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Archive for : Seattle

Repair Inspiration: Just Say No to Food Waste

When it comes to food in America, two things are clear: we love it and we love to waste it. Each year, American families waste an average of 25% of the food that they buy. That includes the carrot tops, bread ends, and other scraps not used while cooking, and the leftovers that go bad in the fridge before they get eaten. And this number does not even account for the tens of thousands of pounds of food thrown away each year by restaurants and other food service companies.

Now, two very different entities – a chef and a city government – are trying to change that. In Seattle, a new composting law slaps households that do not adequately compost their leftover food with a fine and red tag on their garbage cans. Meanwhile, in New York City, the innovative chef, Dan Barber, (of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns), is working on a high profile, temporary pop up restaurant where every dish will be made from leftovers – stems, peels, bones, and the like. The clever name for the pop up? WastED.

The New York Times reported about both of these compelling stories. Check out the excerpts below and read the whole articles at their website.

Starve a Landfill
By: Kim Severson

“SEATTLE — The nation’s first citywide composting program based largely on shame began here in January. City sanitation workers who find garbage cans filled with aging lettuce, leftover pizza or even the box it came in are slapping on bright red tags to inform the offending household (and, presumably, the whole neighborhood) that the city’s new composting law has been violated.

San Francisco may have been the first city to make its citizens compost food, but Seattle is the first to punish people with a fine if they don’t. In a country that loses about 31 percent of its food to waste, policies like Seattle’s are driven by environmental, social and economic pressure.

But mandated composting reflects a deeper shift in the mood of the nation’s cooks, one in which wasting food is unfashionable. Running an efficient kitchen — where bruised fruit is blended into smoothies, carrot tops are pulsed into pesto, and a juicy pork shoulder can move seamlessly from Sunday supper to Monday’s carnitas to a rich pot of broth for the freezer — is becoming as satisfying as the food itself.” Read more.

Chef Lineup Announced for Dan Barber’s Food Waste Pop-Up, Wasted
By: Florence Fabricant

“A high-profile experiment in wasting nothing will start on March 13 at Dan Barber’s Blue Hill restaurant in Greenwich Village. That’s when the restaurant will turn into a pop-up called wastED, to run through the end of the month, with a menu of dishes devised from leftovers like stems, peelings, rinds and bones, by a roster of guest chefs who will change each evening.” Read more.

Pride Month Events 2013

Not sure how or where to celebrate Pride Month this year? Repair the World has got you covered!

The festivities begin during the last days of May and continue throughout the end of June, and there are events going on all around the country. Check out our roundup of fun, fabulous (and in many cases free!) events, talks, film screenings, parties, marches and shabbat dinners celebrating LGBTQ rights during Pride Month.

May 31: Join Keshet for “Erev” Pride Week Shabbat services and dinner in Sommerville, MA.
June 1: Congregation Am Tikva in Brooklyn, MA is hosting a Pride Liberation Seder – aka a retelling of the story of the LGBT liberation following the Passover seder model.

June 22 and 23: Chicago’s annual Pride Fest helps kick off summer in the second city!
June 24: Congregation Or Chadash is hosting a beach-side BBQ and Shabbat service to launch the city’s Pride Week.

June 14: Shabbat services and a picnic lunch are at the heart of this Keshet-inspired Pride Month event.

Los Angeles
May-June: There are a ton of events going on in West Hollywood before and during Pride Month, from a discussion of LGBTQ rights around the globe on June 18, to the official LA Pride Parade on June 9. For more events in and around Los Angeles, click here.

June 5: Temple Israel of Greater Miami is hosting a ru’ach pride seder, celebrating the freedoms and remembering the challenges of the LGBT community.

New York
June 22: Congregation Beit Simchat Torah is hosting a multigenerational pride picnic in the park.
June 28: Join other New Yorkers for the Pride Week Kickoff Rally at Pier 26.

San Fran
June 9 Keshet is hosting a LGBTQ mixer and Pride Month picnic in Delores Park.
June 28: Join the Jewish Community Federation for a gay pride Shabbat celebration.
June 29-30 San Franciscans know how to party during their annual Pride festival.

June 28: JConnect in Seattle will host their annual Pride Shabbat with services, music, food and mingling.

Washington DC
May 29: Join in on the fun at the Big Queer Jewish Pride Kick Off Happy Hour event hosted at Mova Lounge.
June: The Washington DC JCC’s LGBT group GLOE is hosting several fun events, all worth checking out.
June 8: Join in the annual Capitol Pride Parade, and March with GLOE.

Did we miss a great Pride Month event? We want to hear about it! Share it below or tweet us at @repairtheworld #pridemonth.

Seattle Leads Charge for Fair-Trade Chanukah Gelt

The chocolate coins that Jewish parents give their children on Chanukah can be big or small, and wrapped in silver or gold foil. But almost all gelt is made from chocolate grown by child slaves, Seattle abolitionists say.

According to Robert Breiser, Repair the World director at the University of Washington Hillel, half of the world’s chocolate comes from West Africa, where forced child labor remains a plank in many cocoa plantation’s business plans. The U.S. State Department estimates 100,000 children pick cacao in the Ivory Coast, and 10 percent of them may be enslaved.

“I’ve met some of the folks who’ve been enslaved in the chocolate industry, and some of the things they describe are the worst things you can imagine in the world,” Breiser says. “They work 14-16 hours a day They’re made to sleep in the fields, where there are pesticides and dangerous animals. In some cases, the kids are pretty regularly raped.”

Since chocolate manufacturers such as Hershey’s mix cacao from around the world, it’s nearly impossible for fans of conventional chocolate to avoid supporting the child enslavement system.

Major chocolate companies have thus far resisted calls for reform, repeatedly denying knowledge of abuses and delaying the creation of a certification system for cocoa plantations. One of the few successful ethical chocolate awareness campaigns was staged in Australia, where a children’s boycott of slave-made chocolate persuaded Cadbury to begin producing fair-trade treats.

Closer to home, the human rights organization Global Exchange this year is sponsoring its fifth annual Reverse Trick-or-Treating program, in which participants are asked to swap fair-trade chocolate for the Tootsie Rolls; Reese’s peanut butter cups and other questoinable candies they’re offered on Halloween. And in Seattle, a group of Jewish activists are hoping to incubate a national movement promoting fair-trade Chanukah gelt.

Currently, only two companies — California’s Sweet Earth Organic Chocolates and Divine Chocolate, based in London — produce Chanukah gelt, but Breiser says they can’t keep up with demand. Members of The Kavana Cooperative and the University of Washington Hillel are now trying to persuade Theo Chocolate to join the ranks of fair-trade gelt makers.

“We’re going beyond just finding gelt somewhere,” says Breiser. If more fair-trade gelt was available, he says, more Jews could celebrate the holiday without propping up child exploitation and help raise slavery awareness in their religious communities.

But with Chanukah just two months away, Theo hasn’t made any gelt-related commitments. A spokesperson for the company did not return multiple messages seeking comment.

“Gelt is not a drop in the bucket, we know,” Kavana Cooperative’s executive director Rabbi Rachel Nussbaum says, citing the enormity of the child slavery crisis. “But it’s developing a vision where we can take this issue nationwide.”