Why Give to Civil Eats? We Keep You Informed and Inspired.

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Dear readers,

We hope you’ll think of Civil Eats in your year-end giving.

This has been a big year for us. After our successful Kickstarter campaign late last year, we brought on a paid managing editor, started paying our contributors, and expanded our readership. We were named the James Beard Foundation’s 2014 Publication of the Year and two of our stories were included in Best Food Writing 2014. We’re also reaching more people than ever thanks to our new media partnerships with TIME.com, Harvest Public Media, and Bay Area Bites. Read More

Nicolette Niman: Our Beef Shouldn’t Be With Cows

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For years, beef has been Public Enemy Number One for environmentalists and health advocates alike. Headlines warn that livestock production, particularly for cattle, poses the worst environmental risk than anything else in the world, and that eating red meat can substantially increase your chance of dying from heart disease or cancer.

If you’re like most good food advocates, calling for a drastic reduction in beef production is a no-brainer. Right?

Nicolette Hahn Niman, vegetarian rancher, environmental lawyer, and wife of Bill Niman, founder of the eponymous Niman Ranch, lays out a compelling case in her new book Defending Beef: The Case for Sustainable Meat Production. As she sees it, if we want to fight climate change, we may want to actually raise more cattle. Read More

Food Workers, the Next Generation of Comic Book Superheroes

2014 IFWW poster Food Chain Avengers

One in 6 workers in the U.S. have food-related jobs; farmers, farmworkers, food processors, servers, and grocery store clerks are all part of the effort to get food to our plates. And yet, they are often invisible.

Five years ago, a handful of worker advocacy organizations came together to form the Food Chain Workers’ Alliance (FCWA) to help ensure that workers from the farm to the bodega have their voices heard. What started as a small coalition has grown to include 24 organizations that collectively represent nearly 300,000 workers along the food chain. Read More

Eva Longoria Talks Farmworkers Rights, New Documentary ‘Food Chains’

Langoria on-camera in Food Chains.

Most people know Eva Longoria as an actress, but she has also become a fierce advocate for our nation’s farmworkers.

Longoria also has cred in both food and politics. She owns Beso, a restaurant which opened in in Hollywood in 2008, and she is an active democrat. As co-chair of President Obama’s fundraising committee, Longoria created the Latino Victory Project, which raises funds for Latino candidates.

Along with Eric Schlosser, Longoria served as the executive producer of Food Chains, a documentary that focuses on the brutal conditions farmworkers face, and shines a light on migrant tomato pickers in Immokalee, Florida. Read More

All the News That’s Fit to Eat: Russia’s Locavore Experiment, a ‘Natural’ Settlement, and ‘Sustainable’ Beef

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We’re pretty sure you’re all as busy as we are, but take a break and get caught up here with this week’s food news.

1. 250,000 Farmworkers Protected from Deportation by Obama’s Executive Order (Politics of the Plate)

“The United States became a more food secure nation last night after President Obama issued an order that would prevent deportation of up to five million immigrant workers—including at least 250,000 who are toil in the fields to feed us,” writes Barry Estabrook on his site, where he includes United Farm Workers President Arturo Rodriguez’s comments from a press release: “The President’s action will allow at least 250,000 of America’s current professional farm workers who feed our nation to apply for temporary legal status and work permits. Read More

‘Food Chains’ Documentary Sheds Light on Farmworkers’ Reality

Farmworkers in Florida picking tomatoes are paid by the bucket photo courtesy FOOD CHAINS

A few years ago, Sanjay Rawal was driving past a farm in Immokalee, Florida and he saw a group of migrant farmworkers toiling away in the fields. Later that evening, he drove by the same field to find the same group still hard at work. Meanwhile, the farm managers were eating at a separate facility nearby. “The segregation of these two communities shocked me. Almost next door to one another were these two eating facilities–one for whites one for ‘coloreds’. The ‘coloreds’ in this case weren’t African Americans, but farmworkers. It could’ve been 1911, not 2011.” Read More

5 Food Policy Lessons the U.S. Could Learn from Latin America

María Eugenia Vidal, current Deputy Mayor of Buenos Aires and  City Cabinet Chief Horacio Rodríguez Larreta show off a A fruit vending machine. Photo courtesy of the City of Buenos Aires.

When it comes to nutrition and public health, the U.S. can learn a lot from Latin America. Over the past year, Mexico, Brazil, and several other countries in South and Central America have passed some very progressive policies, often placing public health interests above those of the food industry. This is particularly impressive given the expensive politicking the food industry has engaged in in Latin America against public health policies. Here are five recent efforts we should all be watching: Read More

SF Restaurant Yank Sing Workers Earn Historic $4 Million Settlement

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While the nation’s underpaid fast food workers have been making themselves and their demands very visible in recent years, a group of cooks and food servers in one of San Francisco’s most prominent Chinese restaurants have also been quietly charting a course to a better work environment.

Today, a group of employees at Yank Sing joins the Chinese Progressive Association (CPA) and several Bay Area legal groups to announce a historic $4 million dollar settlement and workplace agreement with the restaurant’s owners. Yes, you read that right: $4 million. According to the State Labor Commissioner’s office, this is the largest monetary wage settlement they have helped secure from a restaurant of this size.

Read More