Any calls to action by our members, posts about food policy/politics, and anything that has to do with the actual formation of this co-op (volunteer opportunities, membership meetings, board and committee stuff, etc.)
Featuring: leading consumer GMO expert and author Jeffrey Smith
Location: Old First Reformed UCC Church, 151 N. 4th (at Race Street) Philadelphia, PA, 19106
Date: Earth Day, Monday, April 22, 2013
Time: 7 pm. Doors open at 6 pm.
Today’s New York Times has a story (fortunately for the purposes of educating people, it’s their “Most Emailed” story of the day so far) about the continuing die-off of honeybees, which is apparently getting even worse. The article mentions several different theories for why this is happening with special emphasis on the possible role of a pesticide derived from nicotine that actually gets delivered through the plants themselves. I imagine most people who read this blog have some idea of how serious this issue is but in case you didn’t here’s the fun fact of the day from the article:
Nor is the impact limited to beekeepers. The Agriculture Department says a quarter of the American diet, from apples to cherries to watermelons to onions, depends on pollination by honeybees. Fewer bees means smaller harvests and higher food prices.
And I’m pretty sure that the quarter of the American diet being most effected is not the one that includes diet soda, cheeseburgers and pixie sticks.
So what can be done? Start voting with your wallet. Shop at places where the food was produced by small-scale farmers who avoid these kinds of pesticides. Consider CSAs, farmers’ markets, and local co-ops. Your budget may take a hit in the short run but that’s nothing compared to the hit we’re all going to take if one-quarter (the good quarter) of our diet disappears.
Dozens of states are working on legislation that would require labeling of food containing Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO). Groups like Food and Water Watch are working to make such a labeling law a reality. The risks of GMO foods are unclear, in large part because the research so far conducted has been inadequate in scope, duration, and independence, because the vast majority of the research has been conducted or funded by companies selling GMO crops. These companies use their patent rights to limit independent research on their products. Please take action by signing the Food and Water Watch petition demanding labeling of GMO foods in Pennsylvania.
A panel discussion with:
Kenji Tabery, Healthy Corner Store Initiative, The Food Trust
Charles Matthews, Rebel Ventures, Urban Nutrition Initiative (to be confirmed)
Tia McDonald, Vetri Foundation for Children
Thursday, March 28, 2013
South Philadelphia Branch of the Free Library, Broad and Morris Streets
FREE TO ATTEND!
Experience National Nutrition Month at the Free Library of Philadelphia!
File this in “supporting local businesses!” (While also dining at some great places.)
Feast on a 3-course prix fixe lunch and/or dinner at 21 award-winning East Passyunk restaurants for either $15, $25 or $35. From low key BYOBs to elegant candlelight dining, East Passyunk Restaurant Week boasts a diversity of dining experiences and cuisines that offers something for everyone. Come hungry!
And if you happen to get to chat with one of the owners of these fine establishments, let them know that you saw information about them on the South Philly Food Co-op’s website and ask whether they’d like to be part of our Shop South Philly Program. (It can’t hurt to ask!)
On December 13, 2012, less than four months after the widely anticipated implementation of the city’s brand new zoning code, City Council’s Committee on Rules has voted to approve an ordinance that undoes important aspects of the code, including the gains made for urban agriculture in Philadelphia. Introduced by Councilman Brian O’Neill, Bill 120917 creates restrictions on a range of uses in commercial mixed uses areas. Among these restrictions, the bill would only allow community gardening and market farming by “special exception” on over one third of the city’s commercially zoned lands.
What does this mean for existing gardens? The affirmative vote by the Rules Committee immediately renders illegal approximately 20 percent of the urban farms and community gardens already in existence in the city. The amendment is scheduled to come to a vote by the full Council on January 24, 2013. In the meantime, since the bill is regarded as a “pending ordinance,” the city may begin enforcing the provisions of the bill immediately. If council votes in favor of the bill, the changes would become permanent.
While the provision allowing farm or garden parcels with a special exemption is an improvement over the initial version of the amendment, which would prohibited gardening and farming outright, it is still an onerous process that would inhibit urban agriculture in Philadelphia. “The Special Exception process is not an ‘over the counter’ approval and requires quite a bit of administrative effort,” explained Eva Gladstein, Deputy Executive Director of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission. “The zoning applicant must: file an application for a ZBA hearing; notify the local RCO, near neighbors and the District Councilperson of the project; meet with the local RCOs and document the meeting; post notice of the ZBA hearing on the property for 21 days prior to the hearing; at the hearing, demonstrate that the proposed use is consistent with the zoning code and any applicable standards for the use; and if there is testimony at the hearing from the community that the impacts would be more than normally expected from that use, must provide evidence to overcome such testimony.”
