As of this week, our nation’s food and farm policy in the form of the 2008 Farm Bill has officially expired, with no workable replacement. There are many who see this as a better course of events than the passage of one of the new, admittedly imperfect, bills passed by the Senate and proposed in the House. Others view congressional inaction as no big deal.
Want to run a restaurant? Chances are you’ll need a license that requires you to meet certain health standards in order to stay in business.
But what if you want to run a convenience store? If there are no supermarkets nearby, residents may rely on that store for their groceries–and we all know it’s much easier to find chips and soda at most convenience stores than it is to find fruits and vegetables.
Don Lewis fell into flour because of his chickens. Back in the late 1990s, he went to Lightning Tree Farm for organic chicken feed and saw that Alton Earnhart was growing wheat. The farmer offered him a bag of flour, and this piece of wheat history began.
At the time, Lewis sold baked goods featuring his own honey at New York City’s Greenmarkets, so of course he was intrigued by the farmer’s flour. As a result, he began to incorporate local flour into all his products, increasing the percentage he used each year and upping the acreage he asked Earnhart to grow. All the while, Lewis educated consumers about ingredients as he offered samples.
In the early 1980s Lewis used samples to discuss the honey he produced. When he started baking bread with local grains, he also used the belly as a point of mental sale.
Since 2008 Lewis has run Wild Hive Bakery and Café, a Hudson Valley shop and eatery that he is now closing in order to focus on his passion: redeveloping a regional grains system.
Well, it’s official. Last Thursday, Speaker of the House John Boehner confirmed that the House will not vote on the 2012 Farm Bill during this brief Congressional working session and thus we’ll zip right past that pesky September 30 expiration date on the former bill. (I’ll explain what this means momentarily.) It’s possible that during Congress’ upcoming lame duck session in November, a one-year extension of the current bill will be voted on, and then we’ll get to do this all over again next year!
I really did not want to be a cliché from Portlandia. But, sometimes, marital harmony gets in the way of stereotype avoidance.
For the past two and a half years, we’ve been owners of Harry, Ron and Hermione, the Hogwarts hens. (We joked that if we ever got a rooster, we’d name him Voldemort). The three lovely ladies, a Rhode Island Red, a silver laced Wyandotte, and a barred Plymouth, have resided in a run in our postage stamp backyard, swilling organic feed and whatever leftovers we remembered to give them. In return, they dutifully laid two to three eggs per day even in our dreary winters, and provided wonderful fertilizer for our compost pile.
Earlier this summer, Harry (the Rhode Island Red) and Hermione (the beautiful but fussy Wyandotte) stopped laying. That left Ron soldiering on. Unfortunately, one egg per day was not enough to feed my growing boys’ scrambled egg habit: a half dozen for lunch, between the two, is not unheard of. “What’s the point of having chickens if we’re paying for eggs,’ I mumbled to myself while pondering whether organic eggs were worth the extra $2/dozen over the cage free vegetarian-fed ones.
Out the rubble of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, a vision for a grand public market on the waterfront was born. A dedicated group of food lovers and city planners formed the San Francisco Public Market Collaborative to realize this vision, and on September 12, 1992, they organized the one-time Ferry Plaza Harvest Market across the Embarcadero from the Ferry Building.
Very big news exploding across the media yesterday. Eating genetically engineered (GE) corn has been strongly linked to serious health effects—including mammary tumors, kidney and liver damage. A team of European scientists today released the first ever long-term animal feeding study of the health effects of eating GE foods in the peer-reviewed journal Food and Chemical Toxicology.
Never one to pass up an opportunity to spread a little doom and gloom, I felt compelled to emerge from blog-writing hibernation to bring you the latest bummer food news. Today, Consumer Reports released “Arsenic in Your Food,” a report describing its recent investigation of arsenic levels in rice. The results are unsettling. According to the report, analysis of 65 rice and rice products (including infant cereals, hot cereals, ready-to-eat cereals, rice cakes, rice crackers, rice pasta, rice flour and rice drinks) revealed that samples of almost every product contained measurable levels of total arsenic, including organic and inorganic forms.
Recently, with Obama re-election posters blanketing the audience at the Democratic National Convention and Republicans mocking Obama’s campaign slogan, the word of the moment was Forward. But when it comes to food safety, this Administration is stuck in reverse. The 56-page 2012 Democratic Party Platform included no mention of food safety or the President’s monumental signing of the Food Safety Modernization Act.