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Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Cooking for Change: TorontoTheBetter talks with Lori Nichols Davies about Better Food For All

Lori Nichols-Davies is a passionate cook, a cook with a message, and a mission to change our lives. Since the mid-90’s, and over thirty years of research and development on nutrition, with a multiplicity of reasearchers and professionals, she has been acting on her realization that if we are what we eat and what we eat is unhealthy, then it follows we will be unhealthy. She operates The Holistic Cooking Academy of Canada [the ToorntotheBetter listing is at http://www.torontothebetter.net/2Bholisticooking.htm] , which is expanding to Toronto, from Ottawa, in spring, 2009. It is a train the chef programme for serious “cookers”, aka chefs of all kinds. The evidence supports her. The exploding North American incidence of obesity and diabetes is now well known, but perhaps even more acutely concerning is the conclusion of North America’s largest recent survey (from the American Institute for Cancer Prevention) that 30% of North American cancers can be attributed to avoidable lifestyle issues, including, eminently, what we eat. So, what Lori talks about in her books, presentations and cooking classes, is important, arguably one of the most important public issues of our time. We all eat, and the choices we make are matters of life and death.

So, how did Lori act on her realization? Starting from her experience as a personal chef and a small set of client referrals, Lori, a self-designated maverick, found her own ways of reaching out to those interested in eating for good health. Cooking lessons, TV and radio appearances, conference demonstrations and 14 books in her "Enlightened Home Chef" series have followed, an innovative part of the growing global green industrial sector, a nutrition-centred idea of cooking that embraces all aspects of our lives, from what we ingest to what we think and how we feel.

Like most radicals, Lori is impatient with mainstream actors who just don’t get her message. She roasts “stupid PhD’s” and bureaucrats boxed in and blinded by regulations. When you’re in a hurry placeholders are downpressors, standing in the way of better lives for all, and, in the case of food, of longer and healthier lives.

All well and good. My question for Lori about how we can take her idea of holistic cooking from the smart insights of a cooking insider to make them practical options for everybody drew this response: “Cheap food is expensive” and “grow your own is the cheap option”. She’s right, of course. But if these ideas are as important as they seem to be, and Lori’s holistic notion of food, makes it much more than just a necessity of life which comes with the territory, then as citizens we have a responsibility to make the good the normal. For instance, as a Spanish speaking friend of mine replied when I recited the generous sentiment “mi casa es su casa”, not everybody has a house. When it comes to the “expensive” long term effects of cheap food, in the long term we’re all dead, and for many the Macdonald’s on the corner that needs no car, or transit or cab to get to is the accessible and doable option for eating. As for growing your own food, not everybody has a garden, in fact fewer and fewer in today’s economy. So, if we’re to implant Lori’s ideas in the mainstream and so make everybody’s lives better, we have need to think hard about how to do that.

The means to meet the challenges are traditional if not easy: political action, education, legislation, and regulation. And all of these require political will. If politicians don’t have the will to regulate fast food, provide land for urban agriculture or mandate better institutional nutrition for instance, then citizens must compel them to do it. We can all start by helping to spread the better nutrition message, informally, through people we know. And by learning more about the many issues involved, from genetically modified foods, to urban agriculture. TorontotheBetter requires TorontotheHealthier. And TorontotheHealthier requires TorontotheBetterFed.

For more food information and political action, see theToronto Food Policy Council.

Taodhg Burns for TorontotheBetter

Canadian Responsible Investment Conference 2009

The Social Investment Organization has organized the Canadian Responsible Investment Conference 2009: Sustainable investing in unprecedented times at The Fort Garry Hotel, Winnipeg; June 7-9, 2009:


--Join us in June for the Canadian Summit on socially responsible investment

With the headlines full of economic uncertainty, this conference will explore how socially responsible investment (SRI) is responding to current market volatility. Sessions on climate change, green investing, community investing, retail markets and institutional investment will provide insight and hope for how SRI can point a way forward through the current market turmoil. Whether you are actively involved in SRI or want to know more, the Canadian Responsible Investment Conference offers an accessible, comprehensive program to learn about SRI.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Toronto Wobblies at Hamilton Anarchist Book Fair, 6 June 2009

The Toronto branch of the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World, aka Wobblies) will be conducting a workshop and will have an information table at Ontario's Second Annual Anarchist Book Fair:

Hamilton's 2nd Annual Anarchist Bookfair
Date: June 6, 2009
Time: 10am - 4pm
Place: Westdale High School
700 Main St. West Hamilton, ON

After last year's success, Common Cause is once again organizing the
Hamilton Anarchist Book Fair. In a city with a vibrant history of struggle and in a time
of deep political and economic crisis, the Book Fair presents a unique opportunity for
people coming together to network, learn and build community. Don't miss this opportunity!

