The New York Times recently published a report that focused on fraud in disbursing settlements for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) discrimination among African American, Indian, Hispanic, and women farmers. Reporter Sharon LaFraniere wrote of “career lawyers and agency officials who had argued that there was no credible evidence of widespread discrimination.”
But there is a long train of evidence of discrimination, much of it from the USDA records at the National Archives, as well as from records of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, National Sharecroppers Fund, NAACP, SNCC, and land grant universities, among other sources. Since the mid-1960s, USDA officials have continually denied discrimination, but the record indicates otherwise. Read More
If you’re reading this, chances are you care about the earth and try to make decisions that minimize your environmental footprint. You probably turn off the lights when you leave the house; you probably recycle; perhaps you’ve installed a low-flow showerhead, use public transportation, ride a bicycle for local errands, carry a reusable water bottle and frequent the farmers’ market to buy local, organic foods… but have you thought about how much of your food you end up tossing in the trash?
In the US, we waste roughly 40 percent of all the food we produce. This is totally insane – and it’s an environmental nightmare. Read More
For more than 35 years, Deborah Madison has been an ardent vegetable evangelist, starting from her early days cooking at Chez Panisse and then founding Greens Restaurant. Among her numerous books, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone is a trusted essential for many home cooks. She is also a strong advocate for farmers markets, seasonal cooking, and heritage seeds.
As the daughter of a botanist, Madison inherited a natural curiosity for the plant kingdom. In her latest book, Vegetable Literacy (Ten Speed Press, 2013), she unearths the botany, history, and culinary connections within 12 plant families. From her home in New Mexico, she talked with CUESA about her discoveries in the garden, how understanding plant relationships can help us be more confident cooks, and why a radish top is a terrible thing to waste. Read More
Each year, Americans raise and slaughter approximately 10 billion animals, primarily for domestic consumption. Most consumers, however, have no idea how the meat they purchase at the supermarket is produced since the advertising is so misleading: images of happy cows in pasture producing milk and chickens being raised in spacious buildings while the company CEO walks among them making sure they are eating a healthy diet. Read More
In the latest report by the Food & Environment Reporting Network, out today in May/June issue of Eating Well magazine, looks at the growing issue of antibiotic resistance due to the routine use of antibiotics in livestock production. Reporter Barry Estabrook, author of the New York Times bestselling book Tomatoland, details how livestock are fed a diet laced with low “sub-therapeutic” doses of antibiotics, not to cure illness, but to make the animals grow faster and survive cramped living conditions.
“The low doses kill many bacteria,” Estabrook writes, “But some develop mutations that make them immune to the same drugs that once destroyed them.” Eighty percent of all antibiotics in the U.S. are used in livestock production.
The story comes out on the heels of a new study by Consumer Reports that shows that antibiotic-free turkey is less likely to be contaminated with resistant-bacteria. The findings strongly suggest that the routine use of antibiotics in animal production has led to increased antibiotics resistance when the drugs are used to treat human illnesses. In addition, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released updated consumer advice this week, in which its scientists discussed the connection between treated animals and resistant strains of bacteria in humans. Read More
Pastoralists in Kenya, rice farmers in India, and industrial feedlot operators in the U.S. have all contended with the increased frequency of drought and erratic weather. New agricultural ideas and actions are essential amid rising climate stress, a growing human population, widespread degradation of ecosystems, and rampant food insecurity; nearly one billion people regularly don’t get enough to eat. Read More
Crunchy and savory dulse flakes lend a taste and texture similar to bacon when sprinkled over artichoke croquettes. Kombu dissolves in chipotle black bean and mushroom chili, giving it a trace of saltiness before being finished with crème fraiche. Agar agar, a clear, tasteless alternative to chemical-based and animal gelatin, creates a thick, smooth base for dark chocolate orange pudding. These three ingredients share one thing in common: they are sea vegetables. Read More
As if we needed another reason to reject approval of genetically engineered (GE) salmon, internal agency documents uncovered by environmental groups raise serious questions about the adequacy of the FDA’s review of the AquAdvantage Salmon application. Friends of the Earth, Earthjustice, Center for Food Safety and Food & Water Watch received the previously undisclosed documents through a Freedom of Information Act request. Read More
The movement to label genetically engineered (GE) foods in the U.S. is gaining momentum by the day. Just this week, a federal bill to require labeling of GE foods was introduced in Washington D.C. with strong bipartisan support —including that of over 30 Congressional co-sponsors from House and Senate. And more states have introduced GE labeling bills this year than ever before. Whether or not these initiatives pass in 2013, this much seems clear: we will win labeling of GE foods. It’s just a matter of time. Read More