Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Most Outrageous Fast Foods Ever

by Eve Solomon (Huffington Post)

Here at HuffPost Green, we think that fast food often embodies what's wrong with how America eats: it's fast, cheap, and easy. Today's concerns about obesity and sustainability is causing many fast food restaurants to at least offer some lower calorie and "healthier" options. Despite the trends, the fast food and chain restaurant industries still boast an abundance of highly-processed high calorie foods and factory-farmed meat. Whether you eat at McDonald's daily or refuse to touch the stuff, check out this slideshow of some of the most extravagant fast foods past and present. From a 4-patty burger to the cheesiest of cheese fries, Huffpost Green explores some of the heaviest food options out there.

(click headline to continue....)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Story of Cap & Trade

The Story of Cap & Trade is a fast-paced, fact-filled look at the leading climate solution being discussed at Copenhagen and on Capitol Hill.

Host Annie Leonard introduces the energy traders and Wall Street financiers at the heart of this scheme and reveals the "devils in the details" in current cap and trade proposals: free permits to big polluters, fake offsets and distraction from what’s really required to tackle the climate crisis. If you’ve heard about cap and trade, but aren’t sure how it works (or who benefits), this is the film is for you.

The Priciest Foods Ever...And Why Expensive Foods Cost so Much

by Eve Solomon

It's amazing the delicacies nature can produce, and what's even more amazing is how much humans will pay to eat them! Some of the most expensive foods are also the most ridiculous. From pooped-out coffee beans to moose milk cheese, HuffPost Green thought we'd take a look at some of the priciest foods, and find out why they cost so much.

(Follow the link in the headline to see the expensive food slide show at Huffingtonpost.com)

ClimateGate: The 7 Biggest Lies about the Supposed "Global Warming Hoax"

by Katherine Goldstein

A few weeks ago, hackers broke into the emails of one of the Climate Research Unit of The University of East Anglia, and climate skeptics have been having a field day making mountains out of molehills about what the emails contain. The verdict on global warming is in -- it's caused by humans and it is happening and nothing in the emails remotely challenges that. However, with the internet abuzz about what has been labeled "ClimateGate," we thought we should set the record straight about the rumors, lies and insinuations about what the emails actually contain -- and what they "prove" about climate change.

(click title to continue reading....)

Monday, November 30, 2009

College's too-fat-to-graduate rule under fire

By Elizabeth Landau, CNN
cnnAuthor = "By Elizabeth Landau, CNN";

Obesity increases a person's risk of heart disease, type II diabetes, stroke, some cancers and other ailments.
Students must pass BMI test in order to place out of fitness class at Lincoln University
Lincoln is a historically black college in Oxford, Pennsylvania
Department head defends the policy; legal expert says the requirement is excessive
African-Americans were 1.4 times as likely to be obese as non-Hispanic whites in 2007
(CNN) -- Most college students expect to receive their diplomas on the basis of grades, but at a Pennsylvania school, physical fitness matters too.
Students at Lincoln University with a body mass index of 30 or above, reflective of obesity, must take a fitness course that meets three hours per week. Those who are assigned to the class but do not complete it cannot graduate.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Child fitness levels 'overestimated' by parents

Parents have big misconceptions about the amount of exercise their children do, the British Heart Foundation says.
It says 71% of nearly 1,000 parents polled think their children are "active enough" but only 10% of their children say they do the recommended amount.
The charity says parents need to take the "blinkers off" about how active their children are to prevent obesity.
The National Obesity Forum urged local councils to improve the quality and range of affordable sports facilities.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Food blamed for teen obesity

Added On November 17, 2009
With all the talk about lowering health care costs, prescription prices are skyrocketing. CNN's Alina Cho reports.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Scientists develop rot-proof apple that stays fresh for 4 months

by Colin Dunn

Scientists in Australia have developed an apple that won't rot. Or, won't rot for a long, long time. The delicious-sounding RS103-130 apple is a rare cross-breed 20 years in the making, cooked up by researchers at Australia's Queensland Primary Industries and Fisheries. They claim the shiny red apples will stay fresh, delicious, and crispy for four months. But, wait; aren't things like apples supposed to rot?

