Digest – News: WA pushes farm-to-table for schools, CA to preserve raw milk, VA to help farmers earn more income

starGrowing back to school: Proposed legislation would put Washington State at the forefront of efforts to get more farm-fresh, locally grown food into lunches at schools and at other institutions — but there are many, many hurdles to be overcome, not least of which is defining "local." (Seattle P-I)

Stay of raw-milk execution in CA: David Gumpert reports — curiously none of our state newspapers seem to be doing so — that so-called “emergency legislation” is being drawn up to amend the 10-coliform-per-milliliter revised milk standard passed sneakily last October by the California legislature. (The Complete Patient)

Virginia to encourage farmstead enterprises: Virginia is considering modifying its state law to allow people to make and sell from home items like bread, pickles, and jam without the usual food-establishment protections. And Joel Salatin is seeking an exemption for direct-to-consumer on-farm hog slaughter, but he probably won't get it. (C-VILLE)

Mars unbarred: Over the objections of billionaire candy magnate Forrest E. Mars Jr., an energy company wins the right to drill for natural gas on his Montana cattle ranch. (New York Times)

Weird shit scientists do because they can: Like altering the genes of a cloned pig to make it glow fluorescent green and getting all excited that it has passed on the trait to its young, which somehow bodes well for growing human organs in pigs. (Associated Press; thanks Expat Chef!)

In defense of labor: Michael Pollan cancelled a long-planned appearance on "The Colbert Report" because he didn’t want to cross the picket line. Also, he heard that Stephen was going to make him eat Smithfield ham. Which of these statements have more truthiness? (Publishers Weekly)

Geniuses, you are: The ban on feeding dried blood compounds from cattle to farmed fish should continue, says the European Food Safety Authority. (The Fish Site)

The prairie home's (cash) companion: USDA researchers see big ethanol possibilities from a few test fields of prairie grasses. The Knight Science Journalism Tracker, which does for science stories what we try to do for food, dissects the coverage on this far better than we can. (Why are we including this? Because it's kicking corn-based ethanol's ass.)

A little reputation rehab?: Aurora Organic Dairy has announced a "major initiative" with the University of Michigan to measure and reduce its carbon footprint across the entire product lifecycle, from cattle feed to cartons in retail dairy cases. (Reuters)

Chewing the wrong thing can be dangerous: Chomping on too much sugar-free gum has been linked to bowel problems. (Reuters)

Many cattle farmers coping with drought in Southeast can no longer afford to feed their animals (WSJ.com)

Australia tracks Japan whaling fleet (Reuters)

Soaring grain prices prompt wheat thefts (NPR)

There's a hop shortage brewing. (Boston Globe)

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