February 06, 2005

Viva la Revolucion! Friday night I attended a lecture featuring David Suzuki, a leading Canadian environmentalist. In my view his lecture was a bit too general and simplistic for the environmental sophisticated audience. However he tossed out an interesting statistic in the Q&A section in response to organics, food and consumption that piqued my interest. Eighty per cent of food in Cuba is organic. In 1990 with the collapse of trade relations with the Soviet Union, Cuba was at the brink of a national food crisis. Also in place was a 30-year economic embargo by the U.S. With the loss of the of its trading partner came the loss of importing food. In addition, part of this import mix was $80 million annual dollars in pesticides. Cuba was also faced with some of the same problems we face in America including mono cropping and rural-urban migration. In "Hungry for Profit: The Agribusiness Threat to Farmers, Food and the Environment", Peter M. Rosset outlines the case study for sustainable agriculture in Cuba: In response to this crisis the Cuban government launched a national effort to convert the nation's agricultural sector from high input agriculture to low input, self-reliant farming practices on an unprecedented scale. Because of the drastically reduced availability of chemical inputs, the state hurried to replace them with locally produced, and in most cases biological, substitutes. This has meant biopesticides (microbial products) and natural enemies to combat insect pests, resistant plant varieties, crop rotations and microbial antagonists to combat plant pathogens, and...
Ode to Chocolate All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt!" Lucy Van Pelt, Peanuts Brooklyn Blackout Cake. M&Ms, Death by Chocolate. Chocolate covered pretzels. Fresh strawberries hand-dipped in dark chocolate. Peanut butter chocolate pie. Fudge Brownies with warm chocolate sauce. Hershey’s Kisses. Chocolate Coconut Bars. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Chocolate Streusel Bundt Cake. Triple Chocolate Brownies. Chocolate Chip Cookies. Chocolate Pecan Carmel Cheesecake. Chocolate Bread Pudding. No true chocolate lover can resist his or her ultimate temptation. We are a nation of chocophiles. Those that can’t appreciate our obsession may call us chocoholics. There’s no curing the legions that save room for dessert no matter what the time of day. In fact the nearest 12-step program which many in this condition subscribe to is to never be more than 12 steps away from chocolate. We love chocolate in all shapes, sizes and forms. American’s consume $14 billion annually worth of the sweet. That averages out to about 12 pounds of chocolate for each one of us. That figure seems low. Some research reports state that Americans eat 100 pounds of chocolate every second. Is that possible? Whether it is or not the statistic places us firmly in eighth place in world consumption— half the level of the world’s leading chocolate lovers, the Swiss. Many of us have personal stories that characterize what chocolate means to us. Our tastes varying from simple to sophisticated often as we mature and are able to educate ourselves through travel,...


what happens to the hole when the donut is gone?

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