Yesterday, five weeks after the November election, campaigners for Oregon’s Measure 92—one of the nation’s most closely watched efforts to require the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods—officially conceded defeat.
Last month, the measure trailed by less than 2,000 votes, triggering an automatic recount. The recount revealed that the measure had been defeated by a mere 837 votes, making it among the closest statewide elections in Oregon’s history. Though the measure failed, along with similar efforts in California, Colorado, and Washington over the past two years, the narrow margin in Oregon makes me more sure than ever that we will see mandatory labeling soon. Read More
When Allison Miller lost her job as a server at a restaurant that closed last summer, she wasn’t sure how she would make ends meet while living in San Francisco, one of the most expensive cities in the country.
Surviving on unemployment benefits, she was able to qualify for CalFresh, funded through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), AKA food stamps. Although she had limited resources, she wanted to continue to buy her produce at the farmers’ market, where she had developed strong ties with local farmers. Read More
Rain or shine, we’re serving up the week’s food news. Here’s what caught our attention:
1. The World’s Most Powerful Chef Hangs up His Apron (Politico)
As White House Chef Sam Kass prepares to retire, the Obamas aren’t just losing a chef, “the Obama administration is set to lose its behind-the-scenes food policy general,” writes Politico’s Helena Bottemiller Evich. Kass, who has been instrumental in preventing the GOP from completely degrading recent school lunch improvements (see below), is relocating to New York City just one year before school lunch reauthorization is set to take place. “Food and agriculture insiders are anxious to see where Kass goes next—he’s expected to stay engaged as he works on nutrition issues from the private sector—but they are even more curious to know who will replace him,” writes Evich. Read More
Each winter, tens of millions of Americans buy and decorate Christmas trees. Yet few of us think about what it takes to keep these trees looking so healthy and lush.
For most growers, it takes pesticides–and lots of them. It turns out that the majority of Christmas tree farms are plagued with destructive pests and noxious weeds that suck nutrients and moisture from the soil, leaving young trees sickly and ugly. As a result, the Christmas tree industry has become dependent on chemicals of all sorts. Read More
Industrial agriculture has huge, unsustainable impacts on our environment. And while organic and other ecologically based farming systems (agroecology) have huge benefits, some have suggested that it will never produce enough food. Production is only one of the challenges for food security. But, according to new research, even by this measure, critics seem to have substantially underestimated the productivity of organic farming. Read More
I grew up visiting the local grange in the small town of Los Olivos, California. The lawn outside was always abuzz with activity. Picnic tables were laden with potlucks, babies lounged on blankets, and streamers were flying high. It was the place where everything in our town happened, at least that’s how it always seemed to me. We went to the grange to see films, attend dances, and sit through my parents’ boring grownup meetings. There was a close-knit spirit of support, collaboration, and family that I rarely see anymore. Read More
Searching for the perfect holiday gift for your locavore friends? The Farmer’s Guild Cookbook makes a great stocking stuffer. A beautiful collection of recipes and photographs, the book highlights the new and young farmers from across Northern California. The Farmer’s Guild selected each farmer who offers advice on cooking the food they grow themselves. Read More
Chef Sean Sherman grew up Ogallala Sioux on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. After working his way up through a number of kitchens in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Sherman decided he needed to strike out on his own. In April, he launched his event catering business as “The Sioux Chef.” And he’s working on a restaurant of the same name. Read More
When Amanda West Reade was pregnant with her now two-year-old son, she started eating farmed salmon. As a vegetarian, she knew that getting enough protein, omega-3s, and folic acid to boost her growing baby’s development might be tricky.
“My doctor listed a few meal ideas and I thought I could handle the salmon,” says Reade. “She said to lean more towards farmed salmon because it was higher in omega-3s.” Reade followed her doctor’s advice and added farmed salmon to her diet three times a week. “It became something I really craved,” she says.
Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids are good for the brain and eye development of growing babies and salmon has been a go-to meal for those looking for a reliable a low-mercury fish source. When it comes to omega-3s, the message is clear: All salmon is a good choice. Read More
Less than a five minute walk outside his office on the University of California Berkeley campus, Thomas Carlson excitedly points to a towering wild fennel plant and strides towards it with a dozen eager students in tow. The plant’s leaves have grown tough, but he encourages the students to sample its seeds, which are vaguely sweet and taste of anise. For a few minutes, the group tentatively chomps down as he details the plant’s medicinal and nutritional benefits before moving on in search of the next discovery. Read More