Friday, December 31, 2010

It's a recipe!

Here’s a warming recipe for what promises to be a sunny, but chilly New Year’s Day. Keep a pot on the stove for neighbors and friends that might stop by and make an extra batch for the freezer; this will allow you to cozy-up with a good book later in the month, while the scent of your ready-made chowder fills the house.

People's Mexican Corn Chowder

Serves 10 – 12

2 cups yellow potatoes, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil (we like Udo's brand!)
1 1/2 cups yellow onion, diced
1 cup celery, sliced
1 cup red bell peppers, diced
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons tamari
2 teaspoons ume plum vinegar
4 cups corn
4 cups water
1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped
Boil potatoes until just tender, then drain. Sauté the onions, celery, and peppers in olive oil until soft, then add the spices and sauté for 1 minute. Add the tamari, vinegar, potatoes, corn and water, and stir well. Take out 1 cup of the chowder and blend until smooth, then add it back to the chowder and simmer until hot. Add the cilantro and serve.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

It's a recipe!

Sweet Potato Latkes

Sweet potatoes offer a nutritiously delicious alternative to everyday potatoes. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, sweet potatoes are number one in nutrition over all other veggies. Why? Dietary fiber, naturally occurring sugars, complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, iron and calcium.


2 firmly packed cups of grated sweet potato
2 Tbs. grated onion, drained of excess juice
1 Tbs. dried parsley
3 Tbs. cornstarch
pinch garlic powder
pinch onion powder
salt & pepper (to taste)
canola oil for frying
Garnish with vegan sour cream, sprinkling of paprika, and snipped chives or parsley (optional)


Preheat oven to warm (250°). Place potato shreds in a large bowl; sprinkle with remaining ingredients, evenly disperse cornstarch; mix together all ingredients until well combined, keeping potato shreds separated.

In a large skillet over medium-high, heat a thin layer of canola oil to shimmering.

Place approximately 1/4 cup size mounds of the mixture into skillet and press firmly with a spatula so latkes hold together.

After about a minute (enough time for crisp surface to develop), gently loosen bottom of latkes from skillet by sliding a spatula under each one. If latkes appears to want to fall apart, remove spatula, press again from the top and cook for another 30 seconds. Total cook time is approximately 4 minutes on the first side, pressing frequently, to ensure crispiness and checking to make sure latkes are not sticking to skillet.

Carefully flip and cook for another 4 or so minutes on reverse side.

Place on paper towel-lined plate and keep warm in oven while preparing remaining latkes serve with garnish suggestions above.

This delicious dish was brought to you courtesy of the Farm Animal Reform Movement. FARM is a national nonprofit organization promoting a vegan lifestyle through public education and grassroots activism to end the use of animals for food. Learn more by visiting them here.

Friday, November 19, 2010

People’s Mushroom Gravy

You'll need gravy for your table as well, of course. Thanks to Carolina O. from our Facebook page for suggesting that we get this recipe out to you. This recipe makes approximately 10 cups, which you will need, because this gravy rocks the boat!


4 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil

2 cups yellow onions, diced

3 cups mushrooms, sliced thin

3/4 tsp. black pepper

3/4 tsp. sage

1 Tbsp. dill

3 Tbsp. Braggs® Liquid Aminos

2 cups vegetable broth

2 cups soy milk

6 Tbsp. oat flour

6 Tbsp. nutritional yeast

How to make it

Heat the oil. Add onions and mushrooms and sauté until soft, then add the spices. Sauté for 1 more minute, then add the Braggs®, vegetable broth, and 1 cup of the soymilk. Bring to a boil. In a small bowl, combine the rest of the soy milk, flour, and yeast. Mix with a whisk, then add to the pot. Mix well. Heat until thickened. Remove from heat and allow to thicken further.

Cranberry Quinoa Stuffing

At People’s, we’ve run short of stuffing (we ordered 10 cases, and our distributor sent two!) and probably won’t have any in stock during this most stuff-iny-time of the year. Thanks to the folks over at Farm Animal Reform Movement, we do have a great recipe to offer that you and your guests will gobble up. Made from quinoa, the seed from the plant related to spinach, this stuffing recipe is gluten-free and high in protein.


