Friday, November 26, 2010

The Menu

The menu was roasted organic butternut squash soup, herb-marinated roasted Moonshadow Farm (Old Lewiston Rd.) rabbit with mustard sauce, brined Mt. Pisgah pheasant roasted with bacon bard, glazed organic turnips, cranberry relish, risotto, whole-wheat rolls, sweet potato souffle torte, and frozen vanilla custard. Dinner for four at Annabessacook Farm was decadent.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

I received this email today. I'm sharing it with you in its entirety. I couldn't have written it any better.

This Thanksgiving, give thanks to the farmers and farmworkers who make this meal possible.

Dear Craig,

It’s that time of year again. Every fall people travel across the country or just across town to share a meal with family, friends and loved ones in order to celebrate another year of health, happiness and good food. Born from the tradition of one tribe bravely and generously helping another tribe in a time of need, this celebration has turned into an annual feast where our nation sits down collectively to share in the gratitude over another bountiful harvest.

Here at Food Democracy Now!, we wanted to take a moment and say that we are all thankful for the opportunity to work with so many amazing people across the country who are dedicated to building a truly sustainable food system that improves the lives of farmers, workers, eaters, communities and the planet.

Every day I wake up looking for a way to convey one of the most important messages of our time: if you want to change the world, change how you eat. In addition, at Food Democracy Now! we strive to give you opportunities to help make that happen through positive action.

Central to the growing understanding of how what we eat impacts the planet is knowing where our food comes from, how it was raised, who grew it and helped that food find its way to our tables. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of incredible people and organizations out there working to educate more Americans and helping bring the change we need to thrive in the 21st century.

One tradition that we have in our household is that at every meal we take a moment to say what we are thankful for. Inevitably, it always comes back to the food: Who cooked it, who helped prepare it and who raised it and brought the food to our tables.

Here at Food Democracy Now!, we’d like to ask you to join us in this tradition by joining us on Facebook and sharing with us what you are Thankful for. If there are any farmers that you’d like to give a shout out to, please mention them too.

As we sit down to eat this symbolic meal, nothing could be as important as honoring the individuals that labor everyday on farms and in the fields, often doing backbreaking work, with very little financial reward to make it possible for us to nourish our bodies.

I wanted to share an important video with each of you and ask that you pass it on.

This video highlights an impressive campaign by The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) who have advocated tirelessly for the rights of farmworkers to be paid a decent wage for the work of picking tomatoes. Every day in Florida, workers go out into the fields under the hot sun to pick the tomatoes that end up on our plates.

For a full bucket of tomatoes, weighing 32 pounds, farmworkers are only paid 45 to 50 cents. Unimaginably, this wage has not changed in more than 30 years. Fortunately, there are groups like the Coalition of Immokalee Workers who are advocating to change this.

Incredibly, these farmworkers are only asking for a raise of as little as a penny a pound.

As we eat our Thanksgiving meals this year, I want to ask that we all begin to think deeper about our food and the consequences that our meals have on everything around us. It’s really unfathomable that as little as a penny per pound could make a difference in someone’s life, but time after time, as we’ve found out, it’s the little changes that eventually add up.

Here at Food Democracy Now!, we’d like to honor all the farmers and farmworkers who make this day possible and to all the people across the country working tirelessly to bring us the stories of those who help make the world a better place by growing and harvesting our food.

With gratitude,

Dave Murphy

Founder and Executive Director

Food Democracy Now!

Happy Thanksgiving. Take care of your blessings.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Native Americans, Black Farmers Receive Justice

Black Farmer Painting by John Lautermilch

Senate approves $4.5B payment to Native Americans, black farmers

After months of hang-ups, the Senate unanimously approved Friday two multibillion-dollar settlements that will rectify long-standing claims against the federal government for discrimination and mismanagement.

The vote essentially brings closure to the two cases, which have each been litigated for more than a decade.

The House, which has twice endorsed the deals, must still do so one more time, an action that is expected after Thanksgiving. Senate approval, however, has been a huge hurdle for Native Americans, who sued the government over poorly handled individual Indians' trust accounts, and black farmers, who were for years unfairly refused loans by the Agriculture Department.

"Black farmers and Native American trust account holders have had to wait a long time for justice, but now it will finally be served," Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said in a statement after the vote. "I am heartened that Democrats and Republicans were able to come together to deliver the settlement that these men and women deserve for the discrimination and mismanagement they faced in the past."

Native Americans involved in the land trust lawsuit will get access to a $3.4 billion fund. Black farmers who are a part of a class-action lawsuit against the USDA will receive a $1.15 billion settlement.

Read the rest...

It's been a long time coming.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Eyes Of Pain

I looked into a woman's eyes today and saw pain like none I've ever seen.

She just buried her son.

I'm not sure that there's anything in life more cruel than burying a child.

But for a mother burying her 26-year-old son?

I have no words.

I finally finished planting garlic today. It's nicely composted and mulched with two bales of blond straw.

Here's hoping that mother with pain-filled eyes can fix her heart on something growing anew next spring.

Right now, I can't imagine she can even fall asleep without falling apart.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday With Nina :: Love Me Or Leave Me

That's the live version. Now, for the recorded version I fell in love with two decades ago. Pay attention to the piano interlude.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Sunday With Keith :: Autumn Leaves

ONE OF MY favorite renditions of one of my favorite standards.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Thank You

Dear Supporters,

The official results are in. I received 1736 votes or 39.1% of the votes cast, no where near enough to win the election. Nevertheless, we won over a lot of hearts and minds in the process. As I already wrote, I've had the time of my life and have no regrets.

At least three working-class men came out of the polling place yesterday, looked me right in my eye, and told me they were all set to vote for me until they saw on the ballot that I was a Democrat.

We have a lot of work to do.

I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your support, your well-wishes, and your votes. I couldn't have made such an impression on the people of this district without your help.

We ran the best campaign this district has ever seen and we have done a big part to change the conversation. It seems more people are talking about healthy, local food more than ever before. Early morning of the election, I was putting up a sign on the main intersection of in-town Readfield and a woman rolled down her window to tell me that she would be rooting hard for me all day. That she and her husband lived in Mt. Vernon and therefore couldn't vote for me, but they wanted me to win so badly. There, in the dark, after their car traveled down Route 17 headed toward Manchester, I got all choked up. And then I smiled.

I am both proud and humbled to have made such a difference.

While many of you have already expressed encouragement that I run again in 2012, all I can say right now is that I can't see past the 10 pounds of garlic I still need to plant before the ground freezes.

I can promise you this:

I will continue to do what I do with a passion.

Thank you again. Take care of your blessings.

Craig V. Hickman