Toss Those Take-Out Menus: New Study Says Cooking Makes us Healthier

Phoot by Yasu Hirotao

There is a great deal of anecdotal evidence to suggest that cooking at home is better for our health. It’s also well known that eating convenience food is associated with poorer nutrition, obesity, and other metabolic diseases. Food experts, ranging from NYU professor Marion Nestle to author Michael Pollan and New York Times columnist Mark Bittman, have long argued that homemade meals belong at the center of a healthy diet. Read More

All The News That’s Fit to Eat: The Strawberry’s Dark Side, Fast Food Racial Profiling, and ‘Food for Tomorrow’

McDonald's Play Place in Waterbury, Connecticut. Photo: Mike Mozart via Flickr.

Just because the elections are over doesn’t mean there isn’t news to cover–food news, that is. See this week’s stories below.

1. How a National Food Policy Could Save Millions of American Lives (Washington Post)

Food movement powerhouses Mark Bittman, Michael Pollan, Ricardo Salvador, and Olivier de Schutter have proposed a simple idea: The U.S. government should adopt a comprehensive food policy that protects public health, workers’ rights, the environment, and farm animals. Read More

Pedal-Powered Produce: Growing & Delivering Local Food in Florida

Fleet Farming Cart

A sustainable food initiative in Orlando, Florida is aiming to prove that as long as there are bikes and suburban lawns, supplying produce for a city doesn’t have to leave a carbon footprint.

Fleet Farming uses volunteers to tend organic vegetable gardens in private yards. The produce is then collected and brought to local farmers’ markets and restaurants via pedal-power and the entirety of this mini food system is located within a 10-mile roundtrip bike path near downtown Orlando. Read More

Gastropod: The Microbiome Revolution [Audio]

CG_Rusty Greenhouse

 

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of years, you’ve probably heard about the human microbiome.

Research into the galaxy of bacteria, fungi, and viruses that–when we’re healthy–live in symbiotic balance in and on our bodies has become one of the most intriguing fields of scientific study. But it turns out that plants have a microbiome too—and it’s just as important and exciting as ours. Read More

5 Questions for an International Organics Expert: IFOAM’s Andre Leu

Andre Leu_v2

Andre Leu has been an organic farmer in Australia for 40 years. He is also the newly re-elected President of the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (IFOAM), a worldwide network of more than 800 groups in 120 countries. In addition to traveling the world advocating for organic farming, Leu has spent the last few years thinking and writing about pesticides for his new book, The Myth of Safe Pesticides. Read More

Mostly Plants: New Science Says a Healthier Diet is Best for the Climate

Shutterstock.

Good food advocates have long argued that what’s best for your health is also best for the planet, but new science now backs up the claim. A paper published today in the journal Nature by scientists at the University of Minnesota, presents hard numbers that suggest eating less meat, less refined fat, and less sugar will also reduce the climate change impacts of food production.

Using about 50 years’ worth of data from the world’s 100 most populous countries, UM Professor of Ecology G. David Tilman and graduate student Michael Clark show how current diet trends are contributing, not only to diet-related illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease, but also to dangerously increasing agricultural greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). Read More

San Francisco Restaurant the Perennial is Facing Climate Change Head-On

Aquaponic roots

In the quest to shave off distance from field to plate, today’s chefs and restaurants have devised a range of creative solutions–from growing tomatoes on their own rooftops to sourcing fruit from their customers’ backyards.

The Perennial, a soon-to-open San Francisco eatery, plans to take the business of local sourcing several steps further. Many of the greens and herbs the restaurant serves will be grown in a closed-loop aquaponic system based across the Bay in Oakland. And when chef Chris Kiyuna wants to serve say, some sorrel or sprigs of purple basil, he’ll be able to harvest them from the “living pantry”–an area of the restaurant where the greens will float until just moments before they’re served. Read More

Breaking ‘The Chain': What’s at Stake in the Modern Pork Industry

Hogs at a confinement facility run by New Fashion Pork, one of Hormel Foods' suppliers. Photo by Mary Anne Andrei.

At first glance, writing an exposé on the pork industry might seem outside Ted Genoways’ wheelhouse. He’s the author of two books of poetry and has  penned a biography of Walt Whitman—not necessarily what one expects from someone writing about modern meat production in the U.S.

But Genoways, who has written on factory farming for Mother Jones and is the grandson of a former packinghouse worker from Omaha, Nebraska, brings his interests together by focusing on working class Midwestern life. His newest book, The Chain: Farm, Factory, and the Fate of Our Food, is a chilling indictment of today’s pork industry told through the story of one company, Hormel Foods. Essentially, it’s The Jungle for the modern era.

We recently spoke with Genoways about his new book, Hormel, and the fact that much of our food has become less safe over time. Read More

Children of Latino Immigrants Forge Paths in Agriculture

Melissa Garcia works with a classmate on a chicken-wing dissection in her vet careers class in the Des Moines public schools’ animal science program. (Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media)

In a dimly-lit lab on the Des Moines, Iowa, public schools’ agricultural science campus, students in aprons, safety goggles and plastic gloves poke and probe chicken wings. About 15 girls and just one boy in this vet careers class are looking for ligaments, tendons, cartilage and other features of this animal part that teenagers more often experience cooked and covered in barbecue sauce. Read More