½ oz. dried oyster mushrooms
1 tsp. olive or vegetable oil
1 small onion, diced
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. oregano
2 tsp. thyme
black pepper (to taste)
½ cup cashew pieces
1/3 cup cranberries
½ cup quinoa, uncooked
1 cup vegetable broth

How to make it

1. Rinse quinoa, then in a pot over the stove, add quinoa and 1 cup of broth and bring to a boil.

2. Cover when boiling and reduce to a simmer; cook for 12-15 minutes or until the germ separates from the seed (the cooked germ looks like a tiny curl).

3. Put dried mushrooms in a separate bowl of hot water and set aside.

4. In a large skillet, heat oil and then sauté onion over medium heat.

5. Add salt and let onion cook a few minutes until they’ve sweated a bit.

6. Add herbs, pepper, and cashew pieces and continue to cook for about 5 minutes.

7. While that’s happening, drain mushrooms and chop them up, then add to pan; add cranberries and quinoa and stir.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Not Crying over Spilt Soymilk

from The “Cornucopia” Institute:

CORNUCOPIA, WI – It’s not often that family-scale farmers can go toe-to-toe with a $12 billion agribusiness and come out victors. But organic soybean producers, and a modestly scaled but powerful ally, The Cornucopia Institute, are claiming victory over Dean Foods in the organic marketplace.

Dean Foods, the manufacturer of Silk, the top-selling soymilk drink, was first “outed” in Cornucopia’s May 2009 report, Behind the Bean: The Heroes and Charlatans of the Natural and Organic Soy Foods Industry, for switching its soybean sourcing from American farms to cheaper organic beans from China. Later in 2009, Cornucopia revealed that Dean Foods had then largely abandoned organic soybeans altogether, stealthily changing the soybeans in their core Silk product line from organic to less expensive conventionally grown soybeans that the company was calling “natural.”

The shift away from organic outraged many loyal consumers and alienated retailers across the country that were not informed of the change and continued to inaccurately merchandise Silk products as “organic.”

“Dean Foods has been roundly criticized for taking the organic out of Silk, and now the marketplace and consumers are passing their judgment,” said Mark Kastel, Cornucopia’s senior farm policy analyst. “They took what once was a pioneering 100% organic brand, before they acquired the company in 2003, and cheapened the product at the expense of American farmers and consumers.”

Dean’s purchase of Silk initially excited American farmers who had been selling organic soybeans for use in Silk soymilk. Many thought that Dean would use its marketing prowess to further grow the Silk brand and expand demand for domestic organic soybeans. Instead, the company turned the screws on its farmer-suppliers and demanded that they compete on pricing with Chinese imports – something they were unable to do.

“White Wave (the operating division of Dean Foods that markets Silk and Horizon organic milk) had the opportunity to push organic and sustainable agriculture to incredible heights of production by working with North American farmers and traders to get more land in organic production, but what they did was pit cheap foreign soybeans against the U.S. organic farmer, taking away any attraction for conventional farmers to make the move into sustainable agriculture,” said Merle Kramer, a marketer for the Midwestern Organic Farmers Cooperative.

Dean spokesperson Molly Keveney told the Denver Post that staying with organic beans would have resulted in price increases. This statement stands at odds with the reality of falling farmgate prices for organic soybeans in recent years.

The shift away from organics by Dean in its Silk soymilk products also produced additional embarrassment for and anger at the company when Cornucopia discovered in 2009 that it had failed to change the soymilk product’s packaging to overtly reflect that it was being made with “natural” soybeans. Cornucopia filed a formal complaint with the USDA’s National Organic Program over the matter. The company ultimately corrected its misrepresentation.

“Consumers and retailers repeatedly reported to us that they were deceived and ended up unknowingly buying Silk products with conventional soybeans,” said Kastel. “We know of numerous retailers that ultimately pulled Silk products from their store shelves over the gross misrepresentation of the soymilk product,” Kastel added.

