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Olga Bonfiglio is a Huffington Post contributor and author of Heroes of a Different Stripe: How One Town Responded to the War in Iraq. She has written for several magazines and newspapers on the subjects of food, social justice and religion. She currently volunteers on a small dairy farm in southwest Michigan.
Big Government and Big Corporations Befriend the Local Food Movement
The local food movement is one of the great trends to hit the country over the past decade. What isn't widely known is that the federal government, some big corporations and a variety of non-profit and small business organizations are stepping up to encourage the growth and viability of a local food system in order to give people of all income levels access to local food that is healthier, safer and fresher.
Thursday, December 22, 2011(1 comments)
The War in Iraq Is Over--Not
Members of the Kalamazoo Nonviolent Opponents of War (KNOW) held their usual Sunday peace vigil in front of the Federal Building in downtown Kalamazoo as they have been doing since September 1, 2002. And, it doesn't look as though they are going away despite President Obama's declaration of the end of the war in Iraq.
Van Jones Has An Answer
Who can possibly muster hope in the face of the declining job market, an assault on the middle class, environmental degradation, financial ruination, dismemberment of public services and the high cost of education? After hearing Van Jones speak, I wish I were 20 again.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Urban planting: Turning blight into bounty in the inner city
Here is an excerpt from an article I wrote about Catholic spirituality and urban gardens that was published as a cover story in US Catholic magazine. This illustrates the growing interest and importance of this grassroots movement that is transforming our overwrought national food system.
Hiroshima Day Reflection on Nuclear Weapons
It's been 66 years since the bombing of Hiroshima and many people have been trying to rid the world of these viciously dangerous, exorbitantly expensive and wildly unnecessary weapons. Read why and how both peace activists and Cold War hawks are doing it.
How I Became a "Rail Fan"
Trains are a "green" way to travel and a key component of our public transportation system. They avoid the hassles of freeway driving and the expense of auto parking or the long waits and delays of the airport. And, they are just plain fun to ride.
Saturday, May 21, 2011(1 comments)
Book Review: Basics with a Twist
I'm not one for cookbooks but Basics with a Twist by Kim Sanwald has truly inspired me to transform my own cooking with the same zeal and enthusiasm as Julie when she went through Julia Child's classic, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011(7 comments)
Rwanda, a Light for the World
Seventeen years ago today began a 100-day genocide in Rwanda where a million people perished--and the world just sat and watched it happen.
Monday, March 7, 2011(5 comments)
Mardi Gras Reflection: Food's Impact on Re-Building New Orleans
In an odd sort of way, Hurricane Katrina helped to make New Orleans an incredible laboratory not only for understanding the role and importance of a city's food system but for recognizing the importance of food as an essential tool for community building.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011(2 comments)
Southwestern Michigan caught winter's blast last week. It gave me an opportunity to consider some new meaning in the value of energy and its effect on life both at home and in my community.
Women and the Arts Will Mostly Likely Change the World
Kurt Cobb wrote a suspense novel about peak oil especially for women because they generally make decisions for the household and because the book addresses one of the most serious problems in our world today that's not being talked about. Of course, men should read it as well.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011(3 comments)
Citizens Urge Congressman to Vote No on Health Care Repeal Bill
Activists in Michigan's Sixth District (Kalamazoo) expressed their opposition to the repeal of the Obama health care bill. They met outside Congressman Fred Upton's office on Tuesday afternoon urging a telephone campaign to get him to change his support for the repeal bill.
How Music Helped Save New Orleans After Katrina
Even in the midst of their own gloom over Hurricane Katrina's destruction where homes and neighborhoods were crushed and where there was little infrastructure and not much support from state or federal government, music helped many evacuees rebuild their lives with a strong hope in the future and a deep connection to a place they loved.
Sunday, August 1, 2010(3 comments)
Climate Change Begets Delta Urbanism
The famous canals of The Netherlands are water control systems that help in the battle against the ever-encroaching North Sea. Now the Dutch are faced with rising seas due to climate change and seeking solutions through a prob.
Friday, July 23, 2010(3 comments)
Why I Garden
These days, whenever I introduce myself, I say I'm a professor, a freelance writer, and a volunteer on a non-commercial organic farm and goat dairy. That last identity is a new one since a year ago last April. Although my new venture is not a typical academic endeavor, learning how to garden and farm was a conscious and deliberate choice that came out of several considerations.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
The Race to the Top
In a world full of unsettling and fast-paced change and uncertainty, one particularly bright light shined through last night: the 2010 graduating class of Kalamazoo Central High School.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
A Sense of Home and a Sense of Place
This oil spill is a tragedy of ecology and culture that will surely mark this second decade of the 21st century. It also represents the consequences of our belief that we have no limits to growth and that consumerism is good. This is a hangover of 20th century industrialization that led us not only to build one of the world's great civilizations but now to oversee its very dismantling.
