Digest – News: Seeds grow, even in prison; allergy nuts; and the return of the pear
Growing hope: U.S. prisons are notoriously bad at rehabilitating inmates and preparing them to return to public life, but San Quentin is trying to change that. How? By providing an organic garden that residents can care for. "It reminds me of being with my grandmother," says one inmate. "It saved my life." (KQED's California Report; link to audio segment below slideshow)
Are they nuts?: Kids with severe food allergies seem to be everywhere these days, with schools creating peanut-free zones, airlines banning the snacks, and the FDA proposing new, hyper-detailed packaging labels. Yet food allergies kill fewer people per year than lightning strikes. Is the caution legit, or another example of helicopter parenting? (Time)
A-pearrances can be deceiving: Ruminations on the rise and fall of fruit growing in the Northwest, and the author's accidental career in rescuing the Bartlett pear — once the principal ingredient of fruit cocktail, and in his vision, a new source of poire williams. (NY Times Proof blog)
What grows in a recession? Seeds: More and more people are turning to growing their own produce as the economy takes a dive, and seed companies are reaping rewards. Burpee and Co. (which also weathered the Great Depression - it's 125 years old) expects a 20% sales increase this year; national sales of organic seed have jumped nearly 50% since last January; and seed-starting kits are up 10% over 2008, suggesting that more first-time gardeners are entering the market. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Justus is served: The opening of a small, humane slaughterhouse that supplies Chez Panisse and the Bay Area's Fatted Calf had beyond-the-bay repercussions, inspiring (and enabling) chef Jonathan Justus to start a farm-to-table restaurant in an old diner in Smithville, Missouri. (New York Times Magazine)
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