, members).

World Food Day Tomorrow

Dining and walking to end hunger

WorldFoodDay-logoTomorrow, October 16, is World Food Day, a global movement to end hunger with events in individual communities. The Colorado events are:

Oxfam World Food Day Dinner to  foster a conversation about where our food comes from, who cultivates it, and how we can take personal actions that will help protect farmers and farmland around the world. Takes place from 6 to 8 p.m. at  6732 S Marion Circle East, Centennial. FoMoInfo: Dinah Frey,

CROP Hunger Walks are community events sponsored by Church World Service and organized by local congregations or groups to raise funds to end hunger at home and around the world. Colorado has 16 walks this fall, but some are already past. FoMoInfo: Church World Service, 888-297-2767.

Cronut Knock-Off Has Come to EDGE

Four Seasons restaurant to offer its own version, the CroDough

Under EDGE executive chef Simon Purvis (above), chef de partie Christina Hong and the culinary team developed the new CroDough
Under EDGE executive chef Simon Purvis (above), chef de partie Christina Hong and the culinary team developed the new CroDough

I’ve been waiting for a Denver or Boulder restaurant or bakery to offer a knock-off of the Cronut, the trademarked hybrid of a croissant and a donut that has taken New York by storm. Click here for my first post about this sweet sensation created by New York pâtissier Dominique Ansel. The Four Seasons Hotel’s chef de partie, Christina Hong, and a talented pastry team came up with the EDGE CroDough. Pumpkin is the introductory flavor.

As elsewhere, this is a pricey treat at $10 but it is large enough for two people to share. If even that seems to steep,  EDGE Restaurant is putting the  CroDough on sale for a good cause. On Wednesday, October 16 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., you can get an EDGE CroDough for just $3 or $5 including a small LavAzza coffee. October 16 is World Food Day, which is focused on ending world hunger. All funds from CroDough sales at EDGE will be donated to Community Food Share, a food bank serving Boulder and Broomfield counties, which were greatly impacted by the recent Colorado flood.  Funds will be given to assist in replenishing the food bank, which services more than 50 local agency partners.

The Four Seasons is at 1111 14th Street, Denver.

L.A. Restaurant’s Obscene Water Program

20-item menu & water sommelier too far over the top

Martin Riess, Ray's & Stark's GM, doubles as water sommelier. LAist photo.
Martin Riese, Ray’s & Stark’s GM, doubles as water sommelier. LAist photo.

According to the United Nations, 884 million people on this planet don’t have access to clean water and an appalling 2.5 billion lack proper sanitation facilities. That’s why I find it obscene that Ray’s & Stark Bar in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art has a and a “water sommelier” to guide the rich and thirsty through the 20-item “water menu” with H2O from10 countries. Most waters are in the $8 to $12 range, but Berg Water from Greenland clocks in at $20 a bottle.  This elevates pretention to a new level. Wouldn’t this money be better used by a clean water charity in the developing world?

New Year’s Resolutions: Creating a Better Food World

Resolving to eat better and support a healthier, more sustainable food global system

‘Tis the time of the year to make make resolutions, and I am pleased to offer this guest post by Danielle Nierenberg and Ellen Gustafson, founders of the brand new Food Tank: The Food Think Tank. Danielle is based in Chicago and Ellen is based in San Diego, and I here in Colorado have added a few personal notes in italics to their guidelines, as well as links to resources they cited.

Cultivating a Better Food System in 2013

As we start 2013, many people will be thinking about plans and promises to improve their diet and health. But we think a broader collection of farmers, policy-makers and eaters need new, bigger resolutions for fixing the food system — real changes with long-term impacts in fields, boardrooms and on plates all over the world. These are resolutions that the world can’t afford to break with nearly one billion still hungry and more than one billion suffering from the effects of being overweight and obese. We have the tools—let’s use them in 2013!

Growing in Cities:  Food production doesn’t only happen in fields or factories. Nearly one billion people worldwide produce food in cities. In Kibera, the largest slum in Africa, farmers are growing seeds of indigenous vegetables and selling them to rural farmers. (Claire’s note: Kibera dwellers, many of them women, grow food in “vertical gardens,” as reported by Nourishing the Planet.) At Bell Book & Candle restaurant in New York, customers are served rosemary, cherry tomatoes, romaine and other produce grown from the restaurant’s aeroponic rooftop garden.

Creating Better Access:  People’s Grocery in Oakland and Fresh Moves in Chicago bring mobile grocery stores to food deserts giving low-income consumers opportunities to make healthy food choices. Instead of chips and soda, they provide customers with affordable organic produce, not typically available in their communities. (Note from Claire: “The Apple Pushers,” an award-winning film about fi8ve pushcart vendors bringing fresh produce to underserved communities in New York touched my heart. When superstorm Sandy wreaked so much havoc in the New York area, I wondered what happened to these produce peddlers. Anyone know?) Continue reading New Year’s Resolutions: Creating a Better Food World

Bloggers for a Good Cause

Recent Copper Canyon village visit underscores hunger and nutrition crisis

I’m at a convention in Mazatlan, Mexico, right now — staying a a fancy resort hotel where a lavish buffet is put out every morning in the beach restaurant and lunch is also available, where the deli sells goodies from 7:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m., where dinner is served in a lovely restaurant, and where water is lavished on swimming pools, fountains, lawns and gardens. I came here after visiting the Copper Canyon, a stunning system of seven canyons that could swallow our own Grand Canyon. In addition to jaw-dropping beauty, the Copper Canyon region is home to somewhere between 60,000 and 100,000 Tarahumara Indians. These shy people are known for their incredible ability as endurance runners, for the colorful garments the women wear and for their skill as basketweavers.

Many live in remote villages that can only be reached on foot, inhabiting the simplest of dwellings — adobe and wood houses, even caves, without running water or electricity. Their simple diet is prepared over wood fires in open kitchens when weather permits, indoors when it doesn’t. In summer, when fruits and vegetables grow on the canyon top and in small, high valleys, fresh fruit and vegetables are available. But at this time of year, their food choices are limited.

I took a tour to the small community (about 200 people) of San Alonzo. Guide Gustavo Renteria stopped at a market in the town of San Rafael to buy bags of mangoes and oranges, as well as some crunchy snacks. “The children,” he said, “don’t get enough vitamin C in winter.” They certainly get enough D, because they play outside year-round — and run out to the dirt road whenever they see the dust cloud of a vehicle that might be carrying basket-buying tourists. We weren’t there to buy, but in addition to fresh fruit, we brought with us school supplies donated to the Tarahumara by an Australian aid age. We distributed these to children who ran out from each spread-apart house when they saw us approaching. Tarahumara children can certainly use fresh produce and school supplies, but they are far better off than children elsewhere who are perpetually hungry and malnourished, and for whom school is not an option.

Under the umbrella of BloggerAid (Food Bloggers Uniting to Aid in the Alleviation of Hunger) , food bloggers trying to make a dent in the world food crisis. Their current project is a recipe book whose proceeds will go to anti-hunger efforts. The book is targeted for sale on Amazon by November/December 2009, and you can click here to find out how to contribute a recipe. The deadline is February 12. You do not have to be a member of BloggerAid to submit. Many thanks to Gloria Chadwick of Cookbook Cuisine for pointing this out.