Algae, the sustainable superfood

Hi folks,

I tried algae for the first time – except for kombu algae and similar, which I used to eat while living in Japan. I tried organic algae hand-harvested on the West coast of Irland – so they write on the label.

Are you wondering about the taste? It is… ehm… peculiar. I didn’t dislike it though. In my opinion, the taste resembled much that of seafood – seafood towards the harbour O.0

It all comes down on how you combine them – see below under “How do I eat algae”.

atlantic6902

Image courtesy of ALGA-NET

Why shall I eat algae?

Because they are a kind of food as for now produced in an ultra sustainable way and they are super nutritious. For example, 100g of algae contains on avarage 200% of the RDA of Vitamin B12, 480% of the RDA of calcium and 241% of RDA of magnesium. In fact, they are a superfood. And if you are a real Green Addict like me, you’d like to think of where your food comes from and you’d strive to eat as local as possible. Contrary to many superfoods praised by numerous health coaches, this superfood is currently available in Europe, so it does not have to travel long before hitting your table.

How do I eat algae?

Put it on the top of your soup or in the salad, instead of croutons. They are dried and crunchy, which makes it a nice texture contrast. Try it on fresh peas homemade soup… it blends in the flavor very well!

Good luck with your experiments in the kitchen,

GA

PS: I bought wild organic algae called “Atlantic Carragheen”, or “Chondrus Crispus”. I found them at the bio supermarket NaturaSì.

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Cultivating (into) rice with Vipot

 

DID YOU KNOW…. ? Rice husk is considered a toxic waste. In Italy, China and Estern countries there is a lot of it because of rice crops. Vipot is an innovative patent that can reuse it in a healthy and useful way.

LO SAPEVATE CHE… ? La lolla di riso è un rifiuto tossico e in Italia, Cina e paesi asiatici ne esiste una gran quantità. Vipot è un brevetto innovativo per sfruttarla e riciclarla in modo sano.

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Carlsberg and Pomì new sustainable technologies

 

DID YOU KNOW…? You may argue this is not very green as PET comes from oil, but actually there is a huge saving in CO2 emissions (and oil) due to logistics and PET come from recycled materials.

LO SAPEVATE CHE…? Sostituire i fusti in acciaio con nuovi fusti usa e getta in PET non sembra molto “green”. Tuttavia bisogna considerare che in questo modo si ha un grande risparmio di risorse e di emissioni a livello di logistica, mentre il PET rientra nella filiera del riciclo.

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Sustainable diets: cereal cropping

Originally published on Slowear Journal on Nov 21st

Thanks to Francesca Stignani for translation

Leggi in italiano

More cereals, less meat, and a lot of fruits and vegetables. The sustainable diet, which is good for our health as well as for the environment, has a lot in common with the vegetarian diet, starting from the huge consumption of cereals.

Yet how sustainable is it to grow cereals? As with any other kind of extensive farming, thanks to phytochemistry and integrated farming there have been quite a few improvements in the pesticide containment rate. However, we need to do more, which is exactly what is happening today.

Italy has  been the first country to ever patent a method called “Riso secondo natura” (nature-wise rice), developed by Molinia farmers. The method includes a series of “natural” techniques allowing the firm to spare around 50% of the water needed for irrigation and up to 80% of greenhouse gas emissions. Along with the use of three innovative machineries, the only real innovation brought along by this method lies in following the rhythms of nature and its cycles.

As for wheat – the most common cereal in our diet – the search for sustainability starts already from the seed. A famous Italian pasta manufacturer has been examining the farmland and the atmospheric conditions near its plants and mills, selecting the most suitable wheat plants in order to obtain a good yeld with very limited artificial interventions. Moreover, since the fields are very close to the factories, these experimental crops are super-sustainable.

Another example of natural farming comes from Poggio del farro, a formerly abandoned farm surrounded by the Tuscan hills which has recently been renovated and currently produces organic emmer. The crops are so excellent that they get sold before they have even grown!

•  Hope you enjoyed the article!  •
[New Sustainable Agriculture Model]

Contribution to Landscapes Blog for People Food and Nature

Ecoagriculture.org has started gathering info, knowledge, opinions and suggestions from farmers and some of the players involved in agricultural sector interested in sustainability. They started collecting contributions from all over the world and by accident it was me editing the one coming from Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition.