The Cornucopia Institute maintains a soy foods scorecard on its website (, which provides information and ratings of soymilk and various soy foods and rates them on the integrity of their production (including whether brands buy from American family farmers or from China). The scorecard can be used by consumers and wholesale buyers to make purchasing decisions that support their values.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Meet Monte

Introducing to the world . . .
Monte Alexander Raven born to proud parents Jennifer and Desirae Raven on August 16, 2010. Mr. Raven was born at home in a birth tub and weighed in at a wonderful 7 pounds and 12 ounces with a length of 21 inches. Monte enjoys warm baths, snuggling with his moms, hats, listening to wind chimes and his grandfathers flute music.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Vote No on Prop 16

Currently, California state law gives local elected officials the right to arrange to provide electricity within their jurisdiction through a contract with an electricity provider other than investor-owned utilities. If Proposition 16 is approved by voters, it will take a two-thirds vote of the electorate before a public agency could enter the retail power business. This will make it more difficult than it is currently for local entities to form either municipal utilities, or community wide clean electricity districts called Community Choice Aggregators (CCAs).

People’s strongly supports a consumer’s right to choose their power source and recommends a No vote on proposition 16 in the upcoming June election.

Click here to learn more

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Hemp is our history week

Celebrate Hemp History Week on Monday, May 17th at the La Jolla Brew House. It’ll be a free night of industrial hemp product giveaways, entertainment, hemp beer and more! As part of the night’s celebration, the Brew House will be honoring the late Jack Herer —one of the greatest hemp activists of our time — with a screening of “Hemp for Victory”, a U.S. Government video that the government tried to deny existed until Jack rediscovered it.

The evening’s main presenter will be Dion Markgraff editor and historian of the hemp plant. Also speaking will be David Bronner, a former board member of Vote Hemp and a member of the Dr. Bronner family.

The La Jolla Brew House is located at 7536 Fay Street in La Jolla. (858) 456-6279

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Public Right-to-Know About Chemicals

For the first time, the U.S. EPA is providing web access, free of charge, to the Toxic Substances Control Act Chemical Substance Inventory. This inventory contains a consolidated list of thousands of industrial chemicals maintained by the agency. The EPA is making this information available on This action represents a move by the EPA to increase the transparency of chemical information while the agency continues to push for legislative reform of the 30 year old Toxic Substances Control Act, (TSCA). Currently, there are more than 84,000 chemicals manufactured, used, or imported in the United States listed on the TSCA Inventory, yet the EPA is unable to publicly identify nearly 17,000 of these chemicals because the chemicals have been claimed as confidential business information by the manufacturers under the TSCA.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Congress Looks At Child Nutrition

March 18, 2010

The Food Institute reports that child nutrition has been an issue very dear to the Obama administration and earlier this month the House of Representative’s Agriculture Appropriation Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies held an overview hearing regarding the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act with several important witnesses from industry and academia.

Chairwoman Rose DeLauro opened the hearing, commenting that it is chilling to her how many children do not have enough to eat, and there is also a need to be concerned about the nutritional quality of what children are eating. She does not like the characterization of people and children being called “food insecure.” In her view, they are simply hungry. 69% of all children participating in the school lunch program in public schools qualify for free or reduced school lunches. In rural areas, too many households qualifying for federal food assistance programs do not participate in them, including 55% of those eligible for the National School Lunch Program, and 92% of those eligible for the Child and Adult Care Food Program.

She said members of the Subcommittee share the Administration’s two main priorities: reducing barriers and improving access to combat childhood hunger; and enhancing nutritional quality and the health of the school environment.
A number of issues were discussed and there were several key items touched upon, including:

  • USDA expects to publish revised school meal standards based on the Institute of Medicine recommendations by the end of this year, but additional resources will be required since foods meeting the new standards are likely to be more expensive;
  • Improving access to federal child nutrition programs, including through simplification of the application process and direct certification;
  • Increasing the federal reimbursement rate for school meals conditioned upon the additional funds used for improved meals;
  • There are alternative strategies for dealing with obesity that deserve consideration;
  • The nutrition environment has changed over the years and is likely an important factor in current concerns about obesity.

Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services at USDA, Kevin Concannon testified that the President’s Administration is concerned about a number of issues and:

  • Wants to bring meals up to the standards recommended by the Institute of Medicine;
  • Wants to provide increases in meal reimbursement rates with increases tied to improving the quality of the meals being served;
  • Establish nutrition standards for competitive foods sold as part of a la carte meals or in vending machines;
  • Establish competitive grants to encourage the consumption of healthier foods;
  • Enhance school food safety capabilities.

