World on a Plate

Exploring culture. One plate at a time.

Category: Environmental Heroes

Clint, Make my BLT


Gary Ibsen is a long-time advocate of certified organic, sustainable farming and the practice of seed saving. He has grown heirloom tomatoes for more than 30 years and is currently growing more than 500 heirloom tomato varieties from seeds he has personally harvested. Heirloom seeds are originally sourced from family farms around the world and typically over many generations.

Now Ibsen has announced a new variety called ‘Clint Eastwood’s Rowdy Red’ all in honor of Carmel’s most famous resident. This new heirloom tomato possesses a deep-red color, with a beefsteak fruit that has the kind of robust, tomatoey flavor that many prefer. He chose to name it ‘Clint Eastwood’s Rowdy Red,’ after the actor’s character named Rowdy Yates in the Rawhide television series."   

For the past 14 years Ibsen has celebrated the love apple with his Carmel TomatoFest. The festival offers a tomato “tasting” of 350 varieties, including the recently released “Julia Child”, an extravagant country BBQ and a sampling of exemplary gourmet tomato entrees created by top chefs from 60 of America’s finest restaurants. The festival also includes a tasting of more than 100 Monterey County and California premium wines, a savory salsa showcase featuring 90 of the nation’s best tomato salsas, and an international olive oil tasting featuring extra-virgin oils from eight countries and California. Attendees can also purchase hard-to-find heirloom tomato seeds. 

Monterey is 115-miles from San Francisco. Reservations are required in advance by ticket purchase. General admission tickets are $85. Special VIP/Hosted Entrance tickets are $150, and a Deluxe Package ticket including a dinner-dance on September 10 at Carmel Valley Ranch Resort is $220. Tickets may be purchased through the Website at or by calling 1-800-965-4827. Net proceeds are donated to local youth charities. The event is a sellout every year, so interested persons are encouraged to buy their tickets early.

Image: Poster by Gary Ibsen

The Mad Cowboy

"…I really feel strongly that if were are going to deal with the problems that we have, whether they are health, environment, or the animal issues,we have to do it in this generation.  I believe that we are up against the wall, and that means we can’t take a pass, that we can’t say it’s up to somebody else, that somebody is in charge, that the government has somebody that is looking after the problem.

My message to people is that it’s up to you, right now, to get involved. And if you don’t, there may not be a future for our children and grandchildren… that all of those animals that we are killing, those animals are killing us.  This is about the absolute survival of the human species. That’s my message, and I will spread it as long as I have breath in my body."

                              — Howard Lyman, "Mad Cowboy:The Documentary

Lyman_uniter_adThe environmental story of Howard Lyman, a fourth generation cattle rancher turned policy activist, begins when he began investigated the use of chemicals in agriculture after developing a spinal tumor that nearly paralyzed him. Following the surgery he sold his farm, in 1983, and became a vegetarian, and a professional lobbyist for the Montana Farmers Union and the National Farmers Union, promoting the passage of the National Organic Standards Act. He is now dedicated to raising awareness through the propaganda of the beef and dairy industries all with the objective of educating the public that an animal-based diet as the primary cause of cancer, heart disease, and obesity in this country. 

His notoriety grew in 1996, was invited to appear on Oprah as part of a panel discussing Mad Cow disease, food production, and the rendering process. The discussion covered potential health risks from e-colii and mad cow disease.  Mr. Lyman revealed what many of us didn’t know such as that cows are being fed to cows.  We know the story from here.  Oprah was disgusted and vowed not to eat hamburger.  Next thing you know beef futures spiraled downward and the cattle industry was outraged and in turn decided that suing her and Mr. Lyman was the right action to take up.

The Mad Cowboy has written extensively in his subject expertise, essays, a book and also publishes a semi-monthly newsletter.  This week he launched a DVD documentary.  He’s direct and forthright.  His well-sourced and attributed content speaks for itself but he’s a one-man mission and he speaks clearly and loudly.

Image credit:  Winnipeg Vegetarian Association

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