“Everyone shopped at a 5 & dime, everyone could afford it…”

Counter Histories: Jackson, Mississippi

Film courtesy of the Southern Foodways Alliance at the University of Mississippi.

For more SFA films, visit www.southernfoodways.org.

Follow them on Twitter: @potlikker

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Pumpkin Caramel Oatmeal Squares Recipe

Nothing says fall like Pumpkin

Video from Le Gourmet TV, to learn more visit at: legourmet.tv

Follow Le Gourmet TV on twitter: @LeGourmetTV

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Urban Farm expansion hampered by regulations

Video by Daniel Wientraub and Carl Costas from California Health Report TV:

In this story we go to the Yisrael Family Farm in Sacramento where former tech worker Chanowk Yisrael is trying to support his family through a backyard farm in the heart of one of urban Sacramento’s grittiest neighborhoods.

To learn more visit healthycal.org

Follow on twitter: @healthreportCA

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Farming in America’s Breadbasket: A Paradigm Shift

Video from Great Lakes Protection Fund:

A team of Great Lakes leaders is working to improve water quality across the Great Lakes region. To do so, they are reshaping the farming paradigm in the region to integrate water quality goals and environmental outcomes into the design and evaluation of conservation practices. A shift in the paradigm also means the inclusion of the entire agricultural supply chain in setting and reaching water quality standards. Financing by the Great Lakes Protection Fund has made these innovations possible.

The mission of the Great Lakes Protection is to “identify, demonstrate, and promote regional action to enhance the health of the Great Lakes ecosystem.”

To learn more about Great Lakes Protection Fund visit: glpf.org
GLPF on Twitter: @GLPFund

TNC Michigan on Twitter: @nature_MI

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A Latinos in Agriculture Leader Profile | Jose Luis Perez, Chemist

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Interview with Latino in Agriculture Leader
Jose Luis Perez, Chemist USDA-ARS
 


Jose Luis Perez, Chemist USDA-ARS

Jose Luis Perez, Chemist USDA-ARS

 

AH: Please tell us about your work.

JP:I’m working on a crop called bitter melon. It’s an Asian crop that has traditionally been used to manage diabetes. One of my goals is to first of all see if I can grow it here in Texas, and then try and find out about the compounds that are responsible for its activity. So I guess my main thing is grow it in Texas, and see what the yields are like, have several different varieties, and see which one might be better for diabetic properties, and then try and isolate those compounds tested among various cell lines, and cancer cell lines also.

AH: How long have you been working in this area?

JP:I did my masters, that with citrus instead of bitter melon. So I guess it would be around, I want to say maybe seven years or so.

Jose Luis Perez, Chemist USDA-ARS

Jose Luis Perez, Chemist USDA-ARS

“…it might lead to the development of a drug that might manage diabetes.”

 

AH:And how much longer do you anticipate working on this – is there an end goal in sight I should say?

JP:Hopefully this would be, I should have most of my data, and start writing. And hopefully finish off by hopefully next December 2015.

AH:What is the best-case scenario of the outcome of all this work?

JP:My main goal is to introduce it into the American society. I’m from south Texas, and there’s like a lot of diabetes in south Texas especially because of the diet. And one of my goals is to introduce this crop into hopefully Hispanic cuisine. And I know it is very bitter. If you try to cook it into traditional Mexican ways, it is very bitter, but there are certain ways that you can cook it to lessen its bitterness. So first of all to see if I can get people to eat it. And second, is if I could somehow find if those compounds that are causing its bitterness are in some way related to the biological activities, we might be able to breed a variety that either has less of these compounds so now it’s more palatable for the consumers. And if that’s the case, then we can breed less bitter produce or we could just isolate the actual compounds, and hopefully in the future it might lead to the development of a drug that might manage diabetes.

AH:You mentioned that you’re looking for ways to find it palatable. Are you working with chefs in that regard or are you working in the kitchen, and just experimenting?

JP:Initially, it was just in my kitchen. I had my mother try and cook it. It didn’t work out that well. But that was one of my other goals was to work with chefs, and talk to experts to see if they could somehow make a contest to see who would make the most, tastiest bitter melon recipes for that, for the south Texas community. But that’s right now been put on the back burner until I get most of my data done. That might be more of a personal project later on once I graduate.

Jose Luis Perez, Chemist USDA-ARS

Jose Luis Perez, Chemist USDA-ARS

“I saw this as the golden opportunity of to work on something that has a purpose…”

AH:How did you come to first look at the bitter melon?

