Digest – Commentary & blogs: School food programs need to start from scratch, Vilsack unCOOL’d, NYC foodshed

Trays important: Alice Waters and Chez Panisse Foundation director Katrina Heron urge the Obama administration to fix the National School Lunch Program not by throwing a little more money at it, but by starting from scratch. Which means a lot more dough: enough for schools to afford to cook and serve unprocessed, preferably organically and locally grown foods. Interestingly, they think the Dept. of Education should help finance it. (New York Times)

Bam to Tom: That’s not COOL, dude: Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack held a press conference to announce a new interpretation of the Country of Origin Labeling rules, urging the meat industry to “voluntarily” adopt stricter labeling standards (such as for processed meats). Eddie dissects the nature of the spanking that ensued. (Obama Foodorama)

Feeding the Big Apple: In a just-released study called “Food in the Public Interest,” the office of Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer analyzes the New York City “foodshed” and comes up with a lengthy set of recommendations for how the city might feed itself better and more locally. Grist’s new stellar foodpol blogger Tom Laskawy digests it for you. (Gristmill)

poOp-ed: The Chicago Tribune publishes a hit piece on the sustainable food movement penned by no other than David Martosko, whose affiliation with the spurious Center for Consumer Freedom is not identified. (But we remember him fondly from previous appearances here.) What’s got the CCF’s panties in a twist? That the movement is trying to change policies, not just buying habits. Jill filets Martosko’s piece thoroughly over at La Vida Locavore.

Squeaky wheels get speakers changed?: Oxfam was planning to host a panel discussion at the Asia Society in New York tomorrow (Feb. 20) at 8:30 am called “The Global Food Crisis: Time for Another Green Revolution?” that seemed like it was going to have a very one-sided, pro-biotech slant. It’s probably not coincidence that after quite a lot of squawking from the sustainable food community later, like a scolding letter from Anna Lappé and this outraged rant from Paula at Civil Eats, all of a sudden Doug Gurian-Sherman of the Union of Concerned Scientists got added to the panelists.

Grow food, not fuel: Making a living off “food farms” instead of USDA commodity crops isn’t easy, a farmer writes in this rambling but informative post, stuffed with examples, but it’s doable. Success often requires cooperation among farmers, and a little luck. Example A: A Taiwanese food corporation bought a Missouri slaughterhouse only to find that all the hogs in the area were “under contract” — and that’s how a free-range pig co-op found a place to process its hogs. (Daily Yonder; thanks Julie!)

One Responseto “Digest – Commentary & blogs: School food programs need to start from scratch, Vilsack unCOOL’d, NYC foodshed”

  1. On the food-not-fuel, I have mixed feelings. One conservation and efficiency need to be a top priority. Two the conversion rate for ethanol is so bad I don’t like to think about it. But, I can foresee that we’ll be able to figure out highly efficient ways to turn renewable plant materials into fuel and we do need some fuel. If we can grow it, without losing our food, that’s good. There is enough food, that isn’t the issue. World hunger is more about greed and politics than production capacity.

    What I like about COOL – it (should) tell us where food came from. After all, we already have this with T-shirts and almost every other product. Food should have it too.

    What I don’t like about COOL – it is filled with loop holes for processed foods, foods of mixed origin and it doesn’t recognize that when a food is sold locally and says “Made in Vermont” that means “Made in the USA” too. Vermont is in the USA. (For those in political and regulatory office who failed their geography lessons…)

    Made in USA