Green Cuisine is your resource when it comes to making smart choices regarding what you and your family eat. ReNewable Now believes that sustainability starts with each and everyone's personal well being, and there is nothing more important to that end than the fuel we decide to put into our bodies.  Here at Green Cuisine, we provide you with information that will help you make informed decisions. We also like to profile some of the restaurants, chefs, and culinary institutes that are leading the way in providing healthy choices for what we eat.

You also won't want to miss some of the great recipes that we'll be sharing with our visitors, and some of the great energy efficient appliances that are making your kitchen eco-friendly.

Is There a Case for Supporting GMO Crops?

RNN likes to be opened minded when it comes to the opinions and thoughts of all individuals and groups. That being said, we came across an interesting article that has two large farming organizations making the case for GMOs. We invite you to explore the article and see if they make a strong case for GMOs.

The majority of U.S. farmers and ranchers indicate biotechnology and GMO crops as an important solution in helping raise crops more efficiently, according to new survey results released today from the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) and National Corn Growers Association (NCGA). With technology shaping today's farms, GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are one tool in a farmer's toolbox to enhance production and grow and raise our food supply more sustainably.

Over 280 farmers across the United States were surveyed about their attitudes toward GMO crops. They were asked to weigh in on a range of topics regarding the impact of GMO technology on the environment, pesticide use, and yields, among others.

Findings conclude that farmers believe biotechnology helps raise crops more efficiently, and that the environment and sustainability practices will suffer if GMO technology utilization is reduced in crop production in the future. Seventy-eight (78%) percent of farmers foresee increased environmental impacts—including an increase in water usage and application of pesticides—if GMO seeds were not to be available to them as a choice in crop production.

When asked about farmers' ability to lessen their environmental footprint, 98 percent of those polled ranked GMO seeds at the top of their list. Additional survey findings include:

Pesticide Use/Crop Inputs: When asked about the reason for using biotechnology when raising crops, most farmers indicated GMO seeds allow them to minimize pesticide/herbicide usage (87%).

Sustainability: Three quarters (78%) of farmers also expressed being able to engage in advanced farming practices, such as conservation tillage.

Another two-thirds (64%) of farmers also believe GMO seeds allow for efficient management of resources, specifically, fuel, time and less wear-and-tear on their equipment.

Yields: Many farmers believe GMO seeds produce a higher yield (69%). This finding may also have an impact on why many farmers believe GMO seeds work best for their particular farm and region in enhancing productivity (65%).

"With GMOs and advances in agricultural technology, we're utilizing our resources much more precisely today and have pinpoint accuracy when applying fertilizer, nitrogen and chemical applications. This is especially important on my farm in the Chesapeake Bay watershed," said Chip Bowling, vice chairman of USFRA and third-generation farmer. "The farmers' perspective in the survey findings are a direct indication of how important genetic engineering technology is for the environment and our food supply, and how it benefits farmers and consumers alike."

This most recent farmer survey follows USFRA's September 2016 annual Perception Benchmark Study, which measured consumer opinions about agriculture, including attitudes toward environmental sustainability, GMOs and technology. Approximately half of the Consumer Food Connectors, or men and women surveyed between the ages of 21-65 (with no personal connections to farming), attributed increased yields and increased efficiency to the use of advanced technology on farms and ranches. While technology on the farm was perceived positively, only 11 percent of this group found GMOs favorable.

"As an organization that supports all farmers and their choice to plant and grow conventional crops, genetically modified crops, organic crops, or any combination, we believe in sustainability and technology to continually improve our farms for future generations," said Randy Krotz, USFRA CEO. "Our research shows the continued need for agriculture to inform today's consumer about the merits and benefits of GMOs and other technologies, while dispelling any misconceptions about negative impacts to human health and the environment."

The survey was conducted online from October 11-26, 2016, among a sample of 282 farmers, 18 years of age and older, living in the U.S. The margin of error for this study is +/-5.84 % at a 95% confidence level. Of the 282 farmers polled, 92% have been using GMO seeds for 10 or more years, and grow a variety of crops, including corn, soybeans, alfalfa, wheat and cotton.

Serve Up Plant-Based Thanksgiving

From comforting casseroles to decadent desserts, Thanksgiving is a highly anticipated holiday that brings family and friends together over great food. However, with the rising prevalence of food allergies, specialty diets, and growing awareness of healthy eating overall, it can be challenging to attend to the dietary needs of all your dinner guests while still ensuring a tasty meal. This Thanksgiving, Daiya, the leading maker of plant-based foods that are also dairy, gluten and soy free, is serving up simple swap-worthy solutions to help satisfy everyone's cravings at the dinner table.

"Enjoying delicious comfort foods is a Thanksgiving tradition as strong as gathering family and friends around the table," said Michael Lynch, Daiya vice president of marketing. "Daiya understands the growing need to provide tasty, plant-based foods that allow people to enjoy their favorite meals, like Thanksgiving, without compromise. Whether your guests are craving savory sides or sweet treats, it's now easier than ever to incorporate flavorful, plant-based alternatives into holiday menus, which makes your celebration not only crowd-pleasing but also stress-free."

Beyond dietary restrictions and food allergies, there's also an increasing awareness around the benefits of plant-based eating, especially around food-centric holidays like Thanksgiving. According to a recent study by the Journal of the American Medical Association, replacing just three percent of animal protein with plant protein can reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other life threatening conditions. All it takes is a few simple tweaks to make classic Thanksgiving recipes work for all guests. To start, add these easy recipes to your menu:

Broccoli au Gratin: This cheesy side dish will have your guests coming back for seconds! A less starchy but equally delicious alternative to its carb-heavy potato counterpart, this simple broccoli dish only takes 25 minutes to prepare. The secret ingredient? Rich and bold-tasting Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds, which melt and stretch just like dairy-based cheese.

Sweet Potato & Kale Salad with Havarti Cheese: For a unique take on a classic Thanksgiving vegetable dish, combine roasted sweet potatoes with quinoa, purple cabbage, kale and chives. Toss in some Daiya Jalapeño Havarti-Style Farmhouse Blocks and top with a dairy-free dressing and vegan bacon for a colorfully delicious dish that your guests won't be able to resist.

Baked Buffalo Cauliflower Cheezy Mac: Sure to be a crowd pleaser at the dinner table, this incredibly indulgent mac and cheese is a dairy and gluten-free take on a classic comfort food. Daiya Cheddar Style Slices, Deluxe Style Cheddar Cheezy Mac, cauliflower and gluten-free bread crumbs make this hot and melty dish extra tasty.

Cheezecake with Homemade Cranberry Sauce: End the meal on a sweet note with a deliciously creamy and smooth New York Cheezecake topped with a delicious homemade cranberry sauce made with agave syrup, ginger, orange zest and cinnamon.

Greek Yogurt Bark: Send guests home with this sweet and tangy party favor. Simply mix Daiya Greek Yogurt Alternative with coconut oil, pumpkin seeds, fresh berries, coconut flakes, cocoa nibs and granola and freeze on parchment paper for 4-6 hours. Break apart into uneven pieces and enjoy!

Organic wines and eco-designed wine bottles,

a perfect match

Rivercap Absolute Green Line, maker of the new generation of eco-designed wine capsules, is proud to announce a partnership with Snoqualmie Winery. The capsule company, located in Benicia, California, and the winery in Paterson, Washington, have joined forces to produce a sustainable wine package with the release of Absolute Green Line (AGL) capsules.  

Increasingly, consumers demand sustainably produced products, and winemakers are eager to extend their environmentally responsible farming and winemaking methods to wine packaging. Rivercap AGL is an ecological alternative—a capsule fashioned with bio-based polyethylene (PE) produced with sugar cane and water-based inks, instead of oil and solvents. Sugar cane is a renewable resource, and like all plants, it absorbs green-house gases during cultivation. This, together with the move from solvent-based inks to water-based inks, means that the Rivercap AGL capsule reduces its emission of CO2 by 80%.


Snoqualmie ECO Chardonnay Columbia Valley

The first Snoqualmie wines to feature the new capsule are the 2014 red wines and 2015 white wines. Snoqualmie winemaker Joy Andersen said, "I'm delighted that Rivercap's Absolute Green Line capsule is now a part of the Snoqualmie wine package. The AGL capsule provides a wonderful opportunity to strengthen the winery's commitment to fostering a sustainable environment."

The new eco-friendly capsules were part of a natural progression in Snoqualmie's investment and commitment to fostering a sustainable environment. In addition to the capsules, the winery's packaging now includes the following eco-friendly elements:  

Glass bottles that are among the lightest in the industry (397g) and result in a 13% reduction in carbon emissions.

Labels and other printed materials that are on 100% post-consumer waste materials stock.

Corks and labels that are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, guaranteeing sustainable practices at the source of origin.

Corks that are also certified by the Rainforest Alliance, an international group committed to conserving biodiversity through sustainability.

Grapes that are certified organic by the Washington State Department of Agriculture (ECO tier).

Restaurants Launch Campaign to Protect Pollinators

To celebrate National Pollinator Week, June 20-26, 2016, several Washington, DC restaurants have teamed up with Beyond Pesticides and the Center for Food Safety to launch a campaign, "Made by Pollinators," to protect pollinators suffering steep declines. With one out of every three bites of food reliant on bees, the participating restaurants' patrons will be treated to a special menu featuring pollinator-friendly food and provided with information on what they can do to help pollinators. The restaurants hope to increase public awareness on the importance of pollinators and steps that can be taken to reverse the decline. Participating restaurants include Busboys and Poets, Founding Farmers, Lavagna, the Tabard Inn and Restaurant Nora.

Of the 100 crop varieties that provide 90% of the world's food, 71 are pollinated by bees. Honey bees alone pollinate 95 kinds of fruits, nuts and vegetables, such as apples, avocados, almonds, and cranberries. The value of pollination services to U.S. agriculture alone amounts to nearly $30 billion and about 80% of flowering plants require animal pollination.

A recent government survey reports that U.S. beekeepers lost 44 percent of their colonies between spring 2015 and 2016 –the second highest loss to date. Numerous studies find that commonly used pesticides – both agricultural and residential pesticides– are a major contributing factor in pollinator declines.

Busboys and Poets said, "Without bees, we wouldn't be able to serve 99% of our menu. Our participation in Pollinator Week is a small step toward a movement to promote the health of our planet's ecosystems."