Friday, May 21, 2010(1 comments)
The threat to the bayou didn't happen last month with the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010(3 comments)
The Economics of Organic Farming
Growing local organic food may be the best path toward economic recovery. It may also be key to building stronger and healthier communities.
So What Passes for Food These Days?
The pervasiveness of genetically-engineered (GE) food in America provides a glimpse of the ethical lapse our corporations and government have come to in allowing such food on the market--without American consumers knowing it.
20th Anniversary of the Opening of the Berlin Wall
The opening of the Berlin Wall twenty years ago today was not only an accident but it was a dramatic dénoument to a number of events that led to the end of the Cold War. The process of dismantling the Eastern Bloc, however, was accelerated because of the collective failure of nerve by Communist Party elites who didn't know what to do when the Soviet Union was not there to protect them anymore.
Saturday, October 31, 2009(6 comments)
Do We Know What We're Doing in Afghanistan?
We've spent over eight years in Afghanistan with no prospect of leaving, no clear mission and no consistent strategy. Yet, we are poised to send more soldiers and pour billions more dollars into a place that has been called the “graveyard of empires.”
Sunday, October 25, 2009(1 comments)
Who Ya Gonna Call in an Environmental Disaster?
Nine out of ten Americans now live in places of significant risk due to climate change according to FEMA. A recent UN report concludes that the whole world is at risk due to climate change, deteriorating ecosystems and the expansion of poverty. FEMA's new director, Craig Fugate, plans to handle the increased risk of disaster in the US by relying on the American public.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
These Weeds Aren't Made for Whacking
There's a lot more to know about weeds than most people expect. In fact, there are quite a few surprises there if you become familiar with the plant life growing in an uncultivated field—especially on a vacant city lot.
Water, Water—Not Everywhere
This article discusses the water shortages in the arid and semi-arid West and the environmental effects they bring to the region and the whole country. Unfortunately, most Americans are unaware of these problems and most Westerners seem to be in denial of them.
Urban Agriculture as a Career Path
Tom Howe, 19, a freshman at Wayne State University, wants to be an urban farmer. While this may seem an unusual career goal for a young man of the twenty-first century, let alone one from an upscale middle class suburb of Detroit, Howe is emblematic of a national trend of young people looking for sustainable ways to make a difference in their world.
Friday, May 29, 2009(2 comments)
Who Wants to Be George W. Bush?
Private citizen George W. Bush poked his head out from his quiet, exclusive Dallas neighborhood last night to give his first major speech since leaving office. Quite a performance in revisionist history!
Monday, May 18, 2009(3 comments)
Back to the 'Old Normal' of Domesticity
My resolve to learn how to garden wasn't just a notion for a new pastime or a move toward hip liberalism. Rather, it was my response to global warming and in particular, the depletion of fossil fuels, which has a direct effect on our food system.
Thursday, April 2, 2009(2 comments)
It's Human Security, Stupid, Not National Security
"Human security" is a more effective strategy for world peace than "national security," which is focused on building "the biggest, most muscular missiles and defense in the world," says Jody Williams. She received the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for her work in banning landmines.
Thursday, March 19, 2009(3 comments)
Our National Report Card on War
Today marks six years since the start of the Iraq War and six years and five months since troops invaded Afghanistan. So, how are we doing?
Sunday, March 15, 2009(2 comments)
Hot, Flat and Bothered
Why is America willing to gamble on the possibility that we have more time rather than less time to take care of climate change but to curb our dependence on oil to fuel our economy?
Inauguration Day 2009
To fully appreciate the new era we are entering with the inauguration of Barack Obama, let us reflect on where we have come from.
Sunday, January 18, 2009(1 comments)
Down in the Dumps
I'm afraid I didn't share the same reaction Nicholas Kristof did after he visited a garbage dump in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where the poorest of the poor live. Nor did I come to the same conclusion as he did in believing that sweatshops are an alternative for employment.
Will Catholics Move On or Will They Cave to Same-O, Same-O?
Sarah Palin's large family, her cultural conservativism and her Down syndrome child that she chose not to abort clicked well among regular, church-going Catholics, especially women who were looking for someone who represented them. The question remains: how will the white, non-regular church-going Catholics respond?