There is a great deal of waste behind your cup of coffee. Last year, researchers at the University of Bath in the UK found that a small coffee shop throws out roughly 22 pounds of used coffee grounds per day. In January, a satirical short film called “Kill the K-Cup” went viral, projecting a dystopian future overrun by the non-biodegradable, landfill-clogging, coffee-brewing pods. And just this month, the inventor of K-Cups publicly apologized for his innovation, telling The Atlantic, “No matter what they say … those things will never be recyclable.”
Last summer, the outerwear giant Patagonia made an unusual purchase: 80,000 pounds of wild Sockeye salmon. The fish was for its new food line, Patagonia Provisions, available online and in the company’s 30 U.S. retail stores in the form of a 6-ounce, $12 package of vacuum-packed, shelf-stable smoked salmon. If the product is successful, it could become one of the most verifiably ethical and sustainable salmon options on the market, much in the way Patagonia aimed to change the garment industry nearly two decades ago by switching to organic cotton.
The Vermont Packinghouse doesn’t have a single window on the outside, save on the front door of the main office. This is especially ironic, because the slaughterhouse has something unique on the inside: public viewing windows that allow visitors to observe how animals become food.
There’s an important debate going on in Europe that could dramatically influence how pesticides are used on the United States’ 400 million acres of farmland. At the center of the debate are endocrine disruptors, a broad class of chemicals known for their ability to interfere with naturally occurring hormones.
“The food movement needs money,” announced Shen Tong to hundreds of attendees at last weekend’s TedX Manhattan. He paused, thanked the crowd, and pretended to walk off the stage as if to end his talk there. “That’s probably the shortest TED talk you’ll ever hear,” he said. Virtually everyone at the one-day conference clapped and cheered at the investor and Food-X founder’s point (and it wasn’t the end of his talk). And while the food movement does need investment, it’s not as simple as writing a check.
There’s a lot of food news out there; here are some of the stories that caught our eye this week.
1. ‘Sugar Papers’ Show Industry’s Influence in 1970s Dental Program, Study Says (The California Report)
Hundreds of pages of newly-found documents show that the sugar industry worked closely with the federal government in the late 1960s and early 1970s to determine a research agenda to prevent cavities in children.
A proposed change to livestock rules has put Nebraska hog farmers at the center of a debate that gets to the very core of what it means to be a farmer today.
In the top pork producing states like Iowa, Minnesota and North Carolina, many farmers are under contract with giant meatpackers like Tyson or Smithfield Foods – the companies actually own the pigs and pay the farmers to raise them. That arrangement is illegal in Nebraska.
In the Bell Hill neighborhood of Worcester, Massachusetts, Ana Rodriguez walks door-to-door, inviting residents to host a backyard garden plot or volunteer in one nearby, and share in a bounty of local produce at the end of the season. But Rodriguez doesn’t work for an urban farming nonprofit; she represents a nearby hospital.
When it comes to changing the food system, Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) might be the most outspoken member of Congress yet. Now in his sixth term, Ryan is the author of Real Food Revolution, Healthy Eating, Green Groceries, and the Return of the American Family Farm. Former President Bill Clinton describes the book as “a straightforward and much-needed prescription to help transform our country’s food systems and improve our well-being.”
When people talk to Anthony Fassio about his new role as CEO at Manhattan’s Natural Gourmet Institute (NGI), he tends to field the same question: “Isn’t that the vegan school?”
A few years back, that might have been closer to the case. Although NGI didn’t traditionally offer a vegan cooking education, but rather one focused on macrobiotic food, which espouses grains, local vegetables, and limited animal products.