Nora Pouillon, owner and founder of Restaurant Nora, said, "Bees are the most important thing for sustainable food growth, which is one of the reasons I source 100% organic food, free of pesticides that may cause pollinators harm. . . My business partner takes it one step further and raises bees." Restaurant Nora is America's first certified organic restaurant, committed to serving environmentally conscious cuisine for nearly 40 years.

The Tabard Inn said, "We believe it is important for us and our future generations to protect our environment and encourage smart use of our resources . . . By collaborating with local organic farmers, national organizations, and specialized purveyors, we aim to better the quality of our products, and ultimately everyone's health. We strive to use pesticide-free, environmentally-responsible products."

Jay Feldman, Executive Director of Beyond Pesticides said, "We deeply appreciate the leadership of these restaurants in protecting bees by sourcing organic and sustainable food, while educating their patrons on the importance of bees in our food system and what they can do to protect pollinators."

National Pollinator Week began ten years ago when the U.S. Senate unanimously approved the designation to protect pollinator populations. It has since grown to be an international celebration of the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats and all other pollinator species.

 Canada Now Fully Covered For

Local Vertical Farm Access

"The team at West Grow Farms, headed by Randy King and Jim Philpott, brings a high level of capability to folks who want to construct an indoor agriculture facility, from small to large scale,"David Martin, CEO of Indoor Farms of America stated David Martin, CEO of Indoor Farms of America. "Randy and Jim have many years in building complex structures in the potentially harsh climates found in Canada, and bring that talent to our team in Western Canada, Quebec and the Eastern provinces. We are very pleased to now have put in place two quality companies to bring our equipment to Canada to grow many vegetables and fruits more cost effectively and sustainably, year round in any location."

Randy King, Managing Partner at West Grow, said: "We are extremely excited for the opportunity to bring this amazing technology into the Canadian markets we will serve.  After exhaustive research, we were unable to find a comparable system that was nearly as productive as IFOAs'. With food sovereignty becoming a significant concern for many countries with short growing seasons; we are confident that IFOA's growing system will revolutionize how produce is grown in northern climates.  We are thrilled by the prospect of providing fresh, locally grown, all natural produce to Canadians year round."

The founders of Indoor Farms of America spent nearly 2 years in R&D developing a comprehensive array of --now with multiple patents awarded-- reliable, economically viable high yield vertical aeroponic crop growing equipment which provides a much more affordable means to grow a variety of crops in a sustainable manner, literally anywhere in the world.

"We also want to follow up to our prior release about Wheelchair Accessible farms," says Ron Evans, company President, "We have now built and delivered the first accessible farm in a shipping container, and it will open doors for so many who can be productive and enjoy being actively involved in running a farm every single day. We know our aeroponic equipment is a game changer, but this new development has really set a high bar. Schools, adult rehabilitative centers, and more can easily and affordably deploy a commercial scale farm where access for wheelchair bound people is part of the program."

Response to all the Company offerings has been overwhelming, says Martin. "We are appreciative of all the visitors to our facility, in these first few months of production, and it is reflected in the numerous sales we have made of our equipment to entities in the U.S. and around the world, as we launch our marketing campaigns and bring distribution to areas that want and need it."

An example is a recent visit to the Las Vegas showroom and demonstration farm, from members of the Parliament of the country of Jordan, including the heads of Agriculture there. In depth discussions about sustainable farming and providing access to their people for truly fresh and locally grown produce all year long were reflective of the needs in so many areas, according to Martin.

With Canada fully covered, along with South Africa and some surrounding countries on the African continent, Indoor Farms of America is focused on vetting distributors in key areas of Europe, Latin America, Australia and Asia, as it begins to develop major markets of the U.S. through operators seeking their equipment.

"When we have engineers tell us we represent a far better value, very highly engineered and quality product, and a more strategic partnership than going it alone and attempting to do their own thing, we know we are doing our job," stated Martin.

Organic Valley Farmer-Owners Convene at Co-op's Annual Meeting to Celebrate 2015 Milestones


"Purity of Purpose" theme speaks to stable pay price, sustainable family farms and the growth of organic agriculture to keep farmers on the land.

Organic Valley, America's largest cooperative of organic farmers and one of the nation's leading organic brands, today convened its 27th Annual Meeting, drawing more than 450 farmer-owners from 26 states to La Crosse, Wisconsin. The theme of this year's annual meeting is "Purity of Purpose" and the farmer-owned co-op's unwavering commitment to keeping farm families on the land through organic agriculture.

Mission-driven results for 2015 include a record high pay price to farmers for their organic milk, distribution of a bonus 13th check to farmers, instituting a drought relief program, and successful new product launches that utilize milk supply and make organic more accessible to more families.

In December, Organic Valley reached a remarkable milestone: record sales of $1.04 billion.  Founded in 1988 by seven struggling farm families in Southwest Wisconsin, the farmer-owned co-op today now has a membership of more than 1,800 farmers in 36 states. It is the first billion-dollar, organic-only food company.

"As we move into 2016, Organic Valley is stronger than ever; $1.04 billion in annual sales is phenomenal, and we should celebrate our part in the growth of organic agriculture," said Organic Valley Board president Arnie Trussoni. "Nevertheless, it's been a long, difficult journey to get here and we face further challenges ahead.  We must continue to hold tight to our original mission of keeping family farmers on their land," continued Trussoni.   

Sales of organic products in the United States jumped to $35.1 billion in 2013, up 11.5 percent from the previous year's $31.5 billion. It is the fastest growth rate in five years, according to the Organic Trade Association.

"Today, Organic Valley delivers daily the highest quality organic food in the U.S. to millions of consumers," said George Siemon, a founding farmer and CEIEIO of Organic Valley.   "Our success means we can provide a lifeline to more than 1,800 family farms and meaningful employment to 875 staff members.  We are past and present leaders in the organic movement and will continue to lead into the future," continued Siemon.

2015 sales growth represents a profit of $36.8 million, a seven percent increase over 2014.  Thanks to that growth, and conservative supply management in more difficult years, Organic Valley was able to issue a bonus 13th check that was distributed in March 2016 to all farmer-owners in the Cooperative.

True to its mission, 2015 was also a year of record increase in Organic Valley farmer pay price to an average of $36.79 for dairy with an organic premium of $19.38 per cwt., an average increase of 10 percent in most regions.  That increase allowed Organic Valley dairy farmers to earn the highest organic premium over conventional dairy prices since the 2009 recession.

Additionally, a drought relief program piloted in 2015 was extended to aid farm families who suffered debilitating, severe drought conditions. Those families will continue to receive monthly relief payments through 2016, paying members based on length of time and severity of drought suffered.

Organic Valley was also proud to give back to the larger community, supporting more than 1,000 non-profit organizations and schools with $6.2 million in total philanthropic donations and sponsorships.

Meaningful employment and employee dedication within the Cooperative was recognized in 2015, too.  In December, Organic Valley was named one of Outside magazine's 100 best places to work in the U.S.  The farmer-owned cooperative was named #38 in the overall list and number five in the Health & Wellness category.  The companies who made the list encourage employees to lead an active and eco-conscious lifestyle, and prioritize giving back to the community. Organic Valley also added 65 jobs, ending 2015 with 875 staff and impressive employee profit sharing.

The Sustainable, Re-Usable, Coconut Tool Kit


Coco Taps, a coconut tool manufacturer and beverage company, announces its first grocery store distribution agreement for its coconut water tool kit with Albert's Organics, the nation's leading distributor of organic food. The Coco Taps Tool Kit brings a safe and simple system to open coconuts and drink fresh coconut water.


Tool Kit Allows Easy Tapping and Reusable Cap

Developed in 2014, Coco Taps Tool Kit provides a tapper tool and reusable cap for drinking directly from the coconut and sealing it for refrigeration. The entire tool kit is dishwasher safe. The introduction of the tool kit coincides with the growing popularity of coconut water and as a go-to sports drink, according to market research.

"We're thrilled to introduce the Coco Taps Tool Kit to America with Albert's Organics," Vincent Zaldivar, CEO of Coco Taps, said. "We removed the mess and stress from opening fresh coconuts," he added. "With our tapper tool, consumers can simply tap the coco and its ready to drink."

Two years ago, Zaldivar invented the tool kit after breaking an expensive German knife and almost cutting off his finger while trying to open a coconut. "I knew there had to be an easier solution to get to the refreshing coco water," Zaldivar said.

Albert's Organics distributes organic food to almost 7,000 stores across the United States.

"Albert's Organics is pleased to introduce a fun and exciting way for customers to enjoy the freshest organic non-pasteurized coconut water on the market," Joe P. Smith, western division manager of Albert's Organics, said. "Coconut buyers can now easily open their coconut, enjoy their organic coconut water and store it in the fridge."

A Nourishing Drink Straight from the Coconut

The fresh clear liquid inside the center of a young coconut fruit is low in sugar and calories, high in potassium and contains fiber. According to the USDA, a one cup serving of fresh coconut water contains 45.6 calories, 6.3 grams of sugar, 2.6 grams of fiber and 600 milligrams of potassium. Coconut water is hydrating.

About Coco Taps

Founded in 2014, Coco Taps provides the only complete coconut beverage system available worldwide. Consumers can safely use the Coco Taps Tool Kit to tap a coconut and keep the water fresh by resealing it inside the coconut. Manufactured in the United States, the tool kit is sold through grocery stores and online. Coco Taps is introducing a new spirit delivery system to the resort industry with private-label tapped coco cocktails. Headquartered in Las Vegas, Coco Taps is a certified Minority Business Enterprise by the National Minority Supplier Development Council. For more information, visit

Barilla Foundation Launches Second Edition

of Eating Planet


Most people think that the biggest single impact on the environment is the cars they drive, or the energy they use to warm their homes. But, in fact, it's what they eat. If we look at greenhouse gas emissions, food production is the main contributor to climate change, with 31 percent of the total, surpassing home heating (24 percent) and transportation (18 percent).1 Particularly relevant is the consumption of meat, responsible for 12.4 percent of total emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture have doubled since 1960. Our food choices therefore have a key role in the preservation of our planet.

That is why, as highlighted in the second edition of the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition (BCFN) Foundation's book, "Eating Planet," the adoption of the double food and environmental pyramid - a model that demonstrates how a Mediterranean diet can benefit both people and the environment - becomes one of the first steps on the way to safeguard the planet and your health.

Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition Foundation (BCFN) hosted an exclusive dinner discussion at Barilla Restaurants - Herald Square in New York City on Monday, February 22, 2016, to launch the second edition of Eating Planet - Food and Sustainability: Building Our Future, a book exploring the global issues related to food, nutrition and agriculture. An esteemed panel of experts that led a discussion on these topics included (L-R) Guido Barilla, Chairman, BCFN Foundation and Chairman, Barilla Group...


Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition Foundation (BCFN) hosted an exclusive dinner discussion at Barilla Restaurants - Herald Square in New York City...

"This second edition of Eating Planet collects the most recent research and debates around food, people and the planet," said Barilla Chairman Guido Barilla. "It proposes concrete actions for policymakers, the business world and citizens to build a more sustainable future.  We want everyone to be more informed and aware of the responsibility we all have – and of the change we can all bring – to our health and that of our planet."

BCFN gathered input from internationally renowned experts, such as the founder of the International Slow Food Movement Carlo Petrini, Celebrity Chef Jamie Oliver and environmental activist Vandana Shiva, to tackle these issues and offer practical proposals to paradoxes related to food, nutrition and sustainability.

Through the four pillar analysis, Eating Planet presents food as an overarching element in all aspects of our lives, from the economy to health, from sustainability to traditions and it sets out an alternative model continually linking human well-being to the well-being of the planet.


Eating Planet proposes an alternative to GDP, which does not take into account social inequality and the state of the environment. The Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition Index not only measures the economic well-being of a country, but also its future sustainability.


The authors tackle the problem of food availability. What will we do in 2050 when the global population reaches around 9.5 billion people requiring a 70 percent increase in agricultural production? According to Eating Planet, it is important not to overlook the fact that the food we choose to eat has a direct impact on the environment (and of course on our health). These issues are analyzed in great depth with the help of an updated version of the double food environment pyramid.


Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition uses this new model to emphasize the direct link between lifestyle and health. Despite the fact that on average people are living longer, people's health do not seem to be improving at the same rate.


Eating Planet examines the connections between food, culture and traditions in different countries. It explores how food choices vary from country to country, with a particular focus on the Mediterranean Diet, which appears to be in constant evolution as the pace of people's lives continue to change. Recently, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommended the Mediterranean Diet as an eating pattern that can help promote health and prevent disease.

Pizza- A Pollution Problem Out of Control?

Cows have gotten a pretty bad rap for their unintentional release of greenhouse gas, but now, could it be pizza that going to make that list of notorious pollutants that some of us can’t live without?

San Vitaliano, a town of 6,000 inhabitants north of Naples, has one of the highest rates of air pollution in Italy. Last year residents spent a whopping 114 days breathing air that contained levels of polluting particulates above safe levels.

To put that into perspective, the citizens of Milan, Lombardy's industrial capital, spent 86 days breathing unsafe air. So what's polluting San Vitaliano? A new ordinance from the mayor's office blames its innumerable pizzerias.

Convinced that the traditional wood-burning pizza stoves are clogging up the lungs of his citizens, Mayor Antonio Falcone has decided to outlaw them as a precautionary measure.

“As of today, in spite of several tests carried out by the environment agency, Arpac, we are still unsure of the cause of the pollution,” wrote the mayor. “But the situation has got worse during the winter and we need to take maximum precautions to ensure the problem doesn't deteriorate."

“Agricultural, artisans, industrial and commercial producers are hereby forbidden from burning solid biomass such as wood, woodchips, coal and charcoal. The only exceptions are for those which have filter systems in place that will guarantee the elimination of 80 percent of all polluting Pm10 particulates.”

The new legislation came into force on December 17 and will apply until June 30th next year. The measures will cease to be active over the summer months but will come into force again in October 2016.

The move will cause the town's many pizzerias and artisan bakeries to change their fuel sources or install costly filters to reduce pollution – a fact which has angered local business owners.

Those caught breaking the ban will face fines of between €200 and €1,032.

“Shocking, it's so ridiculous. They don't want us to make pizza?” Massimilliano Arichello of the locally famous pizzeria Taverna 191 told local paper Il Mattino.

“We make about 34 pizzas a day, how do they think we are responsible for the pollution problems around here?”

Well, now these pizza makers may be feeling a bit like the cows, but definitely smelling a whole lot better.

Big Food Co-Op  Announcement in Providence, RI


Food co-ops are nothing new, and as more and more are opening around North America, they are becoming common place. Recently, the state of Rhode Island and the city of Providence made an historic announcement with Urban Greens Food Co-op with the unveiling of the state’s very first food co-op market location.Ken Ayers from  RI DEM

We caught up with Ken Ayers from  RI DEM, Division of Agriculture, who spoke of the importance of this project along with many others who are helping to move Urban Greens Food Co-op forward.

A bit of history on food co-ops.

The earliest cooperatives appeared in Europe in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, during the Industrial Revolution. As people moved from farms into the growing cities, they had to rely on stores to feed their families because they could no longer grow their own food. Working people had very little control over the quality of their food or living conditions. Those with money gained more and more power over those without. Early co-ops were set up as a way to protect the interests of the less powerful members of society—workers, consumers, farmers, and producers.

In the United States, cooperatives of one sort or another have roots going back to colonial times. Like their counterparts in England, these early groups experimented with ways to band together and gain economic clout.

From colonial times on, most early American co-ops were formed primarily for the benefit of farmers. Some co-ops helped farmers keep their costs low through joint purchases of supplies, such as feed, equipment, tools, or seed. Some marketing co-ops helped farmers obtain the best prices for their goods by combining their crops and selling in large quantities. Others, such as grain elevators or cheese-making co-ops, provided storage or processing services.

In the late 1960s and 1970s, the “new wave” of consumer co-ops began. Born out of the ideas and philosophies of the 1960s counterculture, these stores were opened by young and idealistic members. They set up co-ops to fit their beliefs in equality, not to follow their co-op predecessors. Most of the new co-ops sold only whole, unrefined, and bulk foods. Their operating practices were diverse and experimental. Some stores had limited store hours, others were open seven days a week. Some were run by volunteers, others by fully paid staff. Some had various forms of worker self-management, others had more traditional management structures. Some paid year-end patronage refunds, others gave members a discount at the cash register.

Tips for a sustainable Thanksgiving

If you are eco-minded and want to show the local farmers your gratefulness in providing food for our tables, make your Thanksgiving feast a sustainable occasion.

Focus on locally-grown, in-season produce

Eating locally and seasonally could mean your usual Thanksgiving recipes need an update. Plan your Thanksgiving menu around local, seasonal and sustainable produce growing in your area, and create new family traditions — incorporating into your meal original recipes that celebrate your cultural foodways and use local produce and value-added food products.

Visit the farmers market

Play a vital role in ensuring the survival of small farmers. If you can't harvest food from your home or community garden, buy fresh produce from a local farmers market or food co-op. Check to find farmers markets, family farms and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area.

Use the foods you have

Before you run to the grocery store for Thanksgiving ingredients, consider using what you have on-hand. Even if it is hard to grow food where you live in November, it is typically easy to grow herbs in a kitchen windowsill. Also, incorporate fruits and vegetables preserved from the summer and fall.

Drink locally

If you plan to serve alcoholic drinks, buy local (preferably organic) wine and beer. In addition to supporting a healthier environment by minimizing fossil fuel use associated with shipping, supporting small businesses helps ensure communities thrive economically.

Go a'picking

Whether you do it before Thanksgiving or as part of the post-feast activities, plan an apple-picking trip with family and friends. If there are orchards nearby, then use your harvest to make locally-sourced holiday dishes. Make homemade Apple-Cranberry Sauce using fresh cranberries and locally grown apples. You can even make hard apple cider or Cinnamon-Apple Jack Toddies from your bounty.

Minimize food waste

Plan your Thanksgiving meal before rampantly buying ingredients to avoid throwing unused food away. In addition, get the most out of the food you buy. For example, if cooking pumpkins or other winter squash for your meal, roast the seeds — they can be eaten as a snack or used as a garnish for soups or stews.

Ditch the disposable dinnerware

Though paper napkins and plastic dinnerware are convenient and require little clean-up, they also contribute to waste. Instead, buy cloth napkins from a local flea market or even make your own. Also, buy your plates, bowls and serving platters from local artisans. Besides adding unique dinnerware with unusual designs to your collection, you are putting money in the pockets of independent craftspeople."

Share your Thanksgiving

Give thanks by giving others a reason for Thanksgiving. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, share your bounty (both ingredients and finished dishes) with friends, family and community.

The Sustainable Barbecue

If you’ve always wanted a herb garden that did more than just sprout rosemary and sage, you’re going to love the Black + Blum Hot-Pot BBQ. This award-winning people-pleaser might look like a herb garden at first glance, but there’s a secret this herb garden is hiding. Underneath the pot’s top you’ll find a fully functioning BBQ griller.

Don’t think the herbs are just a decoy, either-they actually grow like regular herbs but only conceal the grill below. The plant pot has even got a heat insulated ceramic coating so coals stay piping hot and your food stays at the right temperature while cooking. The best part is that the Hot-Pot BBQ is small enough for terraces and balconies, so people who live in tight spaces can still enjoy a home cooked barbecued dinner! MORE

FOOD WARS! Are they coming?

Climate change will "lead to battles for food," says head of World Bank

Battles over water and food will erupt within the next five to 10 years as a result of climate change, the president of the World Bank said as he urged those campaigning against global warming to learn the lessons of how protesters and scientists joined forces in the battle against HIV.

Jim Yong Kim said it was possible to cap the rise in global temperatures at 2C but that so far there had been a failure to replicate the "unbelievable" success of the 15-year-long coalition of activists and scientists to develop a treatment for HIV.

The bank's president – a doctor active in the campaign to develop drugs to treat HIV – said he had asked the climate change community: "Do we have a plan that's as good as the plan we had for HIV?" The answer, unfortunately, was no.

"Is there enough basic science research going into renewable energy? Not even close. Are there ways of taking discoveries made in universities and quickly moving them into industry? No. Are there ways of testing those innovations? Are there people thinking about scaling [up] those innovations?"

