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Radical agtivism: California Senate’s new Food and Ag Committee chair

Flowers for Florez: We (heart) California Sen. Dean Florez, D-Shafter, new chair of California's ag committee, which in January took the unprecedented step of adding "food" to its name. This piece from a trade newspaper looks at how he's broken with the herd on animal welfare, animal use of antibiotics, and...

Dan Barber’s fish tale at the Brooklyn Food Conference

A healthy ecoseastem: Chef and lyrical speaker/writer Dan Barber gave one of his amazing lectures at the Brooklyn Food Conference, and some little agtivist angel has transcribed it for those of us who weren't there. Barber tells a love story about two fish: one that he had to throw back into the sea-based...

Tom Vilsack has been making friends in both camps

Two-faced Tom?: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has disarmed sustainable-ag opponents through his organic People's Garden for the USDA and appointment of reformers like Kathleen Merrigan, while reassuring agribiz through support for corn ethanol and GMOs. Vilsack himself sees no contradiction: he's just a...

TV chefs slammed for praising buckets o’protein

Greenberg sees red: Matthew Greenberg slams the "stomach-churning" Sandra Lee, of Food Network fame, for shilling for Kentucky Fried Chicken and takes aim at the Food Network, where "the actual act of cooking good food often seems an afterthought." Asks Greenberg, "How in Alice Waters's green earth did it...

BAMCO backs Florida tomato pickers in fight for fair labor standards

Jane Black reports in the Washington Post that the gigantic U.S. food-service company Bon Appetit Management Company has partnered with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) to take on Florida's shamelessly, and infamously abusive tomato growers in what we hope will be a very effective...

Digest – snacks: MoDo meets Alice, Paula Deen disses tofu, and Rush Limbaugh loves … animals?

So would she be, like, Princess Leia?: NYT columnist Maureen Dowd jumps from musing on the Dick Cheney–Star Wars connection with George Lucas to Alice Waters, another California celebrity who “inspires cult-like devotion.” Waters responds — kind of — to Friday's article in the National Review, which calls...

Digest: Times et al on food movement’s “arrival,” dairy drama, Murphy profiled

Busy days; we're playing catch-up on news this week. Send URLs we shouldn't miss to digest@ethicurean.com. The dietgeist “love fest”: Everyone's talking about Andrew Martin's sweeping, chockablock New York Times Business section feature on how the food movement finally feels it's breaking some political...

This is what democracy looks like

Today is a big day for all of us who believe not only in sustainable food and agriculture systems, but also in the democratic process. The months since the election brought an outpouring of engagement from citizens urging the Obama Administration to appoint change-makers to lead our country. And it paid...

Digest – Features: Urban farmer, Brody on HFCS, swill shill

"If your goat is giving birth, it’s not like you can go to work": Friend o'Ethicurean Twilight Greenaway interviews Novella Carpenter, Oakland's most fearless backyard farmer and soon-to-be-author. (Culinate.com) E tu, Brody?: Well-known nutritionist Jane Brody writes about the difference between...

Buzzkill: Can native bees do the job?

With the health of honey bee colonies in dramatic decline, can farmers rely on native bees to pollinate their crops? On the right kind of farm — one with nearby natural habitat and organic management — the answer is yes, according to UC Berkeley professor Clare Kremen, an expert on native bees. Kremen...

Digest – News: Vilsack updates, Clif Bars recalled, OJ CO2

Tractor tire hits the dirt: After clearing the Senate confirmation process, new USDA chief Tom Vilsack gets to work. (Des Moines Register) Meanwhile, speculation abounds on who may join him at the agency (CongressDaily). Advocates are already pushing the new Sec to change some of Bush's misguided policies,...

Mark Bittman on Cooking Up a Story

Mark Bittman, whose "How to Cook Everything: 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Food" is the best present you can give a young wannabe cook — I still turn to my decrepit copy weekly for simple, delicious, reliable recipes — has become quite vocal in the past year or so about how important it is to chew the...

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