In 2010, the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF), whose members include PepsiCo, General Mills, Coca-Cola, Kraft, and many other large food manufacturers, voluntarily pledged to collectively sell 1 trillion fewer calories in the U.S. marketplace by 2012 and 1.5 trillion fewer by 2015.
It’s easy for the average consumer to assume that food labeled “natural” is healthy, wholesome, and free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). After all, the dictionary definition of the word natural is “existing in, or formed by, nature as opposed to artificial.
But, more often than not, according to a Consumer Reports study released today, processed foods with a “natural” label actually contain significant amounts of GMOs.
Every year, Americans throw away $165 billion dollars worth of food—that’s more than we spend on the food stamp program (SNAP), national parks, public libraries, and health care for veterans combined. Around 40 percent of our entire food supply gets tossed in trashcans, dumpsters, and landfills, and we’re not even a well-fed nation.
Fifty million Americans, or one in seven, are food insecure and 17 million children, or one in five, go without food on a regular basis. The majority of you reading this likely don’t experience hunger or food insecurity, but the truth is we are a very hungry nation.
“In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” The opening quote of the Thug Kitchen Cookbook: Eat Like You Give a F*ck may sound like it was pulled straight from the blog’s expletive-laden homepage. But it’s actually a quote from Julia Child, originator of kitchen irreverence and inspiration to whimsical cooks worldwide. Child was one of the first cooks to encourage her audience to truly start from scratch in the kitchen, encouraging those with few skills to step up to the stove. The co-founders of the popular website Thug Kitchen (TK) use a millennial approach to this same philosophy–taken to the extreme.
Here is this week’s roundup of food news stories.
1. GMO Labeling Won’t Raises Prices for Consumers (RT News)
As voters in Oregon gear up to head to the polls in November, a new study may help them make a decision on Ballot Measure 92, also known as the state’s GMO labeling bill. The report from ECONorthwest aggregates findings from numerous studies that have looked at the prospective effect of GMO labeling on consumer prices. According to the findings, a measure like the one in Oregon would likely raise prices by $2.30 per person per year in total–less than the price of a gallon of milk. Meanwhile, in Colorado, where a similar measure will be on the ballot, Monsanto has pumped nearly $5 million into a campaign to convince consumers that GMO labeling will cause prices to skyrocket.
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.
Ten students frolic along a path, passing flowering cilantro and Swiss chard leaves the size of elephant ears. One pauses to point out a ladybug, which leads to an impromptu lesson from gardener Suzanne Stone about aphids. Another student marvels at periwinkle-blue borage blooms, an opportunity to teach companion planting and culinary herbs.
At Nopalito, if the local corn runs out, you might as well shut the doors. It’s typical for the restaurant’s two San Francisco locations to go through 200 pounds of California-grown organic masa in a single day. The grain is at the menu’s core, used in everything from tamales, to tortillas, to house-made chips.
The founders of First Generation Farmers in Brentwood, California have spent the morning squatting and stooping uncomfortably as they hand-harvest row after row of asparagus. “This is the hardest work we’ve ever done in our lives,” says Larry Gaines, hauling a bin of asparagus to his car. His business partner, Christian Olesen, announces that he feels like puking from the effort.
Ricardo Sangüesa, a small avocado farmer, is staring out over a dry, cracked landscape. But he’s not in California; he’s in the Ligua Valley, in central Chile. Stray dogs wander through the empty Ligua riverbed, which is littered with trash. The only green he can see are the avocado trees, which grow in green squares that form a peculiar patchwork along the sides of the valley. According to Sangüesa, the river has been drained to feed the trees.