Life Lab creates farm-to-school learning programs

Today is "Farm to Institution" day for the USDA's new "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food" initiative. Obama Foodorama has the schedule for the kick-off week, which includes White House assistant chef Sam Kass cooking at the USDA and the opening of a farmers market near the White House. Bringing fresh, local...

‘Eating In’ for Better Food in Schools

I went to a Slow Food USA "Eat In" at the foot of San Francisco's magnificent City Hall on Monday, one of several hundred events across the country that aims to build a movement around the upcoming reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act. The Act covers many parts of government food programs that affect...

Twenty-five years of food expenditure trends

One of the interesting data tidbits in the recent report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) is annual American food expenditures. Using data from the USDA and the consumer price index (to correct for inflation), the GAO calculated per capita food expenditures and the share of disposable income...

Scientists buzzing about pesticides’ and pathogens’ role in bee deaths

Busy bees: Washington State University researchers think they might have found a cause of colony collapse disorder, the mysterious malady that has been wiping out bee colonies around the world. They propose that the combination of pesticides absorbed into the honeycomb and a microsporidian pathogen known as...

Concentration in the food industry not a concern, says new GAO report

In recent years, farmers have received an ever-decreasing share of the retail dollar, even during recent spikes in food prices. Some have argued that concentration in the food industry — the increase in the economic power of the largest firms — is the cause. Although it might be a factor, there are numerous...

Checking in on the agricultural check-off programs

Standing in front of a 50-foot tall display of potatoes, mushrooms, beef jerky, and other agricultural products at the 2009 All-American Farm Expo in Modesto, CA recently, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack recalled his recent trip to Idaho — America's land of potatoes — and his shock at hearing that many...

Educating the public about toxins in white croaker fish

Don't croak early, SoCal fishermen!: Thanks to unregulated dumping of DDT and PCBs into Southern California sewers between the 1950s and '70s, fish caught off-shore from Los Angeles can have high concentrations of toxins. The white croaker, a fish popular with SoCal's Asian community, is particularly good...

“Dirt”-y movie tells how we’ve sold our soils

The last page of every issue of Edible San Francisco contains this anonymous quotation: "Despite its artistic pretensions and its many accomplishments, humankind owes its existence to a six-inch layer of topsoil and the fact that it rains." One could even go so far and say that most life — plants, birds,...

Modern therapy for the LOHAS set

Will Peak Soil counseling be next? Clinical psychologist Kathy McMahon has branched out from the usual counseling topics to writing an advice column called Peak Oil Blues about the coming oil shortages. People write in with their worries, brag about how prepared they are, or offer helpful advice. With all...

Grow for it: A message about food from the president

In 1945, during the fourth year of America's direct involvement in World War II, President Harry Truman issued a proclamation about food. He called for those on the home front to plant larger victory gardens, to preserve more food, and to minimize food waste. This proclamation came after years of propaganda...

Nobu’s no-no: The rise and fall of the bluefin tuna

With the Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin stocks plummeting to shockingly low levels, chef and restaurateur Nobu Matsuhisa (24 prestigious restaurants around the world) is under pressure from a battalion of critics to remove the fish from his menu until populations are sustainable. So far, Nobu's...

Asia could teach U.S. some new corn tricks

Thanks to fertile Midwestern plains, commodity-focused agricultural policy, a foreign policy that makes cheap petroleum a high priority, and an innovative agricultural industry, Americans are truly the 'people of the corn.' As the film "King Corn" and the book "The Omnivore's Dilemma" have well documented,...

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