Posted on Friday, May 18th, 2012 by

News from the Hub – Week of May 14, 2012

Fresh Picks – Top 5 Stories Worth Reading

Balancing fish and farms on a Washington estuary
High Country News
As environmental battlefields go, Fisher Slough seems pretty meek, with a copse of alders in the midst of a small, shallow lake, bracketed on one side by road, on the others by fields. But since Euro-Americans settled the delta in the mid-1800s, Fisher, like most of the sloughs, has been drained and plumbed with levees, ditches and tidegates, creating some of the most productive farmland in the country.

Rethinking the food bank: It’s no longer just about handing out food to the hungry
Toronto Star
Nick Saul is having another “wow” moment. Literally. In giant blue capital letters, the word seems to dance on the office wall behind him as Saul speaks excitedly about his latest plan to turn the food bank concept on its head. “I want to harness the power of food to connect, empower and create knowledge and skills — and hope and self-worth,” he says.

USDA Report Shows Healthy Food Can Be Cheaper Option
Wall Street Journal
Healthy food isn’t necessarily more expensive than junk-food alternatives, according to a government report released Wednesday that contradicts long-held conventional wisdom that it is cheaper to snack on potato chips than carrots. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently revamped nutrition rules for school cafeterias to get kids to eat more fruit, vegetables and whole grains while cutting out fatty foods.

With large PNW fruit crops forecast, enough pickers the big worry
Capital Press
Large crops and labor are forefront in the minds of many in the Washington tree fruit industry.  Good bud set, a warm spring without major freezes, good pollination and increasing production from newer plantings fuel anticipation of large cherry, pear and apple crops.  A record 20.9-million-box Pacific Northwest cherry crop is forecast, pears may also be close to their record at 20.9

Producers monitor impact of cage-free trend
Capital Press
Livestock and poultry producers say recent decisions by companies such as Burger King and Safeway to only buy from suppliers that are cage-free won’t in themselves have a big impact on their industries.  But if the trend continues, the result will likely be higher production costs and higher prices for the very consumers who are driving the issue, they say.

News from the Region

Video: PCC Natural Markets partners with WISErg to turn food scraps into organic fertilizer
Seattle Post Intelligencer (blog)
PCC Natural Markets (PCC), the nation’s largest member-owned grocery retailer, has selected its Issaquah store for the first on-site food scrap “harvester”. The pilot project is in partnership with local clean technology firm WISErg Corporation, who has developed sophisticated technology that provides a simple solution to the mountains of food scraps discarded daily by grocery stores.

California’s Genetically Engineered Food Label May Confuse More Than Inform
NPR (blog)
When Californians go to the polls in November, they will very likely have the chance to make California the first state in the nation to require labeling of genetically engineered food. That’s according to California Right to Know, which filed a petition to force a statewide vote.

Webb: Honoring local-food advocates
The Idaho Statesman
The Fund for Idaho is a nonprofit organization devoted to giving financial support to groups that work for human rights, especially those in marginalized communities, including the disabled, the mentally ill, those in rural communities far from social services, the LGBT community and many others. The group is inviting the public to its 10th Anniversary Gala in Boise.

Could CA’s Foie Gras Ban Go National?
Reuters
Some famous California chefs have taken to the street, or rather the kitchen, to fight the state’s upcoming foie gras ban. Several high-profile chefs have held foie gras events at their restaurants, CBS Los Angeles reports. They showcased special menus featuring the soon-to-be-outlawed ingredient. However, animal rights activists haven’t found their actions amusing. Many have fought back by protesting outside some of the restaurants.

California olive industry eyes import enemies
Western Farm Press
It’s a good time to think big when it comes to growing table olives in California, and fewer trees this year are going into the ground in the state to produce olive oil. But production of olive oil in California is expected to nearly double over the next few years. And both industries have a common enemy — imports of questionable quality.

Oakland’s Jack London Market still hungry for food vendors
San Jose Mercury News
I was going to write that the Jack London Market hall needs to be resuscitated, but the hall cannot be brought back to a state it never attained.  So the question is: What next? The state regulations restrict the property to maritime-related uses — recreation, fisheries and the like. Restaurants and food businesses are also allowed. That’s how the blueprint for the food vendors made it into the building.

News from the Nation

EPA Updates Online Water Quality Standards Guidance
EPA
EPA has updated the online version of its water quality standards handbook to make it more user-friendly and improve transparency by providing links to EPA’s most recent policy documents. The handbook is a compilation of EPA’s guidance on the water quality standards program and provides direction for states, territories and authorized tribes in reviewing, revising and implementing water quality standards.

Aquaponics blends fish farming, local produce
Galesburg Register-Mail
The Entrepreneur, Business, Industry Network is poised to dive in and take the next step in the “Grow Local” food movement. Bringing aquaponics to Galesburg is being explored. “What we want is something that can be commercially viable,” Camarano said. “The whole idea is locally grown produce, all year round. From everything I hear, it tastes just as good (as produce grown in traditional ways), if not better.”

Food Revolution Day: Mobilizing a New Generation of Changemakers
Huffington Post (blog)
When the inspirational Jamie Oliver set out to film his show Food Revolution, he launched the project with a bold, gutsy mission statement: to change not only the way people eat and cook, but also the way they think about food itself. As Jamie put it: “This is not a sparkly, pretty show. It’s about finding local ambassadors for change.” This is exactly the spirit that’s embodied in the world’s first-ever Food Revolution Day.

Making the Right Connections With Local Food
Huffington Post (blog)
Traditionally, Illinois has shipped much of what it grows out of the state and imported most of the food consumers buy at the grocery store. But in recent years, new opportunities have opened up to complement and build upon our existing assets by developing a strong local food economy. Enter an innovative business concept called a food hub.

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