In celebration of folks involved in MOTHER-type doings around the world.
CONGRESSMAN PETE STARK: THE HUNGRY HAVE A FRIEND
Since he entered Congress in 1973, Fortney H. (Pete) Stark has earned consistently high ratings from organizations representing education, labor, women, senior citizens, environmentalists, and consumers. The California Democrat has also succeeded in effecting a prisoner-exchange treaty between the United States and Mexico . . . and an amendment correcting the "marriage tax" penalty. And recently, Stark and seven other Representatives issued a joint resolution (HCR 381) which addresses the plight of a growing number of malnourished Americans, people who find themselves in the midst of an increase in unemployment and a decrease in appropriations for social services.
The measure — which cites a 1977 General Accounting Office study revealing that Americans waste 137 million tons of food each year — proposes that legislation such as the Good Samaritan and Donor Liability laws be enacted in states and municipalities where they don't already exist. This would encourage private groups and wholesale and retail markets to help charities distribute, to those in need, edibles that would otherwise be disposed of. In addition, HCR 381 calls on the federal government to take steps to allocate surplus food to our nation's hungry.
To promote the legislation, Congressman Stark and one of the other supporters of the resolution, Congressman Tony Hall (DOhio), participated in an early morning "garbage run" last July, which was conducted by representatives of the Community for Creative Non-Violence (CCNV) . . . a nonprofit organization whose members accumulate discarded groceries to feed the 300-500 indigent people who visit their Washington, D.C. soup kitchen every day. The scavengers spent the morning sifting through supermarket dumpsters in the rain, in order to retrieve foodstuffs that would later be served at a Congressional luncheon catered by CCNV.
On the day of the "Hunger in the Land of Plenty" repast, about 30 members of Congress gathered in a Capitol Hill meeting room to enjoy a meal of crab quiche, cold cuts, green beans with mushrooms and bacon, potatoes au gratin, raw vegetable salad, fresh fruit salad with yogurt dressing, and boysenberry shortcake . . . a feast prepared entirely with discards gleaned from the trash bins of commercial food outlets. The elaborate spread underscored the enormous daily loss of comestibles which could — without requiring an increase in government subsidies — feed many of America's hungry. Stark and fellow supporters of HCR 381 are calling on our nation to take action against this waste. — JV.
KEN BEER: FISH FARMER
Not far from Sacramento, California, Ken Beer operates an unusual farm called The Fishery Catfish, Sturgeon, and Striped Bass Hatchery. (The 16-pond facility was called the Elk Grove-Florin Catfish Farm . . . until, recently, striped bass and sturgeon were added to the stock.)
The hatchery's busy catfish season begins in the spring, when Beer transfers adults to the brood ponds . . . where the females lay their eggs in secluded pipes designed to facilitate the removal of the crop. The eggs are then placed in special troughs, developed by Ken, which incorporate a clean flow of water and rotating fins to simulate the tail-fanning action of the adult males that — in the wild — keeps the eggs aerated. When the young fish hatch, they're moved to a pond that's covered with a layer of oil to discourage insect predators. Later, Beer must employ scare tactics to prevent gulls and herons from preying on the livestock.
Ken "grows out" (raises until they reach maturity) most of the farm's supply of catfish. The hatchery's "cat" stock currently totals about 100,000 pounds, and customers purchase an average of 1,000-2,000 pounds per week. (At present, there isn't enough pond space to grow out the sturgeon and striped bass, which are generally sold as fingerlings.) Folks are also invited to bring a packed lunch to the farm and spend a whole day fishing or just enjoying the land- and waterscape. There's no charge for the hospitality . . . but, of course, if you're to haul in a catch, you'll be asked a per-pound fee. Visitors who are either unsuccessful or pressed for time can opt to have their fish netted from one of the hatchery's two holding tanks.
Beer, who has an undergraduate degree in forest biology and a master's degree in aquaculture, believes that fish breeding and cultivation could play a vital role in solving our overpopulated planet's problem of protein deficiency. "We're talking about a food that's high in protein, low in fat and calories, and delicious," he says. "The future of fish farming looks particularly bright." — Barbara Douglass.
Broadway and television star GRETCHEN WYLER was presented with the Vegetarian Information Service's 1982 Vegetarian Ethic Award at San Francisco's Action for Life conference (a consortium of more than 20 vegetarian and animals' rights organizations, whose objectives include the promotion of meatless diets and the abolition of animal abuse). Ms. Wyler received the honor in recognition of her work in advancing the vegetarian philosophy.
RUSSELL P. LESLIE — adjunct professor of architecture at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York — has established a program at the Jefferson and Mariaville Elementary Schools that involves students in a hands-on learning experience that focuses on solar design and construction. After being guided through a number of introductory projects, the children completed their studies for the 1981-1982 school year by designing and building a full-sized greenhouse at each of the two schools.
Speaking last August at the Washington, D.C. American Psychological Association Convention, renowned psychologist B.F. SKINNER stated, "Natural selection is too slow . . . we do not have time to breed people who will reproduce at a more moderate rate, use less of the resources of the world, contribute less to pollution, and so on .... Our only hope is to change the behavior of those, mainly in government, religion, or industry and trade, who control the contingencies under which we live."
DICK GEIB — the owner of a 100-foot windplant in Jeromesville, Ohio — calculates that during its first nine months of operation, his powerhouse generated about 5,000 kilowatt hours of energy valued at $400. Though the structure cost him a hefty $16,000, Geib hoped that a 1978 federal law requiring utilities to pay for excess power produced by windplants would allow him to recoup his expenses. However, Ohio Edison has offered Dick payment of only 1.67 cents per kilowatt hour, and informed him that this would accompany an increase in his monthly service charge (supposedly to cover the utility's cost of installing an additional meter and figuring his bill by hand). Geib rejected the proposal, and plans to continue the battle. But the disagreement may be solved by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, which has yet to rule on a similar case concerning electric rates for small power generators. — JV.