Posted on Friday, January 27th, 2012 by

News from the Hub – Week of January 23, 2012

Fresh Picks: Top 5 Stories Worth Reading

Latina entrepreneurs share wealth, knowledge
San Francisco Chronicle
Call it Latin influence. A growing group of successful Latina entrepreneurs are serving as role models for the next generation of food artisans and farmers with Latin roots. La Cocina is a nonprofit Mission District incubator program that supports low-income edible enterprises, many run by Latinas.

Not Your Grandmother’s Hospital Food
NPR (blog)
Hospital food, like airplane food, is the kind of institutional food we love to hate. But the days of jello cups and puddles of grayish gravy are numbered. A lot of people — from deep-pocketed foodies to fast-food lovers to locavores — aren’t standing for barely edible hospital food anymore.

Farm Ministers Denounce Food Waste as Almost 1 Billion Go Hungry
BusinessWeek
Farm ministers and policy makers gathered in Berlin denounced waste in rich countries, saying consumers must stop throwing away food as almost 1 billion people in developing countries go hungry. Consumers in rich countries dispose of 220 million metric tons of food waste every year, equal to the entire food output of sub-Saharan Africa.

Eastern Oregon biofuel refinery wins federal loan backing to make ethanol from poplar trees
OregonLive.com
In a few years, you could be filling up with fuel made from Oregon poplar trees, wheat straw and corn stalks. Financed in part with a $235 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced today, ZeaChem plans a $390 million biofuel refinery in Boardman capable of producing up to 25 million gallons of ethanol per year.

Treat restaurant workers well, expect better business, study says
Los Angeles Times
It’s an equation that seems simple but still escapes many restaurateurs: Treat your employees well, and your business will be better for it. Offering restaurant workers good pay, benefits and career mobility usually translates into high short-term costs — a burden that causes many low-margin eateries to underpay and overwork their employees.

News From the Region

Morning News: Dramatic Rise in Idaho Farm Income, Record Number on Food Stamps, More Employers Show at Boise Job Fair
NPR State Impact
Despite much higher input costs and a precipitous drop in government payments, Idaho’s former record for net farm income was blown away in 2012. University of Idaho agricultural economists estimate total net farm income in Idaho during 2011 was $2.64 billion, which is $903 million more than the former record of $1.737 billion in 2008.

Growing to school: Students taste success with local food program
The Wenatchee World Online
Fresh Food in Schools is a three-year project which aims to increase the amount of public school food budget dollars spent on Washington grown produce, and to build meaningful, mutually beneficial relationships between school food programs and local farmers. Twenty school districts across the state have been selected to participate in this project in order to create or enhance a farm-to-school program.

Locavore movement having an impact on farmers markets, CSAs
Bellingham Herald
While I was indoors basking in front of the fireplace during the beautiful snowstorms last week, I took the opportunity to explore how the local eating (locavore) movement is evolving around the country. I learned some interesting things about how food production and food marketing are being affected by the growing interest in local foods.

Sequim woman to testify in favor of genetically engineered food labeling
Peninsula Daily
A local proponent of labeling genetically engineered foods will be in Olympia today and Friday to testify before the House and Senate hearings committees, part of an organic farming contingent of nutritional, agricultural and environmental advocates descending on the state capital.

USDA official: Oregon doing a lot right on hunger
Statesman Journal
Although Oregon has record numbers of people relying on federal assistance and community food banks to feed themselves, a top U.S. Department of Agriculture official said Oregonians are doing many things right to stave off the threat of hunger.

Commentary: Agriculture must engage in conversations about change
California Farm Bureau
Increasingly, people want a say in how we produce and distribute food in the United States. Buyers of the products we grow—food companies, retailers and foodservice chains—are focusing on agricultural practices in the name of healthier consumers, healthier animals and a healthier planet.

Dairy water rules on North Coast provide options
California Farm Bureau
Following what participants called a collaborative effort between government regulators and dairy farmers, the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board unanimously approved a new program last week for how dairy farmers deal with waste discharges from their livestock.

Calif. ‘downer’ pig ban blocked by Supreme Court
San Francisco Chronicle
California’s ban on the sale of pork from “downer” pigs, those that were too feeble to walk before being slaughtered, can’t be enforced because a less stringent federal law regulates slaughterhouse inspections, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday.

Conference will address nitty-gritty of farming today
Auburn Journal
Social media, loan programs and finding land to farm will be among the topics at this year’s PlacerGrown Food and Farm Conference on Feb. 4. This is the 17th year for the day-long gathering, which features a keynote speaker and 25 workshops organized under topic strands.

