Before I started farming, I had little idea that non-profits like Berkshire Grown existed all over the nation, supporting small farms in ways that, unfortunately, state and federal governments are currently not set up to do.
These changes are undoubtedly a victory for health advocates. As First Lady Michelle Obama put it: "This is a big deal, and it's going to make a big difference for families all across this country." They could also create a crisis for the food industry.
Only pro-consumption cues were given from both the advertisers and in my personal life, such as being rewarded with a soda after my baseball game or the cheap, allowance-friendly price of a bottle of Pepsi at my local convenience store.
I've taken a tiny sampling of the industry's talking points and looked a little deeper. The following claims come from the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food. The arguments they are propagating are beyond flawed and incomplete: They are downright wrong.
It is the hope of the California Food Policy Council that 2014 will also be the year that the State of California joins the United Nations in identifying family farms and food systems as a cornerstone for health and resilience in the 21st century.
Food companies have the challenge of turning the unpalatable into the delectable and changing long-standing cultural norms about what we put into our mouths. It is possible to fill seven billion bellies with nutrient-rich foods; but we're going to have to embrace some unorthodox ingredients.
Our nation got itself into this mess of poor nutritional habits, rampant obesity and declining health over many decades. Let's make sure that the facts about food reform policies don't get left in the dust of sensationalism.
I strongly believe that the future of GMO labeling lies in education, full disclosure, and a decision on the part of the consumer that says NO to the food companies that insist on lying to us. How do we do that? By following the European model: If there is no demand, there is no fabrication.
For the food movement to place unstoppable pressure on policymakers and industrial food producers, it needs a very focused set of goals that emerge from a single root crisis that binds us all. Public health is that crisis.
NYC held the first city-wide Mayoral Candidate Food Forum in the country, but now that the food movement has matured to the point where politicians have taken notice, how do we get our legislators to catch up with the mindset of community organizers and local activists?
If we really wanted restaurants to pay their workers fairly, we would require them to pay their own workers and factor that expense into their prices -- much like every other business has ever had to do.
My biggest concern is that solely focusing on weight impedes the health movement's progress. Such a clinical and quantitative frame gives very little thought to -- and leaves no room for a conversation about -- socio-political and environmental factors that pose a threat to our health.
The Obama administration should use the next four years to pursue even more aggressive initiatives that make our food supply safer, our kids better protected from junk-food marketers, and our diets healthier
Instead of putting grain on barges and shipping them across the world, what if we could work with local farmers and buy fresh food in local markets and rush it into famine areas? It's about fixing broken policies, and also about things you and I can do.
I came back to work after a two-week vacation last Thursday and couldn't miss the story about the USDA's internal endorsement for Meatless Mondays, then rapid reversal and resultant fallout, most of which read like an Onion article.
The latest report by the Food & Environment Reporting Network takes a look at how the American Farm Bureau Federation leads the charge against efforts to limit industrial-scale food production and has become the single most powerful farm lobby in the nation.
Given that nine states have attempted to pass bills to try to improve SNAP, (all failed thanks to a combined lobbying effort by the food industry and anti-hunger groups, which also stopped New York City's high-profile attempt) why not give the idea a chance?