(click title to continue reading...)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Michelle Obama visits Sesame Street

As part of the 40th Anniversary of Sesame Street, First Lady Michelle Obama payed a visit to Sesame Street to talk about planting a garden. Elmo and Big Bird pose some good questions and the benefits of producing food at home are discussed.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Raw milk debate heats up in the Dairy State

By Joe Orso
November 9, 2009
From: The La Crosse Tribune

Vince Hundt, local dairy farmer, spoke about the raw milk debate like this:

Right now, with approval from the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, it is legal to buy vodka, cigarettes, drugs with warnings of side effects that include death, and a 12-gauge shotgun.

On the other hand, milk that comes straight from the teat of a cow (aka, unpasteurized milk) is not legal, or at least less legal, to sell.

"Right now, because DATCP says it is a threat to my health, I cannot drive out into the country and buy a gallon of milk from a farmer," said Hundt at a Friday afternoon meeting of about 60 raw milk supporters and state Sen. Dan Kapanke.

For those new to the issue, selling unpasteurized milk is illegal in Wisconsin. But for about a decade, with DATCP's blessing, some dairy farmers have sold their raw milk directly to people who have bought a share in the cow, and later in the farm, thus becoming part-owners.

The Localvore's Dilemma

Note: This is an old article, but the term that it describes is new to me, which is why it caught my interest.

By Drake Bennett
July 22, 2007
From: The Boston Globe

AT VARIOUS POINTS in the coming months, a few hundred of Vermont's most ethical eaters will take the "Localvore Challenge." The actual dates of the challenge vary from town to town, but the idea is that, for a single meal, or a day, or an entire week, participants will eat only food that was grown or raised within 100 miles of where they live.

Vermont's localvores (also known as "locavores" or "locatarians") and their counterparts around the country are part of a burgeoning movement. In recent years, as large companies with globe-straddling supply networks have come to dominate organic agriculture, "local" has emerged as the new watchword of conscientious consumption. Over the past year and a half, the interest in local food has been fueled by best-selling memoirs and manifestos about local eating and dietary self-sufficiency, such as Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle," Bill McKibben's "Deep Economy," and Michael Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemma."

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Winter Farmers' Market Offers Fresh, Local Food All Year

While the weather outside might be frightful, it only makes a winter farmers’ market all the more delightful. Farmers’ markets, traditionally held in more temperate months, are known for their fresh, delicious produce, baked goods and crafts. The festivity and camaraderie between farmers, crafters, artisans and their customers actually may draw more people to a farmers’ market than the fresh food does. But cold months tend to put the kibosh on such markets in areas where the thermometer dips below freezing. There is hope though.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Food Lobby Mobilizes, As Soda Tax Bubbles Up

By Christine Spolar, Huffington Post Investigative Fund and Joseph Eaton, Staff Writer, Center for Public Integrity

Washington lobbyists have been enjoying a multi-million-dollar sugar rush from the food industry.

Soft drink makers, supermarket companies, agriculture and the fast-food business have poured millions into campaigning against what they fear could be a burgeoning national movement to raise money for health care reform by taxing sweetened beverages.

During the first nine months of 2009, the industry groups stepped up their lobbying in Congress. They have spent more than $24 million on the issue of a national excise tax on sweetened beverages and on other legislative and regulatory issues, according to an examination of lobbying reports filed with the Senate Office of Public Records. The review shows that 21 companies and organizations reported that they lobbied specifically on the proposed tax on sugar-sweetened beverages - which among other things would include sodas, juice drinks and chocolate milk.

(click headline to continue reading...)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tests Find Wide Range of Bisphenol A in Canned Soups, Juice, and More

by Naomi Starkman

Consumer Reports’ latest tests of canned foods, including soups, juice, tuna, and green beans, have found that almost all of the 19 name-brand foods tested contain measurable levels of Bisphenol A (BPA). The results are reported in the December 2009 issue and also available online. BPA, which has been used for years in clear plastic bottles and food-can liners, has been restricted in Canada and some U.S. states and municipalities because it has been linked to a wide array of health effects including reproductive abnormalities, heightened risk of breast and prostate cancers, diabetes, and heart disease.

(click headline to continue...)

Al Gore explains how call for climate change action is similar to civil rights movement

The push for government action on climate change is like the US civil rights movement, according to former Vice President Al Gore. Both causes depended on and depend on a grassroots call to change.

Gore talked about those similarities during webcast interview with Katie Couric about his new book Our Choice, his follow-up to the film about global warming An Inconvenient Truth.

