New York’s Gotham Greens rooftop farming operation recently announced that it would be expanding and building the nation’s largest rooftop farm in Chicago’s Pullman neighborhood. It’s a boon for both rooftop agriculture and for the Windy City’s mission to become an urban farming hub.
It was a busy week in food news. Catch up on what you missed with the stories below.
1. EPA Approves Enlist Duo, Weed Killer for Genetically Engineered Crops (Associated Press)
Most people take it for granted that all the fruits and vegetables at the farmers’ market are grown by the farmers selling them–and with good reason: Farmers markets foster direct relationships between producers and consumers.
But recent reports of fraud threaten to undermine that foundation of trust. In 2010, an undercover investigation revealed farmers buying wholesale produce from Mexico to sell at Los Angeles farmers’ markets. Last year, LA County boosted enforcement at markets and rooted out 19 vendors selling produce they didn’t grow.
So you’re cutting back on steak to lower your cholesterol or your carbon footprint but you don’t want to live on beans and tofu alone. Can you subsist on veggie burgers with the flavor profile of emulsified paper? And should that faux-chicken really have 37 ingredients? What is autolyzed yeast extract and “natural vegan flavor” anyway?
Editor’s note: On October 15, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved Dow Chemical’s Enlist Duo herbicide, a new blend of 2,4-D and Roundup (glyphosate) developed for use on new varieties of genetically engineered (GE) corn, soybeans, and cotton.
I doubt very many people have ever heard or seen a “tank mix.” Simply put, it is a mix of several crop chemicals used together to control a variety of weeds. I have not looked into a swirling mix of chemicals in a crop spray rig for probably 20 years–that’s about how long it has been since we have used any herbicides on our farm.
Editor’s note: The following post comes to you from the creators of Gastropod, the new podcast that looks at food through the lens of science and history.
It’s hard to imagine now, but there was a time before refrigerators, before long-distance trucks and ships. Most people had to survive on food from their immediate surroundings, no matter how poor the soil or challenging the terrain. They couldn’t import apples from New Zealand and potatoes from Peru, or rely on chemical fertilizer to boost their yields.
McDonald’s announced today that it’s making a greater effort at offering transparency and engagement to the public, in a new campaign it’s calling “Our Food, Your Questions.” McDonald’s has a serious image problem and a sagging bottom line, which might explain its sudden willingness to fling the barn door open as a way to shed its reputation for serving mass-produced, unhealthy food. Showing the public how the sausage is made may win favor with some consumers, but a better strategy for the fast food giant would be to make truly meaningful commitments to sustainability.
We’re here to catch you up on the week’s news in food.
1. Chipotle is Now Supporting 100 School Gardens Across the U.S. (Fast Company)
Chipotle–which has partnered with Slow Food in the past–has pledged to donate nearly $500,000 to build new gardens and improve existing ones. They’re also dedicating a marketing team of 45 people across the country who will pull together school garden volunteers and co-ordinate activities.