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Budding food policy wonkette. This is a stew photos, news articles, recipes, and short posts by your truly on topics ranging from healthy school lunches to international food aid. Keeping the conversation fresh and players honest.

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Posts tagged farming

Post-Labor Day News Roundup!

Happy Wednesday! September 4, 2013

WORLD FOOD SYSTEM

  • As the middle classes in the global South begin to grow and rural to urban migration accelerates, more people have foresaken diets high in unprocessed starch, high-fiber vegetables, and plant proteins for a more Western-style way of eating (animal protein and fat, refined carbs, sugars), a recipe for obesity and chronic disease. See: China, South Africa, India, Mexico (CivilEats).
  • Healthy soils are the underpinning of a food system that is not only more resilient to extreme weather events, but also healthier for us and the planet. So why do our policies continue to lag behind? (Switchboard).
  • 1,150 elderly hens were airlifted to New York last week, the cost totaling around $50,000. Mother Jones staffers put together some great charts trying to get to the bottom of whether or not the world has reached peak chicken (Mother Jones).
  • Beetles, moths, fungi, and other pests are traveling north as the climate warms around them (Grist).
  • Michael R. Dimock, president of Roots of Change, argues that public health advocates are the sustainable food movement’s most important allies and we must reframe “our work as the basis of national health and resilience” (Civil Eats).

& HEALTH TIPS, FOODIE MISCELLANY 

  • Eat blueberries, grapes, and apples. Avoid fruit juice and diabetes. Seems easy enough (BBC News).
  • Book Review: “Raising Dough: The Complete Guide to Financing a Socially Responsible Food Business” (Civil Eats).
  • Bittman encourages everyone to plan leftovers, brown-bag them and take them to work. I’d have to agree! (NYTimes).

wereallfedup:

Whoa. These Horrifying Photos Show A Destroyed American Landscape That Agriculture Giants Don’t Want You To See

These aerial images of industrial beef farming operations look less like shots of land and more like a post-apocalyptic nightmare.

Not everyone trying to document feedlots has been so lucky. Just last month, National Geographic photographer George Steinmetz was arrested for misdemeanor criminal trespassing when trying to take photos of a Kansas feedlot from a paraglider. A couple of weeks later, journalists and activists filed the first lawsuit against “ag-gag” bills rapidly proliferating across the United States. As model legislation drummed up by the American Legislative Council (ALEC), ag gag bills seek to make entering animal farms and taking photos or recording video illegal. Such laws have passed in Utah, Kansas, Arkansas, Iowa, and Missouri, with more states considering them.

modfarm:

Second installment in our illustrated series, whereby the great-grandson of a dairy farmer inks his old diaries.

These are beautiful, had to share.

wereallfedup:

motherjones:

modfarm:

Our guide to all the states that have enacted ag-gag legislation, followed by those currently pending. Expect more to emerge this year.

This is important, guys.

This article on one of my new favorite sources, Modern Farmer, makes ag gag really clear: where are these bills and why are they evil. Answered. But it doesn’t quite address the last question I get a lot, “what can I do about it?” 

Three things:

1. if you live in a state with a bill, call your reps. Be polite. Groups are working really hard on this issue and may be in sensitive negotiations so the worst thing you can do is call up and act like the terrorists they think animal people already are. Simply ask them not to support the bill. If you don’t who represents you in your state or how to reach them, look up your state legislatures, and find contacts for every one of them, here. (disable pop up blockers to get the search engine to work)

2. If you do or don’t live in a state with a bill, reblog and repost and share information on the bills with everyone. This has to be spread on the ground.

3. Keep track of the bills’ progress, here.

Great guide from Modern Farmer and excellent suggestions on how to combat the up-and-coming ag-gag laws aiming to severely limit activists’ ability to film inside agricultural facilities, egg, cattle and dairy farms. As far as large-scale farming is concerned, the films are too successful at what they are trying to do, which is sway public opinion to approve a mounting number of state ballot initiatives that prohibit confining cages for pigs, cattle, and chickens as well as pressuring companies like McDonalds and Chipotle to denounce the same. No surprise that there’s a growing trend in buying meat from organic and free-range sources. Better for you, the environment and the animals.

Spent a really great afternoon today at Ventura County’s Agricultural Museum in Santa Paula. They have a really fantastic collection of contemporary quilts inspired by farm fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers and countless of photographs…and tractors! I was feeling nostalgic afterwards so whipped up two “Billy Bobs”—my favorite breakfast burrito from my undergrad days—for my sister and I. Perfect end to a lovely spring day.

The Department of Agriculture announced last week that Kathleen Merrigan, their No. 2 official and most powerful supporter of local and organic foods, would be leaving her post as USDA’s deputy secretary. Her departure  has raised a lot of questions about the Obama Administration’s commitment to organic and local food production. The food industry publication The Packer speculated that this could spell "the end of local food at the USDA.”
Merrigan is best known for her local food initiative called Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food, preserving strong standards for the Organic label, and championing a national farm-to-school program, among other things.
On her tenure at the USDA, she reflects;

“It has been an ambitious first term,” Merrigan said. “From implementing the 2008 farm bill, improving school meals, expanding opportunities for American farmers, spending countless hours in the White House situation room, to shepherding USDA budgets through challenging times, it has been an honor to play a small part in history. I hope that during my tenure I was able to help open USDA’s doors a little wider, inviting new and discouraged constituencies to participate in USDA programs.”