Couric referred to Gore as the "Godfather of Green" before beginning the 32-minute interview. Gore touched on the the moral issues surrounding inaction on climate change as well as cap and trade legislation specifics.

(click link in headline to watch video on Huffington Post)

How Posted Calories Affect Food Orders

Just a few weeks ago, independent researchers reported that New York City’s ground-breaking calorie labeling law had had absolutely no effect on the caloric content of meals bought at chain restaurants in poor neighborhoods. Last week, city health officials delivered a more upbeat assessment, saying New Yorkers ordered fewer calories at four chains — Au Bon Pain, KFC, McDonald’s and Starbucks — after the law went into effect last year.
The changes reported by the city health department’s preliminary data were modest, indicating little change either way in the number of calories bought at 8 of 13 chains surveyed, and a significant increase in calories ordered at Subway, which researchers attributed to a continuing $5 promotional special on footlong sandwiches that has tripled demand for them.
Although the findings of the two reports appear to contradict one another, researchers said differences in focus and size might explain the discrepancies.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Debate flares on limits of nature and commerce in National Parks

Furor over a lease to harvest oysters at the Point Reyes National Seashore, as told in this New York Times article, has also drawn in partisans across the country. Playing into an old debate, the question is raised: Are the national parks primarily for preserving untouched wilderness, or for preserving the historic human imprint on the land, too?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Baloney Science On The Perils Of Meat

By David Becker
From The Huffington Post

More bad news for red and processed meat. Linked to cancer again! Call in the Department of Homeland security and the nation’s top scientists.

Meat has a terrible reputation already, so why not pile on?

But the recent study in the American Journal of Epidemiology Nov 1, which found “associated risks” for prostate cancer with red and processed meat, is stretching for a headline rather than for some truth we can sink our teeth into.

This grinning gourd is a healthful food in disguise

By Ellen. S. Wilkowe
Fom The Daily Record

You've picked, carved, painted and perfected your pumpkin to your heart's content. Now, what about your stomach?

Before tossing out those seeds and flesh, consider packing pumpkin into your next snack, meal or dessert. With its sweet and starchy innards — think soups and breads — and toast-worthy seeds, pumpkins are as edible as they are carve-able.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

How to post your demo speech video to your blog

Have you ever wondered how to upload a video of your demonstration speech to your LSC 100 blog? Look no further than this helpful (and fun!) tutorial. Soon, uploading your video will be as easy as G.L.O.C.U.P.!

You will be required to include your video in a blog post in which you will critique your own performance. For details of the self-evaluation assignment, see instructions given in class.

Copyright 2009, LSC100 Productions

Can Biotech Food Cure World Hunger?

Can Biotech Food Cure World Hunger?

Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg A crop of genetically modified canola grows in a field in Lake Bolac, in the Western District of Victoria, Australia, Sept. 29, 2009.
With food prices remaining high in developing countries, the United Nations estimates that the number of hungry people around the world could increase by 100 million in 2009 and pass the one billion mark. A summit of world leaders in Rome scheduled for November will set an agenda for ways to reduce hunger and increase investment in agriculture development in poor countries.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ideas for Badlands Raise Land-Use Fears

Should local residents be involved in land-use decisions made by government?

Federal and state officials are at odds over listing about 12,000 acres of North Dakota Badlands on the National Register of Historic Places to recognize an area that inspired Theodore Roosevelt.

The U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service are pushing for the designation to highlight the significance of the region, where Roosevelt ran his cattle more than a century ago. But ranchers and state officials fear it would hinder development and say local residents were not consulted.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Video: Deep Fried Butter? It’s Gaining Popularity!

NBC NewschannelPublished: October 15, 2009


When Abel Gonzalez’s fried butter won the Texas State Fair’s prize for most original fried food, it was funny - not appetizing.

But the cute, little balls of gluttony have turned into a huge hit and turned some big heads.
Deep fried butter.

The State Fair of Texas prides itself on deep frying everything.Oreos, peanut butter and jelly, snickers bars, dirty boots, peanut butter cups, macaroons, twinkies. But deep fried butter is opening a new realm.

“I never had a clue that people were going to have this kind of reaction to it,“ said Gonzalez, otherwise known as ‘The Fried Butter Man’. “I just thought hey, you know, fried butter why not…never had a clue.“

But Abel Gonzalez is the architect of the fried butter phenomenon.

What kind of process do you go through when deciding to purchase fried butter?

