Digest: Puck goes Ethicurean, watery news, organic ag shortage

Bravo to Wolfgang Puck!: The L.A. restauranteur is taking foie gras, battery eggs, and meat from caged animals off the menu at all of his 14 fine-dining restaurants, 82 casual cafes, and his packaged food business. He’ll also only sell seafood from certified sustainable fisheries, and will incorporate even more organic and local produce. San Francisco Chronicle

Keep up the pressure, it’s getting to them: “We believe animal welfare may very well be the scariest topic that faces us in the upcoming farm bill debate,” said a rep for the American Farm Bureau Federation at a meeting in Washington, D.C. Brownfield

Drink it if you got it: It’s probably not news to anyone given the media blitz, but today is World Water Day. Nope, not a day dreamed up by Evian in which we’re supposed to guzzle bottled water, but a day devoted to raising awareness about the scarcity of fresh water on the planet. BuzzFeed has a good roundup of links about the problems with the growing privatization of water. Worldchanging collects links to several projects in one place, including the Environmental Working Group’s Project Bottled Water, a database to assess the safety of various brands.

Green acres needed: Tom Philpott looks at why, if demand for organic food is growing as fast as advertised, more acres aren’t being devoted to growing it in the United States. Not-so-fun fact: “Italy alone, not quite as large in size as New Mexico, has more land in organic agriculture than the entire United States!” Grist

The Alar effect: Organic pet food makers and retailers may be the only winners of the recall of nearly 100 brands of pet food manufactured by Canada’s Menu Foods Inc. Newman’s Own Organics has experienced a spike in demand. Reuters

Guns & greens: Aid for spinach growers hurt by last year’s E. coli outbreak has been tucked into legislation funding the Iraq war, and many are not happy about it. Salinas Californian

Pick another banana: Chiquita’s latest fine, for financing terrorist organizations in Chile, is just the latest in a long history of criminal behavior. Time to punish them with your pocketbooks. Alternet

Losing our shirts: More about Colony Collapse Disorder that’s causing whole hives of bees around the country to vanish. Among the non-food reasons why you should care: without honeybees, no more cotton for clothes. Roseville Press Tribune

What Bay Area gardeners should plant in order to attract and nourish bees (San Francisco Chronicle)

EAT your fruits and veggies: Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-CA) introduced the EAT Healthy America Act, a bill to help growers of “specialty crops” (fruits, vegetables, nuts and flowers) through research, conservation, export assistance, expansion of nutrition programs, and more — but no subsidies. The bill is H.R. 1600. Scripps News

Don’t go Dutch, please: Scientists in the Netherlands are engineering a new generation of food products that can help prevent obesity by provoking a greater feeling of satiety. Because eating actual food just won’t make anyone enough money? Reuters

Why not use prisoners, like Colorado does?: There’s such a farmworker shortage in Washington that the Washington Growers League and the state are working to sign up students for field work during summer break. Seattle P-I

Pollanation continues: A belated Q&A with Michael Pollan about “the Omnivore’s Dilemma” has a few newsy bits. He observes that “There are very different levels of political energy [about food politics] around the country, right now. I would say that it’s lowest on the East Coast and highest on the West Coast, and that energy levels rise as you travel from east to west.” Leite’s Culinaria

Alice in Blunderland: John Birdsall reviews “Alice Waters and Chez Panisse: The Romantic, Impractical, Often Eccentric, Ultimately Brilliant Making of a Food Revolution” — the new, semi-official bio of the founder of Chez Panisse and the Delicious Revolution — and deems it as bland as turnip puree. Pity: guess we’ll have to wait for the unauthorized version. East Bay Express

GE-free kiwis: New Zealand’s Soil and Health Association wants to ban imports of soy, alfafa, corn and maize seed imported from the United States and other GE producers. Radio New Zealand

Mo’ better blues: An excerpt from Bill McKibben’s new book, about why having more seems to make us less happy. Mother Jones

What? You want more?

No-Impact Man makes the cover of the Home & Garden section! (New York Times)

Austin’s schools have students not only eating all of their vegetables but growing them, too (Austin Chronicle)

Two-Buck Chuck defeats Barolo in cooking risotto (New York Times)

Demand for palm oil is sending orangutans into extinction (The Scoop/NZ)

Farewell of the Lettuce Lady: Sustainable-gardening pioneer Camille Waters says goodbye to Houston (Houston Chronicle)

Farm sues Taco Bell over the fast-food chain’s linking its green onions to E. coli outbreak (L.A. Times)

2 Responsesto “Digest: Puck goes Ethicurean, watery news, organic ag shortage”

  1. Jack says:

    “The Alar effect: Organic pet food makers and retailers may be the only winners of the recall of nearly 100 brands of pet food manufactured by Canada’s Menu Foods Inc. Newman’s Own Organics has experienced a spike in demand.”

    This reminds me that years ago the New York Times magazine section did a feature(?) on making (human) recipes from cat and dog food. It was a spoof – but the next day, the shelves were empty of pet food in NYC. (Well, that’s how I remember it…it was LONG ago.)

  2. I made the comment in another blog and I’ll say it here too…

    The objections to bans on foie gras all seem to come from chefs whining about their creative freedom. When other kinds of artists incorporate animal cruelty into their work for the sake of ‘art’ or ‘making a statement’, people get up in arms about it. Why should a chef get special treatment?

    I’m calling it art because the foods being challenged here are not staple foods. Foie gras and crated milk-fed veal are valued for their aesthetic qualities. It’s about time someone decided to put his foot down and say that the extra suffering of the animal is not worth the momentary pleasure for the diner.