The Department of Agriculture announced last week that Kathleen Merrigan, their No. 2 official and most powerful supporter of local and organic foods, would be leaving her post as USDA’s deputy secretary. Her departure  has raised a lot of questions about the Obama Administration’s commitment to organic and local food production. The food industry publication The Packer speculated that this could spell "the end of local food at the USDA.

Merrigan is best known for her local food initiative called Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food, preserving strong standards for the Organic label, and championing a national farm-to-school program, among other things.

On her tenure at the USDA, she reflects;

“It has been an ambitious first term,” Merrigan said. “From implementing the 2008 farm bill, improving school meals, expanding opportunities for American farmers, spending countless hours in the White House situation room, to shepherding USDA budgets through challenging times, it has been an honor to play a small part in history. I hope that during my tenure I was able to help open USDA’s doors a little wider, inviting new and discouraged constituencies to participate in USDA programs.”

dark-rye:

What heaven tastes, smells, and sounds like.

(via ohtoliveonafarm)

What do you guys think?

The Good Eggs system works like this: Consumers order from a wide variety of locally made, artisanal products online — from baby food to cheese, oranges to muffins. Items are then baked or harvested fresh to order and sent to the Good Eggs’ warehouse, where each individual order is put together manually.

Sustainable business model? Something you’d like to try out? 

ysfp:

Ever year we face a conundrum: one of the most important tenets of Harvest is that it’s a break from the plugged-in technological world, and no one wants to bring a fancy digital camera along to dig in the dirt, but we need pictures of the trips! For our 2012 session we experimented by giving  leaders and support crew disposable cameras and asking them to document what they did and saw. The results are hilarious and gorgeous and make us miss summer all over again. Above are some highlights— you can check out the rest on our Flickr page.

Some really great shots from The Yale Sustainable Food Project!

good:

The Fact That Changed Everything: Will Allen and Growing Power Vertical - by Bora Chang

“It was part of my proposal to the city that I would to teach kids about how to grow food and about food systems—that was my other purpose,” says Allen. “Because when you educate kids, they take that back to their homes and tell their parents.” In effect, Allen had sown the seeds for altering the existing food system, especially in inner cities, and established a way to push for food and social justice. “Everyone, regardless of economic status, should be able to access healthy, nutritious foods,” says Allen.

Continue reading on good.is

Illustration by Jessica De Jesus

This content is brought to you by GOOD, with support from IBM. Click here to read more stories from The Fact That Changed Everything series and here to read about other Figures of Progress.

(via citykidgardens)

Documentary: “The Moo Man”

cheesenotes:

image

The Telegraph reports on “The Moo Man”, a new documentary making its debut at the Sundance Film Festival, which looks at the life and experiences of a British farm family turning their back on Big Dairy and converting their farm to raw milk production: 

This story cannot fail to leave you mooved

A farmer who led his cows on a long walk to freedom is the subject of an award-nominated film

Hollywood’s latest starlet is gazing enigmatically into the camera lens with her huge melting brown eyes, framed with lashes long enough to catch snowflakes. She radiates an air of serenity amid the flashbulbs and satellite dishes and is the very epitome of poise – until an enormous rough pink tongue emerges from the side of her mouth and flicks into her nostril.

“This is Ration, she’s our Red Carpet Cow,” says her owner, East Sussex dairy farmer Steve Hook, as he massages her neck. “A handful of cow nuts and you can do anything you like with her.”

That pretty much makes her every director’s dream, but she won’t be accompanying him to Sundance Film Festival this weekend, where her screen debut – The Moo Man – has been chosen to compete in the prestigious World Cinema category.

The Moo Man is ostensibly a documentary about Longleys Farm, Hailsham, where Steve and his father, Phil, have turned around their loss-making dairy business by thumbing their noses at the supermarket big boys and marketing and selling their own raw, unpasteurised and organic milk.

But this fascinating, unsentimental yet tender film is much more than a classic David-and-Goliath clash of values; it is a moving portrait of the ancient relationship between a farmer and his animals, set against a backdrop of changing seasons, changing fortunes, birth, death and, of course, milk. Gallons and gallons of the white stuff.

In a few days, Steve Hook and his father will be at Sundance, where their quietly profound story will vie for attention among performances by Hollywood A-listers such as Ashton Kutcher and Scarlett Johansson.

The farmers have been invited to brunch with festival founder Robert Redford. It’s a fair bet they will raise a toast to The Moo Man. Let’s hope it is with a glass of raw, unpasteurised milk.

Read the full story here, and check out the official site for the film (trailer coming soon).

(Photo ©2013 Sundance.org)

Looking for an apprenticeship (hint: the time is now!), a food job, or land? The National Young Farmers Coalition has recently released a new resource for young farmers and ranchers looking for all this and more. Standing on the shoulders of giants!!

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