Digest – Features: Food labeling follies, Madison reflects, “King Corn” hits Iowa

starstarSerious and/or funny takes on food labeling:

“It seems to imply there is a safe, nonsafe dimension”: Pennsylvania and Ohio are cracking down on "absence labeling" in milk, that is, touting its lack of artificial hormones, antibiotics, etc. We *love* that the Times has given reporter Andrew Martin a venue ("The Feed") not just for his excellent food-system reporting, but for some little traces of opinion, too. (New York Times)

Unease with the organic label: Three NY farmer profiles illustrate how the shift toward Big Organic has farmers feeling like they must choose between the principles of healthy eating and environmental stewardship that sprouted the organic movement, and what has become marketing program. (Record Online) Related: Walter of Sugar Mountain Farm tells why he prefers certification from the Certified Naturally Grown (CNG) program.

Skewered: Under the guise of "Understanding Food Labels You Might Encounter at Whole Foods," McSweeney's gives us some loving slaps like these: "'Conventional' says, 'I love the system,' and we're not even sure why you're shopping here. You don't want paper or plastic — you have a bag made of the skin of a clubbed infant seal. Oh, you came to grind your own peanut butter? Great. Get your bulk items and go." (McSweeney's Internet Tendency)

Vini, vidi, vici: Deborah Madison marks the tenth year in print of her instant classic "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone" with notes on the changes in food attitudes. "Who doesn’t write about food today without a million references to local and seasonal? In fact, 'localseasonalandsustainable' now kind of runs together in a murmur, like a mumbled Latin mass." (Culinate.com)

Well, they didn't say they hated it…: "King Corn" had its premiere last Wednesday at Iowa State University, alma mater of director Aaron Woolfe. Brownfield Network titles its report "'King Corn' raises issues, ire" but doesn't identify who it angered or why, and has some nice quotes from KC-featured farmer Chuck Pyatt. Over at Culinate, filmmaker Curt Ellis says the feedback was almost universally positive.

What's wrong with getting it from farmers?: As Vermont's government tries to make good on its own exhortation to residents to "eat local," one idea floated is to turn prison yards into vegetable gardens. (Burlington Free Press)

Who you calling "nouveaux locavores"?: Tom Philpott reviews Alice Waters' "The Art of Simple Food" and test-drives it as a cookbook. (Culinate)

Catching up on KCRW Good Food podcasts: In the Oct. 13 episode, an L.A.-based coffee seller talks about the international coffee market; the sorry tale of Hale County, Alabama, where 25% of residents aren't connected to the municipal water system (many can't afford to buy a water meter); some advice on disaster preparedness; and an interview with the Two Angry Moms, who made a film about their battles for better school lunches.

Death by chocolate: You've probably heard about 'blood diamonds' — diamonds that fund warlords — but how about blood cacao? The San Francisco Chronicle reports on Ivory Coast's civil war, a war fueled by an unequitable distribution of cacao earnings, corruption in the government cacao agencies, and unscrupulous traders (to name just a few of the causes). We'd love to hear what premium chocolate makers have to say about this.

Market opportunity for fair-trade salt?: A disturbing video shows how salt mining in a Ugandan lake is a life-threatening occupation — the salt is literally eating away at the miners' skin. (National Geographic)

Reusable bag lady: An upcoming ban on plastic grocery bags in San Francisco, a growing eco-awareness, and a disdain for ugly canvas totes have inspired some creative and stylish reusable shopping bags. Kendra Stanley, for example, makes bags out of rain jackets purchased from thrift stores and vintage shops. (San Francisco Chronicle)

New Yorkers queue up for locally raised, free-range turkeys (New York Times)

Mother-daughter team runs elk farm in Albany (The Beaumont Enterprise)

One Responseto “Digest – Features: Food labeling follies, Madison reflects, “King Corn” hits Iowa”

  1. On the Vermont prisons competing with farmers, there is a solution: the prisoners could grow food for the local food banks to help feed the needy. This way nobody is losing market share to slave (prison) labor and a second problem (feeding the hungry poor) is solved.