Interviewed ahead of next week's biannual World Bank meeting, Kim added: "They [the climate change community] kept saying, 'What do you mean a plan?' I said a plan that's equal to the challenge. A plan that will convince anyone who asks us that we're really serious about climate change, and that we have a plan that can actually keep us at less than 2C warming. We still don't have one.

"We're trying to help and we find ourselves being more involved then I think anyone at the bank had predicted even a couple of years ago. We've got to put the plan together."

Kim said there were four areas where the bank could help specifically in the fight against global warming: finding a stable price for carbon; removing fuel subsidies; investing in cleaner cities; and developing climate-smart agriculture. Improved access to clean water and sanitation was vital, he added, as he predicted that tension over resources would result from inaction over global warming.

"The water issue is critically related to climate change. People say that carbon is the currency of climate change. Water is the teeth. Fights over water and food are going to be the most significant direct impacts of climate change in the next five to 10 years. There's just no question about it.

"So getting serious about access to clean water, access to sanitation is a very important project. Water and sanitation has not had the same kind of champion that global health, and even education, have had."

The World Bank president admitted that his organisation had made mistakes in the past, including a belief that people in poor countries should pay for healthcare. He warned that a failure to tackle inequality risked social unrest.

"There's now just overwhelming evidence that those user fees actually worsened health outcomes. There's no question about it. So did the bank get it wrong before? Yeah. I think the bank was ideological."

The bank has almost doubled its lending capacity to $28bn (£17bn) a year with the aim of eradicating extreme poverty by 2030 and spreading the benefits of prosperity to the poorest 40% in developing countries.

"What we have found is that because of smartphones and access to media, and because everybody knows how everyone else lives, you have no idea where the next huge social movement is going to erupt.

"It's going to erupt to a great extent because of these inequalities. So what I hear from heads of state is a much, much deeper understanding of the political dangers of very high levels of inequality," he said.

"Now that we have good evidence that suggests that working on more inclusive growth strategies actually improves overall growth, that's our job."

Kim said he was shaking up the bank's structure so that it could lend more effectively and to end a culture in which the organisation's staff did not talk to each other. Instead of being organised solely on a geographic basis, the bank will now pool its expertise across sectors such as health, education and transport so that ideas could be shared across national borders.

The bank's private-sector arm, the International Finance Corporation, will be encouraged to work with the public-sector arm.

Kim said the changes had come about because knowledge was not flowing through the organisation.

"We were working at six regional banks. The six regional banks were working pretty well, but there was not the sense that there was any innovation in tackling a problem – that if you went to the World Bank you'd have access to that innovation."

Disco-Era Meat in China, Is It Sustainable?

Have you heard about “MeatGATE?” China, not to be outdone by the U.S. with “DeflateGATE," "SpyGATE," etc., etc., now has its very own meaty scandal (we can’t help having fun with this). It’s "Disco-Era Meat," as coined by our friends at the BBC. Here’s the low down.

Chinese authorities intercept 100,000-ton shipment of smuggled meat from the 1970s.

In a food safety crackdown, Chinese authorities just discovered a disturbing shipment being smuggled through Hunan province – 100,000 tons of meat from the 1970s! The meat, including beef, chicken feet and duck necks, was said to be frozen and refrozen over the past 40 years, and put back on the market with the intention of selling to consumers. Chinese authorities are investigating 21 gangs potentially involved in the smuggling and sale of the $438 million shipment of disco-era meat. 

As if the thought of eating meat from 40 years ago was not troublesome enough, anti-smuggling officials have reported that some of the meat had been frozen, thawed and refrozen over the years, often transported in unrefrigerated vehicles to save money. Why the meat has been circulating for so long remains a mystery, but officials believe much of it originated in countries as far away as Brazil and India.

Thus far, twenty people have been arrested from the Hunan province on suspicion for being linked to the extraordinary smuggling. How the aged meat could have affected consumers and how widespread its reach would have been remains unseen.

After reading this article we were curious. How long can meat be sustained while frozen? Well according to the USDA, “Food stored constantly at 0 °F will always be safe.” 

So if you come across some Disco-Era meat that has been constantly frozen at 0 °F, don’t throw it out,  cook it up, and throw in that Saturday Night Fever DVD and invite your friends over for a theme barbecue that will get you all dancing the CHICKEN-DANCE!

NYC Food Trucks Going Solar


A new pilot program to provide 500 solar assisted food carts to vendors throughout New York City neighborhoods was announced earlier this week.

The environmental footprint of New York City’s 8,000 food carts and trucks isn’t inconsequential. According to environmental non-profit group Energy Vision, more than 60% of the carts use gasoline or diesel powered generators.

The new carts  from MOVE Systems each use solar and other technologies to reduce greenhouse gases by 60% and smog-causing NOx pollution by 95% – the equivalent of taking nearly 200 cars off the road.

The MRV100 vending vehicle includes a restaurant-grade kitchen with refrigeration. Each unit is equipped with a battery recharged by a hybrid CNG generator and solar panels on the roof to provide additional charging capabilities.

The MRV100’s generator can run on renewable natural gas (RNG), which is made from food and other organic waste. Use of this fuel could offset up to 4 million gallons (more than 10.5 million litres) of gasoline a year according to Energy Vision.

“We have adapted hybrid car technology to replace generators that are often as loud as chainsaws,” says Move Systems.

“Our solar, natural gas, and battery powered electrical system, engineered specifically for mobile food vending, reduces generator noise by half and decreases climate change emissions by two-thirds. This hybrid system is not only cleaner and quieter, it is also more powerful and reliable.”

The fuel will be provided by Clean Energy Fuels. The carts also feature Clover mobile technology, a point-of-sale (POS) business solution from First Data.

While the average cost of a basic MRV100 food cart is anywhere from USD $15,000 to nearly $25,000, MOVE Systems is providing the carts at no cost to the first 500 vendors who sign up to switch to the new model.

“New Yorkers encounter air pollution every day and in some communities like mine, there is an undeniable direct correlation to some of the highest asthma rates in the country. I’m pleased that the carts being provided will reduce emissions, improve air quality and increase safety on our streets,” said Councilman Donovan Richards, who chairs NYC’s Environmental Conservation Committee.

An estimated 1.2 million food transactions occur daily via New York’s mobile food services.

Does size matter? Measuring the impact

of scale in US agriculture


The small-scale farmer is often cast as the hero in the great sustainable agriculture story, and the large-scale ‘intensive’ farmer, the villain. Sustainable intensification is considered by many to be something of an oxymoron. But is large-scale agriculture necessarily in conflict with sustainability? How would we begin to assess this? What measures should we consider? When the simplified caricatures of small- and large-scale farming are abandoned, it is still not altogether clear how scale impacts farming practices. Getting to the bottom of this is anything but easy.

On the one hand, large-scale farms have more resources to devote to organic certifications, cost-cutting efficiencies and assessments to determine the varying impacts of their practices. On the other, measures of environmental impact are largely designed only with industrial scale in mind and do not take comparisons of scale into account. In the worst-case scenarios, we are reminded that when great power and profit are prioritised over public and environmental health, large-scale disaster looms. Is this an inherent danger of going big?

At the crux of the issue is that, ultimately, we lack simple tools to compare systematically and scientifically the relative impact of farming at different scales.

Organic labelling and defining sustainability

Six lanes of cars and trucks grumble as they wait to be released from the red light on their high-speed passage through a typical Southern California suburb. Beside the traffic lies a not-so-typical tenant. Settled between a golf course and a shopping centre is a 30-acre strawberry farm.

It is here that I find Glenn Tanaka of Tanaka Farms. Glenn’s father migrated from Japan before the Second World War and farmed property in several parts of the county. Glenn settled in his current location in 1998. There are five generations of farmers in the Tanaka family, including Glenn’s son, who also works on the farm.

“We’re a small farm,” Glenn tells me, “even for produce.” But from this small patch of earth in a suburban maze of arterial roads and walled-off neighbourhoods, Glenn and his team harvest strawberries, Swiss chard, broccoli, two kinds of kale, carrots, onions and more.

Ninety-five per cent of their practices are organic, but Glenn says they dropped the certified organic label a few years ago when they transitioned from wholesale to on-site retail. Given the cost and the amount of paperwork farms have to do, “small farms don’t have the money or the staff. That’s where a larger farm has the advantage.”

Organic labels are costly for farmers, as well as consumers, and Glenn argues that using this method to measure sustainable practices can be misleading. Take strawberries, for example. Both organic and conventional growers buy starter plants that are grown in soil sterilised with the otherwise phased-out fumigant methyl bromide. The loose language in the law, which bans the fumigant because of its link to ozone depletion, allows its use with conventional starter plants when organic ones are not “commercially available.” Organic growers tend to claim ignorance and may continue to do so until they are mandated otherwise.



The Edible, Recyclable Coffee Cup!


The cup, which KFC has begun calling a "Scoffee" Cup, will be made out of cookie wrapped in sugar and lined with heat-resistant white chocolate. A creation of a group of food scientists at the Robin Collective, which has invented other such novelty foods as medicinal marshmallows and liquid nitrogen ice cream, the cup will be infused with ambient aromas such as coconut sun cream, fresh cut grass, and wildflowers. The group explained that the scents have the natural ability to evoke positive memories and make people smile.

KFC is introducing the edible cup in tandem with the U.K. launch of Seattle's Best Coffee, a Starbucks brand.

Reaction on social media ranged from delight -- as one local news anchor cooed, "This makes me so happy. ... I just wonder why no one has thought of it before! EDIBLE COFFEE CUP!!!" -- to bewilderment -- "Because when I think fried chicken, I think an edible coffee cookie cup that smells like grass," from a Mashable writer -- to embarrassment -- "Dear UK, I'm really really sorry," from a writer at Vivendi.

The concept of the edible coffee cup isn't actually new. Italian coffeecompany Lavazza has offered edible cookie cups, while Coolhaus packages edible sandwiches in an edible potato starch wrapper printed with vegetable-based ink. KFC's innovation seems to be the first mass-market distribution of such a product, however.

Not your grandma's KFC

It made seem weird for KFC, out of all the fast food chains out there, to offer an edible coffee cup. After all, this seems like a product more suitable for a chain like Dunkin' Donuts, the schlocky, working man's answer to Starbucks. KFC, on the other hand, is known for chicken, not coffee -- but the chain has evolved over the years.

