Posts in Food/Agriculture
Shark fin soup: A dangerous delicacy

I grew up in an Asian household where shark fin soup was highly regarded. I have eaten the dish at Chinese weddings and at other Chinese celebrations. I was told that it was a privilege to have shark fin soup and consuming it was very beneficial for my health. I grew up with many Chinese traditions which I did not question, solely because they have been done for hundreds of years. In my case, the horrors of shark fin soup were brought to light when I first watched Gordon Ramsay’s Shark Bait documentary.

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How I learned to respect my non-vegetarian meals.

I recently experienced a mini-epiphany about food waste – particularly meat-waste – that I feel is worth sharing. I want to preface this article by stating that I am not a vegetarian, though I do practice ‘Meatless-Mondays’ and make an effort to eat several other meat-free meals each week. My reasons for being a flexitarian (go ahead and judge, vegetarians) stem from the idea that it’s more sustainable, but also, I drive past a hog-filled transport truck every morning on my way to work that honestly rips my heart out. If it were not for this daily encounter with ‘the truck’, the majority of my meat-eating experiences would almost completely be removed from the source.

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Spirit of the Land: Reconnecting farmers with nature.

Spirit of the Land is an innovative class and conference, held through the University of Alberta’s Augustana campus, that aims to unite people through a mutual passion for each other and the planet. Though it is acknowledged that we are caught in a “globalizing way of life that depends on separation,” the Organization embraces the worldview that we are all inherently connected as “members of the same commonplace; all brothers and sisters of each other.”

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Do we want a high-speed connection to the Sunshine Coast?

This September, the B.C. provincial government proposed to do a study that would look into the feasibility of connecting Metro Vancouver, Bowen Island, Gambier Island and Keats Island to the Sunshine Coast. The government is looking at existing examples of such connections in Norway, which use a combination of bridges and underwater tunnels to link fjords (a deep, narrow and elongated sea or lakedrain) that have a similar geography to our own coast. According to the Bowen Island Undercurrent, this is an idea that’s been “bandied about for years."

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The raisin law.

The US Supreme Court hearing regarding raisins is not a public matter that one reads about very often in the daily press, but this year is an exception. The current raisin related news comes as a result of the old raisin law that came to life in 1937 (The Great Depression era) and has been obligating US raisin producers to hand the US government a part of the yearly crop of this commodity for which government could compensate the producer or not. This law binding "government seized" part of raisins' crop is not trivial and could be even as high as 47% of the total yearly crop, depending on the year. The main purpose of this federal law was price stabilization in order to keep prices of raisins over years as steady as possible. The famous Adam Smith's "invisible hand" had been aided by the government intervention to bring higher benefits to the society. But did it really help? Supposedly this law has been set up in order to benefit producers and processors of raisins, to soften price fluctuations. Consumers' welfare? Well, nobody mentioned that. Not everybody agrees that this law has really helped all raisin producers. Some claim that this policy imposed unnecessary hardship on at least some of them and has been violating the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States that says that the government should provide a "JUST COMPENSATION" when it takes "PRIVATE PROPERTY FOR PUBLIC USE".

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Less should be more: The woes of wasteful packaging.

Think back to the last item you purchased.  Did you pick up some chips from the grocery store on your way home from work?  Perhaps you bought an ink cartridge for your printer?  Or maybe it was a light bulb to replace that one in your kitchen that has been burnt out for weeks?

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