“I always get certain things when I come to the fair,“ said one unidentified fried butter customer,
“A Fletcher’s corn dog, funnel cake and a novelty item. So this is it."

But in a strictly unofficial survey of State Fair-goers who sampled fried butter, everyone approved.

“It’s good, it’s great,“ offered one customer.

“Was there a party in your mouth?““Yes.““And who was invited?““The grape jelly.“ “Everyone was invited."

And everyone’s invited to Abel’s carney version of Sodom and Gomorrah.

By the way. Fried butter? It tastes like toast.

And Abel says the taste of buttered toast was exactly what he was shooting for.

Like pizza? Like the environment? Check out the "Green Box."

According to Environmentally Conscious Organization, Inc., an "innovative green packaging solutions" company, "The ‘Green Box’ breaks down easily into convenient serving plates while the remainder of the box converts into a handy storage container for leftovers. The perforations and/or scores that create this functionality then allow for easy storage, collapsibility and disposal. In today’s convenience-oriented and environmentally conscious world, customers young and old will embrace such functionality."

Check out their homepage.

"Smart Choices" Food Labeling Program Halts Over FDA Concerns

(AP) PORTLAND, Ore. - A food industry group is voluntarily halting promotion of its nutrition labeling program after federal regulators said such systems could mislead consumers, officials with the group said Friday.

Industry leaders launched the "Smart Choices" program in August to identify foods that meet certain nutritional standards and then highlight them for consumers with a green label on package fronts.

(click headline to continue reading...)

Friday, October 23, 2009

7 awesome examples of unnecessary "quotation marks"

Quotation marks are awesome in general, but even more so when used "incorrectly." We've compiled a few photos from around the Web that prove this point...(click headline to go to slideshow at Huffingtonpost.com)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sense of Taste from a Sense of Place

Blogger April McGreger writes about her personal experiences and the many rewarding aspects of eating locally. In particular, she has enjoyed exploring her own region (North Carolina) in depth. She aptly quotes the wisdom of Wendell Berry, who says, “You’ve got to know where you are. You’ve got to consult the genius of the place.”

McGreger discusses her increased awareness that the food choices she makes are governed by the competing considerations of identity, convenience, price, and responsibility.
Sense of Place, for many people, revolves around not only physical spaces but also the food, community, and culture of a place - be it a house, a city, or a larger geographical region.

Coca-Cola Unveils Sleek, New 90-Calorie Mini Can

ATLANTA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A little happiness in a stylish new package is coming soon to your refrigerator. Coca-Cola today introduced a new 90-calorie sleek mini can to give consumers a better way to manage their calories.

“As the world’s largest beverage company, we take seriously the need to help consumers balance calories consumed with calories expended,” said Sandy Douglas, president, Coca-Cola North America. “The Coca-Cola mini can innovation reinforces the Company’s support for healthy, active lifestyles.”

The 7.5-fluid ounce mini can carries the distinct Coca-Cola contour-shaped bottle image in white with a red background. Additional brands that also will feature the sleek mini can packaging include: Sprite, Fanta Orange, Cherry Coca-Cola and Barq’s Root Beer. It will be sold in eight-packs.

Consumers in Washington, D.C. and New York City will get a first glimpse of the 90-calorie sleek mini can when it debuts in December. The rollout will expand to the rest of the country and be well underway by March 2010.

(click title to continue reading)

Artificial Sweeteners: How Bad Are Saccharin, Aspartame?

Too much sugar will make you fat, but too much artificial sweetener will ... do what exactly? Kill you? Make you thinner? Or have absolutely no effect at all? This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Food and Drug Administration's decision to ban cyclamate, the first artificial sweetener prohibited in the U.S., and yet scientists still haven't reached a consensus about how safe (or harmful) artificial sweeteners may be. Shouldn't we have figured this out by now? (See the top 10 bad beverage ideas.)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Business of Giving Exploring philanthropy, non-profits and socially motivated business, from the Gates Foundation to your donation. A fresh look

Get sustainable agriculture right this time, experts urge

Food quantity or food quality? Can the world quell starvation now and still have a healthy ecosystem over the long term?

Tough questions for anyone concerned about agriculture and its relation to hunger and poverty.

In a keynote speech at the World Food Prize symposium today, Bill Gates said he supports sustainable agriculture, welcome words to experts in the field, who say there is no short term fix.

