A Conversation With Kenny Belov and Marie Logan
* This post also contains audio podcast. If you would like to listen to the podcast, you can simply click here. Please enjoy!
Though its almost over, October is, and was, Salmon Month. On the 13th of this month, Nopa participated in an inaugural citywide benefit, "Dine Out for Wild Salmon". The night was organized by the Salmon Aid Foundation. The deal was, we'd feature wild salmon on our menu for the evening. All of the profits from each salmon dish were donated to the Foundation. I am happy to say that Nopa sold enough Wild California King Salmon that night to contribute $925 to the cause.
I did a bit of research on the organization and became increasingly impressed by their mission and breadth. This had been solidified earlier in the evening when Marie Logan, Co-President of the Foundation, joined us for our nightly lineup to talk salmon. That talk informed us on the perils facing Wild Salmon in California.
Her talk was succinct and informative, but I gathered from her demeanor that at her core, Marie was an activist. I really liked her and asked her to do a podcast with us. She obliged and suggested that we invite Kenny Belov, Entrepreneur and California's superhero in the fight for sustainable fishing. He is Co-Founder and partner of Two X Sea, a sustainable fish purveyor. He also (surprisingly) raises trout with an algae/flax rich diet, a feed he developed himself. He is quite busy and as we'll hear, is growing increasingly so as his fight and accounts gain momentum.
I don't want to go into too much detail about the Salmon Aid Foundation—its a pretty focal point in the podcast. But if you're looking for some context, it is essentially a multi-stakeholder organization of consumer groups, activists, Native Americans and recreational fishing groups bound by a shared mission to defend California's wild salmon population.
Marie also works in the Fish department of Food & Water Watch, which is a national nonprofit that challenges corporate control of food and water resources. They have a fantastic mission, which reads as follows:
Food & Water Watch works to ensure the food, water and fish we consume is safe, accessible and sustainably produced. So we can all enjoy and trust in what we eat and drink, we help people take charge of where their food comes from, keep clean, affordable, public tap water flowing freely to our homes, protect the environmental quality of oceans, force government to do its job protecting citizens, and educate about the importance of keeping the global commons — our shared resources — under public control.
I decided first to post the podcast in its entirety, then break up the conversation into 3 more digestible sizes for the subsequent days of the week. I can not emphasize enough how much inspiration I find in my work when meeting Maries and Kennys. Kenny Belov is a man singularly focused on providing information and solutions to advance the health of our oceans and population. Every decision that he makes, and each conversation he is in, is rooted in the same place- an impassioned belief that reckless commercial fishing is destroying our oceans.
The aforementioned feed that he has developed for his trout at MacFarland Springs has the potential to completely revolutionize the fishing industry in this country. If for no other reason, I would strongly recommend a listen to the podcast to learn more about this. It is truly astonishing.
Marie is the same. Her activism is rooted in her time at UC Berkeley where she studied environmental history. She honed in on Latin America where severe examples of corporate/government exploitation of natural resources, led her to a path of fighting back as a matter of social justice. She is organized and academic, but feisty. She is my kind of lady.
At the end of our conversation, I gave an open mic. She takes the opportunity to go in on a topic in which she is clearly growing more active, which is raising awareness ofthe emerging threat of genetically modified foods, and our rights to know as consumers. Again, we hope that you all will take some time to listen to what she has to say about some of the existing and prospective policies on this front. It feels like this will be the next new battleground for food activists. Some really freaky stuff happening in labs....
For Nopa, I feel strongly that it is not enough for us to be content simply asserting that we know our food sources. More importantly, we must cultivate a genuine understanding of the food sources for ourselves and our diners. This includes information about the producers, handlers, and the political, environmental and social factors that affect our access to these foods.
Is the restaurant an appropriate place for inciting these conversations? I think yes. If we take on the responsibility of committing to purveyors who are dedicating their lives to affecting change, then we must take that commitment seriously and do our part. Of course many diners come in simply to enjoy a meal and a beverage and sometimes crave nothing more. That is certainly okay. But we also know that there are an increasing number of diners who do want more, and whose minds are fertile and curious, and we want to do our part to provide many ways to nourish the curiosity. If you enjoy this podcast, please share with others or contact the Salmon Aid Foundation, Food & Water Watch or Nopa to find out how you can be involved. We hope you enjoy!
Posted October 28, 2011 • Filed under Podcast,
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