Movement Notes: Dispatch From the James Beard Foundation Conference

Forget about exploding airbags. America’s exploding waistlines have us on a collision course, literally, with food-induced fatalities. Our crash test dummies just gained 106 pounds overnight, after studies found that most cars’ safety features don’t properly fit larger Americans, putting them at much greater risk of dying in car crashes.

Stories like this presumably lend new urgency to conferences like the one the James Beard Foundation hosted in New York City this week. Entitled “Health and Food: Is Better Food The Prescription For A Healthier America?,” the gathering brought all the usual suspects together to “make us think deeply about our values and the decisions we make about food.” Read more

When it Comes to Getting Produce Into Food Deserts, New York’s Green Carts Are Working

Michael Bloomberg’s controversial public health campaigns against Big Tobacco, Big Food, and Big Gulps gave late night comics a lot of fodder, but you can’t mock the metrics. The former New York City Mayor’s policies saved lives and money. And when New Yorkers try new solutions to old problems, every one else watches.

The city is a hotbed of innovative collaborations between government, philanthropy and the private sector. And when these public-private partnerships achieve their goals, the ripple effect is massive. Read more

Laurie David Dishes About ‘Fed Up’ and Her New Cookbook

When Laurie David sets her eye on a project, there’s no doubt she will make it happen. She’s the Oscar-winning film producer who convinced Al Gore to turn his climate change slide show into a documentary. Gore was skeptical, but David persisted and wore him down. Without her determination, An Inconvenient Truth would almost surely never have been made and millions of people would have missed his urgent call to action. Read more

Gardener’s Delight: Seed Pack Art for Spring

There’s no better way to celebrate the beginning of spring than to stock up on seeds and get ready to break new ground. Gardening always keeps you guessing, because you never know from one season to the next what might delight you, and what might disappoint you. Inevitably, some seeds sprout and thrive while others rot, wither, or fall victim to fungus or critters. That’s life. Read more

Making a Racket: Christopher Leonard Goes Behind the Scenes in the American Meat Industry

Factory farmed chickens have it bad, but in Christopher Leonard’s new meat industry exposé The Meat Racket, it’s the farmers who get plucked. Leonard, a former agribusiness reporter for the Associated Press and now a fellow at the New America Foundation, subtitled his book The Secret Takeover of America’s Food Business, and he’s not kidding about the “secret” part. When Leonard set out to investigate how four huge companies came to more or less dictate the state of our meat supply, he ran into balky bureaucrats and fearful farmers. Read more

Farm Aid & MakerFaire: Go Forth & Be Fertile, Not Futile!

For such a young nation, we’re having an awful lot of senior moments. Where the hell did we misplace those keys to a peaceful and prosperous future? Where’s our legendary American ingenuity? Why do we throw up our hands when the pie isn’t big enough instead of just rolling up our sleeves and rolling out more dough? But not all senior moments are bad. When 94 year-old Pete Seeger unexpectedly strolled on stage at Farm Aid last Saturday in Saratoga Springs, NY, the crowd went wild. Clutching his iconic banjo, the sharp-as-a-tack senior delivered a soft yet stirring rendition of “If I Had a Hammer.” Read more

GMO OMG: Mop Tops Take on Monsanto

GMOs–aka genetically modified organisms–weren’t on GMO OMG filmmaker Jeremy Seifert’s radar till he and his wife Jen became parents and assumed the awesome responsibility of nourishing three young children. How much genetically modified food were they unknowingly feeding their kids? Are these foods safe to eat? Are GM crops safe to grow? Read more

Food Politics, Illustrated

You’re far more likely to get a stomach ache than a belly laugh from food news on any given day; there’s not a lot of humor in stories about contaminated food, diet-related disease, abused livestock, exploited workers, malnourished kids, and bone-headed agricultural policies. But this seemingly bleak beat has given cartoonists a surprising amount of fodder. And Marion Nestle, the noted NYU nutrition professor, public health advocate, and tireless food politics blogger/tweeter, has compiled the cream of this non-genetically modified crop in her just-published book from Rodale, Eat Drink Vote: An Illustrated Guide to Food Politics. Read more

Let’s Ask Marion Nestle: Who’s Got The Power to End Hunger in America?

Environmental advocate/writer Kerry Trueman checks in with food politics pioneer and NYU nutrition professor Dr. Marion Nestle, whose most recent book is Why Calories Count, with Malden Nesheim. Read more of Nestle’s insights at food politics.com and follow her on Twitter @marionnestle. Nestle is currently working on her next book, Eat, Drink, Vote: The Illustrated Guide to Food Politics, due out from Rodale in September 2013. Read more