Food News You Can Use

December 6, 2011

  • Wisconsin Dairy Farmer and Food Sovereignty Activist Speaks to Occupy Wall Street (12/4):

  • “How the Food Industry Eats Your Kid’s Lunch”: According to the New York Times‘ Lucy Komisar (12/3), “an increasingly cozy alliance between companies that manufacture processed foods and companies that serve the meals is making students — a captive market — fat and sick while pulling in hundreds of millions of dollars in profits.” For more, read the excellent investigative report from The Nation Institute’s Investigative Fund here.
  • “5 Lessons from the Secret Farm Bill Fight”: The Environmental Working Group shares “five lessons to keep in mind for the 2012 farm bill debate” (12/1).
  • “Monsanto Defeated by Roundup Resistant Weeds”: According to the Institute for Science in Society (12/1), “Monsanto is surrendering to glyphosate resistant weeds, according to a new briefing by UK based GM freeze. They are spreading at ‘exponential’ rates in US farms and are increasingly documented in Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Europe and South Africa” (the full article is available in the members-only area of the ISIS website and re-posted without footnotes on the website of the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia).
  • “BPA Rises By 1200 % After Eating From Cans”; “Where To Find BPA Free Canned Foods”: According to the Food Renegade blog (11/28), “a recent study published in the November 23rd Journal of the American Medical Association found that people who ate canned soup for five days straight saw their urinary levels of the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) spike 1,200 per cent compared to those who ate fresh soup. About a year ago, the FDA admitted that BPA is dangerous, but conceded that the government agency is powerless to regulate its use.” The article also contains a list of BPA-free canned foods.
  • 60 Minutes and the Bruce Bradley Blog Expose How Flavoring Manufacturers “Tweak… Tastes and Creat[e] Cravings”:
    Coke "Addict"

    "Coke Syringe," courtesy of the Bruce Bradley blog

    According to the Bruce Bradley Blog (11/30) and 60 Minutes (11/27), “companies like Givaudan are contributing to the obesity epidemic by helping Big Food companies manufacture processed food and beverages that we crave and ‘go back for again and again.’” Take, for example, ALEC-member Coca-Cola.”

  • Big Food Sets Farm Worker Pay, Food Production Workers Seek “Farm to Fork” Food: According to Labor News (11/23), “big food purveyors like Walmart and Sodexo indirectly set the pay of the farm workers who pick fresh vegetables in the sun and the warehouse workers who move the frozen variety in and out of windowless buildings. They do so by setting low prices and squeezing their suppliers, pushing contractors to underpay workers all along the chain. They goad farms and food processors to cut corners in a production system that values quantity over quality and appearance over nutritional content. . . . Joann Lo of the Food Chain Workers Alliance says this means ‘workers need to be united across the food supply chain.’”
  • Growers and the U.S. Forest Service Urge Agroforestry for Sustainability: According to the New York Times (11/21), “incorporating trees into traditional agriculture” can make farms and gardens “more resilient in the face of a changing climate, needing less water, no chemical fertilizers and few, if any, pesticides. . . . Depending on the species, trees make all sorts of contributions to agriculture, experts say. Trees in a shelter belt reduce wind and water erosion. Some trees serve as fertilizers — they take in nitrogen from the atmosphere, or pump it from deep underground and, when they drop their leaves, make it available upon decomposition. Trees planted along streams can take up and scrub out polluted farm runoff. They increase species diversity by providing habitat, and some of those species are friendly to farmers — bees and butterflies that help pollinate crops, for example. (One study showed that 66 species of birds benefit from windbreaks on farms.) Trees can keep a field cooler and more moist.”
  • “Yet Again, Organic Ag Proves Just as Productive as Chemical Ag”: According to Mother Jones‘ Tom Philpott (11/17), the latest results of the Iowa State University’s Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture’s Long-Term Agroecological Research Experiment (LTAR), “when you actually compare chemical-intensive and organic farming in the field, organic proves just as productive in terms of gross yield—and brings many other advantages to the table as well.”

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