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Guest Post: Cultivated Salmon, A More Responsible Product

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Health conscious consumers know that eating salmon has many benefits. Salmon is an excellent source of protein, vitamins, minerals, and the all-important omega-3 fatty acids. An ongoing dilemma for consumers, however, is whether wild or farm-raised salmon is a better choice. Though there are still pros and cons, the future of salmon lies with farming the fish, and here’s why.

Sustainable production

The world’s population continues to grow, and so does the consumption of fish. Relying solely on fish caught wild in the oceans of the world is simply not going to work forever. Already, numerous areas have been overfished to the point of collapse of their population of marketable fish. The area off Newfoundland, which used to be teeming with cod, was overfished to the point that the cod population, and the fishing industry, collapsed.

Atlantic salmon has also been over-fished to the point where all Atlantic salmon is now farm raised. In fact, experts say that commercial fishing has reached the point where one third of the earth’s wild salmon face the risk of extinction.

We need a different solution than catching wild fish, and that’s where salmon farming can provide the answer. The production of farm raised fish is already on the rise, and cultivated fish is poised to overtake wild-caught fish in total consumption soon.

The aquaculture industry (as fish farming is referred to), is still a relatively young industry, but it is growing and maturing quickly. Two years ago, the global production of aquaculture raised fish surpassed the global production of beef. People have raised other animals for food for centuries, and this is the way of the future for salmon, as well.


New methods of salmon farming

There have been concerns about environmental impacts from salmon farming, some of which are valid.  However, much of this is due to the relative youth of the industry. Producers continue to learn from experience, and a number of salmon farmers are moving towards new, more environmentally conscious methods of production.

Last year, a group of fifteen salmon-farming companies from around the globe banded together and announced the creation of the Global Salmon Initiative (GSI). These companies realize that they share the same challenges, and they want to do better in the world. The organization’s goals are to bring broad reforms throughout the aquaculture industry, worldwide.

If they are successful, then these efforts could mitigate existing issues with salmon farming. This would mean consumers will have a healthy, cost-effective solution for purchasing salmon, while knowing they’re doing well for the environment at the same time. It would also take the pressure off the wild fisheries, perhaps saving some species from extinction.

A relatively new certification is now available from the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), which shows that an organization carries out sustainable fish farming methods. All of the GSI companies have committed that 100 percent of their production will be fully ASC-certified by the year 2020. This is highly significant, because these companies produce 70 percent of the world’s farm raised salmon. This is indeed the way of the future.

Salmon for nearly 9 billion people

Whether we like it or not, the population is constantly growing and there’s no way of stopping it. Back in 1950, Earth had about 2.5 billion people, a number that skyrocketed to 7 billion in 2012. By mid-century the numbers will go beyond 9 billion. As the number of people rises, so does the imminent need for food. Salmon is extremely widespread, and unlike some other types, it’s extremely healthy and packed with protein.

Wild salmon has always been a viable source of healthy fish; however the amount is not increasing. Simply put, it can’t satisfy demand anymore, so the only viable alternative left is farmed-raised salmon. For years, aquaculture has had a minor role in the international fish production, but that’s all about to change. Nowadays, aquaculture is a major contributor and increasingly more people are starting to learn about cultivated fish.

Loch Duart for example, is a major name in the industry. They’ve been cultivating salmon since 1999, and they’ve been dedicated to providing high-quality, delicious fish to the people. Their mission is to use sustainable measures to harvest and rear the fish, thus make sure the final product is 100% safe to consume.

(Photo Courtesy: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Mike, Alpha)

To Forage Or Not To Forage?

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Without realizing it, you probably walk or drive past free fruit every day. Perhaps it’s tucked away in a corner of the local park, or sitting ignored on a highway median. Fruit, edible fruits that is, grows in the most surprising places; if no one collects it, much of it will go to waste. Birds and wild animals will consume their fair share, but the rest will rot on the branches or vines in which they grow. Fruit trees and shrubs are often hardy and perennial, and some are even seen as nuisance plants.

