Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Hi Everyone!

Would you like to go on a foraging tour on our very own island, through fields, forests and to island farms, with two of our island’s best hunter and gatherer/foragers?

The tour is Friday October 8th to Sunday October 10th.
Stephanie and Anna Maria of Tucker House/Harrison House/Coho Restaurant have put this wonderful tour together with expert foragers and all around great people, our island’s own Eleanor Hartmann and Ryan Browne! Ticket price just covers the cost of putting this tour together - Tucker House/Harrison House isn’t making anything on this one, just trying to give everyone the opportunity to see what we’ve got on our islands! If you’ve heard of Ryan and Eleanor, and always wanted to meet them and hear about what they do, here’s a great opportunity to do just that! And this isn’t only delicious wild vegetation and shellfish - it’s also a trip to island farms for milk, cheese, eggs, meat, fruit, and seafood! It ends with dinner “made from the bounty”, (plus tasting of chocolates, salts, and olive oils!) We couldn’t have said it better!
It will be very very fun, and very informative.
Here are the details, and how to sign up:

Discover San Juan Island’s wild food scene with a Fall Foraging Fiesta, hosted by Harrison House Suites and Tucker House Inn. This will be an action-packed, fun-filled weekend learning about the Islands, and the sustainably-farmed products available. The fun starts on Friday, October 8th when guests will enjoy a presentation from one of the Island’s most passionate foragers. She forages on a macro level, looking for new producers of sustainable ingredients for the Island’s co-op and area restaurants.

Saturday, October 9th is dedicated to foraging on the micro-level. Participants will tromp trails and fields gathering wild mushrooms and greens; glean fruit from trees and vines; harvest mussels and clams; collect eggs; visit farms for milk and meat; help with the wine grape harvest; stop at farms producing honey, goat cheese, cider and more. There will be a break midway through to savor lunch at one of our favorite picnic spots. Back at the inn guests can mingle around a cozy fire with wine & hors d’oeuvres, and help in the kitchen while our chef cooks up the days’ bounty for dinner.

Sunday, October 10th participants will have the opportunity to do side-by-side taste tests of common everyday ingredients including salt, olive oil and chocolate.

Package price of $149 includes:
  • Guest reception and presentation on Friday night
  • Transportation and admission to farms, hors d’oeuvres and dinner on Saturday
  • Ingredients tasting Sunday.
Program fee covers cost of van rental, foods, beverages, and forager fee.
Stay at the Tucker House Inn or Harrison House Suite and receive a complimentary copy of their cookbook for participating in this package.

Contact Person: Anna Maria de Freitas
Phone: (360) 378-3587
Email Address: innkeeper@harrisonhousesuites.com
Website URL: HarrisonHouseSuites.com
Address: 235 “C” Street. Friday Harbor WA 98250

And to support Slow Food USA, you can join if you like for $25 until Oct. 15th. Link to join here.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Hi Everyone - First, our DIG IN! event has been moved to a later date (harvest isn't quite ready yet). We'll send out a new date when potatoes etc. are ready. In other news:

Chicken before the egg. Chicken photo, Bill Cobos. Egg photo used by permission of http://www.freefoto.com

You've been hearing about salmonella eggs shipped all over the country? Meat from who knows where contaminated by e coli? The factory farms that ignore food safety, politicians who write laws to put small farmers out of business, keep school lunches frozen, or endanger public, economic, and environmental health by favoring corporations over common sense don't take into account two things - the natural world, and a massive grassroots movement mobilized to make food good, clean and fair.

We're building from the grassroots up, and making a difference. If you'd like to take part, one way is to click here to join the Slow Food community. Until Oct 15th, 1 year membership cost has been lowered to $25, making it more affordable to support the work of Slow Food USA.
Go to www.slowfoodusa.org/JoinTheFoodFight
This will help Slow Food to both protect access to healthy food, and keep the issue front and center at the local, national, and international levels.

After you join, you choose the local chapter you wish to be a part of.
Our local chapters are Land & Sea (San Juan/Lopez) and Small Green Island (Orcas).

Slow Food members unite around the idea that food should be good for you, good for the environment, and accessible to all, and value our communities, our cultures, and our planet.

And last, please read our previous post about

Land & Sea garden!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Click on photos to enlarge.

Location: Land & Sea Garden is located in the open field bordered by Blair Ave, Reed St. and 2nd Street in Friday Harbor, directly across from the County Courthouse on 2nd and across Blair Ave from Friday Harbor High School and Middle School. Look for the sunflowers and apple and pear trees.

Land & Sea is the Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, WA chapter of Slow Food USA. In an agreement with our county, our new organic garden began this June on Blair Ave and 2nd Street in Friday Harbor.
Informational podiums around the garden describe our new garden, what it's for, its history, and what's currently planted. We're now almost ready for our Ozette and Haida potatoes to be harvested, rows to be weeded and turned, and garlic, leeks, and kale to be planted!