If you are a farmer, don’t miss the full article Ten commandments for a sustainable agriculture in Italy   and feel free to leave your comments and bring your voice to the discussion.

My WWOOFing week in France – #1 Sustainable diet

 

DID YOU KNOW… ? Using ecosan (ecological sanitation) a family of four people saves up to 160 liters of water per day and avoid polluting 480 liters of washing water (laundry, showers…), making its treatment process much more easier.

LO SAPEVATE CHE… ? Utilizzando la toilette secca una famiglia risparmia circa 160 litri d’acqua al giorno ed evita di inquinarne altri 480 di acque grigie (bucato, doccia) poichè rende più semplice il loro trattamento di depurazione.

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My WWOOFing diaries • Cosa vuol dire fare Woofing

wwoofing-wwoofer-wwoof

As Green Addicted living all year in the city, I decided to really go green this summer and trying my first WWOOFing experience.

WWOOF stands for Willing Workers On Organic Farms (or World-Wide Opportunities On Farming)- basically it is a program working on exchange basis: you give your workforce and receive back room and board.

I received back way more than this.

I was welcomed in a friendly family-like environment, feeling to have a useful role in the community of Guéveneaux. Kate greeted me with a smile as I arrived at Redon station, than she explained to me how they decided to change their diet towards eating only local products, coming from their own garden or from France, areas next to Britain are preferred. As part of keeping the relation with the environment local, they decided to use ecosan (ecological sanitation) instead of common water toilets, so that precious waste will turn in compost.

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Poichè sono una Green Addicted ma vivo tutto l’anno in città, ho deciso quest’anno di fare una vacanza ultraverde lanciandomi nella mia prima esperienza di woofing!

Se ancora non sapete cos’è ora ve lo spiego: la sigla WOOFing sta per Willing Workers On Organic Farms (lavoratori volontari in fattorie biologiche) o anche World-Wide Opportunities On Farming (opportunità di vita da fattoria in tutto il mondo). Per un certo periodo di tempo, si decide di dedicare volontariamente alcune ore della propria giornata ai lavori di fattoria e si riceve in cambio vitto e alloggio.

Ma non solo. Io ho ricevuto in cambio molto più di questo.

Sono stata accolta da un ambiente molto aperto e familiare, che mi ha fatto sentire subito a mio agio nella piccola comunità di Guéveneaux. Mi ricordo ancora quando Kate mi ha accolto con un grande sorriso appena arrivata alla stazione di Redon: mi sono sentita a casa. Durante il tempo che abbiamo trascorso insieme mi ha raccontato diverse cose, come la decisione di voler seguire una dieta ecologica strettamente locale o la scelta di utilizzare il wc secco invece di quello ad acqua. Trovate tutto nella sua videointervista, buona visione!

A debate about degrowth

I’ve been working so far at the organization of the webinar Which economic model for a sustainable growth? by Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition. Webinars – also known as BCFN Talks – are short yet well-structured debates following talk show TV format moderated by very well prepared Alex Thomson from Channel 4 News. The event went online on live streaming at BCFN website, but it is possible to watch registered video later here.

On April 5th BCFN hosted a debate about sustainable economic growth inviting three experts in economics and social sciences, expressing individual’s different opinion on the topic. The debate started from the question “what are the limits of the traditional model based on economic growth?”.

Philippe Aghion, Professor of Economics at Harvard University, went crazy about innovation: innovation can solve all kinds of problems. On the other hand, Peter A. Victor, Professor of Ecological Economics at University of York and author of the book Managing without growth, remarked the unavoidable limits to growth due to limited resources on this planet. Finally activist and writer Raj Patel (@Raj Patel) gave priority to food and the occupy movements happening worldwide.

If you are interested, please follow this link to have more info and express your opinion through social media tools interaction. Do you think degrowth means reducing personal money and comforts?

Thank you for stopping by. Follow me on Twitter @ecoSFL.

Durante i mesi scorsi ho lavorato all’organizzazione del webinar Quali modelli economici per una crescita sostenibile? presentato dal Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition. I webinar, chiamati anche BCFN Talks, sono dei format che seguono i canoni dei talk show televisivi per realizzare dei brevi seminari/dibattiti online fruibili gratuitamente in diretta live streaiming dal pubblico in tutto il mondo. La moderazione è stata affidata al valido Alex Thomson, giornalista televisivo di lunga esperienza del canale britannico Channel 4 News.

