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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 local food

Check out this incredibly haunting marketing campaign Chipotle released earlier last week.

Both the game and film depict a scarecrow’s journey to bring wholesome food back to the people by providing an alternative to the processed food that dominates his world. The film is set in a spooky, fantasy world where all food production is controlled by fictional industrial food giant Crow Foods, run by evil crows.

"The crows control the scarecrows," says Crumpacker. "It’s a parallel of the industrial food system in the U.S., which is upside down."

The Crow Foods factory is staffed by scarecrows who have been displaced from their traditional jobs on the farm and are now relegated to working for the crows by helping them maintain their unsustainable processed food system.

Feeling all the feels.

Ben and Jerry’s recently announced that the company is hoping to completely phase out genentically modified products from its ice cream. As of now, only 80% of Ben & Jerry’s ingredients are sourced non-GMO.  
Here’s why they’re doing it:

We have a long history of siding with consumers and their right to know what’s in their food. We fought long nad hard for labeling of rBGH, which was the first genetically engineered technology used in the U.S. food system. We thank and encourage all those who are continuing this fight in support of transparency and the consumer’s right to know.

The announcement comes less than a year after California residents voted down Proposition 37, a California ballot initiative that would have required genetically-modified food to be labeled as such. The Vermont-based company donated almost half a million dollars to defeat the measure but lost to companies like Monsanto and The Hershey Co., which gave a combined $44 million to defeat the ballot initiative.
Vermont, always leading the way when it comes to food!

Ben and Jerry’s recently announced that the company is hoping to completely phase out genentically modified products from its ice cream. As of now, only 80% of Ben & Jerry’s ingredients are sourced non-GMO.  

Here’s why they’re doing it:

We have a long history of siding with consumers and their right to know what’s in their food. We fought long nad hard for labeling of rBGH, which was the first genetically engineered technology used in the U.S. food system. We thank and encourage all those who are continuing this fight in support of transparency and the consumer’s right to know.

The announcement comes less than a year after California residents voted down Proposition 37, a California ballot initiative that would have required genetically-modified food to be labeled as such. The Vermont-based company donated almost half a million dollars to defeat the measure but lost to companies like Monsanto and The Hershey Co., which gave a combined $44 million to defeat the ballot initiative.

Vermont, always leading the way when it comes to food!

Vermont House Approves GMO Labeling Law

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Last week the Vermont House voted (107-37) in favor of passing a law to force food manufacturers to label products containing genetically modified ingredients. Having lived right next to Vermont for four years, I simply refused to use the word “unprecedented” in the previous sentence because this is Vermont, through and through. Vermont lives, eats, and breathes local food. It consistently ranks in the #1 in the Strolling of the Heifers Locavore Index and it even inspired a book!

If approved by the state Senate and signed by the governor, the bill would make Vermont the first state in the nation to require labeling of genetically modified foods and would prohibit the use of the term “natural” on labels. A ballot initiative that would have required GMO labels in California was defeated last year after Monsanto and other corporations spent nearly $50 million on ads opposing it. A recent study from the University of Vermont’s Center for Rural Studies showed that 95% of people in Vermont support GMO labeling.

And support is spreading outside of Vermont as well: more than 60 countries have already enacted labeling laws, and 24 states are considering similar legislation, although none has been adopted yet.

Definitely an important step in getting us closer to a national labeling solution.

NYTimes: White House Seeks to Change International Food Aid

Many shipping companies, agribusinesses and charitable groups were outraged earlier this week when the Obama administration announced a new plan to change the way the United States distributes its international food aid. The administration is expected to propose ending the nearly sixty year practice of buying food from American farmers and shipping it abroad, a process many food aid groups say is inefficient. 

Instead, the government is proposing buying food closer to humanitarian crisis spots, which is expected to save millions in shipping costs and get food delivered to areas in need faster. The United States is the only major donor country that continues to send food rather than buying food produced locally.

The administration is also reportedly considering ending the controversial practice of food aid “monetization,” a process by which Washington gives American-grown grains to international charities. The groups then sell the products on the market in poor countries and use the money to finance their antipoverty campaigns.