In most places you can freely collect food growing on public land, although local laws vary. You may even be able to find a local club that gets together to identify and harvest fruit. The foraging movement has gained a lot of traction in recent years, and there are foraging groups that collect everything from wild greens to edible fungus. Fruit is one of the easier foods to forage, as it is very easy to spot due to the typical bright colors. Some caution is required; not every juicy red berry is edible. Arm yourself with a field guide or one of the many smartphone apps on the market, or find a foraging mentor who will help you learn to identify fruits and berries that are safe to eat. Learn what fruits are available during each season to maximize your finds.

You will be amazed how much edible fruit is hidden away in even the most urban landscapes, once you start actively looking.

Fruit that’s picked in this manner should be thoroughly washed before consuming. Also, if you choose to venture further into untamed areas, you should familiarize yourself with dangerous plants and animals native to that area. Nothing ruins an afternoon of berry-picking more than a brush with poison ivy or an encounter with a venomous snake. A thorough check for ticks is also a good idea when you get home. Also, remember to pack a small first-aid kit for minor scrapes and “bug” spray.

With a little bit of preparation, research, and a keen eye, you should be able to start foraging in your area. It’s extremely rewarding!

(Photo Courtesy: Pix)

Nourishing Mondays: Moroccan Chicken Stew

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Sometimes you want to travel without the hassle of airport security and the price tag of an airline ticket. What better way to make that happen then through food? Check out this easy recipe for Moroccan Chicken Stew.


4 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 large onions, halved and thinly sliced
2 lbs skinless chicken pieces
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried apricot, coarsely chopped
1 (14 ounce) can chicken broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
ground black pepper
hot cooked couscous (whole wheat preferred)
pine nuts, toasted
fresh cilantro (optional)


1. In a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker place carrots and onions.
2. Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt.
3. Add to cooker; top chicken with raisins and apricots.
4. In bowl whisk broth, tomato paste, flour, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, ginger, cinnamon and the ground black pepper.
5. Add to cooker.
6. Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 6-1/2 to 7 hours (or on high-heat setting for 3-1/2 to 4 hours).
7. Serve in bowls with couscous.
8. Sprinkle with nuts.
9. Garnish with cilantro.

Serves 4

(Photo Courtesy)


Sustainable Saturdays Collection IX

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Hi Foodem Fans! Have you had time to check out our latest Sustainable Saturdays posts? I know, I know; we all get busy sometimes. Since we know how much you enjoy reading our Sustainable Saturdays posts, once again, we’ve compiled a list of our most “liked”, “shared”, and “tweeted” posts. Here goes!

  1. Sustainable Saturday: Guilt-free Fried Chicken
  2. Sustainable Saturdays: Sustain Your Customers
  3. Sustainable Saturdays: The Wonders of Oil
  4. Sustainable Saturdays: Sustainability in Restaurants
  5. Sustainable Saturdays: Breakfasts of Champions

Please take a moment to check out other Sustainable Saturdays posts. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

(Photo Courtesy: ricardodinizdias)

July 18: Favorite Sites Friday

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Here’s another interesting mix of food-related websites and blogs for your reading entertainment. #FavoriteSitesFriday

  1. Fine Cooking: Belonging to the Taunton Home and Garden Network. Fine Cooking, is dedicated to the creative activities that enrich your life. The purpose of Fine Cooking, as well as the other Taunton publications, is to help you enhance your knowledge and skills, so you can express your creative ideas at a higher, more satisfying technical level.
  2. Vegan Peace: Vegan Peace is run by, Wanda Embar, a Netherlands native. The purpose of Vegan Peace is to inspire people to strive towards a more peaceful world where animal and human rights are respected and honored.
  3. Mother Rimmy: After deciding to improve her health and lose weight, Mother Rimmy began on a journey of cooking low-cal meals and daily exercise. Her blog reflects that journey and is designed to help others on the path to a healthier lifestyle.
  4. OnEarth: Exploring the contemporary environmental landscape through the lenses of science, public health, technology, culture, business, food, and politics, OnEarth is a quarterly magazine and daily online publication of thought and opinion.
  5. Consisting of trained nutrition professionals and food experts, the editorial team monitors trends to uncover the latest developments related to celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, wheat allergies and general health implications of eliminating gluten from the diet. The site combines timely credible research, recipes and tips, and tools into a single, easy-to-digest resource.

