Digest – Commentary & blogs: Bittman busted for unconscious eating

Snap!-per: Tom Philpott chides Mark Bittman, aka The Minimalist and author of “Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating,” for recommending red snapper—one of the most endangered species in U.S. waters. “I believe that influental food writers, especially ones concerned with conscious eating, need to start educating the public about the dismal state of the oceans,” says Tom, who’s recently gotten religion about fish. Hear, hear, matey. (Grist)

The big squeeze: Fascinating little opinion piece in a meat industry trade journal about how meatpackers should be appealing directly to consumers to get them to pay more for meat, because the fast-food joints and supermarkets are using them as a shield.  “Every time I see an ad on television for a 99-cent fast-food burger or a store flier in my mail for ground beef less than a buck a pound, my heart sinks. Sure, I love buying cheap – when the price isn’t ruining someone’s business or an industry’s reputation.…A 99-cent burger means there’s a meat company – probably a whole bunch of meat companies — that can’t afford to pay better wages to production employees, can’t afford to invest in new technology, can’t afford better training, can’t afford more product development, can’t afford better care of livestock, can’t improve environmental protections and can’t improve returns to shareholders.” (Meatpoultry.com)

The high cost of real food: Kristen at Food Renegade asked Polyface farmer Joel Salatin to respond to our controversial guest post, “Unfair Fare ,” by farmer Bob Comis, on why meat from small farms is too expensive. In response, Salatin tells a story about what happens when a small farm does what Comis recommends and grows: “Our little farm operation is paying more than $10,000 a year for government-mandated Workman’s Comp using an assessment system written for Tyson and Cargill. It’s absurd. And immoral. Guess who pays that huge cost? The customer.”

No yard? No problem! Chagrined by the 18-month-long waiting list to get a community gardening plot, a Portland, OR resident got creative — and wrote about in a guest post for our favorite Slow Cook. He wrote to the owners of several vacant lots and amazingly, found one who was thrilled to have him clean it up and grow food. What an awesome idea!

The cluck stops here: Ethicurean sometime contributor Charlotte Freeman tells of her shameful (and happily, short-lived) willingness to buy cheaper eggs and “sell out someone I know and like for two bucks.” (Culinate)

Bunnies are good eatin’: The delicate matter of teaching a child where meat comes from. (New York Times)
Farm Workers’ Rights, 70 Years Overdue (New York Times)

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