Killing bacteria with a sledgehammer: Judith Redmond of the Bay Area's beloved Full Belly Farm argues that the leafy-greens industry is taking a misguided, one-size-fits-all approach to food safety. Many of the industry's ideas focus on erasing nature from the farm, something that is anathema to organic farmers. Proposed new rules would apply to all leafy greens, despite the fact that the vast majority of outbreaks have been caused by bagged greens packaged at large facilities. Community Alliance with Family Farmers is starting a campaign to exempt small growers. (Sacramento Bee) Photo credit: Lettuce head from DJ Cayenne, subject to a Creative Commons License.
Just give us a level growing field: Ethicurean pal Aimee Witteman points out a giant inequity between conventional and organic crops when it comes to federal crop insurance. Organic farmers must pay a 5% surcharge for insurance that should disaster strike, pays them the conventional equivalent of their crops, even though organic crops have a far higher value (and cost them a lot more to grow). Meanwhile, farmers who plant transgenic seeds from Monsanto get a discount on insurance. This is one type of inequity that the Food and Farm Bill can eliminate (write, fax or call your Senators!) (Gristmill)
And while you're calling your congressperson about that…: A bill that would protect large manure producers from being prosecuted under Superfund has already won bipartisan support and has more than 150 co-sponsors in the House and about 25 sponsors in the Senate. The umbrella Big Ag group lobbying Capitol Hill — named, no doubt with a straight face, the Farmers for Clean Air & Water Inc.— says that industrial farms run by companies such as Perdue and Tyson and small family farms could be subjected to hefty pollution fines that could cripple the industry. Boo hoo to the first group, and bullshit on the second, as the existing Superfund laws specifically exempt the normal use of manure as fertilizer. (Politico.com)
"Blind cynicism, in this case, is just way too easy": The always entertainingly logorrheic Mark Morford tells you why it's OK to love Whole Foods. (SFGate.com)
Take your Parent to Lunch Day: October 15-19 is National School Lunch Week. Our favorite "Renegade Lunch Lady," Chef Ann Cooper of the Berkeley Unified School District, suggests that parents visit their kid's schools and see what they are eating all year long. (Chef Ann)
Welcome to the Jungle: Kirk James Murphy, M.D., has a great post looking at why we're stuck with the shitty meat-inspection system that we have today. Can't blame Bush — this one was brought to us by Clinton, aka "Big Dog," and his contributors Big Chicken and Big Meat. Still eating Big Macs, Bill? (Firedoglake)