Forget about exploding airbags. America’s exploding waistlines have us on a collision course, literally, with food-induced fatalities. Our crash test dummies just gained 106 pounds overnight, after studies found that most cars’ safety features don’t properly fit larger Americans, putting them at much greater risk of dying in car crashes.
Stories like this presumably lend new urgency to conferences like the one the James Beard Foundation hosted in New York City this week. Entitled “Health and Food: Is Better Food The Prescription For A Healthier America?,” the gathering brought all the usual suspects together to “make us think deeply about our values and the decisions we make about food.” Read more
Every morning, just after breakfast, Joe Morris heads out to check the water for his herd of 130 pasture-raised cattle. This year, thanks to California’s extreme drought, the creeks on his property have run dry.
“A herd of cattle without water is not a pretty sight,” says Morris, a rancher who has practiced holistic management of the water and soil on his family’s San Juan Bautista ranch since 1991. Read more
Oregon is awash in GMO labeling cash. Even before the seed giant DuPont Pioneer dumped $4.46 million to oppose mandatory GMO-labeling in Oregon late last week, Ballot Measure 92 had already been on record as the costliest in the state’s history. Read more
Last year, during the heat of our Kickstarter campaign, we called upon some of our favorite writers to spin their gold for us. Not only did they help us raise $100,000, they also wrote for us for free. Now, in a great honor, two of their stories have been included in the Best Food Writing 2014, which lands in bookstores today. Read more
If you meander down the DIY road long enough, you will end up doing things that are far from easy or convenient. You stop thinking about the time it takes to complete a project and begin focusing on the value to the end result, liker the integrity in knowing that your entire dinner can be traced back to your own property. Part of the DIY thrill is that the steps encourage you to keep digging deeper. What starts one year as a nice gift to your neighbors of dried, home grown herbs might result in the decision to add salt crystals you harvested from local seawater to the next batch.
When it comes to baking, the next DIY frontier is grinding whole grains into flour. Read more
In 2007, Greg Roden and Brian Greene met in Buenos Aires, Argentina at a poker game and batted around the idea of a new type of food television show. Seven years later, that idea is coming to life as a 13-episode series examining our food system called Food Forward, premiering on PBS stations across the country and streaming on PBS.org beginning this week. Read more
Four years ago, Marissa Guggiana and Tia Harrison founded The Butcher’s Guild, a network of artisanal butchers dedicated to supplying conscientious consumers’ growing demand for humanely-raised meat. But like any young organization, they had big ideas without a budget to match. Read more
Meat consumption in China has been on a dramatic rise for the last three decades, with one-third of the world’s meat now produced in the country and more than half the world’s pork. Most of it comes from factory-style systems of farming, with large numbers of confined animals fed on grain. A lot of grains.
“We’re heading towards a new era…as the majority of the world’s feed crops are destined for China’s pigs,” predicts Mindi Schneider, an agribusiness researcher at the International Institute of Social Studies in the Netherlands. Read more
People crowdfund all kinds of projects these days–art shows, T-shirt businesses, indie rock bands. Emily Weisburg is crowdfunding a sustainable kosher restaurant. The 26-year-old Wisconsin native, who now lives in the Riverdale neighborhood of the Bronx, New York, has plans to open Moss Café, an eatery that, according to her Kickstarter project page, is “committed to community, sustainability, quality, and creativity”—and also happens to be certified kosher. Read more
Ellen Gustafson’s We the Eaters: If We Change Dinner, We Can Change the World, may have a clumsy title, but the book takes a trenchant and well-researched look at America’s high tech farming and the denatured food it produces. The food activist goes further, by laying out how processors take that food and fill it with sugar, fat, salt, and additives while draining out the nutrition.
And Gustafson goes further still, describing how fast food corporations and junk food convenience stores are muscling out indigenous farming practices and wholesome food not only in our country, but around the world. Developing nations are getting a double whammy, she says, as nutrient-deficient junk food creates growth-stunting hunger in children, and she documents how this results in obesity later in life. Read more