This is the second installment of our ongoing Faith in Food series. Read the first installment here.
On a hot summer day two years ago, Michael Larsen, a Rexburg, Idaho father of five, answered a call for volunteers from a bean farm near the Utah border, bringing with him his two young daughters. In a scene recalling an Amish barn-raising, he describes many hands making light work of hoeing the sun-baked, pancake-flat field, each group working two or three approximately half-mile-long rows. Read more
You wouldn’t eat the tiny plastic fibers that come off your fleece jacket, would you? Research released last week suggests we might be eating the fish that do. The study–the first of its kind–found that Great Lakes fish are swallowing micro-plastic fibers [PDF] that have found their way into the waste stream from washing machines. And the fish that ingest them include species sought after by Great Lakes anglers, among them: brown trout, cisco–also known as “lake herring”–and perch. Read more
Eating, shopping, dating–most Americans now conduct so much of their lives online, they can hardly remember a time before the Internet Age. And while some farmers are using technology to improve their crops, in reality, most are not as connected as you might think.
The latest U.S. Census of Agriculture suggests that unlike your average urban dweller, most farmers don’t have their eyes permanently glued to a glowing screen. Nearly 33 percent of American farmers lack Internet access and only 40 percent use the Internet at all for agricultural enterprises. And, according to the National Broadband Map (NBM) only 78 percent of rural residents currently have access to a broadband network–a fact that poses a problem for those using “precision farming” techniques and working with precise, high-tech tools and Big Data. There seems to be a missing link from the food chain to the World Wide Web. Read more
On a hot day in September, I gathered up my two-year-old daughter and took her to one of Berkeley’s most important places for young eaters: the Edible Schoolyard. While my daughter was busy smashing juicy figs into her face and chasing chickens across the lawn, I tuned my ears to Alice Waters, the pioneering chef of Chez Panisse. We were there to celebrate the release of Alice Waters and the Trip to Delicious, a new biographical children’s book by Jacqueline Briggs Martin that traces Alice’s journey to a life of good, healthy food. Read more
It’s Sustainable Santa, writing. Wee Barry Estabrook is preoccupied with putting together a new book proposal, so Santa thought it was a good idea to help him out (and lighten Santa’s sleigh) by stepping into this space to dash off a few words about Santa’s favorite books of food journalism for 2014—dandy gifts for the food lovers on your list.
Santa’s image consultants insist that Santa maintains the physique of a fat, jolly, old elf, so it should come as no surprise that he takes food ve-r-r-r-r-r-y seriously. And because Santa expects to be embarking on his annual sleigh ride for many more millennia, it should also come as no surprise that he has a vested interest in the long-term sustainability of our food system.
Which brings Santa to this year’s first book. (Always fair-minded, Santa will proceed in alphabetical order.) Read more
Learning that wine has ingredients like bull’s blood or crab shells is likely to trigger panic attacks in some dedicated vegans. It certainly did to Kate Jacoby. Jacoby is co-owner of Philadelphia’s Vedge restaurant with her chef husband, Rich Landau. “When I found out that a wine can be made and processed with animal and dairy products, I freaked out,” she said. Jacoby was writing a serious wine list, but she’d begun to wonder: Would she be limited to one or two wines? Read more
Call off the search for the new kale: we’ve found it, and it’s called kelp! In this episode of Gastropod, we explore the science behind the new wave of seaweed farms springing up off the New England coast, and discover seaweed’s starring role in the peopling of the Americas. Read more
Rain or shine, we’re serving up the week’s food news. Here’s what caught our attention:
1. The World’s Most Powerful Chef Hangs up His Apron (Politico)
As White House Chef Sam Kass prepares to retire, the Obamas aren’t just losing a chef, “the Obama administration is set to lose its behind-the-scenes food policy general,” writes Politico’s Helena Bottemiller Evich. Kass, who has been instrumental in preventing the GOP from completely degrading recent school lunch improvements (see below), is relocating to New York City just one year before school lunch reauthorization is set to take place. “Food and agriculture insiders are anxious to see where Kass goes next—he’s expected to stay engaged as he works on nutrition issues from the private sector—but they are even more curious to know who will replace him,” writes Evich. Read more
We hope you’ll think of Civil Eats in your year-end giving.
This has been a big year for us. After our successful Kickstarter campaign late last year, we brought on a paid managing editor, started paying our contributors, and expanded our readership. We were named the James Beard Foundation’s 2014 Publication of the Year and two of our stories were included in Best Food Writing 2014. We’re also reaching more people than ever thanks to our new media partnerships with TIME.com, Harvest Public Media, and Bay Area Bites. Read more
Last Thanksgiving, the average American family spent $22 for a 16-pound turkey. That’s less than $1.40 a pound.
Yet slow food and small farm advocates argue it’s time we start paying more, closer to $10 a pound–or $100-$150 a turkey–if we want to address the many problems associated with factory farmed poultry. Read more