Child care and lunch provided. Free admission (donations welcome).

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Rachel De Stilj at Carrot City exhibition

Today I received a suggestion to...

Check out these Toronto photos from an artist featured in the Carrot City urban agriculture exhibition at the Design Exchange until April 30th.

The artist is Rachel De Stilj, and the photos are definately worth checking out...

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

With a little help for our friends

On May 17 – 19th we’ll be selling our cuffs, chains and bangles to support Toronto’s dog and cat rescues.

A big fundrasing event our friend Candice’s cat rescue has been invited to participate in. They will be having a booth at Pawsway, www.pawsway.ca , on May 17, 18, 19. There will be over 20 dog and cat rescues invited to set up booths to sell items and raise awareness- hundreds of people are expected to attend over the three days at the Pawsway centre. Check it out at www.northtorontocatrescue.com

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Make Custom Shampoos and Conditioners; Watch Orgasm Inc.

I recently received the following two invitations, and thought I'd repost them here:

Make Custom Shampoos and Conditioners
When: April 24, 6 to 8 pm
Where: Anarres Natural Health, College & Ossington
Cost: $30 pre-paid, $25 each when you register with a friend, $50 the day of and drop in.

Register at: http://www.anarreshealth.ca/catalog/12/workshopslabs_events

Caught in a vicious cycle of flaky scalp, frizzy hair, then oily scalp, lifeless hair? That's the cycle if you are using almost any shampoo. Sodium Laurel/th Sulfate strips the scalp, causing dandruff, over production of oil, and can even lead to hair loss.

This hands-on workshop will have you discovering the secrets of natural hair care using real soaps, enriching ingredients and essential oils for scalp health and radiant hair. You'll learn how to identify your hair's needs, and choose the ingredients that will work best for you.

You'll make a custom shampoo, and a custom conditioner. You'll come away with 200 ml of products you've made for yourself, or as a gift, and skills that can serve you for a lifetime for a fraction of the cost of a high quality organic shampoo and conditioner!

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Come As You Are is sponsoring the screening of Orgasm Inc. as part of Hot Docs Documentary Film Festival.

From the festival website: Forty-three per cent of American women suffer from female sexual dysfunction. Or do they? Can female sexual dysfunction even be considered a disease, or is it only marketed as one by profit-hungry pharmaceutical companies looking to create demand in need of a supply?

After editing porn to be used in research conducted by the drug company Vivus-which was racing against Big Pharma firms to develop a Viagra equivalent for women-documentary filmmaker Liz Canner set out to dissect the corporate commoditization of perfectly normal sexual problems. Along the way, Canner encounters a sex shop owner who crashes pharmaceutical conferences to educate the doctors who attend, a vintage vibrator collector who provides insight into the history of female "hysteria," an orgasmatron, and a man whose monkeys have taught him to pay more attention to women.

Upbeat, engaging, enlightening, and provocative, Orgasm, Inc. will change the way you think about sex.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

2 Important Events

April 17 : Earth alert - raising environmental consciousness

Event Summary: Climate change is with us. A decade ago it was conjecture, now the future is unfolding before our eyes. Now, more than ever, Mother Earth needs us to tread as lightly on her as possible. But, how do we change the deeply embedded lifestyles and habits? Join us for an insightful workshop with him at the Multifaith centre, University of Toronto. Check event details and RSVP at http://www.urbanedgeyoga.com/index.php?d=inSpirit2009&p=earthAlert .



April 18 : Beyond vegetarianism - a mouthful of spirituality

Event Summary : People tend to think that the way we eat is the way it always has been and the way it always will be. But food is in constant flux, traveling all over the world and taking root from one continent to the next. Come join hands with Toronto’s bustling Vegan community and make a wish for a change in Status Quo. Employ the power of sound vibration or Kirtan yoga. Check details and RSVP at http://www.urbanedgeyoga.com/index.php?d=inSpirit2009&p=vegan