Cultivating Awareness: Farming Is Daily Meditation at Green Gulch

Trails of wispy fog cling to the switchback slopes along Highway 1 from Mill Valley to Muir Beach, past a hand-carved wooden sign leading to the Green Gulch Farm Zen Center.

From the road above, the tall eucalyptus trees form an arch over the gentle curve of the fertile valley below, which empties out into the Pacific Ocean. Drive a bit farther in and you’ll catch glimpses of iridescent crops laid out in neat ribbons, forming the heart of Green Gulch Farm: six acres of certified organic vegetable fields, fruit trees and flower gardens. Read more

This Site is Your Site: The Voice of the Food Movement is Here

“Nail biter!” “Cliff hanger!” “I’m on the verge of a heart attack!”

Those were some of the messages flooding our inboxes and Twitter and Facebook feeds in the last hours of our successful Kickstarter campaign on Friday. Trying to raise $100,000 in 30 days via crowdsourcing for content is strange, nerve-wracking, and not for the faint at heart. We are proud to say that we raised the highest amount to date for content for an online daily news site via Kickstarter.

We succeeded because a vast community of people believe in our work and value this public service. For all of you who contributed, in big and small ways, through financial donations, social media, phone calls, emotional support and encouragement, and to the new folks who’re just joining us and hope to widen the circle: Thank you. This site is your site. Read more

California Chefs Join Together to Fight Fracking

Chez Pannise chefs Alice Waters and Jerome Waag yesterday launched a chefs’ petition urging their colleagues to take a stand against fracking in California. Working in collaboration with Food & Water Watch, founding member of Californians Against Fracking, the chefs are concerned about the threat fracking poses to the world-renown food and wine grown, served and sold in California. The petition includes a letter calling on Governor Brown to place a moratorium on fracking now. Read more

Eat More Veg! Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Chef, Author, Food Activist

The famed UK chef/activist, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, has a lot to share with an American public hungry for great recipes as well as important food for thought. I had the pleasure of having breakfast with Fearnley-Whittingstall and he shared with me his passion for vegetables, how he wants to help change people’s lives, and his inspiring work to help raise awareness about the importance of how and what we eat. Read more

TCHO: Changing Chocolate

TCHO (pronounced “choh”—the “t” is silent), a phonetic spelling for the first syllable of chocolate, masterly mixes alchemy and artistry to produce award-winning organic, beyond fair trade chocolate from its Pier 17 headquarters along the San Francisco bay. Read more

Clean Plates Cleans Up

Clean Plates—a healthier eating Web site, published guides, free app to restaurants in New York City and Los Angeles, and now, a cookbook—is the brainchild of Jared Koch, a nutritionist, health coach, and food critic. Clean Plates focuses on choosing real food; eating more plants; if you eat meat, knowing its source, and reducing toxins—all concepts familiar and cherished by Civil Eats readers. Starting with this post, we’re excited to begin sharing some of Clean Plates’ content, including this recent post about the freaky facts about conventional orange juice. Read more

Reclaiming the Kitchen: In Conversation with Michael Pollan

In his latest book, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, author and journalist Michael Pollan investigates the lost art of cooking, apprenticing himself to bread bakers, fermentos, pitt masters, and others to learn how to take back the kitchen. We sat down to chat with Pollan about why cooking is empowering, how to feed your superorganism, and to get his thoughts on the current state of the food movement. Read more

New Report Puts Michelle Obama’s Anti-Obesity Campaign On the Scale

In the latest investigation by the Food & Environment Reporting Network (FERN), reporter Bridget Huber examines first lady Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity campaign and the political realities of taking on the multibillion-dollar food industry. The story, “Michelle’s Moves,” appears online at The Nation and FERN.

Huber details how, starting in March 2010, Mrs. Obama—the enormously popular mother in chief, who had surprised and impressed many when she chose to make the contentious issue of childhood obesity a focus of her White House tenure—leveled a challenge at the food industry’s biggest players, asking them to “step up,” a month after she launched the Let’s Move campaign, the Obama administration’s flagship anti-obesity program, aimed at reversing the childhood obesity epidemic by 2030.

“But three and a half years since the ground was broken on the White House garden, many of those who’d had high hopes say the first lady has logged only modest successes,” Huber reports. “Experts credit Mrs. Obama for her instrumental role in reforming school lunches, limiting TV watching and increasing healthy food at childcare centers—and, perhaps most important, using her bully pulpit to bring issues of food and nutrition to national attention. But, they say, reversing the childhood obesity epidemic in a generation requires more of the bold action that Mrs. Obama hinted at.” Read more