Digest – Features: Urban farmer, Brody on HFCS, swill shill

“If your goat is giving birth, it’s not like you can go to work”: Friend o’Ethicurean Twilight Greenaway interviews Novella Carpenter, Oakland’s most fearless backyard farmer and soon-to-be-author. (Culinate.com)

E tu, Brody?: Well-known nutritionist Jane Brody writes about the difference between high-fructose corn syrup and sugar, and whether it matters which we consume, or merely how much of either. There’s an interesting argument in here about fructose itself. However, she dismisses those who object to HFCS because it comes from genetically modified corn with this jaw-dropper: “genetically modified corn is not a health hazard, and, anyway, almost every food we consume has been genetically modified.” Say what? Not if you’re eating your recommended daily allowances of fruits, vegetables, fish, and meat — only if they’re being served in their processed, microwaveable, convenience versions.  (New York Times)

Making a stink: Despite protesters, John Sundstrom, chef/owner of Lark — a small Capitol Hill restaurant known for its artisanal meats and locally sourced grains and produce — won’t stop serving foie gras, and also sees nothing wrong with his decision to become a celebrity spokesman for the National Pork Board.  (The Stranger) Given Big Bad Factory Pork’s reach and impact, that’s of way more concern to us than a few goose livers.

Gillibrand identity: New York’s newest senator believes green energy, local farms could be the cure for what ails us. (Westchester County Business Journal) Related: The indefatigable Jill analyzes Gillibrand’s congressional voting record, noting that she “displays some decent stuff about supporting family farms.” (La Vida Locavore)

Nein danke, Monsanto! The Berlin Film Fest takes on agribusiness by featuring two documentary food films, “What’s On Your Plate,” “Food Inc.” (which we hope is opening here soon), and “Terra Madre.” The organizers also reject finger foods in favor or organic stew. (Yahoo)

3 Responsesto “Digest – Features: Urban farmer, Brody on HFCS, swill shill”

  1. Bill Harshaw says:

    “Genetically modified” using old-fashioned plant breeding techniques and/or new-fangled laboratory techniques.

  2. Brody is right on. Maybe not “almost every” but “most” is certainly correct.
    “only if they’re being served in their processed, microwaveable, convenience versions. ”
    No that’s not true. The canola oil I used while making corn bread last week probably had GE canola. The corn meal may have been made from GE field corn. And I ate it wearing a cotton shirt – which, chances are, might have had GE cotton in it. :)
    Amazingly, my liver isn’t swelling, my guts haven’t bled out, and I ate GE food without buying any processed foods.

    The linking of processed food to genetic engineering only works so long as the current generation of GE crops is all we have. The commodity crops were the first to be GE, which has helped that association. But you’re forgetting GE papaya, by the way, but more kinds of GE crops are on the way, such as anthocyanin-rich tomatoes for example.

    Socially and politically, the link is very interesting. As part of a larger movement that has resulted from the dissatisfaction of middle-class baby-boomers with the agricultural status quo, the rejection of TV dinners and whatnot follows. Genetic engineering, assumed to be “more of the same” has been tied to the TV dinner in an effort to foment rejection of the former based upon a dislike for the latter. But in the next two decades, there are going to be a lot more traits, including quality traits of interest to eaters, so that the desire for quality will run right into the engineered desire to avoid GE crops for those reasons. There will be a food-culture collision on this issue.

  3. Your head did swell a little bit more… :)

    The issue is some supporters of lab GE claim that traditional selective breeding is GE. It isn’t. It is selective breeding. There are reasons for having different words for different things. Otherwise we could simply compress all of language down to one big ‘Duh!’ and be done with communicating. Fortunately we made it out of the cave, through a bit of selective breeding pressure provided through the process of evolution. The problem with GE is there is simply insufficient testing and people are snapping up exclusive patents on stuff they didn’t really create – Nature did.

    Not to worry though, these sorts of problems are self-correcting. Just wait until they GE a plague and kill off humanity. Presto, solution! No more GE companies. Duh!