The abbreviation for Kentucky Fried Chicken became the official name for the chain in 1991 as the company wanted to drop "Fried" from its name to sound healthier. In 2004 it even launched a "Kitchen Fresh Chicken" ad campaign, though that didn't stick. KFC has been closing locations in the U.S. in recent years, and has focused instead on China, where the brand offers such un-Colonel-Sanders-like menu items as bacon mushroom chicken rice, curry pork chop rice, and teriyaki chicken rice.

This is also not the first time that KFC's parent, Yum! Brands, has shown off its inventiveness as it's rolled out items at other major chains including the Doritos Locos Taco at Taco Bell and the "subconscious menu" at Pizza Hut. With other unique items on the menu around the world, KFC has become a chameleon.

There's no word on whether these cups will eventually make it to the U.S., but if the U.K. test is successful, a stateside introduction would seem to be a natural next step.

Not just tasty-but environmental, too

Though the calorie-packed container is unlikely to appeal to everyone, there is one hidden benefit that most should approve. The edible nature of the cup means that there is no waste from it, a feature that is becoming more and more important to consumers, especially millennials, who are concerned about sustainability.

Going green may not have been in Colonel Sanders' vocabulary, but if the cup proves to be popular, don't be surprised to see the idea spread to other chains, such as Seattle's Best parent Starbucks, which regularly touts that it tracks its commitment to reducing waste.

For now though, you'll have to hop across the pond if you want to eat your cup, and recycle it, too.

Is Your Salmon Sustainable?


The Sustainable Fisheries Partnership has released their 2014 report on the Pacific Salmon industry which provides a status update on the industry that is helpful to both the consumer, and the industry itself. After you read this report you may want to ask your fish market where their getting their salmon and see where the source may rate in this report.

Half of fish come from ‘well or reasonably’ managed fisheries, the other half from fisheries that need ‘significant improvements’.

Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) today released its annual review of the state of wild salmon fisheries. The analysis covers 82 principal Pacific salmon fisheries that target five species (pink, chum, sockeye, coho, and Chinook salmon) across the North Pacific and account for 95% of the global wild-capture commercial salmon harvest.

The fisheries are rated as either category A, B or C depending on the quality of the management and the status of the stock. An ‘A’ fishery is considered ‘very well managed’ while a ‘B’ category fishery is considered to be ‘reasonably well managed’. A category ‘C’ fishery is considered to be poorly managed and in need of significant improvements.

The report concludes that:

  • 52% of the total volume of Pacific salmon comes from well or reasonably managed fisheries (Categories A and B).  This includes 99% of coho, 87% of sockeye, 60% of pink, 48% of Chinook, and 23% of chum salmon global harvest.
  • 48% of the total volume of Pacific salmon comes from fisheries in need of significant improvements (Category C). 22% is accounted for by Russian fisheries with illegal fishing issues; 13% by Japanese chum fisheries with hatchery issues; and 10% by Prince William Sound, Alaska, fisheries with hatchery issues.
  • 74% of Alaskan, 95% of British Columbian, and 47% of Russian salmon harvest volumes come from well or reasonably managed fisheries.
  • All of the Pacific Northwest US and Japanese fisheries included in this report need significant improvements.
  • In 2013–2014, the salmon sector exhibited increased engagement in the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) program. Over half (50.3%) of global supply now comes from fisheries either certified by or under full assessment by MSC.

Scoring of Category C fisheries indicated four priority areas where improvements are needed: (1) illegal fishing, (2) hatcheries, (3) harvest control practices for depleted stocks, and (4) offshore fisheries.

Leading NGOs Slam Greenwashing

by Meat Industry

WASHINGTON - Key consumer, animal welfare, worker, public health and environmental groups representing millions of constituents issued a scathing rejection of the Global Roundtable on Sustainable Beef’s new “sustainability” principles and criteria for beef production.

Led by industry giants like McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD), JBS (BZ: JBSS3) and Elanco (NYSE: LLY), the Global Roundtable is a multi-stakeholder initiative that has potential to shape how companies and producers in the U.S. and globally define sustainability in beef production.

In a letter to the Roundtable’s Executive Committee, 23 groups, including Friends of the Earth, Animal Welfare Approved, Consumer Reports, Food Chain Workers Alliance, Slow Food USA, Food and Water Watch and Healthy Food Action, criticized the principles and criteria, stating:

“We—and no doubt many other organizations like us—must overwhelmingly reject the Principles and Criteria for Global Sustainable Beef. Unless the GRSB addresses the fundamental flaws outlined in our letter, the document will represent nothing more than an industry-led attempt to greenwash conventional beef production at a time when real, measurable, and verifiable change is so desperately needed.”

The groups take greatest exception with GRSB’s failure to address misuse of antibiotics or establish meaningful standards for workers’ rights, animal welfare, or environmental performance.

“The new criteria lack specific measurable performance standards, guidelines and verification methods, making industry commitments to the Global Roundtable principles questionable at best and leaving the door wide open to greenwashing,” said Kari Hamerschlag, a Senior program manager for Friends of the Earth’s Food and technology program.

The McDonald’s Corporation, a member of the Roundtable’s Executive Committee, has already announced plans to source “sustainable” beef by 2016. Under the vague criteria, however, it’s entirely unclear what this “sustainability” pledge would actually mean for the world’s largest fast food chain and its suppliers.

According to the letter, the sustainability principles and criteria are “highly flawed” and fail to address key sustainability and human health issues like the routine use of non-therapeutic antibiotics in healthy animals, a key contributor to the rise of antibiotic resistance that kills more than 23,000 people in the U.S., annually.

“The GRSB’s notion of sustainability seemingly has nothing to say about the huge quantities of human antibiotics routinely dumped into animal feed or water for animals that aren’t clinically sick,” said David Wallinga, the physician-Director of Healthy Food Action. “This kind sustainability is anathema to anyone who cares about having a future where antibiotics will still work for treating sick people.”

The guidelines also fail to confront key, inherent environmental problems associated with confinement beef production, including unsanitary and stressful conditions for animals, animal feed issues, and poor waste management. “Poorly constructed and managed manure storage facilities are a major source of land, air, water pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions—and yet the GRSB fails to set any criteria for responsible manure management or reduced stocking densities that would reduce and limit the overall quantity of manure being produced,” the letter says.

“We urgently need to change the way we farm and feed ourselves, yet the GRSB’s Principles and Criteria for Global Sustainable Beef promises nothing more than “business as usual” beef,” said Andrew Gunther, Program Director at Animal Welfare Approved. “The collective failure of GRSB members to acknowledge—let alone address—some of the fundamental faults of modern intensive beef production reveals a staggering lack of accountability and foresight at the very heart of the beef industry, particularly when we know public trust in beef is already at an all-time low.”

Are You Having A

Sustainable Thanksgiving?

As we get ready for Thanksgiving, it’s very easy to forget about living sustainably. But it’s actually a great time to remind ourselves to be thankful for all the Earth has given us while we enjoy our time with our friends and family. Using eco-friendly practices helps to protect our environmental and usually helps to simplify things by reducing cost, saving time and reducing stress.

Getting Ready

The best place to start being earth conscious is during shopping. During your shopping trip we can reduce carbon emissions, reduce waste, and support local business. Here are a few ways to do that:

Shop Local: When shopping, consider going to your local farmer’s market or CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) to get fresh, locally grown foods.

Foods from a local source are fresher, create less waste and reduce carbon emissions. Foods from large farms typically travel hundreds, or even over a thousand, miles before they are put on store shelves. This also requires packaging to ensure longer shelf lives. Locally grown foods don’t have to travel far and do not need the plastics and Styrofoam. Locally grown food also contributes to your local economy, supporting local farmers and merchants. If you are not sure where to go in the area for locally harvested food, visit Local Harvest’s website.

Selecting the food: It’s not a secret that the most eco-friendly way to have a meal is vegan. However, it is the not most traditional way to spend Thanksgiving. If you want to have an eco-friendly traditional Thanksgiving, consider buying organic, ensuring the food is chemical-free and making sure it’s sustainably harvested (reducing its impact on the Earth), which is the healthiest option for the Earth and your guests.

Purchase a turkey that is free-range, free of hormones and free of antibiotics. Select produce that has not been exposed to pesticides and synthesized fertilizers. If you choose not to buy organic, again, buy local. Small farms use fewer chemicals than large industrial farms. They are also more likely to grow a variety of foods, promoting biodiversity, which is important to long term food security.

Portioning: A great way to reduce waste this Thanksgiving is to practice portion control when planning the meal. Try to buy just enough food for each of your guests. Here is an example list of approximate per person food and drink portions for Thanksgiving from Use Less Stuff:

           – Turkey: 1 pound
           – Stuffing: ¼ pound
           – Sweet potato casserole: ¼ pound
           – Green beans: ¼ pound
           – Cranberry relish: 3 tablespoons
           – Pumpkin pie: 1/8 of a 9-inch pie

Bring your own bags: This is a great practice any time of year, but Thanksgiving is a great time to start. Bringing reusable bags to the grocery store helps keep plastic out of landfills and our waterways. Unfortunately, plastic never completely decomposes – it just breaks down. Reducing the amount of plastic we use essential to preserving our ecosystems.

Reduce packaging: Try to buy products that require little to no packaging. If there is something that is packaged, be sure the packaging is recyclable.

Decorate with Nature

There are some beautiful, eco-friendly options out there for making your house festive for Thanksgiving. They are also a fun way to get your family involved in the decorating. Here are a few ideas:

Pumpkins: Use Pumpkins, gourds and squash around the house and as center pieces. Hollow out a pumpkin as a candle holder or for fresh flowers.

Pinecones: You can create pinecone name-tag holders to place at each setting. Maybe you could scent them with cinnamon or have the children create turkeys out of them. Pinecones also look great in a glass vase.

Acorns: Use acorns with strings tied around them as napkin holders. Or fill a glass vase with them, and they will serve as an anchor for tall autumn branches.

Fall Leaves: Fall leaves can be used in a garland or to surround a candle. You can also put them in a glass bowl with water and use floating candles for a beautiful center piece.
During the meal

Keep it real: Try to use real plates, cloth napkins and silverware. Avoid the disposable ones.

Have a clearly marked recycling bin: Have your guests help you with the reducing by clearly labeling the recycle bin and trash so your guests know where to put their waste.

