Cooking up Change: Chefs Attend Advocacy Boot Camp

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On a recent Tuesday, 12 chefs went out on a fishing boat in Half Moon Bay, an hour south of San Francisco. The group was hoping to catch a wild Chinook salmon, but they returned empty-handed.

“Sport fishing season opened in early April and the fisherman has only brought in three fish so far,” said Kris Moon, director of charitable giving and strategic partnerships at the James Beard Foundation* (JBF) after the trip. “It has been the slowest season he can remember.” Read More

More Spin Than Science: The Latest Efforts to Take Down Organics

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Several weeks ago, a group called Academics Review published a report harshly attacking the organic industry and its nonprofit allies for what they called “deceptive marketing practices,” designed to instill “false and misleading consumer health and safety perceptions about competing conventional foods.” The study also implicates the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a willing partner that allows companies to use their sanctioned organic label to deliver fear-mongering messages about the dangers of industrial food. Read More

Laurie David Dishes About ‘Fed Up’ and Her New Cookbook

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When Laurie David sets her eye on a project, there’s no doubt she will make it happen. She’s the Oscar-winning film producer who convinced Al Gore to turn his climate change slide show into a documentary. Gore was skeptical, but David persisted and wore him down. Without her determination, An Inconvenient Truth would almost surely never have been made and millions of people would have missed his urgent call to action. Read More

Labor and the Locavore: Farm Work in New York State

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Spring has been slow to arrive in New York this year, but warmer temperatures mean the re-invigoration of the city’s many farmers’ markets. This season, New Yorkers will shop at nearly 150 markets across the five boroughs. Some will surely chat with producers, asking questions about growing practices or ingredients. After reading Margaret Gray’s Labor and the Locavore: The Making of a Comprehensive Food Ethic, I wondered: Will any of them ask about the people who grew, harvested, or transported their food? Read More

Civil Eats Named James Beard Foundation’s 2014 Publication of the Year

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Here’s some good food news: Civil Eats was just named the James Beard Foundation’s 2014 Publication of the Year! The Foundation’s Journalism Committee, said:

In judging its Publication of the Year, the Journalism Awards Committee of the James Beard Foundation recognizes a publication that demonstrates fresh direction, worthy ambition, and a forward-looking approach to food journalism. Civil Eats, through its declared passion for “promoting critical thought about sustainable agriculture and food systems,” practices the kind of thorough and fair journalism that helps us make sense of the increasingly complex matter of getting food to our tables.

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Agrarian Trust: Investing in the Future of Young Farmers

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You may not get to own it, but a patch of soil could be yours, young farmer–if you find the right tools and partnerships. This was a core takeaway message at last weekend’s Agrarian Trust Symposium in Berkeley, California. The gathering drew over 800 young farmers, food movement thinkers, and potential land patrons seeking to expand the discussion around land transfer and the difficulties facing many young farmers in search of a place to farm. Read More