The amendment passed out of the Rules Committee on a four to three vote, despite almost unanimous testimony in opposition to the bill from an array of constituencies.
The changes would prohibit new businesses such as auto shops, car rental and sales, gas stations, personal care homes, single- room residences, and group living from locating in commercial corridors. Joining urban farms and community gardens in requiring special exemptions would be transit stations and storage facilities. Prohibited outright, and thus requiring zoning variances, are businesses including auto shops, car rental and sales, gas stations, and personal care homes.
“Philadelphians in neighborhoods throughout the city place a huge value on gardening and farming as food production, vacant land stewardship, and community building. Under the new zoning code, city policy began to reflect the commitment of the city’s residents. This dismantles progress made,” says Amy Laura Cahn, Skadden Fellow at the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia’s Garden Justice Legal Initiative.
What can you do? Contact your district council member and the at-large council members.
For more information on the zoning changes, click here.
“What does organic mean?”
“Is local really better?”
“How do I know if something’s sustainable?”
“What’s with these high prices?”
“What I buy won’t make a difference, anyway…will it?”
Understanding the complex spectrum of food choices in today’s world is often more like navigating a labyrinth than walking an aisle. But when it comes to what we eat, we’ve got a lot more power than we think… and it’s time to start taking and talking our food choices seriously.
At 6 pm on January 30, 2013 come out and delve into the true value of the food we eat with Temple Professor Bryant Simon, author of Everything But the Coffee and founder of the collaborative “What Is Your Food Worth?” – a unique partnership exploring the choices each of us confronts in our everyday lives as we try to square what we eat with what we believe. During this candid conversation we’ll explore how the price of cheap food is hiding costs and making the “real” prices of organic or local food seem higher.
Become a part of this exciting new initiative’s vibrant, roving conversation on food, ethics, sustainability, and eating at this Co-op debut event!
South Philly Food Co-op Speaker Series
When: January 30, 2013 at 6pm
Where: The Charles Santore Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia, 932 South 7th Street (7th
& Carpenter Streets)
Cost: FREE (but please download tickets from our EventBrite site so we have an idea of how many to expect)
The South Philly Food Co-op had a great year, increasing our membership to 330, organizing a fabulous garden tour, teaching folks to make beer for the holidays and swapping homemade soup. We’re asking you to step up and include us in your end-of-year charitable giving plans. Your donation of $10, $25 or $50 will help us reach our goal of $2000. Thanks to our fiscal sponsor Fair Food Philly, your donations are tax deductible.
Donate TODAY through Paypal and not only will you help the Co-op grow, but you’ll be able to deduct this from your taxes!
1) We’re growing FAST – after two years we already have 330 members. At 600 we will be ready to sign a lease or mortgage for our store.
2) We organize fun, educational events like Brew Day and the Soup Swap.
3) Your donation will cover education and outreach expenses so that more of your member equity can go into opening the store.
4) Your donation will help us do more outreach and grow faster.
5) Donations are tax deductible, thanks to our fiscal sponsor Fair Food Philly
Donate now (it’s sooo easy with Paypal) before the end of the year to help the Co-op grow and to deduct it from your taxes. Happy holidays!
South Philly Food Co-op is partnering with Food and Water Watch Pennsylvania for a free screening of Dear Governor Cuomo – part concert documentary and part chronicle of New York’s anti-fracking movement. The event takes place at Nomad Pizza – 611 S. 7th Street - at 7PM.
Been meaning to join the Co-op? Nomad is offering a FREE MARGHERITA PIZZA to anyone who joins the Co-op on the spot. Current MEMBERS! Bring a few friends who haven’t joined yet.
The movie follows the efforts by activists in New York – including actors Mark Ruffalo and Melissa Leo, environmental biologist Sandra Steingraber and musicians ranging from Joan Osborne and Citizen Cope to Medeski Martin and Wood and The Felice Brothers – to convince Governor Cuomo to oppose hydraulic fracturing for natural gas. More about the film can be seen here.
Pizza! Hanging out with fun people! A movie! Sounds like your Weds night plans are set.