Let’s all come Down2Earth
One thing that was persistently repeated during the ‘It’s Down2Earth’ conference about agriculture, food security and climate change, which took place in The Hague, is that we need a paradigm shift. Buzzwords like climate-smart agriculture, mitigation and financial mechanisms revolved as a mantra. While improving food security, agricultural practices and the livelihoods of small-scale producers through up-scaling local successes, advancing fair land tenure systems and eliminating distorting international trade policies received much less attention. The Broker Online blog.
Rural Grocery Stores: Importance and Challenges
The local grocery store is an integral institution of rural communities and in rural life. Not only does the local grocery store provide the sustenance of life, it fills the roles of economic driver, community builder, employer and meeting place. Unfortunately, many rural communities across the nation are losing local grocery stores, and residents are forced to leave their communities to purchase food, often at great expense due to great distance. This brief examines trends regarding rural grocery stores, reasons why rural communities are losing grocery stores, and some of the personal and community implications when a community lacks a grocery store. Finally, we examine some of the issues and challenges facing rural grocery stores. Center for Rural Affairs report. (3.1 MB PDF)
Happy cows taste better, say scientists
The equivalent of a session on the analyst’s couch for cows could lead to tastier steaks, scientists say. Livestock are being psychologically tested to produce better quality and more humanely reared meat. Scientists at the CSIRO are using methodology adapted from the study of human psychology to learn the emotional reaction of livestock to certain stressors. The accepted method of testing for stress is blood testing, which shows changes in an animal’s physiology or immune systems. It can highlight an animal’s pain or discomfort but no tests until now have used cognitive testing to determine how animals feel emotionally. He said meat from animals that had been stressed before slaughter was depleted in muscle glycogen, which resulted in a high pH level. “It means the meat will be dark, firm and dry in appearance, with a tough texture,” Mr Ferguson said. “It also has a reduced shelf life because of the bacterial growth.” Queensland Courier Mail story.
Lessons from Ann Cooper’s school-food revolution in Boulder
Ann Cooper is conducting a clinic in Boulder on how to rescue school food. Is anyone paying attention? In remaking the lunch line in Boulder schools, Cooper has revealed the federally subsidized school meals program as living somewhere in the Stone Age. Not merely underfunded, school kitchens are woefully under-managed and under-equipped to function in a digital age. No wonder they constantly run in the red. Schools are incapable of serving real food any more because they are mired in lack of imagination, lack of will, and above all, lack of professional know-how when it comes to producing meals with recognizable whole ingredients. Ed Bruske writes in Grist. Bruske’s blog, The Slow Cook.
In Kansas School District, Students Eat Like They Are On The Farm
To improve the quality and availability of farm fresh goods, the Raymore-Peculiar School District in Kansas recently initiated a program that supplies its students with food directly shipped from farms, according to the Kansas City Star. The district’s director of child nutrition, Colleen Johnston, started the project as she endeavored to increase the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables the students were eating at lunch. A fellow board member, Ryan Wescoat, amassed many farm contacts through his duties at the University of Missouri where he works “with local growers to find new vendors and find new revenue streams.” Benefiting the students and farmers alike, the program is a resounding success. MachineFinder News story.
New farm cooperative wants to build a beef processing plant in Madison County
O’Mara and a cooperative of local farmers have come up with a way to overcome the shortage of processors: They plan to build a 5,000-head custom processing plant in Madison County. It’s a $2 million project that received a significant boost: a $750,000 loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. If that plant is successful, the cooperative will expand to a $20 million commercial plant that could handle 50,000 animals. The proposed plant would enable dairy and beef farmers to increase the value of their cull cows, prime beef or dairy steers. Cooperative members would own their meat products from processing through retail sales. Syracuse.com story.
In America’s breadbasket, good food is hard to find
Starvation is not the problem. Amid fields of wheat and corn as far as the eye can see, residents of the rural Midwest are suffering from what experts call “food deserts” because there are few grocery stores selling healthy food. “You can get beer and doughnuts but you can’t buy an apple,” said Jon Bailey, author of a new study by the Center for Rural Affairs, a nonprofit think tank based in Lyons, Nebraska. Reuters story.
NYC Gov going “Locavore” Big Time!
Today on The Leonard Lopate Show the lead story was called Feeding The Soul and for anyone seeking to restore their faith in good government, it did just that. Two guest in an interview to discuss Food Works in New York City that would have seemed an unlikely pair as recently as yesterday. The city has already moved $4.5 million in public school food spending over to local farms and is trying to change the $300,000 spent on school lettuce to money being pumped into the Rockland County farm economy and processing facilities in the economically depressed Bronx. But that was just the tip of the iceberg. The Stars Hollow Gazette post.
A Walk Through Publix Greenwise Market: Is What Is Sold What Has Been Promised? Lessons For Retailers Thinking Of Launching Specialized Concepts
Yet as we walked around the store and tried to view it from the perspective of someone who had never heard of Greenwise, we came to realize why the stores may not be as successful as they could be. We kept thinking we wanted to check the website of the store so we could understand what the point of the store was. That is a bad sign. A good concept should be crystal clear to the consumer just through the product assortment, the merchandising and in-store marketing. Perishable Pundit blog.
Locavore: Chef Daniel Bruce
Chef Daniel Bruce visited the Dewey Square farmers market with Plum TV. He found some great local ingredients and created a delicious meal. Video posted by Boston Harbor Hotel.
AND IF YOU HAVE TIME
How to Buy four Bales of Cotton to Make a T-shirt
A global process that has a trade war, quite money transfers, an underdog , retaliation and bribery. National Public Radio podcast.