Digest: Future food-industry scientists, stealthy Pepsi, turkey hunting in Napa

New York Times*: The youth organization once known as Future Farmers of America is thriving, having dropped any reference to actual farming from its name. The membership has changed as well: more FFA members now come from towns & suburbs and want to be not farmers, but food-industry scientists, seed bioengineers, florists, landscapers and renewable fuels engineers. What happened to getting your hands dirty?

Boston Globe*: PepsiCo is launching two new products through Whole Foods — Fuelosophy smoothies and Sun Chips snacks. Neither mention the parent company, nor do its products Izze sparkling juice, Stacy's Pita Chips, and Mother's Natural Cereals. Odd — it's as if the soda giant doesn't think Whole Foods shoppers have good associations with the parent brand.

New York Times*: Wild turkeys eat grapes in Napa, which makes them fair game for hunters. Some dispute that they do any real damage, but Angelo Garro (familiar to "Omnivore's Dilemma" readers aas Pollan's wild-boar guide) claims they do enough to warrant thinning out. [Thanks, Aunt B!]

CattleNetwork.com: A comparison of the differences between natural, organic, hormone-free and other beef contains a peek at what the USDA's standards for the new "grass-fed" label might specify.

Seattle P-I: A review of the certified organic restaurant Tilth finds as much to savor and love as our MOLM and Butter bitch did. Duck burgers, drool....

San Francisco Chronicle: "Bargain Bites" subject Cafe Pippo serves casual, Ethicurean-friendly food, including Fulton Valley chicken and Niman Ranch meats, in Oakland's Temescal neighborhood.

Grist: Shepherd Bliss of Kokopelli Farms ruminates about working on a farm as a child and for McDonald's as a teenager.

New York Times: Critic A.O. Scott chews on "Fast Food Nation," which opened today, and (unlike Dairy Queen) finds it "as necessary and nourishing as your next meal."

USDA.gov: A transcript of AgSec Mike Johanns' speech to the National Association of Farm Broadcasters contains lots of info on where he thinks the next Farm Bill should focus. Ag wonk extraordinaire Keith Good parses the comments this way in his daily Farm Policy newsletter: "Secretary Johanns implies that there are two groups of farmers in America, program crop producers and specialty crop producers ... these two groups of producers are often pitted against each other." The reality is that there's plenty of overlap — many farmers that grow specialty crops already participate in federal programs — and therefore "linking the trade compliance aspect of agri-environmental programs or additional research funding will likely be more persuasive to knowledgeable policy makers than attempts to cast producers against each other based on what they grow."

Grist: Amanda Griscom Little summarizes how green the 110th Congress might actually be, including some shifts that had us tap-dancing, e.g. Tuesday's announcement that Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Cal.) will replace climate-change "skeptic" (aka "flat-earther") James Inhofe (R-Okla.) as chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

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