Policy

Can Human Agriculture Actually Do Good?

Can Human Agriculture Actually Do Good?

As an environmentalist I’m used to hearing about how bad we humans are for the planet—we destroy, we take over, and we pollute all over the world. What we environmentalists don’t often talk about is what good humans have done, or at least what good we can do. When we choose, we can build our homes and communities in ways that benefit native plants and animals; we grow gardens that are havens for bees, butterflies, […]

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June 11, 2013 at 6:21 amPolicy

Why I’m not a “Foodie”

Why I’m not a “Foodie”

After moving back to Milwaukee, my home city, last year and eating my newly non-vegan way through a few of the “greener” restaurants, I started to wonder who else pondered a few obvious things: Why is this food so damn expensive? Why does just about everyone in here look the same? Why am I eating here? Sustainable food systems have exploded in popularity in the past couple of years. I feel enthused that so many […]

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May 24, 2013 at 7:45 amPolicy

Exercising Our Right to Health with Excise Taxes on Sugary Beverages

Exercising Our Right to Health with Excise Taxes on Sugary Beverages

In 2012, sugary drink (SD) excise taxes were under consideration in eight U.S. states and one city. Not one piece of legislation passed though California currently has pending legislation. Excise taxes are included in the price of an item at the point of selection, NOT simply added on at the cash register as with a sales tax. Sales tax is applied to SDs in 34 U.S. States. Proposals to tax SDs have met with strong […]

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May 7, 2013 at 11:34 amPolicy

Big-Ag Afraid of its Reflection, Seeks Ag-Gag Bill for Protection

Big-Ag Afraid of its Reflection, Seeks Ag-Gag Bill for Protection

Disclaimer: This piece contains graphic descriptions of animal abuse, collected by investigators working undercover as farm workers who have used their videos to criminalize abusive animal owners.  America’s history of undercover investigative journalism, most notably Upton Sinclair’s 1906 The Jungle, which exposed the unsanitary conditions of food processing sites, and Elizabeth Jane Cochran’s undercover investigation of the conditions in insane asylums, are famous for changing public opinion of our food and health systems, and instigating […]

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April 24, 2013 at 11:48 amPolicy Uncategorized

Don’t Judge a Fruit by its Color – Produce Standards and Food Waste in America

Don’t Judge a Fruit by its Color – Produce Standards and Food Waste in America

Picture an idyllic family-run peach farm in rural Connecticut. There are rows upon rows stretching for acres with luscious and zingy Red Garnets, Washingtons, or Raritan Roses. I spent the summer after graduating from high school in the late 90’s there, pruning, picking, and selling the fruit. People came from all over to pick their own or drive up to the small wooden hut where we sold any of our forty-two varieties of juicy peaches […]

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April 15, 2013 at 1:35 pmPolicy

On “Guerilla Fertilizing” and San Francisco’s Mandatory Composting

On “Guerilla Fertilizing” and San Francisco’s Mandatory Composting

I always used to cringe when I tossed my leftover food and vegetable scraps into my kitchen trash can. Apple cores and rotten kale are not the most mouthwatering of foods but I felt guilty about adding my scraps to landfills. I know that the food we toss can nourish depleted soil in farms and gardens and help cultivate the food we devour daily. I became a compost junkie. Armed with a plastic shower caddy, […]

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March 26, 2013 at 6:00 amPolicy

Ethical Dining and Restaurant Workers Rights

Ethical Dining and Restaurant Workers Rights

“People eat with blinders. We just want to eat our nice dinner without thinking about whether the person who made it is ok.” This statement, made by Barbara Sibley at last week’s roundtable discussion on Food, Justice, and Restaurants at the New School for Public Engagement, undoubtedly struck a nerve or two. It took the question that had thus far been tacitly woven into each speaker’s stated experiences and thrust it onto the table like […]

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March 25, 2013 at 6:00 amPolicy

The Risky Business of Raw Milk

The Risky Business of Raw Milk

Born into a family of farmers, my father grew up in rural Western Missouri. The nearest town was miles away so being self-sufficient was a must. What they did not eat from their garden was canned and frozen. Meat was often hunted in nearby timber and milk was provided by two Jersey cows. My father had farm chores, but it was his father who hand-milked the cows twice a day—early in the morning and at […]

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March 23, 2013 at 7:00 amPolicy

We Serve You – We Aren’t Servants. “Behind the Kitchen Door” and Restaurant Worker’s Rights

We Serve You – We Aren’t Servants. “Behind the Kitchen Door” and Restaurant Worker’s Rights

First I was a host, then a server, and in a flash I found myself with five years of New York City restaurant experience on my resume. When I sat down to read Saru Jayaraman’s new book Behind the Kitchen Door about worker conditions within the restaurant industry, it was as someone who’d witnessed many of these problems firsthand. Yet, I’m a tall, college-and-private-school-educated, white female from a middle class family. I’m within the group […]

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March 12, 2013 at 6:00 amPolicy

In 2018, Whole Foods Will Finally Label GMOs

In 2018, Whole Foods Will Finally Label GMOs

Whole Foods’ announcement that by 2018, all items containing GMOs will be labeled in their stores has been met with a lot of fanfare. Finally, the dominant purveyor of all foods local, organic, and healthy is entering the conversation over GMO and food labeling. But are they really taking much of a stand? According to the press release, in 2009, Whole Foods began verifying its store-brand, 365 Everyday Value, through the Non-GMO Project. Today, they […]

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March 11, 2013 at 3:06 pmPolicy