Kids can be the pickiest eaters around, rejecting anything that smells, looks, or feels “weird,” an all encompassing term with a highly flexible definition. Rather than seeing this as an obstacle to a well-rounded nutritional experience, why not harness a child’s natural tendency to be suspicious of food and use it for good? Michael Pollan is doing just that with the release of The Omnivore’s Dilemma for Kids: The Secrets Behind What You Eat. Just released in hardcover, paperback and Kindle editions, The Omnivore’s Dilemma for Kids uses plenty of photos, graphs and charts—and a fun format—to encourage kids, tweens and teens to think about what they are eating, how it was produced and what that means for their future and the planet.
The October 4, 2009 New York Times story, “E. coli Shows Flaws in Beef Inspection,” is a chilling reminder to the public that we gamble unknowingly with our health every day, even when safer, viable options to the current systems are readily available. The Times story follows a convoluted and widespread chain of production that ended with hamburger contaminated with the virulent E. coli strain O157:H7 being sold to the public, leaving one young woman paralyzed and more than 900 others ill. The story recounts the secrecy, obfuscation, and duplicity that processors engage in to avoid testing beef for E. coli and to protect a system that gives rise to tainted beef.
With fall harvest season in full swing, there was good news from the USDA for consumers who prefer to buy their produce, meat, dairy and eggs directly from farmers: the number of farmer’s markets in the United States has grown by 13% over the past year. According to the agency, 5,274 farmer’s markets are now operating nationwide, up from 4,685 reported in 2008 (a gain of 589 markets). The USDA has just launched the “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” initiative to help develop local and regional food systems and spur economic opportunity.
In response to a recent press release announcing that La Cense Ranch has become the first grassfed beef producer to be certified under the USDA “Grass Fed” standard, Animal Welfare Approved Program Director Andrew Gunther made the following statement: “I am seeing a re-emergence of the arguments that surrounded initial discussions about the USDA’s ‘Grass Fed’ definition. The USDA standard only partially addresses buyers’ expectations for grassfed meat. We are concerned that consumers may assume that a USDA Grass Fed certification means that ruminants are raised on pasture for the duration of their lives, without confinement or feedlots.”
AWA staffers Emily Lancaster, Brigid Sweeney and Beth Hauptle were honored to represent Animal Welfare Approved at Farm Aid this year from October 2-4 in St. Louis Missouri. AWA farmers Mark and Patricia Whisnant, David and Lana Price and Henry and JoAnn Fudge joined us for the festivities. It was the 24th year of Farm Aid and board members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews continue to work hard to promote family farms.