Elevator Pitch: Lovefre.sh and the local food revolution
Given the surge of interest in slow food, local food, farmers’ markets and quality, independently-produced regional food, a killer app for this delicious corner of the apps market was inevitable. Mark Spofforth and Geoff Tidey founded Lovefre.sh to make good local food easier to find, promote and to share, making its iPhone app live on Valentine’s Day this year. 28,000 downloads later, and several thousand more on their Blackberry, Android, Nokia and Windows Phone 7 compatible web app, Lovefre.sh is brewing some promising partnerships and, with some skillful promotion by Christian Payne, tackled SXSW as one of three startups out to promote good food. Guardian post.
The Edible Schoolyard Academy
The Chez Panisse Foundation presents the third annual Edible Schoolyard Academy: Creating Garden and Kitchen Classrooms in Every Community. The ESY Academy is designed to support emerging garden and kitchen programs nationwide, and to strengthen resource and information sharing among them. Led by Edible Schoolyard staff and guest presenters, the academy provides a three-day Edible Education immersion. Through hands-on activities, presentations, guided discussion, and curriculum building sessions, participants will learn to use tools for teaching Edible Education—an integrated approach to education in the garden, kitchen, and classroom. Edible School Yard website.
Institutional Food with Taste
Hospital food: The very term conjures bland and unappetizing images. But that’s changing in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, population 65,000, where Sacred Heart, the smaller of the city’s two hospitals, is spending 10 percent of its food budget on local produce and meat. By industry standards, this does not amount to much—about $200,000 a year. But cracking the institutional market is one of the trickier challenges facing food system reformers, and this 344-bed hospital is showing the way. Sacred Heart’s kitchen now serves meatloaf made of hamburger from Vic and Mary Price’s Out to Pasture Beef in Fall Creek, chicken from Eileen McCutchen’s Angel Acres in Mason, pork from Jim and Alison Deutsch’s Family Farm near Osseo, and lots of other locally sourced items. For Sacred Heart’s CEO, Stephen Ronstrom, serving patients local foods connects the dots between his institution’s Franciscan mission, investing in the regional community, and promoting health and wellness. “It’s not New Age to say food is medicine, and what we eat affects our health and longevity,” he says. Utne article.
Minnesota schools embrace Farm to School
Participation rises from 10 to 123 districts in 4 years, new survey finds. Participation in Farm to School is growing exponentially among Minnesota K-12 school districts, benefiting students and local farmers, according to the third annual Farm to School survey published by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. Third Annual Survey of School Foodservice Leaders
CoFed Builds a Web of Student Food Co-ops
Say you’re a college student ready to eschew the standard pizza-burrito-pretzels-beer diet and start eating more whole, sustainably produced foods. Say you want to take it a step further and work to make healthy and ethical food widely available on your campus–without the gourmet grocery store prices. Well, you might consider starting a co-op. “There are so many students learning the theory behind food systems who are itching to put it into practice, and co-ops are the way to do it,” says Enosh Baker, a recent UC Davis ecology graduate and a regional organizer with the Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive. Civil Eats post.
Industry Comes Under the Scrutiny of EcoAware Moms
EcoAware Moms are a receptive target market for sustainability, according to a new study of more than 4,000 Americans ages 18-65 years, conducted by EcoFocus Worldwide, St. Petersburg, Florida, USA. EcoFocus is a timely new venture founded by Linda Gilbert, who also founded market research firm HealthFocus in 1990. The EcoFocus Global Trend Survey offers insights into the “how,” “what” and “why” of consumer perspectives driving choices in the green and sustainability marketplace. Unlike other surveys, the study focuses on the complete bell curve of consumers and looks at green and sustainable in terms of consumers’ everyday lives as opposed to concern over global issues such as climate change. Sustainable Plant story.
Citizens Shake their Cream into Butter at the State Legislature
Our Butter Appreciation day at the Vermont statehouse was great! Our purpose was to openly challenge the Vermont Agency of Agriculture’s interpretation of Act 62 (the Unpasteurized Milk Law) by conducting butter making lessons inside the State House. We arrived at the statehouse with each volunteer bringing their own jar of cream. I had my boys with me and we brought the supplies up. Checked in with the sergeant at arms and headed to Rm 10. There was a chamber of commerce mtg breaking up. Anthony Pollina (one of my state senators and founder of Rural Vermont) was there. When he realized why we were there he said he had a committee mtg and he’d try to get back down when we were set up. We didn’t see him again. It was a pretty busy day, made more noticeable by the extra security. More butter “shakers” came with the rest of the supplies. Hartke Is Online post.
Homegrown.org is an online community of people interested in all things homegrown: growing, cooking, crafting, preserving, building, making and creating. It’s a place where we can learn from each other, ask questions, and show off how we dig in the dirt, grow our own food, work with our hands, and cook and share our meals – all things that we call homegrown. Website.
Shortage of grocers plagues Mass. Cities
Massachusetts ranks nearly dead last — third from the bottom nationally — in having enough supermarkets with fresh, nutritious food, according to a report to be released today by the Massachusetts Public Health Association. The shortage is especially severe in lower-income communities, where many residents struggle with obesity and related ailments. Boston Globe story.
John Reinhardt’s Open Source Urban Agriculture Policy Approach
Most people attempting to build a viable urban agriculture business are acutely aware of the enormously challenging and time-consuming process of navigating zoning regulations. Having worked in this sector, I can personally attest to the fact that the excruciating process is not fun for anyone involved. Over the past couple of years, a number of cities such as New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Chicago have begun enacting, or at the very least exploring, new regulations. One of the major challenges facing policy-makers, however, is identifying effective policies and best practices. Which is why I got excited when I learned about John Reinhardt and the urban agriculture zoning and food sovereignty ordinance maps recently launched on his blog Grown in the City. Among other things covered, Reinhardt and his cousin Bob Wall are using technology to help people understand urban agriculture and food sovereignty policy approaches across the United States. Food + Tech Connect interview.
AND IF YOU HAVE TIME
Mapping Global Food Spending
A one-dollar bag of rice in the U.S. is not the same as a one-dollar bag of rice in Indonesia. For an American, who, on average, devotes about seven percent of his or her spending to food, it will not matter that much if the price of rice doubles to two dollars. An American can likely take the money that would have gone to a “non-essential” item and put it towards food instead. But for an Indonesian, who devotes 43 percent of his/her spending to food, it could mean less to eat. The interactive map shows data on the percentages of spending that go towards food by residents of countries around the world. Civil Eats infographic.