Our garden's thriving with care from Land & Sea volunteers Ryan Browne, Jared Wellington, Kelly, Michelle Lyons, Scott, Albert, Linda, Maureen, Sophie, Lucy, Marion, Albert, and Tim and with contributions from Harbor Rental, San Juan Masonic Lodge #175, Browne Lumber, our friend Declan, Bill Maas, Dave Hall, Scott C.S.A. Garden Manager at Heritage Farm, Eric Ellison, Madrona Murphy, Maureen Marinkovich, Linda Degnan Cobos, garden mother Marion, Tim McGee our wise garden advisor, Albert Strasser (rototiller - never did mention that), and a wonderful county, San Juan County!

Our garden produce will be donated by Land & Sea to the San Juan Island School District's home-grown, island-originated lunch program headed by Liz Varvaro, "Food for Thought". Land & Sea offered logistical and community outreach support to help initiate the program, and we are very happy to now make our new chapter garden and its produce available to the lunch program for meals and the garden available for learning opportunities.
We have also just been given the use of a beautiful greenhouse on the west side of the island that currently is home to 5 potted basil plants, and we are making plans for the growing of greens and culinary herbs.

Our chapter also will continue our volunteer gleaning program, gleaning produce from local farms to help, too. Chef Andy and Liz are looking forward to using potatoes, squash, and beans from this June's very late planting, and are advising us on what the school lunch program can use next from our garden to help guide our next planting choices.

Write to slowfoodlandandsea@gmail.com to let us know if you'd like to provide organic seeds or starts for the garden, gardening tools, are willing to teach a workshop on any related subject, or, have another great idea of how you'd like to help.

TO SEE MORE PHOTOS AND INFORMATION about the garden, SEE EARLIER POSTS BY SCROLLING DOWN THIS PAGE! Or follow links to earliest post here. Following posts here and here.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tell the FDA You Won't Eat GMO Salmon!

photo: Wild caught salmon. Courtesy Marinkovich family

Keep the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) from ruling to approve engineered (GMO) salmon as the first animal manufactured for human consumption. Click here to sign the petition demanding the FDA halt approval for GMO salmon.

AquaBounty Technologies created the salmon by artificially combining growth hormone genes from a Pacific salmon with DNA from an eelpout. This keeps the fish growing year round, in crowded inland tanks.

The FDA doesn't do its own testing of genetically engineered animals. It relies on information provided by the company that wants approval — just like they did in their oversight of the egg industry which produced the largest salmonella outbreak in U.S. history last month. Unlike traditional methods breeding, in lab-created GMO “transgenic” animal breeding, genes are from different species, or can be from plants.
The mechanics of gene addition is imprecise. Scientists cannot predict or control where lab-added genes mechanically 'fired' into cells will attach along DNA strands, so genes added in this way often interfere with the normal functions of DNA, creating unwanted mutation. Release of virtually all research information is controlled by GMO patent holders; researchers must sign a release before beginning any research; resulting information on GMO risks has been heavily suppressed. Risks that are known include damage to organs, including stomach, liver and kidneys, severe allergies, adverse hormonal changes and antibiotic resistance.

Because genetically engineered salmon can be classified as a "drug" by the FDA, due to their laboratory origins, instead of food, there's little focus on the potential dangers of people consuming modified salmon. It's not enough that raising salmon in crowded factory fish farms contaminates our food with antibiotics and other chemicals. Now the FDA would be adding additional unknown risks of GMO salmon to the mix.

Aside from the health risks, the risks posed by release of these salmon into waterways, even contained (which has never been proved secure), to wild salmon stocks and biodiversity in general, are staggering, not to mention the danger posed to tribal peoples with salmon traditions, and commercial fishing families and the economies they are a part of.
Read more about GMO's here.
Thank you to Food Democracy Now, Food and Water Watch, and CREDO for portions of this post.



Small farm near Ames, Iowa.


