SV Tour De Coop 2018

8th Annual Coop Tour!

The “Silicon Valley Tour de Coop” is really much more than just a few chicken coops – It’s a celebration of the pleasures and rewards of living in a sustainable and nature connected environment by everything from coops, bees to solar panels, grey water systems, urban farming and healthy live styles and everything in between.

So, for the 2018 Tour De Coop let’s expand our tour to also focus on lifestyle and community …and ways that allows each of us to live healthier lives for ourselves and also for the planet.  

Register now for the 2018 Coop Tour – September 14, 2018; 9am – 4pm

WWW.TOURDECOOP.ORG

This event is FREE and open to anyone with an interest in coops, chickens, biking and urban farming!  Simply register, and you will receive an email with the Tour de Coop map. Print it out, select your coop tour, and GO!  The event and coops will be open from 9 AM to 4 PM.

Each year, the number of coops and various routes is defined by the energy of the coopsters and organizers.  We are just getting started for the 2017 tour!

The first year we had about 11 coops and 20 miles of tours, with 2 tours.

Last year – 2016, our 5th year:
1,937 folks signed up; looking at 38 coops; with 13 different bike loops.

www.tourdecoop.org

ECOFARM Pre-conference Tour

EcoFarm Pre-Conference Tour

 

 

A preview event for this year’s EcoFarm Conference was a tour of four thriving organic farms.  Three large busses filled with 150 enthusiastic observers took part, with “Amigo Bob”Cantisano as Master of Ceremonies for the day.

We began at Coke Farms in San Juan Bautista, a hub for cooling, packaging, distributing and marketing for 50 organic farms on the Central Coast. Dale Coke and his wife Christine began as farmers themselves, with just a quarter acre of organic strawberries.  Their facility evolved along with the needs of local organic growers of fruit and vegetables. Among other distinctions, Dale came up with the idea of selling bagged salad mix.  (Theirs was not the facility to which the E. coli outbreak some years ago was traced.)

Next we drove to rolling grasslands just outside the Hollister Hills Recreation Area, where Morris Grass Fed Beef leases land. Joe and Julie Morris do very sophisticated rotational grazing to improve the grasslands on all the ranchland they lease.  Their pitch about the health benefits of grass-fed would convince a vegetarian to eat beef!  As we stood at the top of a knoll, a herd of cows began moving toward us.  Joe called two Australian shepherds into action, and in no time the dogs had gently moved the herd out of our way.  It was an amazing display of dog smarts and cow cooperation.

 

Lunch was served outdoors in San Benito County Historical Park amid preserved buildings and antique farm equipment.  Next we visited Evergreen Acres Dairy, which produces goat milk and goat products like cheese and kefir from special Guernsey goats.  Newborn goats stole the show.  Evergreen also raises ducks.  Founders Mike and Jane Hulme are passionate about the health benefits of goats’ milk and duck eggs.  While their ideas may seem new to many visitors, the farm, with its red barn and spreading oaks, seemed of another century.

Our last stop was on the valley floor at Pinnacle Organically Grown, a farm that grows 60 different vegetables as well as apples and pears.  Owner Phil Foster talked about the value of cover crops, composting and hedgerows as well as the need to experiment with every aspect of farming.  In multiple ways Phil strives to produce high quality crops while treating his employees, his land, his community and our shared planet with respect.

All the farms had re-purposed or specially invented equipment for helping with the work.  Seeing these wonderful places inspires me to do more with Slow Food, with advocating for a food system that nourishes the land as well as the people who grow and eat the food.

December 2017 Annual Holiday Dinner

Dec 2017 Annual Holiday Dinner

On December 7, 2017, the annual Slow Food South Bay Holiday dinner happened at Joni’s house in Cupertino.  It started with a cooking share, followed by pot luck and dinner and even holiday caroling.    Thanks to all that attended and participated in this year’s festive event!

