Unselling Bad Food Choices: Panelists at Cooking for Solutions Offer How-to

yao ming

Is it possible to “unsell” bad food choices in favor of selling more healthful and environmentally friendly ones? That was the topic of a recent panel at the Sustainable Food Institute at Cooking for Solutions, sponsored by the Monterey Bay Aquarium,  earlier this month.

“Consumer demand is not static. It’s constructed. And it can be shifted,” said author and sustainable food advocate Anna Lappé, who spoke on the panel. She noted that thoughtful messaging campaigns in media are apt to go viral–specifically short videos–which are proving to be a way to do just that. Read More

Online Map Helps Makes Wasted Food Visible

haul

Jeff Emtman opens the door of his freezer and one-by-one removes the contents. He pulls out several pounds of Brussels sprouts, loaves of artisan bread, cinnamon rolls, three-plus pounds of locally made chocolate. And there’s more.

Emtman, a Seattle resident deeply concerned about food waste, acquired his bittersweet collection in dumpsters located on FallingFruit.org, a long underground source for dumpster divers or “freegans” who dine on out-dated, over-stocked or overripe food tossed out by stores, restaurants, and bakeries. Now, the map is no longer a buried treasure. Read More

Faces and Visions of the Food Movement: Katherine Deumling

KD CWWYH header photo

Have you ever looked into your cupboards and sighed because you couldn’t figure out what to make for dinner? If so, Katherine Deumling is here to help. Deumling is the woman behind Cook With What You Have, a Portland-based company that encourages people to experiment in the kitchen with new ingredients while still relying on familiar staples. Her recipes celebrate fresh, seasonal fare and use simple techniques to build confidence in cooking with what’s on hand, without last-minute runs to the grocery store.

Deumling is also on the board for Slow Food USA and was the head of Slow Food Portland from 2003 to 2008. Civil Eats recently caught up with Deumling to talk about building healthy, just communities and reinvigorating the food movement. Read More

Sunburnt Beans: Where Has All the Shade-Grown Coffee Gone?

coffee trees

This post was originally published on OnEarth Magazine.

I’m a caffeine addict. The cup of joe I have—must have—within 30 minutes of waking up is non-negotiable. I’ve accepted this vice, but at least I can get my fix with countless varieties of socially and ecologically acceptable coffees, all available at my local market. Fair-trade? Organic? Shade-grown? Fair-trade and organic and shade-grown? Yes, please. Read More

All the News That’s Fit to Eat: Oregon’s GMO Bans, Potatoes in WIC, McDonald’s Workers

potato

Here’s what caught our eye this week in food news:

1. Beating Monsanto in the Food Fight: Oregon Counties Vote to Ban GMO Crops (The Nation)

Josephine County and Jackson County, Oregon overwhelmingly approved ballot measures to prohibit the cultivation of genetically engineered (GE) crops in the counties. Farmers in the area grow both sugar beets and alfalfa, two crops that are said to be susceptible to contamination from the pollen of nearby GE plants. The bans were voted in by a two-to-one margin. As The Center for Food Safety put it in their blog: “In the absence of any meaningful government mandated restrictions to control contamination, bans such as those in Jackson and Josephine County are the only way for farmers to protect their crops from contamination.” Read More

Dan Barber Takes a Radically Holistic Approach to Food and Farming With ‘The Third Plate’

Dan Barber

Dan Barber’s book, The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food, was released this week, graced with blurbs by everyone from Ruth Reichl to Al Gore and Malcolm Gladwell. And if it feels like it was a long time coming, that’s because it was. The chef and writer spent over a decade visiting farmers and other food producers and ruminating about the role their work plays in the wider natural world. Meanwhile Barber was also running a world-renowned restaurant, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, part of a small constellation of other efforts, including Blue Hill restaurant in New York City, the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, and Barber’s nearby family farm. Read More

Does it Matter if You Buy Veggie Starts From Big Box Stores?

Home Depot

Every spring, vegetable seedlings sprout like so many weeds at retailer storefronts across the country. They crowd the entrance of nearly every grocery store, supercenter, and home improvement retailer, the basil smelling of sweet licorice, and the tomatoes of a tobacco-leaf pungency.

And while it’s likely a tomato start from your nearby Home Depot will produce tomatoes that taste the same as those from an organic, local tomato seedling, the growing processes behind the two, and sometimes the health of the seedlings they produce, can be quite different. Read More

Battle Lines Drawn Over Healthier School Lunch

Photo by Lance Cheung, courtesy of USDA.

When I walked into my first Houston ISD School Food Services Parent Advisory Committee meeting, I knew next to nothing about school food except that my district seemed to be doing a pretty poor job of preparing it. But in the intervening four years, in which I educated myself about the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), started this blog, continued to work closely with my district, and also met school food professionals around the country, I’ve come to believe that there are few jobs on this planet harder than managing a district’s school food program. Read More

From MyPlate to MyPlanet: Will Our Next Dietary Guidelines be More Sustainable?

Shutterstock

The year 2015 will bring a new set of Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and there are some changes afoot that could help us recalibrate our food ways. The shift in thinking boils down to this: Sustainability. There seems to be a new recognition that we should protect our food systems so that they serve us for generations to come. In other words, we should eat what’s healthy for now—and later. Read More