Archive for January, 2007

By LAUREN SHEPHERD of the Associated Press, January 19, 2007

Got hormone-free milk?

Milk industry experts say that question is on the minds of milk producers and coffee shops alike now that Starbucks Corp. is planning to make lattes with milk free of the bovine growth hormone rBGH.

On Wednesday, the world’s largest specialty coffee retailer said it dropped dairy products containing the artificial growth hormone at its coffeehouses in the West and New England, and is looking into doing the same nationwide. Starbucks has 5,668 stores in the U.S.

For producers that already manufacture and bottle the hormone-free milk, Starbucks’ announcement could be a boon for sales and speed market growth.

continue at yahoo

eric

walmart degrading organic food

Ever since Wal-Mart decided to significantly increase its organic offerings, they have been bombarded with accusations of selling substandard organic food, produced at factory farms, not small, organic farms like consumers are led to believe.

The accusations, it turns out, are well-founded, as I suspected from the beginning. Now the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is calling on consumers to boycott Wal-Mart for degrading the organic standards. According to OCA, despite their requests to Wal-Mart to stop, the mega-store chain is:

  • Selling Horizon and Aurora Organic milk that comes from intensive confinement factory farm dairies
  • Importing cheap organic foods and ingredients from China and Brazil
  • Posting signs in its stores that mislead consumers into believing that non-organic items are actually organic

As always, your best source of food will be from local farmers, not huge superstores, but you can also use some commonsense no matter where you shop by remembering that processed food is still junk food, even if it’s labeled “organic.”

Organic Consumers Association January 17, 2007

by @ 1:00 pm on 23 January 2007.

Farm Bill 101: Tom Philpott plans to analyze the political economy of farming and suggest a socially and environmentally sustainable farm policy. (Someone has to do it, and we’re glad he’s volunteered.) The 2007 Farm Bill will affect everybody who cares about what they eat, and/or about the environment, so if you’re unsure how agricultural subsidies work and why/if we need them, this piece is a great place to start. Grist

Food prejudice: We promise this is the last link we’ll do for a while about the supposedly heretical, blame-the-foodies new book “The Gospel of Food.” This Q&A with author Barry Glassner reveals him to be instead quite a reasonable fellow, who believes we should “eat and let eat” instead of being reflexively moralistic about food. For example, he mentions one of his favorite studies, in which students were shown photographs of people their age and researchers told one set that the people in the photographs ate foods like whole wheat breads and chicken, and the other that the subjects ate hamburgers and French fries and hot fudge sundaes. The students ranked the same people very differently, with the latter group depicted as less likable and less attractive. Salon

continue at ethicurean

eric

My Beef with Vegetarianism

This is a view opposite site of what this site is about.  There are many holes in his argument but an interesting read nonetheless.  It was written by Daniel Lazare and will be featured in the February 5th, 2007 issue of The Nation.

There are many horrifying moments in Anatoly Kuznetsov’s great Soviet novel Babi Yar, but one of the most horrifying concerns, of all things, the death of a newborn kitten. The kitten has been born deformed, so the hero, a small boy living in Nazi-occupied Ukraine, has to kill it. But instead of doing it the usual way by drowning it in a bucket, he decides it would be somehow kinder to pound the animal to death with a brick. "It was a moist, warm blob of life," Kuznetsov writes, "utterly devoid of sense and as insignificant as a worm. It seemed nothing could be easier than to dispose of it with one blow." But when he lets the brick fall,

A strange thing happened–the little body seemed to be resilient, the brick fell to one side, and the kitten continued its miaowing. With shaking hands I picked up the brick again and proceeded to crush the little ball of living matter until the very entrails came out, and at last it was silent, and I scraped up the remains of the kitten with a shovel and took them off to the rubbish heap, and as I did it my head swam and I felt sick.

Somehow, amid the myriad slaughters of World War II, it takes a frail and worthless kitten–"as insignificant as a worm"–to teach us something about the tenacity of life and the awfulness of taking it away.

continue reading at The Nation

eric

A farm bill that serves us all

This comes from the Seattle Times and discusses the upcoming Farm Bill.

No big surprise: As Congress girds to debate a 2007 farm bill, the big commodity interests — cotton, rice, corn, wheat, soybeans — are lining up to protect their billions in subsidies. But how about us — the taxpayer funders?

What if we could write a farm bill? What would it feature?

First, it’s fair to suggest, we’d want to foster a reliable, steady supply of wholesome foods reaching our communities.

And we know what’s most nutritious: fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, fish and whole grains. All contribute to trimmer bodies, healthy hearts, less disease. Sweets, processed foods, red meats and dairy products are OK, but only if consumed sparingly.

continue at Seattle Times

eric

Vegetarian is the New Prius

By Kathy Freston,  published on Saturday, January 20, 2007 by the Huffington Post

President Herbert Hoover promised "a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage." With warnings about global warming reaching feverish levels, many are having second thoughts about all those cars. It seems they should instead be worrying about the chickens.

Last month, the United Nations published a report on livestock and the environment with a stunning conclusion: "The livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global." It turns out that raising animals for food is a primary cause of land degradation, air pollution, water shortage, water pollution, loss of biodiversity, and not least of all, global warming.

