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Fish tale: Walmart’s sustainable seafood pledge has a long way to go

When big corporations make pledges to improve their sourcing practices, it’s important to hold them accountable. After all, it’s easy to hold a press conference pledging a new green policy; it’s not so easy to fulfill the pledge. This was one of the action points in an article in the...

Grow vacancies: Gene Fredericks is thinking inside the city’s big box

They’re the bane of urban and suburban areas alike: the vacant, boarded-up K-Marts and Home Depot Expos, squatting like concrete cowpies amidst a landscape of weedy parking lots. But where most people see blight and a waste of space, San Francisco Bay Area entrepreneur Gene Fredericks sees...

“Wise Guyer”: MA state rep plans CDC with agricultural focus

Denis Guyer, a state representative from Western Massachusetts (2nd Berkshire District) plans a community development corporation (CDC) that will foster “agrepreneurs.” The proposed mixed-use space would include a combination of affordable housing, a cooperative food processing facility, retail...

Math lessons for Budiansky: Industrial concentration vs. local choice

On Friday, New York Times op-ed contributor Steven Budiansky challenged local food advocates to rethink their math, mainly about food miles. As it happens, I was already doing some food calculations that day — but not of the sort Budiansky discussed. My numbers included the following: As of Friday,...

Hey USDA & DoJ: Ranchers want more competition in the cattle industry

Big hats carrying small sticks: The CEO of R-Calf, which represents cattle raisers, has been criss-crossing the country, exhorting people to get to Fort Collins, Colorado, on Aug. 27th for a federal-level workshop about competition in the cattle industry. He wants 25,000 to show up and “send a message...

Even fishermen suspicious of Gulf shrimp

Po’ po-boys: Monday marked the opening of shrimp season in Louisiana. Federal officials say Gulf seafood safe to eat, but shrimpers themselves are dubious, reports the Washington Post. Some worry that the government’s testing — which has yet to turn up a tainted sample from the BP oil...

Neophobia 101: When picky eaters confound Ethicureanish intentions

My four-year old ate a vegetable frittata the other day. Mind you, this hardly ranks among the most staggering of childhood achievements. It’s not exactly up there with the 2-year-old who gained admission to Mensa, or the kid who paints like Rembrandt, or the 13-year old best-selling author. But in...

Cooking outside the zone: Agretti, paired with fregola

At last week’s farmers market, one of my outside the zone choices (made in honor of National Farmers Market Week) was agretti (Salsola soda) from La Tercera Farm. Agretti is a deep-green, spindly vegetable that goes by many names, including barba di frate (“friar’s beard” in...

San Francisco set to approve zoning changes for backyard farming for cash

Summer of urban-ag love: The Bay Area is known as a bastion of urban farming and the local food movement, but “laws governing land use are still stuck in another era, one that frowned on farming in the city, especially in residential areas,” reports Zusha Elinson. When Little City Gardens ran...

Foraging restaurant and suppliers adapt to new rules

Forage gleans a new strategy: When Forage restaurant opened in Los Angeles’s Silver Lake neighborhood, they used produce from customers’ backyards to supplement their normal produce purchases, paying for the backyard produce with food or drink from the restaurant and often noting the...

Cooking outside the comfort zone: green tomatoes

In the world of science, there’s something called “publication bias,” which recognizes that studies with positive results are more likely to be published than studies with negative ones. I suspect there is a similar bias in the world of food blogging: a blogger is much more likely to spend...

Cooking outside my comfort zone, Part 2: Fresh chickpeas

Last week, I vowed to escape my farmers market rut and cook outside my comfort zone in honor of National Farmers Market Week Aug 1-7. Farmers markets are spreading like (edible) weeds around the country. There were 5,279 as of 2009 by the USDA’s count, up 13 percent from the previous year. The new...

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