Be sure to share your food-related site with us, we’d love to feature it in our next Favorite Sites Friday post. Leave us your URL in the comments area or shoot us a tweet @foodem.

Sweet Sugar Swap-outs

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Though delicious to many, processed sugar as a food provides no nutritional benefits and has been found to be detrimental to your health in a number of ways. Unfortunately, the sweet stuff is found in one form or another in almost processed food that we eat, and sometimes we would rather eat the chocolate bar and not think about the consequences.

However, it is possible to have your sweet flavor and eat it too. There are a plethora of ingredients that can serve as a sugar substitute and all are relatively better for your body than regular processed sugar. Here are three sugar substitutes to help sweeten your dishes.

Agave NectarSimilar to maple syrup, agave nectar packs a very sweet and tangy punch. In tea or in a salad dressing, this nectar can act as a perfect sugar or corn syrup alternative.

Honey — Loaded with antioxidants, honey is probably the most common go to as a sugar swap-out. Drizzle some over yogurt or goat cheese for a tasty treat or add some to a BBQ sauce for a savory, zesty flavor.

Dates, Cranberries, Raisins, etc. Lots of fruits are high in fructose content, a healthier version of the main components in processed sugar. Adding fruits to a salad, baked goods, or a protein dish can provide some sweet flavor while also benefiting your body.

About the Author:

Jordan is a senior at The George Washington University currently pursuing a B.A. in History and a minor in Journalism and Mass Communication. He loves D.C. for its abundance of cuisines just as well as it political scene. You can read more from him at The Grappler.

(Photo Courtesy: PollyDot)

(Resources 1, 2)

Guest Post: Environmental Impact of Hydroponics

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Hydroponic gardening is a great way to grow your vegetables, fruits, and herbs under totally controlled conditions. You’ll hear many a naturalist extolling the virtues of growing food and perennials in the earth, under the sun. However, many of their arguments are misguided; defying logic and the great results obtained from hydroponic growers all over the world.

Perhaps it is more “natural” to grow using nature, but you’re also at the mercy of many environmental and pest-related variables that you simply cannot control: humidity, heat (and cold), cloud cover, wind, and pestilence.

How it Works

Indoor hydroponics gardens grow use artificial lighting, just like any other indoor garden. The difference between growing an indoor garden and growing hydroponically is that you won’t be using soil. Instead the plants are rooted in an inert growing media (see the list of common media that’s used here).

An in-line pump then circulates nutrient enriched water through the plant’s root system, while overhead lighting allows the plants to complete the normal photosynthesis cycle they need to grow.

The inert growing media gives you the freedom and control to be much more exacting about how much fertilizer the plant gets and provide the roots with much more oxygen as well.

Soil Robs Plants of Vital Nutrients

While soil grows can be a little more forgiving, the plants always end up being robbed of vital nutrients which limits their growth potential. If you’ve ever purchase hydroponic vegetables, you’ve probably noticed how much larger, juicer, and colorful they are.

Soil based plants can’t use all the nutrients we give them. As time wears on, certain elements begin to crystallize within the soil or are simply washed away, robbing the root system and over time, limiting the plant’s nutrient uptake.

Environmental Benefits of Hydroponics

  • They take up to 50% less land to grow the same amount of crops: Leaving more land for other uses such as wildlife reserves and also saving trees, which would otherwise be cleared for agricultural purposes.
  • Less water usage: In fact, less than 10% the amount that would be required for growing in soil. The only water lost with hydroponics is through evaporation, or occasional changes to the feeding solution.
  • 60% less fertilizer is required: The hydroponic growing solution circulates through the plant’s roots, the plant absorbs what they need, and you never lose anything due to settling or crystallizing in the soil
  • Reduced fossil fuel consumption: Food is shipped all over the world to places where agriculture is hard or impossible – or where certain foods cannot be grown due to shorter growing seasons. With hydroponics, you can grow those foods locally!
  • Less pesticide use: Due to the fact that you’re growing indoors and eliminating soil (which hold bacteria and many common insects), there’s no need for toxic pesticides to protect your plants.