Drink tap water: Try to avoid drinking bottled water. Chill some tap water in the refrigerator instead. It’s cheaper, and you don’t have all the plastic waste. And you will know where your water came from.
Clean Up

After dinner is over, Thanksgiving is not done. There is often quite a bit to clean up and put away. If you are like the rest of us. you have leftovers, food scraps and other trash to deal with. Here are a few eco-friendly ideas for your “after Thanksgiving” clean up:

Share your leftovers: You can always give your leftovers to your guests to take home. Remember to put them in reusable containers as opposed to foil, plastic wrap or baggies. Those items just create more waste. Another option is to donate the food to a local shelter. Call ahead to see if they are accepting already prepared food donations.

Composting: Instead of throwing out your potato peels and other veggie scraps, start a compost bin or put them in your garden to be turned back into nutrient-rich soil.

Yummy soups: Eating left overs is definitely a great part of Thanksgiving. You can always heat up your stuffing, turkey and potatoes, but did you know that you can also make delicious soup from your leftover scraps? You can add your turkey carcass to a large pot of boiling water, along with your celery and carrot tops. There are many great recipes out there, but here are a few from Carbon Footprint Defined.

The 3 R’s: Reduce, reuse, recycle. I’m sure it’s not the first time you have heard this. But why not have a friendly reminder of ways to give back to our planet by reducing waste and natural resources used?

We hope these green Thanksgiving tips are useful and help to make for a very simple and fun holiday for you and your family. Happy Turkey Day, everyone!

NFL Pro Embraces Vegan Lifestyle

for Top Health and Fitness

Griff Whalen, the wide receiver for the NFL's Indianapolis Colts, is the latest athlete to adopt a vegan diet for optimal health and fitness results.

The 24-year-old, who is the Colts’ go-to guy for punts and kicks, weighs 190-lbs and apparently has one of the most enviable bodies on his team. Not surprisingly, Whalen adheres to a plant-based diet.

Whalen switched up meat proteins for a vegan diet in the spring after girlfriend Katy Osadetz got him started.

“I feel a lot lighter, faster, quicker on the field,” says Whalen. “There isn’t that heavy feeling, that groggy feeling after I eat.”

To prove his point — and his new culinary skills —  Whalen whips up a veggie meal in front of The Indy Star. He adds sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, zucchini, squash, black beans and garbanzo beans to a frying pan along with cayenne pepper, oregano and garlic.

Whalen says he didn’t switch up his diet solely for the deliciousness of it, but also for its health benefits.

“It’s been proven,” he says. And it has, multiple times. Even this week, a recent USC study proved that weight loss is best attained via a vegan diet.

Whalen joins “Constantine” star, Charles Halford, as the latest brawny celeb to chalk up his enviable physique to a plant-based diet. He admits that he has received some ribbing from his teammates who don’t quite understand the lifestyle or discounts it as “weird” but Whalen takes it in stride, often tweeting his love for his diet with the hashtag: #plantlove.

“I just know how much better I feel.”

Forget Pepto-Bismo,
Grab Some Chilli Peppers For That Stomach

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine report that dietary capsaicin -- the active ingredient in chili peppers -- produces chronic activation of a receptor on cells lining the intestines of mice, triggering a reaction that ultimately reduces the risk of colorectal tumors.

The findings are published in the August 1, 2014 issue of The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

The receptor or ion channel, called TRPV1, was originally discovered in sensory neurons, where it acts as a sentinel for heat, acidity and spicy chemicals in the environment. "These are all potentially harmful stimuli to cells," said Eyal Raz, MD, professor of Medicine and senior author of the study. "Thus, TRPV1 was quickly described as a molecular 'pain receptor.' This can be considered to be its conventional function, which all takes place in the nervous system."

But Raz and colleagues have found that TPRV1 is also expressed by epithelial cells of the intestines, where it is activated by epidermal growth factor receptor or EGFR. EGFR is an important driver of cell proliferation in the intestines, whose epithelial lining is replaced approximately every four to six days.

"A basic level of EGFR activity is required to maintain the normal cell turnover in the gut," said Petrus de Jong, MD, first author of the study. "However, if EGFR signaling is left unrestrained, the risk of sporadic tumor development increases."

The scientists discovered that TRPV1, once activated by the EGFR, initiates a direct negative feedback on the EGFR, dampening the latter to reduce the risk of unwanted growth and intestinal tumor development. They found that mice genetically modified to be TRPV1-deficient suffered higher-than-normal rates of intestinal tumor growths.

"These results showed us that epithelial TRPV1 normally works as a tumor suppressor in the intestines,"
said de Jong. In addition, molecular studies of human colorectal cancer samples recently uncovered multiple mutations in the TRPV1 gene, though Raz noted that currently there is no direct evidence that TRPV1 deficiency is a risk factor for colorectal cancer in humans.

"A direct association between TRPV1 function and human colorectal cancer should be addressed in future clinical studies," he said.

But if such proves to be the case, the current study suggests one potential remedy might be spicy capsaicin, which acts as an irritant in mammals, generating a burning sensation in contact with tissue. Capsaicin is already broadly used as an analgesic in topical ointments, where its properties as an irritant overwhelm nerves, rendering them unable to report pain for extended periods of time. It's also the active ingredient in pepper spray.

The researchers fed capsaicin to mice genetically prone to developing multiple tumors in the gastrointestinal tract. The treatment resulted in a reduced tumor burden and extended the lifespans of the mice by more than 30 percent. The treatment was even more effective when combined with celecoxib, a COX-2 non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug already approved for treating some forms of arthritis and pain.

"Our data suggest that individuals at high risk of developing recurrent intestinal tumors may benefit from chronic TRPV1 activation," said Raz. "We have provided proof-of-principle."

Sustainable Fishing, A Growing Business, And Smart For the Environment

Last week, ReNewable Now featured a story on sustainable initiative for the salmon farming industry with Loch Duart Ltd, a group out of Scotland. This week,, we are looking at a company in the state of New Jersey who is also thinking of sustainability when it comes to the future of fish, and understand that there are a variety of ways to make an impact on maintaining overall fish population.

According to an article by National Geographic, sustainable fishing guarantees that there will be populations of wildlife for the future in oceans and freshwaters. As an ongoing effort to protect aquatic environments that house many species of consumable fish, sustainable fishing has become a growing trend.

Fishers worldwide remove more than 170 billion pounds of wildlife from the sea each year; marking the importance of safe practices. To continue to rely on the ocean as a large food source, conservationists and economists highly urge the use of sustainable fishing practices.

Rastelli Direct introduced a new sustainable fish program for the summer 2014 season. Rastelli Direct is embracing eco-conscious initiatives to provide their customers with the highest quality seafood; a program that was in development before the seafood sustainability trend emerged. However, in an effort to provide customers with options featured on restaurant menus and in stores alike, Rastelli Direct will be accommodating the seafood trend.

Rastelli Direct, a company that provides deliverable gourmet foods located in Swedesboro, NJ, is offering an extensive seafood menu featuring Wild Caught and BAP (Best Aquacultural Practices) certified Farm Raised seafood; specifically designed for sustainability.

The program focuses on species of fish found in abundance in their natural habitat, utilizing all parts of the whole fish, experimenting with new species and the use of responsible fishing to preserve natural aquatic environments.

Other features the program will highlight include raising fish species that are in high-demand or species in danger of overfishing. Rastelli will also be practicing in clean and natural environments with free-flowing waters.

“The ability to offer our customers high quality fish and other foods is something we take pride in,” said Andrea Carr of Rastelli Direct. “Our wild-caught and sustainably raised seafood adds tremendous value to our gourmet menu.”

Sustainability Initiative For
The Salmon Farming Industry

Loch Duart Ltd, independent Scottish salmon farmers, has signed a groundbreaking supply agreement with CellsUnited Ltd, a company pioneering new developments in advanced nutrition.

Loch Duart has always believed that sustainability is a multi-faceted objective.  One essential is to maximise the effective use of the salmon with minimum wastage.  Currently, when the salmon are prepared for customers, the guts are safely disposed of through insilation, and, once filleted, the heads and frames are used in low-grade applications such as fertiliser and pet food.  Now, in a groundbreaking agreement which significantly increases the value extracted from farmed salmon, Loch Duart has agreed to supply CellsUnited with up to 450 tonnes of salmon viscera (guts), heads and frames a year to fuel a pilot development centre in Dingwall, close to the fish processing operation which receives all Loch Duart harvests.

The salmon by-product will be used to produce CellperTM, a new nutritional compound that has the potential to revolutionise the treatment of malnutrition in people who cannot otherwise digest protein.

The arrangement has important implications for Scotland’s salmon farming industry, as Loch Duart director, Andy Bing, explains:-

‘’The CellperTM process, derived from technology developed for long-distance space travel, adds significant value to those parts of the salmon usually discarded or used for fertiliser and pet food.  Now the full nutritional benefit, including that of the viscera, frames and heads, can be used to combat malnutrition in developing countries and to speed the recovery of many categories of hospital patients in the developed world.  We are delighted to be part of this important breakthrough.”

The CellperTM process transforms the value of salmon waste which, for quality, freshness and reliability of supply, has been identified as the ideal protein source for this new product.  The result, after a long and complex refinement process, can be used in two forms:

  • as a dietary supplement in basic granular form, where it is the most compact form of ‘pre-digest’ protein and therefore easily transported to remote parts of the world

  • as a liquid nutritional supplement for many types of hospital patient.

CellsUnited Managing Director, Andy Smith, is enthusiastic about the arrangement:-

“We see an important future working with the aquaculture industry worldwide - and where better to start than with Scotland’s most innovative, quality salmon producer?  We plan to spend the next 18 months working closely with Loch Duart before establishing volume production which will need a minimum of 4,500 tonnes of salmon waste a year.  Our relationship with Loch Duart will continue as part of our permanent R&D base in Dingwall.”

