News Roundup: Friday 3.7.2014

We are still feeling inspired by last week’s TEDX Manhattan conference (visit Tuesday’s News Roundup for our favorite talks). Tom Colicchio’s quote from the weekend below reminds us that we have a remarkable amount of power when we stay united and informed. Join us in following this week’s news about the cost of GMOs to organic farmers, the ever-present but quickly fading “yoga mat” chemical in our food, the latest moves of the Grocery Manufacturers Association and Monsanto, and a whole lot more. Let’s get informed and take action, Warriors.

Words to Live By

As soon as one legislator loses their job over the way they vote over hunger issues and food issues...when that happens we’ll send a clear message to Congress that we’re organized and viable and we’re strong, and yes, we have a food movement and we’re coming for you. Vote food.

— Tom Colicchio at TEDX Manhattan

Newest News

Who Pays for GMOs?
Despite all the misgivings about GMOs, at least the general public has access to less-expensive food, right? Well, that depends on who you are. A new survey by Food and Water Watch (conducted to provide non-biotech biased data for the USDA) found, among many other things, that some farmers have had to pay up to $4,500 to clean up GMO contamination on their non-GMO farms. The issue of field contamination comes to the fore now as the USDA asks for public input on “Enhancing Agricultural Coexistence.” They’re considering how to better support non-GMO and GMO farmers. We’d like to see the burden of dealing with GMO contamination taken off the backs of farmers and put onto the manufacturers of these seeds. Check out our “Get Involved” section to see what you can do about it.


Azodincarbonamide Can’t Hide
A few weeks ago, we highlight the fabulous work of Vani Hari and and her win in getting Subway to take the “yoga mat” chemical azodicarbonamide, a known carcinogen, out of their bread. Our friends at the Environmental Working Group took up this cause and added to Hari’s work. Learn a little more about azodincarbonamide and check out which other products out there contain it. You’ll also be please to know that over the past few weeks, Wonder Bread and Martin’s Potato rolls are working to rid their products of the chemical.
Nearly 500 ways to make a yoga mat sandwich via Environmental Working Group


Professor Monsanto is Not the Best Science Teacher
It so often seems that Monsanto bears the brunt of the GMO debate; does it really deserve this? Most of us would say yes! This global ag-giant would love to for us to believe that its products are safe and tested rigorously to ensure no harm on human health or the earth. Our friends at the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) are calling Monsanto out on using the words “sound science” to explain the way that it conducts internal research on its products. OCA offers five recent scientific studies that blatantly disprove some of the company’s claims. If you are feeling fed up with Monsanto, check out our ‘Get Involved” section for the latest petitions asking the company to change its shady ways.
Five reasons Monsanto's 'science' doesn't add up via Organic Consumers Association


Get Involved

One Great Cause, Two Great Petitions
As mentioned above, the USDA sought comments on its AC21 Guidelines for Enhancing Agricultural Coexistence this week, and if these guidelines are enacted, organic and non-gmo farmers could bear the brunt of the cost. Though the public comment period is officially closed, you can still visit the Food Democracy Now! link to write a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to let him know how you feel. Please take a moment longer to check out the Cornucopia Institute link to glean some great talking points for your letter.


Let’s Get Everyone to Swim With the Current
Genetically engineered salmon has the potential to be some scary stuff on many accounts (grows twice as fast as normal salmon and endangers wild populations, to name a few). The tide seems to be turning, though, on which big market businesses support this latest GE red flag. Recently Kroger and Safeway have agreed not to stock the stuff on their shelves, and they join a host of other food retailers that are doing the same. Read more about the power of this movement in the business community at the LA Times opinion piece below ... and sign the petition urging Costco to join the effort.


The Fast Food Frontline

Facts up Front is a Front
The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) is at it again; this time it’s more about nutrition labelling on food packages. Along with the Food Marketing Institute, their goal is to promote “Facts Up Front” labeling, which is really just a clever ploy to make processed food look healthy. Check out Marion Nestle’s account of the history and ramifications of this type of labeling, and then read the Politico article to which she refers. Let’s not be duped by the marketing initiatives of these Big Food players.
“Satisfrying” the Need for Healthier Fast Food?
In an attempt to make their kids’ meals a little healthier, Burger King will start replacing french fries with “satisfries” (20% fewer calories and 25% less fat than regular fries). Burger King relies heavily on advertising to children (kids’ meals alone are 10% of sales!), so it is nice to see them attempting to improve the calories and fat in the meals that they are serving them. It’s a far cry from making their kid’s meals healthy (let’s be honest, “healthy fast food” is an oxymoron), but this is an interesting move and a trend that is possibly brought about by pressure from food activists, falling sales on regular fries, or some other factor of the wellness movement.


Prevention News

Nursing Ourselves Back to Mindfulness
If you know any nurses (or are one), then you are well aware of the long hours, demanding work, and the stress that can come along with the job. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) was shown to help relieve stress and improve overall wellness in a small study of nurses in a large healthcare company. Though the small sample size obfuscates the definitiveness of the study, we can also posit that it is just telling us something that many of us already know: being aware and mindful can do wonders for our wellbeing.
Positive health technique for stressed nurses found via Science Daily


What We're Watching

Fast Casual Film Foray
The jury is still out on Chipotle’s latest advertising scheme turned mini-series, but it is getting buzz and promoting some good stuff. Check out episode three, which aired this week, in the fast-casual restaurants’ attempt to raise awareness about problems inherent with factory farming and agribusiness controlling most of the food business.
Farmed and Dangerous #3 via Chipotle

Wonderful Listening

The Voices of Permaculture Voices
If you’ve never ventured into the world of Permaculture, you are in for a treat. Permaculture is a landscape design, sustainable agriculture, and lifestyle theory based around ecological principles and a do-it-ourselves mentality. In this recording a prominent permaculturist explains some permaculture theory, gives gardening tips, and talks about the upcoming Permaculture Voices conference next weekend in Temecula, California, which includes some amazing guest speakers (including Michael Pollan and Danielle Nierenberg of Foodtank).


A Bold and Amazing Combo that Will Make You Rethink Salads
Have your salads become a graveyard for all of the veggies that you had in your frig’s crisper drawer?  This is not that salad. This is far from that salad. This is a salad with purpose! Every ingredient adds depth, intrigue, and flare to make a bright and hearty salad that also happens to have an impressive array of nutrients. 
Lacinato Kale Salad with Grapefruit
  • 3 cups raw lacinato kale, stems removed, cut into strips 1 cm wide (measure after cutting)
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 1 tablespoons shallot, sliced thinly
  • 2 tablespoons fresh goat cheese
  • 1 grapefruit, peeled and cut into sections, with dividing membranes removed
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil


For the dressing: Combine in a dressing bottle or small bowl. Mix well before using.

Mix kale, pine nuts and shallot in a large bowl. Season salad with salt and pepper. Pick goat cheese into small pieces and mix into the salad. Toss the salad with enough dressing to coat leaves. Arrange grapefruit sections on the salad after it is put on the plate so they do not break.

Lacinato Kale Salad with Grapefruit via The Splendid Table

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