Starting Out: A New Farmer’s First Growing Season

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It’s spring, the first season of the first year at Alewife Farm in upstate New York’s pastoral Duchess county. Owner and head farmer Tyler Dennis coaxes weeds–miniscule dandelions and tiny bunches of grass–from a neat, compost-dusted bed.

Last week he made his first sale, 1,000 pounds of pea tendrils destined for kitchens in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood, via the curated community supported agriculture (CSA) company Quinciple. The sale was a relief for Dennis and proof that his fledgling effort to reform an “unsustainable” food system could compete with established operations in the Hudson Valley. But more than cash flow, it was validation. Read More

All the News That’s Fit to Eat: Vermont’s GMO Lawsuit, Fish + Pregnancy, and False Advertising

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Food news doesn’t take a summer break. Get caught up here with our weekly round up:

1. Lobbyists Loom Behind The Scenes Of School Nutrition Fight (NPR’s The Salt)

In the ongoing battle over healthier school meal rules in the House Agriculture Appropriations Bill, several news outlets have pointed to the Big Food dollars behind the School Nutrition Association (SNA)–the group that has been advocating for waivers that would allow schools to opt out of the new rules. Read More

The Farmer’s Lawyer: Rachel Armstrong

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A lawyer and a farmer walk into a field…

While this scenario may sound like the intro to a bad joke, Rachel Armstrong wants you to imagine a world where lawyers and farmers aren’t such strange bedfellows. In an agricultural sector that rarely goes out of its way to support small and mid-size farmers, attorneys can be strong allies by helping food producers navigate the legal system. These kinds of relationships, Armstrong says, can create the foundation for a healthy network of viable farm businesses for the long-term. Read More

Portland’s Zenger Farm Goes Beyond Accessibility

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To get to Zenger Farm in the outer reaches of Southeast Portland, Oregon, you must pass mini-marts, gas stations, auto repair shops, a strip club, and several busy lanes of traffic. This isn’t the Portlandia that most people know.

The nearby Lents neighborhood, nicknamed “Felony Flats,” is a gritty area with no Main Street to speak of, fewer resources, and higher unemployment rates than most of Portland. And although the city has been working to revitalize the area, rebuilding streets and adding bike lanes, the results have been slow and subtle.

Spanning over nine acres, Zenger Farm is a green oasis in this kingdom of asphalt. Read More

How Congress Is Moving to Crush Protections for Small Meat and Poultry Producers (And Why You Should Care)

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As comedian John Oliver said last week in his much-watched primer on net neutrality, “If you want to do something evil, put it inside something boring.” Big Ag has known this strategy for years and perhaps no one does it better than the meatpackers and poultry companies—companies like Tyson, Smithfield, and trade organizations like the American Meat Institute and the National Chicken Council. Read More

The Love Lives of Farmers: How to Make Rural Romance Work

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When a friend of mine moved to a rural part of California, she called her new home “BYOB” or “Bring Your Own Boyfriend.” “The pickings out here are slim,” she said.

The problem with this advice was that my dater’s luck in the city hadn’t been so great either. And on the many nights when I waited for a guy to call, I doped up on rural romances. I treated my disappointment with the hope that outside city limits there was a place—Farmland, America—where the cowboys were monogamous and the vegetable growers knew how to ask a girl out. Read More

All the News That’s Fit to Eat: Soda Ban Revival, Mad Cow, and Climate Change

Photo credit: Shutterstock.

Here’s some food news that caught our eye this week:

1. NYC Asks Top Court to Revive Bloomberg’s Big-Soda Ban (Bloomberg News)

The New York City Department of Health has brought a case to the state’s Court of Appeals in an attempt to revive former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s rule to ban large sodas in the city. Citing the need to curb the growing obesity epidemic, the Department approved the measure in 2012 to restrict the sale of sugary beverages like soda in containers over 16 ounces. Read More

‘The Soil Will Save Us’: A Manifesto for Restoring Our Relationship with the Land

Photo: Shutterstock.

What if we could reduce greenhouse gas emissions and grow enough food to feed our ballooning population using resources we already have? Kristin Ohlson, author of The Soil Will Save Us, thinks we can do just that. And like a growing number of scientists, farmers, and good food advocates, she believes that in order to fix the problems in the sky, we need to put our eyes and ears to the ground. Read More

Marcy Coburn: A New Leader in The Town Local Food Built

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Marcy Coburn might just have landed her dream job. After two years at the helm of Oakland, California’s Food Craft Institute (FCI), and a year running its affiliated sustainable food event, the Eat Real Festival, Coburn will begin next month as the executive director of Center for Urban Education About Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA), the educational nonprofit organization that runs San Francisco’s Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.

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