A Vegan Beatle That Hopes You Choose
a Meatless 4th of July

People love to get together on the 4th of July and we think there’s no better way to entertain a bunch of family and friends on the 4th than to host a good old-fashioned summer barbecue.
It’s your turn to host from this year, which means it's time to spruce up the garden furniture, dig out the fairy lights and put your grilling skills to the test. It’s always difficult to please everyone, so what can you serve that will really impress your guests? How about something inspired by a Vegan Beatle?  Or should we rephrase that, a Beatle who likes his food meatless.  And of course we are talking about Sir. Paul McCartney, one of the Fab Four who just so happens to love his veggies.
Our friend Chris from the UK has been in touch to find out what makes this Beetle love veggie barbecuing. He asks Paul,
“When you have barbecues, what kind of food do you like to cook for your guests?”
He replied,
“I love to cook Linda’s veggie burgers and sausages, which I have got down to a fine art. I also like to BBQ asparagus brushed with a little olive oil, but you have to keep an eye on these (like everything in life!)”
Paul and his family are passionate about good food. You can find a selection of tried and tested family favorites from Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney on the Meat Free Monday website. The campaign is celebrating five years this summer.
If you’re seeking further food-inspiration then look no further than the
Meat Free Monday Instagram page, dedicated to showcasing the most imaginative and delicious looking meat-free meals. Here at, we think no barbecue is complete without an ice-cold drink, scratchy picnic blanket and the squeak of grilled halloumi!

Rhode Island's DEM Scores a Big Hit
with Agricultural Day 2014

If you haven't been, what are you waiting for? Agricultural Day in Rhode Island is a festive and fun event that shines the spotlight on the creative people that make up the Agricultural and Aquaculture industry in the Ocean State. From local wines, dairy farmers, and oyster farmers, there is something for everyone's palette to taste and enjoy when it comes from locally produced products.

What ReNewable Now found particularly enjoyable were the predictions that we heard from those in attendance, there is no question that the state's agricultural industry is strong and vibrant .  Ron Newman, DEM's Agricultural Marketin Specialist, said: "People don't want their food shipped from across the USA and coming to Rhode Island, they want it grown here..."

During the course of the event we wanted to get a sense of the diversity of those attending, so Jim Murphy, the Sustainability Coordinator for Rhode Island College, made his way through the crowd and to hear some of the comments. We caught up with Genie Trevor, Edible Rhody Editor, who gave us her perspective of what they are seeing in the Ocean State. From there we heard from Pat Hogan from SODCO's Blazin Corn, who are growing their business with renewable energy corn. From the University of Rhode Island we discovered the 2014 Farm Scavenger Hunt as we spoke with Heather Faubert who was representing the University's cooperative extension, and the RI Fruit Growers Association.  And rounding things off, we caught up with Dr. Robert B. Rheault from the Ocean State Aquaculture Association of Rhode Island, who was not only sharing some fantastic oysters with those attending, but also shared with us the fantastic growth of this environmentally, and sustainable business in the Ocean State that is creating many great jobs. So check out the coverage of the event, and if you couldn't make it this year, make plans early to attend next year.

Animal Agriculture,
The Climate's Worst Enemy? 

Climate Change has been in the global headlines almost everywhere you turn, and with the recent UN Climate Change Report  released at the end of March it seems more and more attention is being paid to the issues.

For most of the general public, when they think of the causes of Climate Change and the greenhouse gases that are attributing to it, they think vehicle emissions.  Well they're not wrong, but what they might be surprised to know is that animal agriculture is actually creating more greenhouse gases than vehicles. According to a report by Humane Society of the United States , they highlight a fact from the  Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), "The animal agriculture  sector-which includes the production of feed crops, the manufacturing of fertilizer, and the shipment of meat, eggs, and milk-is responsible for 18% of all GHG emissions, measured in carbon-dioxide equivalent."

James Cameron
During a recent interview with film producer/director James Cameron on "Ask Me Anything" Q&A session on the social networking site Reddit, the celebrated filmmaker, a producer on the new Showtime climate change series "Years of Living Dangerously," was asked what's the best thing an individual cando to fight climate change. Cameron likely surprised many by answering: "Stop eating animals."

Cameron said, "This may surprise you, because it surprised me when I found out, but the single biggest thing that an individual can do to combat climate change is to stop eating animals," he said. "Because of the huge, huge carbon footprint of animal agriculture .So most people think that buying a Prius is the answer, and it’s certainly not wrong, but it’s not the biggest agent of climate change.”

Cameron's number of 14.5% vs the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations number of 18% is quite a difference when you put things into perspective. Maybe the more accurate number is somewhere in the middle, let's say 16%. That 16% of GHG from Animal Agriculture , vs 13% the transportation industry is profound.  And this brings us back to James Cameron and one of the reasons he has become a vegan, and one of the reasons he is producing SHOWTIME®  series, “Years of Living Dangerously.” Should we all consider changing our eating habits maybe while we are purchasing that electric car, and installing solar panels on our homes? What a difference we could all make.

Too Much Animal Protein
Is as Bad as Smoking

New Study Says Too Much Animal Protein Is as Bad as Smoking.

Before you take another bite of that cheeseburger, you may want to check out the latest research that discovered a high-protein diet, especially one rich in animal products, may be as harmful as smoking cigarettes.

The study tracked 6,381 adults for nearly two decades and discovered that high-protein diets that foster quick weight loss, like the Atkins and Paleo diets, were no safer than smoking cigarettes and increased the risk of dying from any cause by 74 percent. If that doesn't make you want to turn to tofu, the study also discovered the risk of dying from cancer eating a high animal protein diet is more than four times, compared to eating a low-protein diet. And don't think this research only applies to body builders throwing back whey protein shakes and raw eggs. The study also discovered that people who ate moderate amounts of protein during middle age were still three times more likely to die of cancer than low-protein eaters.

Valter Longo, a professor of gerontology and biological sciences at the University of Southern California and the study's author said, "There's a misconception that because we all eat, understanding nutrition is simple. But the question is not whether a certain diet allows you to do well for three days, but can it help you survive to be 100?".

The results were a little fuzzy in adults over the age of 65, who did not sustain as much harm from high-protein diets, probably due to the loss of muscle mass as we age and a high protein diet’s ability to maintain that muscle. Thomas Ayoob, an associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, said about the research findings, “As such it generates a hypothesis, but we shouldn’t conclude too much without additional clinical research to confirm the results, especially since things seem to flip-flop after age 65.”

Reducing meat and saturated fat in your diet and adding in more plant-based foods will no doubt benefit your health, but the animals and the earth will reap the same rewards.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie Launching
Organic Wine Line

Power couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are expanding their empire by dabbling in the wine business. According to PEOPLE, The Jolie-Pitt’s are in the midst of launching an organic wine line for this year.

The first wine will be called Miraval, named after their 1,000-acre vineyard estate in Southwestern France that’s located in a wine-growing valley. Organic farming is popular on the land, especially with 75 plus acres growing Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.

The debut wine is said to be a 2012 vintage pink rosé that comes in an elegant bottle.

Later this year, additional organic white and reds will be released with help from French winegrower Marc Perrin.

“They [Jolie-Pitt's] are very demanding in seeking excellence in the quality and character of their wine,” Perrin told French business magazine Challenges.

The three first met last summer on the estate, where they talked about putting their product into distribution, and the design.

The wine is set to be released in the U.S. on March 15. Look for the label, which will read “Bottled by Jolie-Pitt and Perrin.”

Vegan Options Arrive at Super Bowl XLVIII

What a difference a few years makes!

The Super Bowl, once a barren wasteland when it came to genuine animal-free grub, will now be able to accommodate the vegan scene.

Seattle-based Field Roast Grain Meat (you can bet who they’ll be rooting for) will have a pop up stand (Section 144) at MetLife Stadium. Options include vegan hot dogs and vegan Field Burgers.

“Over the past few years, our company has grown tremendously because we’re focused on making a flavorful real food product instead of a fake version of something else,” says Field Roast founder Chef David Lee. “Between the playoff and championship games at CenturyLink Field and MetLife Stadium, 150,000 football fans will have had the chance to discover that our franks and burgers are some of the tastiest plant-based meats available today.”

Has anyone out there tried Field Roast? Let us know in the comments! For those keeping it vegan at home for the big game, here are some past Super Bowl recipes to enjoy:
Top 10 Vegan Super Bowl Recipes

10. Vegetarian Mini Meatballs

The Big Game is coming up, and some of you out there might already be scrambling for recipe ideas. Pleasing everyone food-wise on game day is hard enough as it is, but when you’re aiming to cook vegan… well, it can be downright daunting. But don’t you worry your eco-minded head, because we have a list of ten vegan football-food recipes that will have you doing your own touchdown dance.

9. Buffalo Tofu

Bite-size finger foods are key for any Super Bowl party, and these faux-meaty snacks fit the role perfectly. Slightly spicy, slightly sweet, and all vegan, these mini meatballs are full of flavor courtesy of garlic, chili sauce, and red currant jelly. You’ll need some mock meat, egg replacement, and vegan bread for this one, but the recipe is about as easy as it gets, and the results are fantastic.

8. Chips and Guacamole

No tricks or surprises here, no faux meats or dairy replacements, just good ol’ chips and dip. Most of the time you can get vegan-friendly tortilla chips from the store, but if you’re worried about lard you can always make your own chips! Find some vegan tortillas of your choosing, then bake or fry them and season as you please. As far as guac goes, Alton Brown has a simple, straightforward recipe that also happens to be delicious. You can also peruse Food Network’s 50 Game Day Dips for more ideas, which includes many vegan options (and many very NOT vegan options, so be careful!).

7. Vegan Cupcakes

All those savory fried foods are great, but sweets are a must as well. And few vegan desserts work as well and taste as delicious as a batch of vegan cupcakes. This recipe gives you a choice of almond or chocolate cupcakes with vanilla or chocolate frosting (just add cocoa powder wherever you want it). For an added twist, you can try some vegan cream cheese frosting on top. Oh, and don’t forget the green/yellow/black food coloring!

6. Sweet Potato Fries

Forget popcorn. If you’re going to bring out a big bowl of snack food for everyone to dig into, make it something fried! Regular potatoes are fine of course, but sweet potato fries add an extra level of flavor (and a little more nutritional value, too). For a healthier batch, you can always bake them… but hey, it’s the Big Game. Indulge a little! As far as dips go, you can go with ketchup or you can let your imagination run wild: for instance, a vegan garlic aioli goes great with these fries.

5. Potato Angels (Deviled Egg Substitute)

Those ubiquitous staples of game day finger foods—deviled eggs—are not an option with eggs out of the running. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a rich, silky, flavorful substitute! These “Potato Angels” use small potatoes and vegan mayonnaise to replicate (surprisingly faithfully!) the classic deviled egg. Plus, you won’t have to do all that hard-boiling and peeling!