Much as he changed the landscape on health, the world's richest philanthropist is trying to spark a new revolution in agriculture. The first Green Revolution improved crop yields, but at the expense of the environment. This time, there may be a chance to get it right.

Availability of fresh food, exercise linked to healthy living

St. Paul, Minn. — Efforts to bring a supermarket into an underserved St. Paul neighborhood shine a light on a often overlooked fact: where we live has a direct effect on how we eat, exercise and ultimately, how healthy we are.

At the corner of Maryland Avenue and Clarence Street, just south of Lake Phalen in St. Paul, there's a Cub Foods store. A year ago, there was no supermarket here. There was a bar, an express lube, and a car wash.

Back then, people in this neighborhood had to travel at least a mile to get to a supermarket. Now, the grocery store is filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, ethnic foods of all kinds, and lots of choices.

Seasonal Eating Help From the Vegetannual

Written by Kim Ukura
From Eat.Drink.Better.
Published on September 25th

I recently heard a claim that people of my generation (I’m 23-years-old) are so disconnected from the food system that we can’t identify the correct season for our fruits and vegetables. At first, I scoffed at this idea – of course I know when to eat plants, that’s easy!

Turns out, I have no idea. I looked at a list of vegetables and beyond pumpkins, which I know are fall plants because I carve a jack-o-lantern every October, I couldn’t place any of them. Strawberries… maybe early spring? Lettuce… I didn’t think lettuce had a season?

I’ll admit defeat – I’ve been spoiled by supermarkets that show me tomatoes and carrots and lettuce and spinach year round, and I probably can’t identify the season for any of them. During my dieting phase at the end of college, these vegetables were staples of my daily eating whether they were in season or not. I’m so used to seeing them all the time it never occurred to me there was a better or worse time to eat them until I started listening to Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle on audio book.

Study Upends Comfort-Food Theory

Posted October 7, 2009
By Peter West
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 7 (HealthDay News) -- During times of stress, many people will reach for that favorite bag of chips, soft drink or snack cake for a dose of quick comfort -- or so conventional wisdom holds.

But, a new study from the University of South Carolina takes aim at that comfort-food theory and contends that people undergoing significant change in their lives often pick unfamiliar, even healthier foods and lifestyle options.

"I am personally a creature of habit. That's why I am so interested in how people adapt to change," said lead researcher Stacy Wood, Moore Research Fellow and associate professor of marketing at the University of South Carolina. "While comfort foods do have a soothing function and really do make us feel good, we don't turn to them as readily as we think we do."

Wood's research, titled "The Comfort Food Fallacy: Avoiding Old Favorites in Times of Change," was published in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Food labeling confuses many people, critics say

At first it may seem only right for Dean Foods, the nation's largest organic dairy producer, to roll out a line of yogurts and milk marketed as "natural."

But Dean's announcement in the last week of June alarmed advocates of organic food, who say the burgeoning market for less-expensive "natural" foods reaps billions from consumers while guaranteeing little or nothing in exchange. Certified organic food products are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and produced by farmers and manufacturers under a strict set of rules. But the agency defines the term "natural" only for meat and poultry. In the rest of the food industry, the meaning is largely up to the producer.

Fresh, Fresh, Exciting: Near East Side Dwellers Get Boxes of Green Goodness

by Melinda Clynes-modeldmedia.com

Detroit's Near East Side boasts an overabundance of gas stations and liquor-lotto marts, where residents are more apt to find rows of Colt 45 and Fritos, rather than bundles of fresh greens or bushels of apples. These neighborhoods are in general a prime example of a community in the city without easy access to quality grocery stores and fresh produce.

That's not the case this summer, however.

Kale, zucchini, tomatoes and cucumbers are just some of the veggies packing a nutritional punch this summer for Near East Side residents as part of a new initiative called Fresh Food Share -- a program that brings boxes of fresh produce to locals who contend with the absence of nearby grocery stores. At the same time, the program is building a stronger sense of community within a racially, ethnically and economically diverse area of the city.

Greenbacks for greens...

Fresh Food from City Soil

By Winstina S. Hughes
Brick City FarmsWinstina S. Hughes Lorraine Gibbons, of Maplewood, and John Taylor, who are partners in a sustainable farming business in Newark.