Sending crops abroad has long been a profitable enterprise for American farmers and shipping companies. As expected, more than sixty organizations like the USA Rice Federation and the American Maritime Congress have written to the Obama administration and called on lawmakers to resist changing the program. Twenty-one senators from farm states have also written to the Obama administration last month after being lobbied by these same groups, asking for the food aid program to be kept the way it stands now.

Many aid groups are in favor of this decision, citing that times have changed and that shipping bulk food abroad is too expensive when government budgets are tight and developing countries need every dollar.

“The current food aid program is not mission driven or about poor people,” said Gawain Kripke, director of policy and research for Oxfam. “It’s about moving product.”

Well said sir, well said.

modocoop:

Here’s an indirect consequence of reducing the number of cars on the road that you may not have thought of: empty parking garages. And here’s what a local group figured out to do with them: increase local food production.

Watch this Vancity Story of Impact about Local Garden, a Vancouver-owned and operated year-round food producer utilizing the Verticrop technology, which maximizes space and eliminates the need for pesticides or herbicides.

The question becomes, then, what will be the indirect consequence of reducing overall consumption of imported foods?

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.”

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? 

Illinois has some of the most fertile soils in the country.  While Illinois farmers grow only six percent of the produce consumed in the state, we could grow much more. If local food production were increased in the seven counties of metropolitan Chicago, it could create over 5,000 jobs and generate $6.5 billion a year in economic activity. The demand is there. Over the last ten years, regional demand for local food has grown 260 percent, and recent surveys show that three-quarters of Americans care that their food is grown locally. Fresh local produce isn’t just for farmers’ markets anymore — Meijer, Wal-Mart, and other major retailers and restaurant chains are also committing to sell locally grown food. Despite the significant increase in demand, however, we continue to import food from other states and countries, and $26 billion in food revenue leaves our region every year.  

Metropolitan Chicago’s GO TO 2040 plan calls for us to strengthen our region’s food systems.

By producing more of the food we consume locally, we keep money in the region, support local businesses, and have delicious, fresh produce to eat.  This microsite provides a number of resources to help local governments support our local food systems.

I’m really excited to see policy makers and planners thinking about where our food comes from and supporting the shift to a more local food system. This video could easily be a template for anyone trying to describe “Why local?” and gives a simple overview from the perspective of a farmer, distributor, restaurant owner, and mother. Check it out!

The waitress informs the couple that the place serves only local, free-range, “heritage-breed, woodland-raised chicken that’s been fed a diet of sheep’s milk, soy, and hazelnuts.” But because the diners, Peter and Nance, are characters on “Portlandia”—a television comedy in which precious concerns spin into giddy lunacy—the conversation does not stop there. Peter, played by Fred Armisen, asks if the hazelnuts, too, are local. Nance, played by Carrie Brownstein, needs to know the size of the parcel of land where the chicken roamed freely. (Four acres.) The waitress excuses herself and returns to the table with a file folder and a photograph. “Here is the chicken you’ll be enjoying tonight,” she says, with therapeutic solemnity. “His name was Colin.” Peter seems appeased: “He looks like a happy little guy who runs around.” But then he wonders if the animal had “a lot of friends—other chickens as friends?” The waitress, who finds this a reasonable question, admits, “I don’t know that I can speak to that level of intimate knowledge about him.

I cackled.

The piece explores the Garden Gateway program, CSU’s interactive workshops designed to empower South L.A. residents with the tools and know-how to grow their own healthy food. The monthly workshops often feature cooking segments as well, to give gardeners ideas about how to use the produce they grow. The program is currently on hiatus for the summer, but will pick up again in the fall.

More Info. 

Here are a few things I read this afternoon after my run!

Bon Appetit: We Say Tomato: 8 Simple Summer Dishes You Can Make Without a Recipe (Photo: Bon Appetit)

Kickstarter: El Poblano Farm

Central Oregon Community Garden Manual

This manual is intended to inspire neighbors, community associations, governments and others to create a vision of food self‐reliance. 

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