Chefs: Please Stop Calling It ‘Trash Fish’

So-called trash fish dinners have become popular, but the term does a disservice to the ocean, and to fishermen.
Black cod en cactus “paper.” Photo by Allan Zepeda.

I’m all for the spirit of the trash fish movement: getting lesser-known species that were once discarded into the hands of skillful chefs who make them shine. I just don’t like the name.

Chefs Collaborative has been hosting Trash Fish Dinners around the county since 2013 and they’ve started a trend. I was recently invited to a dinner at a vineyard in my area by chef and restaurateur Gabriela Cámara from Mexico City. The publicist told me she would be cooking with “trash fish.” The term made me wince, but I wanted to see what she could do with our local fish, as she’s opening a seafood restaurant in San Francisco this summer. Read More

A Look Inside Group Sow Housing, the Pork Industry’s Alternative to Gestation Crates

Pennsylvania's Country View Family Farms is innovating the pork business with technology that gives pregnant sows more space.
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As animal welfare expert Temple Grandin has described it, pregnant pigs housed in gestation crates spend their days living in the equivalent of an airline seat for humans.

They spend their back-to-back 3-month pregnancies in a metal stall no wider than their bodies, unable to walk, turn around, or have physical contact with other pigs. Read More

Can Better Grazing Help Dairy Farmers Cope With Drought and Climate Change?

Some farmers are finding that not all grazing is the same.
Photo courtesy of Organic Valley

Jon Bansen has been working on a dairy farm in Monmouth, Oregon alongside his father for nearly 30 years. When the farm switched to organic about 16 years ago, he started to pay more attention to their 650 acres of grass and forageland. Grazing has long been central to organic dairies, and since 2010 the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has required that organic dairy cows spend at least 120 days out of the year eating grass on pasture, rather than grain-based feed. Read More

Walmart’s Sustainability Promises: Myth vs. Reality

A new report points to the gap between Walmart's pledge to make its supply chain greener and better for workers and the current reality.
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Walmart announced yesterday that, beginning July 1, it will improve worker conditions by better regulating the temperature inside its stores, replacing Celine Dion’s greatest hits with a corporate DJ, and allowing associates to wear jeans to work. Walmart will also be bringing back the slogan: “Our people make the difference.” Read More

All the News That’s Fit to Eat: Ag-Gag Bill Passes, FDA’s New Rules on Antibiotics, Young Farmer Loan Forgiveness

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Get caught up with us on this week’s food news. Here’s what caught our eye:

Lawmakers Override McCrory Veto on Controversial ‘Ag-Gag’ Bill (WRAL)

Both the North Carolina House and Senate voted on Wednesday to override Gov. Pat McCrory’s veto of a bill that would make it illegal for employees of any business to enter unauthorized spaces or place unattended surveillance devices on the property. House Bill 405, which many are calling an “ag-gag” bill because of its implications for factory farm whistleblowing, will become law January 1, 2016. Read More

Are You Paying Too Much For Organic Food?

A first of its kind study shows organic agriculture earns farmers significantly more, and suggests it might be worth the price.
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Most people buy organic to avoid pesticides, antibiotics, and GMOs, and to support environmentally friendly growing practices. Now you can add helping farmers make a living to the list.

According to a study published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), organic agriculture earns farmers more–often significantly more–than conventional farming. Read More

What Bill Nye Got Wrong in His About-Face on GMOs

The Science Guy’s errors let the pesticide/biotech industry off the hook.
Photo by Ed Schipul

Earlier this year, Bill Nye, renowned as the “science guy,” made news for changing his mind about genetic engineering (or GMOs) after a visit to Monsanto, the pesticide and seed giant at the forefront of the biotechnology industry.

Nye is an emblematic science educator, who has done a lot to kindle the interest of young people in science, to defend the validity of evolutionary science, and raise awareness about climate change. Until recently, he spoke and wrote about GMOs as environmentally risky technology. Read More

A Pasture-Based Rancher is Caught in the Crosshairs

A sustainable farmer faces animal abuse charges, and fights back.
Photo by Paul Orr / Shutterstock.

In March, a police officer and two animal control officers showed up at Joshua Rockwood’s farm in upstate New York. They found frozen drinking water in the barn and spotted a steer sticking his nose through the snow to access running water, Rockwood reported on his blog. Despite testing and confirming that his dogs were adequately hydrated, the officer ticketed Rockwood for failure to provide adequate sustenance. Read More

Young Farmers Flock Together to Save Heritage Ducks

Boondockers Farm runs one of the only Ancona conservation breeding programs in the country.
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On a sunny winter day, the Ancona ducks at Boondockers Farm in Oregon wandered around their pasture and frolicked in several blue plastic kiddie pools, under the watchful eye of two Great Pyrenees livestock guardian dogs. The 500 or so ducks spend day and night outside, protected from predators by the dogs, not walls. Cows, turkeys, and Delaware chickens wander in pastures and barns. Vegetables destined for the farmers’ market grow in a nearby garden plot. Read More

Editor’s Note: The Local Food Revolution

Our stories showing how local food systems are connecting producers to consumers, boosting local economies, and building community.
Photo by Patrick Kuhl.

Since we Civil Eats started six years ago, we have cast our net wide to report on local food stories about individuals and communities working together to create a more vibrant, resilient, and just food system. There is so much good news about innovative projects happening nationwide: From Alaska to Hawaii, we’ve been documenting the unfolding of what local food likes like on the ground. In this month’s note, I wanted to share some of our inspiring stories showing how local food systems are connecting producers to consumers, boosting local economies, and building community.

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