October 2010

Good Reasons Not to Eat Local Food

Last week I wrote a post on reasons to eat locally-sourced foods. While writing that article, it occurred to me that there are also good reasons not to eat local food. Oftentimes the “local” label is applied liberally to refer to food grown on small-scale farms who produce according to organic and sustainable principles. But really, “local” just means grown and/or processed within a certain radius of where you live.

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October Simple, Good, and Tasty Bookclub Pick: Javatrekker

In honor of Fair Trade month, October's Simple, Good, and Tasty book club selection is Javatrekker: Dispatches from the World of Fair Trade Coffee. In the book, author Dean Cycon -- founder of Dean's Beans Organic Coffee, activist, and entrepreneur -- describes the many issues and implications around producing fair trade coffee in Africa, Central America, South America, and Asia. Javatrekker is a fantastic mix of travelogue and social commentary, with a healthy dose of history, politics and economics.

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Understanding the Farm Bill: A Citizen's Guide to a Better Food System

A couple of months ago, I was chatting with my friend Mark Muller, who runs the Food and Society Fellows program for the Institute For Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP). I'd just gotten back from one of several meetings about food policy I'd attended with a variety of local dignitaries, politicians, and other movers and shakers, and I was frustrated by what I'd heard. Mark, as always, was a terrific sounding board, offering the experience and perspective of a man who'd heard it all before without becoming jaded.

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Justin Bieber, Sane Eating, and Soda Tax: Mark Bittman Makes an Impression at the Healthy Foods Summit in Minnesota

It’s not only activists and advocates who are influencing the dialogue. Anyone who purchases food – which is to say everyone – has the opportunity to advance the changes advocated in Food Matters.  I’ve come to call this "personal food policy,” because collectively our choices can stand up to the legislators, lobbyists, and special interest groups that continue to shape the way our food is raised, produced, packaged, shipped, and marketed.

- Mark Bittman, The Food Matters Cookbook

Eat More Plants, Less of Everything Else

As someone who spends an inordinate amount of time reading about, talking about, cooking, and eating food, getting to hear New York Times food writer Mark Bittman speak twice in 24 hours was kind of like being a 12 year-old girl who gets to hold hands with Justin Bieber at homecoming. I was very excited, in other words.

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Will "Corn Sugar" Sweeten Sales of HFCS? And Will a Soda Tax Sour Them?

The story hit the mainstream media a couple of weeks ago. The Corn Refiners' Association (CRA) asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for permission to use the term "corn sugar," rather than the much maligned "high fructose corn syrup" (HFCS) on food labels.

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Your CSA Box: Curing End-of-Season Fatigue

When I opened my most recent CSA (community supported agriculture) box, an adapted version of the old Sesame Street song went through my head:

Each of these things is not like the others
Each of these things just doesn't belong...

Here's what I got: turnips, radishes (both with their greens), spinach, broccoli, garlic, squash, lettuce mix, a few raggedy tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, potatoes (just a few this week, not like last time), and onions.

As I stared at my vegetables, and they stared back at me, I felt dread creeping in. Would I have to make separate dishes for all these ingredients? Calm down, I told myself. Take a few deep breaths. Walk away.

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Celebrate Oktoberfest With The Kids, Local Food, and Flat Earth Beer at the Black Dog Cafe on October 24

Finally -- an Oktoberfest celebration that the whole family can enjoy! For our October local food event, Simple, Good, and Tasty is partnering with our friends at the Black Dog Cafe and Flat Earth Brewing Company in St. Paul to bring you delicious local foods and brews. Yes, we'll have beer, and yes, it will be a family friendly event. Just like the Super Bowl. Or Thanksgiving.

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Madison Celebrates Local and Sustainable Food on the Square

There isn’t much more I would rather do on a crisp, fall day in Madison than visit the Downtown Farmer’s Market. With a sea of proud Madisonites dressed in badger gear foraging for the week’s local food offerings, chocolate-faced kids enjoying their morning treats, and the sun shining strong, I couldn’t help but spend hours meandering the market last week. However, I had more on my “to-do” list than shop for my fill of seasonal veg on that Saturday. It was REAP’s annual Food for Thought Festival on the Square, one of the best fall food events for passionate locavores, if you ask me.  

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Why You Should Eat Local Food (Even if You Don’t Care About Food Miles)

 A little over a month ago, an op-ed in the New York Times got the online locavore community all worked up. Stephen Budiansky’s “Math Lessons for Locavores” contended that many of the commonly-spouted arguments for eating local are misleading or downright bogus.

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It's a Tie! These Resolutions Share a Year of Free Milk!

UPDATE: Organic Valley has agreed to give BOTH OF OUR WINNERS A FULL YEAR OF FREE MILK, rather than having them share the prize. Thanks Organic Valley, you rock!

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Thank you, friends, for your good food resolutions, and for promising to do a better job for your kids when it comes to food this school year. After tallying nearly 500 votes from people all over the country, two of the nearly 50 promises we received from parents, teachers, and school administrators committed to getting our kids healthier clearly stood out from the pack. That's why Sadie Sponsler, RD and Andrea Zehnder will share our grand prize. Here are both of their resolutions, one last time:

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