What do women farmers, the next generation of sustainable food activists, and bikes have in common? They’re all part of a project called Shifting Gears.
Last Friday, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced that no water would be delivered [PDF] this year from the State Water Project to its twenty-nine public water agency customers—a first in the Project’s 54-year history. These deliveries help supply water to 25 million Californians and roughly 750,000 acres of irrigated farmland. DWR also announced that allocations to Sacramento Valley agricultural districts would be cut in half.
“This isn’t your father’s Farm Bill.” These were the optimistic words of Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan), Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, in a statement on her Web site Tuesday, after the Senate voted to finally pass a farm bill. The $1-trillion dollar, five-year bill had been in the works for over two years, prompting food and agriculture companies to spend $150 million in lobbying dollars.
And let’s face it, any movement in Congress feels long overdue and a little relieving these days, simply because it’s just so rare. But does this new bill really represent a radical departure from farm bills past? Not so much.
Last week, Slate published an article claiming that—counter to popular assumptions—the pesticide levels on most of the produce we eat are nothing to worry about. The title says it all: Organic Shmorganic: Conventional Fruits and Vegetables are Perfectly Healthy for Kids.
We are thrilled to announce that, as of today, Twilight Greenaway has joined Civil Eats as its new Managing Editor. Since 2000, Greenaway has been a writer and an editor for the Web. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Salt (NPR’s food blog), the Guardian, the Bay Citizen, Gastronomica, Modern Farmer, and TakePart, as well as on Grist, where she was the food editor in 2011 and 2012.
After two-and-a-half years of political rough and tumble, Congress is just days away from sending a new comprehensive farm bill to the President for his signature.
At the start of this farm bill campaign, sustainable food and farm advocates set two ambitious, overarching goals: (1) to fund and grow innovative sustainable farm and food programs that build an alternative food system, and (2) to make the necessary reforms to farm subsidies so that we level the playing field in the short term and make much-needed systemic transformation in the longer term.
Last December, the New York Times offered a list of words for the dumpster, tired and worn-out terms ready for retirement in 2014. Topping the list was “artisan,” a term used in the marketing of products ranging from small-batch pickles and preserves to Tostitos tortilla chips and Starbucks sandwiches.
Regardless of mainstream attempts to co-opt the label, a truly artisanal food movement—based in craft, community, tradition, and innovation—is alive and kicking. For these businesses, growth is not something to take lightly; it’s a delicate dance between staying true to one’s values while adapting to new economies of scale.
As a follow-up to his best-seller Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Foods, Obesity and Disease, Robert Lustig’s new The Fat Chance Cookbook is a natural outgrowth of his mission to help curb the obesity epidemic and teach people, especially kids, to cook simply and healthfully at home and rely less on processed foods.
After two years and two failed attempts, Congress is on the verge of passing a new (food and) farm bill. The farm bill ultimately is a food bill, and must be concerned with truly supporting those who produce our food, those who eat it, and the land it’s produced on. While the final compromise is not quite as bad as it could’ve been, it will instead be devastating to hundreds of thousands of America’s neediest families and much better for corporations than for independent farmers, the environment or public health.
As if we needed one, there’s yet another reason to avoid soda and soft drinks. Last week, Consumer Reports announced that it had found potentially carcinogenic levels of 4-methyllimidazole (4-MeI) in eight out of the 12 popular brands of soft drinks that it tested.