2016 Terra Madre, in Turin, Italy

“Slow Food International” has a world food festival every other year in Turin, Italy. It’s called:

“Terra Madre/Salone del Gusto”
(“Mother Earth / Tasting Festival”)

This year, 3,000 delegates from around the world were there to represent their homeland. Several of us members from Slow Food South Bay went as delegates:

  1. Joni Sare, chef, and president of our Slow Food South Bay chapter
  2. Hilli Salo, founder of Silicon Valley Grows, and leader of Slow Food South Bay
  3. Peter Ruddock, committee chair of Ark of Taste, California
  4. Doniga and Eric Markegard, owners of Markegard Family Grass Fed Beef
  5. Mary Clark Bartlett, CEO/founder of Epicurean Group

Mary was inspired to make this video, which has a wonderful insight of the sights and sounds at the festival:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIIxQCZXPf8&feature=youtu.be

Here is a quick recap of the numbers:

  • 5 days (Sept 21 – 25, 2016)
  • 1.5 million people –from around the world
  • Nearly 160 countries showcased their regional –good, clean, fair– food
  • Thousands of products for tasting, and for sale
  • Dozens of speakers, workshops, dinners, cooking demos, conferences, forums

“Mark your calendar for 2018! If you love food, and if you love to talk with the people who make amazing food –then this event is for you!”

Here are a few photos from this year’s event:

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Markegard’s Terra Madre Celebration Dinner

Markegard’s Terra Madre Celebration

On November 6, 2016, a celebration event dinner occurred at the Markegard Family farm near Hwy 1 on the coast side to celebrate those who help to support them to travel to the Terra Madre Event in Italy in September.

Here are some photos from that event!

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EWGs 2016 Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce

STRAWBERRIES, about to come into high season in our South Bay, have jumped above apples for the first time in a few years.  Buy them ORGANIC (along with the other ‘Dirty Dozen’ listed) to avoid multiple pesticide residues in your food choices.  Follow the link for more of the research and to print a copy of the lists for your next shopping trip.

Check out @EWG’s 2016 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce! #DirtyDozen #CleanFifteen http://bit.ly/1VxUO3i

Source: EWGs 2016 Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce

Decoding Animal Welfare Labels | CUESA

nicasio_cowsOur food labels are a hot topic these days and rightfully so.  If you care about the origin, care and quality of what you eat, this is a must read.

Pasture raised. Hormone free. All natural. Which ones are just greenwashing, and which ones can you trust?

Source: Decoding Animal Welfare Labels | CUESA

Stanford’s REAL FARM: Ag Ed by School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences

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Stanford’s six-acre site is to be as much a laboratory as a classroom for students to learn theory and evolve best practices in sustainable agriculture.  The goal is to educate future leaders who can address our environmental and food system challenges in the 21st Century.

 

Source: A new educational farm on the “Farm” | Stanford School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences

Consumer Reports Study: The Bacteria in Conventional Beef

Consumer Reports tested 458 pounds of ground beef and discovered alarming rates of bacterial contamination. 82% of conventionally produced and processed beef samples were found to have at least 2 types of bacteria.  CONVENTIONAL SAMPLES WERE MORE THAN TWICE AS LIKELY TO HAVE BACTERIA WHICH WAS RESISTANT TO 3  OR MORE CLASSES OF TYPICAL ANTIBIOTICS. 

 

Source: Ecocentric | The Bacteria in Our Beef

U.S. Crop Diversity Declining but…5 Ag Regions Buck This Trend!

9 Farm Regions Map from journal PLOS ONE

A new USDA study (published in the journal PLOS ONE) tracked crop diversity across farms in the US from 1978 to 2012 using five year ag census data.

While the overall data confirms the dominance of monoculture farming – a practice known not to be sustainable in the long-term – there is evidence that in five of the nine Farm Resource Regions where fruits and vegetables reign supreme crop diversity was either maintained or increased slightly.  Check out the map for specifics and read more…

Source: U.S. Farms Becoming Less Diverse Over Time | Civil Eats