All the News That’s Fit to Eat: Neglected Veggies, Expensive Almonds, and Corn Syrup vs. Sugar

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Here are some of the stories that caught our attention this week:

Fewer Than 1 In 5 Americans Eat Enough Fruits And Vegetables (International Business Times)

Adults should consume between 1 1/2 and 2 cups of fruit and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables per day. According to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control, in 2013, less than 18 percent of Americans ate the recommended amount of fruits, and less than 14 percent of us at our vegetables.

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Bee Hotels Give Native Species a Place to Call Home

Across the Midwest, native habitat for wild bees is shrinking. Bee hotels could pose a solution.
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A patchwork of bamboo and paper tubes, with diameters no bigger than a nickel, are stacked artfully inside a 4-by-4 wooden frame near the edge of a public hiking trail in Lawrence, Kansas.

Organized by size, each hollow tube is about 8 inches long, designed as nests for Kansas’ wild bees. This structure is called a bee hotel. Read More

Dinner by the Numbers: How Do Meal Kits Stack Up?

Meal kits are convenient, but can they help create a new distribution channel for small farmers?
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Putting food on the table on a busy weeknight is a universal problem. Now, a horde of new, sleek, venture capital-funded services has arrived on the market peddling what they think is a solution: kits made of raw ingredientsportioned and sometimes preppedthat can be assembled quickly to make a meal “from scratch.” Read More

How a Modern Root Cellar Could Help Small Farms Sell Food Year-Round

A new twist on an ancient practice has the potential to revolutionize local food.
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At Food Farm in northern Minnesota, Janaki Fisher-Merritt is getting back to his roots. This second-generation farmer is putting a modern twist on an old-fashioned idea that could help scale up the local food economy in the region. He hopes to build a 3,700-square-foot root cellar that he says has the potential to keep fresh vegetables—not just root vegetable, but winter squash, cabbage, apples, and other cold storage food—available all winter long. Read More

Can the Ingredient Supply Chain Keep up With The “Non-GMO Tsunami?”

As products like Cheerios and Ben & Jerry's ice cream drop GMOs, suppliers of raw ingredients say they can meet the demand.
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At the 2013 Institute of Food Technologists tradeshow, a supplier of non-GMO ingredients told me that the “non-GMO tsunami is coming.”

Based on the growth of the non-GMO market in the past two years, that tsunami is already here. Sales of Non-GMO Project verified products have topped $11 billion per year, and now number more than 29,500. According to a report by Food Processing, new products with non-GMO claims increased by 45 percent in 2014.
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Editor’s Note: Thank a Farmer

We pay special tribute to the farmers who feed us and take care of the land.
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It’s high summer and we’re lucky to be reaping the bounty of the hard work that farmers did earlier this year. Having worked on several farms across the U.S., I know that this is serious crunch time. Farmers are not only harvesting the fruits of their labors, but they’re also planting fall crops.

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Alan Guebert: Looking Back to Farm Forward

With his new memoir, the food and agriculture policy columnist talks about his farm roots.
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Alan Guebert is an agriculture insider. For the last two decades, he has been chronicling and responding to farm politics in the award-winning and popular syndicated column “The Farm and Food File” from his home in Southern Illinois. Now, he’s hoping to reach out beyond that audience with a book he has co-authored with his daughter, Mary Grace Foxwell, called The Land of Milk and Uncle Honey: Memories From the Farm of My Youth. Read More

From App Design to Farming: Training the Next Generation

The new Mendocino, California-based Grange Farm School offers an affordable, 3-month training program for aspiring farmers.
Fallon Johnson, a “capstone” student, works the field with the help of an AmeriCorps volunteer. Credit: Ruthie King.

A group gathers around an outdoor table set with kale salad, speckled bayo beans and rice, and pesto vinaigrette. It’s lunchtime on day four of the first-ever quarter of the Grange Farm School, a new working farm in rural Mendocino County, California, where up to 10 students from around the world live, work, and study on-site for three months at a time. Students engage in 25 hours of “experiential learning” per week, which includes classroom lessons, field trips, building projects, livestock management, and row-crop farming. Accredited through nearby Mendocino College, students pay $3,000 for tuition, room, and board, and receive a certificate as well as four college credits after successful completion of one three-month quarter. Read More

The Big Money Battle to Sway Americans’ Food Choices

New report says food industry groups spend big and “spin” the truth to turn U.S. consumers away from organic.
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When it comes to food in America, we’re witnessing a sea change. Organic sales jumped 11 percent last year. Meanwhile about 84 percent of U.S. consumers now say they buy at least some organic food and two-thirds of Americans are in favor of requiring labeling on products containing genetically modified (GMO) ingredients. So it’s not surprising that some large food companies are spending money to coax consumers back to their side of the aisle. Read More