Digest – Features: Food in ’08, immigration ideals, NPR on hormone-free labeling

Dietgeist predictions around the media: The Philadelphia Inquirer sees more "local, fresh, natural, organic" offerings on our horizon (although we shudder to think we might be getting them from convenience stores); "eco-friendly" and "farmers" (the "new food stars") will also continue to get their day in the limelight. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette concurs. The Indianapolis Star forecasts more interest in grass-fed meat, CSAs, and gastro-tourism. Among the Daily Green’s 9 food trends are cloned food, greater appreciation of offal, and more transparent food labeling.

Who would Jesus shelter?
: When a poultry plant in Ohio was raided by the immigration officials, many of them sought refuge in local churches. Helping them has divided congregations (Reuters)

Father knows rBST: NPR covers Pennsylvania’s rBST milk labeling controversy. Interestingly, a Monsanto rep says that the company never approached PA or Ohio "directly," leaving open the option that all the company’s mailings to its dairy customers about contacting their state governments were just, you know, suggestions. Nothing to do with endangered Posilac sales, nah.

Local power — the electric kind: For generations, the tallest structures in the agricultural Midwest have been grain elevators. And now there’s the rapidly growing wind power industry, which is betting farmers a guaranteed cash crop. (Los Angeles Times)

Annals of corn-tamination: Following up on the "King Corn" guys’ November corn-free challenge, including the before-and-after results of the hair test. (Washington Post)

Don’t monkey with PETA: The monks at Mepkin Abbey in South Carolina have supported their contemplative lives for 40 years largely by supplying eggs to local grocery stores — until big bad PETA came along and publicized their un-monklike animal-husbandry practices of forced molting and debeaking, at which point the monks said, "This is waaay too much hassle." While this article lambasts PETA for shutting down "a major benefactor for environmental preservation," we gotta wonder — did the monks consider trying out an organic approach before they went out of the egg-laying business? (Post and Courier)

Free-hopping protein: Care for a cricket pie, or some fried grasshopper and mealworm quiche? It’s oh so eco-friendly. (Ode Magazine)

Oh well that’s OK then…??: Asked whether Christmas tree branches can be used for mulch on strawberry plants, or whether the gardener should worry about pesticide traces, the answer is curiously — and maddeningly — blithe. "The use of pesticides on Christmas trees is decreasing, and most are applied in the growing season.…Any ill effects fall primarily on the farm, its workers and its environs, not on your strawberries." (New York Times via SF Chronicle)

More farmers raising sheep without wool (The Associated Press)

"Woman to Woman" columnists name Barbara Kingsolver "Most Admirable Woman of 2007" (Editor and Publisher)

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