Cheese-n SZN


raw-spiced-cashew-cheese-3.jpg(Raw spiced cashew cheese)

So, after throwing the idea back and forth about going dairy free in my daily life for the last two years, I will say this…I can’t get away from cheese.

I grew up in a household where a glass of skim milk accompanied every meal but for some reason that wasn’t too tough to shake. Same goes for ice cream, have’nt had a hard time avoiding that one- frequently opting for fruit as a late night snack if the sugar craving sets in while watching Netflix. It’s the damn cheese that I have a hard time letting go.

I don’t know if anyone else can relate but there is something about a sharp cheddar, creamy brie, or smoked manchego that is irresistible to me. I’ve had all but given up on the matter when a started to read a little about alternative vegan cheeses that won’t leave you disappointed. Check out one of the articles that I found most hopeful!




Alaska restricts king salmon fishing in Susitna, Little Su and upper Inlet

Over the last several years, Alaskans have witnessed their “chinook,” or king, salmon runs continue their downward trend of productivity. This trend ultimately results in fewer spawning adults returning to their natal streams, causing escapement goals to be missed, and potentially fewer young fish to continue their anadromous lifecycle.

Low productivity can also mean fewer opportunities for subsistence, sport and commercial fishers to sustainably harvest king salmon.


Every year, Alaska Department of Fish and Game fishery managers balance their preseason management decisions based on the best available science, while striving to provide opportunity to harvest these magnificent fish. During periods of low productivity, our managers are forced to make tough decisions that might restrict or in some cases close specific rivers or areas to harvest.


While it is unfortunate, the truth is that between unethical sport and commercial fishing practices other species like the pacific king salmon will likely need similar protection and research to prevent total food web collapse. But why are these fish so important….? Well, it has been found that some temperate forests, like those found along the coastal regions of Alaska, actually derive 80% of their nitrogen needs from remains of salmon that are spread across the landscape by other wild life.



“Can blockchain make out food systems more sustainable?”

In our accelerating digital world the use of crypto currencies based on blockchain technology is rapidly increasing. In turn, we have seen a global surge in interest. Though, some have pointed out that while digital records might help reduce physical paper consumption, it still remains a method of operation that requires vast amounts of energy and thus a major contributor to fossil fuel emissions with dated grid systems. There is currently no exact figures on the global energy demand for crypto currencies but estimates from a study in 2014 by the National Institute of Ireland say that crypto alone could equate to an annual energy drain that is similar to that of the entire country of Switzerland…that’s a lot.

But some experts in the tech industry warn that writing of blockchain all together would be a big mistake – especially for our food systems. Simply put, blockchain technology is a way of storing and sharing information across a network of users in an open virtual space. Blockchain technology allows for users to look at all transactions simultaneously and in real-time.

In food, for example, a retailer would know with whom his supplier has had dealings. Additionally, since transactions are not stored in any single location, it is almost impossible to hack the information.

In practice for example, by reading a simple code with a smartphone, data such as an animal’s date of birth, use of antibiotics, vaccinations, and location where the livestock was harvested can easily be conveyed to the consumer.

For farmers, blockchain will allow everyone to be paid more quickly, from farm to plate. Farmers could sell more quickly, and be properly compensated as market data would be readily available and validated.

Blockchain technology could represent a legitimate option for farmers who feel compelled to rely on marketing boards to sell their commodities. Additionally, the use of blockchain could prevent price coercion and retroactive payments, both of which we have seen across the food supply chain.

WR1206732NB-Blockchain and Food Traceability Infographic-2.jpg


Rotten Truths – Lawyers, Guns, and Honey

honey-bees-326337_1920Attached is our class presentation on the Netflix original episode: Lawyers Guns and Honey – Rotten Truths

Lawyers, Guns & Honey


“Kernza and the promise of perennial agriculture”

Early research suggests long-rooted perennial grain crops sequester far more carbon than their annual equivalents and retain it in the soil year over year. Currently, The Land Institute, a non-profit organization in Salina, Kas., is studying the benefits that a particular long-rooted perennial crop, Kernza, could bring if introduced to the global marketplace.

So what is it???

Kernza is an intermediate wheatgrass that was once considered a weed. But thanks to decades of research and selective breeding, Kernza has been developed to produce a sweet nutty grain that can be used as a substitute for less eco-friendly cereal grains. General Mills Inc. is cited by the article as one major food producer that has invested in collaboration with The Land Institute to continue to explore the matter.

“They utilize water and nutrients more efficiently and prevent leaching of nitrogen into the water table. They build soil organic matter while defending themselves against drought and disease…in short, the ecological promises of perennial grains are robust. This new technology, perenniality, represents the closest grain agriculture can come to functioning like natural ecosystems and our best shot, in my opinion, at sustaining human life on this planet for generations to come.”



“Sustainable diets will remain a minefield until we change the way we approach food”

Contemporary sustainable eating can be a challenge! As global supply chains grow and become ever more complex it can be really tough to know where your food comes from. In the hope for change, there is a desperate need for is a consumer’s to use their purchasing power wisely and to be as educated as possible to make choices that are truly sustainable.

“Often, the food labels and ingredients lists that consumers rely on to make purchasing decisions are wholly inadequate. Take meat production, where many of the true costs of production are hidden. We’ve been conditioned by the industry to look out for the “Red Tractor” or “organically certified” symbols as a sign of quality. But where, for example, is the label indicating what the animal was fed on?”


I thought this article did a good job at giving a brief overview of the sustainable food system crisis – pointing to degradation of soil health and conflict between access to information surrounding our foods source as key problems to overcome. The author elaborates by explaining that because of this, we cannot depend on food retailers alone to promote genuinely sustainable consumption. They are, after all, just the visible endpoint of a food system with problems at every stage of the chain. Instead, we should be looking to push for  large scale legislative initiatives as well as take it upon ourselves as individuals to shop responsibly. While I agree with all of the opinions presented in this article, I did feel as if it lacked a convincing road map for how we might improve upon these methods moving forward.



“Greener AND more nutritious: Tomatoes grown with half the water have the same quality plus higher concentration of carotenoids”

Farmers growing cherry tomatoes have found that using half the normal amount of water not only conserves limited resources, but it also yields crops with a higher concentration of carotenoids.

“The reduction in water and energy use is significant, resulting in a green method and cost savings for farmers. Meanwhile, consumers get an environmentally sustainable product that is actually more nutritious than its predecessors.”

I find this fascinating and important because carotenoids are very good for the human body. They help prevent degenerative diseases as well as protect people from cardiovascular disease and cancer. At the same time, these tomatoes can prove to be a sustainable way to produce cherry tomatoes that are good for the environment and for the consumer.