Friday, August 31, 2007

Weekly Green Report

Slow Food Group Plans Major Year-Long Event in 2008
Slow Food Nation, a major event being planned by the groups Slow Food USA and Slow Food San Francisco, begins in the Spring of 2008 with the publication of a new book, Slow Food Nation, by Carlo Petrini, founder of the slow food movement and Slow Food International.

Slow Food Nation will be a year-long campaign designed to galvanize the slow food movement in the U.S. and raise American consumers' consciousness on how food is raised and distributed, according to the organizers.

The campaign will bring together the related messages of organic food, local food, animal welfare, school food, children's health and the environment. Slow Food Nation planners say they will publish a "State of Slow Food 2008" catalog modeled in concept after the famous "Whole Earth Catalog" first published in 1968 as a guide and "tool for living" blueprint for people wanting to live a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle.

From May 1-4, 2008 Slow Food Nation will hold a four-day long exposition at San Francisco's Fort Mason facility located next to the San Francisco Bay. The planners say they are expecting at least 50,000 participants for the exhibition including farmers, food producers, chefs and many others.

Among the events already planned for the exibition include lectures and discussion forums, tastings and demonstrations, an international film festival and a market featuring American artisanal foods. Sustainable food growing, production and distribution paractices along with green, or environmental consciousness is the overiding theme of the campaign and exhibition.

The Slow Food Nation exhibition also will include green design by architects and artists, a green book and product faire, a slow food schoolyard for kids, a wine bar featuring American wines produced using sustainable farming and production methods, a slow food world forum and many other events and activities.

Following the May exihibition in San Francisco the planners say the campaign will then move on to other parts of the U.S. on a regional basis to address the specific challenges facing sustainable agriculture and related issues in various parts of the country.
To learn more:
A Green Bus Tour Across America
A group of Americans are taking a 38-day journey across the country in an environmentally-friendly green bus to promote healthy eating, sustainable farming practices and environmentalism.
The guided bus tour is called the "Eat Well Guided Tour of America." The 38-day tour across the U.S. will end up at this year's Farm Aid Concert on September 9 at Randall's Island in New York City.
The tour is being organized and sponsored by a group called Sustainable Table, a non-profit organization which advocates for healthy eating, sustainable farming and food production, and the environment.
Thus far the folks on the bus have visited numerous farmers' markets, sustainable family farms and toured Oakland California's City Slicker Farms, an urban farming and distribution operation which sells fresh produce based upon a customer's ability to pay.
"So far we've seen that local, sustainable farms are not only alive and well but that a younger generation of American farmers are committed to sustainable ideals. I believe it's just a matter of time before the farming system will be changed," says Diane Hatz founder of Sustainable Table, who is leading the bus tour. "Sustainable is here to stay--it's better for our health, the environment and American tables."
The group has numerous theme-oriented events planned for the remainder of the bus tour in addition to events at Farm Aid on September 9 and numerous activities and programs throughout the year involving healthy eating, sustainability and the environment.
"This tour is about celebrating the positive and showing that sustainable food from small, family farms is more common than we realize," says Diane Hatz. "We are seeing that buying and eating locally is not just about the food it's about building community."
Sustainable Table has an interactive website where you can follow the rest of the bus tour, see where the folks on the bus have already been, and read all about the group's other programs and future plans. You also can see a picture of the green "Eat Well Bus" on the website. The site Sustainable Table website is here.
Green News Briefs, Info, Facts and Fun:
Wal-Mart supports sustainability with cash...Mega-retailer Wal-Mart is donating 1.5 million to the University of Arkansas' Applied Sustainability Center. The money will be used by the center to conduct advanced research on greehouse gas emissions, agriculture and environmental education. Wal-Mart's corporate headquarters is in Arkansas. You can read more here in the August 31, 2007 edition of the trade publication Retailing Today.
Reusable grocery grocery bags go "eco-chic...Here at Weekly Green Report we have an early-warning system for telling when something is no longer merely a fad but rather a full-fledged trend. That system is simple: When celebreties start jumping on the bandwagon in a big way we know the trend is in full bloom and generally here to stay.
This happens to be the case when it comes to resusable grocery shopping bags--be they made out of canvas or some other material. NSFM believes they are here to stay--and many celebreties and semi-celebreties are loving them, especially the chic bags.
Writing in the online Huffington Post Kerry Trueman has a fun piece which talks about the popular I Am Not a Plastic Bag reusable grocery shopping bag, which unfortunately comes wrapped for sale in...a plastic bag.
The I Am Not a Plastic Bag which sells for $15.00 and up, has become an "eco-chic" item with Hollywood celebreties and others who want not just an environmentally-friendly alternative to paper or plastic but also a trendy, designer alternative. You can read Ms. Trueman's funny and witty piece from the Huffington Post here.
The resuable grocery shopping bag trend is creating jobs for smart entreprueners as well as saving U.S. landfills from paper and plastic bags that aren't recycled.
In Chico, California, home to California State University Chico, a number of business people and designers have started producing reusable grocery shopping bags. A feature article in the weekly Chico News & Review talks about how the trend is positively impacting a number of entreprueners in the community who are producing bags for numerous companies including the clothing design line Sweetface which is owned by actress Jennifer Lopez.
The article also discusses the irony that many of the current reusable grocery shopping bags being sold in the U.S. are manufactured in China. The piece further talks about California's new law which requires all retailers with stores over a certain square footage to sell reusable grocery shopping bags and to place recycling bins in their stores for plastic bags. You can read the full Chico News & Review feature article here.
The greening of religion...Readers of Weekly Green Report who are "eco-sinners" don't fret. Are you not recycling in the office or at home? Still not using a reusable grocery shopping bag? Are you not doing enough in your position in the industry to further green and environmentally-friendly practices? You can still change your environmental--and the Roman Catholic Church is here to help.
A story in the London Times (Aug. 30, 2007) reports that the church has started "green confessions" to help eco-sinners find forgiveness. This Sunday in Suffolk, England Dom Anthony Such, a Benedictine Monk and local parish priest, will start hearing "eco-confessions" at a local Greenpeace festival in what is believed to be the first confessional booth dedicated to such a use.
"I've had one or two comments about abuse of the confessional," Father Such told the Times. "One or two people have said, 'Father is this quite right?' Luckily more people see it as an excellent idea. As with all these things, we have to look in the mirror and see what we could stop consuming ourselves, says the Father. You can read the entire London Times article here.
Bottled Water Companies Making Efforts to Stem Backlash
Natural~Specialty Foods Memo (NSFM) wrote about the bottled water backlash organized by consumer and environmental groups chefs, concerned citizens, water-filteration manufacturers and others a couple weeks ago here in NSFM. (Click on NSFM's archives link and you can find our piece titled " The Bottled Water Backlash" .)
The Wall Street Journal (Aug. 30, 2007 edition) has a comprehensive article that reviews the bottled water market, the industry's use of plastics, and what some leading bottled water producing and marketing companies like Coca Cola, Pepsico and others, are doing to increase plastics recycling and reduce the use of plastic in their bottled water packaging.
The article's author, Betsy Mckay, suggests in the piece that the bottled water backlash is spurring innovation at these companies in terms of recycling, reduction and overall environmentally-friendlier behaviors and programs.
Among the topics she discusses are how these companies are increasing their research spending on finding ways to use less plastic in bottle production. She also sights efforts by some of the companies in sponsoring plastic bottle corporate and community recycling programs. Further, she details how some of these companies are beginning to use more previously recycled plastic in the production of the plastic water bottles for their various brands. You can read the full Wall Street Journal article by clicking here.

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