The City Council is hungry for more oversight on food-related issues. Councilman Brad Lander (D-Brooklyn) and Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) introduced a bill Wednesday to create a city Office of Food Policy. They also want to form a 17-member Food Policy Council to advise Mayor de Blasio on rising obesity rates, overhauling the school-lunch system and bringing locally grown fare to the five boroughs. New York Daily News story.
The sustainability of traditional mixed farming systems, and healthy food for ill people
Pogány-havas Regional Association (www.poganyhavas.ro) is a regional development organisation serving a rural population of 22,000 people in the Eastern Carpathians, Transylvania, Romania. It was founded in 1999 by Hargita County Council and the local councils of six municipalities as well as local NGOs and entrepreneurs. It works on a range of projects to increase local incomes, preserve the region’s cultural heritage, develop tourism and conserve the natural environment. Its mission is “to improve the quality of life of locals by respecting natural values and traditions”. Its vision is that the people in the region receive more income thanks to actions based on local resources and traditions. Food Climate Research Network interview.
Looking Towards a New European Food Policy
The association I lead, Slow Food, promotes food that is “good, clean and fair;” food whose quality is not defined just by sensory parameters, but also environmental and social ones. We believe that the idea of food quality is very complex and that we must therefore take responsibility for safeguarding the heritage of biodiversity, culture and ancestral knowledge that makes the act of consciously feeding ourselves one of the fundamental pleasures of existence and a universal right. Everyone should be entitled to “good, clean and fair” food.
Carlo Petrini (Slow Food) message to electoral candidates in EU elections.
Can We Bring Back River Herring? One Town is Ready to Try
Almost every town in Massachusetts has a Herring River or a Herring Pond. The migration of river herring from sea to coastal streams and ponds once marked an important rite of spring for New Englanders. For centuries, the small, oily fish were valued as both bait and an important food source. But today, taking river herring is illegal in Massachusetts because populations are so low. WCAI Cape and Islands NPR Station story. Diary of a Locavore blog.
Toward Healthier Food and Community Change
In Bed-Stuy, like many of New York’s poorest neighborhoods, nutritious options are hard to come by. So, as part of City Harvest’s “Healthy Neighborhoods Initiative,” Alexis Diaz — who co-owns the family store with his father — began implementing a series of changes to increase access to healthy, seasonal food at an affordable price point. They’ve discovered that what benefits the community is also benefiting their bottom line. Alexis told us that awareness and education are key components of their success. Guided shopping tours help residents find and purchase nutritious food on a budget. Periodic samplings of healthy items, accompanied by healthy recipes, teach customers how to prepare unfamiliar foods. Huffington Post blog.
New Orleans Eat Local Challenge
The fourth annual New Orleans Eat Local Challenge begins June 1, and registration for the monthlong event — which challenges participants to eat food that has been raised, grown or caught within 200 miles of the city — opens April 1. The challenge aims to promote sustainable, healthy communities and support local farmers and fishermen. Throughout June, event organizers will host several workshops, markets and contests, including a NOLA Locavore Market on June 14 featuring local produce and seafood, as well as locally brewed and distilled booze and local meat. Gambit: Best of New Orleans story.
From hard cider to soft cheese: This Vermont town is a locavore’s dream
“We’re one of the first farm-to-table bars,” says Nick Roy, head bartender at Juniper in the year-old Hotel Vermont in Burlington, as he gently pours a lemon ginger martini into a chilled glass, ensuring that the liquid hits the lemon-peel garnish just so. “Things here come with a story.” In this age of extreme locavorism, it would be easy to dismiss his claim as a mere boast. But given that the bar stocks bottles from all 17 Vermont-based distilleries; has local beer, cider and no-alcohol ginger beer on tap; and undertakes experiments, such as infusing local bourbon with pumpkin skins left over from the kitchen’s soup-making endeavours, I’m inclined to believe in his enthusiasm. And as I learn on my weekend exploring this small city on the shores of Lake Champlain, supporting small businesses is a way of life here. The hippies may have (mostly) given way to hipsters, but the community-based ethos is the same. The Globe and Mail travel story.
New Documentary “Ingredients” Looks at the Local Food Movement
The documentary film Ingredients takes a refreshing look at the local food movement that is sweeping the US. By shifting to locally grown foods, you improve your health and lower your risk of illness, while benefitting the environment and your local economy. As a culture, Americans have lost their primal connection to their food and to the earth. Consuming local foods helps reestablish this connection. Project Nsearch post.
Food futurologist Dr. Morgaine Gaye on how she forecasts grocery-store trends
Well, for me, actually there’s a second wave of that coming right now, which is looking into salamis. So it’s actually not over because we’re getting very interested in the pig. That was the bacon, but now we’re getting interested in the whole pig. That’s connected to a macro-trend I call “back to the ranch.” What we’re looking at in that trend is something around the urban cowboy, or around the idea of wildness. You might start seeing that in fashion, where you see a lot of fringe. That’s kind of an indicator. There are people wearing cowboy-esque clothing, possibly the hats, possibly the checked shirts, maybe the cowboy boots. Those sorts of things are becoming more and more apparent on the catwalks, so it’s becoming not just something one hipster might do, but a bit more of a general thing. A.V. Club Austin interview.
Menu-data startup Food Genius finds there are no national food trends, only local ones
Chicago startup Food Genius has been mining data from restaurant menus for the last two years hoping to plot out the changing appetites of the country. The idea was to help big food companies like Kraft identify taste trends for their product development teams, so they could get that new Navajo green chili and chicken frozen entrée to market at the peak of a Southwestern cuisine fad rather than at its tail end. There was only one problem. The data they found was not what they expected to find. GigaOM post.
District 7 board to vote on school food policy
The policy acknowledges that the Student Health and Fitness Act of 2005 requires that each school district establish and maintain a school health advisory council to assess, plan and implement district and school health policies and programs. The council must be comprised of community members, school representatives, students, parents, district food service employees and school board members. That council would determine the foods that could be sold or given at district schools, as well as what could be sold in vending machines. The proposal states that “healthy eating and activity patterns are essential for students to achieve their full academic potential, full physical and mental growth, and lifelong health and well-being.” The policy’s standards on foods and drinks made available are detailed. Spartanburg Herald Journal story.
AND IF YOU HAVE TIME
National Geographic Launches Robust Online Portal Exploring Future of Food
National Geographic launches a Web portal, NatGeoFood.com, dedicated to exploring issues surrounding how we eat today and how we can provide food for all as the world’s population grows and climate change impacts growing seasons and planting zones. NatGeoFood.com will aggregate content from a major series in National Geographic magazine kicking off in May and will include many digital-only features, such as animated motion graphics, videos, food facts of the day and news stories. Editors have invited five bloggers with different perspectives — José Andrés, a chef; Mary Beth Albright, a food policy analyst; Maryn McKenna, a science blogger; Jasmine Wiggins, a casual foodie; and Rebecca Rupp, a food historian — to contribute weekly to a food-related blog called The Plate. In mid-May, National Geographic will host a Google Hangout with leading experts to explore how eating seafood can be a sustainable choice — the first of several Hangouts planned across the year. National Geographic post.