{weekend reading} NATIONAL EDITION

Wow. Where to start…

This week has been FULL of food-related news that I don’t know if I can pack it all into one post. I’ll try. As a disclaimer I will suggest going to any of the “Resource Websites” on the right column of the blog for further information, especially on S.510 and Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids Act. That said, I have singled out the legislation links in its own section for today’s post. Let’s get started. -Christina


In big Factory Farm news, The Food & Water Project released an amazing interactive website tracking factory farms in the U.S. This website is in conjunction with their report on the issue. (You can download the entire report from this link)  For you local readers, take special note of Saratoga County, take a looksie at the bright RED color… We have A LOT of animals in cages in these parts. Very eye-opening. Saratoga County is the ONLY extremely dense county on the Eastern HALF of New York State. Not good. (PLEASE NOTE: At the time of linking, 5pm Saturday, the interactive website is DOWN for some reason. But the organization’s website is fine. -Christina)

On the same topic, Mark Bittman has an AMAZING blog post, “Is the U.S. One Big Factory Farm?” with fun-facts about the website and the general state of affairs in Factory Farmed Animals in America.

A team at Harvard University just came out with a statistical model (details in article) with shows that 40% of the American population with be obese by 2050. New Scientist reports.

What would {weekend reading} be without a Dr. Marian Nestle post? Here it is. Dr. Nestle gives her readers the latest on genetically modified foods, beets & apples, on The Atlantic.

The White House will serve over 2,000 pounds of Gulf seafood during the holidays. Food Safety News reports.

In public health news, the state of California has approved a very, very very very very very (you get the point) toxic pesticide to be used for conventional , large-scale strawberry production. methyl iodide, a fumigant designed to eradicate bacteria, weeds and insects from growing soils was approved. The San Francisco Chronicle has the story. Garden Rant, the BEST gardening blog, written like From Scratch Club with multiple women writing on one blog- including a local Saratoga Springs author, has a short editorial on the approval. Here’s one more Garden Rant post on organic gardening…it’s a guest post and there’s a giveaway.

A Los Angeles seafood importer is not complying with food safety standard. Food Safety News reports.

Another Food Safety News post reports that the European Union has created a food safety initiative to grow economies in Africa, Pacific States and the Caribbean. This is interesting stuff. From the article: Over the next four years, EDES and a consortium of experts in the European food safety industry will work with food producers and regulators in ACP countries to bring their food safety standards into compliance with those of the EU. “There’s a notion that if your trade partner has a food system you trust, you’re more likely to buy from him,” says EDES Director Renaud Guillonnet. With the capacity to trade more, ACP countries should then be able to expand economically, and thereby alleviate poverty within their borders.

In local news, Steve Barnes, Times Union, has a great article on Capital District Community Garden’s Produce Project. From the article: “The Produce Project, a component of the 35-year-old Capital District Community Gardens, gives at-risk Troy High School students the opportunity to earn cash and course credit to work 10 hours per week growing produce in CDCG’s garden plots and Troy greenhouse and helping sell it at farmers markets.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, for the foreseeable future, the very-non local FIJI WATER, has shut down production on the island due to a large tax increase. An interesting factoid, that I didn’t know, from the article: “Fiji Water is owned by billionaire investors Lynda Resnick and Stewart Resnick, who are well-known in Los Angeles, where the company has its headquarters. They also own POM Wonderful LLC, which came under fire earlier this fall when the U.S. Federal Trade Commission sued, alleging that the pomegranate- juice maker’s advertisements contained false claims about the drink’s health benefits. The Resnicks also own the Teleflora floral-delivery company, citrus and nut farms, and other businesses.”

For fellow coffee geeks, Intelligentsia Coffee, the masters of all things black gold, have offered a FREE Iphone app which instructs people how to make the perfect cup of joe. The reason why I wanted the app: learn how to perform a “pour over”. Yup, I’m geeky. I have never made a successful cup via the pour over method OR frenchpress… so I’m hoping to learn something… I’ll let you know!

Another must read. Mother Jones reports on the growing movement of pro-agribusiness farmers, namely beef farmers, taking their message to college campuses to combat Michael Pollen, who they deem as their enemy.

Obama Foodorama posted about a lot of good stuff this week. First, The White House’s Hanukkah Dinner, guest list and the menu. I missed this post last week, but there is a great story about Apple & Cider, the pardoned Turkeys spent their days in D.C.- staying at the W Hotel- NICE! The First Lady selects “Simple Gifts” as the theme to the holiday decorations with the kitchen garden being referenced in many pieces.

