How a Texas Convenience Store Became a Locavore Haven
Topiwala actively cultivates personal ties with his suppliers, to whom he’s happy to pay a premium for the value they add to their ingredients. Dairy comes from Water Oak Farms, a goat farm outside Houston, or from White Mountain Foods (all organic). Beef comes from the Bastrop Cattle Company, a grass-fed operation located down the road. Lamb—an exceedingly popular ingredient in the Whip In’s repertoire—is sourced from Loncito Cartwright, who runs a 600-head sheep farm in Dinero, Texas. Topiwala’s vegetables are delivered by Farm to Table, an Austin company that distributes produce from 15 local farms, or through Segovia Produce, which sources as much local produce as it can. Mushrooms come from Kitchen Pride, a mushroom farm in Gonzales. So loyal is Topiwala to his array of suppliers that when Sysco showed up promising to cut the Whip In’s costs, it was quickly shown the door. The Atlantic story
In New Food Culture, a Young Generation of Farmers Emerges
For years, Tyler Jones, a livestock farmer here, avoided telling his grandfather how disillusioned he had become with industrial farming. But several weeks before his grandfather died, Mr. Jones broached the subject. His grandfather surprised him. “You have to fix what Earl and I messed up,” Mr. Jones said his grandfather told him. Now, Mr. Jones, 30, and his wife, Alicia, 27, are among an emerging group of people in their 20s and 30s who have chosen farming as a career. Many shun industrial, mechanized farming and list punk rock, Karl Marx and the food journalist Michael Pollan as their influences. The Joneses say they and their peers are succeeding because of Oregon’s farmer-foodie culture, which demands grass-fed and pasture-raised meats. The New York Times story.
Don’t End Agricultural Subsidies, Fix Them
Agricultural subsidies have helped bring us high-fructose corn syrup, factory farming, fast food, a two-soda-a-day habit and its accompanying obesity, the near-demise of family farms, monoculture and a host of other ills. Yet — like so many government programs — what subsidies need is not the axe, but reform that moves them forward. Imagine support designed to encourage a resurgence of small- and medium-size farms producing not corn syrup and animal-feed but food we can touch, see, buy and eat — like apples and carrots — while diminishing handouts to agribusiness and its political cronies. The New York Times Opinionator blog.
Small Poultry Farmers Face Lack of Slaughter Houses
But the following year, the ODA sent Jones a letter saying that his license had been issued “in error.” According to Jim Postlewait, food program manager at the ODA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture informed his agency that it had incorrectly interpreted the 20,000-bird exemption: State-licensed facilities must still comply with federal construction and sanitation requirements, and Jones’ butchering shed did not. The ODA then determined that slaughter must be done in a building with washable walls and screened glass windows. High Country News story.
Counsel to Cities: Feed Thyself
America’s first full-scale urban agriculture program is sprouting in San Francisco, a prime initiative of former Mayor Gavin Newsom (recently elected California’s lieutenant governor). Newsom began by ordering city departments to audit any scraps of unused land that might be turned into gardens, from empty lots to window sills to rooftops. In Brooklyn, Eagle Street Rooftop Farm, located atop an old warehouse, is growing vegetables to sell at local markets and to local restaurants — inviting volunteers to help cultivate the plots on weekends and learn techniques for creating gardens on their window sills or roofs. City farms are sprouting from Detroit to Los Angeles, Milwaukee to Miami, many of them in the nation’s grittiest, grimiest neighborhoods. Neal Peirce, Washington Post Writers Group post on CitiWire.Net.
Carbon Tax on Carnivores
Many people think with either their wallets or their stomachs. Taking advantage of that can be used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A tax on meat and milk would likely mean we’d buy less of the foods that contribute to climate change. And that’s good for the environment, said a study published in the journal Climate Change. “This tax is not at all a matter of forcing people to become vegetarians but merely moving toward a slightly more climate-smart diet,” said one of the study’s authors Stefan Wirsenius, of the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, in a press release. Discovery News Analysis by Tim Wall
Food System Planning Theory and Practice
Food Systems Planning is a nascent field in the planning profession. Until recently, planners have largely ignored the food production, distribution, and consumption sectors, considering them to be issues of the free market. However, bolstered by growing societal concerns about the equity and environmental sustainability of the global food system, planners are becoming increasingly engaged in local efforts to analyze and address food system challenges and opportunities. JAFSCD call for papers.
Whether certain activities, specifically rental of horses for recreational riding and the use of a corn field as a maze were protected by Michigan’s right to farm law.
The court stated that “horses are farm animals, and activities involving the use, handling and care of farm animals qualify as a farm operation.” The court also determined that a corn field maze was protected by the right to farm law. The court reasoned that since a field of corn is agriculturally produced and the definition of farm product is not limited to products that are edible, a corn field maze was protected by the right to farm law. Village of Rothbury v Double JJ Resort Ranch, Inc.
Inclusion of its property in an agricultural district
An appeals court held that the petitioner failed to meet its burden of demonstrating that the county legislature’s administrative determination denying its application for the inclusion of its property in an agricultural district. The Court found that the legislature’s decision was rational based on its expressed concerns regarding adverse impacts on the town and upon neighboring properties. Specifically, the court noted that the petitioner’s projected increase in the number of hogs kept on subject property would contravene local zoning and create a potential health hazard. Deerpark Farms, LLC v Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board of Orange County
Greenhouses, Cold Frames, and Pole Barn Did Not Qualify as Accessory Uses Under Zoning
Pursuant to the definition of “accessory building” in § 04.20.01, if the greenhouses, pole barn, and cold frames were not a barn, a garage, or a storage building/shed as defined by the ordinance, they were not “accessory buildings. The buildings did not meet any of those definitions. Section 04.20.03 defined an “accessory supplemental building” in a manner contemplating a residential use as the main property use by its reference to a “‘building used by the occupants of the principal building for recreation or pleasure . . . .’” There was no evidence the plaintiffs’ greenhouses and cold frames were used “‘for recreation or pleasure.’” Papadelis v. City of Troy
AND IF YOU HAVE TIME
Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community – Urban Agriculture Issue February Issue.
Grubwithus – Startup Brings People Offline to Make Connections over Food
We go online for restaurant recommendations, recipes, dating, networking, and finding activity or interest groups, among other things. As our world becomes increasingly social, a growing number of startups are attempting to bridge the divide between digital and real life interactions. Sites such as Meetup.com have been extremely successful in leveraging technology as a tool for helping people organize online and meet offline. Grubwithus, a new site to this scene, is using technology to help people find good food at affordable prices online and new friends and connections offline. The site allows you to search for and book price-fixed, family-style meals at restaurants. It also offers social networking tools to help you continue conversations and further develop relationships with fellow diners. Website.