This week was a tough one. Literally wall-to-wall meetings — and I say that without exaggeration. I lived on green smoothies that I boldly took to meetings in clear mason jars. Naked for everyone to see. There was no hiding it. “Is that paint?” was a common query. But I survived. And I think I’ll actually make that a matter of course now. I have come out of the “healthy” closet anyway. Plus its cheap and functional. Which is what I need sometimes especially given food inflation rates…
Some food news highlights this week:
The above infographic (didn’t I say infographics are the new Cliff’s Notes?) from Civil Eats is eye-opening (click on the link to see the graphics’ slide rule demonstration of consumption growth). In a Cliff’s Notes nutshell, it shows that in the thirty-odd years between 1970 and 2008 (hey you Gen-X’ers, that is your lifetime) our calorie consumption has increased by almost 25%. In the same period, the obesity rate more than doubled from about 15% to 35%. Correlate much?
And according to the New York Times, the cost of that bigger serving is more expensive than ever. “wholesale food prices rose 3.9 percent in February, the largest increase on record for one month since 1974.” Even more sobering, “the cost of food worldwide rose 37 percent from February 2010 to this year.” 37 percent?!?
Guess what makes Wendy’s Natural Cut Fries so goddamn natural? Sodium acid pyrophosphate and dimethylpolysiloxane of course!
And hold that milkshake you’re chasing the fries with until you read on why sugar is toxic. The New York Times discusses a 90-minute video on YouTube by Robert Lustig that has gotten almost a million views. “If Lustig is right, it would mean that sugar is also the likely dietary cause of several other chronic ailments widely considered to be diseases of Western lifestyles — heart disease, hypertension and many common cancers among them…and should be thought of, like cigarettes and alcohol, as something that’s killing us.”
It doesn’t get any better (but then it will, I promise)
In a fit of forgetfulness on what “conflict of interest” means, the USDA lets Monsanto perform its own environmental impact studies on GMOs. Yes, you can say that again.
The law is on our side too. “State legislatures in Iowa, Minnesota and Florida are now considering bills that would make it a criminal offense to gain employment for the purposes of videotaping what goes on the behind warehouse walls of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs. In March, the Iowa House of Representatives passed such an anti- “whistle blower” measure, co-written by the Iowa Poultry Association, which is now before the State Senate.”
I guess they don’t want any more of this getting out.
And finally, on the homefront — and getting about a 3 second mention in the local news – frack gets more flack as it spills all over our rivers. Its all good of course, nothing to worry about. Right.
I will end with three great articles on farming/urban farming, rays of hope:
Elliot Coleman writes about organic farming‘s scientific roots. “Organic farming is often falsely represented as being unscientific. However, despite the popular assumption that it sprang full born from the delusions of 60s hippies, it has a more extensive, and scientifically respectable, provenance.”
The Atlantic features Bread for the City, a nonprofit in DC establishing urban gardens to provide substantial sustenance to the poor.
Of course, San Francisco leads the way in city zoning for urban farms. “This week, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed one of the most progressive pieces of legislation for urban agriculture in the nation. The new legislation has amended the zoning code to allow agricultural activities in all parts of the city, as well as defining the parameters by which urban agriculturists can sell their products.”