Celebrate & Support Hemp History Week: 5/2-5/8!

I’m honored to be an official spokesperson for Hemp History Week, which takes place for the 2nd time this May 2nd-8th!

Alex Jamieson Hemp History Week

Alex Jamieson Hemp History Week

The point of Hemp History Week is to educate the public about the safety and benefits of hemp agriculture and usage, while renewing support to legalize industrial hemp farming in the U.S.

Hemp has gotten a bad reputation from it’s Cannabis relative, marijuana, and is actually free of psychoactive ingredients. Made illegal in 1957, Hemp is grown around the world for industrial and dietary uses. Hemp fiber is one of the strongest natural fibers on earth, and requires no pesticides or agricultural chemicals, unlike cotton.

Why is this movement important to me? Hemp represents agricultural, health, and sustainability issues all in one delicious package.

The U.S. is the world’s largest importer of hemp seeds, fabric, and oils, but farmers who want to grow this crop are still in legal limbo. Canadian farmers earn $200-$400 per acre with hemp crops, while U.S. farmers net less than $50 an acre for soy and corn. Legalizing hemp would be a huge boon to farmers in this country, as well as brining more production jobs stateside for the manufacturing of hemp fabric, seeds, and industrial products that could then be made in the U.S.

I’ll be talking more about hemp and its culinary uses and nutrition next week – and I’ll be giving away a box full of hemp products! Keep your eyes open for the contest on my blog. Also, be sure to come to the cooking class I’ll be co-hosting will Phil Lempert the editor of www.SupermarketGuru.com and The Lempert Report. We’ll be talking all things hemp at the Whole Foods on Bowery and Houston on Tuesday, May 3rd. To sign up for the class, go here:

Hungry New York: A Night To Remember with Carolyn Steel

Last week I was invited to “Hungry New York” an event bringing together local food producers, brilliant eco-thinkers, green designers, eco-architects, land-use lawyers, and food writers. The goal of this gathering was to identify, encourage and support the small scale innovators that are prototyping models to improve our community’s food systems; the folks connecting thinking with doing and feeding. Organized by the Urban Green Counsel, the event was gorgeous and I loved the table settings of Brooklyn raised herbs and glass baking dishes filled with raw root veggies for snacking.

Held at the famous Sex In The City location City Bakery, the event honored British author Carolyn Steel who has written the brilliant “Hungry City: How Food Shapes Our Lives.”

Now I’ve read Michael Pollen, Mark Kurlansky, and Barbara Kingsolver’s books on eating locally, food politics, and the history of food and how we eat. They’re wonderful and I treasure their work.

Carolyn Steel’s book is different. Hungry City takes a historical look at how food production, manners, architecture, and urban planning have affected and created the city’s most humans live in today. It’s a fascinating work. With humor, intelligence, and sweet yet cleaver British wit, Steel uncovers remarkable archeology that illuminates how city’s work – and believe me, they wouldn’t work without a steady supply of food.

I had a chance to meet Carolyn and enjoyed the presentations from local farmers who are building roof-top farms throughout Brooklyn, as well as local celebrity and “locavore hero” Jimmy Carbone, proprietor of Jimmy’s 43. I’ve seen Jimmy at nearly every food event held in NYC in the last year, and his energy and positive support of local farmers and a sustainable food system is incredible.

Teen Chef Invitational in NYC

On April 15th, I helped judge the 2nd Annual Teen Chef Invitational in NYC. Hosted by the Urban Assembly School of Music and Art in Brooklyn, this after-school program teaches teens how to cook, teach cooking, community gardening, and all about food politics. Funded and organized by Family Cook Productions and Dr. Oz’s Health Corps, this program has been incredibly successful in exposing teens to healthy cooking, culinary skills, mentorship programs and paid internships.

I was blown away by the passion and skill that these teens brought to the cooking competition, and the food was delicious! Teen Chef MC’s Nyasha Alexander and Kristie Polanco were wonderful hostesses for the event, and their passion and dedication to the program was obvious.

I am encouraged by this program that is teaching kids to cook healthy food and to prepare meals for themselves and their families. The obvious confidence and pride they felt was infectious, and I hope this program continues to roll out across the country.

If you love 80's heavy metal, go see Anvil!

One of the most inspiring and funny documentaries I’ve seen in the past ten years, ANVIL! The Story of Anvil, brought to light the incredible journey of the “real life Spinal Tap” from Canada. I was lucky enough to see the world premiere at Sundance last year, and met Lips, the lead singer. This movie is the perfect representation of how working hard and holding out for your dreams is the only way to live your life.

If you have any love for heavy metal at all, go see Anvil open for AC/DC this month!

July 31st at Giant’s Stadium in New JerseyAlexandra and Lips from ANVIL!

One easy way to make school lunches healthier!

I live in New York City. It’s an amazing, maddening place to live. There are more health food stores and vegan-friendly restaurants per square mile than anywhere else on earth. Still, we have our health problems, especially in the public schools.

It’s bad enough that public schools offer high-fat, over-salted, artificially sweetened food to kids every day. Did you know they also serve that junk on single-use Styrofoam trays?

I have 2 major issues with using Styrofoam food trays for kids:

1. Health Impact: Styrofoam is known to leach polystyrene and BPA into food. Why does this matter? According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), styrene was reported as having a “possible carcinogenic effect to humans.” BPA is a controversial chemical linked to hormone disruption and cancer.

 2. Environmental: According to the New York City public school system, 850,000 of these Styrofoam trays are thrown away every day – after being used for about 30 minutes!

 

Sign the petition to Mayor Mike Bloomberg (“the green mayor?”) and the City Counsel to request that this crazy system be changed for our kids and the planet’s health: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/SOSnyc/

Because Styrofoam is cheap, lightweight and easy to use, the school systems began buying them en masse in the early 1990s. According to SOSnyc.org, or Styrofoam Out of Schools NYC, NYC Council Member, Bill DeBlasio, has introduced legislation to ban Styrofoam in NYC restaurants and city agencies (this bill does not cover NYC schools). They are working with his staff on planning a City Hall rally for the fall, 2009.

The alternatives at this point are:

  1. An immediate reduction in Styrofoam tray use. Every kid gets a tray even if they’re only buying a wrapped sandwich and a carton of juice. Why is this necessary? High school kids could handle a plate without a tray, and younger kids don’t all need a tray.
  2. Reusable, washable trays are the best solution. Kids need to learn that living in a throwaway society is no longer an option, and they need to understand the impact of their actions.
  3. Compostable single-use trays are available.
    1. It is safer for the kids to eat off of Bagasse or sugar cane trays, which are available for an additional cost of about .03 each. However, if the trays are not composted, their disposal is similar to other single-use products. Sugar cane is a renewable resource. The fibers being used for the sugar cane trays would be burned, otherwise. Still, the Sunshine trays are shipped from Asia.
    2. Power Tray, LLC is working on a new tray systems that would be made from locally sourced fibers from New York State. For more information, contact:

                                               i.     Jay Hilbish – Powertray Jayhilbish@power-tray.com

For more information, contact: http://www.SOSnyc.org/FullStory.html

 

Be well,

Keep up the good fight,

Alexandra

alex@nutritionforempoweredwomen.com