On February 10, 2012, Ronald McDonald held court in a packed elementary school auditorium. Ronald was visiting the Lexington, Kentucky elementary school as part of his sweep of that state. The visits are meant to teach “the value of leadership and community involvement,” says Ronald, and kick off fundraising drives for Ronald McDonald Houses. According to WheresRonald.com, he’s planning to visit at least 117 more schools there this year. Read more
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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
In a time when off-shoring and outsourcing are household words discussed around dinner tables by struggling families, smart investments in local economies are essential. Yes, these sorts of investments can be made by socially responsible businesses or proactive public sector agencies. But they can also be made by entrepreneurial nonprofit organizations like DC Central Kitchen.
When the economy bottomed out, we knew we needed to generate more of our revenue and reduce our reliance on private foundations whose portfolios had been battered in the market crash. We also knew that the unemployed, at-risk men and women we trained for culinary careers as part of our hunger-fighting mission were going to face a tougher time than ever finding work.
We decided to go ‘all-in’ on the idea of social enterprise, and successfully bid on a multi-million dollar food service contract with the District of Columbia’s public school system. Not only were we charged with making more meals, but with finding a way to break new ground in the healthy school food movement. Read more
Can an apple a day really keep the doctor away? As it turns out, there’s more truth than myth to this sage saying. Not only are apples a low calorie food with tons of vitamin C, they also contain phytonutrients, which prevents neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinsonism. Though the wonders of apples as preventative health may not be common knowledge, we can all get behind the idea that everyone needs to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables to live a healthy, long life that involves fewer doctor visits. Doctors and farmers both think so, and they’re teaming up to help make this a reality. Read more
We each own a secret weapon that weighs only a few ounces. If this was strategically deployed for one day, we could transform our world into a better place. We could end obesity and chronic disease, revitalize our children’s health, achieve academic excellence, topple corrupt governments, restore our depleted soils, replenish our vanishing aquifers and reverse climate change. What is this weapon? It’s your fork. Read more
In the summer of 2010, Robert DuBois and Aaron Zueck headed out on a 100 day bike trip across the country to document the thriving local foods movement. In the YouTube video of this “potluck across America,” the two seem genuinely passionate about farmers and healthy food—and the movement they’re documenting. As the screen goes black, a voiceover says: “Every time you drink Pepsi you support the Pepsi Refresh project. Every Pepsi refreshes the world.” Read more
Last week, in what is yet another example of Big Food’s symbiotic relationship with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), McDonald’s Director of Nutrition, Registered Dietitian Cindy Goody, spoke to her fellow colleagues at the Utah Dietetic Association meeting about the chain’s new “healthy initiatives.” McDonald’s is such a good friend of AND that it is also a “gold sponsor” at next month’s California Dietetic Association meeting. Read more
Five weeks ago, my partner and I began a food stamp challenge with an unconventional twist: We use our food stamps to only buy organic food. I came up with this notion in part because I’m annoyed by the common perception that organic food is somehow “elitist.” Most recently, this meme was perpetuated by New York Times contributor Roger Cohen. (If you really want to know what I think of his line of thought, see here.)
The notion that only well-heeled Whole Foods shoppers care about organic food is misguided. As I’ve written about food justice organizations and urban farming projects over the past few years, I’ve met plenty of low-income people who go out of their way to find food that hasn’t been doused in pesticides. (What’s really elitist is the assumption that they wouldn’t want healthy food, too.) Read more
In its continuing frenzy to silence potential critics, Coca-Cola issued a press release recently that announced the following:
Helene D. Gayle, M.D., M.P.H., has been nominated to stand for election to the Company’s Board of Directors at its Annual Meeting of Shareowners in April.Dr. Gayle, 57, is President and CEO of CARE USA, a leading international humanitarian organization whose poverty fighting programs reached approximately 122 million people last year in 84 countries.
Why in the world would Dr. Gayle want to sit on the Coca-Cola Board of Directors when Coca-Cola’s export of non-nutritious, sugary drinks to the world’s poorest countries is causing a new set of chronic health problems for those living in poverty — including obesity, heart disease, diabetes and dental caries (cavities)? The U.S. is already dealing with the phenomenon of food insecure families suffering from obesity, thanks in good part to overconsumption of cheap soft drinks that are heavily marketed in our poorest communities. Read more
You’ve heard of pink slime. You know trans fats are cardiovascular atrocities. You’re well aware that store-bought orange juice is essentially a scam. But no matter how great of a processed-food sleuth you are, chances are you’ve never set food inside a processing plant to see how many of these products are actually made.
Writer Melanie Warner, whose new expose-on-the-world-of-processed-foods book, Pandora’s Lunchbox, is out this week, spent the past year and a half doing exactly that. In her quest to explore the murky and convoluted world of soybean oil, milk protein concentrates (a key ingredient in processed cheese), and petroleum-based artificial dyes, she spoke to food scientists, uncovered disturbing regulatory loopholes in food law, and learned just how little we know about many of the food products on supermarket shelves.
After reading Pandora’s Lunchbox, I sent Melanie some burning questions via e-mail. Read more