JP:When I started working with USDA in Texas, my supervisor back then is from Pakistan, and he was diabetic. So we were working various other projects on all this, and citrus and I saw that he was consuming this green powder. He said, “Oh yeah, this helps me with my diabetes.” So I started asking more about it because one of my main interests is on natural products, and medicinal plants. And we just started talking about it. And he said, “wow, that seems pretty interesting. It looks like something I would like to work on.” So we started to develop a small project when we were still down there. But it wasn’t the main project for us back then. Now, when I started my PhD, my professor asked me, “Okay, well what would you like to work on?” I just saw this as the golden opportunity of to work on something that has a purpose, and can help my community out, and I would enjoy working on. So I started asking him, “Hey well there’s bitter melon. Have you heard of it?” And he goes, “Yeah, we have a lot in India.” And I asked him well would it be a possibility for me to work on this since this lab is mainly focused on nutraceuticals, and bioactive compounds. He goes, “Yeah, yeah. Perfect. This would be a great part, a project.” So that’s where I started working on it.

AH:We met at the Latinos in Agriculture in Leaders conference in Fall 2014. Was this your first experience at Latinos in Agriculture?

JP:No. I went to the 2012 meeting, yes, the one in San Antonio and I just fell in love with the whole community there. For me, it was very inspirational because we had several speakers, we had Juan Garcia, and Sal Salinas, and they both work for USDA and they have really great positions in USDA. I thought it was amazing that their background was so similar to mine. They were both from South Texas; they both have similar educational backgrounds. When they were telling their life stories, it was very similar to mine, and maybe it was just inspirational that somebody from my area with my background was able to make it that far in their careers. So that was the first time I went, and again, I fell in love with that, with the whole community.

Jose Luis Perez, Chemist USDA-ARS

Jose Luis Perez, Chemist USDA-ARS

“I think it’s going to spur the amount of professionals in agriculture”

AH:What is it about the community that you think is most beneficial to both agriculture and to those who participate?

JP:Well for agriculture, I think it’s beneficial because you see a lot of students. In both conferences that I went to, there was a big amount of students. So first of all, I think in my case, the first time I went, I went as a student, and it just pushed me and reinforced the desires that I had to be in agriculture. Sometimes students get discouraged on the careers because they don’t see where it’s going to take them. I thought that this conference would really reinforce my desire to be in agriculture. And from what I spoke to the other students back in 2012, and in this conference, a lot of them felt inspired to pursue the careers, and further motivated to pursue their careers. So in agriculture, I think it’s going to spur the amount of professionals in agriculture.

To contact Jose Luis Perez, Chemist USDA-ARS more visit his Linkedin page.
To learn more about Latinos in Agriculture visit:
latinosinagriculture.com
Follow on Twitter: @LatinosInAg

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Cinnamon Apple Smoothie Recipe

Video from Le Gourmet TV, to learn more visit at: legourmet.tv

Follow Le Gourmet TV on twitter: @LeGourmetTV

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National Climate Assessment

Indigenous Peoples, Lands and Resources

Video from The Story Group, an independent, multimedia journalism company:

Indigenous communities already face many socio-economic challenges, even before overlaying climate change impacts on them, says T.M. Bull Bennett, a convening lead author on the National Climate Assessment’s Indigenous Peoples chapter.

Climate change impacts will exacerbate these challenges, affecting native communities’ ability to hunt and gather traditional foods, perform ceremonies, even travel. Alaska Native communities are particularly vulnerable. “We’re starting to see a change in how we interpret the environment around us,” says Bennett.

To explore the 2014 National Climate Assessment, go to NCA2014.globalchange.gov

To learn more about The Story Group visit thestorygroup.org

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Remarkable World of Winter Squash and Pumpkins

From Cooking Up a Story:

Farmer Vicki Hertel knows her pumpkins. She offers a lot of good information about how to cook them, bake with them, and also shares a winter squash recipe.

For recipes and to learn more about Cooking Up a Story visit: cookingupastory.com

Follow them on twitter: @cookingupastory

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Recompression Devices: Helping Anglers Fish Smarter

Video from NOAA Fisheries

To learn more about NOAA Fisheries, visit: fisheries.noaa.gov

Follow NOAA on twitter: @NOAAFisheries

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Taking water from rivers

Video from NIWA

Principal Scientist Murray Hicks discusses new modelling technology to assist with making decisions on taking water from natural waterways.

To learn more about NIWA: niwa.co.nz

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