The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.

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Start the New Year Right with these Health Documentaries

Yahoo! News brings you a list of 10 Health Documentaries you can stream to get a healthy start for the new year.

 “Forks Over Knives” – The 2011 title discusses researchers Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn’s findings about obesity and diabetes. The film highlights the benefits of rejecting animal-based and processed foods in your diet.

“Hungry for a Change” – Planning to go on a diet in 2017? This 2012 documentary may change the way you think about sugar, weight loss, food additives and the food industry as a whole.

“Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” – On steroids, battling an autoimmune disease and 100-pounds overweight, Joe Cross decides to try to get back to good health by eating healthy. During his journey he meets an overweight trucker named Phil Staples who joins him. “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead 2” is also available to stream on Netflix.

“Super Size Me” – If you need a reason to stop eating fast food watch this 2004 award-winning documentary from Morgan Spurlock. The film shows the effects fast food has on the body.

“From Fat to Finish Line” – Those looking for motivation to start running but need that extra push to leave the couch should watch this. The 2015 documentary follows a dozen people’s commitment to lose 100 pounds and complete a 200-mile run together. You can join the community online here.

“Fittest on Earth” – Follow several athletes as they prepare for any and all competitions at the 2015 Rebook CrossFit Games.

“Generation Iron” – Want to be a body builder? This 2013 documentary follows seven men competing for the Mr. Olympia title.

“Vegetated” – This film is for those who have wondered what it would be like to go vegan. The documentary follows three meat eaters as they try out the cruelty-free diet.

“The Kids Menu” – From the “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” team comes this 2015 documentary which explores kids’ preferences when it comes to healthy foods. The film touches on problems associated with childhood obesity and the lack of accessibility to healthy food options.

“Food Matters” – The documentary delves into the idea that food we eat could be hurting our health. Doctors and nutritionists also weigh in on the topic of organic foods and food safety in this 2008 title. Netflix has several documentaries that will help get you motivated to get healthy in 2017.


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Study Proves What We All Know: Organic Foods Are Good For You

The European Parliament’s Independent Research Service released an encouraging report about the health benefits of eating organic

Food Tank, “The Think Tank for Food,” celebrates the results of a study conducted by the European Parliament’s Independent Research Service.  Calling it a year-end gift to organic advocates, they note:

…the European Parliament’s Independent Research Service, titled “Human health implications of organic food and organic agriculture,” has concluded that eating organic food improves early development, reduces pesticide exposure, strengthens the nutritional value of food, and mitigates disease risks.

The article also states:

Early studies have found numerous advantages for eaters to consume organic products, including:

  1. Reduced occurrence of adult obesity and type-2 diabetes
  2. Reduced incidence of cardiovascular diseases and other diseases
  3. Reduced environmental impact due to fewer greenhouse gas emissions
  4. Reduced exposure to pesticides through food, which improves cognitive development
  5. Reduced prevalence of adolescent allergies
  6. Reduced processing leads to higher levels of antioxidants like omega-3 fatty acids

If you would like to learn more about Food Tank or become a member you can find them here.


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Agroecology Popular in Latin World

I came across several good articles on agroecology this week.  First, Lois Ross at feels we have a lot to learn from Cuba’s agroecological revolution.  After the collapse of the Soviet Union Cuba’s export market for sugar fell.  “It did not have the currency to import petroleum or petroleum-based fertilizers to continue cultivation of monocultures on large state farms. And it had no currency to import food. The Cuban people were getting hungry!”

These dire circumstances fostered the kind of creativity and research that led to Cuba becoming:

…a huge incubator farm for organic and sustainable models of agriculture. As the new millennium dawned, Cuba received The Right Livelihood Award (often called the Alternative Nobel Prize) from the Swedish Parliament for its Herculean efforts in sustainable agriculture.

For more than 25 years, Cuba has been modelling its food production on agroecology and applying organic agriculture to a multitude of small-scale projects. To this day, it’s held up as a model in the development of sustainable agriculture with farmer-to-farmer tours, tours for international agriculture students, and the hosting of researchers from around the world doing field work to assess and write about the island’s advances in feeding its own people.

To the west in El Salvador, covers the women and social movements that employ agroecological techniques to cultivate land in an environmentally sustainable way that helps to regenerate the land’s biodiversity.

If the land does not give us corn, it will give us something else,” said one member from Las Mesas cooperative in the province of La Libertad. “We have cassava, we have orange, chili, tomato…that way, we always work, because if we can’t harvest one thing, we will harvest another.

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A Conceptual Challenge to Capitalist Thinking

Pete Dolack at The Daily Times writes an extensive review of Peter Ranis’ latest book, Cooperatives Confront Capitalism: Challenging the Neoliberal Economy.  He notes that:

As capitalism lurches from crisis to crisis, and a world beyond capitalism becomes a possibility contemplated by increasing numbers of people, finding a path forward becomes an ever more urgent task. That path is likely to contain a multitude of possibilities and experiments, not all of which will prove viable. Psychological barriers will surely be a major inhibition to overcome; possibly the biggest roadblock given the still ubiquitous idea of “there is no alternative” that has survived despite growing despair at the mounting inequality and precarious futures offered by capitalism. In short, a viable alternative to the capitalist structure of enterprises and society is urgently necessary.

Cooperatives represent a “counter-narrative” to the idea, inculcated in us from our youngest ages, that a small group of bosses are naturally entitled to exert leadership and thus are the only people with the capabilities of running an enterprise, argues Peter Ranis in his latest book, Cooperatives Confront Capitalism: Challenging the Neoliberal Economy. Putting to use his considerable knowledge of Argentine and Cuban cooperatives, and combining that with a challenging argument about the possibilities of worker cooperatives in the center of world capitalism, the United States, Professor Ranis argues that the cooperative form can indeed posit a challenge to capitalist hegemony.

In his opening chapter, in answering his own question “Why worker cooperatives?,” in the context of working people building a Gramscian “counter-hegemony,” he writes: “This requires a working class movement that moves beyond wages, hours and working conditions and into the realm of owning and maintaining production that leads to controlling local economies that demonstrate working-class capacity for impacting on societal economies and, by extension, politics and the concomitant public policy. Cooperatives would, indeed, be the key ingredient to a proletarian hegemonic outcome. … What worker cooperatives provide is a counter-narrative to the one that assumes that only owners and managers can provide leadership and function effectively in the world of production.”

It is indisputably true that counterposing living examples of working people’s successful self-management is a prerequisite to breaking down current capitalist cultural hegemony. But, in contrast to more traditional ideas that state ownership should be the alternative, Professor Ranis argues that it is the cooperative form, because workers there assume all management functions, that can build an alternative.


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Cooperative Helps the Formerly Incarcerted

Cooperatives, which are owned and democratically controlled by workers, often provide economic opportunity for the formerly incarcerated, the long-term unemployed and immigrants. In certain industries like commercial cleaning or taxi service, worker-ownership can prevent exploitative or hostile work environments.

At TightShift, which provides moving, landscaping, and cleaning services, every member has equal say in the company’s direction. No CEO collecting bonus checks while workers eke out minimum wage. No orders dictated from boss to employee. Decisions are made collectively as a group. One person, one vote.

As a cooperative, the company’s mission is far more holistic than simply profit margins and gross revenue.

“My understanding of a co-op is it’s bigger than a business,” Reid says. “We’re doing a service to support ourselves, but it’s not about money.”

The cooperative completed 30 jobs in its first year, collecting initial funds from grants. They are raising money for a new moving truck and other equipment necessary to expand the business through a fundraiser held earlier this week and a crowdfunding campaign.