Eating Animals Review

Next Tuesday at 12:35pm, Jonathan Safran Foer will be doing a “virtual visit” to the Illini Union, in room 404, giving us a chance to ask him questions about his book Eating Animals, a heavy piece of nonfiction. I call it heavy not because its prose is dense (it’s quite pleasant to read) or because it is full of numbers (all figures that are there are necessary, and in good context), but because its subject matter is so difficult to stomach (pun intended). Though the title might imply that it is a straightforward vegetarian manifesto, Foer assures his readers as early as page 13 that it is not. It is something more complicated and less comfortable for both omnivorous and herbivorous humans. Continue reading

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News: USDA to provide $4 million for honey bee habitat

usdaAgriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced yesterday that more than $4 million in technical and financial assistance will be provided to help farmers and ranchers in the Midwest improve the health of honey bees, which play an important role in crop production.

“The future of America’s food supply depends on honey bees, and this effort is one way USDA is helping improve the health of honey bee populations,” Vilsack said. “Significant progress has been made in understanding the factors that are associated with Colony Collapse Disorder and the overall health of honey bees, and this funding will allow us to work with farmers and ranchers to apply that knowledge over a broader area.” Continue reading

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Important Update on Foer Visit

Slide1We were previously scheduled to have the talk in room 217 today, but we have shifted to room 404, accessible from the northeast and northwest staircases in the Illini Union (those closer to the Green street entrance). For further assistance, please see the map here.

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Webinar: The Role of Cooperatives in Local Food Systems Development

In celebration of National Co-op Month, please join USDA, national cooperative leaders and development specialists for an engaging webinar on how cooperatives have benefited food supply chains and played a critical role in developing local and regional food systems. The webinar will be on Thursday, October 30 from 1 – 2 pm.

Moderator: Andrew Jermolowicz – Associate Deputy Administrator, Coop Programs, USDA Rural Development

Presenters:

  • Elanor Starmer – National Coordinator, USDA “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” Initiative
  • Jim Barham – Agricultural Economist, Coop Programs, USDA Rural Development
  • Margaret Bau – Cooperative Development Specialist, USDA Rural Development
  • Robin Seydel – Membership and Community Development Coordinator, La Montanita Co-op
  • Jan Tusick – Center Director, Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center
  • Karl Sutton – Farmer, Coop Member, Western Montana Growers Cooperative

    This webinar is free to the public and does not require registration.

Click here on October 30 at 1 p.m. ESD to log in to the webinar. Alternately, you can call toll-free (800) 738-1032 to listen to the webinar audio on your phone.

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Event: Cover Crop and Soil Pit Digs in Northwest Indiana

The preview for the event can be found here.

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Event: Specialty and Organic Grains Workshop at Prairie Fruits Farm

Supply simply cannot keep up with today’s demand for products made from organic, non-GMO, and specialty grains as consumers increasingly seek alternatives to conventional foodstuffs. Growing the grains for these products is possible for many farmers, but getting started can be daunting. In this intensive training, grain growers and marketers with expertise in all aspects of starting and maintaining a successful specialty grain enterprise will teach you how to:

Continue reading

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Event: 2014 Local and Regional Food Summit

Attend the fourth annual Local and Regional Food Summit and learn from leaders in the local and regional food industry on all the different projects taking shape. Speakers will include those from the retail grocery, foodservice distribution, university foodservice, food hub, specialty crops, meat processing, dairy, value-added products, community supported agriculture organization and more! Continue reading

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Events: Environmental Films in Champaign-Urbana

Fall seems to have snuck up on us while we weren’t looking, but you can feel good about staying indoors (and staying dry) with these thoughtful documentaries to be shown in Champaign-Urbana. Continue reading

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SWATeam Consultation Group Self-Nominations

In collaboration with Facilities & Services, the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) established six teams consisting of faculty, staff, and students to examine broad themes within the Illinois Climate Action Plan, a five-year-plan for campus sustainability goals (you can read the 2010 version here). The teams are currently recommending concrete steps the campus should take to meet its iCAP targets, as well as developing suggested revisions to the iCAP.

Each SWATeam has two faculty members, two staff members, and two students. Each team also has an iSEE intern serving as a “clerk” for the group. Visit the SWATeams page to see an up-to-date list of members.

Each SWATeam is expected to constitute a Consultation Group for input; this group will consist of faculty, staff, students, and community members with expertise in all areas encompassed by their topic. SWATeams will select Consultation Group members, based on consultations with iSEE staff and/or self-nominations from prospective participants, and they will consult with members of the Consultation Group in formal meetings and/or informally as they deem appropriate.

Topics are as follows:

  • Transportation

Please nominate yourself for a Consultation Group using the linked form. The SWATeam Chairs will be in touch with the nominees who are invited to serve.

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Win $1,000 for a farm to school project in your community

Everyone who fills out a membership form and/or a “Share Form” on the National Farm to School Network (NFSN) website during October (National Farm to School Month) will be entered to win a drawing for $1,000 to spend on a farm to school/preschool project in their community! Five additional drawing winners will also be eligible to apply for a free Project Learning Garden™ lesson kit from Captain Planet Foundation that is valued at $1,000; however, winners must have an existing elementary school garden to qualify.  Continue reading

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