It’s raining softly outside the hybrid. We’re parked at a once-empty lot at the corner of Spruce Street and Washington Street near Lincoln Park in Newark, home to Brick City Urban Farms. John Taylor is explaining how seamlessly the pieces fell into place for the business venture on the site.

It started with an idea and then a call to Lorraine Gibbons, a colleague who lives in Maplewood and designs edible gardens as part of school curriculums. She also created the edible gardens for both Seth Boyden Elementary in Maplewood and the garden for the township’s historical house, Durand Hedden.

“I said, ‘Lorraine, I’m impressed with your work designing edible gardens at schools. We want to start an urban farm in the city,’ ” Mr. Taylor said.

Farm Fresh Food in School Lunches

The Live Healthy Nevada County Food and Nutrition Action Committee is trying its best to introduce healthy, fresh foods to area schools. “We are very keen to get programs implemented throughout Nevada County,” said Aimee Retzler.

Live Healthy’s pilot program is with Hennessy Elementary in Grass Valley. By partnering with Riverhill Farm, the program is finding success with nutrition education, bringing more fruits and vegetables into the diet, and bringing the farm to school. Recently the summer school class took a fieldtrip to Riverhill. “It’s fantastic hands-on learning,” said Retzler. Children went from plot to plot, learning about how food is planted and grows. As they learned, they harvested, and at the end of the tour, they made a huge salad. So excited about the food they had helped pick, the class chose to eat it instead of the school lunches that had been packed.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Michael Pollan's Favorite Food Rules

by Tara Parker-Pope

In March, the best-selling author Michael Pollan asked readers of the Well blog for help. He wanted your food rules — the folklore, wisdom and common sense that guide your family eating habits.

Well readers rose to the challenge, offering more than 2,600 rules (and counting) for healthful eating. Mr. Pollan, who is soon releasing a book on the topic, this week offers a preview in The New York Times Magazine of 20 of his favorite rules.

A reader, Carol Jackson, offered: “You don’t get fat from food you pray over.”

“It’s better to pay the grocer than the doctor,” John Forti wrote.

“No second helpings, no matter how scrumptious,” Karen Harmin suggested.
(click title to see original story)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Detroit tries peddling produce like ice cream

Associated Press

DETROIT - In a U.S. neighborhood served by 26 liquor stores but only one grocery, a community group is peddling fresh fruits and vegetables like ice cream.

Five days a week, the Peaches & Greens truck winds its way through the streets as a loudspeaker plays R&B and puts out the call: "Nutritious, delicious. Brought right to you. We have green and red tomatoes, white and sweet potatoes. We have greens, corn on the cob and cabbage, too."

Michael Pollen on "Talk of the Nation"

Michael Pollan recently participated in a discussion on NPR's Talk of the Nation program with farm representatives and the VP of the Corn Growers Association. The discussion was not as contentious as one might have expected.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Flat world, fat world: Report from the Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives Symposium, part 1

On September 21, 2009 in Minneapolis, a crowd of 300 people representing more than 30 disciplines gathered for a symposium hosted by the Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives Institute to discuss critical issues in research and policy related to food and health.

hfhl-2They also ate very, very well. Most conferences feature food, why make a big deal of this one? Because those who produced the ham-and-cheese sandwiches with fig chutney, the quinoa salad, and the lemon-ginger cookies, are local to the Twin Cities, farm without using raw manure (you’ll learn more about this in part III), practice ethical animal husbandry, steward the land, and feed their local communities, creating economic and health benefits. In other words, these healthy foods nourish healthy lives. Catered by Birchwood Café, follow them on Twitter, producers included: Hoch Orchards, Whole Grain Milling, Dragsmith Farms, Wild Acres Farms, Fischer Farms, Featherstone Farm, Hope Butter, Riverbend Farm, Peace Coffee, Birchwood Herb Garden (Facebook page), Garden Farme, and Common Roots Café.

Three themes emerged at the conference:

• As our world shrinks, our waists grow
• The nutritional debate over processed food
• What’s in the meat you eat and the water you drink

Monday, October 5, 2009

E. Coli Path Shows Flaws in Beef Inspection

Published: October 3, 2009

Stephanie Smith, a children’s dance instructor, thought she had a stomach virus. The aches and cramping were tolerable that first day, and she finished her classes.

Skip to next paragraph
Ben Garvin for The New York Times

Stephanie Smith, 22, was paralyzed after being stricken by E. coli in 2007. Officials traced the E. coli to hamburger her family had eaten.