4. Corn Puppies or Sweet Potato Hushpuppies

At the risk of sounding obsessed, fried food is really the best thing ever, isn’t it? If you’re in agreement, then these Corn Puppies are for you. Using flour and cornmeal, this recipe takes the classic hushpuppy and adds tofu dogs for an extra twist. For a richer, non-cornmealy option, you can try these Sweet Potato Balls as well (just use egg substitute). Try adding corn into the mix for extra sweetness, and dip them in some vegan sour cream before taking a bite. These are so delicious, even non-vegans will be begging you for the recipe.

3. Vegan Nachos

With so many dairy and meat toppings, nachos can be a daunting idea for the vegan host. Luckily, has an effective “melty cheese” recipe that makes this whole vegan nachos thing a heck of a lot easier. You’ll need a few strange ingredients (pimento, yeast flakes, and cashews all go into this cheese, oddly enough), but the soymilk-based melty cheese turns out great. Past that, just throw whatever toppings you want onto your nachos (don’t forget the guacamole you made, and the vegan sour cream!) and you’re ready for the Big Game.

2. Eco-Oreo Truffles

Yes, you read that right. Oreo Truffles. Listen, we’re not making healthy vegan foods here, we’re making delicious vegan junk food fit for football (and nothing says junk food like Oreos). You know that cream filling in Oreos? That’s just hydrogenated oil, so believe it or not, Oreos are actually vegan. But still, you will probably want to go with the organic “Newman-O’s” from Newman’s Own, which has a filling made from palm fruit oil that is not hydrogenated and does not have trans fats. The page lists both a vegetarian version (which includes cream cheese and white chocolate bark) and a vegan version (which uses vegan cream cheese and vegan dark chocolate instead), so you can make your pick depending on your diet. Either way, they make a perfect dessert. Just don’t eat the whole plate yourself.

1. Vegetable Samosas

Samosas make a perfect little fried treat, packed with flavor and spices enveloped in a crunchy shell. Samosas often have meat in them (usually lamb), but they can be easily made with vegetables as well, and in a healthy vegan dough. You can choose to bake or fry these as you see fit (Fry them! Fry them!), but either way they make a great finger food. Vegans and non-vegans alike will love these, and you have the luxury of preparing them in advance, letting them sit, and then baking/frying them when the time is right.

So there you have it: 10 delicious vegan recipes to get you ready for the Super Bowl. For more assistance in putting together a vegan spread, be sure to check out PETA’s list of vegan snacks, which offers many vegan-friendly brand-name products that you can put out on the table, some of them quite surprising. Little Debbie Cake Donuts are vegan? Ritz crackers? How can anything that buttery not have butter in it?

Happy vegan cooking, everyone!

Celebrate the New Year with Organic Bubbly

Many people from all over the world enjoy champagne on New Year's — no question about it. So we went searching for some organic champagne and sparkling wines (for those of you that don't know, yes there is a difference — champagne is from France!). After going on a few chat sites it seems that people have been very impressed by an organic and "underrated" champagne called Fleury that is full of flavor and suitable for vegans. But we could only find this champagne on various UK sites so we went searching for some others that we might be able find in the US of A. We came up with a company called "Diamond Organics" (and they overnight, by the way) that offered just three different selections for us. They all sounded tasty but we weren't convinced and decided to tap into our friend, Scott, at Appellation in New York City for some of his favorites. Wow did he have a long list! Not only does he give us a selection of both champagne and sparking wine (organic/biodynamic), but he lists the prices and descriptions as well. Here's what Scott came up with:


NV Pierre Brigandat Brut Réserve (Biodynamic) $23.99
This grower wine (rÃcoltant-manipulant -- RM) uses at least 95% estate- grown fruit. A medium-bodied sparkler with chalky minerality notes.

NV Larmandier-Bernier Premier Cru Vertus (Biodynamic) $38.99
This is a fine grower (RM) champagne farmed biodynamically using 100% Premier Cru grapes including a small selection of pinot noir growing in the chardonnay-dominant area of Côtes des Blancs. This delicious wine has notes of minerality and lees.

NV Pascal Doquet Premier Cru Rosà (Organic) $46.99
This beautiful rosé champagne is farmed organically from pinot noir grapes, hand-harvested and full of roses and strawberries.

'97 Vilmart Coeur de Cuvée (Biodynamic) $89.99

Carefully tended old vines and hand picked grapes yield a rich and round champagne full of citrus and vanilla. Great structure, full of body...elegant!


NV Albert Mann CrÃmant d'Alsace (Organic) $18.99
Like champagne? Want to try something different? This is softer and lighter, with a beautiful blend of apple, citrus and floral notes. All hand harvested, a lot of work was put into this sparkler.

'04 Ermite Medici Reggiano "Solo" (Biodynamic) $11.99
A sparkling red? Long before the Aussies started sparkling their Shiraz, Lambrusco has been pleasing the masses. Solo packs enough to warrant discussion or no-hassle enjoyment.

'03 Eric Bordelet Normandy Sydre "Doux" (Biodynamic) $12.99

Biodynamic cider? Yes, and this cider explodes with ripe, freshly crushed apple notes. Delicious with a touch of sweetness and acidity. Great as an aperitif, paired with charcuterie and blue-vein cheese.

All of these selections and more can be found at Appellation's online store or at 156 10th Avenue in New York City. Thanks for the tips, Scott! Happy New Year, and be safe! *ching, ching*

A Veggie Thanksgiving! Why Not?

It’s that time of year again where everyone gathers around the table and indulges in all things sweet, savory, and decadent. Treat your Thanksgiving guests to 10 of the most delicious vegan Thanksgiving dishes they’ll ever taste with our favorite recipes from around the web. We promise you’ll be the most popular person at the potluck!

1. Baked Pumpkin Ravioli with Rubbed Sage Cream
Sure, we did a pumpkin recipe round-up to celebrate Halloween, and while we’ve heard that pumpkin is really only an October thing, we don’t buy it. The bright orange orb that brings a smile to everyone’s face should also bring fullness to everyone’s belly on Thanksgiving, especially if it’s Baked Pumpkin Ravioli with Rubbed Sage Cream from renowned vegan blog Olives for Dinner. Hearty and aromatic with the smooth richness of cashew cream, we can’t wait to loosen our belt a couple notches and dig in.

2. Quinoa-stuffed Acorn Squash
We know Thanksgiving is on the way when grocery store displays are dotted with squash of all shapes, colors, and sizes––and what’s cuter (and more delicious) than the acorn squash? Food blogger VeganYackAttack took it up a notch, baking and stuffing this fall favorite with our favorite superfood, quinoa. Dusted with Italian seasoning and topped with chopped broccolini and red bell peppers, this little squash is sure to be a star centerpiece on everyone’s plate.

3. Pumpkin Bread and Tempeh Stuffing
Whoever says you need turkey for stuffing hasn’t tried good-eats genius Vegan Richa’s Pumpkin Bread and Tempeh Stuffing. One bite of the flavor-bursting mushroom, onion, tomato, and spice pumpkin bread and tempeh mix, and we’re sure you’ll agree that there’s no need for any turkey (or any animals, for that matter) on any dinner table.

4. Smashed Sweet Potato Fritters
Now that we’ve got the entrées taken care of, let’s move on to the beloved sides. At any Thanksgiving feast, the sides are just as big of a star as the Tofurky loaf. One beloved orange-interior orb to another, we think sweet potatoes are just as Thanksgiving-centric as pumpkins, and apparently vegan recipe veteran Kathy Patalsky agrees. Her Smashed Sweet Potato Fritters have a warm, soft, sweet potato center that is accentuated with pumpkin seeds and pistachios, adding a nice crunch to every bite.

5. Apple Cider Brussels Sprouts

While apples are the emblem of fall, Brussels sprouts are the iconic veggie every child dreads this time of year––though we think the little green bites have been cast in an unfair light. Leave it to vegan chef Chloe Coscarelli to save the day (and the sprouts’ reputation) with her scrumptious Apple Cider Brussels Sprouts recipe. Roasted to golden perfection with a sweet hint of cinnamon and apple, the kids’ at the table won’t know what hit ‘em.

6. Stuffed Thanksgiving Burger
For the less culinary-inclined holiday host, long-time vegan food expert Isa Chandra Moskowitz of Post Punk Kitchen has whipped up a genius concoction––it’s all the tastes we love from Thanksgiving simplified in a sandwich. Cremini mushrooms, lentils, and hazelnuts lend a hearty flavor while the cranberries add an oh-so-sweet accent––all deliciously smooshed between two pieces of sourdough bread. A hand-held Thanksgiving dinner without the grueling hours of kitchen clean up? We say yes please.

7. Kale-Delicata Squash Salad with Citrus Maple Vinaigrette
We can’t get over the gorgeous colors of this holiday salad––perfect for your Thanksgiving tabletop. Ohmyveggies’ kale salad is no ordinary stack of greens. This salad is dressed to impress: kale surrounded by bright orange rings of baked delicata squash and dotted with ruby pomegranate seeds––all gently tossed in an orange citrus-maple vinaigrette.

8. Roasted Maple Glazed Sweet Potatoes

Though we never say no to a decadent dish, sometimes we want something sweet and simple––especially after hours of kitchen prep, stirring, sifting, and steaming. Cue gluten-free virtuoso Allyson Kramer’s Roasted Maple Glazed Sweet Potatoes. Perfectly baked until ever so slightly charred on the edges, these spuds are coated with a special ingredient––vanilla! Genius.

9. Roasted Butternut Squash Slider
For those who throw caution to the wind and want to buck convention (who needs mashed potatoes and green bean casserole, anyway!), we give you Vegan Richa’s Roasted Butternut Squash Slider. It’s got the autumnal essence of Thanksgiving with savory squash and smoky caramelized onions but with a modern slider-twist. Plus, there’s a vegan mayo-Sriracha combo that we just can’t say no to.

10. Pumpkin Curry
We know curry isn’t your typical run of the mill Thanksgiving dinner feature, but for those located in colder climates, we can’t think of anything more comforting and homey than sitting around a table with your closest family and friends while enjoying a warm bowl of thick pumpkin curry. Grain-, nut-, and dairy-free, and rich with the aromas of cumin, turmeric, and smoked paprika, curry may just be the next big Thanksgiving thing.

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