Growing the local food market
The Union of Grass Valley
There is no more passionate or eloquent a proponent of local food and local farms than BriarPatch Produce Manager David Benson.
Benson’s energy for the subject will be on full display today during the second annual Nevada County Sustainable Food and Farm Conference.

Local-food movement gets verbal support from El Dorado County officials
Sacramento Bee
The grass-roots (and grass-fed) agriculture revolution that Patty Chelseth started last summer is picking up steam. Chelseth, of My Sisters’ Farm in Shingle Springs, has launched a campaign to get a “Local Food and Community Self-Governance” ordinance. Her effort got a warm reception Tuesday from the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors.

New school food guidelines mean healthier fare
San Francisco Chronicle
School cafeterias will have to feature a lot more whole grain, fruits and vegetables, and reduce salt, fat and fried foods under new federal rules released Wednesday. The new regulations are the first major changes to school breakfast and lunch standards in 15 years and, for the first time, set maximum calories allowed per meal.

News From the Nation

Stonyfield Declares 2012 the Year to Get to Know Your Food
MarketWatch (press release)
This year, Stonyfield is making it easier to get to know more about the food we eat. The world’s leading organic yogurt maker is launching a year-long Know Your Food campaign aimed at helping people get to know more about the what’s really in the foods in their refrigerators, freezers and pantries.

From Health Food To Health Risk: Sprouts Slip Off The Menu
NPR (blog)
At the rate they’re going, those nutritious-looking sprouts may disappear from sandwiches and salads near you in not too long. And that may be a good thing. This week, the Beaumont, Tex.-based Jason’s Deli chain announced that it would no longer serve fresh sprouts, citing frequent recalls due to bacterial contamination.

Food Network, book take on weight in chef whites
The Associated Press
Paula Deen’s diabetes revelation pretty much sums it up: Kitchen pros at all levels struggle with obesity and its dangerous aftertaste in the high-pressure, high-calorie world of food. The queen of Southern comfort cooking announced last week that she hid her Type 2 diabetes for about three years while continuing to cook up deep-fried cheesecake and bacon-and-egg burgers between doughnuts on TV.

Gates defends focus on high-tech agriculture
Fox News
Bill Gates has a terse response to criticism that the high-tech solutions he advocates for world hunger are too expensive or bad for the environment: Countries can embrace modern seed technology and genetic modification or their citizens will starve.

The great food disruption: Healthy eats, healthy profit
WBRC
A triathlete and food fanatic, Neil Grimmer and his wife wanted to feed their kids healthy foods as well as begin to develop their palates. So he did what people do in Silicon Valley to cure their problems: he came up with a business plan, raised VC funds and started laying the groundwork for an empire.

LoCo Food Distribution makes eating local easy
The Coloradoan
Though indicators for growth in Colorado markets are difficult to locate, data on the restaurant industry indicates clear growth in the demand for local food. Not only are food sales looking up, but local food specifically is in higher demand. Check out this interview with Elizabeth Mozer, co-owner of LoCo Food Distribution, a company that delivers locally grown food to wholesale buyers.

Farmers’ markets a growing trend in South Florida
MiamiHerald.com
During Florida’s growing season, Margie Pikarsky spends Saturdays harvesting crops like heirloom tomatoes, green beans, arugula and Cleopatra tangerines on her Bee Heaven Farm in Redland. She’s among a small group of South Florida farmers whose produce is in demand to help nourish a growing desire for fresh products coming off local farms instead of the grocery store shelf.

Law now lets public schools donate excess food
News-Herald.com
Steven C. LaTourette is encouraging public schools throughout Northeast Ohio to donate excess unused food to local food banks and pantries. A recent change in the law gives public schools the same protections as restaurants and caterers that donate to food banks under the Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act.

Demand for local food is growing
Iowa City Press Citizen
Dianna Fuhrmeister, who grows vegetables, fruit and herbs on her farm northeast of Iowa City, has found that the best way to make a go of it is to sell directly to customers. “There’s so much demand out there for this,” she said. “I don’t know if there are enough growers to supply all this.”

Walgreens targets ‘food deserts’ in cities
STLtoday.com
Raw fish and cough medicine may not seem like they should occupy the same store, but a select few Walgreens now carry both. “We found that in lower-income areas, in food deserts, that grocery stores have moved out,” said Bryan Pugh, the company’s vice president of merchandising. “It’s a very strategic initiative. Food brings the shopper in more often.”

Why Junk Food at School Isn’t Making Kids Fat
ABC News
A study followed nearly 20000 students from kindergarten through the eighth grade in 1000 public and private schools. The researchers examined the children’s weight and found that in the eighth grade, 35.5 percent of kids in schools with junk food were overweight while 34.8 percent of those in schools without it were overweight — a statistically insignificant increase.

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