‘Top Chef’ fails school-food test, but Colicchio passes with flying colors

In Episode 2 of this season's "Top Chef," the contestants took on school lunch: the 16 contestants divided into four teams, each of which had to cook a nutritionally acceptable lunch for 50 students with a budget of only $2.60 per meal and 30 minutes to plan, 30 minutes to shop, 2.5 hours to prep, and 1...

Survey explores why Americans garden, but not why they don’t

[Update 6/24/10: corrected heading for column 2 in table] With a terrible economy and lots of coverage of gardening in the mass media, more and more Americans are growing food in home and community gardens. According to a 2009 survey, almost a third of American households intended to grow food that year, a...

The USDA looks at local food

Every now and then, newspapers print an article that makes it seem like locavores are running the U.S. food system, throwing our weight around, causing Big Ag to cower in corners. If only we had even a small fraction of that power...  In reality, the local food movement is  a tiny piece of the nation's food...

Students slice and dice for a better future in ‘Pressure Cooker’ documentary

With a supervisor who doesn't mince words and likes to yell, men and women battling over hot stoves for their big chance, and a ticking clock and other on-camera conventions, Pressure Cooker could be mistaken for a prime-time reality show. But it's actually a "real" story about students in the Culinary Arts...

Target, Wegman’s top Greenpeace’s report card for seafood sales

If we're going to have anything approaching a sustainable seafood system, we need to combine personal adherence to seafood lists with moves up the supply chain to the big buyers, the wholesalers, and supermarkets that sell the bulk of the seafood. Whereas wholesalers primarily work in the background, their...

The Edible Schoolyard brings learning to life

The cover story of this week's East Bay Express has a provocative teaser: "Berkeley's Edible Schoolyard teaches students how their food is produced and prepared. Is this overdue innovation or a distraction for kids who should be learning math?" So part of me was expecting a thrashing like the one delivered...

Goldman Prize winners fight against CAFO pollution, shark finning and monocultures

The Goldman Environmental Prize was awarded to six grassroots environmental heroes from around the world in San Francisco last Monday night. Three of the six 2010 winners are working directly in food-related areas. Lynn Henning's 300-acre corn and soybean farm in Lenawee County, Michigan, has twelve meat...

The Marin Carbon Project studies carbon sequestration

Soil carbon sequestration — the process of converting gaseous carbon dioxide into carbon in the soil — offers a promising (and possibly necessary) route to addressing climate change because it could be a massive carbon sink. Indeed, a report by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change estimated that use of...

S.F. restaurants experiment with wine on tap

Kicking the bottle habit:  Instead of recycling bins overflowing with empty 750 mL bottles, you'll see reusable wine casks outside a handful of San Francisco restaurants. Long a tradition in Europe, these restaurants — which include such luminaries as Salt House, OTD, Delfina, and Frances — are give it a...

Monkeying around: Berkeley woman hires out fruit-picking primate

I was eating breakfast at North Berkeley's Guerrilla Cafe the other day when I spotted a sign on the other side of the room with this intriguing headline: "MONKEY FOR HIRE." After ordering their waffle of the day (buckwheat!), I went over to take a closer look at the sign. It read, "Are you tired of looking...

A focus on fish meal and subsidies can help the oceans

This is part 3 of a series on improving market-based seafood sustainability initiatives, inspired by a recent article published by an international team of researchers in "Oryx: The International Journal of Conservation." (See Oryx volume 44, pp. 45-56 doi:10.1017/S0030605309990470. Summaries available from...

A bad week for bluefin tuna and sharks

It was a bad week for some of the ocean's top predators in Doha, Qatar as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) rejected international trade restrictions on northern bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) and eight species of sharks. I haven't seen much coverage of vote on the shark...

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