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?