Dr. Kelly D. Brownell, Professor of Psychology, Epidemiology and Public Health, Director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, Yale University, focused his views on increasing the availability of healthy foods, particularly fresh, and cutting the amount of sugar in foods. He said that the current nutrition environment encourages unhealthy consumption. Food portions are too large, using big drinks and big muffins as examples. Three meals a day is viewed as “not enough.” He urged taking action to create “better default environments.”

He was also critical of food marketing to children, suggesting that there has been “scant progress by industry” in improving the messages provided to children, and would like to see all food advertising banned in schools.

To help in those efforts he Dr. Brownell recommended a one-cent per ounce tax on sugar-containing beverages, with the revenues used for nutrition education programs. He claims that he has received a number of calls from around the country in support of this concept, and that he would not be surprised if various localities adopted this policy recommendation on their own. He believes that the tax would reduce the consumption of sugar-containing beverages from 50 gallons per capita to 38.5 gallons per capita.

Dr. Mariana Chilton – Principal Investigator, GROW Project/Witness to Hunger, Co-Principal Investigator, Children’s Health Watch, Drexel University School of Public Health Children’s Health Watch believes children’s health is turning to the worse. She noted that in Philadelphia, one in three people does not have enough money for food. She expects USDA to issue revised school meal nutrition standards based upon the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine by the end of the year and sees a need to develop a strategy to document the effectiveness of efforts to end childhood hunger by 2015.

Scott Faber – Vice President for Federal Affairs, Grocer Manufacturers Association stated that GMA believes that more resources are needed in the program to enable the purchase of food choices meeting more stringent nutrition sources, and that there should be standards for all foods sold to students in schools. He pointed out that 10,000 product changes have been made in recent years to reduce calories, fats, sugars and sodium.

Zoë Neuberger – Senior Policy Analyst, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:
The Center supports the Hunger Free Schools Act, introduced by Congressman David Loebsack of Iowa to provide school-wide eligibility for school meal programs. When schools are in areas of high poverty, it does not make sense to spend money processing applications to find a small number of students as not eligible for a program. The Center believes that if the legislation is adopted 10,000 schools could qualify if 40 percent or more of the school’s students were directly certified as eligible for the program.

Congressman Farr commented that The Child Nutrition Program is #3 in terms of paperwork, with the IRS being number one and said “bureaucratic barriers” are 60% of their costs and asked Under Secretary Concannon What can be done to reduce these barriers who responded that USDA wants to simplify the program, and is using resources Congress provided to increase the use of direct certification.

Congressman Bishop stated that The School Nutrition Program was one of his best experiences growing up. He agrees with Dr. Brownell that changes in lifestyle have contributed to nutrition problems and saluted the American Beverage Association for its cooperation with the First Lady. He is not sure that the idea of the beverage tax suggested by Dr. Brownell is a good idea though.

Chairwomen DeLauro asked if the Grocery Manufacturers support standards for competitive foods? And Mr. Farber responded they will noting that the industry has done several things to improve operations that should be considered, has changed advertising and reformulated products to meet the Dietary Guidelines.

Child nutrition is certain to be discussed much more in future hearings and there will be much more activity in Congress on this front that will affect not only children but the food industry as well.

Be sure to check out the Food Institute at which will be monitoring developments each day in its daily newsletter, Today In Food, and each week The Food Institute Report.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Earth Hour

On Saturday, March 27th 2010 at 8:30 p.m. hundreds of millions of people around the world will turn off their lights for one hour, symbolically calling for action on climate change. Learn more by visiting

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Wake Up Call

Whether it was sirens blasting in the middle of the night or the recent news headlines about safety violations and delays in the repairs to the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, area residents have increasing concerns over the state of nuclear power in southern California.

The Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility believes the problems at SONGS deserve to be reviewed in an open and transparent process by state agencies, elected representatives, all first responders, and the NRC. Nuclear ³safety² is under NRC jurisdiction, although emergency planning is shared by local, state and federal authorities. Under whose jurisdiction is the damage to the public¹s perception of safety from these recent scenarios? Economics and reliability of power generation are under California jurisdiction‹and what do these delays and mishaps cost for the power that was supposed to be ³too cheap to meter?²

Local residents can get updated information on nuclear issues affecting California from Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility outreach coordinator, David Weisman.