We likely all know by now that family farmers on our ferry-dependent islands provide us with "food security". They produce meat, poultry, eggs and dairy, from well fed healthy animals. They grow grains, fruits and vegetables using safe methods which also build our soils and make them more and more productive as the years go by. In addition, they provide jobs for local people, and they strengthen our economy.
With news in the past few weeks of not only factory-farmed salmonella tainted eggs shipped across country, but also news of outbreaks of e coli originating in meat from poorly fed livestock raised in giant corporate owned or leased animal containment farms, the significance of availability of good healthy food is very very clear. As is the importance of creating as many local jobs as possible.
Also crucial: food reserves and production sources that are island based, for any interruption in mainland access, or during other emergencies. It's incredibly important our small family farms are not crushed by regulations favoring corporate agribusiness. But that's what's in the works, right now, today, Thursday, in Congress, and you should know about it.
It's only "good business" for giant agribusiness corporations to eliminate their growing competition, the small family farmer. Although food products from these giants are sometimes cheaper at the grocery store, their prices are deceptive - we are paying more for them in total because our taxes go to these corporations in large chunks to "subsidize" them, cutting their food production costs while increasing the profits they take, on our dime. Small family farmers don't get these same subsidies, but have to compete against them in the marketplace. Corporations also employ workers at consistently lower wages than family farms, with poorer conditions, and, as multinationals, often take their profits offshore in addition to qualifying for huge tax breaks, while local family farms have access to fewer tax breaks and shelters, contribute to local tax bases and keep their profits in the local community. (On our islands, small farmers, both husbands, wives, and single farmers, work at least one other full-time job, and sometimes 2 or 3, to make it possible to stay in farming and provide us with the food they grow.)
Consumers are starting to understand how much better, healthier, and competitively priced food is from small local farms, and how keeping it local helps their local economy, and they are buying local farm food, instead of corporate grown products, in larger and larger numbers. Corporations can not tolerate competition. They are required to return the highest short-term profits possible, regardless of long-term effect. They practice the "good business" of eliminating competition early, using whatever means possible. Our small farmers also don't benefit from the much-ballyhooed "farm" or "agricultural" lobby, or the Farm Bureau; although most people think that those powerful groups of lobbyists are working for farmers, they're not. They're working for corporate agribusiness, and right now, they're working against small family farms.
The bill lobbyists and corporate backed Senate and House members are currently pushing through Congress is a big one, SB 510. It will essentially put large numbers of small farmers out of business by making it too difficult to continue, burying them in a blizzard of regulations and paperwork designed for problems that have originated exclusively in the poor conditions and feeding practices found in large factory farms, while at the same time paying only lip-service to dealing effectively with real factory farm problems. An amendment by Senator Jon Tester of Montana, a farmer and conservative who has supporters across the political spectrum, needs to added to SB 510 to make the bill actually effective as a food safety bill. The amendment protects the food safety that is provided by small family farms, and more effectively addresses safety problems posed by factory practices.
The Senate is scheduled to vote on the bill today, Sept. 18, and Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, in addition to any other state senators you can contact, need to hear from you today to make sure the Tester amendment is added. There are more bills like this in the pipeline, but this one is right now, and needs your words to your Senator, to make it a bill for food safety. For you.


Cantwell, Maria - (D - WA) Class I
(202) 224-3441
Web Form: cantwell.senate.gov/contact/
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Murray, Patty - (D - WA) Class III
(202) 224-2621
Web Form: murray.senate.gov/email/index.cfm

Helpful information on the Tester amendment from the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, here, and from the Portland Farmers Market, here.
Background on this bill and other food safety bills, at Actions page, here.

Photos by Scott Bauer

A small dairy farm in western Maryland. The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines "small farms" as those averaging $50,000 in gross sales annually-which net, on average, around $23,159.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


"Both will profit at the expense of small-scale African farmers."
Or Go to SeattleGlobalJustice.Org. Contact info for the Bill &Melinda Gates Foundation here, (the Gates Foundation makes it clear they are under no obligation to review or respond to your correspondence to their address).

"Last week, a financial website published the Gates Foundation’s investment portfolio, including 500,000 shares of Monsanto stock with an estimated worth of $23.1 million purchased in the second quarter of 2010. Prominent links include high-level [Gates] Foundation staff members who were once senior officials for Monsanto, such as Rob Horsch, formerly Monsanto Vice President of International Development Partnerships and current Senior Program Officer of the Gates Agricultural Development Program.
Monsanto has already negatively impacted agriculture in African countries. For example, in South Africa in 2009, Monsanto’s genetically modified maize failed to produce kernels, and hundreds of farmers were devastated. Some farmers suffered up to an 80% crop failure.
Transnational corporations like Monsanto have been key collaborators with the Foundation and AGRA’s grantees in promoting the spread of industrial agriculture on the continent. This model of production relies on expensive inputs such as chemical fertilizers, genetically
modified seeds, and herbicides. Though this package represents enticing market development opportunities for the private sector, many civil society organizations contend it will lead to further displacement of farmers from the land, an actual increase in hunger, and migration to already swollen cities unable to provide employment opportunities.
In a 2008 report initiated by the World Bank and the UN, the international Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), promotes alternative solutions to the problems of hunger and poverty that emphasize their social and
economic roots. The IAASTD concluded that small-scale agroecological farming is more suitable for the third world than the industrial agricultural model favored by Gates and Monsanto. In a summary of the key findings of IAASTD, the Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) emphasizes the report’s warning that “continued reliance on simplistic technological fixes—including transgenic crops—will not reduce persistent hunger and poverty and could exacerbate environmental problems and worsen social inequity.” Furthermore, PANNA explains, “The Assessment’s 21 key findings suggest that small-scale agroecological farming may offer one of the best means to feed the
hungry while protecting the planet.” (Excerpted from press release Aug 25/2010 -
AGRA-Watch http://www.seattleglobaljustice.org/agra-watch - Links, italics, and bold font added by Land & Sea)
Press release posted by irresistable fleet of bicycles/the Greenhorns : http://tinyurl.com/3a8s39p