October 2009

"Speak Up to Stop Big Ag": The Latest Action Alert from Food Democracy Now

Obama campaigning in Iowa, January 2008.Obama campaigning in Iowa, January 2008.

While the debate over healthcare reform continues to rage in Washington, other political news can get lost in the cracks.

Case in point, did you know that President Obama recently nominated two "Big Ag" executives -- with connections to Monsanto and CropLife -- to key posts in the U. S. Department of Agriculture? The story wasn't covered by the mainstream news organizations, so I didn't hear about it until I received an action alert from Food Democracy Now.

Here's the full text:

Dear Friends,

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Feeling Minnesota: What's in This Week's CSA Box

It's easy to be part of a CSA during the summer - the produce is beautiful and plentiful, the variety fun and interesting. Having perused a bunch of other blogs throughout the prime growing season, it was sometimes hard to tell in what region of the country the producing farm was based. Everyone seemed to get carrots, radishes, lettuce, onions, tomatoes, and much more.

Many of you know by now that I was neither born nor raised in the Midwest. But a few farmshare weeks into the cold season, I'm feeling like a true Minnesotan. Delicata squash? Baby white turnips? Red kale tops? If those things existed on Long Island, none of my family or friends knew about it. (We did have raisins for Halloween though.)

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A Halloween Story

It'd be hard to make the case that my dad was a health food nut. Yes, we avoided sugar cereals. Yes, we tended to cook homemade dinners. Yes, we drank seltzer (often in glass bottles from from the seltzer guy) instead of soda (my friends still give me a hard time, but hey, we were in New York). One year, my dad even traded coffee for Postum.

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This Halloween, Beware of "Tainted" Chocolate

This Saturday night, as you give candy to the little ghosts, witches, pirates and princesses who've come to your door yelling “trick or treat,” you may get something in return: A piece of chocolate. And an education.

This Halloween, thousands of children across the country will be “Reverse Trick-or-Treating” to tell grown-ups the ugly truth about the chocolate industry. To do so, they will distribute chocolate samples that are Fair Trade Certified and will be accompanied by cards that say this:

Thank you for the candy that you are generously sharing tonight.

Like Halloween, chocolate should be a source of joy for all children, including those in countries where cocoa is grown. Unfortunately, that is not the case today.


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Last Chance to Make Reservations for 11/1 Local Food Event at Spoonriver

We've got just a few reservations still open for this Sunday's local food event at Spoonriver. If you've been to a Simple, Good, and Tasty event before, you know that the food is just part of the fun (here are a few pictures from our last event at Lucia's). Still, the food is an important part. Here's a sneak peek at the menu:

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This Week is Your Last Chance to Visit Many Twin Cities Farmers Markets

This week marks the end of October, the end of Daylight Savings Time, and the end of the season for most of the area’s farmers markets. So get out there and visit your favorites one last time, bid auld lang syne, and promise to greet them next spring when they return.

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SGT Featured in Strib "Eat Well" Article

Star Tribune Photo by Kyndell HariknessStar Tribune Photo by Kyndell HariknessMy family and I (pictured above) are happy and amused to have been featured in a Star Tribune article by Julie Pfitzinger this weekend entitled "Eat Well, Be Well." Most people who know us don't think of us as the world's healthiest family, although this quote from the article is certainly true:

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Farmers Market Season is Not Over

Minneapolis Farmers Market Manager Larry Cermak is a serious man.  He's been managing the market for 25 years, he tells me, and "this is the most miserable October we've had." The weather has been damp and cold, making it challenging for the farmers to harvest their crops - corn and soy beans are still not ready - and the sun hasn't shown its smiley face in what seems like ages. Larry is realistic, but not necessarily optimistic. "We need people to come out this week and next weekend," he tells me, "we need a big Halloween weekend."

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Which Foods Are Produced with Lower CO2 Emissions? Swedish Shoppers Ponder New Food Labels

Recently, I wrote about Food Democracy Now's campaign against the new Smart Choice labeling system, the large, green check mark appearing on packaged processed foods -- such as Froot Loops, Keebler Cookie Crunch, Lucky Charms and other products containing "as much as 44% sugar" -- intended to lead consumers to make "healthier" food choices.

Now, a new labeling system is making the news, though the purpose of this one is to teach food buyers how their choices affect the health of the earth.

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In Praise of Carrots

 Kate SommersImage Credit: Kate SommersHas there ever been a food more perfect than the carrot? Delicious raw or cooked, skinned or peeled, if I edited the dictionary, there'd be a carrot next to the word "superfood" (if I edited the dictionary, the word "superfood" would be included, yes). The picture would show those lovely orange roots (with green tops, of course) in my 7-year old boy's just-washed hands.

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