Key Considerations Before Starting a Hydroponic Garden

  1.  Grow Area: Your grow area doesn’t need to be as big as it would for a soil-based garden. On average, each plant will require a 4 inch pot, with an inch or two in between each plant. You’ll also need space for your holding tank and room overhead to mount your lighting system.
  1. Setups: Search hydroponics on for dozens of home made hydroponic systems with step by step directions.

I hope this provides you with additional knowledge and interest in using hydroponics to lower your environmental footprint.

About the Author:

Chris is an urban hydroponic hobbyist who uses hydroponics to maximize his 400 square foot yard and extend the short Chicago growing season. Chris blogs about his hydroponic experiences at

(Photo Courtesy: Handolio)

(Additional Resources: 1, Hobby Hydroponics by Howard Resh)

Foodem Is Searching For A Few Good Bloggers

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Would you consider yourself a “foodie”? Do you follow food trends? When your entrée arrives, do you reach for your phone to snap a pic before you dig in? Have you started you own herb garden on your balcony or patio? Are you interested in sustainable agriculture? Do you enjoy writing and sharing your thoughts in cyberspace?

If your answer is “Yes” to the majority of these questions, we’d love to add your voice to the Foodem blog from time to time. Our audience is eager to hear what you have to say.

Yes that’s right, Foodem is looking for guest bloggers who are interested in and passionate about food-related topics such as sustainability, food trends, food business, cooking, organic foods, and food for the social good…the list could go on and on.

To enhance our blog and continue sharing informative content with our audience, we’re inviting diverse writers to contribute to our blog at least once or twice per month. So if you have something to say, shout it from the Foodem blog. If you’re interested, shoot us an email at or send us a tweet @foodem, hashtag #guestb.

Nourishing Mondays: Portobello, Broccoli, and Red-Pepper Melts

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Here’s an effortless, yet nutritional meatless meal to start your Monday dinner off. Enjoy this recipe for Portobello, Broccoli, and Red-Pepper Melts.


1 small head broccoli, cut into small florets (stalk discarded)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
4 portobello mushrooms (stems removed), sliced 1/2 inch thick
2 red bell peppers (ribs and seeds removed), sliced 1/2 inch thick
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1 small garlic clove, crushed through a press
4 thick slices country bread
4 ounces Gouda cheese, thinly sliced


Heat broiler, with rack set 4 inches from heat. On a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, toss broccoli with oil; season with salt and pepper. Broil, tossing once or twice, until broccoli begins to char, 4 to 6 minutes.

Add mushrooms and bell peppers to sheet; season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Broil, tossing once or twice, until vegetables are tender, 8 to 10 minutes more; set aside.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine mayonnaise and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Place bread on a work surface. Dividing evenly, spread with mayonnaise mixture, and top with vegetables, then cheese. Place on baking sheet, and broil until cheese is melted and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.

Serves 4

(Photo Source/Resource)

Sustainable Saturday: Guilt-free Fried Chicken

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Fried chicken is a great indulgence in the summer, but the deep fried poultry is nothing but trouble for your body. Luckily, you can have the savory, crunchy taste of fried chicken with fewer calories and just as much flavor.


1/2 sleeve (about 20) whole-grain salted crackers, pulsed in a food processor until fine (about 1/2 cup)
2 1/2 cups corn cereal flakes, pulsed in a food processor to fine crumbs (about 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 egg whites
1 cup lowfat, plain yogurt
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
Olive oil cooking spray
4 medium sized skinless chicken breasts and 4 skinless chicken thighs, rinsed and patted dry (about 3 1/2 pounds chicken)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly spray a baking sheet with olive oil.

Combine the crackers and corn cereal crumbs, sesame seeds, cayenne, and garlic powder in a shallow bowl. Reserve.

In a large bowl, combine egg whites, yogurt, Dijon mustard, and salt. Add the chicken pieces and coat thoroughly with the yogurt mixture.

One at a time, dip the chicken pieces in the cracker mixture, packing crumbs onto chicken. Arrange the chicken on a baking sheet and spray lightly with olive oil cooking spray.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a knife.

About the Author:

Jordan is a senior at The George Washington University currently pursuing a B.A. in History and a minor in Journalism and Mass Communication. He loves D.C. for its abundance of cuisines just as well as it political scene. You can read more from him at The Grappler.

(Photo Courtesy: sharonang)