Saving Time and Stress with Cooking Co-ops
My husband and I became part of a cooking cooperative, and suddenly we were eating tagliatelle Bolognese, eggplant Parmesan or chicken adobo, all of it homemade, and only a fraction of it cooked by me. A cooking co-op, or dinner swap, is simply an agreement by two or more individuals or households to provide prepared meals for each other, according to a schedule. The goal is to reduce the time spent in the kitchen while increasing the quality and variety of the food eaten. New York times story.
Co-op to hold seventh Eat Local Challenge
The Belfast Co-op and co-sponsors will hold the seventh semi-annual Eat Local Challenge during November, and the quantity and quality of delicious locally grown food never ceases to amaze participants. It is especially evident at the Co-op, where selling locally grown food is a priority. In just one year Co-op customers spent more than $500,000 on locally grown food. The Co-op tracks local food dollars on a weekly basis and posts a sign at the front of the store telling the amount of the previous week’s local food sales. Village Soup Belfast story.
Economic Systems We Can Eat
The Center for Adaptive Solutions will write about the topic of food during November, 2010. The topic is an opportunity to apply a whole-system approach to a Wicked Problem. The goal in whole-system work is to understand a large activity, not to “solve” it. The issues are wicked exactly because there are too many parts and participants for some single practical solution to exist. However, it’s both possible and important to work at seeing steps that could reduce negative effects and increase positive effects. This month’s food posts will offer an overview and analysis of food as a complex systemic problem. The Center for Adaptive Solutions blog.
Walgreens Tackles ‘Food Deserts’
Among students of the contemporary metropolis, “food deserts” have become a widely known problem. The term is generally used to describe urban neighborhoods where there are few grocers selling fresh produce, but a cornucopia of fast-food places and convenience stores selling salty snacks. Perhaps the marketplace can reverse its own failure, but a little prodding from other entities may be required. One example emerged this summer in Chicago when Walgreens, the drugstore chain founded in that city more than 100 years ago, started selling an expanded selection of food, including fresh fruits and vegetables, at 10 locations selected because they were in food deserts. The experiment in creating these “food oases” is intriguing because it involves a well-known retail brand not typically associated with groceries — and, really, because it involves a well-known retail brand at all. New York Times Magazine story.
Neighbor Dining is a new social dining concept conceived of by creative artist Luong Lu and European energy provider Vattenfall. The idea is to use a social media platform that integrates with Foursquare to cut down on the loneliness of living alone, energy waste from cooking dinners for one, and the cost of food. Vattenfall Vimeo by Luong Lu.
Mark Winne’s New Book an Organizer’s Manual for America’s Food Rebels
Without belittling what the book contributes to food policy, I would say this is a must-read for anyone looking for an organizing manual adapted to American realities. Winne teaches by example. The book, and each of the chapters, is short, because most people have the same problem learning about food as they do eating properly – they don’t have time for anything fancier. Each of the chapters in Part 2 features a person and story based on the classic American archetype – individuals working hard to make themselves and their lives better. Policy and analysis aren’t presented as intellectualized abstractions. In Winne’s story-telling way, policies dance like a butterfly but sting like a bee, as they emerge as practical solutions to the real problems each person confronts. And, in keeping with Winne’s main theme – the need for an Emerson-based compass of self-reliance and inner strength to show the way through the maze of food choices – government assistance and policies are designed to support and enable citizen efforts, not substitute for them. Wayne Roberts review.
Comparing the Structure, Size, and Performance of Local and Mainstream Food Supply Chains
A series of coordinated case studies compares the structure, size, and performance of local food supply chains with those of mainstream supply chains. Interviews and site visits with farms and businesses, supplemented with secondary data, describe how food moves from farms to consumers in 15 food supply chains. Key comparisons between supply chains include the degree of product differentiation, diversification of marketing outlets, and information conveyed to consumers about product origin. The cases highlight differences in prices and the distribution of revenues among supply chain participants, local retention of wages and proprietor income, transportation fuel use, and social capital creation. USDA Economic Research Service abstract.
Local Food Systems: Concepts, Impacts, and Issues
This comprehensive overview of local food systems explores alternative definitions of local food, estimates market size and reach, describes the characteristics of local consumers and producers, and examines early indications of the economic and health impacts of local food systems. There is no consensus on a definition of “local” or “local food systems” in terms of the geographic distance between production and consumption. But defining “local” based on marketing arrangements, such as farmers selling directly to consumers at regional farmers’ markets or to schools, is well recognized. Statistics suggest that local food markets account for a small, but growing, share of U.S. agricultural production. For smaller farms, direct marketing to consumers accounts for a higher percentage of their sales than for larger farms. Findings are mixed on the impact of local food systems on local economic development and better nutrition levels among consumers, and sparse literature is so far inconclusive about whether localization reduces energy use or greenhouse gas emissions. USDA Economic Research Service abstract.
Varied Interests Drive Growing Popularity of Local Foods
In the late 1960s, a desire to eat locally was aligned with a budding environmental movement. A more recent renewal of that aspiration has gained momentum. As interest and demand for local foods grow, so do questions about what constitutes “local” foods, what characterizes local food markets, and what the impact of local food is on economic development, health, and environ-mental quality. Steve W. Martinez writes in Amber Waves Magazine published by the USDA Economic Research Service.
11 for ’11: Technomic names leading restaurant trends
As the nation begins to emerge from recession, restaurants are seeing lapsed customers return. Same-store sales are inching up, signaling the industry’s initial rebound to health; hiring is also up, signaling positive expectations for 2011. But this isn’t the same restaurant industry as before. Big changes are on the way—on menus, in concept development and in the competitive landscape. Technomic, the leading foodservice research and consulting firm, examines the future for restaurants through the lens of 40-plus years tracking the industry, and sees 11 top trends emerging in 2011: Trends.
AND IF YOU HAVE TIME
Top 100 Questions for Agriculture
Despite a significant growth in food production over the past half-century, one of the most important challenges facing society today is how to feed an expected population of some nine billion by the middle of the 20th century. To meet the expected demand for food without significant increases in prices, it has been estimated that we need to produce 70–100 per cent more food, in light of the growing impacts of climate change, concerns over energy security, regional dietary shifts and the Millennium Development target of halving world poverty and hunger by 2015. The goal for the agricultural sector is no longer simply to maximize productivity, but to optimize across a far more complex landscape of production, rural development, environmental, social justice and food consumption outcomes. In this paper, we seek to improve dialogue and understanding between agricultural research and policy by identifying the 100 most important questions for global agriculture. Abstract with link to text.