Anatomy of a BurgerGraphic

Stephanie Smith was in a coma for nine weeks after being infected with E. coli.

Then her diarrhea turned bloody. Her kidneys shut down. Seizures knocked her unconscious. The convulsions grew so relentless that doctors had to put her in a coma for nine weeks. When she emerged, she could no longer walk. The affliction had ravaged her nervous system and left her paralyzed.

Ms. Smith, 22, was found to have a severe form of food-borne illness caused by E. coli, which Minnesota officials traced to the hamburger that her mother had grilled for their Sunday dinner in early fall 2007.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Mess Hall - School Lunches and Privatization

A recent article in the Washington Post by Jane Black brought up several issues pertaining to school lunches (quality vs. affordability, for one). A blogger, Tom Philpott, over at the ever eco-conscious site Grist posted a rather ill-informed response. This in turn brought a flurry of critiques from readers and other bloggers.

The online dialogue created here is a good example of how one piece of journalism can inspire debate and conversation among concerned readers.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dining Out : More than just eating

By: Jennifer Fischer


Where's the Superfood?

by Bob grant


Scientists have genetically engineered several biofortified food plants to tackle a scourge of developing countries—micronutrient malnutrition. The crops have yet to be planted on a wide scale, but that may be about to change. 


Right now, one billion people are starving. That’s one in every six people on this planet. The number of these hungry people is roughly equivalent to the populations of the United States, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, and Bangladesh combined.

Artificial success

The popularity of “natural” food spawns an unnatural response

Alamy It’s practically spinach

OVER the past decade, the biggest trend in food marketing has been the shift towards organic, “natural” and even “whole” foods. Consumers in wealthier markets worldwide have demanded foods with minimal processing, in a state as close as possible to their natural one, in the fervent (and often mistaken) belief that such food is healthier for their bodies and for the planet. Ironically, this success is now prompting multinational food giants to accelerate investments in “functional” foods that are intentionally modified to make them healthier or more nutritious.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Brian Butch's Blog: Jump Around

Those of you who have been following the Badgers for years may recall the UW career of Brian Butch, a.k.a. "The Polar Bear." Your LSC 100 TAs remember his career as our fellow graduate student in the Department of Life Sciences Communication (Butch received his master's degree through LSC). Thus, we're very excited to announce his new blog, Jump Around, on the Big Ten Network's website. Click on the title of this post to go to the blog, which is described below:

Since graduating from Wisconsin in 2008 Brian Butch has pursued a professional basketball career in the U.S. and overseas. In his blog Butch will not only update his fans on his adventures on and off the court.

Monday, September 21, 2009

New Sugar Guidelines: Not-So-Sweet News for Your Heart

In a shocking surprise to most of us dietitians, the American Heart Association (AHA) stood up to the food industry earlier this month and essentially made eating and drinking a lot of items in the supermarket off-limits.

Why? Because sugar has just earned a spot on the AHA’s black list, joining saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium as negative nutrients that need to be limited for your heart’s sake.

Note the use of the "nutrient" language in the above excerpt, which Pollan describes in the chapter on nutritionism.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

An Interview with Michael Pollan

In preparation for a cover story in this week's Isthmus newspaper, news editor Bill Lueders conducted a telephone interview with author Michael Pollan.
Lueders shares an edited version of the interview here. This may give readers of the book In Defense of Food insight into Pollan's journalistic motivations and some of the delimma's he faced in writing this book and others.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Growing the ‘Good Food’ movement - A Conversation with Will Allen

Blogger and grassroots coordinator Erik Hoffner recently caught up with Will Allen who was keynote speaker at the Northeast Organic Farming Association’s Annual Conference in Amherst, MA. Allen is founder and CEO of Growing Power, the country’s premier grassroots urban gardening program. He is also a MacArthur Genius Award Winner and former pro-basketball player.

