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On the trademarking of ‘urban homesteading’: The Original Best Most Complete Post on the Subject™

By Mat Rogers, Director of Agrariana Language and terminology are an integral part of the food movement. Making distinctions between agricultural practices deemed vile and reprehensible, in favor of methods moral and healthful, is a critical organizing tool for activists. Thus the good-food lexicon is...

Jimmy Stewart, cults, and a lot of broken glass: Remembering Straus Family Creamery’s opening day

By Michael Straus Pictures from opening night at Straus Family Creamery, February 4, 1994. (That's me with the goatee.) Straus Family Creamery recently turned 17, and I started thinking back to those crazy times. In 1989, my older brother Albert, who’d been managing the farm and doing some pretty innovative...

“Sugar is sugar is sugar” says Coke to Honest Tea

Sweet talk: In early 2008, Honest Tea sold a minority stake, for $43 million, to Coca-Cola. As this interesting NY Times Small Business article notes,  meshing the two companies' sensibilities has not always gone smoothly. In particular, Coke objected to Honest Kids product packaging trumpeting "no...

Q&A with John Scharffenberger: First wine, then chocolate, and now … tofu?

Before founding the chocolate company for which he became famous, John Scharffenberger made California sparkling wine. In both cases, he was one of the first Americans to find success in what had been a European-dominated market niche. (Fun fact: Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev used his bubbly to toast...

Koreans crack open a cool, frosty dose of fiber

As an observer of the American food scene, I see many instances of oddly supplemented foods and drinks, where everyday foods are dosed with antioxidants or vitamins or another supposedly healthful supplement to give its buyer a sense of healthy satisfaction. But there is always another surprise lurking...

“Local” jumps the shark

Co-opetition, not competition: With its brand-new ad campaign touting the "local" potato farmers that grow its spuds, Frito-Lay is the latest big company to try and exploit consumers' newfound food consciousness in pursuit of market share. Processors like ConAgra are citing eaters' concerns over food safety...

Know thy enemy: Smithfield’s porky expansion into Eastern Europe

Portrait of the corporation as sociopath: There's some essential reading about the pork company we love to hate in the Times' business section this morning (thanks Holly!). Facing increasing restrictions in the U.S. about odor control, manure management, and its vertical integration practices, Smithfield a...

Disney moving aggressively into branded fresh-produce market

No Dumbos here: This article in today's WashPo business section details how, over the past few years, Disney has distanced itself from junk food and expanded its association with healthier products. There are more than 250 offerings in the Disney Garden line, including Disney-branded eggs and a High School...

Digest – News: Label libel, Chiquita goes bananas, and another reason to stay off soda

We digest the news for you twice a week. Read something great? Send it our way at dig...@ethicurean.com. Take it to the limit: Many consumers who buy organic food assume it is safer than conventional food. Some conflate the word with local, with humane treatment of livestock, and with fair pay for workers....

Energy to spare: Clif Bar Q&A and profile

At the Eco-Farm conference this past January, Tom Philpott and I were suitemates. (He was also my chauffeur and backpack caddy, due to my dumb neck-nerve injury, but that's another story.) Tom went to the Ferry Building beforehand and loaded up on wine, cheese, and other goodies for our trip to Santa Cruz....

Snapshot from Slow Food Nation: Slow on the Go vendor Fatted Calf

Late Saturday afternoon I ran into Taylor Boetticher, who with Toponia Miller are the meat geniuses behind Fatted Calf and the youngest rock stars of the Bay Area's charcuterie boom. (They still laugh about me calling their duck-liver mousse "sex on toast.") Fatted Calf had by far the longest queue of the...

How LOHAS can you go? Sales of organic processed food soar

How I hate being in a consumer category with its own acronym. Brandweek reports on Nielsen data showing that despite the down economy, Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS) consumers are happy to open their wallets for higher-priced organic cereal, jelly, pasta, produce, soup, and ready-to-serve...

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