Editor's note: Next year, the Southern Foodways Alliance will explore inclusion and exclusion at the Southern table in 2014. This theme is two-fold. It marks the 50th anniversary of the desegregation of Southern restaurants. It also challenges us to take an honest look at ourselves today - for the sake of tomorrow. Who is included? Who is excluded? For the Southern table, what are the implications of obesity? Class, nationality, and sexuality? These are critical issues to ponder. Sustainable South hopes to draw your attention to agricultural groups tackling inclusion and exclusion from the field. Today's contributor is Emilie Dayan, a SFA project manager who blogs weekly about issues of nutrition, sustainability, and food policy in the South.
The VEGGI Farmer’s Cooperative challenges head-on problems of inclusion and exclusion in New Orleans, Louisiana. The cooperative, established following the effects of the BP oil spill on the Vietnamese community in New Orleans East, aims to provide the highest quality local produce and seafood to Crescent City and beyond.
The story of this community goes back to 1975 when, after the fall of Saigon, the Archdiocese of New Orleans invited many of the Christian Vietnamese who supported the U.S.-allied government to seek asylum in Louisiana. There, the Vietnamese found a familiar climate and jobs as fishermen, a trade many had practiced in Vietnam.
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Seafood lovers are between a rockfish and a hard place: More than 80% of the world’s fisheries are being harvested at capacity or are in decline.
In honor of Earth Day, April 22, what can consumers do to make sure their seafood choices aren’t further depleting the oceans?
Chef Takao Iinuma brings a ray of light to the matter. Iiunuma is the executive chef at Genji Sushi, the purveyors of sushi and Japanese cuisine to Whole Foods Markets.
Selecting Sustainable Fish Options for Earth Month: Takao Iinuma
Dave Casmi has made his living fishing for lobsters along the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, for 40 years. But he and other lobster fishermen are asking themselves if it’s even worth untying their boats from the dock anymore.
In today’s market, they are suffering from an economic triple whammy: High fuel prices mean it’s more expensive to trap lobsters, and the recession finds fewer people splurging on their catch. Plus, a lobster’s market value begins depreciating the moment it’s caught.
“I’m getting what I got 15 years ago,” he said, referring to the amount distributors are paying for his catch. “Just how long would you spend $3 to make $4?”
The situation is particularly painful for Casmi and his fellow lobstermen due to their inability to mark up the price to cover the cost of fuel: Distributors aren’t going to pay more for a product that is selling less. And because lobster needs to be sold shortly after being caught, Casmi can't hold out for higher bidders.
Chefs with Issues is a platform for chefs and farmers we love, fired up for causes about which they're passionate. Chef John Ash serves on the Board of Advisors of Seafood Watch, an educational initiative for sustainable seafood by the Monterey Bay Aquarium. He recently hosted a panel discussion about seafood sustainability as a practice. Among the participants were Chef Bun Lai, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Sustainability Leader of the Year, and Yousef Ghalaini, executive chef of New York’s sustainable seafood restaurant Imperial No. Nine.
Recently, nearly 30 thought leaders in the seafood, restaurant and sustainability worlds came together to have a conversation about how chefs can embrace seafood sustainability in a greater, more mainstream way.
“Thought for Food: A Discussion on Sustainable Seafood” was facilitated by James Beard award-winning chef and author John Ash, widely respected as a sustainability pioneer. Participants came from a variety of backgrounds: chefs, NGO leaders, journalists and other members of the food industry vanguard.