News & Views

At Open Arms of Minnesota, Nutrition Matters

Would you laugh if I told you the key to human potential is a bowl of vegetable soup? Or a plate of meat loaf? A chocolate chip cookie? If the food is part of a delivery from Open Arms of Minnesota, then it is indeed key to someone’s independent and meaningful life.

Since 1986, Open Arms of Minnesota has run a meal delivery program for Twin Cities residents living with, and affected by, chronic progressive illnesses. (Full disclosure: I’ve volunteered in their kitchen for close to twelve years.) Its largest and original client population is people living with HIV and AIDS. Open Arms also serves people with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), MS, breast cancer, and similar illnesses. The meals can be the difference between staying healthy and spiraling into disability. For many, this means living at home instead of going to a hospital or nursing home.

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An Interview with Organic Valley’s Theresa Marquez, Part 2: Corporate Greed and Big Agriculture

Theresa Marquez, Chief Marketing Executive for Organic Valley Cooperative, is captivating. She speaks quickly, compellingly, and passionately. Her eyes shine when she mentions a favorite book or describes the Earth Dinners Organic Valley has hosted for several years around the country, connecting people to both food and the environment. An hour with Theresa can include a poem, a discussion of politics, a newspaper article throw-down (Paul Krugman’s “Missing Richard Nixon”), a look at Organic Valley’s new packaging, and - of course - a discussion about food.

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An Interview with Organic Valley’s Theresa Marquez, Part 1: Our Broken Food System, Agriculture of the Middle, and the Co-op Model

I’m thinking a lot about food systems these days. Fundamentally, there seems to be collective agreement that ours is broken (unless you happen to work for Monsanto or Smithfield), so I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about how we might fix it. (Jill Richardson’s excellent “Recipe for America” has a few ideas too - that and her La Vida Locavore blog are well worth reading.)

Specifically, I’ve been thinking about food systems that are:

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Forbes Magazine Names Monsanto Company of the Year, Then Bends Over to Lick Its Big-Ag Boots

//educate-yourself.org/Photo from http://educate-yourself.org/As I type this, I am sick to my stomach.

No, it’s not something I ate. It’s something I read, this headline:

Forbes Magazine named Monsanto the #1 company of the year for 2009

Makes me want to puke.

If you want to read the article yourself, you’ll have to Google it; I refuse to drive traffic to the Forbes Magazine website.

I read it, and then had to create an account to post a comment. Here’s what I wrote:

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What Kids Eat in School Cafeterias (WARNING: Don't read if you don't want to pack their lunches every day)

Two articles that I’ve read recently have convinced me to never again let my children eat a school lunch.

The first, published in October by the New York Times, chronicles the flawed U.S. meat inspection process, and how an E.coli-infected hamburger permanently disabled Minnesota resident Stephanie Smith.

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Grass-Fed: Something to Chew On

Conscientious omnivores of the Michael Pollan variety champion grass-fed beef. It is claimed to be better for the cattle themselves than grain-finishing, since they eat what their rumens are evolved to digest (grass and legumes) instead of what fattens them quickest. Plus, they get to graze open pasture instead of being confined to a feedlot for the final four to six months of their lives. Grass-fed enthusiasts also claim it’s better for people because grass-fed meat is leaner and has a higher proportion of omega-3 fats than grain-finished meat. Some even argue that it’s better for the environment, since you don’t have huge piles of feedlot manure to manage; the cattle deposit their manure on grass, as they naturally would, and it ultimately nourishes the soil.

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What's Your Sign? And Would You Use It to Choose Your Food?

Six months after a major milestone birthday, I approach the new year, the new decade, and the second half of my life with one question: Where do I want to be ten years from now, and what do I need to do – day by day – to get there? This past week, I spent a full day pondering the height, depth, and weight of this question. I sketched timelines, drew charts, made lists and commited a 120-month plan to writing. And then, just to make sure I didn’t overlook anything, I checked my horoscope.

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Smart Ways to Pick Your Fish

Fish is good for you! It’s low in saturated fat, good for your heart, and tastes great. It’s true that large ocean predators are high in mercury and chemicals from plastics. But the benefits of fish are bigger than the risks, according to studies. So we should eat it, right?

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Looking Back and Looking Ahead: Our 2009 Simple, Good, and Tasty Recap and 2010 Resolutions

What a year it's been! Between our first post - proudly proclaiming that we joined a CSA - and our recent letter to Santa Claus, we've grown gardens, pickled dilly beans, and made lifelong friends. Here are just a few highlights from 2009:

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