When scientists Amrita Hazra and Patricia Bubner arrived in Berkeley, California a few years back to do post-doctoral science at the University of California, they bonded over what they saw as an alarming lack of diversity in the American diet.
For one, Hazra, from India, and Bubner, from Austria, had both grown up eating many more diverse grains than they could find in the States. And they both had a fondness for millet; Hazra likes to add it to soups, to give texture, while Bubner makes patties with it, or cooks it in milk like porridge and adds apples and honey. But, Hazra was disappointed to learn that the variety of millets consumed in India are not available here, and they found that most Americans hardly ate it at all. Read more
It’s 9:30 on a Wednesday morning in a third grade classroom at Hannah Elementary School in Beverly, Massachusetts, and Leilani Mroczkowski, Education Coordinator of Green City Growers, is pretending to be a radish. She’s squatting on the ground, holding her knees, with her long black dreads hanging down toward her dirt-caked work boots. Behind Mroczkowski, her coworker Hadas Yanay is standing on her tiptoes, with her arms stretched toward the ceiling. Read more
As millions of students around the nation return to school cafeterias this month, Congress will begin to make some important decisions about what exactly those students will be eating in the years to come.
The “Child Nutrition Reauthorization” (CNR) takes place every five years and shapes federal legislation that authorizes and funds the National School Lunch Program and other key child nutrition programs. But the CNR involves more than just pro forma approval of these long-standing programs. It also gives lawmakers an opening to review—and potentially alter—child nutrition policy. Read more
When Berkeley residents voted to approve the nation’s first soda tax by more than a 3 to 1 margin last year, they were hoping it would raise money for the Northern California city while making people healthier.
Berkeley is charging retailers a penny per ounce of every sugary drink sold—including soft drinks, energy drinks, and pre-sweetened teas—as a “sin tax” designed to make the price artificially high to discourage people from buying them. It’s projected to bring in as much as $1.2 million in its first year. Read more
Every day, all the members of the intentional community at the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center (OAEC), gather in one place to eat together.
Located in West Sonoma County, California, OAEC has long been at the forefront of ecological agriculture. One of California’s first certified organic farms, it has existed as a renowned demonstration farm, nonprofit educational retreat center, intentional community, and eco-think tank since the 1970’s. And the group has been eating, and growing food in their “Mother Garden” together for so long, that OAEC has also been pioneering its own cuisine over the years. The meals follow a template that speaks to their seasonal, plant-based approach to eating: one or two garden vegetable dishes, one protein dish, one carbohydrate, a side of pesto, spread or sauce, and a huge salad. Read more
Attending Expo Milano 2015, the Universal Exposition currently taking place outside Milan, Italy, is not unlike going to an amusement park. “It feels a lot like Epcot [Center],” said Lizzie Hessek, a Philadelphia-based city planner who recently spent a day at the Expo.
There’s no cotton candy, there’s a complete lack of rides, and there are fewer chances to win prizes, but otherwise it’s a fair comparison. The event, which runs from May through October, fills up daily with big crowds, school groups in matching T-shirts, and lots of families. Smart visitors wear comfortable shoes to walk the long promenade, and performers dressed up as various foods—a fig, a leek, a pomegranate—roam the space. Read more
Civil Eats: Your next book, Soda Politics: Taking on Big Soda (and Winning), documents the history of how this sugary beverage gave rise to some of our most powerful corporations and has lately become Public Enemy Number One in the war on obesity.
With sales on the decline, the New York Times recently reported that Coca-Cola is pouring millions of dollars into a ‘science-based’ campaign to convince the public that the secret to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is not avoiding excess calories, but getting more exercise. What’s the science on more exercise versus fewer calories? Read more
On a Wednesday afternoon in late July, I sat in a stranger’s kitchen dipping a crispy papadum into a bowl of homemade lentil soup. No, I don’t burst into people’s houses, Goldilocks-style, demanding soup and crackers. I bought and paid for this particular meal ahead of time, through Josephine, a new website that aims to connect home cooks with hungry, local customers. Read more
Anastacia Marx de Salcedo is no stranger to the food industry: a writer whose work has appeared in Salon, Slate, The Boston Globe, and Gourmet, she’s accustomed to considering edible topics as varied as Latin American recipe traditions and food safety myths. Marx de Salcedo is a passionate home cook, but as her career picked up speed and her three daughters grew older, she found herself relying increasingly on ready-to-go foods such as sliced whole wheat bread, deli meats, and yogurt tubes to provide them with fast, healthy lunches—or so she thought. Read more
I moved to California from El Salvador with my mother when I was two years old. Throughout most of my childhood, we lived in Huntington Park, a mostly-Latino, blue-collar suburb South of Los Angeles.
Needless to say, I was far from gluten-free bread, kale chips, and other fad foods of Hollywood. There were few grocery stores nearby and, although we were only four blocks away from a Mexican market with great produce, I rarely saw a farmers’ market. Instead, there were lots of convenience stores filled with pre-packaged, processed foods, fast food restaurants, and small liquor stores with overpriced, overripe produce. Read more