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.
Minnesota Congressman Colin Peterson (D-Minn.) struck a nerve this month when he said that “there is five times as much fraud” in the federal crop insurance program as there is the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program.
“There is less fraud in food stamps than in any government program,” Peterson told the National Journal on April 10. “There is five times as much fraud in crop insurance than in food stamps.”
Rolling across North Carolina, Indiana, Illinois, Washington, California, and today, eastern Michigan, I’ve seen first-hand the impacts of industrial dairy, poultry, and hog factories on rural communities. I admire the people who fight back against the invasion of factory farms. I seek them out, trying to see the land from their eyes. But no matter how many times I experience it, I still find unpalatable a business model that’s based on marginalizing animal welfare and polluting your neighbors’ air, land, water and quality of life in the name of profit and cheap food.
In his latest book, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, author and journalist Michael Pollan investigates the lost art of cooking, apprenticing himself to bread bakers, fermentos, pitt masters, and others to learn how to take back the kitchen. We sat down to chat with Pollan about why cooking is empowering, how to feed your superorganism, and to get his thoughts on the current state of the food movement.
It’s not surprising news: Our food system is not working for us or our planet.
But college students across the country are taking a stand. Through the creation of student run, sustainably sourced food ventures these young people are creating a food system that is good for their bodies, communities, and the planet.
The concept of supporting local food systems is almost a given at this point for those of us who work in the food world. We either already understand or can easily grasp that buying locally-grown fruits, vegetables, and other food products as close to the source as possible helps put more dollars into local farmers’ hands. It’s a given that local food is fresher and often tastes better than food that has been shipped hundreds, or even thousands, of miles (if you can find out where your food comes from in the first place). It’s a given that food hubs and other local food-processing and distribution infrastructure facilities give local producers a way to streamline costs, add local jobs, and can contribute to a region’s food justice and food sovereignty. It’s a given that buying local food can be part of a larger strategy to help preserve farmland from development.
For years people and organizations from Frances Moore Lappé to Slow Food have sought to repair and restore our broken food system, making noticeable but still negligible progress. Surely more people today are aware that there’s a problem, and admitting that is the first step, as they say.
“Soup Kitchens”—their focus is food, but they can be about community connection. Did you know that the word “companion” comes from the Latin words meaning “bread” and “together”? By welcoming everyone and fostering a space for sharing and companionship, soup kitchens can be places for restoring not only the body but the community as a whole. They can be gathering tables, hence how The Gathering Table soup kitchen in Cashiers, North Carolina got its name.
The Gathering Table serves anywhere from 50-120, as-local-as-can-be, mostly organic, veggie-packed meals every Thursday night at the Cashiers Valley Community Center.
The rise in consumer interest in local, sustainably raised meat has meant a world of difference for local ranchers and the restaurants and retailers that source from such operations. Many restaurants in the Bay Area, for example, proudly promote the farms and ranches they work with, and entire butcher shops have sprung up dedicated to the task of selling locally raised beef, pork, chicken, and more. Yet this is only half the story. Getting locally raised meats from the farm or ranch to the butcher shop or restaurant is a complicated logistical undertaking.
The latest round of tests by federal scientists, quietly published in February, has documented startlingly high percentages of supermarket meat containing antibiotic-resistant bacteria, according to a new Environmental Working Group analysis.
EWG’s analysis of data buried in the federal government’s National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System has found that store-bought meat tested in 2011 contained antibiotic-resistant bacteria in 81 percent of raw ground turkey, 69 percent of raw pork chops, 55 percent of raw ground beef and 39 percent of raw chicken parts.