That’s right, global warming. You’ve probably heard the story: emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide are changing our climate, and scientists warn of more extreme weather, coastal flooding, spreading disease, and mass extinctions. It seems that when you step outside and wonder what happened to winter, you might want to think about what you had for dinner last night. The U.N. report says almost a fifth of global warming emissions come from livestock (i.e., those chickens Hoover was talking about, plus pigs, cattle, and others)–that’s more emissions than from all of the world’s transportation combined.

continue at Huffington Post

eric

The Rise of Organic Meat

This comes from the Bradenton Herald newspaper and is written by Roberta C. Nelson.

Every day, Ben Pate herds his chickens to new pastureland on his poultry farm.

While Pate goes through the trouble of moving his bottomless chicken coops each day, his customers go to the trouble of driving out to his Gulf City Road farm to buy the chickens because they believe naturally fed chickens taste better and are better for you.

Moving chickens every day might seem bizarre, so unlike traditional farms where the birds stay in one place and have food brought to them. With each day’s move, Pate’s chickens have the benefit of a fresh supply of insects and grubs on uncontaminated land. Their old pasture benefits from the natural fertilizer the chickens leave behind. Pate benefits by the physical exercise - and by never having to clean a chicken coop.

He does supplement the chickens’ diet with nutrient-rich feed he has milled to his specifications at Swan’s Feed Mill in Zephyrhills. Unlike most feed, Pate’s does not contain chicken byproducts.

continue at Bradenton Herald

eric

Why Eat Local? 13 Lucky Reasons.

This information comes from 100milediet.org  .  It is a very interesting concept, here are some examples of why it’s a good thing.

1. Taste the difference.

At a farmers’ market, most local produce has been picked inside of 24 hours. It comes to you ripe, fresh, and with its full flavor, unlike supermarket food that may have been picked weeks or months before. Close-to-home foods can also be bred for taste, rather than withstanding the abuse of shipping or industrial harvesting. Many of the foods we ate on the 100-Mile Diet were the best we’d ever had.

2. Know what you’re eating.

Buying food today is complicated. What pesticides were used? Is that corn genetically modified? Was that chicken free range or did it grow up in a box? People who eat locally find it easier to get answers. Many build relationships with farmers whom they trust. And when in doubt, they can drive out to the farms and see for themselves.

3. Meet your neighbors.

Local eating is social. Studies show that people shopping at farmers’ markets have 10 times more conversations than their counterparts at the supermarket. Join a community garden and you’ll actually meet the people you pass on the street. Sign up with the 100-Mile Diet Society; we’ll be working to connect people in your area who care about the same things you do.

continue at 100milediet.org

…Then we did back in the 1950’s.  This excerpt from the USDA shows a correlation between higher meat consumption caused by lower meat prices.  That means, for the last 50 years, the US population has increased an average of over a pound of meat per person, per year!  Going veg one day a week will cut your consumption by 35lbs per year.  This is a great start!

"Now more than ever, America is a Nation of meat eaters. In 2000, total meat consumption (red meat, poultry, and fish) reached 195 pounds (boneless, trimmed-weight equivalent) per person, 57 pounds above average annual consumption in the 1950s (table 2-1). Each American consumed an average of 7 pounds more red meat than in the 1950s, 46 pounds more poultry, and 4 pounds more fish and shellfish. Rising consumer incomes, especially with the increase in two-income households, and meat prices in the 1990s that were often at 50-year lows, when adjusted for inflation, explain much of the increase in meat consumption. In addition, the meat industry has provided scores of new brand-name, value-added products processed for consumers’ convenience, as well as a host of products for foodservice operators."

             Source: USDA "Profiling Food Consumption in America" http://www.usda.gov/factbook/chapter2.htm

eric

Omnivore’s Dilemma

If you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend it.  For those of us that enjoy food and eating, it’s a must read.  The author, Michael Pollen, is creative, witty and not a vegetarian (but he is a supporter).  His book forces us to look at how messed up our food system is….and how it can be fixed.  I have a copy if someone would like to borrow it! :)

From The Washington Post’s Book World/washingtonpost.com
Most of us are at a great distance from our food. I don’t mean that we live "twelve miles from a lemon," as English wit Sydney Smith said about a home in Yorkshire. I mean that our food bears little resemblance to its natural substance. Hamburger never mooed; spaghetti grows on the pasta tree; baby carrots come from a pink and blue nursery. Still, we worry about our meals — from calories to carbs, from heart-healthy to brain food. And we prefer our food to be "natural," as long as natural doesn’t involve real.

In The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan writes about how our food is grown — what it is, in fact, that we are eating. The book is really three in one: The first section discusses industrial farming; the second, organic food, both as big business and on a relatively small farm; and the third, what it is like to hunt and gather food for oneself. And each section culminates in a meal — a cheeseburger and fries from McDonald’s; roast chicken, vegetables and a salad from Whole Foods; and grilled chicken, corn and a chocolate soufflé (made with fresh eggs) from a sustainable farm; and, finally, mushrooms and pork, foraged from the wild.

The first section is a wake-up call for anyone who has ever been hungry. In the United States, Pollan makes clear, we’re mostly fed by two things: corn and oil. We may not sit down to bowls of yummy petroleum, but almost everything we eat has used enormous amounts of fossil fuels to get to our tables. Oil products are part of the fertilizers that feed plants, the pesticides that keep insects away from them, the fuels used by the trains and trucks that transport them across the country, and the packaging in which they’re wrapped. We’re addicted to oil, and we really like to eat.

continue at Washington Post

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