For more information, please visit the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility

Saturday, February 20, 2010

GE Alfalfa Threatens Organic Agriculture

Organic farmers and consumers of organic meat and dairy products need to make their voices heard with comments to the USDA about the proposed approval of genetically engineered Roundup Ready alfalfa. The USDA's draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) approves of releasing the new crop into the environment, despite known risks genetically modified alfalfa poses to organic livestock agriculture.

Alfalfa is a perennial plant and the fourth most widely grown crop in the U.S. It is a fundamental source of livestock forage and a relatively cheap source of protein for organic ruminants, as well as adding valuable nitrogen to the soil. Because bees can carry alfalfa pollen for up to 4-6 miles, potential contamination from a neighbor's field, even miles away, renders useless buffer strips and other devices typically employed with genetically engineered corn and soybean crops. These pesky bees just won't respect fence lines and 'no trespassing' signs!

Click here to view Cornucopia's action alert for more background and details on how to submit comments to the USDA on this important issue

Speak OUT Against Monsanto

WHAT: On Sunday, Feb. 21, several organizations and social networking sites will join in a protest against Monsanto’s patent domination over OUR food supply. Monsanto is one of the largest producers of genetically engineered (GE) seed, and developed the milk producing hormone rBGH for dairy cattle. This company is also the developer of numerous PCBs, Agent Orange, DDT, and is responsible for persecuting small (and large) farmers.

WHY: To halt the most powerful threat to the safety of OUR food supply from GE foods and fibers, and to promote a safe and affordable food supply from non-patented, non-GE seeds.

WHEN: Sunday, Feb. 21, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
WHERE: San Diego Convention Center, at Fifth Ave, and Harbor Drive. Banners and signs are encouraged.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Permaculture: Getting Started

Permaculture is an approach to designing agricultural systems (and human settlements) that mimic the relationships found in natural ecologies; a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature.

You don’t need to be a farmer to begin integrating permaculture methods into your garden or yard.

Click here to read an article by Jim Ruen on how to begin with subtle changes.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Earthquake Relief Fund

The Cooperative Development Foundation's (CDF) Cooperative Emergency Fund is accepting donations for Haiti recovery. Donations will be used to help cooperatives and cooperators affected by the earthquake to rebuild their facilities and their lives. CDF is working with ACDI/VOCA and the NRECA International Foundation, who run cooperative development programs in Haiti, to send volunteer cooperators to help in this effort. CDF does not take any fee or charge any overhead for any use of its Emergency Fund, so every cent donated will go toward helping cooperatives and cooperators affected by the earthquake.

Donations made through Google checkout will not be assessed any processing fee due to a grant received from Google.

CDF has received and distributed over $275,000 for cooperative relief and recovery for disasters including the 1997 flooding in North Dakota, the 1998 Kenyan embassy bombing, the 2001 earthquake in El Salvador, the 2004 Asian tsunami, and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. If you would like to contribute on-line, please go to If you would like to contribute by check, please make it payable to Cooperative Development Foundation, note that it is for Haiti, and send it to:

Cooperative Development Foundation

2011 Crystal Drive, Suite 800

Arlington, VA 22202

If you have any questions, please contact Steve Thomas, CDF's Executive Director, at (703) 302-8093 or

Friday, January 8, 2010

States Ban Practices that Support CAFOs

Several states recently banned specific practices that are common in CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations), taking small steps to level the playing field for more sustainable farms. California outlawed the amputation of dairy cows' tails, and Michigan passed a law phasing out restrictive crates for veal calves and pregnant sows, and tiny "battery" cages for egg-laying chickens, used to pack many animals together in a small space. Arizona, California, Florida, Maine, Colorado, and Oregon had previously acted to ban crates and battery cages, which, along with tail docking, are unnecessary practices that serve only to make large, polluting CAFOs viable. Meanwhile, examples abound of farmers successfully working with nature rather than against it to produce animal products without the problems associated with CAFOs. Listen to this recent National Public Radio story about one Ohio dairyman's efforts to transform the industry and produce fresher, more flavorful milk from cows on pasture.