L’incontro del 5 aprile era dedicato al confronto sugli schemi economici possibili in futuro in un’ottica di stabilizzazione, partendo dalla riflessione sulla situazione attuale: ” quali sono i limiti di un’economia basata sul modello della crescita costante?”

Philippe Aghion, professore ordinario di Economia dell’Università di Harvard, ha puntato tutto sull’innovazione, che nel bene e nel male riuscirà sempre a risolvere i problemi dell’umanità, come ha fatto finora. In totale contrasto la posizione di Peter A. Victor, professore di Economia Ecologica presso l’Università di York in Canada e autore del recente libro Managing without growth (non tradotto in italiano), che ha posto l’accento sull’evidente finitezza delle risorse del pianeta e sulla necessità di domandarci dove ci porta l’innovazione, qual è il suo vero valore ovvero fino a che punto ne abbiamo bisogno (fino a dove si può arrivare? Il beneficio che ne traiamo è superiore alle risorse impiegate per arrivarci?). Infine l’attivista  e scrittore Raj Patel (@Raj Patel) ha contestualizzato la prospettiva sullo sfondo delle proteste popolari di Occupy Wall Street e sull’estrema iniquità della distribuzione della ricchezza (e del cibo) globale.

Potete seguire tutto il dibattito qui ed esprimere la vostra opinione sui canali sociali del BCFN.

Grazie per l’interesse! Seguitemi su Twitter @ecoSFL.

[Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition]

#F27 • It isn’t a GMO code

27 febbraio, 30 nuovi tweet #F27 ogni minuto, da diventar matti a star dietro all’hashtag. E’ il giorno della protesta globale di Occupy Big Food, movimento nato 6 mesi fa a Zuccotti Park, superflua precisazione, sull’onda di Occupy Wall Street. Cosa succede di importante in questa giornata? Non si tratta di un gruppo di contadini che manifestano per chiedere appezzamenti e sussidi. E’ molto di più: il gruppo di contadini si ritrova e si unisce insieme ai cittadini di tutto il mondo che vogliono fronteggiare Lei, l’unica, la grande, la sproporzionata, l’irriducibile Monsanto, l’azienda che ha il monopolio – come dico io – sul pre-food, ovvero su ciò che esiste prima di diventare cibo processato. Cosa fa di male questo colosso? Non è una presa di posizione assoluta contro le bio-tecnologie (ci sono metodi e metodi che approfondirò più avanti), ma un problema di ordine filosofico, sebbene molto pratico. Le sementi OGM, essendo create in laboratorio, non sono portatrici di vita: la loro sterilità le fa cadere al confine con il mondo inorganico. La grande massa dei coltivatori allo stremo delle condizioni (fisiche ed economiche) è costretta a dipendere dal gigante dello smercio mondiale per l’acquisto di nuove sementi ad ogni raccolto – ad un prezzo finalizzato al profitto di chi le produce, come insegnano le elementari leggi economiche di monopolio. Non voglio parlare dei problemi che la produzione e il consumo di alimenti geneticamente modificati provocano alla salute umana e all’ambiente. Vorrei solo gridare, perchè sentano, dall’atra parte dell’oceano, che io sono con loro.

February 27th, 30 new #F27  tweets every minute. All day long – I was going crazy following the hashtag.  It is the big day, the Global Occupy Big Food day – the movement started in New York 6 months ago and spread already over the country and overseas. Why is this so important? It’s not about a bunch of farmers gathering together asking for land and subsidies. Actually they are gathering together (also with dwellers) to face the Big one, the giant of pre-processed-food industry: the Monsanto company. What’s wrong with it? It’s just the most powerful genetically modified seeds producer. Why a seed producer is said to be powerful? After all, seeds grow up naturally. But not if they have been in the lab before being planted. GMO plants cannot reproduce themselves, as they are not part of the “organic world”, they don’t disclose life as Mother Earth would do. Hence, farmers are put in the need to buy them season after season, crop by crop, at more and more expensive price set by big corporations. Don’t even mention GMO related health diseases and environmental harm… Supporting Occupy Big Food!

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