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Changing the world starting from one’s dining table

On the road to a resort in Lianga, Surigao del Sur late on October 28, our Grassroots Documentation and Reporting Training Team talked about the application of science in the food that we eat.

It was a humorous but “meaty” chatter. The usual one you get into inside the vehicle while heavy rains slow your trip down. A check on the time piece showed dinner should go ahead before check in.

We talked about the chicken in the fast food chains. We talked about the poultry products in our breakfast table. Then the conversation extended to the synthetics of food preparation in the world of fast food chains and how they alter way of life and relationships. Fast food vs. slow food. Old vs. new ways to prepare food. We also talked about that World Toilet Summit in Beijing (yeah, but that’s another thing.)

Just a week before, I sat next to a Vegan. Is that how you call people who live on plant-based diet?

So I had some inputs to make in the car ‘conversation’: that natural diet is a healthier choice.

When we arrived at the resort and dinner was served later, I was shocked to find fried chicken on the table. Wew! While most of us skipped it at least as the main course, I find it very funny.The caterer later on told us they failed to follow the agreed food requirements.

We usually have nice conversations on health and diet; very nice,  that we often do not see them in our decisions and actions.

The simple reflection I got during the chatter was quiet an awakening.

If I want to correct what for me were unhealthyfood  decisions, I should rather start it on my dining table.

Back in Malaybalay, I wanted to bring the reflection closer to home.

I immediately shared about the advantages of this diet choice. I felt it was welcomed, in the light homecoming conversation. But I realized its not going to be easy.

When you are not the only one deciding in the kitchen, the market day, and the budget, there will be complications on your desire to initiate or explore a healtheir diet.

This thing about science, technology and food is quite a sensitive topic at home. Because of preferences and primarily due to the lack of time to prepare with everyone working for a living and not being able to afford hiring a househelp.

I realized it requires mass-based, proper and open consultations with every one concerned at home. It requires education about diet, health, among other things.

We even need rules on how to talk about it (why and how are we going to change the menu that has been our choice through time?) We need information and communication. We need not only one-sided information dissemination. We need to listen to one another. (Now this sounds like the peace process between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front already.).

Anyway, we also cannot miss out on the environment or the market.

The poultry industry, despite the talk of unhealthy hybrid/synthetic-based production (millions of eggs in how many days?) is a big and multi-million industry.

If you look at trimming it down you are looking at cutting on the feeds sector, and eventually the corn industry for example.

From my window in Kalasungay, I can smell the odor of poultry farms in Patpat, our neighbor village in Malaybalay City.

What I thought are micro personal choices and basic human rights will have bearing on the world economy!

Likewise, the choices we make in our kitchens are  affected by the choices offered by the market. Its an economic structure embedded into our way of life.

I remembered a colleague expressed his potent view over that dinner in Lianga: “That’s why most of us often get sick” and “that’s why doctors and hospitals are making money.”

Who is winning if we are losing? Such a formidable foe I supposed.

I missed the forum organized by anti- GMO (genetically modified organism) groups (sorry for this label) or should I say pro-organic farming groups last week in Bukidnon State University where Bt Talong took centerstage.It should have been a venue for critical information.

We all need to look at these options laid on the table by modern science and technology. Science does wonders, too. I think what we must remember is that “modern” doesn’t always mean healthy.

That’s why I still wanted to offer my two-cents worth in the big cloud and inter-gallactic movement for change.

I start going natural and fry-free food for breakfast, at least. I hope it will snowball into something more significant.(The folks at home do not entirely like this move at all.)

But like the ripple effect, it starts from baby steps.

Maybe if we change what we eat for meals at home, we help change the landscape of our farms and plantations.  (End)

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EO 765: Good for bakers, bad for corn farmers

First published in MindaNews.com. President Arroyo signed Executive Order 765 in December 2008  claiming that  “reduction on tariff on food wheat would help stabilize the price of bread and other baked food products.” Unfortunately, former agriculture secretary Leonardo Montemayor said in a report that the order did not only include the lifting of tariff on importation of food wheat or milling wheat, the ingredient used to produce bread, but also on feed wheat, which like corn, is used as animal feed.

Excess feed wheat supply brought by the zero tariff has competed with local corn supply, Roderico Bioco founding chair of the Philippine Maize Federation Inc. told MindaNews.

The implementation of EO 765 has led to an estimated P6-billion losses in income for corn farmers and at least P1-billion loss in revenues for government, Montemayor, now a member of the House representing of the ABA-AKO party list, said.

The lowest price for yellow corn was P6.50 per kilo or P6, 500 per MT, lower than the production cost of P10.

The  Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) reported  last week that the price of corn had dropped from P 9 per kilo to P7.50 during a five-week period.

The executive order was effective until June 2009 but favoring sectors, including the livestock feed millers lobbied for the extension. The corn industry stakeholders such as the Philippine Maize Federation Inc. and ABA AKO party list lobbied against the extension. Read More…

Bishop Pacana: Let there be no silence in the peace process

While praying for silence in the battlefields, Bukidnon Bishop Honesto Pacana called on both government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to keep on talking and never to allow times of silence in the peace process.

Pacana said the silence of the guns is not enough unless there is continuing dialogue between the two parties.

The bishop described to MindaNews the peace process situation at the moment as “experiencing silence.” He said the ongoing hostilities are a proof of that as he appealed for a continuing peace process.

He has called for prayers among the Catholics for peace as they celebrate Christmas in his homily for the first morning mass on December 16 at the San Isidro Cathedral.

He has appealed to the faithful to include in their prayers peace in the country, especially in Mindanao.

Pacana said even if Bukidnon is not directly within conflict areas related to the GRP-MILF problem, it has its own peace issues.

Read a full report on MindaNews.com.


Teodoro’s take on peace: be practical

Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro wants to approach peace with a “strong dose of practicality, pragmatism and political realism” as he questioned the approach of solving the root causes of conflict” because “has any society been able to solve the root causes of conflict?”

He told the 8th Mindanao Island Conference of the Provincial Board Members League of the Philippines on Wednesday night that the first lesson he learned in approaching the problem of peace and order is to do it with “the backing of some values and some idealism and with strong dose of practicality, pragmatism, and political realism”. Read More…

Rethinking campus journalism

The better way to teach journalism in campus is to train them to write for life.

Perhaps, that’s a motherhood phrase.

What I really wanted to say is to go beyond competition mode.

The holding of competitions to test the skills of school children on campus journalism might have worked to a certain point.

But making the students practice campus journalism more might do miracles and fish more youth to the craft of factual reporting. Read More…

In Bukidnon, medicine supply woes traced to price

The lack of medicines in Bukidnon provincial hospitals and health stations has been blamed on failures in the bidding process, more specifically to the Capitol’s low approved budget for contract (ABC) or price index.

It was reportedly pegged at 2004 rates, a provincial legislative inquiry has discovered.

This seems a simple problem of public policy. But what could be the reaction of every Jose, Caring, and Juana when they are told about this in the front lines, say, in the out patient department of public hospitals?

The public, especially the indigents, are repeatedly being told of the “no available medicines” situation despite the province’s supposed “award-winning” flagship program on health. Read More…

The Outsider

Traveling to communities have brought me to many experiences —mostly encounters of acquiantances.

You just don’t get to meet a person or group of people, you get to meet and have a chance to be in touch with their culture, their history, and their varying experiences.

The different-ness and uniqueness at the point of my contact with them result to dialogues (and sometimes when less fortunate about it, insightful frictions). It makes for wonderful insights, some of which figure in some of my writings/ reports. Read More…