Five years ago, Slow Foods’ “Most Endangered Foods” list included the Marshall Strawberry. The fruit, known as the finest eating strawberry in America by the James Beard Foundation, is a deep, dark, red, with an exceptionally bold flavor. After World War II, the Marshall was devastated by viruses and has been left out of conventional supermarket supply chains due to its soil specifications and the delicate handling it requires.
What if the little old ladies who run the neighborhood church food pantry rebelled? What if they said “we’re 70 years old, we’ve been feeding people for 20 years, and hell if we want to do it for another 20?” What if they demanded that the government reduce the incidence of poverty so that food pantries don’t need to exist in the first place?
In the latest report by the Food & Environment Reporting Network in partnership with The American Prospect, reporter Paul Greenberg, author of the New York Times bestseller Four Fish, tells the story of how the “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico is the result of decades-long U.S. agricultural practices and investigates some of the promising solutions to fixing its future.
“I bring my lunch to school every day because the school food is pretty disgusting,” Nick Hilliard, a senior at Apopka High School in Florida, told high school reporter Rachel Armstrong.
“If you’re willing to spend some money, you can have a well-balanced meal,” said a senior from Portland, Oregon, in her school newspaper.
On April 8, the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center stepped into the debate about antibiotic use in animal agriculture. Under the guidance of physicians and foodservice staff alike, UCSF’s Academic Senate unanimously approved a resolution to phase out the procurement of meat raised with non-therapeutic antibiotics and urged all ten University of California campuses to do the same. This resolution is not just a symbolic decision – serving over 650,000 meals per year to patients, staff, and the community, and with a food budget of close to $7 million, UCSF and its food purchasing choices have the power to send a strong message to the market and to policymakers.
In the spring of 2010, 60 people met in downtown Detroit to talk about a new idea. Three years later, the concept honed in that Detroit hotel conference room is now a national organization supporting some 80 corps members in 12 states around the country. Last month the service members, fellows, staff and board of FoodCorps returned to Detroit.
“In [Western] medicine, we believe that one hormone can fix a problem as complicated as obesity, one neurotransmitter can fix something as complicated as depression, or one DNA strand can heal a cancer,” said Daphne Miller, MD, before a packed audience at the Ferry Building recently.
Last week, National Geographic took on the explosive impact that the widespread use of chemical nitrogen fertilizer to boost crop production has on human health and the environment. Scientists have been leading a clarion call about the impacts of excess nitrogen for decades, but the issue remains little known, even though the impacts touch every part of our lives.
At a panel on food systems at the Food Book Fair in New York City last weekend, nutrition and food expert Marion Nestle proved a force with which to be reckoned. Her co-panelists included Jared Koch, founder of Clean Plates, and Nate Appleman, the celebrated chef who is currently head of the culinary team for Chipotle. The chain has been recognized for their efforts to serve locally-sourced and responsibly grown produce and meat, against the grain of the conventional food system. Moderator Evelyn Kim asked a question which dominated most of the discussion: Can big food corporations do good?
Clean Plates—a healthier eating Web site, published guides, free app to restaurants in New York City and Los Angeles, and now, a cookbook—is the brainchild of Jared Koch, a nutritionist, health coach, and food critic. Clean Plates focuses on choosing real food; eating more plants; if you eat meat, knowing its source, and reducing toxins—all concepts familiar and cherished by Civil Eats readers. Starting with this post, we’re excited to begin sharing some of Clean Plates’ content, including this recent post about the freaky facts about conventional orange juice.