The UC Food Observer chooses some important stories for you to read each work day. On today’s packed menu, in no particular order:
1. Are GMOs becoming a proxy for larger concerns about the food system, including “corporate control” and large-scale food production? Peggy Lowe tackles the topic for NPR’s The Salt. Interesting read … and be sure to check out the comments section. Overall, the piece provides a good summary of the GMO debate, current legislation, etc. Lowe reports for Harvest Public Media (@HarvestPM), a public radio collaboration that focuses on agriculture and food.
2. Some reading about school food and nutrition, just in time for a political debate in Washington, D.C. 1) The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WK_Kellogg_Fdn) has released results of a poll it conducted assessing attitudes about school food and childhood nutrition. “Food for Thought” reveals that Americans believe that the higher nutrition standards adopted by the Obama administration have improved school meals (important to note as the effort to weaken nutrition standards continues). A whopping 88 percent of those surveyed support increased government funding to expand farm to school programs. And childhood obesity remains a concern. Read more about the poll here and follow #KeepKidsHealthy. 2) And amidst the political battle over school lunches, paid “mom bloggers” remain quiet about the School Nutrition Association’s effort to weaken the nutrition standards. Bettina Elias Siegel (@thelunchtray) pens an incredibly important and informative piece about this for Civil Eats. Siegel is one of the nation’s leading experts on school food reform…be sure to check out her blog The Lunch Tray. 3) One of those trying to keep the nutrition standards intact is Deb Eschmeyer, who leads the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative and serves as a Senior Policy Adviser for Nutrition Policy for the Obama administration. Darlene Superville (@dsupervilleap), who writes for the Associated Press, has produced a tremendous profile of Eschmeyer; it appears in The Washington Post. Eschmeyer was also a co-founder of Food Corps (you can learn a bit more about this remarkable program by reading this UC Food Observer piece).
3. Environmental issues impacting food production: three stories you should read. 1) Pollinators are vanishing, which has significant implications for food production and the environment. Many argue that the EPA is not doing enough to protect pollinators. What is killing America’s bees…and what does it mean for us? Alex Morris writes for Rolling Stone. 2) ICYMI … a toxic plume of mine waste was accidentally released into a Colorado creek, bringing farming in a Navajo Nation community to a standstill. Sarah Kaplan (@sarahkaplan48) reports for The Washington Post. A stunning read. 3) And from The Guardian: Emma E. Howard (@EmmaEHoward) provides a disturbing report on how extreme weather will impact food production. Her piece is based on the results of a study produced by a UK-US Taskforce on Extreme Weather and Global Food System Resilience (the existence of such a task force says a lot). Poorer countries will feel the effects of disruptions in food production more acutely, but no nation will be immune. The synthesis report produced by the task force is 20 pages long and absolutely worth reading.
4. Three pieces about women in the food system. 1) The reality behind the reality show that puts female farmers in the spotlight. A terrific post from Coco McCabe about a popular Tanzanian TV show that is raising the status of women farmers. This piece appears on Oxfam America’s site. Follow @OxfamAmerica. 2) The Female Farmer Project – a project produced by Audra Mulkern (@AudraGM) – is a favorite of ours. In a guest essay appearing on the site, Jenny Hauschildt recounts her transition from a non-vegetable eater (at age 22) to organic farmer. 3) And in honor of the 95th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, a UC Food Observer piece on how women used their work in horticulture and agriculture to press for suffrage.
5. Bringing the sharing economy to your kitchen. Leilani Clark (@leilclark) produces a terrific piece about Josephine, a new website that connects home cooks with local customers. It’s an interesting model. Clark writes for Civil Eats and the piece appears in KQED’s Bay Area Bites. With studies indicating that Americans are eating so many meals alone, we think this is a marvelous way to change that dynamic.
6. #goodreads. 1) The Color of Food: Stories of Race, Resilience and Farming is a book we’re reading … and loving. We’re thrilled to read Food Tank’s interview with the book’s author, Natasha Bowens (@browngirlfarmin). 2) Homemade for Sale: How to Set Up and Market a Food Business From Your Home Kitchen is a recently published cottage food primer, written by John Ivanko and Lisa Kivirist. Ivanko and Kivirist are a husband-wife writing team who also operate a small organic farm and Inn Serendipity, a sustainable bed and breakfast. They are based in Browntown, Wisconsin. We were delighted to find this review of Ivanko-Kivirist’s book, written by Nancy Matsumoto (@NancyMatsumoto). Matsumoto is a NYC journalist who produces an incredibly interesting blog. BTW, Kivirist is a senior fellow, Endowed Chair in Agricultural Systems at the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture and a national advocate for women in sustainable agriculture. We’re getting ready to dive into her other recently published book, Soil Sisters: A Toolkit for Women Farmers; we’ll report back on what we learn!
Have a great day!