News & Views

Minnesota's SweeTango Apple: Colorful, Crisp and Controversial

Today’s post starts off with a riddle:

What’s “juicy and sweet with hints of fall spices,” "a satisfying crunch,” and a name that sounds like a segment of  “Dancing with the Stars?”

If you guessed SweeTango, the newest apple cultivar created by the University of Minnesota, you are correct!
 Is it worth the trouble?SweeTango: Is it worth the trouble?

Since its Labor Day weekend debut, SweeTango has caused a buzz among apple eaters and growers. But it’s not just the taste that has people talking.

This apple comes with controversy because of the way the U of M has licensed it.

Read more »

Take a Stand for Better Food Choices (and you don't even have to get up from your computer)

So you shop at farmer’s markets and your local co-op. You buy local, organic, sustainably grown and harvested food. Your coffee is grown in the shade, your chocolate is fair-trade, and your bread is homemade.  How else can you can declare your support for the cause of "local, sustainable, organic foods and the people who produce them?”

Read more »

Chipotle Restaurant Supports Florida Tomato Pickers

I've long been a fan of meeting people where they are. It's a strategy that offers a nice complement to "hitting them over the head," and is often perceived as more agreeable than "bowling them over with the hard truth." I'm not saying those techniques don't have a place - it's hard to care about real food (or anything!) and not get angry about it once in a while. Still, one must acknowledge that fast food isn't going away anytime soon, and - as a result - those who produce it in a mindful way can do the world some good. Which brings me to Chipotle.

Read more »

The Environmental Cost of Cheap Food: Part Two

Yesterday, I wrote about two of the biggest ecological challenges we face, both caused directly by agricultural practices, and both driven by the U.S. appetite for cheap food. Factory farming and its effect on oceans was the focus of yesterday’s blog post. Today, I will examine a vital collection of forests that are literally losing ground to the raising of one small (in size) but significant (in sales) crop: shrimp. In South America and Southeast Asia, mangrove forests once lined the coasts. Mangroves are amazing trees. These salt-tolerant plants grow directly in the ocean, sinking a thicket of aerial roots into inter-tidal areas. The roots trap sediments and protect the shoreline from the battering waves of tropical storms.

Read more »

The Environmental Cost of Cheap Food: A Two-Part Series

Satellite image of the Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone, courtesy of Phytoplankton Dynamics Laboratory, Texas A+M UniversitySatellite image of the Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone, courtesy of Phytoplankton Dynamics Laboratory, Texas A+M University

Read more »

How Our Food Choices Affect the Weather

It’s been a weird growing season in the Twin Cities this year. We had a hot spell in spring, then crazy rain, then a dry but cool summer. Not so much fun for my flowers, but good material for grousing with fellow gardeners. It puts me in mind of that old saw, “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.

Nobody says that very often anymore, perhaps because it’s no longer true. Most of us do, in fact, contribute to the root causes of unstable weather, the climate change it heralds, and the general planetary degradation that marks our age.

Read more »

If a Fly Won't Land on it, is it Food?

Michael Pollan, Mark Bittman, and many others have given sustainable foodies reason after reason to advocate for reform of the food system and local food in the US. Their work is incredibly well-researched and poignantly written. I stumbled upon another good reason to support food system reform from a lesser known source a few weekends ago. I was at the Bancroft, Wisconsin, VFW for a family reunion listening to my dad and his cousins reminisce about their Uncle Ralph. Ralph was a dairy farmer in central Wisconsin who was rather fond of asking, “If a fly won’t land on it, why would I want to eat it?” Good question! The fact that I don’t have a good answer means that the effort it takes to eat real, local, and sustainable food is well worth it.

Read more »

Obama Wants a Farmers Market at the White House

Check out this quote from President Obama's interactive health care strategy meeting yesterday (via The Huffington Post):

Read more »

The Health Care Debate on Fat is a Bunch of Baloney

If you’re following the national shouting match on health care reform, you may have noticed a hue and cry against fat people. If you Google the phrase “obese people should pay more for national health care,” you’ll see a slew of articles, blogs, and comments on the subject. Many people who say “amen to that” are being pretty judgmental. They characterize obesity as the self-imposed condition of slackers who refuse to change their willfully poor food and exercise choices. Commentators describe payment as punishment and health care as burden. As in, thin people are being punished by having to pay for fat people’s choices.

Read more »

Okay, Now I'm Completely Overwhelmed!

Our kitchen counter, covered with this week's farmshare bountyMy kitchen counter, covered with this week's farmshare bountyWhat am I going to do with all of this stuff? It's taking over my kitchen! My fridge is still nearly full from last week's Harmony Valley vegetables! My fruit share includes an entire bag full of apricots! I've been eating salad greens and sautee mix non-stop for weeks! I don't know if I can eat another basil vinaigrette. And now that there are tomatoes - blessed, delicious tomatoes - it occurs to me that nobody else in my family will touch them.

Read more »
Syndicate content