Besides, S.510 & Healthy, hungry-Free Kids Act, that will be discussed below, the other big food & farming related news from Capitol Hill is that the House signed legislation that would settlements in two cases against the USDA for discrimination against African American and American Indian farmers. Obama Foodorama has the best breakdown of the different cases & settlements I could find.

S.510 & Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids Act ROUNDUP

Slow Food USA has a great recap of the Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids Act that just passed the House and now heads to Obama for approval, which is a guarentee. This is HUGE news. Exciting news. Hopeful news. Many, many children in this country DEPEND on their school’s lunch as their one hearty meal of the day. This is a great link because it QUICKLY recaps the most important parts of the legislation; such as higher nutrition standards, access and more money to put into those schoo lunches.

Other major news outlets on the story: Washington Post New York Times NYTIMES’ ROLLCALL- see how your Rep. voted. LA TIMES.

Jane Black, for The Atlantic, reports that there is extra money hidden in the Healthy Kids Act which will over time, increase each school lunch another 5 cents.. The Act outwardly raises each lunch by 6 cents from the get-go.

Policy Analyst, Regina Weiss, looks at the legislation and discusses the issue with author, Janet Poppendieck, on The Huffington Post. (Ms. Poppendieck wrote a book that I wish I read, Free for All, about fixing America’s public school lunch system).

Onto S.510, which might not have such a bright future like the HHFKA. As I reported on Monday then Tuesday, Congress passed the landmark bill with flying colors early Tuesday morning BUT it will need to go back to The House to reconcile the two bills because the Congress bill had the small farmer/produce addition, the Tester/Hagen Amendment. BUT BUT BUT hold your horses people. Unfortunately there is a portion of the bill where there is a constitution issue..I won’t explain here. Bill Marler, food borne illness advocate and lawyer,  has a GREAT recap on Food Safety News that is a MUST READ. He explains it all in a very brief article. He also editorializes what might happen to the bill, that is has a MASSIVE uphill battle and may disappear for another half century.

Another good recap at The Hill’s Congress Blog. I found this gem via Michael Pollen’s feed.

Lastly, a clip from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart abut S.510 and Glenn Beck…hilarious. and sad.


The White House’s recipe for gingerbread cookies on Obama Foodorama.

We usually don’t publish recipe posts on the weekend because our readership is low but we’re trying something out this weekend. In case you didn’t see it yesterday, Leslie posted two great ways to transform leftover roasted veggies. I know that I have this issue weekly as I make batches of roasted veg and then the last straggles just hang in the frig until garbage can time.  Take a looksie!

Okay. I found a blog that has become MY FAVORITE. Darby O’Shea is all things fabulous; personal stories mixed with great recipes and food projects AND its a fellow WordPress blog 😉 Anyways, she has a “Bad Mood Beef Stew” in her Open Letter to Cambridge, MA Post. Hilarious! LOVE!

Gluten-Free manufacture, Udi’s Bread, has a yummy-looking gluten-free Falafel recipe on their blog.

It is Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, and there are numerous potato latkas recipes in the blogosphere. Here’s a few: Mrs. Wheelbarrow. Food52 Golden Panko Latkas and Spiced Latkas . Sweet Potato & Porchini Mushroom latkas at Opera Singer in the Kitchen. Apple & Cheese filled Latkas at thekitchn.

One Hungry Mama has Hanukkah jelly-filled donuts to make with the kiddos.

Swedish Meatballs (think IKEA) over at Simply Recipes.

Food52 has a GREAT recap of Hanukkah menu ideas. Food52 co-founder, Amanda Hesser, is the author of that AMAZING book we’re giving away to one lucky reader… Why not take a moment and enter the giveaway? Ends December 15th…

Wow. Wanna make dog treats? Cathy Erway, of Not Eating Out in New York, has the details on her newish blog, Lunch at Sixpoint. She uses spent grain from the Sixpoint Brewery and innards from various animals- this is NOT a vegetarian recipe!

I plan on compiling a Holiday Cookie Recipe Post, but I couldn’t wait on these gems, Whole Wheat Sablés with Cacao Nibs,  posted by Molly at Orangette.

For parents of toddlers, Raising Healthy Eaters has a good roundup of finger foods for the age group.

the kitchn has a “Hot Toddy without Alcohol” roundup. Yum.

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