Imagine you’re in the supermarket. It’s an emporium, packed to the brim with shelves of colorful packaging. As you peruse the aisles, you’re confronted by brand on top of brand on top of a new brand that you’ve never heard of before. Cue sensory overload. There are hundreds of different bags of chips. There’s this condiment and that condiment, this yogurt and those “all natural” yogurts. A plethora of choice; or is choice just an illusion? Take the Food & Water Watch Foodopoly Quiz on the newly launched Foodopoly website and you’ll be shocked to find out who really controls what you put in your cart, and why it all matters. Read more
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Daily menus, open kitchens, and women chefs may seem commonplace in today’s restaurants, but 40 years ago they were downright radical. Coming out of the social upheavals of the 1960s, California chefs, farmers, and food artisans of the 1970s bucked tradition in the kitchen and the fields, stirring a culinary revolution that has reverberated around the world.
Joyce Goldstein, one such pioneer, assembles this complex history in her new book, Inside the California Food Revolution: Thirty Years That Changed Our Culinary Consciousness (University of California Press), weaving together nearly 200 interviews with farm-to-table visionaries such as CUESA founder Sibella Kraus, Warren Weber of Star Route Farms, Steve Sullivan of Acme Bread, and Sue Conley and Peggy Smith of Cowgirl Creamery. Read more
At an August 2013 press conference, a frustrated President Obama stated, “I don’t know a law that solves a problem 100 percent.” He was referencing the painful fight over immigration reform. But food reformers should take his comment to heart. There’s no such thing as a perfect food policy or solution and those who pursue perfection are not only destined to fail, they may also unintentionally harm the cause in the process. Read more
Hundreds of millions of conservation dollars in the federal farm bill should be used more effectively to address widespread water pollution problems in California, concludes a new report released today by Environmental Working Group (EWG). Too much money is going to install micro-irrigation systems and build facilities to manage and treat the millions of tons of animal waste generated by dairies and cattle feedlots. Too little is going to support high-impact ecological farming practices such as cover cropping, nutrient management, filter strips and conservation tillage. Read more
Most Americans think of Canadians as their nice northern neighbors, prone to superfluous apologies. Sorry (yes) to burst that bubble, but we also have a deep self-congratulatory streak. Among ourselves we can be smug, extoling the virtues of our kinder, gentler social safety net. These hard-won achievements are worthy of a few pats on the back, sure, even though as in most other nations in the industrialized world, that net is growing taut and frayed. Read more
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
“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
Thank you so much to all of our supporters! YOU DID IT! We are so thrilled, moved, and gratified that you believe in us and helped us raise our goal.
We look forward to providing you continued critical food news and commentary. We can’t wait to share our evolution with you.
With deep gratitude,
Paula, Naomi and the Civil Eats team
Imagine a country where ideologues bent on land reform turn agriculture into the plaything of the world’s richest investors, and poor local farmers are locked out of millions of acres prime agricultural land. Then stop imagining some African country run by a despot and his friends and start picturing the United States. Rural America is on the cusp of one of the greatest transfers of land in its history and no one’s talking about it. Read more