Vermont: America’s Food Relocalization Laboratory

Photo by Jeb Wallace-Brodeur

If most Americans were to rank the nation’s most influential states, chances are Vermont would not make many lists. But it should.

Quietly, Vermont has become a cultural, economic, and political force. Its public education system is consistently among the nation’s best. Vermonters weathered the Great Recession better than their counterparts in other states; the state’s unemployment rate is currently around 4 percent and dropping. Then there’s the catch-all distinction of being one of the top places in the country to live for overall quality of life.

Add local food to that list. Read More

All the News That’s Fit to Eat: Panera’s Ingredient Ban, Junk Food Ads, and More Bad Climate News

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Busy week? We’ve rounded up all the major food news you might have missed:

Food Industry Has Achieved Only Baby Steps to Improve Nutritional Quality of Foods Advertised to Children on TV (American Journal of Preventive Medicine)

Back in the wilds of 2006, a number of the world’s most influential food and beverage companies got together and promised to shift their kiddy TV advertising to include healthier food. Now, a group of social scientists has evaluated the changes they made only to find that this self-regulatory program hasn’t had a noticeable effect on the nutritional value of foods marketed to children. According to a study released today in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, 80 percent of foods advertised to kids under 12 are classified in the poorest nutritional category, as specified by U.S. Department of Health and Human services guidelines (think highly processed and full of sugar and salt). Read More

Missouri Farmer Helps Chipotle Go Beyond Non-GMO to Organic

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Chipotle Mexican Grill made news recently when the “fast casual” restaurant chain announced that it was serving only foods made with non-GMO ingredients.

A farmer in Missouri is helping Chipotle take its “food with integrity” commitment one step further—to organic. Steve McKaskle, owner of McKaskle Family Farm, the only organic rice farm in Missouri, supplies a growing number of Chipotle restaurants in his region with organic long grain white and brown rice. Read More

The Color of Food: A Communal Vision for the Younger Generation

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This is the third in a series of four excerpts from The Color of Food: Stories of Race, Resilience, and Farming. Read more about the book and the author here, then check out the first and second posts.

When I visited North Carolina, I heard a lot about Tahz Walker and Cristina Rivera-Chapman of Tierra Negra Farms, who are well known among young food-movement activists and urban gardeners in New York City. So as I pull up the long driveway to the land they are renting outside of Durham, I am excited to finally meet them.  Read More

Pig Tales: New Book Tells The Story of Pork in America

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Not every writer can speak to both seasoned experts and curious newcomers, but that is precisely what Barry Estabrook can do well. In his 2011 book, Tomatoland, Estabrook took a deep dive in the modern tomato industry, shining a light on labor abuse in Florida, and the work of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. In addition to telling a riveting and complex story full of pesticides poisoning, escape from slavery, and tense court cases, Estabrook helped bring attention to one of the most important American labor struggles of the last few decades. Read More

Five Things to Consider About Tyson’s Big Antibiotics Announcement

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Last week, Tyson Foods made major headlines when it announced that it was “striving to eliminate human antibiotics from broiler chicken production by September 2017.” The move garnered a great deal of accolades for one of the biggest chicken producers in the world. The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), which has been campaigning to stop the overuse of antibiotics in farming for years, has called this “the tipping point for getting the chicken industry off antibiotics.” Read More

Editor’s Note: These Chefs Are Changing Food

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Chefs are a key ingredient to changing the food system; they are influencing the way we eat, what we grow, and are shaping the conversation about how to fix food. For many, they also provide the first point of contact to seasonal food from local farms. And they can have an incredible impact, not on only our palates, but also by raising awareness and changing the way we think about food. Read More

Scientists Say Avoid Nonstick, Greaseproof, or Waterproof Kitchen Products

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Chances are high that you or someone in your family has at least one piece of nonstick cookware in the kitchen. And if you eat take-out food, you’ve probably encountered packaging treated to resist grease, oil, and moisture. What this means is that it’s extremely likely that highly fluorinated chemicals—which are specially engineered to create these durable coatings—are part of your everyday life. Read More