Turning to drink is almost never the answer to one’s problems unless one happens to run a struggling apple orchard, in which case, bottoms up! The drink in question is hard cider—a forgotten American favorite that’s enjoying newfound popularity and helping to revive orchards throughout the country.
McDonald’s announced today that it’s making a greater effort at offering transparency and engagement to the public, in a new campaign it’s calling “Our Food, Your Questions.” McDonald’s has a serious image problem and a sagging bottom line, which might explain its sudden willingness to fling the barn door open as a way to shed its reputation for serving mass-produced, unhealthy food. Showing the public how the sausage is made may win favor with some consumers, but a better strategy for the fast food giant would be to make truly meaningful commitments to sustainability.
We’re here to catch you up on the week’s news in food.
1. Chipotle is Now Supporting 100 School Gardens Across the U.S. (Fast Company)
Chipotle–which has partnered with Slow Food in the past–has pledged to donate nearly $500,000 to build new gardens and improve existing ones. They’re also dedicating a marketing team of 45 people across the country who will pull together school garden volunteers and co-ordinate activities.
Jonathan Lewis, a writer who lives with his wife and daughter in the isolated town of Alamosa, Colorado, has received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), benefits, AKA “food stamps,” since February of this year. Before he and his wife had a child, they were able to afford the food they needed. But after becoming a parent, he says, “I never quite made enough to pay all the bills and make sure all three of us were fed.” So Lewis turned to SNAP “to bridge that gap.”
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.