Growing Power demonstrates growing methods through on-site workshops and hands-on demonstrations, and has farms in Milwaukee and Merton, Wisconsin, and Chicago, Illinois, where they grow vegetables, fish, bees, livestock, worms, and more. They have also established satellite training sites in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Mississippi.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Public trust in US media eroding: Pew study

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Public trust in the US media is eroding and increasing numbers of Americans believe news coverage is inaccurate and biased, according to a study released on Monday.
Just 29 percent of the 1,506 adults surveyed by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press between July 22-26 said news organizations generally get the facts straight.
Sixty-three percent said news stories are often inaccurate, up from 34 percent in a 1985 study, Pew said.
Sixty percent of those polled said the press is biased, up from 45 percent in 1985. Just 26 percent in the latest survey said that news organizations are careful their reporting is not politically biased.
Seventy-four percent said news organizations tend to favor one side in dealing with political and social issues. Eighteen percent said they deal fairly with all sides.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wendell Berry - The Agrarian Standard

Wendell Berry's book The Unsettling of America was published over thirty years ago; it is still in print and is still being read. As its author, Berry says he is tempted to be glad of this, and yet, if what is said in the book is to be believed - and many do believe it - then we perhaps should be anything but glad.

The book, says Mr. Berry, would have had "a far happier fate if it could have been disproved or made obsolete years ago." This essay is a reflection by Mr. Berry written for Orion Magazine in 2002.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Internship Opportunity!

LSC 100 students:

Please take a minute to read the following note from JR Ross, Editor of Madison's own Wispolitics blog (you may recall that JR will be speaking to our class later in the semester, While the internship is entirely outside the scope of the class (i.e no course credit or extra credit), it may be a great opportunity for:
  1. those of you who are interested in blogging, web-based journalism, or local politics and current events
  2. those of you who need to find a very flexible, part-time internship (e.g. for another class), or
  3. those of you who would like to pad your resume while watching sports and cable news (one of which is always on at the Wispolitics office)
I personally interned for Wispolitics, and enjoyed my time there. Let me know if you have any questions.

WisPolitics, the state’s premier political news service, is looking for fall interns to help maintain the Web site and assist in reporting for daily products sent to subscribers. WisPolitics focuses primarily on state politics as well as the work of the state’s congressional delegation and some local politics. Interns start out helping to maintain the Web site and graduate to more complex tasks as they prove their proficiency and opportunities develop. The internships are unpaid, and the hours are flexible. The time commitment can range from one morning or afternoon a week to a daily commitment. Those interested should contact WisPolitics Editor JR Ross via e-mail at ross@wispolitics.com or at 441-8418.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Michael Pollan: I'll Still Shop at Whole Foods

by Michael Pollan

John Mackey’s views on health care, much as I disagree with them, will not prevent me from shopping at Whole Foods. I can understand why people would want to boycott, but it’s important to play out the hypothetical consequences of a successful boycott. Whole Foods is not perfect, however if they were to disappear, the cause of improving Americans’ health by building an alternative food system, based on more fresh food, pastured and humanely raised meats and sustainable agriculture, would suffer. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Getting Real About the High Price of Cheap Food

By Brian Walsh

Somewhere in Iowa, a pig is being raised in a confined pen, packed in so tightly with other swine that their curly tails have been chopped off so they won't bite one another. To prevent him from getting sick in such close quarters, he is dosed with antibiotics. The waste produced by the pig and his thousands of pen mates on the factory farm where they live goes into manure lagoons that blanket neighboring communities with air pollution and a stomach-churning stench. He's fed on American corn that was grown with the help of government subsidies and millions of tons of chemical fertilizer. When the pig is slaughtered, at about 5 months of age, he'll become sausage or bacon that will sell cheap, feeding an American addiction to meat that has contributed to an obesity epidemic currently afflicting more than two-thirds of the population. And when the rains come, the excess fertilizer that coaxed so much corn from the ground will be washed into the Mississippi River and down into the Gulf of Mexico, where it will help kill fish for miles and miles around. That's the state of your bacon — circa 2009.

Controversial book focus of UW-Madison project

by Jim Massey

Wisconsin agriculture groups say they're concerned about a new UW-Madison program that encourages students to read a book critical of mainstream agriculture and the U.S. food system.

The program, known as "Go Big Read," invites students, faculty, staff, alumni and the community to read a selected book and participate in campus discussions and community events. New chancellor Carolyn "Biddy" Martin initiated the program.

The university is providing the book free to students and faculty members. A UW-Madison Web site says professors in 48 different courses will be incorporating discussion about the book in their curriculum. The program is targeted at freshmen, but other students also will participate.

The book is Michael Pollan's "In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto." In the book, Pollan examines the modern American food landscape, where he says the deceptively simple question of what to eat has been muddled by the numerous and often conflicting claims of food producers, marketers and nutrition experts.