Why the Next President Will Need a National Food Policy
Last November, we published an op-ed article in the Washington Post calling on the president to establish a National Food Policy (NFP). Given that the production and consumption of food has a bigger impact on Americans’ well-being than any other human activity, our premise was that it deserved the same attention as such well-established federal policy areas as national security, the environment, education, or healthcare. Yet, despite its increasingly evident importance to the health of our people and our environment, the U.S. has no NFP — no plan or agreed-upon set of principles — for managing American agriculture or the food system as a whole. Medium post.
The big business behind the local food
Consumers’ appetite for local foods is exploding. Overall, local foods generated $11.7 billion in sales in 2014, and will climb to $20.2 billion by 2019, according to Packaged Facts, a market research firm. Not only has there been huge growth in the number of farm-to-table restaurants and farmers’ markets, but grocery chains and big box retailers, including Wal-Mart, are elbowing their way in, aggressively expanding and marketing their locally grown offerings for sale. Fortune story.
California Legalized Selling Food Made At Home And Created Over A Thousand Local Businesses
A government official appears at a man’s door. The man has been breaking the law: He has sold bread baked at home. This isn’t a page from Kafka—it happened to Mark Stambler in Los Angeles. For decades, Stambler has followed traditional methods to bake loaves of French bread. The ingredients are simple: distilled water, sea salt, wild yeast and organic grains. Stambler even mills the grain himself. To make it easier to steam loaves, he built a wood-fired oven in his own backyard. Stambler’s loaves came in first place at the Los Angeles County Fair and the California State Fair. Soon after that, Stambler got the idea to expand his hobby into a home business, which became Pagnol Boulanger. Word of mouth spread. In June 2011, The Los Angeles Times profiled Stambler and his bread in a full-page feature. Unlike his bread, that profile was bittersweet. He was busted the very next day. Forbes story.
California Homemade Food Act
A city, county, or city and county shall not prohibit a cottage food operation, as defined in Section 113758 of the Health and Safety Code, in any residential dwellings, but shall do one of the following: (1) Classify a cottage food operation as a permitted use of residential property for zoning purposes. (2) Grant a nondiscretionary permit to use a residence as any cottage food operation that complies with local ordinances prescribing reasonable standards, restrictions, and requirements concerning spacing and concentration, traffic control, parking, and noise control relating to those homes. California Assembly Bill No. 1616.
Welsh food centres team up to support £7bn plan
Wales’s three food centres are to collaborate to support the Welsh government’s Food and Drink Action Plan to grow the sector by 30% to £7bn by the year 2020. Food and Drink Manufacturing Sector post.
More women taking up hunting; quest for local food, cultural shift behind growth
More women are taking up the largely male-dominated sport of hunting to stock their freezers with local foods and as cultural influences, including movie heroines and marketers, make it more socially acceptable. Many of the new female hunters did not grow up hunting and are joining spouses or boyfriends in the sport, researchers say. Hunting outfitters are tapping into that. Movies like “The Hunger Games,” ”The Hobbit,” and “Brave,” which feature skilled female archers, have driven more girls and women to the sport, researchers say. Global News story.
JetBlue Has A Real, Working Farm At JFK Airport In New York City
JetBlue, everyone’s favorite airline if only because you get unlimited snacks, announced something a bit unexpected late last week. It’s not a new destination, nor some kind of fun sale—but an urban farm, based right outside the JetBlue terminal at New York City’s decidedly un-pastoral JFK airport. This past Thursday, discount airline JetBlue revealed that the company has set up a 24,000-square-foot farm just outside Terminal 5 in JFK airport, in Queens, New York. It’s actually an interesting design; because the farm is set up on concrete, there’s no natural soil to be used, so containers or planters are a must. The beds are made of 2,300 black plastic milk cartons bolted together, and the soil is, appropriately enough, mostly constructed of mulch made from composted food waste donated by restaurants in Terminal 5. Modern Farmer story.
‘Farm To Air’? Why JetBlue Is Farming At A New York Airport
“If it sounds crazy from the outside, it sounds mind-blowingly dumb inside an airport community. A lot of people raised their eyebrows,” Sophia Mendelsohn, JetBlue’s manager of sustainability, says. But she decided to go for it anyway, in part because the company was already making soil with composted JetBlue food waste in the Hudson Valley. The Salt story.
Ten amazing food market stalls around the world
Everyone knows markets offer great foodie experiences, but finding top produce needs local knowledge. We asked bloggers and food experts for their favourites – whether you fancy sushi, sausage or chai with a twist. The Guardian story.
Halloween event happening at Discovery Harbour: Pumpkinferno
Pumpkinferno got its start at Morrisburg’s Upper Canada Village three years ago, with attendance averaging more than 36,000 people annually. As well, the eastern Ontario entry has won multiple awards, including Ottawa Tourism’s Best New Company of the Year and Ontario’s Best New Event from Festivals and Events Ontario in 2013. Orillia Packet & Times story.
AND IF YOU HAVE TIME
The World’s First Robot Farm Requires No (Human) Farmers At All
Indoor farming, hyper-futuristic and spotless high-tech farms, have long been pegged as a possible future of farming. They’re low-profile, easy on the environment, and can be made to produce massive quantities of food, especially quick-growing crops like lettuces, very easily. The newest mega-farm is enormous, yes, but interesting for another reason: It’s run entirely by robots. One of the newest, from a Japanese company called SPREAD, takes that whole idea a step further by fully automating the entire process. According to Co.Design, SPREAD, which already operates a few indoor farms around Japan, will open a new, enormous “vegetable factory” outside Kyoto sometime in 2017. The new farm will focus on lettuce, which grows easily indoors and in these environments, and will be able to pump out 10 million heads of lettuce in a year, more than three times as much as the next largest SPREAD farm. Modern Farmer story.