All the News That’s Fit to Eat: Oregon’s GMO Bans, Potatoes in WIC, McDonald’s Workers

Here’s what caught our eye this week in food news:

1. Beating Monsanto in the Food Fight: Oregon Counties Vote to Ban GMO Crops (The Nation)

Josephine County and Jackson County, Oregon overwhelmingly approved ballot measures to prohibit the cultivation of genetically engineered (GE) crops in the counties. Farmers in the area grow both sugar beets and alfalfa, two crops that are said to be susceptible to contamination from the pollen of nearby GE plants. The bans were voted in by a two-to-one margin. As The Center for Food Safety put it in their blog: “In the absence of any meaningful government mandated restrictions to control contamination, bans such as those in Jackson and Josephine County are the only way for farmers to protect their crops from contamination.” Read more

Dan Barber Takes a Radically Holistic Approach to Food and Farming With ‘The Third Plate’

Dan Barber’s book, The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food, was released this week, graced with blurbs by everyone from Ruth Reichl to Al Gore and Malcolm Gladwell. And if it feels like it was a long time coming, that’s because it was. The chef and writer spent over a decade visiting farmers and other food producers and ruminating about the role their work plays in the wider natural world. Meanwhile Barber was also running a world-renowned restaurant, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, part of a small constellation of other efforts, including Blue Hill restaurant in New York City, the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, and Barber’s nearby family farm. Read more

Cooking up Change: Chefs Attend Advocacy Boot Camp

On a recent Tuesday, 12 chefs went out on a fishing boat in Half Moon Bay, an hour south of San Francisco. The group was hoping to catch a wild Chinook salmon, but they returned empty-handed.

“Sport fishing season opened in early April and the fisherman has only brought in three fish so far,” said Kris Moon, director of charitable giving and strategic partnerships at the James Beard Foundation* (JBF) after the trip. “It has been the slowest season he can remember.” Read more

All the News That’s Fit to Eat: Cheap Organics, Anti-GMO-Labeling Bill, and Milk Hormones

1. Walmart’s New Line of Organic Food will Undercut Big Brands (New York Times)

The big news this week was the new partnership between Walmart and Wild Oats, the former natural grocery store chain, which is rolling out a line of inexpensive organic products. Walmart only plans to carry the company’s shelf-stable pantry items for now, but the move could make a splash with both consumers and farmers. Read more

GRAS Out: Surprising Number of Unregulated Chemicals Found in Food

If you don’t recognize all the high-tech ingredients available in food and drinks these days, you’re not alone. Some of these new additions—such as glucosamine hydrochloride, gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA), or soy isoflavone extract—might show up in product marketing, while others, such as milk protein concentrate, will not. But whether new food additives are being promoted or not, a report released this week by the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) says their novelty isn’t the only reason we should be paying attention. Read more

Unwelcoming Committee: Online Grocer Faces Opposition in the South Bronx

Ordering food on the Internet can offer a reprieve from the drudgery of the grocery store. A few quick clicks and you have ingredients for dinner without getting in a car or lugging bags of food on a bus or train. But while it may seem like online services allow groceries to magically appear at our doorsteps, there are, in fact, still quite a few warehouses, refrigerators, and trucks involved. Read more